My aunt, the forty-something jaded college dropout and hypochondriac says I’ll feel the consequences of my bad decisions later. She tells me my youth is going to bite me in the derriere one day. She says derriere with the best French accent she can muster, but money can’t buy you culture. She stares at my youth with jealousy and is on a constant voyage to emulate it in anyway possible. The problem is that she completely and totally misses the mark. Skin-tight, low riding jeans are not for forty-somethings, and the rhinestones are not fashionable for any age. Maybe age 5.
Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page
When her little brother Mikey came home from college in May, he was fat. Kara stared. The unfamiliar roundness of his face, meaty hands, a bulge above his belt buckle. Same baby blue eyes though. They darted shyly as he stood in the doorway with his suitcases. His new weight hung strangely on him. The living room seemed smaller.
“Mikey!” She took fast steps to cross the room, wrapped her arms around him tightly. She wished that she could squeeze away the heaviness blanketing his torso, remnants of beers drunk without thought in some dark basement where Mikey didn’t belong.
Jerry had been a man of many correspondences. Letters came, months after his death, names she hadn’t even thought to notify. To Jerry, Dearest Jerry, Hello my Jerry. Blue ballpoint friendships; she felt like an intruder.
She hardly cried anymore. Imagine, after forty-seven years! Now, as she looked out at the mailbox, buttercup ten o’clock sun streaming through the window, she felt that perhaps Jerry was just out for a walk.
She dried her hands on her apron and wrote:
Dear Mrs. Henley,
This is Jerry’s wife, Eleanor. I received your letter to him and must reply with sad news….
The glint of the sun off the Cessna’s polished wing made the sky even more diamond-like in his eyes. Close below, oversized glaciers flowed between untouched mountains. They had circled twice now, just above his new home – Wrangell, Alaska.
The pilot called back from the cockpit, “Moose on the tarmac! Taking its sweet time!”
“Can’t they shoo it away?”
“Have you ever tried to get a moose to move?”
The pilot chuckled. “Look, the mighty Stikine!”
It all seemed sharp and beautiful as an ice crystal to him. He’d never been outside the Midwest, and he ached to land.
Gliding across frizzled grass sticking up in a fray like hair on a balding man’s head, the energy never stops giving. It’s like Hanukkah except with more lights. Where everything equalizes in the heat and dandelions become meeting places. Hands encircle around hands like knots formed neatly by sailors, weaving through the throbbing throngs of thousands just like us. In other hands we clasp crinkled plastic vessels, the mark of every wise citizen in this temporary and fleeting city. There are no walls but somehow reverberation is happening all around. Music pervades everything Swag. Shake. Sweat. This is a world.
At IHOP at 3am after Coachella and the waitresses are on ecstasy and the chef is Kanye West and rock and roll is never gonna die. And, damn that falafel from before wasn’t half bad, but who needs a wristband when you’ve got nice tits? Not that this wristband is ever coming off, because it isn’t, until it does. My feet hurt and my iPod is horny. Gosh I heard a lot of swear words this weekend. I snuck lots in past security but I left behind about 65 hours of youth in America. Who the fuck is Kanye West?
“I see,” said Edwin from his circle of sitting free-speakers, “a little kid begging his mom for ice cream from the good ice cream man.” The kid didn’t notice as half the plaza turned to look, but his mom did. “The mom is wearing a beautiful green sun dress, and she’s telling her son, no, no ice cream now. The ice cream man is smiling!”
Half the plaza grinned with them, including the mom. “He got to have one yesterday!” she shouted, abashed and happy.
“That’s OK kid,” said Edwin, “I’m on your side, but I guess mom knows best.”
“This is free speech Friday,” called Erwin. “A magic amplification stick and anyone is welcome to say anything into it.” The mic fell to his side while he took a moment to look at the bustling plaza life below him.
“Today I see a woman in turquoise glasses eating a Caesar salad. There is a man next to her eating the same kind of salad. They both have jeans and a white shirt on.” The couple looked up at him, smiling sheepishly.
“I see,” Edwin continued, “an Asian man walking a weiner dog. One of his shoes is halfway untied.”
My eyes have been dry all day. No tears here. Un-lubricated, scratchy rolling eyeballs just sitting in their sockets like bacteria-ridden barnacles.
I drank more water than a person should, and peed it right out again. Something’s wrong with my aqueducts. The Amazon floods, and drought encircles the Sahara.
Dry eyes behind thick glass lenses. Images flipped, fuzzed, focused, held together by habit of seeing. Carport carpet. Rub until they are red.
The engine shut down because it’s completely out of oil. Load her up, and it’s still going to take quite a few pulls to get her started again.