where the players lick their wounds

I look over at the guy next to me.

“Last one, Kimber. Four fingers with a splash,” he says.

He turns to look at me.

“My nightcap. Whaddaya take to help you sleep?” he asks, patting his pocket.

“Two peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. Creamy,” I reply.

“Hugrhm?” is this noise he makes.

“Yeah, crunchy is more of an a.m. thing for me.”

“So you don’t wanna buy something?” he says, again patting his pocket, like I had missed his question’s point.

“I’ll buy your nightcap, there, if you can give a good answer to a dumb question,”

His pupils dilated as soon as he heard “I’ll buy.”

He swirls the spirits against three ice cubes, as if contemplating the offer.

As if he had something to lose.

“Okay,” he says after an impotent dramatic pause.

“What is the meaning of life?”

Without pause, he responds, “To find an answer to the question ‘what’s the meaning of life.’ “

“Put that one on my tab, Kimber,” I say.

~

I’m here to hear loud music.

I’m here to feel the second-hand smoke hurt my lungs.

I’m here for a headache.

I’m here to be alone in a crowd.

I’m here to eavesdrop.

People chasing highs; People stalking thighs.

Licking each other’s wounds.

I am here because it will help me to sleep.

In sight unseen.

Living level with a parking lot.

The true danger of always opening windows is

what the neighbors must think during the winter.

It is not about the thieves, that which you worry.

How strange you, too, recall that same thing that never happened.

A sweet rendezvous in a town of busybodies,

where it is both

easy and hard

to remain in sight yet unseen.

pendulous periodicity

Locals always laugh at the outfits of outsiders.

Before this autumnal fall,

í, in summer, remember when the sun would not fully go down until the double penetration of digits of the timely hour:

ten o’clock

eleven o’clock.

The midnight sun.

Mooning and fully waxed, then too soonly waning;

like how the free market prefers prefit,

favoring beholden over that which is bespoke and

hand-made.

Hot-air ballons.

so tightly wound, we no longer remember which is the right side of the road

down which to drive.

What of those howling, “sincerity is my only credential?”?

Those who live where the gravity is strange?

Where it pulls at such acutely obtuse angles?

Like shadows of the diabolicals we call hills and valleys.

Leaning forward whilst reaching back in this pendulous periodicity of the multiform streams.

A sound not a bay.

I am the subtle magnetic force trying to kindly shift

your aged space and the immediacy of your moments.

Or, is that you?

Pulls of the polarized enliven me.

Maybe I am your current, optimal conditions,

an ideal, unidyll ether enabling materialization.

I see from the lonely vacuum without feeling alone.

Electric light and natural radiance.

A backlit screen,

The sun striking the pages of written text in a newly opened book.

Lidar and black holes howling in polite algorithmic rhythm.

The Oxford comma not being used within

sentences always running-on.

A’stood between two pillars of trees

with bark gnarled from time,

coarse like hands that can carry wood and graphite,

my writing flows

forward and backward.

And, simply saying, “hush” can be a come and turn-on to the fretted strings.

I see success is your proof; and, it

arouses need to draw your reaction.

Your attention.

So when you ask: Do you see?

I respond: I know.

Because I want to hear

You ask me: you know what, exactly?

i know my eyes want to watch your eyes: I reply with sheepishly calculated vulnerability.

I can see you enter a hypothetical room and

stand still.

Hell knows what I’d be doing, but

I know

I would stop doing it at the sight of your site.

To read you, without words,

your reaction. The response received from your eyes, without smiles.

Feeling as a fool tossing a coin with the Fates.

I ran with you in dreams last night: I say.

And, I understood the difference between a cagey connoisseur and a common collector: I think.

A coattailer or a partner in crime.

You tell me: your hair is a kudzu trail twisting down a terrace in tresses of winding locks.

These things are integral, like a well-timed laugh,

yet, they reduce to simple vibrations and shudders.

I live by a body of water

that is a sound oft confused for a bay.

But, my bays sound

like a whispered suggestion:

Come and bathe with me, Archimedes.

Collected Strands

Restless a.m.

I

Ayes running through my mind’s eyes like little cottontails scrambling into the brambles.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Robins bobbling around for worms.

The only animals appearing sleepy are tethered. A dog walking a human.

A clot of hair collects about a nail head that is pounded into the railing.

I suppose it is mine.

Strands tugged a’loose like feathers, after the daily ritual of:

arrive home, sit outside, and, let the waves down.

Like little feathers lost only to be reassembled into

a new configuration.

A merkin for the metal.

Almost a double ewe.

The British invasion occured today, at the restaurant.
A delightful change of clientele in town for Birdfest.
Aside from the accent, the nearly, overly polite manners gave them away.
Along with the ability to smile and make kindly eye contact despite not having had their morning caffeine.
Who cares if they mean it.
Such civility for the sake of simple decency resonates with my Southern background. The South has little else to offer, currently. Hence, my leaving a few years ago.

(Serving people who have arrived to have their first cuppa in our dining room is always an intimate moment of raw honesty. Coffee, tea, or booze).

They enjoy my accent as much as I enjoy their’s. They laugh when I say ‘y’all’.”

I say it a lot. Habituated.

“Most practical pronoun in American English. Much better than ‘you all/guys’,” I tease.

Server P over hears this.
S/he snags me by my shoulder and, laughing, tells me, “I like ‘y’all’ as much as I prefer ‘they/them’!”

It makes me giggle. It makes me feel good to hear this.

Until today, coffee out ordered tea.
Eight to one.
We run out of tea pots to distribute, for the first time ever.

I convert our decaf urn to a simple pot of hot water, to meet the refill demands.

¤

A solo diner arrives.
I wave as I approach from the rear of the dining room, so he knows he has been espied and will be assisted as fast as my heels can click my steps toward him

“Oh gee, hi there. How are you? It is just me, I am afraid,” he says to the hostess (me) before she (me) has even greeted him.

I break into my you-are-dear-to-me smile, immediately.

He was not British, though he held the manners and demeanor.
He had me in age by at least one and a half decades.
Long lovely fingers, nearly sky eyes but not quite.
Like a mockingbird’s.
Like a seagull’s call, cackling at me, because I kept wanting to mistake him for someone else.
We swap a good moment.

He looks a bit bewildered when I tell him I can seat him at a table or he may sit at the bar.
I have put him on the spot and he does not know which he prefers. It makes him genuinely squirm a bit.

Most American folk are most happy to be asked for their opinion. People love to let you know that they think “this” about “that.”

“Tell you what, our best server is bartending today. You should enjoy her service. Let’s go the bar.”

He blushes, nods; and, again,
I want to mistake him for someone else.

I lead him to
seat 35, specifically.

I watch him as I work, this sweet, little, mockingbird.
He watches me working, when he thinks I am not looking, but my job here is to always be looking.
I watch him try to subtlety watch me.
I avert my gaze, at times.

Eventually, I can no longer refrain.
I walk over to him and say, “I just want you to know you have such beautiful eyes. Exceptional.”

He gives me a look of shock and discombobulated confusion.

I touch my palm to his shoulder and walk away.

‘Exceptional’ because he recalls someone shamefully impeccable.

Inviting.

I watch white butterflies flutter by.

The local feral cat dozes under a nearby bush.

As with the boisterous Stellar’s jays who I feed peanuts, the cat accepts my presence now.

S/he gives me a lazy, sidelong glance.

I focus into those two eyes and blink my own very slowly.

The cat returns my slow blink.

This means we are still cool. I speak cat, see.

I am poor but I am elitely wealthy in simple luxury.

So, I suppose that I am rich at the moment,

to my mind’s eye.

In scenery. In being able to walk to work.

In being down with the local flora and fauna.

I smell bursts of flowers’ blooms from proficient gardeners.

Blasts of fragrances from local shops with open, front doors.

The day invites me.