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Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

“| a fork in me”




I’ll | to my story, though it |s in my craw.
Judge, I wound up on the wrong side of the |.
I always tried to | to the letter of the law,
but my |-to-it-iveness just didn’t do the trick.

I got stuck in a |y job—carrot and |—
the CEO’s nose always |ing the air.
He said we had to | together, thin or thick—
while he was |ing it up the Boards’ derrieres.

His fudges started |ing out like sore thumbs,
and the Feds began to | their noses in.
He told ‘em were to | it, but those guys ain’t dumb.
They knew business wasn’t straight than a |pin.

I got stuck stacking |ers in a stark stockroom
to keep me from |y questions and news hype.
If I struck the powder, I didn’t mastermind the boom;
and, Your Honor, you can | that in your pipe.

I’m a |-in-the mud accountant. I’m not a crook.
I’m not trying to | it to the man or get rich quick.
| around, and | with me—I’ll open up the books.
If we throw enough mud, some is going to |.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Disclaimer

The poet makes no warranty that he or she treats of any single, objective, accurate or essential truth about her or her own poem except in the poem itself. Additional or contradictory interpretations by others may be reasonably given equal or greater credence.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heads or tails?

HEADS OR TAILS, RICHARD?
By FangO

and Alice's artist friend, Kurt, flipped
and worried a silver dollar the whole time
we ambled around Manhattan, bumblebeeing
into art galleries and revolutionary bookstores.
Coming out of one, Kurt chatted up
a Texan woman who was picking up her rejected
charcoal nudes. She was a flat-out nut,
I reckoned, though Kurt and Alice
enjoyed splashing in the flow of her quick
drawl of scandalous international narrative.
Had she been local, richer and only
slightly more balanced, Kurt could have
stacked another possible crash pad
on the three he has standing by. Spiv,
that's a Scrabble word I love. One who
lives by his or her wits. One day, Kurt,
your figures will be billboard sized.
They may as well be, but will you be
heads up or tails up by then?



***
This in response to poetic asides prompt "answer poem."

Monday, October 15, 2012

From the ice

(untitled)

She's been thinking about
things that don't need thinking

This gives her the sensation
that the rink sinks inches

at a time whenever she launches
a leap--a wince pinches her skates.

For the klutz who learned triple
Lutz, a great deflation--smack--

cold reminder of the bindings
in her locker. Her back iced,

she bounces up, thrusts her body,
her choice, noise of crowd sigh,

disappointment at the points lost.
To be or not to be nigh eighteen,

a mother or a medalist--shake
the thought, chase momentum

ignore the devil.


***
This in response to Robert Brewer's weekly prompt at poetic asides, with the direction to start a poem with a line drawn from his notebook.

I am submitting from the road, in New York, where we went skating in Long Island with our cousins, one of whom is a competitive ice skater. Being at the rink, and having watched her videos, and some performances of other local champs, put me in the setting of this po-narrative. Something about the concentration of atheletes in opposition to the complexities of the lives we 21st century United Staters lead generated this poem.

In it, a skater, falls. In her mind is a situation which is open to interpretation. In my mind, is the issue of abortion, cued by the word "choice," the mysterious "bindings/in her locker," and most plainly "to be or not to be nigh eighteen//a mother or a medalist..."

I am still drafting this--no title yet. Also experimenting with a rhyme game, quite imperfect here, wherein the last sound of the second line in each couplet returns, doubled, in the following couplet. for example "thinking" returns as "rink sinks" and "smack" returns as "locker...back." It's a work in progress.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Our Books Interviews Daniel Ari

I really feel good about this interview at In Our Books Here are some reasons why:

  • I'm proud of the poem "this glamorous profession" that won the contest there and garnered the interview.
  • I'm pleased with what I wrote for the interview.
  • I think Ina Roy and Andrea Heiberg have a really beautiful blog going. I love the look and feel of it, and I really enjoy their posts.
  • I'm tickled at the strange conflux of influences that led me to discover a poem that I very much like—it's a found poem, born out of the writings of Patrick Sokas.
  • I won 50 kroner for my poem!

Signed,
Your Humble Host,
Linky McLinkerson


Here's the poem:


 “this glamorous profession”
after Patrick Sokas, M.D.


Bill took an interest in my suit.
“Where did you get it?”

I looked at my feet and mumbled.

“I have one just like it.”

I glared. “This was my only suit, a mail-order suit.”

“You probably saw a picture on a model.”

“It looked good, though it was probably pinned up in back.”

“You said, ‘I want that suit...’”

“Actually I said, ‘I can afford that suit.’”

Bill took away my notebook,
and he played reporter for a while.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A limerick


I, Daniel, am planning a spread
Of humus, falafel and bread;
And since my own pate
Is smooth as a plate,
I’ll serve it on top of my head.



***
Who rocks the limericks?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Left and found


Left and found


“To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.” —Cheslaw Milosz


The worst interview of my life:
I want the memory to stop
slapping me in the forehead.
I would have been a teacher,
but the three-day introduction
at the art school in the mountains
fell like bear shit in snow. I got
shut and shy, retriggered faults,
sat with the maintenance staff
instead of my future fellows
because it was the first seat
I saw in the strange dining hall.
My friend who’d opened the door
for me stopped meeting my eyes.
The last morning, I slipped away
like a whisper through the snow,
hazarding the icy roads to leave.
The teachers—they had put me
with the one boy who was not
fitting in thinking, perhaps,
we could help each other.

I believe in redemption,
so I’ll go back into that time
with skis and with honey,
with sage and age, a candle
and a poem. I’ll let my body
untangle the monkey puzzle,
and not merely surrender
to the wisdom of timing
(I have no trouble doing that).
Let me say this now: I was one
to be proud of, then, and I can
demonstrate why and how.
It will take more than a poem
in words. You will need to see
me dance it out—I will need to.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bye-Bye Song on A Show With Ze Frank

The "Bye Bye Song" is back on A Show with Ze Frank.
This time, it's sung by a chorus of people at The Bipartisan Cafe during the IMUNURI poetry event, August 11, 2012. In the crowd are my fellow IMUNURI poets, Scooter Cascadia, James B. Wheeler and his wife Joyce, Terence Keane (who keens, "Good night, now" in falsetto), and Lauren Ari. Also in the audience is poet, Meena Rose, friend Ellen Kramer, my cousin Hannah Fleischmann, and Lauren's cousins.

My version of "Bye Bye Song" debuted on a prior episode of A Show with just me and the squeezebox.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I've been defenestrated!

I have a new poem at the witty, entertaining Defenestration online magazine.
It's about what fascinates me.

Love,
Daniel

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wild Age Press Honorable Mention poems


Here's some nice news:

Wild Age Press gave me an honorable mention in their "Anything Goes" poem contest. They put up a photo and bio of me (which, perhaps, you were looking at just before clicking over here to read my honorably mentioned poems). 

Editor Kelly Lynn Thomas says these poems earned the mention "for their innovative form, strong imagery, and fascinating subject matter."

They are queron, a 17-line poetry form of my own devising. I hope you will enjoy. Smiley face.

  * * *


"Serious Ink"


“Pinstriped skin? You want pinstriped skin?”
So, needlessly, you repeat it.
“Okay, okay. The Pinstripe Kid.”
He’s old. He fetches his needles
and a jar of powdered black ink.

“Take a couple months. At least weeks,
you know.” Yes, you know. The man slakes
the ink from a cracking teapot.
Though chilly, you take off your slacks.
“So what’s up?” he asks. “You pissed off

at your mother?” But when he asks,
it’s at the back wall, an aside.
So you don’t say anything.  “Fuck,”
he barks, laughs or coughs.  What?  “Hell. Stripes.
You know? Never mind. You ready?”

You are. Each etching stroke feels like
bursting across a finish line.


   * * *


"Now You Know"


Do porcupines masturbate? Answer: Yes.
I guess naturalists must have seen it,
but I learned it from Trivial Pursuits.
“What’s trivial,” asks the spiny rodent,
“about pursuing pleasure?” I’ll say this:

when I think how everyone masturbates,
I picture Ronald and Nancy Reagan
around the start of the 1980s.
They weren’t attractive, but I was thirteen,
with certain chemistries coalescing.

“That’s hilarious,” laughs the porcupine,
“if I’m to judge. Say, do you have something
salty to eat?” To be clear, the Reagans
are not objects of my fantasizing.
I just think of them as masturbators,

standing for all humans as such. “I think
playing is why we live,” it says, chewing.




   * * *

"A Vision During a Vision Quest"


What happens as I watch a spider’s web
over a small stream? After many hours,
a wave of bugs on an advancing wind
washes over the spot. “It’s the spider’s
fortune,”
I think, watching several wing pairs

stick and tangle. Only then do I hear
the approaching rustle behind the swarm.
It’s a woman in hiking boots, long hair,
and a bikini, swinging, like Occam’s
Razor, a broad stick to de-web her way.

“Hi.” She could be a god in human form.
“Ya’ll having a party over at Bonne’s?”
“It’s a retreat.” Her hips shift and she seems
to give, by repetition, a koan:
“Ya’ll having a party?” I don’t know. Her

weedy pubes spin out thick and uncontained.
When she blazes on, the spider web’s gone.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Categories Round 4 Rannygazoo!

Let your mind slip and slide down the linguistic pathways it loves.
Let it fall into new alcoves to discover ghost harpists igniting juniper knishes.
Get distracted, found, lost. Get silly.
PLAY CATEGORIES 

This is a word game where you think of words that fit in certain categories and start with certain letters. Here is How to play.

Draw your grid, four cells by four cells.
Your categories across the tops of your four columns are:

Words related                  Embellishments                Synonyms              Made-up words
to show biz                      (up to you to define)         for "fix"                  (must include definition)

Your rows get these four letters:
P
I
G
S

Now, fill in the cells, a word related to show biz beginning with P, an embellishment beginning with P...
A word related to show biz beginning wtih I
A word related to show biz beginning with G
...

Post your answers in the comments section by July 13 for capricious adjudication and assignment of points.

Your score will be calculated according to these basic rules*:
1 point for each answer
+? for LOLs. Funny is good.
+10 if you include a flash fiction (50-200 words) that includes at least five of your answers.+1 for any of your answers that match my answers (unposted until the end)
+one billion for any made-up words or definitions that match mine (I expect to get outlandish)
+1/2 and 1/4 point increments for multi-word answers in which each word starts with the cue letter; e.g., for celebrities starting with H, Helen Hunt would score 1.5 points and Hollywood Hulk Hogan would score either 1.75 or 2 depending on my attention for fractional math at the time of scoring.
OOOH!
+10 points if you refer someone else to this game and they play it. No limit on this one. If 20 of your friends play categories, that's 200 freakin' points!
+1 point for first-timers (welcome, new players)



*as well as a fair amount of whim. Good luck and happy gaming!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I got time! A gospel call and response


I got time
A gospel call and response


[A lead singer leads the song
and the chorus responds
with echo or exclamation.
After the third verse,
different singers improvise
the lead vocal, and when
everybody has had a turn
and the assembly is satisfied,
the first two verses are repeated
with a long ritardando at the end.
Chords are major I-IV-V-ii
in familiar gospel style,
played by everybody
who has an instrument.
Dancing is encouraged.]


Oh, I got time.  (I got the time.)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time.)
Now, I got time (I got the time.)
To do what I love, (Do what you love!)
Do what I want, (What you want!)
Do what I need. (What you need!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time.)
I got time. (Hallelu!)

There was a time (Once was a time)
I didn’t see (Lord have mercy!)
That I had time (Yes, yes!)
Thought time had me. (Mm-mm!)
But gradually (Praise the Lord!)
I found I’m free, (Hallelujah!)
And I got time. (I got the time)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To read to my daughter
To drink a little water
To see a river otter
To read Harry Potter
To spend a quarter
To drink some porter
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To do my study.
To see my buddy.
To get real muddy.
Even get bloody,
Go down in the floody
Play with Silly Putty.
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To answer my mail
To wag my tail
Fix the hole in the pail
Eat dino-kale
Get hit by hail
Get old and frial
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

[This goes on for some time
with different singers all taking turns
at these listing verses where six lines all rhyme
ending with the refrain “I got time…”
The lines should come rapidly,
spontaneously, sloppily and joyously
in the surrendering spirit of improvisation.
More potential verses follow:]


To laugh a little
To cry a puddle
To get into a muddle
To put on the kettle
Feel fit as a fiddle
To wiggle my middle
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To play a game.
To go out in the rain.
To wrack my brain.
To go insane.
To feel real pain.
To heal again.
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To feed the sick.
To light a wick.
To do my trick.
With a dowsing stick.
To throw a brick.
To flick my Bic.
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

To praise the all.
To answer the call.
To go to the mall.
To rise and fall.
For the big and small.
For the short and tall.
I got time. (I got the time!)
Yes, I got time. (I got the time!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Play Categories for prizes! Game ON: Round 3

Beezo says, "Relax!"
De Jackson, RJ Clarken and Phil Fleischmann all took prizes in rannygazoo round #2. The gem that really stuck with me was RJ's R-entry for "obscure words." Spending the weekend in Vegas with friends from college, I had many opportunities to use the word rannygazoo, though nobody knew what I was talking about.
 
If you'd like to join me in reviving the old rannygazoo, it means about the same as shenanigans.  

What? You want another round? Of course you do! I do, too!
ROUND THREE!
(Here's how to play).

For round three the categories are:
1. Someone you would like to hug
2. Objects smaller than a kernel of corn
3. Synonyms for "sexy"
4. A complete sentence beginning with the cue letter wherein that letter is used more often than any other single letter.

The 4-letter word: MELD


Points will be awarded capriciously and arbitrarily based on (or in spite of) these rules:

1 point per cell filled
+ 1/2 point for multi-word answers in which each word starts with the cue letter (e.g., for actors starting with C, Chevy Chase would score a bonus 1/2 point).
+ 1 point for each hug actually delivered to your answers for category 1 (Max bonus = 4 points. Please declare your hugs. Honor system observed.)
+ 2 points for the smallest object named for each letter across all entries, if possible to determine.
+ 2 for the sentence with the most occurrences of the cue letter, for each letter, across all entries.
+ 1-5 bonus points for LOLs
+ 10 bonus points if you also submit a poem or flash fiction that includes at least 5 words from your category grid.

Entry deadline is June 12.
 
Prizes to the top scorers or those entries that otherwise "win."

Monday, May 28, 2012

North American Time by Adrienne Rich

North American Time
by Adrienne Rich

Recorded for Oaktown Indie Mayhem event (which I could not attend in person).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Play Categories for prizes - Round 2

It's Beezo, the Categories Game Rabbit!
Congratulations to Pamela (PCS) and Patricia who both took prizes in round one. The prize, a signed copy of "Monster Poems" by Daniel Ari, illustrated by Lauren Ari.

Now, let's start round 2!If you don't know how to play, here are the simple directions.

The categories are:
1. Fictional places
2. Two names of cities
3. Synonyms of "sound"
4. Obscure words

The 4-letter word: HORN


Points will be awarded as capriciously and arbitrarily as before according to (or in spite of) these rules:

1 point per cell filled
+ 1 point for each pair of cities in category 2 that are connected by roads (i.e., you can drive from one to the other).
+ 5 points for the single pair of cities among all entries that have the greatest driving distance between them.
+ 1 point for each obscure word in category 4 that includes a definition
+ 1-3 bonus points for LOLs
+ 10 bonus points if you also submit a poem or flash fiction that includes at least 5 words from your category grid.

Start your engines.
Winner to be announced June 5 because I'll be in Las Vegas when the deadline would have otherwise been.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A queron about the city, wonder and Yank Sing2Go

 Had trouble finding the right title. Something about how experience is so concentrated here,
or in any city. Maybe you have an idea of a different title that could work for this poem?


Texture & Discovery


A man shares my bench, lowers his shades, flirts
with me; but having lunch is why I’m here.
I must keep this custard off my shirt.
In the city, look and it appears:
toothy skyline, transit or dessert.

I’ve been a tourist nearly twenty years,
still looking up at the tops of towers—
still amazed at all the sounds to hear—
conversing, saxophones, ambulance howls—
not commonplace, the cities of earth.

I could wander or I could sit for hours
lost in this chaotic summer dream.
A woman in a sunflower cowl
turns my head right around and then steam
billows up from a grate—smells of beer,

moving bodies, iron and chlorine—
Gotta get back to work. It’s 1:15


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Play Categories, a fun creative-juicy word game (and you could win a prize)!


"Categories” or “The Grid Game” is something my family played on car trips or at home. As an adult, I have found it to be a lot of laughs at parties or writing jams. It’s also a good way to stir up creative energy.

At the last writing jam at my place, Jud, Maria, Janice, Rachel, Lauren, Jason, Ajua and I played. Sharing our results inspired belly laughs as well as a-ha moments. Then we used the answers we came up with as a wordlist for free writing.

So here’s the game and how you can participate now in this blog-based tourney. Three sections follow:

HOW TO PLAY
SCORING
PLAY NOW!

HOW TO PLAY

Create a 4x4 grid on a piece of paper. You could do this by folding a paper into 16ths, or just draw lines. Here’s mine. You’ll notice I left a little space above and to the left, which is not a bad idea.

Above each column, we'll write our categories. When I was a kid, we used categories like animals, foods, girl’s names, and colors.  As an adult, I have found it more fun to use farther-fetched categories, as you will see.

When our categories are in place, we pick a four-letter word in which no letters repeat, such as “WORD,” and we put these letters down the left side of the grid so each row is labeled by one letter.  

Now we fill in the grid with words in the categories that start with the letters, that is, animals that start with the letters W, O, R, and D; foods that start with those letters, and so on.

You can work in any order you wish. Usually, there is a time limit, five or ten minutes, but since we’re playing online, take the time you need. I suggest working out of your head with no external resources, but you may do as you wish without fear of reprisal.  

Eventually, your grid will be complete. Here’s mine:

Now, you’ll notice a few things about this:
  1. Spelling isn’t so important (Osso Bucco has two Cs).
  2. There's nothing wrong with putting the same word in more than one category if it fits both.
  3. Rules are malleable. “Wishbone salad dressing” is absolutely a food, but a bit of askew to the category. I would still count it.
  4. Answers can go out of bounds. Where “out of bounds” begins is not definitive, but “Delicious rhubarb pie” would generally be regarded as a poor answer because "Delicious" is not a food and "Rhubarb pie" does not start with D. I would declare this answer unpointworthy.  
  5. “Delta Dawn,” being a double D, could be worth a bonus point. (Insert your own boob joke here.)
  6. I left “Color-D” blank because I couldn’t think of one. With all the time you need, you don’t need to leave any space blank, but you shouldn’t feel bad about doing so if you can’t think of anything. Blanks are okay.

SCORING

When I was a kid, we scored one point for each cell we filled with a passable answer, and we earned a bonus point if nobody else had the same answer. With categories like “Colors,” this encouraged us to think outside the grid and reach father than “Red.” It also taught us to take  risk. We might venture to put in “Raisin-color” only to have family consensus declare the answer unworthy of a point. But the discussion about how to score the word was always lively.

My family was plenty good at being creative, though, so when we got older, we reversed the scoring criteria. We still got a point for each cell filled, but the bonus point was earned when our answers matched someone else’s. This encouraged us to try to find the obvious answer, but by then our categories had gotten more sophisticated, so matching was rare.

The point, though, is that points are mainly beside the point. If you want them, enjoy them. 
  • Take one point for each cell filled. 
  • If you see someone match your answer, take a single bonus point (you get one bonus point no matter how many people match). 
  • When you post your answers, I will arbitrate where you get extra points for answers that are especially good (not to put too fine point on it). 
  • I will also let you know if any of your answers are out of bounds. (Don’t be afraid to go out of bounds, though. My bounds are pretty huge.)

PLAY NOW!

  1. Make your grid.
  2. Write in the categories and words below.
  3. Fill in the grid and post your answers by May 21. 
  4. Post your grid in the comments section in this format:
Wallaby-Wishbone salad dressing-Winona-Watermelon
Owl-Osso buco-Olive-Olive
Rhino-Rigatoni-Rachel-Red
Dromedary camel-Delicious rhubarb pie-Delta Dawn-BLANK

I will award points and declare a winner, which will be largely arbitrary, so neither the winner nor non-winners will have cause to take it personally. The winner will get a prize! 

You may then use some or all your words in a poem and post that here, too.

Ready?

GAME ON!

Categories:   
  Dances 
  Synonyms for “Light” 
  Made-Up Band Names 
  4-Syllable Words - Bonus point if no two of these END with the same letter.

THE WORD: BACK

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Limerick Time!

Me wrote the limerick of the week at Mad Kane's humor and limerick blog :)

A man had a notable knack
For catching fly balls in his crack.
Though poor with his hands,
He made many fans
In center field, facing the back.

Also submitted:

A man had a notable knack
for observing and narrating back.
Perambulatory,
he typed up his story
and wound up as Jack Kerouac.
 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Poet Daniel Ari featured at Prose Posies

With Gretchen Wegner at InterPlay. My shirt says "Writer" :)
Go see! 
It's me!


Cara Holman's Prose Posies is one of the many great sites linked from here.


Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ghost of Charles Bukowski, novel excerpt / partial tribute, part 2

Continuing with this story. I have to warn you though... I only got as far as chapter five plus a general concept of where I might go.
Read part one, if you haven't already.


2

Three hours later, I’m three sheets to the wind, camped out in the bar booth, which even now that I’m familiar with it, is as eerie as a swamp from an old horror movie. Since it remains that type of setting and I have made it my home, then I am the creature from the dismal swamp. Truth be known, I’m hoping Charles will come in. He’s been scarce since I told him to fuck off, which is typical. He takes things so personally, asshole that he is, ghost of an asshole that he is.
            Night is thinking about taking this ludicrous whore of a town to bed. I can hardly wait. Because with both of them distracted by each other, I might try to sneak home unspotted. To while away the last light, I signal to Enright—that’s the barkeep—for another. Since there are only two other people in the joint, cocooned in a beery discussion that might be political, he sees me right away and comes by with a whiskey sour in only about a half hour.
            “Much obliged, Enright.” No reply.
            I knock back the drink in three domino slugs, and at last my equilibrium topples. I’m going to be sick. I lay down on the forsaken leatherette and gaze at the churning, catacomb beneath the table. I close my eyes, but it’s worse. I open them and tell myself that I’m not going to be sick. If Charles would chime in, it would make a nice, startling rasp to draw my attention. He’d tell me that puke or no puke doesn’t matter. The scum and filth are inside me, and inside everyone, and there’s no getting apart from it. If the vomit isn’t on the floor, it’s in my belly and my esophagus, making me sick from within. You could call Charles an anti-transcendental, the philosopher of the lowest muck you can find, like that on the bottom of the table. I go ahead and vomit with surprising stealth. I think the noise I make is no louder than a deep sigh. The substance I release feels instantly at home where it lands, and I don’t think the stench will travel quickly through this air.  Now that the nausea has passed, I’m sure I can beat it.
            I sit up and suffer a headrush that’s no worse that my inebriation. I teeter through both of these to where Enright stands, staring out at the new night. I’m sure three twenties will more than cover the drinks with a tip so generous as to be sarcastic. I toss them overthree and keep moving toward the door, exiting on my monologue:
            “Nighty night, Enright, gentlemen. This is a great place. I hope to come back soon. Where the hell am I?”
            This punch line hits two steps into the sidewalk. I can see right away that I should not expect a great deal of hansom traffic in this neighborhood. With a faint sense of downtown, I begin to walk, taking deep breaths, trying not to think. There is a beautiful rim of purple light on the western horizon, peeking around the low buildings and trees. It’s heartbreaking in its color and in the way it radiates peace as it leaves..
            “That’s the color of a peaceful death.”
            I stop walking, not sure who spoke. It might have been Charles, but he’s not here. There is a black man not far from me, leaning against a brick wall, looking at the light. I look at him, but he makes no indication that he said or heard anything. Maybe it was me, but my mouth is closed and my tongue is in that kind of sleep where even if a fire alarm went off my muscles would only twitch. I turn in place. I should ask the man for directions, but I don’t. I resume walking toward the light while Miami and her night collide.


I have both dumb luck and a mind for maps. Combined with the sun-faded partial diagrams posted at a series of bus stops, these bring me to a thoroughfare where there are taxis. A few blocks away there’s a movie theater, and I go there. It’s big,  20 screens or more, and so bright, that my eyes ache. Squinting into the box office, I order a ticket for the next movie that’s starting.
            “Spy Kids 4?” asks the cashier.
            “Yeah. I’ve been waiting months to see it.”
            Inside the theater, the light drives drills into my skull, but the trappings of familiar entertainment, familiar from coast to coast, are so comforting that I actually stop at concessions and stand fourth in line to buy a big bag of popcorn and a 7-Up. 7-Up is what I always drank when I was a kid with the flu.
            In the theater, it’s dark for a moment before the film starts and all I see in that space are Amy’s eyes. I see her. She’s hurt. But then the previews start, and the sound swallows me, and I eat popcorn and drink 7-Up and fall into a trance that turns into sound sleep before the film begins its unfunny comedy about nothing.
            I wake when the lights come up. I leave with the crowd, go the can, and close myself into a stall. I feel nauseous again, so I put down an ass-gasket, drop trou and sit. After about ten minutes, I nearly fall asleep again, but roust myself, go to the sink, deluge my face in cold water. Then I wash my hair in great splashes from the sink. I wash my face again, and my neck, then move dripping to the towel dispenser while boys and their dads skirt around me for their business. Men typically give one another breadth when they do their bathroom, and that’s a mercy.
            With paper towels, I dry off more or less, then go back to the same theater. There’s a young usher looking at me who clearly wants to say something about my double-dipping. We exchange a conversation with our eyes. 
            I tell him not to worry about it. 
            He tells me he needs to enforce cinema rules, but he’s not trying be a dick about it. 
            I tell him I’m harmless, by which I mean to leave me alone and go find the teenagers who are doubtless causing trouble somewhere in this entertainment megalopolis. 
            But he takes the meaning of my confession to harmlessness as an invitation to confront me so he can feel good about earning his minimal if not minimum wage without risking anything too serious. 
            With a last visual cue, I let him know that we’ve already made our peace.
            “Can I see your ticket?”
            “Sure. This is my movie. I just came late to the last show and just want to see how it starts.”
            He looks at the ticket. “Okay, go on in.”
            “We could have avoided all that.”
            “What?”
            I go into the theater, take my same seat, and doze off again before the previews start. The last image I see is Amy, whom I love. Who is somewhere in Miami stung by the first and hopefully last jilting of her life.
            God, I don’t know why I did that.