I became familiar with the Japanese author Haruki Murakami during my current fiction-gorging phase. How could I have been unfamiliar with such a gifted author? It’s not an excuse but I go through long periods during which I don’t read fiction. Murakami’s style is first-person intimate heightened with surrealism; all of it served very imaginatively.…
From the backseat
her red hair an accusation.
Thin, careworn, and cunning
burnt forever by that long-ago season;
she knows the wrong things.
trapping the blue sky,
her mascara-smeared eyes lie,
“This is how the world is,”
“this is how the world is.”
Her disjoint face abandons
the words she forces;
words are flight,
purposed for betrayal.
The Fall creeps in,
steals what is not hers;
Here is a short–one paragraph(!)–story I wrote:
In the corner of the ruined room,
she was crying,
frightened of herself
and angry at us.
‘Freedom is full of monsters.
Just get out.’
I ran to summer
in the next room,
where the Goes Orchestral band members,
led by the red-haired midget on saxophone,
made intricate, drug-induced patterns on the stage.
On and on played they.
I wish they were more self-critical.
Why do I remember?
I’ve carried this,
and now–see?–here it is.
Guided by a compulsion (that has never left me)
I painted the walls of my mother’s house
the entire length of the hallway;
floating above the floor–I was light.
You’ll laugh, but it was art.
That’s the simple truth.
My mother didn’t see it that way,
in fact, she was outraged.
Again you’ll laugh, but I was flabbergasted.
I didn’t understand her.
Through the narrow window, the full-blood moon floated in the black water of the bathtub, next to where you laid with your face against the wall sobbing. Pressing my cheek to yours, I glimpsed, the unfurled flags of defeat and something I didn’t understand. Aug., 2013
5th Street After art history, the widow drove me to my slum studio. Its only north-facing window overlooked the vacant lot where I saw a shootout my first night there. Barely 30, they hadn’t suspected her husband’s bad heart. Dying, he had betrayed their now backward-pointing future. We hung there, our hollow faces reflecting the…
The Thing She Said to Me The poets and rockers didn’t go beyond Avenue A, where the poverty was unromantic. My fifth-floor walk-up (Ave. C and 9th) looked over the rooftops of Manhattan, to the sea beyond. Floating above the world, the carnival-lit World Trade Center tethered me every night. Around the corner, the heartless barmaid…