Take a stroll while chain-smoking. Swallow some wine and brace yourself against the wind and rain. There are doorways. There are holes that take you places known and unknown. There are pathways that exist as they did back in your youth but not as they do now. Fallen logs that hang around for decades now no more than ashes. Buildings that once spoke to you of what it meant to be alive now in a state of non-existence never to be reversed. And yet the arrow of time is broken and always has been. It means next to nothing, which is why your kiss is still with me, right where it belongs. A dead cigarette is flung into the air and stays there for several seconds before dropping into a puddle. We all die, but some die sooner than others. Someone said that to me the other day. They blamed nature. They were quite insistent. I was impressionable and easy to impress. Sometimes I do my best and try to care, and then I remember how it’s all so meaningless, and that’s the end of it. There’s drinking and silence, and plenty of it. Long periods of memory and false recollections. And then the animal within rises to the surface and the taste of blood is on my lips once more. Lust. Fertility. Women and sport. Rolling tobacco and melting asphalt even though it’s so cold and your bones shiver next to mine. Blink your eyes and wash it away. Suck on my scent and kneel at your altar. Leaves tumble through the gutter as the trees that once held them pretend not to care, in the same way that animals pretend not to speak. They are picked up by a gust of wind and dance for a few seconds before scattering in every direction. No one sees the moment save for me, and for this, I feel blessed. But those around keep their heads down. They choose not to see, because it’s easier that way.