Friday, November 9, 2018


                               Night At The Broken Opera


         It’s something different in the dark—scaly reptilian, muddy-thick and heavy, trying to pin you down again—and so you fasten a knot or borrow a belt.
         Your step-father is beating a raincloud silly.  Whoop!  Whoop!  Black rain falling.
         From the TV room, your mother shouts, “Scientists have discovered life inside of other lives!”
         You’re sixteen.  You’re nevermore.  David Cassidy can feel your heartbeat.  He’s so sweet.  You’d kiss him if you could.


         He hates the throngs, despises himself, who he is not now, his feathered bangs and puka shells a heartthrob mirage.
         The microphone tastes like a trucker’s sweaty ribcage.  The stage lights have pus-filled dragon eyes.
         He makes up a new fan in the rafters, an unmolded youth, still spilling hope.  He points his guitar that way, sings I think I love you, but doesn’t know if he’s simply lying again.


         They don’t know hell or heavy construction, a jackhammer firing AK-47 loud, shooting white dust, concrete slivers stabbing his cheek.  But that’s women for you, his wife and kid always needing an iron or a pout.
         The guys on his crew say, “Lou, your shit is fucked up, but you’re still funny.”
         He had a parrot once.  It told him the same thing. 
         That bird wasn’t the first thing he killed and it won’t be the last.


         She watches the black-and-white bible blink on the Magnavox television.  Some shit about a housewife with perfect posture wearing an egg carton brassiere.
         Lately her daughter makes a kite from her dingy hair, or else she plucks it out to eat for a snack.
         Her husband always liked them coat-rack skinny.  Now he’s an ass man with different ideas.


         There’s a squirrel in your ear chomping on an acorn, spitting sloppy chunks down your stringy neck. 
David’s done singing.
         The moon outside your window is a paper plate without a meal, an unformed fetus.  You want the thing to kick your belly or ribs from the inside out, something rambunctious to give you a sign that it’s worth it to carry a child within a child.
         You sit on the chair now, staring at a black belt strung around a door knob with its Mr. Magoo nose looking like another silver lie, another trapdoor too easy to fall through.
Your bones have gone silk, liquid, water without a container, sloshing with nowhere to go.
You’re sixteen.  You’re weary, worn-out, made of wax.
When you look again, the moon raises her pallid face, meeting you in the eye, daring something different.
You’re tired, but not that tired.
If David is so sweet, perhaps another boy could be, too.


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