Saturday, July 7, 2007

no plans

friday was a long day, colored with rich brown walnut veneer, lavender milky white polyurethane finish, and the platinum blonde of an old bookstore keeper's hair.

friday fills a whole page with washes of color.

my weekend is next. i have seen it before. it is a blank page which has been folded in half, opened, and pressed flat.

the crease divides the blankness of saturday night from the solid white sunday morning,

i have licked the tip of my right index finger to turn friday over.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Part 2:

I could see it. I grabbed the image in my mind immediately and held tightly until juices started gushing forth. The scene comes to life: a tropical humidity and the midday malaise – its companion who always comes along, the sun so bright it makes you sleepy, dark silhouettes of trees and faces focus into sharper view in the foreground as they begin to animate from still images. In slow motion now the waves twinkle just slightly and palm leaves sway gently like eyelashes blinking very slowly. I'm staring at the blue now, flickering pale and bright. There's the low hum of a boat engine in the distance, the breeze through the tree leaves and their audible shimmering, the sounds together breathing softly. And just as sudden as it had come, the image begins to dismantle and drift apart. The far away tiny speedboats defy gravity and drift into the sky, the sun bleaches the blue sea into a white void, the dark shapes slide off the canvas until each element finds a new place to settle in the frame, and begins to fade.

I opened my eyes and saw my own left hand near my face slightly curled in a soft fist. I was lying on my side in bed. When I threw the covers off myself I realized I was still wearing the same thing I wore all last night standing behind the bar – puffy winter jacket included. I sat up and let out a muffled grumble, rubbing my face. I noticed a dull pressure near the back of my head, a headache, like someone was pressing the flat part of a large butter knife into one spot inside my cranium. It wasn't strong enough to be excruciating, but "there" enough to not disregard.

But it wasn't enough for me to overlook the glorious morning. I slid my glasses on and turned to the window. I had caught the precious few minutes in the one particular hour of the morning when the sun just held the house in her hands. The walls glowed warm and the wood breathed brows and oranges like at no other time of the day. Hugging my knees, I looked down to see the sun had crept across the covers and spilled over just enough to tickle my left toes. I wiggled them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


A guy stood across from me.

A guy stood across from me with his hands shoved in his sweater pockets. “G-Unit” the sweater said, in large white capitals. A cap sat back on his head, popped to the side. He was white.

He read the sign we had taped to the dull pine of the bar and then pulled out a few ones. He asked for a mojito in thick local tongue.

"Sure thing." I said. I grabbed some ice and banged it into a cup, following it with a spoon of sugar. I reached down behind the bar for some mint.

“Yo man, I like that sweater. Where you buy that thing?” I had come back up with a few stalks and was ripping the leaves from the stalks into the cup.

“Aw yea man, its fly right? Burlington coat factory. 35 bucks man. Yo you buy that shit at macy’s or something, 80, 90 bucks. But at the coat factory man, 35 bucks.” With the end of a spoon I stabbed at the cubes, grinding them into the mint.

“Damn. Where is that?” The rum poured clear into the plastic cup.

“Aw, theres one over in E.P. One in Cranston too.” Lime juice turned the cup bright green and the club soda filled it, dulling the green to something clear and watery.

“For sure. I’ll have to get myself over there.” I threw a lime wedge into the drink and gave it to him. I stuck his bills into a small pot hidden behind the bar.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Heavy dark slabs of beef ribs, pork ribs, are smoked in the kitchen where I work.
The hot thick smoke from the cooking meat, presses up against me.
It licks me up and down, like hot breath from an open mouth.

I wear a thin t-shirt with a grinning pig on the front, a pair of shorts and a dirty, sauce-smudged apron.
Hot in the alder-smoked corner, my small hands hot and wet, make dirty white dishes clean.

As I slide my hands through the slaw and sauce, thick and pungent,
As I shove big bones into the fleshy piles of trash,
As I stack, sort, and slam heavy plates,
I know that what I am doing is satisfying. It is gritty and real and tangible.
Six hours of escape.

I drive home sticky.
All of the kitchen clings to me.
The scent of sewage from the river rushes through the car.

I start up the carpeted stairs with the night weighing me down, the dishes and beef, the sour slaw, the dark thick beans, the smoke, the labor.

I make it to the shower, where the tiles are a soft warm beige, like clean skin.
I watch the water come to a cloudy steam as I peel off the sweat-saturated shirt, shorts. Unhook the clinging bra, push down the underwear.
I watch the pure white steam billow out from the open window into the dark hanging sky. It drifts away weightlessly.

I step in and let the water run through my hair and down my face, down my arms and back and thighs.
Six hours of smoke, meat, sweat, and sauce, slip off my skin.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cash, fool

        “Yo, man, you ever keep in touch with your friends from home?” he asked. The oil smell from the fresh blacktop blew up into his face and his hands pressed sweaty against the wheel. As he spoke he was lost in the roar of that open window, that new car smell, the white stripes of the highway shooting by and all those shining muscled cars clinging to the blacktop, pressing interminably forward, where the road boiled against the horizon.
        His friend sat next to him, focused instead on the great blur of the trees and all those greens mixing together and streaking across his window.
        “Na…No not really,” replied the friend. ”There was one guy. I talked to him maybe a year ago but nobody else really, and that guy doesn’t even count.”
        “Sup with that?”
        “I dunno….I never talk to anyone. Didn’t really have a lot of friends in high school.”
        There was a pause and both returned to their scenery, the driver to the glory of industry and production racing around beneath and through him and his friend to the subtle majesty of all that speed across the retina, in so many blurring trees.
        “Hey, you remember those candies?” Asked the friend, reminded by one of the greens rushing past. “……They were sour as hell. What were they…..?”
        “Aw man, Warheads?” asked the driver, thinking instantly to childhood, then back to his steering wheel and the car.

        Four hundred fifteen sixty seven. Damn. Her fingers clacked over the keys and she shot a glance down at the printout to her left. The next one under February read 84.83 and she said eight four eighty three over in her head. Her fingers found the keys and pressed 84.83. into the key board, and then she cursed to her self, several times.
        Damn this is dry and damn these numbers. Four-nineteen and eighty-eight cents. Eighty-eight dollars flat, five-o-seven and zero cents. They just fly off to Central Database and who the hell ever checks them anyway? Four-hundred-nineteen-eighty-eight…..eighty….eighty and zero cents….five-hundred-seven and zero cents. Alright. “Cash rules everything around me.” Oh God that song. God these songs are like parasites…like worms.
        She corrected her posture and checked the plastic hands of the clock on her cubicle wall. Finishing that column she slid to next with the mouse in her palm and clicked:
        April. Three-hundred-ninety-five and zero cents. Eighty-three and zero cents. Four-seventy-two and zero cents. Wonder what I’ll do for dinner tonight. Maybe chicken, some white wine. The onions, four of them, peel the skin, slice them in wedges…That pan. Do I have a deep pan? That’s the thing about cooking with white wine. you need a deep pan, and then what do you drink with it? Guess just more wine. As long as there’s more… I’ll get a liter bottle this time. ”---Cream!----Get the money---“ Why do I listen to that stuff anyway? Yeah…some chicken…do I still have those onions? But that’s not ‘til later…..oh but I got that Warhead to look forward to now where did I put that? Remember them from middle school… Oh yeah those things…Where is it? I’m gonna eat that thing now, I’ve earned it.…. I just remember……they were so sour, and I would chew them on the back of the bus, and that kid who used to sell them what was his name? Those things were good why don’t I ever buy candy anymore? “Cash rules everything around----“ Damn I’ve got to get this song out of my head.

        “Hell yeah, I use to sell them things. “ Those were the days, the driver thought, eyes still fixed on the boiling horizon. These days are pretty good but those were the days.
        “No shit. You were that kid in high school?” When he thought about it his friend was actually not surprised.
        “You bet…shit…those things. Man, I made so much money. Yea man, that was me. I’d order ‘em right from the company. Oh and my mom, she was all about it. She supported it completely. Yeah, I remember she’d pick me up from school and I’d count what I made right there with her, she loved it.”
        Glorious sun and cornfields now flew off to their right and that high filled back up in him, though somehow different.
         “Sometimes I’d do good…..make like 20 bucks a day,” he continued. “I bought some cool stuff with it. I’d order ‘em right from the company, that was the way to go. Man…that was the way to go. Yea I bought some great stuff with that money. Bought a pair of Reeboks, a few turtles…..I think that’s how I bought my first bike. Aw yeah….I remember that. I picked it out one day with my mom and then we brought it home and I rode it around my block, all shiny and new. Man….yeah it was flossin’. Those Warheads….yea those were the days. Man….”
        “That’s pretty cool. You should do that now.”
        “Yeah, man I really should. People still love that stuff.”
        “But then I got busted. Man it sucked when I got busted.”

        She eyed the clock again. The shape of the hand had changed from something like the open mouth of a fish, to something more vertical, more like bunny’s ears. The typing and numbers moved through her now, physically, without reflection.
        Where did I put that thing? ... Oh God, now I have to pee... where the hell. I want to find that Warhead I want to eat that War-Head. Aw, and when Jeff handed me that Warhead it made my day. He's cute, He's a cute guy….. really funny with his candy. Jellybeans last week, then Nerds, now Warheads. Cute how he walks around work and hands them out to everyone. He must be a momma's boy.
        He must be. Ugh, where did I leave the warhead, where did I see it last, by the cup, drawer, floor? I'd hate to bother him for another,
        But maybe I could flirt a little with him when I ask for another.

        . “---Pullin out gat’s for fun!” Damn that song.
        No….. not here…..No, I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t think of him that way. Not at the workplace….Nobody at the workplace. Oh but why not?
        Maybe it’s in my purse……No……Need to deposit this check today. Crap where is it? No….not here….Maybe it fell into the trashcan.

        The high of so many cars and the speed had passed but the speed and the wind kept coming and he loved them still.
        “Oh, you mean it wasn’t allowed?”
        “No man, they got me. I mean....whatever the reason was…I dunno, guess it distracts the kids, takes money from the cafeteria or something, whatever, it was lame.”
        “Yea man, they stuck me…one day I was making a deal, all on the sly in the hall, with my backpack open, then someone bumped me and they all just fell…..Aw man the stuff just flew everywhere, it was so much candy….Warheads, Airheads, Blow-Pops, Pop-rocks, all over the hallway. Then some security guard came and busted me….they confiscated it all and wouldn’t give it back… I was so pissed.”

        I don’t know No I don’t buy that about not dating at the workplace. No……not there…….”Cash rules everything around me—“No I don’t see why I shouldn’t all that one-size-fits-all bullshit advice the guy’s cute I can go for him right? It’s stupid I don’t care. “Dolla dolla bill y’aaall.” He’s really pretty cute. But yea…that whole thing….yeah, it would be shitting where I sleep. Who cares, I could use a little shit. Too boring too clean around here. It’d be good if I don’t find it, give me an excuse to go shoot the shit with him. That’d be nice. Shooting the shit. I don’t care about sex really but a nice guy to shoot the shit with……..or shoot the shit after sex, better yet….yea……even better......Maybe…..oh wait, did I put it in my pockets? Oh God, that never used so be so hard to do. Am I gaining weight why are my pockets so tight? “Cash rules everything---“I should go to the gym tonight.

        “That’s hilarious you were that kid. In my school it was this Russian dude. Sold us airheads. Used to walk around with boxes and boxes.” The friend now thought to that Russian kid and to all those kids from high school, the Puerto Ricans, the Blacks, the Jews, the Chinese, the Italians, the Greeks. I remember learning Spanish from those dudes, man that was golden. What did they try to teach me? Ponde .....ponde en tu rodiyas…..Ponde in tu rodiyas….e chupa mi uevos! Oh yeah, chupa mi peecho! That was with the ‘rican accent though. Man, that was something. What was that monster called? La Chupacabra. That thing was hilarious. They’d walk around with shirts of him, this bug-eyed thing with sharp teeth and spikes on its back. Watch out or he’ll come at night and eat all your sheep.
        “Oh yea?”
        “Yeah. You remember that Chernobyl accident in Russia, around the time we were born?”
        “Yeah, at my school there were a bunch of these Ukranian kids…they came from there, to get away from that. Yea this kid, I think he was Ukranian but I mean we just called him the Russian. Yeah, he was always pushing those things. You know like, he’d give you a deal if you bought a box. Yea made a lot of money off that stuff. He’d have these huge rolls of ones.“
        “Haha! Yea, man, when they caught me I was loaded like that too. Yeah, all these ones and quarters. It was so obvious.”
        Just then a billboard rose up and fell away and it was of a little lizard guy, selling car insurance. They both noticed.

        Damn how the hell’d I lose that thing already dammit I was really looking forward to that all day. Damn. Maybe I ate it already?
        No. No, I set it right there by the phone and said I’d leave it and I wouldn’t eat it ‘til later
”Cash rules everything----“ No, not there… Maybe I bumped it and fell back behind the desk?……No….it’s not back there. What am I doing. I need to finish these figures. …I haven’t even started on the expenses column.
        Damn. Shit. All I wanted was that Warhead.
”Cream!---Get the money---Dolla Dolla---“ I really wanted that thing, all goddamn day it say there, and now that I want it its gone….. I’ll go bother Jeff after work. Don’t want to though. What if he thinks I’m annoying?
        Not it’d be a good thing I can do it. Yes Jeff, I am confident, desirable woman, would you happen to have another Warhead? Oh no? Maybe you’d like to grab some dinner after work, then we can enjoy one afterwards, for dessert? Or…no….we’ll skip dinner. Skip the dinner, we’ll go to that Costco over in Hamilton, and, I know just the aisle, and buy a big bag of them.
        Oh but I really wanted that thing now I waited all damn day Of course now that I want it it’s not there. Damn. Where the hell did it go? Where did that goddamn War Head go.

Friday, February 9, 2007

what is the significance of an egg, a tomato, a watermelon, and a baby?

what is the continuous thread
the one that slides across the skin of an eggplant
dark and slick and tight
the one that pierces through to its white raw meat
out to the otherside and around a hot steamed white bun,

what is the continuous thread
the one that runs from the bun
under the wet dish and to his old dry hands

what is the continuous thread
that kisses the mouth of the child
and trembles from the air that softly rushes
from her two small nostrils,

what is the continuous thread
that knots itself around the buttons
of your mother's red cardigan
slips through the sleeve
and into your hair,

They're dark and tall and the sky is bright behind them.

by back-lit buildings at that time before dusk.
walking down north main street with a hand full of cold cable car coffee.

by back-lit buildings at that time before sunset.
three big beers, all different colors, and the same smile that never wipes away.

by back-lit buildings at that time before the real night.
street lamps and construction lights.