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Curbside Splendor   e-­zine   February  2012  


Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

  Curbside  Splendor  Publishing     Curbside  e-­‐zine   February  2012     ISSN  2159-­‐9475       Poetry:    

The End  Wears  a  Suit  by  Roman  Belo   High  Noon  by  J.H.  Martin   Sill  by  Garett  Holden     Fiction:    

Cereal and  Cigarettes  by  Elif  Alp   Elephants  by  Eric  Erickson           Photography  and  cover  by  BL  Pawelek     Editors  Ȃ  Tyler  Gillespie,  Lauryn  Allison  Lewis      

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Roman Belo    

lives in  New  York  City,  recently  graduated  from  Stony  Brook   University  with  a  B.A.  in  English  LiteratureǤ ‡ǯ•a  full-­‐time   graphic  designer,  and  a  painter.  ‘ƒǯ•work  has  most   recently  been  featured  in  Black  Lantern.      

Photo  by  BL  Pawelek  http://blpawelek.wordpress.com/  

 

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

The  End  Wears  a  Suit   By  Roman  Belo    

(Dedicated to  the  beautiful  inhabitants  of  Liberty  Plaza  Park)    

Does human  consumer   ring  right  to  you?   And  which  of  those  two   is  more  important  to  them   and  more  important  to  you?  

Is it  really  so  simple?   Just  a  slide  of  the  soul,   a  fraction  of  faith,   a  handful  of  heart?   For  whatȄunbeatable  cost?  

‹ŽŽ–Š‡“—‡•–‹‘ǡDzŠ‘™—…Šǫdz ƒ†–Š‡ƒ•™‡”ǡDz–‘‘—…Šǡdz   crunch  out  of  the  skull   of  the  last   ‘ˆ™Šƒ–ǯ•Ž‡ˆ–ǫ  

The end  wears  a  suit   spun  from  our  hair,   a  button-­‐down  shirt  cut  from   our  flesh,  our  fingertips  are   cufflinks.  our  torn  out  tongues   tied  into  ties-­‐-­‐-­‐  

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Curbside Splendor      

February 2012  

The end  smiles,     standing  beside  our  heap:     silent  amid  the  buzzing  of  flies.      

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

J.H. Martin    

is from  London,  England  but  has  no  fixed  abode.  His  prose   and  poetry  have  appeared  in  a  number  of  places  in  Asia,   Australia,  the  UK  and  the  USA.  For  more  information,  please   visit:  The  Bamboo  Sea.    

Photo  by  B.  Pawelek  http://blpawelek.wordpress.com/  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

High Noon  

By J.H.  Martin       Make  no  mistake   there  is  direction     to  this  attitude,   I  know  very  well     who  my  enemies  are.  

No need     to  rake  up     my  past  again,    

vultures sway   up  above   waiting  for  me  to  pay.  

There is  no  mitigation.  

The word     of  every  man   caught  out  in  the  midday  sun   is  hollow  and  unheard.  

There will  be  no  suspended  sentence.  

The truth  is  broken   beyond  the  statues  and  the  dials.  

There is  no  way  back  home.  

An empty  soul    

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

is all  that  awaits.  

An eternal  stranger,   out  here,    

where water     cannot  refresh  the  bones     nor  air  sustain  the  skin  

a place  where  no  shadows  grow.  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Garett Holden    

was born  in  November,  1974.  He  is  now  living  and  working   in  Brooklyn,  New  York.  Someday  he  will  die,  most  likely  from   smoking  and  drinking  too  much.    www.garettholden.com    

Photo by  B.L.  Pawelek  http://blpawelek.wordpress.com/  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Sill

By Garett  Holden       Claw  footed  sharp  faced   Feather  headed     Dark  winged  Enforcer  pilgrim     Window  feeder   Bloated  the  spiders     Cake  frosting     white  walled   Domicile     Taller  buildings  harder  to  fall   Filled  up   Topped  off   with  milky  pride     Monolith   Succumb  to  madness   Circumvent  to  sadness   Short  stature  circuit  board   Marble  game  of  dismemberment     Galactic  marble     Enveloped  by  mad  men     Blasphemers  righteous  left  hand       The  sword     Swift  cleaving  of  greenery    

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Colored bulbs     flicker  whirl     The  common  Ferris  wheel      

Photo  by  Garett  Holden  www.garettholden.com  

 

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Elif Alp    

is a  documentary  filmmaker  learning  to  play  the  banjo  in   New  York  City.    She  is  also  obtaining  a  PhD  in  Sociology  at   Columbia  University.    Her  biggest  fan  is  probably  her  mother   and  she's  getting  close  to  being  ok  with  that,  or  at  least  her   therapist  really  hopes  so.    She  still  seeks  the  approval  of  her   college  poetry  professor  on  her  writing,  even  though  she   finished  college  years  ago.    

 Photo  by  BL  Pawelek  http://blpawelek.wordpress.com/

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Curbside  Splendor    

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February  2012  

Cereal  and  Cigarettes   By  Elif  Alp    

 Every  other  block  is  a  parking  lot,  empty  tonight,  the  rotting   fruit  of  the  lemon  tree  fallen,  desiccated  peels  on  the   crumbling  cement.  Maybe  if  you  stood  still  long  and  hard   enough  you  could  hear  it  crumble.  A  lonely  car  sits  in  the   Â?‹††Ž‡‘ˆ–Š‡…‘Â?…”‡–‡†‡•‡”–Ǥ‘—ǯ”‡Ž‘Â?‡Ž›–‘‘ǤEven  the   sky  is  empty,  no  clouds  no  stars,  just  wires  and  palm  trees   swaying  slowly  in  the  cool  night  breeze,  waving  at  no  one.   The  windows  of  the  buildings  on  the  street  are  dark,  all  of   –Š‡Â?ÇĄƒÂ?†•Š—––‡”•ƒ”‡†”ƒ™Â?ǤDz ÇŻ ITALIAN  RESTAURANT   ͳ͜͝͝dzƒÂ?‹Â?ˆ‘”Â?ƒ–‹˜‡ĪÂ?‹Â?‰ announces,  and  the  ever-­â€?looming  highways  groan  in  what   you  make  out  to  be  the  affirmative.  But  what  do  you  know?   ‘—ǯ”‡Œ—•–ƒˆ‘”‡‹‰Â?‡”‹Â?–Š‡•‡’ƒ”–•Ǥ     Â?–Š‡…‘”Â?‡”–Š‡”‡ǯ•ƒ…Š—”…Š™‹–Š‘Â?Ž›ŠƒŽˆ‹–••‹‰Â?•–‹ŽŽ going  strong;  the  neon  yellow  letters  read  THE  BAPT          HURC   .  The  windows  are  dark  there  too.  If  they  were  on  would  it   Šƒ˜‡Â?ƒ†‡ƒ†‹ˆˆ‡”‡Â?…‡Ǎ‘—ǯ”‡Â?‘–‘Â?‡ˆ‘””‡Ž‹‰‹‘Â?ÇĄ„—– moments  like  this  call  for  a  little  sympathy  from  someone,   dammit.  Not  in  this  town,  you  guess.  Not  in  this  town   anyway.     TŠ‡”‡ǯ•‘Â?Ž›•‘Ž‘Â?‰›‘—…ƒÂ?•–ƒÂ?†Â?‡š––‘–Š‡Ž‘™ǥ‹”‘Â?ˆ‡Â?…‡ on  the  edge  of  the  lot;  only  so  much  wallowing  in  the  dark   ›‘—ǯ”‡™‹ŽŽ‹Â?‰–‘ƒˆˆ‘”†Ǥ‘—Šƒ†•‘Â?‡•‡Â?„ŽƒÂ?…‡‘ˆ†‹‰Â?‹–› when  you  started  walking  to  your  car  from  god-­â€?knows-­â€? where,  remember?     You  keep  walking,  your  car  comes  into  view,  and  then  you   stop.  You  hear  something.  Music  wafts  from  across  the  street;  

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Curbside  Splendor    

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February  2012  

the  church,  perhaps?  Your  stomach  growls.  You  had  cereal   for  breakfast  and  cigarettes  for  lunch.  You  contemplate   cigarettes  for  dinner  too  and  slowly  cross  the  corner.     The  church  has  a  shallow,  white  portico.  There  are  three  sets   of  doors,  though  only  one  has  a  knob  on  it,  shiny  brass   against  the  white  wood.  There  are  no  lights  leaking  out   through  the  cracks  in  the  doorway,  no  lights  from  the  half-­â€? circle  window  above  the  knobbed  door.  You  step  lightly   –Š‘—‰Š›‘—†‘Â?ǯ–Â?Â?‘™™Š›ǤŠ‡™‘‘†‹•Â?ǯ–‘Ž†‡Â?‘—‰Š–‘ creak.  Nothing  in  this  town  is  old  enough  to  creak.  Still,  you   †‘Â?ǯ–™ƒÂ?––‘†‹•”—’–™Šƒ–‡˜‡”Â?‹‰Š–„‡‰‘‹Â?‰‘Â?‹Â?•‹†‡Ǥ‘— press  your  ear,  your  hands,  against  the  door.  A  tenor  is   pronouncing  his  profound  affections  for  some  beautiful,   ˜‹”‰‹Â?ƒŽ›‘—–Šǥ‘”Â?ƒ›„‡Š‡ǯ•–Š”‡ƒ–‡Â?‹Â?‰–‘ƒ˜‡Â?‰‡Š‹• Â„Â‡Â–Â”ÂƒÂ›Â‡Â”Ç˘‹–ǯ•Šƒ”†–‘•ƒ›Ǥ     The  doorknob  gleams,  beckons;  your  faceČ‚stretched  and   rounded  and  upside  down  in  it  looking  up  at  youȂ†‘‡•Â?ǯ– budge.  Should  you  knock  and  interrupt  whatever  is  going  on   inside?  It  will  be  weirdČ‚you  realizeČ‚whatever  it  is.  Though   –Šƒ–…‘—Ž†„‡…‘‘ŽǤ –ǯ†Â?ƒÂ?‡ˆ‘”ƒ‰”‡ƒ–•–‘”›Ǥ Â?ƒ‰‹Â?‡–‡ŽŽ‹Â?‰ ›‘—”ˆ”‹‡Â?†•Ǣ™Š‡Â?–Š‡›ĥÂ?›‘—™Šƒ–™ƒ•Ž‹Â?‡›‘—ǯ†Šƒ˜‡ this  weird  little  story  to  whip  out.  One  night  I  was  walking   Š‘Â?‡ǥÂ?‘–ƒ•‘—Ž‘—–‘Â?–Š‡•–”‡‡–Ǽ       Your  stomach  growls  louder.  Cigarettes  for  dinner  sounds   better  now  than  they  did  back  there  on  the  street.  Now   ›‘—ǯ”‡‹Â?–Š‡ˆ—Â?Â?›Ž‹––Ž‡’‘”–‹…‘ǢƒÂ?ƒ’’”‘’”‹ate  place  to  stop   ƒÂ?†Šƒ˜‡ƒ…‹‰ƒ”‡––‡Ǥ ˆ›‘—™‡”‡Â?ǯ–›‘—ǥƒÂ?†Œ—•–Šƒ’’‡Â?‡†–‘ „‡™ƒŽÂ?‹Â?‰†‘™Â?–Š‡•–”‡‡–ƒ––Š‹•Â?‘Â?‡Â?–ǥ›‘—ǯ†…‘Â?Â?‹– this  image  to  memory,  maybe  even  paint  it  later,  or  stage  it   ™‹–Šƒ…ƒÂ?‡”ƒƒÂ?†ƒÂ?ƒ…–‘”‹Â?–Š‡˜‡”›•ƒÂ?‡…‘ƒ–›‘—ǯ”‡ wearing,  a  perfect  brown  and  burnt  orange  California  carpet   coat.  A  lost  young  woman  smoking  a  cigarette  on  the  step  of  a  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

THE BAPT            HURC  .  You  oblige  the  non-­‐you,  sitting  down  on   the  steps  and  rifling  through  your  purse.  It  was  kind  of  empty   when  you  left  this  morning  but  now  it  seems  so  heavy.         Where  the  hell  are  my  cigarettes?  It  dawns  on  you  that  this  is   an  opportune  moment  not  only  to  smoke,  but  also  to  cry.  In   fact,  this  is  a  perfect  moment  to  cry.  But  before  you  can  really   figure  out  just  what  it  is  you  ought  to  cry  about,  the  most   curious  thing  happens.  The  sky  starts  crying  first.     From  the  empty  sky  rain  is  falling,  big  fat  drops  that  splatter   on  the  jagged  sidewalk,  make  your  cigarette  sizzle.  A  car   rambles  by  with  a  lazy  pair  of  windshield  wipers  on.  You   stand  and  stare  straight  up,  drops  plopping  on  your  cheeks,   your  eyelids.  Is  anyone  else  seeing  this,  or  are  you  truly   alone?         Imagine  it  like  this,  because  I  want  you  to  know  this  is  how  it   happened  that  night.         This  is  exactly  how  it  happened.    

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Eric Erickson    

is a  native  and  resident  of  Denver,  Colorado.    His  poetry  has   appeared  in  *Plainsongs*  and  *The  Curbside  Review*.      

Photo  by  BL  Pawelek  http://blpawelek.wordpress.com/  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Elephants

By Eric  Erickson       ‘„‘†›™ƒ•“—‹–‡•—”‡™Šƒ–Ž† ‡”„ǯ•Žƒ•–ƒ‡™ƒ•Ǥ‡ just  knew  what  he  liked  to  drink  and  also  that  when  he   started  rocking  on  his  barstool  with  his  eyes  piercing   through  the  brass  rail  in  front  of  him,  you  were  well  advised   to  avoid  talking  to  him  or  touching  him  in  any  way.  He  was  a   Vet,  we  sure  knew  about  that,  by  about  the  fourth  or  fifth   drink.  Herb  drank  beers  and  sipped  on  brandy  that  day,  like   always.  Usually,  at  about  five  in  the  afternoon,  he  would   begin  to  lose  his  balance  a  little,  teetering  to  and  fro  like  an   unsteady  sapling  in  the  wind.  His  feet  would  usually  carry   him  out  the  door  without  a  goodbye  where  he  was  assaulted   by  sunlight.    It  was  half  a  block  to  his  apartment  and  up  two   ˆŽ‹‰Š–•‘ˆ•–ƒ‹”•Ǥ ‘™–Š‹•„‡…ƒ—•‡ ǯ˜‡„‡‡–Š‡”‡Ǥ Sometimes  he  would  stop  on  a  ledge  twenty  feet  from  his   front  steps.  Sometimes  he  would  stare  at  the  clouds  passing   behind  the  distant  rooftops.  Leaving  from  my  day  shift  I   would  encounter  this  and  watch,  sometimes  imagining  he   was  a  stranger  and  not  the  old  man  that  I  had  just  imbibed   with  for  the  better  part  of  the  day.     Patterns  are  patterns.  We  knew  where  he  was  going  and  we   knew  when  it  was  time  for  him  to  go  there.  He  had  fallen   before,  been  helped  up  by  another  customer  or  by  one  of  us,   had  been  carried  home  by  a  pair  of  friendly  arms  like  a  roll  of   —•–›…ƒ”’‡–Ǥ –ǯ•  hard  to  say  whether  anyone  else  saw  old   Herb  that  day  or  not,  after  leaving  without  a  goodbye,  after   stopping  to  look  at  the  clouds,  after  fumbling  for  his  building   keys.        

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Curbside  Splendor    

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February  2012  

He  died  in  the  gutter  in  front  of  his  building,  crumpled  up  at   the  foot  of  the  stairs  like  something  one  of  his  neighbors  had   thrown  out.  I  heard  the  news  just  the  same  way  everybody   else  did,  from  Kasmir  the  cabbie,  who  drives  around  Gladys,   ™Š‘Ž‹˜‡•‘Â?–Š‡•‡…‘Â?†ˆŽ‘‘”‘ˆ ‡”„ǯ•„—‹Ž†‹Â?‰Ǥ‡ˆ‘—Â?† out  that  way,  and  also  from  his  conspicuously  empty   barstool,  turning  eerily  side  to  side  periodically  when   someone  brushed  against  it  on  their  way  to  the  bathroom.     Dz‡–ǯ•†‘‘Â?‡ˆ‘” ‡”„ǥdz…ƒŽŽ‡† ƒ…Â?•‘Â?ˆ”‘Â?„‡Š‹Â?†ƒÂ?‡Â?’–› highball  glass  lifted  in  the  air.  My  right  arm  quickly  grabbed   the  bottle  of  Christian  Brothers  and  poured  two  fingers   worth  into  four  glasses;  one  for  Jackson,  one  for  Kasmir,  one   for  Marsha,  and  one  for,  well,  I  guess  I  poured  it  for  me.  Then   I  noticed  Quiet  Sal  over  in  the  corner  and  gave  him  mine,   forgetting  quickly  about  the  empty  bar  stool  in  between  Sal   ƒÂ?†ƒ”•ŠƒǤ ‰”ƒ„„‡†ĥÂ?‹”ǯ•Â?—‰ƒÂ?†”‡ˆ‹ŽŽ‡†‹–ˆ”‘Â?–Š‡ –ƒ’ǤÂƒÂ”Â•ÂŠÂƒÇŻÂ•–ƒŽŽ‰‹Â?ƒÂ?†‹…‡Â?‡‡†‡†ƒÂ”Â‡ÂˆÂ‹ÂŽÂŽÇĄƒÂ?†–Š‡Â?  grabbed  a  towel  and  wiped  the  inside  edge  of  the  bar-­â€?top.         Dz Žƒ†›•™‹ŽŽ„‡Š‡”‡ƒˆ–‡”Š‡”‡›‡ƒ’’‘‹Â?–Â?‡Â?–ǥdzƒ•ŠÂ?‹” …‘Â?ˆ‹”Â?‡†ǤDz‡•Š‘—Ž†Šƒ˜‡‘Â?‡”‡ƒ†›ˆ‘”Š‡”ǥǎ…ƒ—•‡•Š‡ǯ• –Š‡‘Â?‡™Š‘ˆ‘—Â?†Š‹Â?Ǥdz     I  only  half  listened  to  Kashmir  and  continued  my  wiping.   Gladys  is  a  busybody  nag  and  she  can  order  her  own  drinks,  I   thought  to  myself.     DzŠ‡Â?ǯ•–Š‡Â?‡Â?Â‘Â”Â‹ÂƒÂŽÇŤÇł—‹‡–ƒŽ‘ˆˆ‡”‡†—Â?‡š’‡…–‡†Ž›Ǥ     Dz •–Š‡”‡‰‘Â?Â?ƒ„‡ˆ‘‘†–Š‹•–‹Â?‡Ǎdzƒ”•Šƒ•Â?‡‡”‡†–Š”‘—‰Š floppy,  swollen  lips.    

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Curbside  Splendor    

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February  2012  

DzÂƒÂ–Â—Â”Â†ÂƒÂ›ÇĄÇł •ƒ‹†–‘–Š‡†‘‘”™ƒ›ǤDz –Š‹Â?Â?‹–ǯ•‰‘‹Â?‰–‘„‡‘Â? ƒ–—”†ƒ›ƒ––™‘Ǥ –Š‹Â?Â?–Š‡„‘••™ƒÂ?–•–‘Â?ƒÂ?‡•—”‡Š‡ǯ• nowher‡Â?‡ƒ”–Š‡Â’ÂŽÂƒÂ…Â‡Ç¤Çł    Jackson  chuckled  and  stiffened  the  plaid  lapels  of  his  sports   …‘ƒ–ǤDz‡Â?‡Â?„‡” ‹Â?Â?›ǯ•Â?‡Â?Â‘Â”Â‹ÂƒÂŽÇŤ ÇŻÂ?Â?‘–‡˜‡Â?•—”‡Š‘™  ‰‘–Š‘Â?‡–Šƒ–Â?‹‰Š–Ǥ‡–ǯ•†‘‘Â?‡Â?‘”‡ǥdzŠ‡Â•ÂƒÂ‹Â†ÇĄ‰‡Â?–Ž› tapping  his  glass  on  the  bar.  Turning,  I  groaned  slightly  to   Â?›•‡ŽˆǤ ‹Â?Â?›ǯ•Â?‡Â?‘”‹ƒŽ™ƒ•–Š‡–Š‹”†‹Â?ƒ„‘—–ˆ‘—” Â?‘Â?–Š•ǯ–‹Â?‡ǥƒÂ?†–Š‡•‘Â?-­â€?of-­â€?a-­â€?bitch  was  only  thirty-­â€?five.  I   poured  another  round  of  drinks  and  distributed  them.     Marsha  quickly  gulped  hers,  letting  a  little  drop  fall  down  the   corner  of  her  permanent  frown.     Dz”‡–Š‡›‰‘Â?Â?ƒŠƒ˜‡ˆ‘‘†–Š‹•–‹Â?‡Ǎdz•Š‡”‡’‡ƒ–‡†ǤDz Â?‡Â?‘”‹ƒŽ•Š‘—Ž†Šƒ˜‡ÂˆÂ‘‘†ǥ’‡”‹‘†Ǥdzƒ”•Šƒ‡†‰‡†„ƒ…Â?‘Â? her  stool  to  display  her  expertise  and  authority.     Dz ÇŻÂ?‰‘‹Â?‰–‘„”‹Â?‰ƒ†ƒ–‡–‘–Š‹•‘Â?‡ǥdz ƒ…Â?•‘Â?Â?—•‡†Ǥ     DzÂƒÂ”Â•ÂŠÂƒÇĄ™‘—Ž†›‘—†‘Â?‡–Š‡Š‘Â?‘”Ǎdz˜‡”›‘Â?‡Žƒ—‰Š‡† and  I  noticed  this  before  noticing  that  I  was  laughing  too.  I   poured  a  couple  of  draughts  for  a  younger  couple  in  the   corner.  It  was  busy  for  a  few  minutes  and  my  arms  moved   instinctively,  turning  glasses,  grabbing  bottlenecks,  scooping   ‹…‡ǥ™‹’‹Â?‰ǥ™ƒ•Š‹Â?‰ǥ’‘—”‹Â?‰ǥ’‘—”‹Â?‰ǥ’‘—”‹Â?‰ǤDzÂƒÂŽÇĄ†‘›‘— Â?‡‡†ƒÂ?‘–Š‡”Ǎdz ĥÂ?‡†Â?ܠ-­â€?’‘—”ǤŠ”—‰ƒÂ?†Â?‘†ǤDzŠƒ–ƒ”‡ ›‘—”‡ƒ†‹Â?‰–Š‡”‡ǍdzŠ”—‰ƒÂ?†Â?‘†Ǥ     DzŽ‡’ŠƒÂ?–•ǥdzŠ‡•ƒ‹†Ǥ     DzŠ‘Ǎdz     DzŽ‡’ŠƒÂ?–•ǥdzŠ‡•ƒ‹†ƒ‰ƒ‹Â?ÇĄ†”‹ˆ–‹Â?‰„ƒ…Â?‹Â?–‘ƒ…‘Â?templative   •Ž‘—…ŠǤDz –ǯ•ƒÂ?ƒ”–‹…Ž‡ƒ„‘—–‡Ž‡’ŠƒÂ?–•ǥƒ„‘—–Š‘™–Š‡›…ƒÂ?

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Curbside  Splendor    

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February  2012  

”‡Â?‡Â?„‡”™Š‡”‡Â–ÂŠÂ‡Â›ÇŻÂ˜Â‡„‡‡Â?•‘™‡ŽŽ–Š‡›ǯŽŽ–”ƒ˜‡ŽŠ—Â?†”‡†• ‘ˆÂ?‹Ž‡•‹Â?ƒ†”‘—‰Š––‘ˆ‹Â?†ƒ™ƒ–‡”‹Â?‰Š‘Ž‡Ǥdz    DzŠƒ–”‡Â?‹Â?†•Â?‡‘ˆ•‘Â?‡‘Â?‡ǥdz ƒ…Â?•‘Â?Žƒ—‰Š‡†ƒÂ?†Ž‘‘Â?‡† around  to  see  that  he  was  alone  in  his  amusement.     Sal  dipped  his  gaze  again  at  the  magazine.     DzŠǥÂŒÂ‡Â‡ÂœÇĄÇłƒ”•Šƒ•ƒ‹†ǤDz •‹–ˆ‹˜‡‘ǯ…Ž‘…Â?ÂƒÂŽÂ”Â‡ÂƒÂ†Â›ÇŤÇł     Dz Â?‡ƒÂ?ÇĄ ”‡•‡Â?„Ž‡–Šƒ–”‡Â?ƒ”Â?ÇĄÇł ƒ…Â?•‘Â?•ƒ‹†Ǥ –”‹‡† ‘˜‡”…‘Â?‹Â?‰Â?›†‹•‰—•–ƒ–ÂƒÂŽÇŻÂ•Š‘””‹„Ž‡ƒÂ?ƒŽ‘‰›„›ˆ‡‡Ž‹Â?‰ sorry  for  Jackson.  Apparently,  so  did  Kashmir.     Dz Â?Â?‘™Â™ÂŠÂƒÂ–ÇŻÂ•Â–ÂŠÂƒÂ–ÇŻÂ•Ž‹Â?‡ǥdzƒ•ŠÂ?‹”•ƒ‹†ǤDzÂ?‡–‹Â?‡ ’‹…Â?‡† up  a  fare,  some  kid  at  a  bar  downtown.  His  buddy  gave  me   twenty  dollars  and  told  me  to  get  him  home.  The  kid  had  a   black  eye  and  I  could  barely  understand  what  he  was  saying.   He  just  slurred:  thurn  luft,  thurn  white,  luft,  white.  After  a   while,  we  wound  up  right  back  at  the  bar  and  he  wanted  to   get  out.  I  felt  kinda  bad  for  the  kid  so  I  gave  him  back  the   –™‡Â?–›Ǥdz     Dz‘—‘Ž†Â•Â‘ÂˆÂ–Â›ÇĄÇł•ƒ‹† ƒ…Â?•‘Â?Ǥ     Dz‘ǥÂ?‘ǥŠ‡”‡ǯ•–Š‡Â?‹…Â?‡”ǣ–™‘Š‘—”•ÂŽÂƒÂ–‡”ǥ †”‹˜‡„ƒ…Â?„› that  bar  and  who  do  I  see?    That  same  kid,  just  sitting  down   –Š‡„Ž‘…Â?ˆ”‘Â?™Š‡”‡ †”‘’’‡†Š‹Â?‘ˆˆǤ ‡ǯ•Œ—•–•‹––‹Â?‰ there  all  aloneČ‚no  friends,  his  head  on  his  fistsČ‚sitting  there   ‹Â?–Š‡‰—––‡”Ǥdz     Dzܠ  ›‘—’‹…Â?Š‹Â?—’Ǎdzƒ”•ŠƒˆŽƒ”‡†Ǥ    

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

Dz ‡ŽŽǡ‘Ǥ ƒŽ”‡ƒ†›Ž‘•––™‡–›„—…•‘–Š‡‰—›ǡ‘ǤŠ‡ thing is,  I  looked  at  him  as  I  was  driving  past  and  when  he   ”ƒ‹•‡†Š‹•Š‡ƒ†ǡ•—”‡‡‘—‰Šǡ–™‘„Žƒ…‡›‡•Ǥdz     A  round  of  laughter  sloshed  from  one  end  of  the  bar  to  the   other,  followed  by  one  last  round  of  shots.     Dz •ƒ™Š‹ǡdz •ƒ‹†ƒ• ’‘—”‡†Ǥ     DzŠƒ–ǫdz     Dz •ƒ™ ‡”„ǡŽ›‹‰‘–Š‡•‹†‡™ƒŽǤ —•—ƒŽŽ›•–‘’–‘•‡‡‹ˆ Š‡ǯ•‘ƒ›ǡ ǯ˜‡‡˜‡Š‡Ž’‡†Š‹‰‡–—’‹–‘Š‹•„—‹Ž†‹‰ǡ„—–ǥ  ‰—‡•• ™ƒ•‹ƒŠ—””›‘”•‘‡–Š‹‰Ǥdz  My  eyes  dropped  and  I   was  suddenly  aware  of  the  slow  heaving  of  chests  drawing   air  in  and  pushing  it  out  again.  My  eyes  momentarily  welled   up  with  the  confession,  but  I  fought  them  back  and  rubbed   my  eyes  with  my  right  arm.         Dz ǯ•—”‡–Š‡”‡™ƒ•‘–Š‹‰›‘—…‘—Ž†Šƒ˜‡†‘‡ǡdz ƒ…•‘ stated  sympathetically.     Dz –™ƒ•Œ—•–Š‹•–‹‡ǡŠ‘‡›ǡdzƒ”•Šƒƒ‰”‡‡†–Š”‘—‰ŠŠ‡” floppy  lips.     I  nodded  and  picked  up  the  last  shot  glasses,  making  my  way   around  the  night  bartender  as  she  stepped  into  place.    At  5   ‘ǯ…Ž‘…‹–  was  time  to  go  home  and  I  was  thankful  for  that.  I   stocked  some  bottles  and  counted  out  my  drawer,  fisting  a   small  bundle  of  bills  into  my  pant  pocket.  Sunlight  was   working  its  way  up  the  faces  of  the  young  couple  drinking   beers  in  the  corner  booth,  so  on  my  way  out,  I  flicked  the   blinds  back  the  other  direction.  It  was  kind  of  a  slow  day,  and   my  rent  was  late  again.  I  appeased  myself  with  the   realization  that  my  landlord  would  let  it  slide  for  a  while,  as  

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February 2012  

long as  I  threw  a  few  free  drinks  his  way  on  Saturday  night.   The  ceaseless  sensation  of  pouring  and  shaking  gives  my   body  a  chill  that  I  know  will  follow  me  home  in  the  warm   summer  air.  Walking  out  the  door,  I  notice  the  night   bartender  pouring  a  row  of  shots  and  handing  them,  one  by   one,  to  the  now  faceless  torsos  on  their  barstools.  Without   –Š‹‹‰ǡ ‰”ƒ„„‡†–Š‡ˆŽ›‡”ˆ‘” ‡”„ǯ•‡‘”‹ƒŽ–Šƒ–Šƒ† been  taped  to  the  door.  I  crinkled  it  tightly  in  my  fist  and   thought  about  discarding  it  in  the  street  gutter,  or  maybe   burying  it  with  honor  beneath  the  flowerbed  in  front  of   ‡”„ǯ•ƒ’ƒ”–‡–ǡ„—–‹•–‡ad  I  brought  it  home  with  me.         In  my  apartment,  I  attempted  to  straighten  it  out,  pulling   firmly  on  the  edges  of  the  paper;  a  photocopied  picture   Gladys  found  of  a  young  Herb  in  full  military  uniform.  He  has   an  expressionless  face  and  he  is  holding  a  rifle  with  a  bayonet   ƒ–Š‹••‹†‡Ǥ –ƒ’’‡ƒ”‡†–‘„‡ƒ…ƒ’–ƒ‹ǯ•—‹ˆ‘”‘” something,  but  I  was  fixated  on  the  earnest  grin  lining  up   evenly  below  his  furrowed  brow  and  eyes  squinting  from  the   sun.  I  continued  trying  to  flatten  out  the  paper  but  the  crease   ”‡ƒ‹‡†ǡ™”‹Ž‡†Ž‹‡ƒ–”‡ƒ•—”‡ƒ’ǡ‘”ƒ‡Ž‡’Šƒ–ǯ• skin.  I  taped  the  flyer  up  again  near  my  bed  and  stared  for   ƒ™Š‹Ž‡ƒ– ‡”„ǯ•ˆƒ…‡ǡ–”›‹‰–‘”‡‡„‡”™Šƒ–Š‡Ž‘‘‡† like  as  an  old  man.    As  I  drifted  off  to  sleep,  I  thought  about   elephants.    The  only  ones  I  had  ever  seen  were  at  the  zoo,  or   the  circus,  wearing  strange  hats  and  anklets  with  ribbons  and   bells.       That  night,  and  for  many  nights  after  that,  I  dreamt  about   work,  but  not  work  exactly.    I  dreamt  that  I  was  a  circus   trainer.  I  dressed  several  animals  up  in  ill-­‐fitting  suits  and   dresses  and  sat  them  at  a  makeshift  bar.  The  audience  would   gasp  as  the  animals  attempted  to  lift  glasses  up  in  the  air   with  their  paws  or  their  trunks.  The  audience  would  laugh   and  applaud  when  the  animals  were  successful,  and  laugh  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

and applaud  just  as  loudly  when  they  were  unsuccessful.  The   animals  were  trained  not  to  notice  either  way,  but  I  looked   up  into  the  darkness,  into  the  knowable  presence  of  a  large   and  unseen  crowd  of  onlookers.  It  was  a  three-­‐ring  circus,  I   realized,  and  they  may  have  been  applauding  something  else.          

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

About the  Photographer   BL  Pawelek  

BL  is  a  writer/artist  living  in  Madison,  WI.   www.blpawelek.wordpress.com/  

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Curbside Splendor    

February 2012  

     

   

www.curbsidesplendor.com  

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Curbside e-zine February 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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