Monday, September 9, 2013


…I’m home from a 16 day sojourn to Europe—Italy and France.  It’s the longest vacation I’ve ever taken and it was really pretty astonishing on a lot of fronts.

Europeans seem to know how to live life better.  Meal time is a big thing for them and they don’t really snack because food is considered too special for such a thing.  And even though both Parisians and Italians don’t get started eating dinner until 8pm or much later, I was hard-pressed to find any of them who were overweight.  Maybe it’s the smoking?  Because boy do they smoke, especially in France.  But on the other hand, I only saw one European chewing gum the entire time I was there.  Not to mention, despite streets as crammed as NY, no one honks their horn. 

The drinking age in France is 18, but you can drink at home with your parents at 16, and that’s apparently a very loose law.

I found it interesting that on 5% of teens consider the future to be promising.

I found it interesting how savvy conscious all Europeans are.  They have so much style, even when they look silly or dishelved, it’s still stylistic.

There’s an enormous department store in Paris called Bon Marche and if you ever get there, be sure to pass through all of the clothing and furniture sections to the basement where there is a massive (and delectable) supermarket, several wine shops, a liquor store, hair salon, etc.
Well, enough of that.  It’s good to be home.

While I was gone, I had this published at Doorknobs and BodyPaint:

                                                                           Broadway Lives

Lester has faster hands.  His fingers are thin, too, as long as carrots, and he can lift a wallet from the back pocket of any man, no matter how fat they are, no matter how tight their trousers be.  That’s why Momma likes Lester best.  Daddy stopped providing after Trina took the city under, and last we heard he’s shacking up with some rich lady who lives east of here in a pretty-sounding town called Violet.

Lester and me, we know the Quarter better than anybody, even the old codgers.  Sometimes it feels like we was born in the middle of the Square, pushed through a crack in the white-washed cement without consent, like those wicked weeds that look plain until you touch them and invisible needles sink into your skin

At night, if Momma’s smoking the rock, I’ll come down to the boardwalk by myself.  There’s a man who plays banjo and harmonica, both at once, while he taps a cymbal with his foot.  There’s a lady inside a cloth booth who’ll read your palm for a certain amount, depending on what you want to know.  When she read Lester’s, I watched her eyes get jittery in the lamplight, devil-spooked.  She wouldn’t share what she learned, just made up something we all knew was a lie.

Lester and me don’t think we’ll make it to twenty years old.  We only talked about it once.  “Lives while you can,” he said, jutting his jaw all cocky like.  “Lives.”

Tonight I see the lady whose purse I stole earlier in the day.  She’s wearing the same floral-print dress and floppy hat, but she’s with a different man than she was before.  This one’s got quite a gut on him.  His outfit is a boxy t-shirt, cutoffs and white socks inside of sandals.  Man do he look stupid.

They stop at a restaurant, taking seats outside on the patio.  I already gave most of the lady’s money and credit cards to Momma, but I memorized her driver’s license.  She’s Amy Jo Homes from Seattle.

Amy don’t touch this man at all, don’t snuggle him or place kisses on his neck like the other guy.  She eats without talking and I can tell she’s thinking about the handsome man from this morning.

I have a trick I play where I make myself someone else, and I do that right now.

I sit across from Amy Jo.  I tell her she’s the most beautiful thing on the planet, not just people, but more beautiful than anything the Lord cooked up.  I watch her eat ice cream.  I hold her hand, nod toward the stars.  I say, “Aren’t they something?” and she agrees.


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