• Scratching the Itch

    By Matthew Colvard

    They say a writer needs a reason to struggle out words upon the page in front of him. They speak as if they have bled on pen and paper and lived to tell of it, as if there are more than three ways to actually bleed on template. What do they know of true insanity, of chivalry beyond the code of law, of truth below the seeded lies the government shoves down our throats and shits in our ears, propaganda hiding the truth at every turn.

    They know nothing of character, of becoming the story.

    Character is what you are in the dark. No face, no hands, no bloody nose to wipe at, only the tapping of warm slaps against the tiles, the puddle forming one of understanding, of knowing the damage and yet standing still, forever faltering back and forth on your heels because this planet doesn’t love you and those fists aren’t eating your face any longer.

    In the darkness.

    But that’s what it comes down to, eventually. You, by yourself in the darkness, each and every night until the buzzing in your ears isn’t enough to drive you insane and the itch on your bare back and arms isn’t grinding enough to dig into, hate the world for not letting you just ******** sleep. But this is good, this is the frenzy in your nerves that kicks and gnashes like a child in the heat of his own stupidity. This is where you throw the covers off and curl your hands into fists, where your eyes close then open fully, where the wall is there but it will NOT be soon enough, oh Gods be praised for that. This is when you jump off your back and shoot down the stairs, where the night is warm when you crash through the front door, the stars blinking like razor’s edge back and forth in your tattered break between sleep and life. How the path below you is lit now where before only shadows crawled, where blood had never spilled and poison had never seeped. The car’s steering wheel feels like the old leather of your grandfather’s couch, or the rough coarseness of his jacket on his death bed before you kissed his forehead, forgot about him an hour later to eat cake and cry.
    This is where you shut the ******** up, just shut the hell up and drive, no tension but the pressure between your teeth trying to squeal out a whistle because your grinding so damn hard you feel the explosion coming, you grab the bat and snatch the mask and ride because you can see evil in the world where others will simply walk past and point, laugh, forget, eat, sleep, s**t, repeat.

    You will not stand for it any longer.

    What of this darkness, this black mirage like the monsters of our past, the nightmares we once dreamed of now slinking and stalking in human flesh, masquerading as your preacher, your teacher, your doctor and his doctor and that b*****d’s drug dealer and so forth. The light’s clash against your rearview window, but you can see the ghosts of children you knew well, watched fall into pits full of syringes and blackened joints, only to crawl further in to feel the sting of the drug womb, this hell that you now know is real.
    What of a hell that is man-made. Let us burn it here tonight, the music turning low, the bandanna against your lips drawing your breath to slow, the tempo in your skull like the beating of a hammer, over and over and over and taptaptap..
    The bat goes twice to the door, then to the first face you see, the first maw that creeps from the blackness of apartment 281 now a broken one, the first scabbed scrawl of a man to linger forward and taste this revenge so sweet blessed instantly with fiction tinted in steel. How his teeth will break, his friends unable to move for fright has taken them like tendrils from some otherworldly abyss, things that only you can see but know so well you bark, snarl like the daemon now guiding your limbs. They’ve seen the teeth and the form and eyes of ice and nothing more, a roar in your heart and something darker still tapping at the spine, tearing down the wall in your room, smashing a tower of glass the moment after. They sit in their own piss, only one bothering to reach for the glock on the table before bye bye, hello sweet darkness once more, the flash before his nose the crack of thunder in your grip.

    You are God, for are you not in his image? Merciless. Cold. Unforgiving.

    Who is God?

    Wandering the dilapidated halls of this drug pit wafts the stench of gasoline and burning crack cocaine like fresh disease, something that stings but does not prevent, your waltz one that only two can tango to, the killer and the prey. You see him now, the cause of your rickets and jumping and jiving and that itch that kept you up, the man with two teeth and twenty stacks, the man with a needle and a keen voice for selling, the man who isn’t a man at all, but a worm you finally see, a seething retching ghoul that has nowhere to go but down.
    Down to the floor before this glory, down before the monster’s teeth because that what we do that’s what you do. How many times did the walls paint red before the breathing slowed, the trail of smoke from his metal pipe dimmed to a whispering ember that popped and clicked like cicadas laugh, oh sweet noise that now ruptures reality in waves, brings you back to the hallway, back to the front door standing ajar, just as you left it so.
    Do you look back? Do you see the three men and the crying woman, the beaten gangbangers and the whore who only cries for her lack of coke, for the bong smashed against the ground, for the blood running from the mouths of her rapists and low-men? Do you see the struggling fingers aching for your pant leg, trying to whisper another ill word in drunken stupor and pull you down with them, to spit and s**t and wallow in fractured hate and ignorance upon the piss stained carpet? Didn’t they know this was going to happen, that retribution was fury, pure and fast like the strike of a viper? Hadn’t they learned anything from their highs and lows and twists and turns, the needle’s eye a teacher as well as the smoke of the lungs?


    They learn nothing, and so you do not look back, only forward, only onward to the good night’s sleep you certainly will get now..

    Now that the buzzing is gone, the itch has retreated.