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In a dark world I drive. The traffic lights are the brightest, but the street lamps with hookers beneath, the most alluring. This is what I drive by on my way to work - the ghetto, in a city with no ghetto. The hookers are not what you see in the movies, they are worn down, braless, haggard, fat. They work through night and day to feed the children that are the fruits of their labors. I am not allowed to see them. I look past and ignore their sadness, allowing the haze of my middle class existence to take over.
I eat dark chocolate. eighty-three percent, eclipse it is. It is my secret passion - a hint of sweet, but mostly bitter. I remember a life like this, before there were berries and dried sweet nibs mixed in. The chocolate melts away like painful memories. Lost to me now. I had a lover, his name is like this to me, a hint of sweet, but mostly bitter, melting away with time. Ten years worth of dark chocolate to cover the seven years I lost. If only food could cover everything - instead it expands my waist. Yet, not a waste.
It is quiet in my basement refuge. The students don't seem to notice I am here, smiling, waiting for them. No one comes to ask me the whys, wheres or hows that I answer on the floors above. I could answer any question they may ask - I have it all at my fingertips. Wait. One comes now. Step by step, closer and closer. I could reach out and grab at his gym shorts to get his attention as he walks right past, not noticing that I sit, and wait, smile plastered across my face. I shall expire from the boredom.
In September I perspire, weighed down with the humid fog that is my summer existence. I shower in the mornings and wish I could run naked through the streets all day long. I wonder, has it always been this hot? Is it just me? could people have survived in such conditions without air? Sure, in the 1800's there were more trees, in the 1700s homes were built facing the north or east and windows were made to allow maximum air flow. That is all I ask, for air flow, cold air flow, with out the 200 dollar a month price tag.
My feet smell like shoes, which smell like my feet. The both stink. It is the shoes I wear - I know, but they are the cute ones, black with white polka dots. They are flats so I do not topple over when I stand, and they are comfortable so I can walk long distances in them. But it is hot, and I do walk long distances in them, and my feet sweat, so the shoes and whatever I stick in them smells bad. This includes the cats face as she sniffs them in delight, then comes to nuzzle me. Pee-ewe.
When I started here, my job was assessment. It was a buzz term in the field. It still is a buzz term in the field, but it is buzzing a bit louder now days, and more people hear it. Now it is not my sole responsibility to head up assessment here, but it is a passion that it be done right, following the rules of the powers that be, and making sure that the scientific method is followed so that some day, when I have a publish or perish position, or now, just for fun, I can publish the findings.
I went to college and got a degree in creative writing. I tried doing free lance writing for a couple of months, but then I was hungry. The degree means very little in the workforce as a degree, but it does means my technical reports are entertaining. A budding and flowering department in one report, burning in the fires of our mistrust in another, eating the fruits of our efforts in still another. This provides for a more interesting report, but it also means that when I write a bomb they know where the explosion is coming from - kaplow!
The barista sits a few feet away. Now in my environment, using my services. No longer is she behind the counter, slinging my coffee about, spilling it on my cookie, and looking sourly at me when there is no tip. I shall smile when she comes to my counter and asks for service. I shall behave when she faces me with her now pleading eyes. I shall shoot daggers at her back as she walks away. I will give her the wrong information so she is as frustrated as I was, when my cookie melted in its puddle of coffee.
It is sick. The organization. Everything in its place. Everything has a place. The order of it all. Where is the chaos? One day he will freak out. One day the order will slip into a heap of ruble and he will come, screaming -- laughing to the top of it, and the spell will be broken. The we can go from everything in its place and a place for everything to just putting the dish away, or just putting the dvd back on the rack. Until then it is perfect, each item in its labeled place. 100 words in their place.
Lanced by a popsicle stick. Death by a sweet treat, but also by a sweet thing. She did not know I would come falling from the roof, that I would tumble upon her ice cream, and destroy her afternoon treat. She was very good all day, and had earned her time in the sun with a sweet cold confection, the last sweet cold confection. Then I came along, with my liver for the confection to pierce. She will never look at popsicles the same after today. She stands there, watching over my last twitches, her snack protruding from my belly.
It is the same day. This week, next week, three years from now, it will still be September 11th repeating forever. The horror of the towers falling. The screams as people escaped by leaping. The cries of the people working at the pentagon, the deaths of the heroes who took back the plane in the sky. It will always be there, woven into the fabric that is American culture. Some day George W Bush's speech on Ground zero the day after will be memorized by grade school children as MLK's I have a dream is now. It is always September 11th.
The ice has ceased to be cold as I wrap myself in the snow covering the river bank. The water is a solid sheet, fish frozen in mid swim encased until spring. There will be no spring, There will be no warmth. This is the next ice age, crashing down upon the world in a sudden burst that quickly turns into an eternal winter. The white queen cackles from a tower, Jack Frost smirks with a gleam in his eye, and Old Man Winter, puts his feet up on the coffee table with a satisfied grunt. The snow falls around me.
Aardvarks, antelopes and monkeys. A parade formed in the forest and wandered through the savanna, across a dessert, and on from there. A lioness joined their ranks, followed by a sloth. He really slowed up the procession so the elephant carried him along. A stork came next, then a armadillo, a camel behind that, and a platypus. How the latter got to the continent is still a mystery. The procession went on and on, past oceans, over mountains, through buildings. I saw it today, watching as a cockroach scuttled to the end of the line. This strange, new migration moved on.
This is what the recipe said:
One fingernail clipping, curled and yellow;
One long hair, green from chlorine at the tip and grey at the root;
one drop of spittle, collected from a fevered conversation on the molting of cockatoos;
and the leaf of a gum tree from Barbados.
Shred the leaf as if for salad, add the nail and the hair, chopped into shorter lengths. Add the spittle and mix into a paste. Spread the paste onto toast and glue the toast to your bum. Sit on the rear bumper of a speeding bus, and you too can reach enlightenment.
The end of the world, it seems, is always near. Today's prediction is it will be next month. Last year it was this week. All the psychics should get together on the etheral plain and have a conference with debates to decide the true end of the world date. Then we could all get our groceries and do the laundry ahead of time so we would not be caught unprepared when it is time to rebuild society in the post apocalyptic world. It will never be, the psychics will let us down, and the end will be a . . .
This weekend I knit a table runner, only now that I am binding it off it looks like a scarf. I will frog it. Last week I crochet a obscene finger puppet, it is sitting on the tip of a wine bottle, protruding from the wine rack, waiting for someone to be surprised by it. I've made a cozy for a tea pot, frilly and feminine, a cozy for a coffee pot, rugged and manly, a bowl or two, a pair of socks, a blanket or two, a baby sweater that the cat ate. knit and crochet, fabrics of my being.
Drink you think I am. I'll have you know I am not drunk, I'm completely sloshed, pissed out of my gourd, and drunker than a skunk. It may have been the seven martinis, dry and dirty, it may have been the beer - probably not though. It could have been the special that the bartender was serving up, a chocolate concoction that slid easily down. It might have had something to do with the wine at dinner, but I only had a glass. Drink you think I am, Drink I know I am past, well into the land of passed out.
The lady had one thousand cats, one thousand cats prancing, licking, chasing, and napping in her one bedroom house. There was not a surface that did not have a cat on it. She had built walk ways for them along the walls, instead of painting hanging there she had cats walking along. The cat door was open so they wandered freely, but when she invited me in for tea I counted no less than three hundred and fifty cats, watching me nibble a scone. Make that three hundred and fifty one, the last on my lap, lapping earl grey with cream.
the rust is starting to settle into the grooves between ridges and smooth on the key. It lays before me, flattened by many passing cars. I wonder what it is to, a house? A car? it does not look like a car key, not a modern car key. Or possibly it is the key to a post box, where I can see the owners bills and deepest thoughts in writing from friends, but not since the advent of e-mail. Maybe it is the key to someones heart, cast aside. Or maybe it is just a key, lost on the ground.
We call it gooshy food. I am sure they call it divine. I pull the ring on the pop top can and they come running. I let the goo slither out into the bowls and am prodded in earnest. I discard the empty can and am greeted by mews of concern as I bend down. I grab the filled bowls and begin to walk. It is only a few steps, but in that time they have made 5 laps to the eating place, and back again to me. I put the bowls down and they are in them, face first, slurping.
He sits on the corner, not knowing where his next meal will come from. Tonight he has been locked out of the shelter, with only his jacket to keep him warm. The church around the corner ran out of meals while he waited in line. He sits with a can in front of him, waiting for someone to see through this homeless shame and give him change for some food. A woman walks by in a suit, purse on her shoulder, but he is invisible to her. She brushes his sole with her shoe. They meet, then she is gone.
The sand swirls down, into a whirlpool. The dust ripples up calling to the distance in case anyone is listening. There is a toy fire truck, riding the current, taking its tiny toy firemen into the hole swallowing the dessert. Moving further away, in the distance, a camel cries. He is lonely for another, ponders making his way to the whirlpool. Then, as fast the the whirl had started it stopped, tiny firemen staring in shock. The world shifted a little just then, turning upside down and the whirlpool became a stream of sand flying up into the sky.
There was an error in the calculations. Where I should have carried the one, I carried a three, and a shipment of seven thousand three hundred and fifty four artichokes is at my door. I fought with the delivery man not to leave them in a mound on my lawn, with the occasional blossom rolling out into traffic. Alas, he was merely the delivery person, and it was I who made the error. We shall be having artichokes for dinner, maybe some roasted artichokes tomorrow, I can take dip into work, and pass the rest out through the neighborhood. Free Artichokes!
Bitter like celery just past its prime sits on my tongue. A weight of dark greys lays down upon my shoulders, my feet drag beneath me, almost tripping me as I go. The gloomy angst peeling off the page, burning my eyes. Why did I write this. What horror of teenageness makes us do such things as pour our unbridled emotions into bad poetry, then show it to others. This one in particular even made it to the pages of a zine, where not just a few close friends can see, but hundreds of readers can read its angsty glory.
The biopsy went well then?
yes, yes, they got everything
that is so good
hate it when they leave bits behind
yes, especially the scissors
I heard that happened to Jane
yeah, the started protruding out of her ribcage after heart surgery
I suppose doctors are not perfect
I suppose not, but scissors
yeah, thats what malpractice insurance is for though
I hope she sued
no, she died
then I hope john sued
I think he is
so that means he is a widower
why, are you looking?
no, no, but you know these women
yeah, they see fresh meat and they pounce
just like a bunch of lions
eighty year old lions
okay so very slow lions
The elephants moved slowly across the savahna. The georgians stared at them, parading through the town center. The fountain still had green in it from the saint patricks day festivities, but the elephants stopped to bathe anyway. Such an interesting occurrence when one reads a statement wrong. The elephants should have been wandering the savahna in africa, dry grass at their feet, not crumbling cobblestones. They were shortly paraded back onto the boat, trunks wrapped around tails, and sent back to the proper continent. The zoo keeper that made the mistake was fired promptly. Suppose he learned how to read afterward.
I am not feeling the one hundred words love today. The words are stuck in that place between my mind and my fingers, caught in the back of my mouth like mucus. I know it wants to come out, I can feel it bulging at the seems, but it is getting cohesive thoughts onto the page that seems to be the tricky part. Maybe today I will just write nonsense. The problem is most days, what I write is nonsense. That was eighty words. I must go on. It is like a word marathon, only that would end at twenty-six.
The students sit, feet and legs slung over the arms and backs of chairs, belongings precariously stacked on tables nearby, they watch in awe as the world goes by. These students are learning about the passing of time, watching the grass grow, the paint dry, and the grey hairs grow into my head. This is not a perfect science though, and must be watched closely, otherwise one blade of grass may outgrow the others, then the world would be sent into a tizzy, and the bees would all fall from the sky to the ground, catastrophe. So they must watch.
There is a song running through my mind, sprinting laps around my grey matter. It is going so fast that I can only catch bits of it at a time. A word here, a word there. I hope that it will leave me soon, back into the open, possibly by a more desirable song. Maybe something peppier. Though more pep might make a song run faster. Maybe a jazz song could wander in, drink some booze and smoke a cigarette, or maybe a rap song could thump a beat behind my ears, but really this peppy pop has got to go.
Poetry eludes me,
slips from my grasp.
It falls like the leaves,
of well, fall.
My poetry is dark and angsty,
like a teenage drama queen,
not that there is another type of teenager.
I remember taking classes that taught me how to write poetry,
but I never got it.
What makes cutting what I say into random lines go from nothingness
into a poem.
Should I start a new line now?
A professor said that a proper reading could make a phone directory poetry.
But I want my poems to be coherent.
Maybe I should write about sheep?
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