Saturday, February 14, 2015


…It's early and gray out with fog hanging over the tree tops, but I like it.
…The other day I saw the beaver swimming across the lake.  He was taking a different route, sort of zig-zagging across the lake.  He seemed sort of confused, for a beaver anyway.
…A week ago I had my 800th story/poem accepted.  It felt good.  I’ve hardly been submitting anything lately since I’ve been at work on the novel.

…I wrote this a long time ago:


A murderer’s hands is what I always thought,
the berry-stains having settled into the whorl of my fingerprints and
under the jagged canopies of my nails.
I’d scour my skin with steel wool that looked like a ball of pubic hair
but showed no mercy as its metal bristles
ripped away the evidence.
I had tried to pick with gloves once but it slowed me down
and, despite my young age, I was the fastest of them all,
adults and migrant workers.
In the fields was the closest I ever came to being king.

Ragamuffins, we had nothing
yet we were rich in summer.
I was anyway,
my berry-picking money so light yet a weight slithered inside a back pocket.
Juice splotches marked the bills like blood bombs,
still that was Lincoln’s face one the paper money.

I had brothers but not friends.
Even the Mexicans kept their distance,
me skinny and tall enough to be a monster to them,
some white boy Godzilla.

Just before dusk
I had the habit of passing through the weed-wasted cemetery
that butted up to our trailer park.
It smelled of sewage and clay and
the cadaver gray headstones looked like absurd slices of toast
or doors sinking into the sun-baked earth at an angle, aged and crippled,
waiting to be handed a brace.
Some had been sprayed with graffiti,
fake neon names slurred across the chiseled real ones,
though no one seemed to object
or ever even visit.

I established relationships with the dead,
befriending them in a way I never had the courage to do in real life.
Lawrence Lemley, deceased 1956, became a wise uncle dispensing advice,
Ida Schwimmer, 1932, my sixth grade teacher.
I courted a few of the girls that I expected had been pretty,
one who’d died a year older than me. 
She had eyes the color of a Holiday Inn swimming pool and hair brown and bouncy like root beer.
I told her I was going to be rich some day.
I explained it was berries now, but the real money was in apples.
Once I could find me an orchard that’d take a twelve year old, I’d be set, I said,
and I felt myself blush a fire
when she answered with a whisper that
she believed me.

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