High Lining


by Jacob Beam

         Getting a job was cool. Like a sleek back of the hair with a black comb that you never remember how you got type of cool. I felt invincible. “Prof. Asst.” is what my rectangle sticker on my shirt would have read at some awkward first gathering of people. But it was sketched onto my heart. So no real need for a sticker.

        “Read this tonight. I need to know whether or not I should go with it Friday in class.”

        “Yes sir.” Astute.

         “Stop calling me sir.” He reprimanded me with his tone.

         One look. The look.

         “Fuck. I’m sorry.”

         “That’s more like it. Can you finish this tonight?”

        “Yes.” A sticky needle feeling ran through my bones. It was painful to leave a sentence incomplete.

        “Go on then.” He was often rude.

         Sometimes I walked home. Sometimes I ran out of sheer fear of the night, the known and unknown. The moon scared me too. The face so brightly lit but never truly visible. I scratched the key around the lock at the end of my trials. The scent of my home was mine.

          Bottles of empty wine littered my apartment. But it wasn’t litter, it was art. I hung pieces on my wall, for the room was small. Working in such conditions called for a buttony flat. So I lived in peace and loneliness.

         Setting down the Professor’s book I set off on my nightly journey. It was romantic almost the passion I carried for drifting around the room, the space. It was an escape. But of what? That question haunted me most nights.

        “Hello.” Sometimes I talked aloud with Self.

        “Why hello there my good sir.” I was fancy some days.

         “Sit sit.” Self was polite.

         “Why I will indeed.” The fanciness continued. “Tell me about your story Self.”

         The phone buzzed. A distraction from the party. A nagging itch that never lay rest.

          I broke character. I broke Self.


          “Yo.” Smooth but frustrating. My peach-skinned Pal.

          “What’s going on? You need something?” I have a problem with the constant bullshitting that happens in today’s vernacular pool.

          He painted a picture of a dark night full of dancing and movement underground. A modern day passageway for people to collect and express themselves. A free place, a free space.

          “Sure.” I had nothing to do. The Professor’s preferred reading of the night was already written, already old news. The authors make it too easy these days. The Professor would ask for my opinion. But he knew what would come.

       I floated down into that space and skipped into the dark night.

        I met people of my kind. Beer flowed freely and spirits reigned the place. Plastic snowflakes hung from the ceiling for it was cold outside, but not truly winter.

         Muffled sounds tried to speak through the notes of the night. Bass floating all around.

        “I can’t hear you!” It was a metaphor of my life. Never hearing the sound of truth.

        “He’s killing it!” Murder. He spoke in the now.

         I laughed.

         He laughed back.

        “Dance with me!” A female of the underground night bantered with eyes so black.

         A nod of the head and a smile. So we danced.

         As I left the scene I walked slow. That night I decided to write poetry. Because poetry is real and never lies. What we think is never censored, so why should the experiences of one’s mind be such? People avoid poetry because it tells of some truth. We all live in the story. Why continue to get lost in the mystery when words could flow from the mind into description on the page. Step away from the reel for a moment and create on your own. Let others see you. Don’t run away.

         As I ran home I wrote a poem.

Water is freeing but is known little about.

Stars tilt slightly as they cover the route.

The moon will sing softly as it seeps through the trees.

True beauty of nature is no longer seen.

It takes only eyes to see and to know.

Look for the answer for it falls within snow.

I cried that night.

I received my education from The University of Texas-Tyler. I dig art, green tea and traveling. I live in Austin, Texas. I'm really enjoying the freedom from the terrifyingly backward thinking that only East Texas can bring.