Troy R. McGee, Jr.

PILGRIMAGE 
1. 
     I always roll an American flag because I AM an armed convoy. I’m young (not that young) and these people aren’t my friends and they’re not sexy and I could never love you. The evening starts at Neurolux, support the local death metal band, and bond with the people cruel fate has forced on you. Later, potsmokings and drinks in the private after-party of the Northend Boise. I don’t like this band, it don’t matter who’s playing the accordion. “Get this hipster shit off the stereo, no! I don’t care about your fucking records!” What stops me from firing off a shot in this party, ending the night by turning their puff-puff-pass and their poetry-slam into ptsd for everybody - the gift that keeps on giving - a horror untreated for years, and then spilled out on the floors of 12-step groups, a truth as dead as you, and how will you live then? The only way is to search the world and find Jesus.
     I found Jesus artificial; unsatisfying, unhistorical, alkaline and unmythological in the way those Bible pages stink, like the back-damn-rooms of the church stink; it stinks of not being true, not true enough to save you, despite the rows of rooms standing at the ready to tell you the Greatest Story Ever Told. Heaven is exclusive as the hipster roll-call, a gated community of do’s and don’ts, where they take and you beg, of aristocratic wills and wont’s in the mirrorlike-death of privileged certainty. Once I broke in, drunk, and slept it off on the hard sunday school floor. Alcohol was always the bumpy ride, not far enough to the other side of a nightmare where things are better, where I’m not just the angry loser I try so hard not to be.
     My Mom loves Jesus, my Grandma too, everyone except people like me love Jesus - and there’s so few think he’s a sissy-ass, judgmental, effete little perfect-son my family never had. He don’t like rock n’ roll, dirty words, booze or cigarettes. Jesus goes out and gets a job, and gives money to his mother, informs on his co-worker, squashes the union and tries to be friends with the manager. Truth is, nobody really likes that little motherfucker, though he makes them nervous - just a little down the dial from being scared, because he’ll tell his daddy on you too… That motherfucker never masturbates, never talks back, comes in on time, never fails to count his blessings or remember his place, and he calls the cops if you make too much noise. No-one takes this personal of course, because he died for your fucking sins and he won’t never let you fucking forget it.
     But not me. I ain’t no soldier in the army of the Lord. I was a shitty soldier. I was never good at doing what I’m told, cutting my hair, and bringing in the fucking sheaves. The magick is used on you, you may never use it unless you are a sorcerer. They have a system where you are always wrong: you are lying, but they are speaking in faith - you are drunken, but they are in the spirit - you are talking to yourself, but they are praying - you’re a faithless unbeliever, but they legitimately have doubts - you won’t give it up, will you?, but they hold steady in the faith - you cannot be reached, but they will not be moved - you are drowning, but they are baptizing. Until one evening you walk in to the sizeable middle of their intervention – it’s their attempt to enter the kingdom. Mine is to wait for temptation to happen – no, to court it, train for it, and be ready when the diabolical calls… 
2. 
     It was a sunshiny day – I don’t recall whose money it was, prolly not mine. Just enough to buy some booze, maybe some beers and they go down easy – easy enough and you go down swingin’ – erase your girlfriend’s worried face and the whispered prayers of your Momma. Maybe you’re never going home again, half a world away I hope they’re worried I’m carried away my addiction is affecting you in the following ways. I’ll be home by Thanksgiving, maybe even my birthday. The only reason to be afraid is what if no-one cares. The only power is – will I step off the Greyhound again in this town and see the sun? This Generational Sin is my magic, my spell is watch me destroy myself: first a little, then a lot... 
     So, I plunge into life – I fall in love with the world! When I tried to leave my smalltown in the late 80’s (until the mid-90’s), my preferred mode of travel was either the Greyhound or the speedbinge - I didn’t let it stop me. Get me a headstart on the Holy Ghost - let the moment/situation/lover/drug take me to bed and fuck me, stroke my fur first the right way then the wrong way and then duck me. Move out when I have to go to work. Go and find another me, a more successful me - one without failure in his eyes. One with more options and less lies, more effective tries. Why did my mid-80’s start all Night Ranger, all “Come on!” - all rights and no wrong as I escape my smalltown. When does the optimism turn to death-metal? - “Lift Me Up” quickly turns into “Burn it Down!” and so you do…
     The bus arrives deliberately, slowly. The heartbreak is a lowly funeral march as I lose out on another dream I may never really try again. Heartbroken, left to bake in the sun, or freeze. And it spits you out to swim against the riptide of your lonely mediocrity. Dishwashing, floor-mopping, prep-cooking, factory floor, truckwash, tire-shop, bussing dishes, working graveyard, lurking at Denny’s in the dark, or Burger King, MacDonalds, Carl’s Jr. The bills will always have to be paid, and you can never do it on the dayshift. The sins of the Father fall down on the Sun and burn into your skin your own damnation, soon to come - but do it on your own time, cause time is money. 

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