I still hear Pete’s voice in my head when I knock on Carrie’s front door…

“Remember what happened to Ron?”

First of all, Ron can’t drive. Not a car—he’s totaled three. Not a bike—motored or pedaled. Even walking, he can’t drive. If you want my opinion, bruh was asking to get hit.

And yeah, I know they still haven’t caught the guy who did it and ran and that the description of the car fits Carrie’s Subaru almost exactly, even down to the first three letters on the license plate—Ron passed out before he could read the rest.

I look over my shoulder at her ride parked in the driveway. It does appear to have a sizable dent on the front fender, but that could also be how the shadow hits the hood from the porch light.

Truth is I couldn’t give a damn about Ron. If she did run him over, hey, that just means he’s out of the picture. Besides, she’s told me countless nights that I’m her muse. What has Ron done for her except get caught cheating?

She opens the door slowly, her blond, waist-length dreadlocks swinging in the draft the door creates.


“I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed.”

It takes some getting used to—talking to Carrie. I gotta be honest, the first time I heard her speak, I was on the same boat as Pete, thinking she was coo-coo. But spending a few nights with her—bass-throbbing hip-hop the soundtrack to her drumming pen to pad on knee as she sits criss-cross applesauce on her basement floor and spits lyrics like a conversation without even glancing down at the words—made me realize Carrie is a living, breathing poem. And to a guy who once had wet ink dripping from his own tongue, that’s sexy as hell.

“I got your text.”

“Bleeding soles treading on the shards of broken glass.” She plays the love-scorn damsel well, and it reminds me of what seems like ages ago, when I wanted to be an MC—always had my earbuds plugged in, free-styling straight fire as I walked the streets, not caring who heard me or who called my music noise.

“Let me be the welder who mends your heart.”

Like Carrie, I let love get in the way of my greatness. I turned to writing love songs, but the passion was gone. Anything that came out of my mouth was dry and arid like a California desert, but no matter how many sparked matches I tossed on the ground, it wouldn’t light up.

You see, you can’t rhyme when the only thing on your mind is pleasing the person you’re with, and Charin was hard to fucking please. I guess Ron was too since he chose the one chick every dude on the block has been with over this gem, this diamond in the ruff.

Truth is Carrie is my muse just as much as I am hers. The sounds we could make together as we mourn both our losses…

Maybe I’m the one who’s crazy to want this girl, barely 100 pounds, with dreadlocks and a bull nose ring, who writes poetry and can’t speak unless it’s in metaphor, who may or may not have attempted murder…

But then, we’ve all got skeletons in our closets.

© 2018 Nortina Simmons

Originally published January 5, 2018.


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