Sometimes I dream dreams. This is what he said to the belle of the hour, dressed as a bohemian, a rather shabby entrance, but nonetheless willing to dance for a few dollars and certainly not as crass as a lawyer with a pin-striped suit and a taste for hard liquor.
…bastards. Many hands make light work and this time I’ll peel the rind— citrus spray in a couple cup-fulls of sunshine dew drops off my brow like blood from a festered wound cried out when the bag of flour exploded. Rage dissolved like oil in water when we took out the kitchen knives and went hunting.
I’m finding my way. That’s what the old folks have to say about it. Muddling through with my fingers pressed against these silent walls, the doors whisper my progress, catty and conspiring against me, slammed shut, locked out. Windows, cruel and cold-faced, have a habit of laughing loudly until (curious) I’m beckoned. There, through the solid glass panes sit silk and satin flowers, the plucked and pruned bourgeoisie— eating and drinking and holding the keys.
An accidental army wife flag burned stands firm in the far green country that placates youth in tin jars and copper kettles filled to each lipped rim with thimbles, pins and buttons shiny white buttons blue threads eyes wide and waiting for news.
Your words on the wire— the telegraph wire— were delayed by the weight of a murder, like black spots on a thin soul, those crows’ feet bent the wire, and not knowing this, I hated you for a long while.
“Qu’est-ce que tu fait ce soir?” The little French girl, Adèle, is on a carousel, on a white horse with a burgundy bridle, chattering. She has a pale, North Sea complexion, pleasing features, bright pink cheeks. She’s dressed in a black and scarlet costume dress. Her waist-length hair falls in brown curls down her back, loose ribbons braided fast. She laughs frivolously and often. This is Charlotte Brontë’s china doll creature in the flesh.
“I’m in a terrible mood,” says Jonathan, leaning on a lamppost. He’s across the street, waiting for the Greyhound, which passes by at ten o’clock every morning of every Thursday of every week. The runny-nosed commuter in the second seat sets his watch by facts. “And it’s all because of that goddamn brat.”
“Oh be quiet, Jonathan,” Eliza answers curtly, because she’s otherwise occupied. Rolls the dice (twice) and moves to St. Charles Place, lately renovated and in need of a final paint job, thinking, If you can’t say something nice…
The bus comes, but it’s too late now and he skips the trip. He’s older now and oh, so much wiser, and it’s dinner time and his Maine roots are calling. Portland, 1998— a small, art nouveau diner with plain, blue curtains and white plates. The floor creaks under heavy footsteps; the waitress is tactful when he takes his coffee black. Eliza orders a salad with house dressing too rich to suit her Lutheran tastes, a brandy -infused paste.
She dislikes sliced tomatoes and picks them out, her fingers stained with juice and orange-red fill. The bill is delayed and cluttered. “This is ridiculous,” he mutters. And the little French girl asks about what she saw: Proverbe ne peut mentir, n’est-ce pas? “Waiter!” Jonathan looks up, annoyed and caught red-handed. To the penguin-coat waiter, he says, “Shut her up, please.” Now muttering over nonsense, Eliza throws down her dinner napkin and she leaves.
In her room, she shuts the door and waits by the window where she shoos away the damn pigeons flown down to perch on sills and rain gutters all fluttering and cooing and gray and dowdy and making a general ruckus… and she waits for things to happen.
The reception line weaves through city blocks and wheat fields. As far as I’m concerned, we might as well be in Tahiti or the tacky parts of Paris instead of this brick top church and garden gazebo strung with cheap yellow night lights. Yes, mother… I shook his hand— his skin was cool and clammy.
What’s a flywheel press one for assistance, came a sound like metal gears in his pounding head. Take two aspirin and listen to this: the lady’s voice is silkworm smooth but he’s tied in knots that can’t get loose.