andante con moto

Mine meet the painting man’s eyes, “you read too much.” He says. He used to be a jazz musician. I crook a smile, embellish a nod, and refill my right ear with Mendelssohn. He stares agape for a moment–saturnine eyes droop, catch themselves, then fix upright again. He takes a thin brush from robin’s egg-colored water and continues his piece.

Violins drift in quiescence, flute-float and reach a surfeit of colorful bassoons and trumpets before they tumble back to simple notes. The blue-haired girl behind the jazz player has buttons in the back of her shirt. She reads andante con moto and flicks her wrist as she goes. She turns a page and the jazz player looks askance, first at her, then me, then back to his work.

I want to feel something, but the words of this story are so far flat. From the window, a boy wanders in circles as he takes pulls from a cigarette, and I let go a sigh. I shouldn’t be reading this much.

I should be writing.

I should be writing.
I should be writing.

A strong wind knocks the smoking boy and his smoke-line off-balance, the first of the season. The Mendelssohn piece ends. I should read to something else; something lighter. I should write. I watch the jazz player use a toothpick to dot black on his canvas. The blue-haired girl’s wrist twirls and dances to the words of her paperback. I pack my bag and leave.


Shopping Solo

“Are you okay?” I heard it, too. Sounded like collapsing Thomas’s english muffins; happened right in front of ‘um. Can’t see from my vantage point, but whatever happened is enough to get a few people to turn away from $3 Weaver’s chicken breast (with club card). Two, concerned, leave their carts for a few seconds. One leans to the side; leaves two fingers on the steering bar. Serious stuff.

“Are any of these fucking mops under $10?” The candles are 3 for $3—with club card.

There’s some type of delay. Doesn’t look like anybody’s helping…whoever up. The english muffins aren’t on sale today. There’s some silence, thoughts placed in baskets.

“Why are the Swiffers cheaper than the mops? Do they come with the wet pads? They do. $12.99. Na.”

Some kind of stammers, people nod indifferently.

“Yeah, those sandals be dangerous…sometimes, I guess.”

“Anything here will put us over $15; just use the broom. Maybe use that thing Gina’s dad gave us…you, if anything.” I imagine I pour Clorox (I think I have bleach) and water into a paint tray, dip the cloth sweeper into it, and “mop” the wood floors.

“If you mix 1 part bleach and 10 parts water, you have a medical grade cleaning solution.” That’s what he said yesterday—I buy it.

Mom told me to mix vinegar with water. “It makes your apartment smell like a salad, but it’s safe on the floors.” I don’t have vinegar, and these ain’t my floors.

The spill picks itself up.

“Yeah, gotta be careful wearin’ them sandals.”

The crowd disperses. Back to the Weaver. The full-priced english muffins are fine, but they can stay on that shelf. So can the fuckin’ mops, I’ll just use the broom. The carts are rolled away. I take my basket to the 10 items or less lane, punch in my phone number for club card savings, and check out the checkout girl. $14.37. Boo-yah.

“3 more months and you’re out of here.

I don’t want to move.”


I pretend not to hear the woman collecting donations, climb into my car, and take off. Look forward to getting back to the apartment, unpacking these three bags, then…

A Palliative

At this point, I don’t know what it’ll take. Do I need a new computer? Should I give the typewriter another go? Handwriting has its merits, but God knows I don’t have the patience. And then there’s this thing—a netbook. I’m staring deadpan at you right now. The words this thing conjures up are saturnine, they ain’t mine. Not to say I don’t have a certain muted punch to my offerings, just that my own irascible writings are much different from the Sturm und Drang that drip, drip, drip out in these Google documents.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Somebody needs to save me. Chuck this laptop into the river and let my hands roam other white plains for a while. There’s the rub. Self-masturbatory? Definitely. Ugh.

So here’s the deal, right. I didn’t expect what happened to happen, even if I did write about it. Eating those words, looking at empty spaces between my own. I’m my own Nostradamus, and I could kick myself for not seeing things sooner—or listening to myself, or editing even once or…or, shit I don’t know. Eat those words. It all comes full circle.

But she’s gone now. And there ain’t a word in this language, or any other, that’s gonna change a damned thing. Do I want it changed? 

How do I make love stay?

Don’t know. Or I do. Seven years is a long time. A long itch. A stretch. I’ve come out, abruptly, tabula rasa. Except there’s etching everywhere—but that’s how I feel. Empty? New? Can’t put a finger on it, they’re too busy plugging away, desperately looking for a loose word or two. Catch as catch can. Whatever comes, I’ll take it. Except, nothing. The words whiz on by.

Ah shit, I’m sorry for this. I’m working hard on things. For what? I don’t know. My stories are important to me, even if they mean little. Or worse, a whole lot. Too much to bare.

Don’t let this be it, please. I can’t let it be. I’m drunk. It’s a beautiful night. I’ve been listening to more classical music these days: Bach, Debussy, Handel, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky…I’m calling on you dudes. Help a guy out. I can be romantic, too. Read some of my earlier stuff; it’ll resonate, I swear.

More research. That’s the thing. Dive into words, into studies, and hope your own words don’t drown. Feel that pressure? Deep, man, reeeaaallll deep.

What’s happened to me? Who the hell am I? A phoenix? More like its’ ashes.

I’ll figure it out. Always do.

Until next time. Who knows when that’ll be…