Tonight rain is falling like spit.
I, with cigarette and goon belly,
stand on my porch and stare at a squared-off bush,
listening to a car horn blow a few streets away.
The horn blows, then blows again. The driver
might as well be yelling, "I'm a one-horse bastard.
Punch my teeth out!"
My father, a 12-gauge, a 410, and my 8-year-old self,
crawled into our four-door pickup. Dad drove us
to the kerosene shack that housed the riflemen's club.
Gunpowder, flour paste for gluing targets, salted ham,
and a dog. I fired dumb-lucky, won the prize ham,
and have bragged about it ever sinceincluding now.
I collected every issue of Mad Magazine
from 1976 to 1985. My collection of CD swells
and is collapsed by thieves every few years;
the worst are always saved.
Last night I stayed at my girlfriend's.
One of her friend-of-a-friends stopped to sleep
on the couch. I knew of her only as the "kleptomaniac."
In bed, I thought about my watch out on the coffee table
until sex clambered over us. It seemed embarrassing
for a klepto to hear the squeaky bed, so we turned
the clock radio on loudly. The paper cone speaker
heaved the Bugs Bunny sounds of Sir Edward Elgar,
and I started laughing between grunts. The bedsprings
were a pirate ship. Between her grunts, my laughter
was severely questioned. The stiff DJ named the tune
as "Elgar's Wand of Youth" and I cackled.
I can't tell you anything for sure, but I can tell you
a fishnet memorya pencil box, a comb,
jelly-top cookies, the smell of burned hair.
We were afraid the klepto would steal everything.
Sometimes I am all greed. Like when I fear
you will tire and settle for someone who suffices.
Maybe love is the act of crawling into the shell
of the adored, waving their arms around from the inside
and being greedy for them. For years, I imagined us
in my van, driving across a Joshua tree desert;
and it gave my life a focus, an unlikely point
on the grid. Now, I imagine a schooner
pulling us into port on some other continent.
This decrementing loop of possible scenes
is a carved spiral which may make age and death
a fair trade rather than an insult
but then again, could always crash into itself
one day if life fails us.
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