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Month: April 2008



He drives and smoke and taps ashes into an empty can of Dixie 45 between his knees and there is Crape Fairweather on the Factoria station or maybe it’s Mississippi John Hurt with Big Leg Blues. He hums, cackles. He drives slowly, slower even still through the crowds of the fleamarket stalls in the late summer mist, trying to look everyone in the eye, the women anyway, more exactly a tall dark woman, smaller in the rain, paler in the rain, condensation beading up on her face as if from the coolness of her glance, cup and cigarette sheltered beneath the wide hat with trembling lilies. He put the Lincoln in park and hits a button and the huge white landau top groans and rears and collapses behind him with a shrill wheeze and the woman watches mildly and he says: I’ve got some porkchops and five beers. And Myself, who has had corn for breakfast all summer and a single oyster before bed and a mandrake root under my pillow and, if you care to check, there is a chicken chained up in my yard.

She smiles and bites it away and looks away squinting as if to scan the horizon but there is no horizon and she says -That sounds interesting enough but you ain’t said if you have any money.

Money Lily- can I call you Lily? Money Lily I believe distracts from the temptation of me but I believe my wife dropped some change when she climbed out of the car.
She has to taste these words herself, The temptation of me. Then: What is your name rootboy?
Enough about me.
-Fair enough but who is selling here?
I’m selling my dead father. His shoes, jacket. Look at these shoulders. I’m selling a vintage summer evening, back in 1938.
-Trade you your dead old man for my dead old man.
He rubbed his neck. What’s the use? My ghost comes with his own bowels. Didn’t even quit his day job.
-Who do you see about that?
Who do you talk to?
-My ghost comes with seven graves, all in view of the river.
Oh, the places we’ll go.
-Oh. The things we’ll see.

Planted hand


Tonight my wife sits in the apple tree because this is the way things progress. The wind moves her slightly, and of course the blossoms depart in a winsome lilt.
I soak my hands in salt water. My hands ache from work, or from the ache that work brings. I go straight to the ache from several scant weeks of work as if this toil has always been available in the periphery. It’s an ache of brassed denim and knuckles the size of rockcandy and of a heartfat that reaches back generations and that toil can never touch. This aches does not detract from a beer and a cigarette, the smell of gardenia though a north window, and a Hungarian woman in a tree.

But work is good. The unskilledness of it is cleansing. Debris is removed at the rate of creation. Time, it would seem, can only approve. What else?

June still sings to me occasionally. Her voice is muffled by her tongue running over her aching teeth the very ruin of song and decayed ballads and sweet admonition over the phone lines. I can sense the humming overhead and the crows leap off the wires and tumble in the air and the phone rings. What is stuntingly lovely is mitigated by its own violence, its own rooting through the trash, its own waking the dead. But where is she now?

Final instructions



He spent his days now moving upward in the house of his childhood,
Each night in a different room
A kitbag packed with minor accessories:
Teas of the Fareast, a campstove, a tiny radio and an old

Where he camped he barricaded the door against no one and painted and moved furniture
He would stare at the typewriter until late
Walls of crudely tinted stains and pigmented oils
Applied with sponges and papertowels like inmate abstracts
The furniture clustered in the center of the room and left

He wrote little, often nothing, formal notes to a past ambition
Each room an absolute
A pitch of abandoned reverie
Random dialogues where no biles had yet festered,
no lunatic babbled, yet

He thought that something was finished forever but he had no interest in pursuing
What that could be or if it really mattered
He saw in dislocated memory a woman’s footprint in the dust of
Her own dead skin and he saw in his life a path
Of little more resistance.