Words, 1988

He’d be dead in three months.  Bob.  
The big guy came walking up the 
driveway, eyes fixed on the lawn.
Dad was watering.  Same jeans
he had in the 70s.  Same brown
flip-flops.  He didn’t stop moving the
hose back and forth.  I stood watching.

“Listen, we gotta talk.  Bury
this thing.”

It’s what everyone wanted.  The whole
block.  Just make up, some said.
He didn’t mean it, others said.  He said he was
sorry.  I just wanted them to be friends again.

But I knew my dad.

“Mom, you gotta talk to him.”
She pointed to the ring not on her
finger.  She shook her head.
She went back to her coffee.
She knew him too.

“Go home, Bob.” That’s all dad said.
Bob looked at me, then back at the 
lawn.  “I said I was...You know what?
Fuck it.”
He walked away.  Home.

Dad coiled up the hose.  “He
talks too much.”

When Bob was dead, his wife
waved me over, drunk on her porch.
“I’m sorry,” she slurred.  “Bob never
should’a said those things.”
She reached for my hand.  

“Honey, it was just a joke.” Her pinkie went up.
“Honey, he didn’t care about that stuff.”
She rubbed my hand.

I shifted away.  I left.  Dad was on the
porch, standing.  I went into the house.  
He followed.
“You want to go get some new
brake pads for your car?”  

More poetry. Always, more poetry here.

And stories, for people that want to lose themselves for a bit. Here.

Reading

It begins.  It ends.
The story goes on.
Footsteps on the ceiling,
toilet flush, water rinse,
softer not-fast feet
take time now that the rush
is over,
there’s room for words and maybe
a laugh
(he never laughs, but they do).
A crunch.  Munchy-crunchy. Fun.

He must have it —  women in 
a steady stream says stud, right?
They spend the night once or twice, 
seem sated, smile in the elevator next-day.
He must have it. Yes.

But the story has another side,
an aside, something in the margin:  
the crashing lasts but a paragraph,
sometimes two if the writer is good,
mark the start and mark the finish
and then the toilet and the water
and the softer feet
another paragraph another night
another woman smashing the headboard
into sentences that end
all
too
soon

measuring exposition and completion

line-by-line

as that steady stream
is suddenly understood.

(from I Can See You — A Collection of Neighbors)


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