Monday, November 30, 2015

Danger: Safe Sex

Last week, on the roadway in front of my car, a bit to the left toward the yellow centerline, rested a condom. I say "rested" because, after all, this open-ended (one side) sausage casing, was tired, spent, used, discarded, exhausted of any capacity for further employment. I spied this object in the morning. What carnal circus or mayhem had taken place overnight? I was relieved to know my car was not a venue for whatever tryst or ambush or dalliance had occurred. My car was still locked and had not been broken into. I was annoyed, embarrassed, and irked at the sight of a post-coital condom. This was not a merely puritanical or judgmental response. Such objects in one's environs are hardly welcome; they don't raise the value of surrounding properties. Still, why does this particular bit of detritus rankle me more than, say, a gum wrapper or cigarette box, though I abhor all litter, as I have noted in this space abundantly? Is it the cavalier disregard of others or of others' surroundings it hints at? (What else was the penile perp to do?) Some might celebrate the object as forensic evidence of safe sex. Yippee. (Such hurray-shouters would inevitably reside from afar, proponents of No Condoms In My Frontyard, NCIMF.) So, what did I do? I went to the trunk of my car and retrieved a pair of work gloves. I daintily picked up the thing, using two fingers, squinting in disdain, averting my gaze. Then what? I wasn't going to waltz into my apartment and put it in the trash. Nooooo. It would make for a rude and uninvited guest, an awkward visitor. I walked up near the house, by some bushes, and tossed it amidst some thickets, where it can rest, unseen, for centuries, known only by me. And now by you as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

dial tone

Terms from the last century, artifacts from another age, which if said rapidly, fait la liaison, as the French say (and as Phil Ochs did it in song), sounds like "another rage": dial tone, land line, busy signal, modem hookup, Polaroid, dial, rotary, party line, long distance, directory assistance. What did these words mean in the 20th century? And what do they mean in this age? Each of them meant something. Each has a lexical hangover of some sort or another, masquerading and strutting as if these words could declare, as they used to, quite automatically, "Everyone gets it. Everyone knows what I'm talking about!" Who could not be jealous of such linguistic surety, such bold certitude? Now, these words or phrases are relics, on the shore, verbal driftwood, polished into alien sculptures.

Monday, November 16, 2015

all hung up

On the corner, dangling from a pay phone, a relic from another age, like hardware we left on the lunar landscape, a piece of plastic attached by a metal umbilical cord: the talking and hearing implement. Is there a busy signal? A dial tone? Hello? Hello. Anybody there? Anybody walking by? Excuse me. Hello?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


One measure (the hip and already worn out word is metric or metrics) of my well being and well bearing today is to succeed in avoiding metrics. By that I mean, I will have achieved some measure of serenity if I have enough spiritual stamina to AVOID going to the Createspace website or the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) website, both tentacles of, to feel the pulse of my paperback or e-book sales, more typically, lack of sales. It does me no good whatsoever to gauge the financial or egotistical temperatures of these ventures. It costs me too much in the wages of attachment. I do better to ignore such empty calculi, laden with expectation and self-validation. And stuff like that.

Friday, November 06, 2015

woman down

As I open the door to exit the senior-living facility, I am startled by someone facing me, in my face, more accurately. A thin, frail elderly resident, trying to get in. Do we both scream? We surprise each other. She is falling backward. It is all happening in slow motion, as they say. But it really feels that way. I am somehow summoned out of my slo-mo reverie. By what? I grab her, brace her, sort-of catch her in midair as she goes down. I break her fall. She lands on her rear or her arm or her leg. I cannot say for sure. Does she bounce against the railing? She does not hit her head. I help her up. We were both scared witless. Are you okay? Yes, she says. She says she thought she heard someone (me), from the outside, as if to scold herself for not preventing the incident. She talks about how easily she bruises. She lives next door to my mom. Are you sure you are all right? Yes, she says. We talk some more. As William Carlos Williams put it, "so much depends." Yes, so much depended. Could've been far worse. Phew. Hashtag grateful. You sure you are all right. Yes. Boy, I'm glad I wasn't speeding out that door.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

on the spectrum

surely I am on the spectrum

but whose or of what

spectrum of hues

missed cues

crowded by static

or worse yet stasis

hyperfocused or is it hyperfocussed

socially obtuse

you don't get it
I got it

who doesn't

fumble fear


off the spectrum

floating in dark matter





Tuesday, November 03, 2015

sign, interrupted

I woke up Sunday morning to see a street sign lying on the ground, injured or dead (who can say?). The sign had two messages affixed to its pole: one prohibiting parking from the posted spot to the corner, the other permitting parking on odd-numbered days starting at 6 p.m. How the sign found itself in the prone position, rather than the standard vertical one, is a mystery. It's a mystery to me, but not to everyone. The normally-rooted-in-the-ground metal pole holding the sign's message was severed near the bottom, seemingly sheared. An unbloody stump remained in the ground. How did this happen? It would take some force. A thump was heard in the night, the morning hours. Did a vehicle hit it? I saw no tracks to indicate that. Did Halloween mischief makers make mischief? How? What are we to make of this, if anything at all?