“Minstroni Soup Prayer” By: David Brennan

No food in the fucking fridge. White cold shards of glass on the floor, I hope it wasn’t me, I hope I didn’t break that window, but it’s not looking good. The cold air penetrates—stabbing me out of my trance as I stare into the cup of water, which I can’t hold. My hands are shaking too much, six days of continuous intoxication. I cough up yellow black streaked phlegm—about as much as an egg. My heart is pounding and I have a deathly pain in my chest. I’m sure I’ll drop dead at any moment of massive heart failure, or brain hemorrhage. Which would be better, I wonder—the heart sounds less painful. I woke up in some house, naked with some girl, fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t, no other way to look at it. I had to wake her up to get a cigarette, and I raided her fridge for beer, but only found one can of Foster’s.

She had big tits; I asked her name and how we’d met. She said she found me talking to the trees, in words she couldn’t understand. Anyway, fair lady of the woods, many thanks, I’ll see you again someday. I’ll check the presses maybe something there? Everybody’s out, I think, gone to lectures. I sleep on the living room floor—for six months or more, I don’t pay rent. I skin up joints on the back of a magazine, which has a picture of Kate Moss on it. I’ve fallen in love with her; she’s my girlfriend, my Ophelia. The ghost of Hamlet is hanging round my neck like an invisible millstone. I want to jump into the sink.

I make good joints, perfect symmetry, pure conical calculus, no chaos, these joints are Newtonian. I think they keep the boys happy, but I can’t be sure because I feel uneasy at times. In their eyes I feel they resent my parasite existence—eating their food, drinking their drinks, and stealing their women. Ah well….. I have fantastic journeys when I drink—I enter different worlds, I’m complete. I’m Alexander—I’m the ghost of Rimbaud—ranting and raving sailing Drunken Ships down the heart of Africa. I see the world as words and find the music of Heaven in the bottom of a burnt out beer can.

I find a pack of minestrone soup in the press. Ah Jesus, thank you, soup is the best in this condition—solid food is difficult to keep down. I’d drink again but I have no money and no options, and my body can’t take much more, I’ll have to stand this misery for a day or two.

Tonight I must have at least a few cans and a smoke to get some sleep and keep the horrors away. Often when it comes I see faces, at first beautiful, then they turn into demented melting satanic witches, muttering in the tongues of ancient Babylon. Delirium Tremens. Impending doom is a coming ‘round the mountain—coming ‘round the mountain and she’s riding sixty-five foot horses. I have to leave the light on and endure it, hanging on to the thin shreds of my sanity.

The soup’s done. I find a bowl and pour it—carrying it to the sitting room is difficult. I spill a lot but eventually mange to get it down on the table. It’s about 11am, the weather is in some way reflecting the inner state of my lacerated mind.

I need a smoke first, not a joint, just a cigarette. I can’t smoke that shit unless I have a few drinks first—it just gives me the fear. I go through the overflowing ashtray, collect some good butts, squeeze out the remaining tobacco and roll a rollie. It tastes terrible but somehow better than the stale cold air of this run down shell. I get something from it, difficult to describe a thing like that. I look down into the minestrone soup bowl and I see the silhouette of my head. My long hair hanging down over both-sides of my face. This is the time of Grunge—Nevermind is rampant among the minds of the young. The old people cannot understand Generation X. I don’t belong to any generation I think. This would be a great album cover. I wish I had a camera, but if I had a camera, I’d sell it and drink it. I wish I had a fucking album. I wish I could play an instrument, or do something. But I can’t do anything and I don’t have anything, not even a C.D., I sell everything I get, even the food my mother gives me.

I look into the soup for a long, long time—floating into a no-mans land realizing that there is something beautiful here for me to capture—a portal of soupy time linking me to a higher dimension, but a camera…… a fucking camera, but then how would I take the picture? A third person would be necessary. Someday I thought, when I write a book or make an album, I’ll put this picture on the front of it. I’ll look all-full of madness—a shadow of a head in minestrone soup. Someday…

I pick up the spoon and try and lift it to my mouth, I spill most of it and with what’s left I burn my tongue. I’m so sick I want to cry. I leave the soup to the laws of thermodynamics. I need a real fucking drink I thought, not soup, but some cold vodka and cider mixed together for a morning riser. But where? But how? There’s always a way. Someday I’ll be famous.

Lord if you make me famous, then I’ll be Happy. Amen.

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