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Randomania


Larger
When I saw her again
months later
perhaps longer
on the street, she was
larger

Still attractive
but expansive
like an animal
fattened
for slaughter

I imagined
the dotted lines
on the chart
tenderloin chuck round
brisket

I was heading
in the opposite
direction
on the street
and the weight

She becoming
voluminous
vast
whereas I was
disappearing

We talked
about nothing
thoughts masked
“she consumes”
“he’s dying”

I should have
offered lunch
but was afraid
of her appetites

On the street
where we stood
we balanced
her gains

my losses

###

Tragedy at Troublesome Creek

Deja Vu, Kentucky. Somewhere around Harlan or Hazard or Hindman or Hell or another place that starts with an H.

You’ve been there before.

Deja Vu is just up the road from the little hamlet of Decoy which kinda looks like Deja Vu but isn’t. It’ll fool you if you’re not careful. Decoy is a fake.

On the gravel road between Decoy and Deja Vu, on the right before you get to the rough hewn, one room post office, is a swinging bridge that spans Troubled Creek. That’s where Blaine and his childhood sweetheart, Black-Eyed Susan, would stroll, throwing stones into the shallow, churning, fast flowing, water below as they swayed and stepped carefully to avoid missing or rotting planks.

Legend had it that lovers, forbidden their desires by feuding families, threw themselves to their deaths off the swinging bridge. In retrospect it’s an unlikely story since the bridge is not high. You could probably only drown in Troubled if you landed face down with a broken neck. The locals make up stories to entertain themselves between shooting, skinning and frying up squirrels. It was a romantic enough story for the youngsters whose love might have been forbidden if they had been detected because they were cousins. Though not blood relatives. Black Eyed Susan had been taken in by the great aunt under unexplained circumstances. Her dark complexion, hair and eyes and chiseled features suggested Native American blood.

Blaine and Black-Eyed Susan had grown up together as almost brother and sister. They were of, essentially, identical age. Had been bathed together, back to back, in a huge galvanized trough, repeatedly replenished with boiling water from the pot on the coal stove. On Blaine’s grandmother’s back porch. They paid no mind to their nakedness at the time but it was soon enough that the “show me and I’ll show you” moment arrived. Thrilling and yet confusing.

Blain and Black-Eyed Susan made the most of the swinging bridge legend, standing in the middle of the bridge, swaying and holding hands and pretending they were about to jump.

The inevitable coupling would have soon occurred except for intervening circumstances. Blaine came down with strep throat but recovered after ministrations by the cranky and ill informed country doctor and various home remedies involving paregoric, honey, tea and even a little bourbon.

Naturally Blaine passed the infection on to Black-Eyed Susan whose throat also recovered but she would later develop rheumatic fever. Her tiny, young heart became inflamed and swollen and exploded, Blaine imagined, from unrequited love..
###

Solitude

The street sweeper
Wakes me at 3 a.m.
I listen to the roar
My eyes closed
Big brushes brushing
Sucking up debris
Dead rats
A vacuum on wheels
With a driver driving
Alone while the world sleeps
He sweeps with
Solitary singular purpose
Like a lighthouse keeper
Or a drawbridge operator
Or a night watchman
In dew settled morning
a poet in a courtyard
companioned only by words
not ready for the world
to awaken

###
Holes

Our mouths
Wounds that won’t heal
As are pussies
I suppose
Or anuses
Thought to be icky
But I must confess
I’ve seen beautiful butt-holes
Trust me
I have

Porous creatures, we are
A world sensed through openings
The sight of her
Her smell
Her sound
Her taste
salty or sweet
It can grab, you know
As if independent
Something to consider
Trust me
I have

The downside
Crapping. Puking. Pissing.
Ear and nose boogers
Blackheads, and pimples and boils
Pustules emitting vile substances from within
Styes and pink eye
And tears of shame
Or joy or grief
We ooze
Try not to think about it
Trust me
I have

Without holes
We’d be sealed
Gelatinous sacks
Of nothingness
Goo
Without expression
Rejoice
Your basic leaking essence
Embrace your holes
Trust me
I have

###

Words

He pulled the sheet from the printer and read what he had written. Crap! He help the paper vertically to crumple it and throw it into the waste can. The letters slid off the page and onto the table. He laid the blank, white page beside the printer.

He began sorting the letters into like piles. A’s with A’s. B’s with B’s and so forth. When he was done he noticed that he had no Q’s or Z’s. He began typing rows of Q’s and Z’s. He printed the page. Held it up and shook it. The Q’s and Z’s wouldn’t fall from the page.

Meanwhile the piles of letters had been marching onto the blank page. Arranging themselves into words, sentences, paragraphs. He read the passages. They made no sense but were better than the original. He shook the page but the letters were stuck.

He folded the page and put it into an envelope addressed to his agent. A few months later he received a check.

It goes to show that the best stories often write themselves.

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