the telling

Those who survived terrific and terrifying scenes of yesterday, survived simply in some cases today and tomorrow by not telling. Like authority or ego outgrowing itself — the truth was irrevocably exposed, and one could feel so out of place. Not making sense, all sense falls away…no grammar, no ruler, no rules. no meticulous edit. no beta.need.care.anymore. without any closure you-they-it has and have found recourse to-from…above-below…this. the very end. the beauty in live-to-tell was not in the telling. it was in not telling. or. surviving and not needing to tell. for now, you and all you have been through are known if not cherished.

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ghost story

i had gone to the back of the room and left them telling their stories one by one with seldom an interruption. the voices gave warmth to a cool autumn morning while the delta breeze slid soundlessly across the train tracks and the torn upholstery of abandoned cars to the branches of the trees tapping on the glass all around us to get in.

i poured myself a mug of hot coffee and stirred in a bit of sugar, standing there with my back to them, listening half-heartedly and somewhere between consciousness and last night’s dream.

after a few hearty slugs of the black stuff my eyes woke up first and stared into a congregation of uneven framed black and white portraits from times before now. century old tired and long faces looked back at me and over my shoulder as if they were part of our gathering in this old meeting
hall, a former nondescript bar once with billiards for the truck drivers and laborers in the yards.

i felt a chill carry over the nape of my neck as i realized i had become some medium some conduit between my audience hung by nails alongside coffee mugs on the wall, and the living boisterous
true fellowship behind us. i stood perfectly still then

turned to see the speaker at the head of the table, an older gentleman with a way about him and expressions i would not forget to remember him by. as i turned slowly back my eyes getting larger to see, alighted on an old rusted peg, the visage of the living man! he was silent yearning to be free, framed right there before me… and in small white numerals in the corner of the photograph… i read in disbelief the year! it was 1923.

efface the place

Such a prodigious commentary rolled out of a disconnected narrative. All the ghosts of old mama Bell had to glom together as operators, pulling and pushing their wires into that old electronic wall. All the calls incoming got patched through, and where hello meets goodbye, a patch could efface the English language, in any such redirection, the power of the women at the wall, operators, any which way. And blue came across the neurons and fired them off like static and clung to the statement preceding. Contradictions were contradicted and life would go on this way through the world wars, and endless series of splicing and bringing people together through a wire. Afflicted with afflictions, some operators were, and found peace only after the in betweens of their shifts and smoke long breaks twirled away. Nobody always knew nothing could turn into something when a push met a pull and were patched away from blue to gray. There were often a few kids meanwhile caught like in spiderwebs, tied up in an apron by a hem.

‘operators at the hem’ by K

how we get by

the clouds are still and the earth is moving. i see the others and i want to love them, i do, and i reach out and we talk for a while and the room softens. it’s raining outside but only in a small targeted area which moves as the earth spins. the clouds are not moving, they are still. i know when i look up and see the clouds moving, they are not. what i see with my eyes and sense with my senses, never tells the whole story. i am so glad we have a story without an ending. this is how we get by.

7

seven

you recently got off the streets. you aren’t getting any younger, and you feel your age. chronic pain has kept you from doing the work you love. i was just listening to you tell me your story, all the ‘lost time’ after you lost your kids and your purpose. but you don’t feel sorry for yourself. you found a way to connect with your grandkids and even took them fishing. you still want to live even if you cannot always understand what for. i elevate you to survivor status. we laughed when you told me the story about the time you got shot in the back. you were under the hood in the garage, working on a carburetor, when a stray bullet flew from San Pablo Avenue and knocked you to the ground. once you realized what had happened, you dragged yourself to the office for help. they got you to the hospital and most of the fragments were removed and you walked out of there in under 48 hours. when you got back to work, you walked to the office to thank them. your boss had a parrot he kept in there, and the moment you walked in, the parrot saw you and started screaming: ‘I’m shot! I’m shot! I’m shot!”

lbd’s

lbd. saturdays

when sundays became mondays the world almost died of a heart attack. thank goodness our hair and air were fully conditioned. i wanted to stretch saturday and shake it out, but it was rigid as glass. by wednesday we were a distant memory with no return in sight. i would have to sweeten you up with something to get close again. how about a stringy lbd in an underachieving post? must i sing a song?