Dear François

I am writing you this letter to tell you that I’m alive. Strange? Yes, perhaps.

You had a lot of energy last time we met. According to your letter (from 2011), that dynamism is fading. I’m exhausted nowadays. Some days I don´t want to leave my bed. Sorry for taking so long to reply btw. Please, I want to visit. Your small town seems like fiction to me. I saw your town on Google Maps and … I saw you. A rickety guy in a black coat in the middle of the summer. The face was blurred, but it was you. Please let me visit you. You were a part of my old life. My beautiful youth. I send some of my corrupt verse to you.

my pencil moustache
disappeared down the hole
the matchstick men can´t find me
as the ticking stops

My girlfriend bought me candles. I needed something “vibrant” in my house. So here I am among shadows and fire.

As a young man in rehab I spent a lot of time in white rooms. The white walls have crept inside me now. All the evenings we spent drunk together! Roaming the darkness in the backyards among livestock, in your French countryside. I thought you were happy nowadays and yet you write you cannot continue like this any longer. I will visit. We will stay in your ménage and have á trois, so to speak. You, me, and the shaggy dog. We will drink the local wine. It will be a f***ing vacation for me. What is wrong with Dumas by the way?

dragged to
zombie bar by a
tall forty-five yr. old man
with the hazy voice of
a centenarian

You told me in your last letter of some play in which the protagonist blows his head off with a gun because he can´t face middle age. Well, that´s a waste. Was it Dumas? Probably not, since you hate him. I love him. (Is there not a dramatic principle called Dumas’ gun?)

Anyway, let me tell you about a winter day some years ago in Stockholm, 7.15 AM. I had a hangover. I felt sick and wanted to throw up. I had frost and yolk in my beard (breakfast at the train with an open window). I was tempted to order a beer and give up. You know what? I walked straight to work. It was a turning point. I´m a middle-class man nowadays.

You know what? You were right. It is not worth it. If I could relive my life, I would have followed you into the night. There are no second chances. I have accepted that now. No afterlife or whatever. Just this moment, then the next and so on until it disappears. What an end. Can you dig this? Well, sure as hell I can´t.

I just killed a fly. It looked quite content. We were part of a hopeless generation. You, me, and the fly. We had the ambitions of an older generation and the prospects of a younger.

You dig purple and never forget you were a street urchin. I used to play guitar licks in the nineties and was a diving instructor. Some of my friends are rich but most are poor like you, comrade.

© Jukka Kaukinen 2020

Jukka Kaukinen lives in Stockholm, Sweden. He comes from Finland. He writes and dabbles in art in his spare time. He is an ex Anglophile turning Francophile. Once he was a golden diving instructor in Italy. He has seen the wheel of fortune turn many times. He was a lad with prospects. Today he is a shoe salesman. He is published in Rufous Salon.