February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
December 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
Getting into your
head, into the house all lit
like bombs. The family bomb.
Repetition of the spectrum,
Zap. Zap. The electric
chord is draped and stiff
around the family neck,
the tree erect.
You think, ah! The colors
hitting your retina,
Ting. Ting, then into
your nose, sending you
into a bonfire and then into
the year before, and before
When this here was not
anything but a prophecy.
The little colors drop,
hitting the floor. No one hears it, or
a friend lying in a hospital room
saying “yes” with two blinks of an eye.
The family huddles: the pieces stray less
during the explosion.
December 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
Heat wave, makes the old folks die. You drink hot tea in the fall, winter, spring. summer, too. But this summer, hot tea makes your stomach boil. The lungs dimple, or that is what we imagine.
Have you ever slept without a sheet on? it is hard for me to sleep without a quilt on my back. I sweat through my underwear and through the covers and through the mattress and they have run out of something dry for us to wear in our sleep. The clotheslines are full on the verandah. We hang like a string of flags, undignified, stained without a wind.
Fevers are ritual dreams. A reunion between the mind and forty one degrees celsius. A reunion between death and the sun.
November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
I remember when it all started. It was back in January when you found the Virgin on your windshield. Well, I thought it looked like a Siamese cat but we could have played that game for hours. You started to pray in the cold. I switched on the heat and you switched it off. I interrupted you because I wanted to be in your head, I wanted to know what you were praying about. Shut up, Daniel. Shut up, shut up, shut up. You kept muttering that between words of prayer and it started to sound really perverse. My coffee teeth chattered over you, making percussion. I thought it sounded good so I made my teeth click even louder and you slapped my thigh. Then my thigh was warm, which tied me over. Your profession of your love to God is a ten-minute monologue and well, for the love of god, yours for me is a four-finger pat on the knee. He barely even knows you, for Christssake. He doesn’t have to turn you over in the middle of the night when you start snoring, or remember to put two pats of butter on your toast. Yes, I was jealous of God. I turned on the hot air and defrosted the Virgin. Yes, I made her disappear. I felt powerful then, but I’m pretty sure you made me walk to work.
November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Kim and Cindy, they opened the parlor in 1987 when Kim got pregnant. They started calling it the Baby Store because all of the money they made went into a shoebox for the unborn child. Kim’s boyfriend, he was a fishmonger and he was white. Cindy didn’t like him because he smelled like yesterday’s lunch, but really it was because his skin looked like dried Pollack and bugeoguk was her favorite meal so it was like he was constantly ruining her appetite with his race.
But it didn’t matter because the parlor was no place for a man. Kim didn’t even tell him where it was, even after the baby was born and the baby spent every day with his mother. And if Kim was out buying Acetone or pumice, Cindy had the baby in the laundry basket rocking back and forth, warm towels, folded, toss the baby’s socks in for good measure.
The parlor was really no place for a baby either but Kim had no choice. The fishmonger left her for a light-haired girl from Arkansas who worked behind the counter at a chowder stand at the pier. Kim never saw her, but Cindy did. Cindy’s entire face was pursed when she rolled into the parlor after lunch, telling Kim this and that but Kim couldn’t listen. The baby was biting her nipple because she was dry. No milk, only blood.
And that’s how it was for a long time. Cindy had to buy Kim the powder formula with the blue-eyed baby on the box. The baby got fat on the powder and it made Kim cry. It made Kim feel separate from the baby, and it showed. Mother’s milk is the only thing free about a baby’s life and she couldn’t even have that.
The shoebox was dark inside and the salon was a dark place to be. No electricity because the money went to feeding the fat baby. The baby fussed with only two meals a day but it was all Kim could do and the customers never come back. So Cindy started working as a maid for a white family in the financial district. They paid her 6.50 an hour with an additional stipend for groceries. She was also the caretaker for the two kids, and all they ever wanted was cola and sweet rolls so she took the rest to Kim at the end of each day.
March fifteenth, don’t want to remember that day but Cindy keeps seeing it in the news. Cindy comes back to the salon to pick up the baby so Kim can get sleep before the baby goes home. Open the door, lights on. Baby on the linoleum, screaming hard with his eyes closed. Legs hanging out of the bathroom, so Cindy walks through and sees Kim. Drunk acetate, powder all over her face, in her mouth, dried up around her lips. All white. All milk. No blood.