It is night outside my trailer. I sit on my concrete porch in the pitch black. The neighbors come over in halter tops very convivial. “ y’all have a light?” he emerges from the darkness. He is blond. the cops go by looking for the killer “hey! This is a freakin public road! what the hell are you doing? Her? you can’t intimidate her with a little snow– she’s from the Adirondacks.” glass doors open to the mountains. Back in the house pandemonium hey says Nate, if anyone’s kids get up at like 4 in the morning, you’re only gonna get like 2 hours’ sleep.
Y’know that guy?
he got long hair. Well kinda long. White guy.
shuffles, don’t walk real good
man thats fuckin everybody
I know but he’s tall. brown hair. Cigarette. shuffles, soft voice, c’mon you know who I mean? He got big feet.
Yeah him. You seen him?
he owe me money.
we have a low-rate item here a rock of gray igneous with a silver setting and chain look at the quality the snowbanks on the side I wonder if he even thinks of me any more I have no idea his blinds oh the goddamn blinds but the AC is in and the blinds haven’t changed for some reason it made me feel better to see the lights on but the last time all I got was a fuckin burnt bagel with curdled cream cheese from the little witch who works next to him and the heat wave came and nothing nothing and I read a thing today which made me feel bad because of course I was stalking him of course I made a damn fool outta myself on more occasions than I’d like to admit ok all the fuckin time but seriously what happened? What happened to this person who I thought had moved away then he’s here but now I don’t see him and the lasting remembrance is a burnt fuckin bagel with curdled cream cheese made by his frizzy haired girlfriend who I can’t stand only because she is with him and he is gray now and I am missing it.
He has gray hair and a young face. “Call me Chip,” he says. “That works. I live in the flatiron building. Right by the park. The lights’ll be on. Ok?”
I’m driving down the ramp and into the south bronx I can’t help myself. at the street level all around me is despair radiating from the buildings the shape and ruin of the architecture: misery towers. the subway is covered in oil and graffiti. dripping ceilings. I join the procession of the stricken shuffling ever downward covered in filth the railings of human onion skin and wan overhead lightbulbs in concrete “yeah did you ever party tul the wheels fell off of you brain yknow like fully off ?”brown mullet guy’s breath on my neck “we did these upppers you can go for days” I climb. the guy in the wheelchair sees the oil flooded stairs and pulls up short. To the left, a bedroom off the subway with quilted beds and desperation no windows I like your stairs I tell the old ladies they have a place done up in purple fabric the stairs snugly upholstered then they ran out of money and just drape the fabric on the concrete there is a window : a school I look out the students on the lawn. Brilliant sunlight. Mountains in the distance. I emerge to another world the final stairway leads to rich kids in brooches, lining up for the dance. Willowy girls pass me. I have arrived.
I am in the circus. To get there are giant hills with lion-emblazoned buildings riding the crests. The future development. The time cards. Giraffes chase me. Freak animal combinations. Dogs with bear heads, etc. the carnies next to the tower. I swan dive towards the giant water tank. A giraffe waits. In midair I stop, flutter. I hit the tank feet first toes pointed. Barely a ripple. I can see the mountains on my way down, off the swinging palm tree. I couldn’t do that again ever. Even if I tried. I tell the guys at the bottom. Don’t think for a minute I’m your guy for that stunt. Don’t even.
I was pregnant even tho I was a bald man but the child grew inside of me. My boss had a bit of Strontium 90 a tiny bit on the end of his stump and put it in my drink glass and suddenly it was necessary for me to look at the maps of where I had to live now that I was infected. The child was born and it was jeffs child, with damp white skin and beautiful eyes that looked right into your soul.
I don’t have meltdowns I’m on something for that sometimes I cry not very often but the nice guy in the car that was his home had a poodle. He held her in his lap, put the seat down and he said “time for night- night, ruby. What should we watch?” and this was just too much for me.
I watch the junkies he is a real boy. in the halls of haute couture walking as an old woman the young folks breezing, striding past me .their fashion garments billow in an unseen wind: the wind of their walking. my room has my 2 cats. the fortified door, many locks and bolts and a solid metal to it this house is larger yet cut up in an awkward way, 70’s lime green appliances. my coat is long and woolen. i have only one marlboro left. The doors don’t lock. Before in the elevator that is a glass room that goes down to the ground level. My little room. My flight to Paris with just one marlboro. I forgot to leave a bowl of water for the cats. They can’t come with me. I walk the billowing street.
In the east end I am the tour guide past Mediterranean pink stucco dream squares. a car going the wrong way nudges our bumper like a tender baby whale. we drive a big car a green behemoth. they always do this: it is a one-way street but no one listens. we go outward to the west end. where the Provincetown inn was is now underwater: a stone circle beneath five feet of ocean. On the horizon which is terrifying the waves come in, huge. The people scream, dive under. “you used to have to go to herring cove,” I say, gesturing, “race point but the ocean is right here now.” on the modified wharf that consists of sequential rooms that march out to sea into the screaming surf. the first room has a concrete floor and the wharf guys standing around. “ this is as far as we can go. It’s just too dangerous out there.” I go out. the rooms are made of pilings and rotted wood, doors hung together to make walls. Vicious towering wave hits. I hold my breath as the room fills with water then drains through the myriad holes in the structure. one made of concrete floor and a truck. A silent guy with curly hair. I keep on. Finally I make it to the room the farthest out to sea. Through the wavy glass of the window I watch the next wave build, a monster. I gasp and go under as it hits. when it finally passes, I turn back and make a run for it. Back at the wharf- guy room with the concrete floor they tease me: “hey, go through that hole.” A small circular opening in the plexiglass wall that protects the mainland from the horrible sea. One room breaks off. I go to greece. The sun pounds down onto white tiny houses on the beach, each with a single window. The people are screaming: go away! There is no room for you here! Meanwhile, his light is still on in his upstairs window.