Mike EP

by Kate Greenstreet

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38. The belief that, given [This is the conversation as it appears in the book.] —Mike? He has a lot of talent as a “people person.” Not necessarily extroverted, but persuasive. The prototype in my life didn’t have a lot of natural talent at anything else. He had some. He wrote and he painted. But I think he got discouraged that he wasn’t great at anything right away. He loved music. If he’d had discipline, he might’ve done something. But he’d rather get high. I get it but, you know . . . He’d rather get high and take it off somebody else. “He’ll take the eyes out of your head,” as the Irish say, “and tell you you look better without them.” People like that, they can be funny. Or they’re handsome, they’re charming. Maybe they seem wounded in a way that makes you want to help, even when they’re much more powerful than you are. And either they are this thing that everybody knows about now, I forget what you call it . . . a sociopath. Who has no empathy, no conscience, but has talents to make you believe that they care about things, and, you know, like any animal, they’ll cry when kicked. Or they’ll bare their teeth when kicked. They have “feelings,” but that doesn’t mean they can have a relationship with you, or anyone, in a normal way. If you care about them, if Mike is your brother, your lover, your father, you’ll be in a relationship but he can’t . . . You could say he’s not fully human. I mean, everybody likes the not fully human guy or girl in the movies. But the not fully human person in life? —It wears thin.
 —It wears you out.
 —So either he’s a sociopath . . . or? —Or he’s not. And you don’t know. And you can’t know. He either keeps fooling you into thinking that he is fully human, or he is, but he’s been badly hurt. He’s been hurt in his youth, or maybe he’s got a Cosmic Cross in his chart. He has obstacles, psychological obstacles greater than yours. —Insurmountable? —Not insurmountable maybe, but he’ll need self-discipline. And luck. Now, Mike usually does have luck. He has luck, but it’s not always good luck. —You keep saying “he.” —Most Mikes I’ve known have been male. They’re easier to spot, for me. And of course they’re often named Mike. It’s funny how that works. \ 5. People who are Mike, people who know Mike, and people who just met Mike You can be anywhere and you start bleeding Or the sky “ghosting” The day I met him
 I never thought twice I never had a chance I’d be standing at the top of the stairs in a trench coat I would be a travel agent Not only that, his name was . . . oh god, I did date him . . . “none known” Like smoke another night of “These rooms is” and we will have all kinds of room and this is
 special ground—just for this purpose “special thanks” but really it’s “what child is this?” \ 80. What to do with the will to believe Like Jesus said: “Let it happen.” Hyacinths? for Christmas? Or maybe it’s some other day. Whatever happened to divine discontent? Longing 
as the basis of self-discipline. We bought and tried to wear new clothes, held in our hands the pink quartz stone that would open our hearts. He took the camera, in the end. When the tools were gone. "You’ll see so many things." \ 6. Hermes is the god of the roads Michael came to where I was living. Storm home? Don’t think so.
 The wall was actually removed.
 I was so glad to see him. He was tall, he was wearing a green jacket. Laid our main. You want to know about our life in the body? Know how to stop? Leave space between the dead and “I thought.” We have chosen the theme of peace. Be there, dropping. Dropping like a small cloud of birds: three, eight, twelve, fifteen hundred men. Michael came to where I was living. He brought a pizza, he was letting the dog eat it with him. “Be there,” like they say, “for us.” We don’t even know if we’re getting the good stuff. Blinds closed, bed unmade at three. We have chosen. The challenge was “to work with.” Michael came to where I was living, walking on the railing. We chose the theme of balance. Short answer? No movement from the plot. I wanted him to tell me the secret of what I should be doing now. He was going to. But we never got around to it. Things collect around a man, let you notice: who’s at the center. We had chosen the theme “ghost” but were having second thoughts. Michael won’t cut the reason why. Knows the river names. Says: “But we’re still young.” Then says: “I’m kidding.” The challenge was: “Things collect.” Souvenir: scrap of paper with the words “Coffee Jars” written in your hand. The hand that drew the angel with the hard-on, and the man who walked a cockroach on a leash. A hundred years have passed since we last spoke. Five miles south, complete—see it from above: that beautiful blue snake. Can’t be allowed to happen. Thoughts divined, and now the river changes. Sometimes I feel like I’m training a snake. Find a steep, alternative route. We had chosen the theme “It would be more like this.” I was unable to transfer. I am a simple farmer. We had chosen the theme “The corners of the mouth.” Lead us to the mouth of the river. From the banks. Souvenir: the coffee can of change. Talk to us in tongues. We have chosen the theme “I thought we were friends.” You know how sometimes when you’re fishing and you bring up an old boot, you think: haven’t I brought this boot up before? Haven’t I gotten rid of it before? Tell them: seaweed, blacktop, lilac. Rose of Sharon, not for the scent. This guy, his book is full of people but he’s wandering alone. There’s at least one more challenge. Souvenir: the jar of river clay. Keep moist with the water from the river. Keep stirred. Keep moving. Michael came—I was so glad to see him. He was tall. I gave him a long hug. I wanted him to tell me the secret of what I should be doing now. He was going to. He’d brought a pizza, he was letting the dog eat it with him. He seemed so relaxed. \


Lyrics are from my book The End of Something (Ahsahta Press, 2017). If you're curious about that, visit theendofsomething.com


released December 24, 2017

38 is built on a slightly edited version of "Miles In Mind,"
a solo piano improvisation played by Todd Walton,
from his album Incongroovity. (Used with permission.)
"Sax" by Max.


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