The columnist reads the crows
falling out of the the laurels
and adjusts his hat. The stories come
when the dogs go slack in the wet grass
and the crows walk in the street.
There is talk of revolt,
the madness at home can wait.
We wait until night to howl at the rats
behind his house where he waters
the grass, silver and naked but for his hat.
This is then, when they stepped out, right ?
down the steps from the hotel to the Aubergine –
more like black bruise colored,
the concrete ramp they call the Aubergine
to make being old or in a chair not stink –
and across the Checkerboard –
the regular boardwalk painted black and white
so getting to the sand is a game not a drag –
and to the sand. Before this is when
they were in their room for two days
only some steps and the Aubergine
and the Checkerboard away from the sea.
This is after the fight at El Patio
and the fire and the red tag on the door –
so you know you can’t live there anymore –
after the first hotel in Carlsbad –
this is Laguna, right ? this is when we freaked
and didn’t know if they were in jail
or in TJ or they killed each other,
which she did, him, when they stepped out
and down onto the cool blue gray sundown sand
after two days in that room with a rock
she picked up on The Aubergine
and the hotel said their room was really clean
and the bed was still made.
Grade A uncut hot ass humidity
flies on my arm ignore the fan cars move
slow in the heat their tires outside
my window sound like tongues all out of spit.
What are you now ? Ash, a vine, a portion
left to sleep, crying in your sleep.
They want to take your leg.
Your oximeter chirps behind you, above you
Bandit steals a kiss from the Frog.
We don’t speak.
Neglect is our common tongue. We smoke
and snort our way into the same bed, mother
and son, until one second before the only second
that counts. If the Snowman and Fred could see us
from the TV on the wall, they’d choke and chew
each other to the bone. We can win any race
where you have to beg to finish.
My month of non-stop fathering is coming to an end. Noah is packed and ready to leave. Oskar starts school tomorrow. In a few hours I will be alone.