i take off my glasses and change my attitude.

so boring. this is what starts the trouble in the first place.

she walks right past me carrying on an internal monologue externally:

“oh. are you a man? huh? only a man would say such things.”

a full moon shines.
there is a train.
we wait.

on the sidewalk, a flock of birds drops out of the sky.

back up on the hill, i sit at a restaurant booth. make a donation of $1. to the investigator girl who also works in food service.

my family walks by: “oh, Margaret, where were you?”

(fake consternation, as per usual)

at the long table we have discussions.

“okay,” i tell my mother. “we need to leave, because i wrote on some stuff, and i’m gonna get arrested for it.”

what stuff? it can’t be that expensive. waddya mean, arrested?”

my sister stares at me with a death glare.

(so what else is new?)

“and so you would find me wanting?” my mother asks.

“i would,” i say in my insect mask in a voice that is scarred

yet resonates.




i got this wallet in Africa

three tries and i’m out the door

going on safari.

first Kinneys for the anti-malarials (not really).

across a snow-covered picnic table and brown blades poking from the snow in the field

the window of ground zero

glares baleful at me

or so i believe.

(i can see it from here!)

just another day.

another opportunity for disappointment

but there he is.

i stand behind an old woman

skinny in jeans and jacket and pink lips who turns and says, “oh, I thought someone was

behind me!”

no worries. he is watching me, then vanishes.

i try to suspend disbelief and he is back. we look at each other and i roll my eyes

at the old

woman who is conducting business on a minute, painstaking level.

he turns and whistles quietly.

before the large woman behind the counter can say my number

he half-yells it out, puts the

bag on the counter and


that was quick,” i say to the no one, apparently.

then he’s back, sweeping.

he’s full of tricks, my



two huge cats

five point three opens it up or was it three point five

or pi?

the young blond man sits on a perch at the

back of the restaurant from the Middle Ages.

he has a gun and randomly shoots someone

towards the end of the meal.

(it adds to the excitement.)

he is affable and polite.

“can i go through that door behind you?”

his smile falters.

“okay,” i say, and go through.

(we are on a quest to reach our home).

the old man sits in a heavy chair.

two huge cats come

i stand still. they nuzzle me, speaking

in bass voices.

there is a book of spells and mysteries that

i have to learn.

the skeletons of massive

beasts. the girl does not want me.




party at the hippie compound

at the top of the world

where the green fields arc

and the sky is a blue infinity

sits the ramshackle hippie


we gather to watch

NASA-built dirigibles plunge

from the ionosphere

in slow-motion crashes

of spectacular

white silence.

the real festivities are getting


i need to leave before this





i left the Indian man and went with the hilljack

with long gray hair and piercing blue eyes

who worked in organics in a shop

at the end of the wharf.

“why did you pick me?” he says. “never mind.

i think i know.”

(another man makes chicken

while he plays jacked-up Bach in

fast-motion on an organ mounted

into the granite countertop

in the space-age hyperspeed kitchen.)

definitely not the one

for me.

twiggy johnson

“how d’ya get into rehab? you go to those meetings, right? i need it bad. c’mon, you know,

don’t you?”

“uh, yeah.”

“sorry. name’s Matt Rheingold.”

“Twiggy Johnson.”

“so. can you help me?”

“he broke off with Wally too soon,” i say to someone. “he’s in shock,.”

i have a pill bottle in my hand.