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Month: January 2009

The zodiac vine


Cold new morning, in each window, in all skies. His bad eye perhaps a shade cooler than the other, as if the optic nerve was wicking out all of his stagnant brainhumors. A framed gravure winked in the new light, lightly frosted. He dressed or rather put on boots, a quilted cardigan, wool cap; adding to the chronic union suit, corduroys and pillowticking shirt. He stared out the kitchen window with a modest wish for coffee that morphed into a fundamental and nameless craving. He thought of crazed ceramic cups, old Sootie Smith 78s. Arabica beans roasted to the very brink, and of a lanky blue-limbed woman shaving hazelnuts into steamed milk and stirring it with a 6 inch vanilla bean.

In silhouette she sat on the kitchen chair on her haunches, in an attitude of roosting, breath smoking. The light beyond the window very bright so that the overgrown clematis seemed an extension of her hair. She asked how he hurt his eye and he said that it would not tear, never has and that he had long since stopped trying to keep it clean. She asked if he could see out of it. He thought about this and regarded her then said Sometimes.

I never sat around and plotted your misery


I get nosebleeds.

I keep a chicken on a chain. Wear a gown some Sundays. Screw hogs and teach them Greek. Killed seven in Horizon City, Texas. Killed two more in Tucumcari Nemexico. I stripmine graveyards. Can only mate in flight…And I can lick both boots clean at a trot.

A worksong. A chant is how it goes. Call and response. Singing it is hopeless.

You find something you been thinking about a long time. A person, maybe. Not this time though- lost track of her 1949. First year I made liquor from rosemary, anise and wormwood. She drank fully under my supervision and still disappeared. There is the nagging suspicion that she is alive now. Today I found in a shallow grave the remains of her sourdough starter, and the wig with the wild red hair.

Yet if I were truly evil I wouldn’t get so many postcards.