“It is Tuesday, November 3rd & I am Alive by Whatever Means Necessary” by Torrin Greathouse

Lightning strikes like the silhouette of the city

and for a moment, the air blisters with Saint Elmo’s fire

over the Arby’s sign.


The pitch black sky thunders like a soft hangover,

or the black expanse of the universe drawing in

a ragged breath after coughing up

a storm of jagged light,


and we can barely hear the music in the car

over all of the light

and labored breathing.


It is one of those nights when the sun

set just right and I could no longer

tell the difference between the clouds and the mountains,

except when the wind opened up a great sky maw that

could have swallowed us whole.


Left me feeling like a stain

on an airplane seat, or a bird

when the bullet missed.


And tonight the sky is pouring down with the weight of

the triumphant escape of blood from your veins after years

of looking at the inside

of your skin like an exit sign,

all the blood we could never draw from the stones

that they drew so easily from us.


We can hear the windshield sobbing,

blinking back tears, as the glass coughs

shadows out against the oppressive midnight dark.


I’m still struggling to remember what that bald man said, that struck me

like I’ve been walking around with lighting rods in my pockets,

just waiting for inspiration to strike,

but it’s always gone with the last highway sign.


I keep losing track of the broken white

lines on this road,

my tires are too tired and delusional,

they are having dreams of becoming wings,

and the road is slipping away beneath them.


It is Tuesday, November 3rd

the night has swallowed the road whole

and I am alive

by whatever means necessary.


In the morning, we’ll dress our bodies

white, like ghosts, like

the chalk line spectators to their own equation

of car meeting rain meeting road, slick with the blood drawn

from 10,000 engines in this year long drought,


open the windows wide on the highway,

storm battered air whipping at our clothes so our shirts spread

like fragile wings, like

when we swam in all of our clothes and pretended

to drown.

Torrin Greathouse is a Literary Journalism student and governing member of the Uncultivated Rabbits spoken word collective at UC Irvine. They were the 2015 winner of the Orange County Poetry Slam. Torrin’s work has been published in several literary magazines and one chapbook, Cosmic Taxi Driver Blues. They are currently employed as the executive assistant of a sustainable lighting firm. Their previous jobs include security guard, farm hand, antique store clerk and tattoo artist.

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dr_e_g/

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