Every day I see the mailman and I am transfixed. Every day I imagine the sound of empty bottles clinking around in that truck as they grace the pavement. I picture the alcohol in their belly sloshing rhythmically along with the lulling tap, tap, tap, of their boots up my walk. Every day I can practically smell only the Frenchest of screw-cap wines amongst their breath. Nestled in the decimated remains of what was once was an honorable mail satchel, lies a flask: the only trace of escape from the drudgery of a thankless life. That, and the can of mace they used to blind me just for running up on them and asking what poetry they’re working on. What an asshole. Just like my hero, Charles Bukowski.
I am certain they are a prolific writer. Otherwise, why would they follow the precedent of working for the postal service set by such legendary raging alcoholics who are also writers like Charles Bukowski and I think there was that other one? I don’t know if you noticed yet, but, I too, am a bit of a writer, myself, as well. I figured there is no better opportunity to connect with another tortured, creative soul than during the delivery of my mail. Maybe down the line we will exchange supple slurps of old bourbon and callous badinage over notes on our prose. Maybe they’ll drive me to the hospital once they realize I was only trying to be nice.
There they were, silhouetted by the late morning sun. Short-shorts providing momentary shade over their tired, goopy thighs. They took a swig of their flask, leather-bound and worn, as they pulled tomes of thoughtful meanderings, bills, and coupons of Bed and Bath and Beyond that had traversed the country mere days ago. Now that they’re a little closer, that may have been a bottle of Desani.
My moment accompanied the opening of the mailbox flap. A rusted door that must have seen a lifetime. What it must have done in the past, for the hinge’s fate deemed to hold up such a thing, I do not know. I lunged toward the mailman, exclaiming with urgency that only they, another artist, another concierge of the mind, an alcoholic mailman, could understand.
“SHOW ME YOUR PROSE,” I implored, “FOR I TOO AM A WRITER AND WE HAVE YET TO DISCERN THIS DELICATE TRAVESTY OF LIFE.” I beseeched the mailman.
Immediately we connected, our eyes meeting in dire strive, gasping for truth. As only artists could connect. It was then when the mailman reciprocated my passion with a stunning blast of bear-mace, pocketed so precisely in their aforementioned satchel. The burning sensation felt like someone lit a thousand cigarettes in the boxcars, boxcars, boxcars of my eyes. I curdled to the floor in the embrace of the mailman’s tactful wit, knowing that this interaction may be the muse for their next treasured work.
I thank you, the artist, the drunk, the holy mailman, for not only telling me the poetry you’re working on, but truly, viscerally, showing me. In hindsight, I should have worn a mask before answering the door.