We didn’t talk about it, but we knew we’d never amount to anything, no matter what we did.
No matter how celebrated the accomplishment, no matter how big the lie and the audience buying it, nothing could ever fill those holes inside us, bruised clefts hidden from eyes, though we’d never relent, shooting gophers and planting strange crops.
Fear of climate, and tangles of root, would keep us busy, our hands forever at the mercy of hidden forecasts.
We were, as my friend Joey once called us—The Dirtbags of the Universe.
I’m not sure what prompted him to say it, probably just one of those caustic blurts that we, kids from Bensonhurst, specialized in—and after he said it, I looked at him, said nothing, maybe smiled, but the term immediately burrowed in one of those holes inside me; became an echo, gathering dark, before it splintered and sharpened into an insight.
Joey was right. We were the Dirtbags of the Universe, even if we were not.
We felt ourselves to be so, which amounted to more than truth—collectively, we possessed the character of a single raindrop, skidding toward an open sewer, just because.