you can’t copy soul

by tobias crabtree

tonight i walked to town.

i do this a lot, but mostly i do it for exercise. sometimes i run. tonight i did it because i wanted a glass of bourbon.

the deer trail i take is through the woods. i think i’m the only human who takes it. it’s longer than if you take the road, by about 3/4 of a mile.  it’s narrow and full of poison oak, which i catch on the daily. this evening i saw a passel of turkeys and i messed with ’em a little. i’m sure it’s tricky being food. i don’t know what it’s like but i’ve killed a few animals to eat them and i never did really like it. animals are alive, know what i mean?

got into town about sundown. the cop, hidden off the road, was looking at me the way most cops do; corners of his mouth down, tapping his fingers. it’s weird, i know some cops, i’ve tattooed them, and they treat me so well. i mean, i wore a tie every day of college (i crammed 4 years into 6) and i saluted every damn blue sticker for years in the marine corps but i can’t walk down the street without a cop giving me a bit of a look. i feel like a turkey sometimes.

i picked out a bar that had liquor. ordered a whiskey neat and a pale. a toyota commercial comes on and cindy lauper is on the juke box singing “time after time. the commercial has dancers trying to imitate the dancers on soul train. they have fake afros and are doing amazing moves, but they ain’t the same. soul train did it before it was cool. soul train was full of soul…these guys can’t even get a ticket on that train. copying stuff is always less. you just can’t copy soul, you gotta get your own.

and football and shiny glasses full of bourbon. pretty girls that look but look away because of the way things are. people enter the bathroom and come out higher than before they went in. the juke box is playing comfortably numb. perfect.  now i leave. now the run home. it’s about a mile on the road.

i pass a bunch of folks. it’s saturday night and people are walking the streets. i run by some older folks, 70’s i think. they are drunk and their comments about me make me laugh. (i also have a tolerance range for folks who laugh at me, the ones outside that range, make me wanna fight, inside, it’s all a chuckle…gotta work on that) now i’m out of town. christian and i used to run after we drank. we ran from bar to bar in new york city and san francisco. i miss ol’ christian, this run is for him. now the wind. now the rain. and i’m back and the goats are bleating for the storm that’s coming on. the oaks are dropping their acorns on the roof in lieu of the wind. i guess i ran to get back and write this but now that i’m doing it, it seems kinda stupid. no problem, i’ve been doing stupid in bucket-loads all my life.

it’s nice to be here. you know, like, on this planet. it’s good. and the night is wild and my bed has a wool blanket.