The Jetty

Two old men sitting on a bench with their froggy faces pressed to the glass of the busy harbor.

Everyone has their angle, their hustle, these days, they croak.

Whir-click-snack-snack.

They open their mouths to snap-snap-snap at flies and passers by.

Their wrinkly spotted hands scatter crumbs

and the pigeons//gulls//swoop.

And my daughter said I’d grown old and alone. What does she know.

I’ve got friends.  My life is full.  I’m happy.

Whir-click-snack-snack.

Toss to the gulls go swoop//caw//swirl.

You think we are friends?

Pause.

Kratch-kratch-kratch.

Shut-up.  I never liked you much anyway.

And then one gets up to leave.

He gimps down the jetty as waves crash and break over him.

It’s a baptism.

The Size of all Texas

At first, the man with the gun thought she was cute.

“So what if her teeth ain’t straight

and her tits ain’t huge,” He says in his best Texan drawl.

“She’s the kinda woman a man would buy a gun for.”

Boom-boom-boom deep in his chest,

like an old tin can filled with BBs,

rattling around like Mexican jumping beans bursting to life,

ping-ping-ping.

Now there’s a woman running around in a long white dress,

tears of happiness staining her lacy chest.

With twenty shots fired off into the night to celebrate.

“You are now my property.  Prah-per-ty.” He says as he gives her backside a slap.  “And when you gunna change your name to mine, woman?”

Now it’s time to go home and she doesn’t want to.

“There’s op-per-tune-na-ty out there”, he says, “Don’t you want that?” She shakes her head.  No.

The man with the gun is getting mad.  “You’re gunna go, you hear me, woman?  You hear me?  I even gave you my tin can!”

The woman is running wide eyed, like a bird flopping on the ground, the tail of her dress whipping around her like a rope.

And the man with the gun takes aim. “I warned ya, woman.”

Downtrodden and defeated, she walks along side him,

Holding open the hole in her chest,

that a plug the size of all Texas couldn’t fix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby

She keeps it in the pantry by the flour, tucked in the corner where no one can see.  Like she’s embarrassed or something.  She sneaks out at night, pushes the flour away, opens the jar, inhales deeply, and dabs just a touch of it on her face.  Then she can sleep.

She dumps the liquid out and replaces it with fresh formaldehyde, hot off the presses.  It bubbles around in the jar, coating a fetus.  She shakes the jar, then holds it to the sun so she can see little tiny bones, little tiny hands, and a face that looks like a piglet.  This makes her cry.

Desperate to bring the jar and its contents back to life, she builds an alter in every room in her house.  First there are flowers, pictures, and other sad things, like tears.  She tries incantations and then throws everything away and builds an empty alter.  Then she doesn’t feel anything.

Someone brings her a quilt for comfort while she sits in a rocker.  She takes it and soaks it in the jar, swirling it around to soak it through and through, every patch deepened in color, heavy, burdened by the weight.  She inhales deeply and dabs  it her face.

The Bankers Daughter

It’s not like you to be quiet for so long, I think, so I poke your bloated corpse with my pencil.  You let out a simpering, reassuring gurgle. That settles it, I guess you love me.

Some day I’ll be old enough to be a corpse of my own, but for now, I roll you down the hall and tuck you neatly into bed with me.  You lay there, so sweet, with your eyes closed.  I worry you will get cold so I put an extra blanket on.

I pretend to care, so I get up in the morning and make you coffee, which I bring to you. You haven’t woken up yet.  When I prop you up, your eyes flick open like a baby dolls.

All day you follow me around, like a black golden retriever, tethered to me like a quivering balloon that demands attention.  When I gently stroke your head, your hair starts falling out.  So I superglue it back on for you.

I need to go to the store and I decide to take you with me.  You hold my hand and help me push the cart, while your feet drag behind us, limp.  I buy you the body wash you want so you don’t start to stink.

When night comes, I shut the blinds.  I make dinner and I ask you what you want to eat.  You never have an opinion when it comes to these things, and you don’t really eat that much these days, either.

I’m never lonely these days for I’m never truly alone.  You are always doing something funny.  Today, you are swelling up and it’s my job to keep you from rupturing.

The Kernel

“It’s just a little kernel of hate,” I say, as I roll it over and over again in the palm of my hand.
Tiny and green, full of potential, ready to sprout.
“I take it home,” I say, as I pop it in my mouth.
Just like pop corn, chew, munch, chew.

I take you home and set you on the windowsill so I can look at you and see you every day.
Just like the mug that holds safe my toothbrush by the sink.

I watch and I wait, it’s like Christmas. When will you pop and sprout out the top of my head like a fucking lemon tree, you bitter little bastard?

No, I say. A kernel so perfect should be coiled up and kept safe, as I turn your face away, the face that’s on the mug. I’m done having you watch me and my kernel.

Little kernel, you’ve been planted in the best place I could find. My heart. Gulp and swallow, choking back, until I shit you out and the process starts all over again.

Hate is now too strong a word for you. “But perhaps it’s the most appropriate,” I say, and I crush my little kernel into the ground, grinding it’s pulpy insides out like a tick gorged on my blood.

“Do you know what I want to do to you?” I say to the face on the mug. I want to crush you like that kernel, until your juices flow, until your pulpy insides are mixt with dirt, until you cry your soul out through your eyes. Then maybe I won’t hate you quite so much.