welcome to SHORTSTACKS, a collection of oh-sweet-little-nothings that I’ll occasionally whisper in to your ear from time-time-time. What constitutes an entry in to Shortstacks? Weeeeeeellll….they’re short little bursts of writing that I use to warm myself up for my larger, more novel-centric works that I tackle late in to the evening hours. Some are fiction, stuff I dream up that fight like hell to escape from that tempest I call my brain; some are non-fiction, sketches of people I run across during my travels within my own city, dysfunctional family, friends, childhood memories; all of them may appear to be gibberish, and they may appear to be polite and heavy-handed nods to my dead literary idols/chief influences, Mr. Jack Kerouac and Mr. Henry Miller. This is fine: they are nothing and they are whatever. Enjoy the little writings of mine that have no home and come from nowhere, little pocket-symphonies I turn on blast for all to read. They will appear here randomly. Enjoy. — J.W.
It is nearly the second day of the new year and by all accounts it has been written in ice & uncertainty. Even as I write haphazardly and foolishly dazed the night sky above me is shattered in to bits of ice, cool little clusters thrown across the black firmanent, an oppressive and brutal cold that makes the air hang and dissapate as you walk through it. It was written on the air as me and my girlfriend walked through crowds of people downtown on New Year’s Eve, her so beautiful my heart wants to burst, blonde hair and angelic smile, stunning in a sequined black dress and a brown pea-coat, these motherfuckers should be jealous that I’m the one holding that wonderful, delicate hand, and yet oh-oh-oh how uncertain I felt about it all — all except her, of course; we pass through these crowds like conjoined comets, and yet as I look around and catch eyes that only can begin to recognize me, I’m stopped in wonderment: who are all these people?? where the fuck are we all going?? will the man taking a piss in the alley — a man who after that alley-piss will be puking in another alley a few blocks away, just to, you know, top off a new year — wind up on Wall Street, briefcase in hand, completely clueless at just how the hell he even made it to that next alley (the brick corridor that will be the receptacle of all his terrible decisions that night)?? This is a college town, after all.
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Is this what Fitzgerald was stabbing at, or was he really just a pompous, bourgeoisie drunk from Minneapolis? I barely known myself, or maybe I really do and I’m just an idiot (this, of course, is entirely possible), but what the fuck is 2013 going to be bring?
Will I be dead? Will I strike it rich?
Will I end up running you over with my car, assume the alias Walter White, and then vamanos as fast as I can to the Mexican border?
Will we become friends?
I’m going to be twenty-five years old in April.
I have a degree in Political Science from a respectable university.
I have a wonderful, caring, jaw-droppingly beautiful girlfriend.
I am American. I should learn to stop bitching.
What the fuck comes next?