He has a broken shoelace tied around his wrist. It is gray and the ends escaping the knot are frayed like a clover. Clutching the corner of the pillow, the tiny wisps of protruding string are dancing in the slow sway of his heavy breath. This hand is close to his stubbled face and the other is tucked under. An aura whistles over him with each heave of lung while fireflies dance under the lids of eye. He is thinking of the girl.
He is not just thinking about the girl, he is thinking about the conversation about writing he had that night.
If you want to drink and write, don't do it at a bar, do it like a real man at you kitchen table. Alone.
He was trying to explain to a dreadlock clad novice about writing. He told the dreadlock man that you need discipline to write. That, every day YOU MUST WRITE. The man was emphatically stating his case that, writing comes from inspiration. He agreed, but the man still wandered in thoughts of "You know what I'm sayin'". He said "Yes, but, you must rewrite and write every day if you want to be a writer". Then, a flaxen haired dimwit enters.
She says, "Who do you write for?".
"I write for you pointing to the girl and I write for you" pointing to the dreadlock man, he says.
She is not impressed. She drags on her cigarette and banters nonsense.
He is tossing still in his bed, breathing into his skin, tucking his feet under the covers, moving and staying still. Too much and an empty void. He grasps the braided bracelet with his other hand. Rolling it in his fingers he rotates it around a too thin wrist until he holds the knot. He rolls the knot in his fingers and thumb, using his fingernails to loosen the it. It gets loose and he remembers where he got it and pulls the clover like ends tight with dexterity.
He wanted to explain to them that writers are like momma birds. They take real life experience, digest it, then regurgitate it into words. Problem is, the original, like the proverbial worm, doesn't come out the same. Baby bird still eats and grow tho.
He turns again coughing a low gruff. Deep breath, heavy sigh. Pushes head deeper into pillow.
He begins to question the solemn identity he accepted as a writer. He thinks of the pile of rejection slips on the draft table; of editors who send him form mail, of editors that remark, of editors who encourage. Then he remembers inspiration in many forms. Cringing, he thinks about what inspiration brings.
This is not easy,
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
He bites the dirty shoelace on his wrist like he is a western hero waiting for a bullet to be extracted. It tastes like memory. The memory of the cobblestones in Prague clamping the loose end of her Keds and braking the withered strand. How she tugged on the end and retied her shoe, leaving the broken end of the shoelace on the ground. It fell in a heart shape and he pointed it to her. He picked it up smiling and tied it to his wrist. This was his, but she was not here to hold him. He suckled the shoelace to sleep.