Spraying Hope

Walking up Park Avenue the other day I made a right turn on 55th Street and headed east. There was a young couple walking in the other direction, holding hands, engaged in a serious conversation. 
As we got close to each other I saw him let go of her hand with an attitude of disgust and turn away. It was hard to gauge the degree of anger from such brief exposure but I gave them a wide berth.

It feels like anger is everywhere these days and growing more dangerous all the time. A garbage truck leaking brown water from its trough came between me and the sun.
When I got to the corner I turned and looked back to see the couple smiling and hugging and spraying hope like a busted fire hydrant.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn stopped by to see you…

Alexander Solzhenitsyn stopped by to see you today while you were out. We talked for a while about Russian soldiers and all the women they raped in the waning days of the second world war and thereafter. Estimates run into the millions. Girls and women younger than eight and older than eighty, gang-raped, some until they were dead. The Americans did it too, as did the French and English, but none of them on the scale of the Russians. They raped Polish and even Russian women who happened to be trapped there, prisoners of the Germans themselves. They got it coming and going. One of their victims was 12 year old Johanna Renner who would later go on to marry the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, and even later to kill herself.
Solzhenitsyn said that Russia is a patriarchal society but that women are considered the spoils of war everywhere. It’s one of the reasons men go to war, he said. He also wanted to talk to you about the American reporter who was killed this week by the Saudis in their consulate in Turkey. He said the Saudis tortured the reporter before killing him and dismembering him with a bone saw. He wondered why the American government hadn’t criticized the Saudis but figured it was because Trump, like Putin, doesn’t have a problem with killing troublesome reporters. They don’t mind rape either: it keeps women in their place.
Solzhenitsyn said to tell you that he was sorry he missed you but that he was unable to wait around, he was due elsewhere. What could I do to stop him? He’s been dead for ten years.

Specificity

It was the specificity of the dream that disturbed me most. Dreams, after all, are supposed to be wispy things, easily attributed to vague impressions and hungers of one sort or another. This one was different.
We were dancing, which was odd, as we were never much for dancing. Maybe the dancing symbolized something else. You know how dreams are. 

Your hair was bouncing in my face and I could smell it. I can smell it still: heavy with the warmth of your blood. 

The Morning Commute

I
We waited, some more patiently than others of course, for the yawning chasm to open up and swallow us again. The guy next to me, in reference to the presentation of a nearby woman, said, “it doesn’t leave much to the imagination.” Maybe his imagination is not as good as mine. In fact, I’d bet my life it’s not.
II
When we emerged we were surrounded. Any action other than surrender would have been equal parts foolish and futile. We marched, as those like us always have, through streets and fields and corridors, clinging in desperation to every withering scrap of decency.
III
Blank faces mock what they can’t understand.
We can supply answers to every question they ask but cannot pretend, even when they are true, that the answers are correct.
In the end there is only one direction: forward.

Monday Is Chore Day

I
I walked for a long time shifting the box from shoulder to shoulder, feeding it through doorways and windows and leaving it with someone who should know better. I got in my car and I drove to the place where the slaughterhouse ends and the garden surrenders to the street. I rolled on the rubber and told the young woman the type that I wanted. She took care of it for me. I procured the lotions and powders and oils that we’ll rub on our bodies and into our hair. The place where they measure your value with numbers had too many people. I couldn’t get through.
II
I put the roots into the box. I put the oil in there too. I also put in there the treasure I took from its children, then boiled, then nearly froze, to thicken up and lighten the things we do with leaves and beans. 

III
There are lessons in silence that are tough to learn when you live in the place where I do. There are waves in the water and waves in the air, all waving goodbye to the waves in our hair. The oven stopped pulsing. The new flowers held their breath to hear what Segovia learned from Sebastian.

And Just Like That The Summer Ends

And just like that the summer ends
With the whistle of a rocket and the hiss
that escapes from a canfull of bubbles
With a muffled sound that is either a cough
or the long sigh that follows surrender
And just like that the summer ends
The calendar turns to October
The clock will turn back but just for one hour
and nothing else ever turns back or regrows
or blossoms or fades into softness and warmth
And just like that the summer ends
With no time for excuse or permission
With no appeal to reason, persuasion,
reconsideration, patience, or mercy
Without even taking a breath before the plunge
And just like that the summer ends
It gathers up all its belongings,
packs them into impregnable shells,
scatters them to the labyrinth wind
and closes its eyes to the coming devastation

Beverly Was Off Her Meds Last Night

I
Beverly was off her meds last night while we perused the parade of paradoxes. Now she can see it all, shiny and clear, the teeth dripping blood and the hidden escape route down the long valley and into the trees.
II
Beverly was off her meds last night and she wanted the whole world to know it. She wants to explain what we’re obviously missing, to go on as we do as if nothing is wrong. It is hard to know something that nobody else does and to say what nobody can hear.
III
Beverly was off her meds last night and she didn’t see the morning creeping up from the east, without even the courtesy of a warning. The first rays of light surfed across the sea and rode on a wave to Beverly’s door and drowned the whole world in sunshine.