Thursday, February 26, 2004

Lurk like a
loon in
lousy seas.
Nothing but the usual crap, standard knives and forks arranged around white plates that sit on top of red tasseled
place mats, on which slices of turkey and mash potatoes steam upward and fog the glasses any codger trying to catch a closer whiff of the aroma of cooked food.

"I ain't eatin none of this shit" I said, and Mom came over and handed me a napkin. She smiled and messed up my hair. My sister was across the table, her eyes peering over the edge, looking over the height of her plate her food.
I could tell she was smiling for reasons I never understood.

"I'm not hungry" I said.
"Go ahead and eat, because the Flintstones will be on in a half hour" she replied. Dad came into the dining room and sat at the table, his white shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He'd been singing in the hallway, his voice echoing about Paris in the rain as he walked up the wood beam floor.

"Hello there, Julie Belle" he said to my sister, who was crawling up on a phone book for a better view of her turkey and mash potatoes

"The Flintsones are on tonight, but we have to eat this wonddddddddddderful meal your darling mother has made for us".

Mom was smoking in the kitchen before she came to sit at the table, and I could smell the burnt odor of Winstons on her.

"Let's eat" she said, "Flinstones and apple pie after we eat."

Julie was already picking at her food, a tiny finger in the mash potatoes.

"Say grace, Ted" Dad said.

Shit, I wasn't hungry. Everything in the world of the God I was praying to undermined each assertion of self will.

"Bless oh lord, for these thy gifts..."

Julie took another fingertip of mash potato from her plate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

There's nothing but red pennies on the table top, tarnished copper coins that have travelled the length of the city with once being drawn out by fumbling fingers seeking bus fare, or that last two pennies offered in a purchase to round out the change to some even, coinless demonination. She spreads the coins over the table with the palm of a hand and relishes the feel of industrial metal. The aroma of the pennies reaches her nose, she can almost taste the bitterness from when she was three, alway putting money in her mouth that her parents might have dumped on dresser drawers, empty ashtrays on living room coffee tables, lost between any plush cushion that have absorbed adult smells and contours.She smiles, takes a drink of her wine, the fog of memory clearing to what's in front of her , unblinking for long moments. Her cat, Emile, who is hungry and demands with stares to be fed. She smiles. Enough here for half a newspaper, she thinks, or a single bite from a peanut butter sandwich. She pets her cat, the phone rings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Greased Lens

This isn't what I was bargaining for, he thinks, never a cab in sight when I want one and damn, the cigarettes are gone, all gone, nothing but stubbed buts all about my shoes.It was cold , and the night in front of him seemed nothing less than a sheet of black ice through which the lights of the city shone through, high beams and store displays blurred like traffic lights a greased lens. He breathed into his hands, ignoring the urge to count his change again. It was a few coins, mostly quarters and nickles, that he scraped together passing a hat around a crowd in the park that afternoon while someone else played jazz saxophone by the water fountain. Man, he thinks, I have got to get some more money together.