you think faster than you write and can your memory keep (you) up, when the days fall off like calendar paper painted numerics in a spotted corner where a pay phone once connected the disconnected? relegate your dreams to a political sideshow. the overthrow of nickels by dimes and half dollars in a strip club awaits. she leaves you drunk and singing. your oldsmobile won’t start up in the cold. you don’t care. shove your hands in your overcoat and walk off. watch your breath. smells like midwest. something different the day has for you. bread factory. maybe a motel room. cartoons. a new friend as tore up as you are. laughing against a socieconomic slider. anything but a tow truck and another bill to sign. buy a pint of whisky. postpone the inevitable. kiss the smoking girl.
|brothers drama and shy|
twilight zone found us yesterday. a little boy in a burger joint in midtown early evening, chewing on his dad’s wallet, waiting for his strawberry shake. an older salesman peddling smiles and drinking from a flask on the other side of us. he guessed the city where I came from. We ordered our garlic fries and hammer#1 off the menu. daddy got his boy a piggy bank for quarters. this boy loves his daddy restlessly, and excited for a shake. it’s a timeless nameless place and I dunno why. in a moment everything changed when a six foot glass door to a show case, fell off and shattered all over the dad and his boy. how? why? the boy was crying and we rushed over to help get the glass out of his jacket and clothes. everyone was shocked by the sound and the waitresses all milling about with brooms and proprietary concern. the boy could not be consoled but he was okay. dad was quietly fuming and our orders all came up and the salesman got back to laughing and knowing things he had no business knowing. you and me we were wondering about it all, drawn up in the strangeness. then another shockwave through the air, rippling the nameless, timeless space. I turned in my seat and saw the cashier, she had a strawberry milkshake running down her hair and her dress. the boy had gone away with his daddy carrying him
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.
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.
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|