wildlife

we go out to the far rooms on the ocean, made of driftwood.

Rocking on the waves.

Snow falls from a leaden sky.

“wildlife!” says the old man, gesturing to an expanse of swamp packed with willows.

(A dream of tigers).

green engine 2(let’s try that freakin again)

Living in the nightmare second floor apartment with rotted floorboards. Breathe in breathe out the despair heat. Outside on the street, gray asbestos and converging electrical lines. the green engine its tonnage and terror on curved dessicated rails rumbles through: a regular thing in the living room along with tv and breathing fumes in the withering heat. I ask no more of him under the tree with cheryl and the 12 &12. the sound his fabric makes against the seething asphalt sag-jean shuffle and hair tucked into black hoodie. the shock of him. hills fold away race away under the scorching sun. at the light, the old man gives it the gas. on main street churches patched with plywood over stained glass. The next road over a portal to misery: the kid on the hovercraft. dad on the porch yelling. the man saunters above the shimmering pavement on the portal road: black silk jacket and a corona of yellow straw hair frames his ghost face, slit eyes and a smile of recognition at me.

green engine

Gray asbestos shingles on the outside and a train runs through the second floor apartment. the engine green on rusted rails that curve through the living room I have seen him lately his hair long and beautiful my car facing him and I don’t look up. “avoid hitting this guy” I say to myself and the shock of his still being here is exhilarating the electron potential and lines crackling as he walks on past I ask no more flowers in the withering heat to bear witness (they are gone now anyway) in an air conditioned car there is a small infernal byway in the college town the guy moves down the street in the blast furnace satin black racing jacket his scorched yellow hair a halo around his pallor I see him and we have a recognition but still under the shade of a tiny tree. the door slams and bill walks on by this week, he looks for me or maybe not there are miles of furnace haze and his black hoodie, sagging jeans baby please don’t go.

a place in the sun

You don’t understand this was her last chance. She came off the street with a V rating. Do you get it now? She worked her way up from every other word being fuck to being on the edge of here. The topmost of the Ivy League. But there was only room for six at the school between the cliffs. And you wouldn’t leave. You wouldn’t give that up. you were born into this. It was yours for the taking. She got up here, and she knew you weren’t gonna budge. So she left. And what’d you do? You chased her. Chased her down. And she beat on your hands as you tried to dislodge her from the cliff, knowing to save her life all you had to do was forfeit, just for a term. But for her it was all over. You didn’t care, so long as you got your place here. She wasn’t coming back from this. You said “Louise Jackson did this to you, not me” as you ripped her hands off the screen and she beat you with a stick.

This is when she started drinking.

Yeah, you know it was you.

But you won.

lord boy

our plane landed years ago and we took over the people who’d lived there peacefully. We sold coal and made them mine it and the land turned to a vast waste amid brick buildings covered in soot; their windows a green mold.

We were the lords of the land while the occupied did all the menial jobs to make us happy. We played in the polluted streams that we had caused. “wait,” a woman said when we first attacked. One of ours she was. “this can be good for taxes.” so we took it all over and I was a lord boy.

Until a plane landed and a pink man was on the soft-edged cliffs screaming in a fever of superhuman strength. He writhed and thrashed, possessed, on he cliff, bellowing that he was coming for me.

And he was.

I went to my old friends the dishwashers, porters, menials. I went through a shifting maze of walls painted primary colors, all the while the visitor careening at any available window, foaming at the mouth and screaming that my death would be his deliverance, i.e.: “i know he’s alive. I can smell him. Just give him to me.”

like that.

A keening soundtrack as I open the storm windows at the very top of the world and jump out onto the roof, all freshly painted in a dripping baby blue.

(my father said I should fight. “make a man outta me”).

out to sea

I wandered next to the ocean, heading out of town. Nothing here for me. The waves crash against the church and drag me out to sea. It is raining but then we find Coltrane. We carry a frying pan and follow him to his house.

“you mean to tell me you won’t eat? What are those, seizures? I don’t know if I wanna bring them around my wife and children. “

rolfe plays the piece. The film of him wondering if they will mock him. He sits with a cigar, cross-legged on the bed, studying the music. His teacher a swarthy guy with stubble.

Will they accept it? What goes on in their minds? Do they think I can’t do it?

(the office with the beaded fringe separating reality from fantasy).

red lobster

we went to Red Lobster and got charged $3,000. for our meal. I Added it up and we are driving up the hill. It is ridiculous. Meredith, I say, concentrate as the sun recedes behind the hills and she plays with plates she’s just like dad. She’s scared. I go to the guys in white shirts and black ties, the fast food management and they screw me all up with the figures and scream quietly at me while spinning me around until I no longer trust myself.

That went well.

A guy who looks like vinnie d’onofrio sees it happen and he’s a cleaner. He goes to an envelope and takes out $3,000. and says “here.” (there was a union dispute and he didn’t like how I was treated by management).

We hit the street, revved up by the $3,000. which we have to divide four ways.

(on the steep road sits a trailer with healing properties where the road makes a complete “V” so the trailer wears a road skirt of magic).

At the bank we turn the $3,000 into silver spoons which we then successively downsize to make change.

Right?

I hit the lobby. Oh, how are you? Are you new to the city? Oh don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. My friend says to a young mother. I am wearing skinny jeans and platform wedges with the spoon jammed into the front pocket when I see the cops coming for us. Priscilla is in the weeds. she is on the floor sobbing, caught. Stone-faced, I drop the spoon out of my pocket as I walk on by.

sitchie fink

“sitchie fink said you was here.” the dogs like me. There is no room in the rack for more dishes.

“i didn’t cook nothin today.” a giant plant climbs the wall and goes across the ceiling. See, the thing is, I need to get to Bill.

At the road on top of the world a man comes up, his face removed to show a geode. The other farmer lets his cows out into the road.

“ye kenna pass here.” I go on another road. Everything is green. I go down and down until I get to Lake Ontario. I go thru the house to get to the bottom of the road that ends in Lake Ontario. The undertow is huge. There is no shore. The water is high. I struggle, gripping the dirt, inching up until I am finally out of the lake.

“i see you are tenacious,” says the Amish man. “that is good. You can go and help the women.”

my heart is a demented thing

He wasn’t there yesterday which was so fuckin disappointing, only kathy with her false teeth smile which makes me paranoid as hell but who is she to…ah, whatever. Only kathy and dan who says you’re a day early and his pants pockets are too far apart .. I try to manage my emotions of bitter disappointment tempered by…tempered by nothing. The next morning my heart is jumping around like a monkey in the streets . Somehow things worked out and god I thank you . at the place I stare at my muddy boots. when I catch him watching me, He looks down, smiling. He does this several times. Eventually He comes out from behind the counter, his hair down and makes eye contact with me, then slides over to Kathy who is sitting at a table on her break. Slides in real close and says something to her and I wish it was me . My heart is a demented thing that includes: the sky. Power poles. Wisp clouds in suspension.

pavement

When I come down the knoll onto the street after I picked up the old woman and put her in the bed

(cigs falling apart in my bag)

the sun coming down at midnight the end of my shift. Across the street the woman pushes an old man in a wheelchair with a block of pavement attached to his lap

and the road rises up
in beautiful sunlight.