by Paul Blumer
Isn’t it funny how we’re sometimes visited with miracles? Like right now, this couch. Purple crushed velvet, faded but clean. Thick cushions, almost bursting at the seams. One broken foot, lending a charming imbalance. Yeah, this couch is good. This couch is sainted. This couch is
Can’t even say how long it’s been since comfort like this. Funny how a life can change in just the blink of an eye. Like, Jesus, only twenty minutes ago, everything hurt: knees zinged, back ached, finger joints burned, eyes throbbed, teeth stabbed, intestines knotted—and then the couch.
Just a few seconds, and an instant cure-all. Like half a hit of the good stuff, that prickly flow through every vein and inch of skin, through finger tips and the ends of hair, a quiet warmth before the heavy onset of the nod.
Twenty minutes ago, wandering aimlessly through the dawn-lit streets, a few half-ass attempts to find a few cans or scrounge a few dollars. And then there, boom, on the sidewalk, sticking out at an inviting angle, the purple crushed velvet, the stuff of kings, and a couple a rolled-up carpets saving the seat. Now acting as camouflage.
And oh man, oh man, oh man. Nothing like it in the world. And every position change reveals a whole new layer of comfort. This must be how angels feel all the time, plush and pampered, enveloped like all’s well in this fucked up place, and it’s just a cozy and joyful ride to the finish.
Like Baby Jesus, finally finding a place to get born, knowing he’s got all the time in the world, knowing he’s just riding and cruising with God on his side, and not a goddamn care in the world. Yeah.
Like jazz, man, yeah, like jazz. The first roundish notes from the bass, then puckered up and tingling with the horn, and the whole while, sizzlin and groovin, plucky with the drums.
Hidden under the rolls of carpets, away from the mess and the cracked-up sidewalks and the motherfuckers always trying to jack a guy. Away from the pain and the cold and the hard hard concrete. Away from the sad looks and the disgusted looks and the savage looks and the worst of all ignoring looks away. Like a guy doesn’t exist, like that styrofoam jangle is something in the breeze, like that voice is coming from the streets themselves.
But all that gone, melting into the crushed purple velvet, muted by the cushions and the soft give of the fabric.
A day in the life. Funny how miracles just sometimes happen, like maybe there is a God looking out from His perch. And this is a sign. This morning miracle is a sign. A sign to start over, to drag this thing into a good pad somewhere, to set up a den and get comfortable, some place with locks on the doors, some place with doors, and get a job and start working and start eating good and pay The Man and straighten out and
It’s just too comfortable to move, like twenty years of cold ass rain and cold ass people just oozing away back to where they belong, and every breath feels fresher, and every muscle relaxes, and every second drifts closer and closer to sleep, an unimagined sleep unlike anything from the last hundred-fifty years, unlike anything between a cold doorway and a ratty army blanket, unlike anything with feet stuck in a shopping cart to keep it from disappearing in the night, unlike anything with that gnawing in the pit of stomach and soul.
Everything fades; the cars drifting past, and the people in them just glancing at an empty and cast-off sofa, glancing away and rolling through stop signs, and not even imagining the comfort of crushed purple velvet, of faded, broken-in cushions, of a brief respite in the hard truth of the savage world.
Like a painkiller, like a crushed-up anonymous pill, like finding a whole unlit cigarette, it all just fades away. A lightness; a floaty, soothing, dreamy embrace, like getting lost in the TV, like losing connection with the crumbling asphalt, like the last slow waves of an acid trip. The soft arms of the couch
Thoughts float in and get lost in the fabric. Hunger and pain…
The truth is…
The spirit of the city…
In all honesty…
Suddenly jerky bumping turbulence, a sickening belly drop, a lurching twisting creaking groaning, the ground pulls away but sky stays in place, the couch tosses like a lifeboat in a hurricane, eyes flash open under rolled-up carpets, hands clutching at crushed purple velvet. There’s a stench, a thousand-year reek that’s not coming from this jacket or what’s underneath, like rotten fruit and rotten diapers and rotten shoes and rotten urine and rotten rot, with an undercurrent of hot plastic and pneumatic grease. A diesel engine rumbles and coughs. A shuddering lurch, and the purple couch lists.
Then total darkness.
Paul Blumer welcomes your comments on “Morning Miracle” at paul.blumer[at]gmail.com.
photo by Casey David.