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Curbside Splendor e-zine April 2012

Curbside Splendor e-zine April 2012


Curbside Splendor

April 2012

Curbside Splendor Publishing Curbside e-zine April 2012 ISSN 2159-9475 Poetry: Beautiful Cremation by Deonte Osayande When I Think of That Place I See It in Rain by Barb McMakin The Art of Drowning Billy Collins by Eric Bosse Fiction: Late Afternoon in the Still Garden by Thomas Broderick Porphyria’s Latest Lover by D.E. Fredd

Photography and cover by Feliz Rivera Editor – Leonard Vance

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Deonte Osayande is a two-time Dudley Randall Poetry Contest winner. He is a former Presidential Ambassador for the University of Detroit Mercy as well as a two time presenter at the Symposium for the Society of the Study of Midwestern Literature. He has been a featured poet at many universities and venues across the Midwestern US and Canada and has many print and online publications to his name. He recites poetry and facilitates workshops to help teach, entertain, and positively add to the world.

Photo by Feliz Rivera

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Beautiful Cremation By Deonte Osayande

You couldn't see the others, before this building bleeding wine toned suns, crimson as my inner eyelids. It reminded the kid beside me of his ex-girlfriend. How she chose that other guy over him. How that guy relentlessly ripped through her thighs like torn clothing in a maniacal sewing machine. You should really question this older fellow on my other side. He liked how there was no golden yellow, or fruitful orange in how it burned. Instead you're questioning me, calling our work criminal but you liked it. I know you liked it. I can see that. The others see it. They're in here. Don't you see them too? Regardless, I'm telling you, our masterpiece was extravagant. Young blood poured the gasoline. Old timer lit the candles. I was watching our elegant rivers of colors ignite when you found me by the mantle.

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This beautiful cremation was street art. It's not like the building was being used. Do you guys remember what it was? A church? A school? A rape factory? I cleansed the atrocious scene with blazes. You just can't understand that, too preoccupied analyzing me. I'm not talking to myself. Don't you see them? My inner child is an inferno. My old soul is a wildfire. All three of us saw that wicked man burn her from the inside out. My heart's captor has had her forbidden golden fruit penetrated by the one she loved. The one who gradually killed her. For that I don't blame her. The day I was found in that burning building I waited for death, so I could take her back, exchanging that devil's body. You've never loved someone absurdly passionate over their destruction's architect. I'm under breaking walls of crumbling concrete and ripped out hair. My fingers are matches. I will hold her hand again. We’ve been taught only how to let go for too long.

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Barb McMakin has been published in Kentucky Monthly, Pegasus, and The Heartland Review, while her winning contest entries have been published by Writer's Digest, The Binnacle, and Grandmother Earth. She serves as a board member for Green River Writers and the Kentucky State Poetry Society, and, in September 2010, Finishing Line Press published her first chapbook, Digging Bones. She is employed by the Oldham County Public Library.

Photo by Feliz Rivera

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When I Think of That Place I See It in Rain By Barb McMakin

I work downtown on Walnut, park my silver Buick in a lot off the alley. Our office is gray and dismal with black bars across the windows. A rusted fire escape hugs the back walls. I snug my London Fog around me. I am twenty-six and think nothing of walking the maze of gravel strips that lead to the street. Overhangs from the buildings almost touch. In the alleyway, I smell food – roast and potatoes. A brown paper sack sits square at the edge of the pavement, its parchment faded clear. A bag the shape of a bottle rests beside it, its tobacco chaw twists climbing the neck. These sacks appear in all kinds of weather. One mild day, I round the corner to the parking lot and there he stands – a black man about my age, slight of build with a graying beard. He sees me hesitate and for a moment I stand as in the entrance to a tunnel. He motions me his way, says

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Come on, Momma, I won't hurt you and he doesn't.

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Eric Bosse has published stories in magazines and journals such as The Sun, Mississippi Review, Exquisite Corpse, Zoetrope, Eclectica, Night Train, The Collagist, and Wigleaf. His story collection, Magnificent Mistakes, was published in September 2011 by Ravenna Press. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and forty-seven children, give or take forty-five.

Photo by Feliz Rivera

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The Art of Drowning Billy Collins By Eric Bosse

1. Shove his head into the water, young poet, and hold it down much longer than you might think necessary. He will writhe and wriggle and try to pry your hand from the back of his bald head as bubbles burst from his lips— one for every poem. 2. Admit that yes he had a way with words. He could twist a dull image into something stark and tender and funny. But remember: his funny never made you laugh— not from your gut. And you know in your marrow that a guy like him— with so much to say for himself, about himself, and to the benefit of himself— should never be allowed to wring so much profit from Poetry.

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3. When he is good and dead his lungs will flap and sway like weeds in the current— and trust me, young poet, if the moment ever comes for you to write words that are yours and yours alone, then the only good Billy Collins is a dead Billy Collins. So grip his collar with one hand, and reach with the other to the riverbank for stones. Stuff them into his pockets. Pack them as tight as any line he ever wrote. 4. Now drag the corpse to deeper water and let the bastard sink. Feel the current slide around you. Feel your teeth chatter behind your lips, and remind yourself that beneath your soggy clothes you are naked, as, under his, he was naked, too, like everyone else, but far more cleverly so.

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5. Go home. Strip down. Dry off. Lock your door. Fall asleep. When you wake, forget your dreams. Scour the depths of yourself, and scrub your soul of irony. Then fetch paper and a pen, take a slow breath, and compose an elegy for the one true poet whose poems you will forever love.

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Thomas Broderick was a writer and an editor for The Slant, the campus humor magazine, as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 he published short stories in The Vanderbilt Review.

Photo by Feliz Rivera

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Late Afternoon in the Still Garden By Thomas Broderick

The man might as well have been a Buddhist monk his skin was so tan. Sitting quietly every day at the end of the bridge overlooking Yotsuya Station, he kept his bald head down in front of passers-by. A rusted coffee can in front of him silently asked for money. In Tokyo it was a beggar’s only voice. For someone who I saw everyday on my brief walk to and from the station, I had never said a word to him let alone put a hundred yen in his coffer. I still have no idea why one hot Monday afternoon in July I suddenly found myself with enough courage to sit next to him. Though I had wondered how he ended up spending his days and nights in the shadow of a Jesuit university in the middle of Tokyo, the desire to ask had never been strong until now. The two us must have been quite the pair to the hundreds of people passing by: the American exchange student and the wrinkled vagrant. Even I found the humor in it for those first few silent seconds. “Hello,” I said in Japanese as I turned my head to face him. He stared at me unconvinced. Is that all you know? I could almost hear him ask. He took a sip of water from an ancient sake bottle. Time had stripped the label off the clear glass. I asked him where he was from in the most polite Japanese I knew. He opened his mouth as the 16:48 rumbled below us. #

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“Now leaving Yotsuya,” the recorded voice repeated in English. The train jolted, and John Simmons had to briefly support himself against a steel handrail. Steady again, he turned towards his girlfriend of two years, Sachiko. The two of them were by themselves in the back corner of the fifth car. The couple remained standing though only half the seats were taken. Tokyo station was only nine minutes away. “How did the meeting with your professor go?” Sachiko asked as she brushed some midnight black hair behind her right ear. “Well enough,” John replied in English, though she had asked in Japanese. As the express train passed Ichigaya station he noticed a recreational fishing area built into the river running parallel to the tracks. A concrete lattice created a dozen small fishing areas. Mostly older men sat on milk crates, their wooden poles still. The only movement came from the employees, each wearing something akin to a yellow tracksuit. They scurried around, dumping in live fish for their customers to catch. John thought of the fish trapped in those netted areas, no way out but on a hook. Briefly closing his eyes, he took a deep breath. “Actually,” John continued, switching over to his adopted language, “he said my dissertation wasn’t coming along as well as I had hoped. If the changes he sees in two weeks aren’t up to par, well…” “It’ll be all right,” Sachiko said. John was surprised when he felt her hand take his. She was always so reserved. He smiled. Just before the line diverged south right before Akihabara, John’s eye caught an odd metal sign suspended below the parallel track. A picture of a smiling sun hung in a rusting blue sky above the words Be Energetic Tomorrow!

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April 2012 #

The initial burst of excitement quickly gave way to fatigue. Stopping at the third floor for breath, Takeshi Takada stepped aside so others could pass him in the narrow stairwell. His frame didn’t help. Some of those squeezing by were almost as large. He loosened his necktie. Perhaps coming straight from work hadn’t been the best idea. In his pause he looked past the air freshener sitting on the windowsill. Across the river a Chuo Line train was retreating from view. The twenty-six year old bank agent soon regained his breath and continued on. Seconds later he reached the fifth floor of Animate, one of Akihabara’s largest emporiums of goods related to Japanese animation. “Welcome!” The store clerk yelled eagerly as Takeshi walked onto the doujinshi floor. Doujinshi, fan comics based on popular manga and anime series, easily numbered on the tens of thousands. Those were just the new issues that came out every month. Though most on the fifth floor were emblazoned with a small sticker proclaiming Adult Only, each comic was laid out with loving care befit for a masterpiece of fine art. Silently mingling with the two dozen men cramped between the shelves and tables, Takeshi felt right at home amongst the erotic images gracing the covers-girls in various states of undress, their bodies almost visibly shaking from unseen sources of pleasure. Clear cellophane rapping hid those mysteries from curious minds. Takeshi nearly gasped in joy when he saw that the next installment of his favorite series had been released. The storefront advertisement had not lied to him. There had been so many times that his hopes were crushed by seeing SOLD

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OUT once he had reached the floor. Despite his visible exhilaration, he remained unnoticed amongst the other customers. Only the young man at the register kept his eyes completely horizontal. The particular comic Takeshi gripped gingerly in his hands depicted a naked young woman, her body restrained by leather bondage gear. At most fourteen years old, she was screaming with a mortal fear that questioned her survival to the last page. “Thank you very much,” the cashier said as he handed back 187 yen in change and Takeshi’s point card. The elevator too slow for his excitement, Takeshi bolted down the stairs with an energy his two hundred and twenty pounds didn’t seem to possess. On the walls, drawings of scantily clad girls looked on, their soft smiles whispering, “I love you.” # Aoi Kamura smiled pleasantly as she received another customer’s money. Comfortably situated in her kiosk between tracks nine and ten, the forty-three-year-old had been working at Tokyo Station for over seven years. Despite the tens of thousands of passengers that rode the Tokaido Line every day, Aoi could remember hundreds of her regular customers. Most were salary men; middle aged suits who gave up a few hundred yen a day for a paper in the morning and a beer a dozen hours later to take the edge off the usually long ride home. Aoi expected the first rush of the evening as her watch reported 17:00. People always ran up the stairs at the last

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minute for the 17:03 to Atami. Her eyes quickly darted over the rainbow of items for sale: a plethora of stimulants, depressants, and of course neckties and shirts in case of nasty lunchtime accidents. No customer would leave unsatisfied. A crowd of six surrounded the kiosk. “Pack of Larks.” Someone put down a hundred and fifty yen for a paper before disappearing. A young office lady stamped her foot at the back of the crowd. In less than sixty seconds Aoi took care of them all, most quickly walking off to take their seat in the Green Car. She could always expect that those who had spent a thousand yen on a reserved seat would go to her for candy or beer. They were like children running to their mother. Recently the thought had become a comfort. A sign of acceptance, Aoi hoped, of what a dozen doctors over her adult life had told her was biologically impossible. A small but genuine smile formed on her face; the first one all day. The sound of coins hitting the tray in front of her pulled Aoi out of her daydream. An older man was already walking away, a newspaper tucked under his left arm. “You’re welcome,” Aoi whispered, her smile mechanical once again. No one noticed the change. # All it took was a glance to know that Ichiro Ikeda was lost in thought. No one could tell, though, how far his mind had drifted from his seat in the Green Car. Lazily gazing out the window, he was halfway through the first of two half-liter beers when the 17:03 left Tokyo Station. Supplementing the

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alcohol with Tomato Pretz flavored pretzel sticks, he hoped the smell of perfume would wear off before his stop twentythree minutes later in Yokohama. Yasuko would be waiting for him there. The newlywed wife would no doubt be overjoyed that her husband was coming home for dinner. For the fifth time in an hour he checked his shirt for stains. Should he have bought another one from that kiosk? No, he had been careful. Everything was fine Naomi had cost a little over 100,000 yen; her usual rate. It felt like a steal. “Another quarterly bonus well spent,” he whispered while cracking his second beer. And to think some of his acquaintances from work were out buying another Rolex. Eloping with Naomi had started long before his marriage. The then-twenty-four-year-old prostitute came highlyrecommended by one of his college friends who had followed him to the same company. “She’s really exclusive but I think I can get her to take you on.” Promises became reality. For half a year the first Thursday afternoon of every month became heaven. Then came along Yasuko, a kind-enough secretary at his office. A group of mutual friends were to thank for their relationship; men and women of similar age that thought the new couple was meant to be. “Marry the poor girl,” Naomi had even said during one of their long afternoons together. Ichiro had felt embarrassed about admitting to the relationship. “You’ll be happy with her.” She had smiled at the end of the sentence, letting smoke from her Hope cigarette escape from the corners of her mouth. Two months later he and Yasuko married in a Shinto ceremony paid for by her father. A honeymoon in Hawaii was

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followed by a return to the office. He appeared to be taking the advice of that lovely voice whose tone told him that he should never come back. Yet, as the summer grew warmer, his restlessness increased with every tic of the mercury. The blood in Ichiro’s veins never seemed to cool after making love to his wife. It’s not that something was missing with Yasuko; there was in fact too much. The pressure of his parents to have a son, the chance Yasuko’s ailing mother might have to move in with them. It never ended! That morning, as Yasuko made him breakfast in the other room, Ichiro’s resolve finally broke. The phone number, written in code on a scrap of paper, had nearly rotted in his wallet. “Oh, poor baby,” Naomi sweetly whispered hours later as he took her in a dimly-lit hotel room. The last of Ichiro’s beer was lukewarm as the train passed over the Tama River into Kawasaki. # A man, his face wrinkled before its time, glanced up as a train passed on the elevated bridge running parallel to one he used as a shelter. He kept his eyes focused on the orange and green stripes that ran down its length. Lying on an abandoned couch in a grassy field bordering the Tama River, he wondered exactly when he had ridden that particular line last. Had it really been more than fifteen years? Before the recession he still had a family and a job. Though carpentry was nearly not enough to support a family of four,

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it might has well have been paradise compared to the present. When the housing market collapsed, work dried up; no more new orders. “Just because I lost my job,” he muttered under his breath, a well-used line to explain his family’s self-destruction. Even he knew it was a lie. In a rage he attempted to sit up before quickly falling back down. His head was swimming more than usual. It had never lasted this long before. The bottle of sake at his side had been empty since morning. More than enough time had passed to sober up. Cursing the bottle, he struck it with the palm of his hand. Instead of glass his palm recalled the feel of his daughter’s face recoiling against his blow. The bottle finally came to stop in the tall grass. It was forever beyond his sight and reach. Tears fell from his bloodshot eyes. He turned away from the sight, burying his face in a soiled cushion. An unnatural chill ran from head to toe. He pulled the futon up to his neck. With a child’s fear, he glanced upward. The gray concrete trestle enveloped all the sky, all of nature. It looked ready to crush him. At that moment another train passed on the opposite tracks. It might have been fever ruining his mind, but for one moment he saw a pair of eyes staring down at his from a window in the last car. # My afternoon ended an hour and twenty kilometers later in Kawasaki as I entered my favorite convenience store, FamilyMart. The homeless man still remained a mystery to me. His words, garbled from a rural upbringing mixed with decades of solitude, fell on inexperienced ears. For thirty

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minutes, as I sat next to him nodding my head convincingly, he must have related me his life’s story. It was probably an inspiring tale of love and loss that led to his current state. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I hadn’t understood a word, that what he had said had only become lost amongst the voices and lives of the other thirty million people in Tokyo. In fact I thanked him, putting a thousand yen in his coffer before catching my own train home. Just a moment with a person and not a fleeting glimpse of ten thousand lives during the commute... I picked up a can Indian curry flavored Pringles. (On opposite sides of Tokyo a young couple and a lonely man finding solace in images fit for Sodom climaxed simultaneously.) The plump lady behind the counter greeted me with a smile I put down my daily snack. (Aoi said goodbye to her replacement before starting her long trip home.) I muttered under my breath while searching for four one yen coins in my wallet. (“Ichiro, I’m pregnant.”) I stepped outside. (A forgotten man took his last breath.) The Kawasaki twilight was muggy as I walked amongst the quiet of the old homes. Maybe tonight my host-mother would let me help cook dinner.

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D.E. Fredd has had fiction and poetry published in over two hundred literary journals and reviews. He received the Theodore Hoepfner Award, given by the Southern Humanities Review, for the best short fiction of 2005, and was a 2006 Ontario Award Finalist. He won the 2006 Black River Chapbook Competition and received a 2007, 2009, and 2010 Pushcart Nomination. He has been included in the Million Writers Award of Notable Stories for 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010, and was a finalist for the 2008 St Lawrence Book Award.

Photo by Feliz Rivera

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Porphyria’s Latest Lover By D.E. Fredd

I checked a book out of the Boston Public Library. It was red, or maybe burgundy wine is a better description; one with gold lettering on the front and spine. Something a college professor or rich person might read in a wing-back chair before retiring for the evening. It was over five hundred pages. I’d never read anything that big. Illustrations took up some space, plus a preface and appendix, which no one ever reads, but I count those pages anyway. I lugged it back to the shelter. Smoking Bob was squatting on the sidewalk with all his stuff. They kick you out every morning at eight. You have to reapply each night at seven when they hand out chits for a bed. Smoking Bob is a big reader. It helps him pass the time while he waits. He says a book is like body armor, people see you reading, and they don’t mess with you. That’s how he spends his days. He likes history novels. I showed him my book. “You gonna sell it?” I wouldn’t think about making a few bucks off it. I’m not that desperate yet. The library is a nice place to kill a day. They have music you can listen to, computers and DVDs. When Mrs. Hamlin is on duty, she’s okay if I doze off. “It’s for reading, Bob.”

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He made a jacking-off motion with his hand without even poking his nose out of the paperback he was into. “You never went past tenth grade, jarhead.” “It’s got a big index too so I’ll get extra credit for those pages.” He grabbed his crotch, “Why don’t you index this.” Bob treats everybody like shit, but I like him. “I think I might head for the park to get a head start. It’s poetry so I figure I can make decent time; maybe fifty pages a day if I push it.” “You do that, Sarge, and be sure to keep the world posted. I’m not saving you a spot for tonight either. You stand in line like the rest of the great unwashed.” I gave him a friendly “whatever” wave and started off for Ritter Park. It’s part of the Fens. Not too many people know about it. They have great benches. Smoking Bob puts everybody down, but he gave me good advice in handling the streets when I came here a year ago. He is a vet too. I don’t know if he ever saw combat. I had two tours in Afghanistan before I was kicked out. My CO said I was “kill” happy. I led my crew into too many scrapes they thought were suicidal. We always came out okay, but I had trouble getting people to follow me; transfers and stuff. Leaving the service was for the best. I get a small disability check each month and medicine from the VA that’s supposed to keep me calm. I’m tired during the day from the pills but toss and turn all night. The main issue is that I have a bad temper. I have to be careful around people. I’m always taking things the wrong way and “go off” on them. That’s why I’m a loner. Although I’m not too

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good at reading, it keeps me away from people. The park is a nice break from walking the streets all day. Ritter has three benches I like; all have sun in the morning when you need it and shade as the day wears on. I usually fix my backpack so no one can sit next to me. When I get tired of reading, I flop down, use it as a pillow and doze for a few hours. I’m really not asleep. I’m alert. People are always trying to rip you off. When I sense someone getting too close, I pop up into action. I can scare dogs away when I do my “marine” thing. Today, my benches are taken. I sense my “library book” mood turning sour. If I stand in front of an occupied bench, people take one look, figure me for a nutcase, and move. One young lady has a stroller and is chatting with another mother who has a little kid in a harness straining to break loose. It looks like they are eating fruit salad for a late breakfast. The public works department has a guy painting another bench. That will put it out of operation for a few days. The third seat is my all-time favorite. A lady is engrossed in a book. I figure I’ll squeeze in. My hairy face and smelly fatigues will scare her off. If not, I’ll talk to myself, babble religious or government nonsense. That usually does it. When I saunter up close, I see she has a decent face but is rail thin. She wears khaki shorts with a black scoop neck top. If she leans forward I could probably cop a look except her breasts are small. I can’t see what she’s reading, but she has a yellow notepad out. I plop down and over-thump my backpack on the ground. It’s an Eddie Bauer, top of the line. I lifted it from a Starbucks on Commonwealth Avenue by Boston University. I thought there might be a laptop in it at the time, but there wasn’t. Just a textbook, notebooks and two cans of sour cream and onion Pringles. I dumped all the

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junk on the sidewalk next to a trash barrel. BU has rich kids from New York, so I don’t feel bad. I put my library book on the bench between us where she can admire it and begin rummaging through my bag like I was looking for something. “Robert Browning?” She says it so nicely I think she has mistaken me for someone she knows. I look at her. “Your book--Robert Browning, the Victorian poet!” “Yeah.” “Have you experienced him before?” “I just got it today. It’s from the library. I’m there a lot. I’ve only read a few things; just getting started with it as a hobby.” She holds up her book. It’s a thick paperback. The Complete Wallace Stevens is the title. “I’m taking a modern poetry course. Do you know Stevens?” “The name sounds familiar. There was somebody in my platoon by that name. His first name was David, I think. He lost both legs to an IED. Maybe he died later; I never checked.” “I was at the MFA last Sunday for the Italian Renaissance exhibit. They had Tintoretto’s painting of “Susannah at the Elders.” Just by chance that night I came across Stevens’ “Peter Quince Plays the Clavier” poem. It blew my mind. Are you a student?” “I was in the marines for nine years. I could use veteran’s benefits for school if I wanted to. This is my favorite bench.”

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“What Browning have you read so far?” “I’m no good with titles. I forget easily.” “When I was in high school I had to give a dramatic reading in a speech class. I chose ‘My Last Duchess.’ It went okay, but it’s really a man’s poem because of the expression of power. A deep voice is better. Mine’s too high and sing-songish. Show me which poems you’ve read so far.” I crack open the book. “I usually skip around in books, pick a page, and start reading, so it would be tough to show you specifics.” “I see.” By the way she said “I see,” I could tell she had concluded I wasn’t the poetic soul mate she had envisioned. I was a smelly homeless guy who took books from the library to pick up and impress women. She lifted the Stevens’ book from her lap and went back to it. I flipped through a few Browning poems. Christ, this guy wrote some long ones. I thought poems were supposed to be short; these go on for pages! I found her “Duchess” poem, but it made no sense. Every few minutes I looked over and stared at her, but she didn’t look back. I might as well be invisible. I had five bucks in change. If I asked her if she wanted ice cream; I’d be screwed if she ordered a large. Besides, she wasn’t that beautiful. I mean I wouldn’t kick her out of bed, but I could feel my eyes getting tired. It would be nice if I had my bench to myself. She was aggravating me. Her pen was scratching away such profundities as “how true” in the margins. It was very annoying.

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“Are you going to read that Stevens guy all day?” “You know it’s a public bench and I was here first. There are other parks in the city. I see many of your kind hanging out on The Common by the Park Street Station. And I actually read the books I carry around!” A bluish vein in her forehead popped out and the top of her chest was blotchy-red. This was war. As Lieutenant Bowman used to say, “The enemy is ensconced.” There were several strategies at my command. I always liked the patriotic guilt trip. “I spent the last five years crawling around a shithole of a country just so you could sit here and read your Walter Stevens.” Or I could make myself obnoxious—sing, talk to myself, jiggle my leg—that might work. But she was way too smug for my liking. I closed my Browning book, got up, reached for my Eddie Bauer bag, and nodded goodbye with a friendly smile. The look on her face, the sarcastic smile, told it all. She had won. The newspaper headline would read: “Sensitive Soul Defeats Homeless Vet on Meds” or “Female Poetry Lover Outlasts Former Marine in Battle of the Bench. She buried her nose in “Peter Quincy” or whomever. I slipped quietly behind her. From a distance it might have looked as if I were bending down to give a goodbye peck on the cheek. My right hand quickly cupped her chin, my left grabbed firmly above her ear. One quick twist and it was over. There’s a trick to this: the victims have to be totally relaxed. If they tense up the top vertebras don’t snap that well. I used the maneuver on patrol outside of Kabul a few times, so I have experience. Today was perfect. Her head flopped to the left and then sagged downward. I moved around to the front of the bench and sat beside her. I leaned her torso against my

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right side and pulled out my Browning book. There we sat. Two lovers, one resting her eyes while the other read sonnets to her. That rosy little head that had previously scorned me now drooped onto my shoulder. I warily opened the lids of her soft blue eyes. They displayed no pain. And there we sat. For the moment she was mine. I kissed her chastely on the lips, my right arm draped lovingly about her shoulders. We stayed that way for over an hour. I told her about myself. I think she enjoyed my Smoking Bob anecdotes. People walked by. Hey, the ugly guy has a girlfriend, maybe he isn’t such a loser. I found some things in my Browning book that I liked. I never knew he wrote the “Pied Piper” rat poem. I could understand most parts. Time passed. It was pushing two in the afternoon. I knew I had to get away. I propped her up, tied her paisley shawl around the broken neck to better support it. She looked pretty natural, sort of like she was reading. I didn’t use any footpath, just melted into the brush and headed cross country for the library at Copley. As much as I was getting used to Browning’s book, he was reminding me of what I had just done, not that I have much of a conscience. I’d turn him in and get something else. I’d like a dark-colored book this time, not somber exactly; something respectful like the type of suit you’d wear to a funeral and, please, no poetry! It’s way too hard. After that I might walk up to Fanueil Hall Marketplace and watch the late afternoon tourists. At dusk I’d head back to the shelter. Smokin’ Bob sometimes saves me a place. He’s good that way.

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About the Photographer Feliz Rivera

Feliz is a photographer, writer, and artist from Cicero, IL. http://www.facebook.com/Feliz0617

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www.curbsidesplendor.com

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CURBSIDE E-ZINE - APRIL 2012  

Curbside Splendor's monthly online zine of short stories, poetry, and photography. Curbside Splendor is a Chicago-based publisher of books,...

CURBSIDE E-ZINE - APRIL 2012  

Curbside Splendor's monthly online zine of short stories, poetry, and photography. Curbside Splendor is a Chicago-based publisher of books,...

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