week of July 9 - 16, 2000
Kenneth Clark and Ricky Garni
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Kenneth Clark writes and lives in Tampa, Florida from where he travels about the country under the auspices of "work." A native of New Orleans, his poems have appeared in "Tabula Rasa," "Equinox," "Poet's Cut" and "House Arrest." He is author of two chapbooks, "Unknown Dialects," and "locking and unlocking." His work may be viewed online at http://ken.is.dreaming.org/
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Bill Trudo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
the garage sale
wasn't until the car door opened
i turned to look back at tables
of bric-a-brac and bar novelties
but saw yesterday's tomorrow--
an arrow gone wrong, a line
dividing time into before & after
you. i'm not dreaming of you
any more. i'm sick its saturday
its time to start the car, my
smile a fish's mouth turned up
by a hook laughing at myself.
when i was five i'd lie on my
pillow while dad showered, let
the room wet with sweat lull
me to sleep. oh no joy, i heard
you say from miles gone, even
now your sarcasm hits home.
each candle-holder that danced
on friday night romances reduced
to ten cents, coatrack where
our jackets came off before any
thing else, given away with
the tupperware set. this how
love implodes. so we gave it
away, letting others inherit
the taboo of old clothes
and albums; ties, dress shoes,
our ritual of love fight love.
i am selling all of it for
nothing. i am ridding myself
of all of it: this the last
time i think your name:
sound of water in the apartment to my left
of next door's
desire, I invited
for a drink
& found out
are they loud
talkers who leave
to a half-
of bug spray.
can see them,
with the kama
instead of incense
& oils, it's bud
weiser & cheese
I liked her
but if the moon's
a mirror, i'm
drag her porcelain arm
across her thigh
the cops were
here last night
with a warrant
for his arrest,
I have to squeeze
my eyes tightly
hermes at the wheel
"this better not be a waste of time,"
pushing fourth from third gear whining
in tune to your cries of no mas no mas
...and a hotel this time...no rest stop
truck stop, highway overpass as shelter
"let's travel in style," coffee at 4 pm.
our last trip i realized that was then
that was then--moving w/o destination
through grimed side streets of back when
all involved was get up and go--dashed
plans and left-behind friends, meander
by mile-markered citied names, magnets
pulled or pushed from end over end
our fortressed cars: counties attracting
on unmapped whim, no thought tomorrow
no thought for the left-behind (what we
called those tied by dutied worry unable
to push off like boats from docks
in the nadir of night, in oranged paper
of nightsky east). we drove west &
tumbled from gas stop for tourist trap
never taking photos. & tonight, rumbling
from Tulsa home, i miss your loose laughter
at 6 am, winded hair like Hermes, delivering
news of new lands to discover; where thump
thump of interstate the plaintive sound
of your wings guiding me by moving & serenity.
Ricky Garni is a wine merchant, teacher, and bicycle collector living in Carrboro, North Carolina with his sons Linus and Dashiell. His work has been published in PIF, THE QUARTERLY, NO EXIT, THE POETRY PROJECT, BIG BRIDGE, and other venues. His latest work, WARDROBE, is available through the mail if you want to write him and ask him for it. He will pay the postage if he as he feeling a little ritzy at the moment.
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Ricky Garni and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
my fathers moccasins are much too big for me. I put them on. no, I didnt tell my father: he is dead. and yet when I put them on I began to walk just like him: stooped, with a slight shuffle. thats a lie! I walked just like me, which I think is slightly bow-legged. you can ask my mother if thats true, but you really cant because she is dead. cousins, uncles, aunts: dead? who knows? grandparents? of course dead. my
goldfish die almost instantly. also, the hibiscus plant on the back deck is definitely on the way out. my brother,
who had a heart attack yesterday and stood on his tippy toes as if he were being stabbed in the chest by knives, crying as the nurse held his hand, is feel much better today. in fact, he planted an entire row of gardenias outside the perimeter of my dead parents house. they are simply breathtaking! he tells me.
we cant wait to sell the house.
The Story of Mr. Witherspoon
mr. witherspoon was a terribly depressing, old, smelly, uneducated and rather feeble old man who liked to play checkers with school children who beat him mercilessly.
why the hell did you have to do that? he would say; by that, of course, he meant why did you have to win? what child would answer such a question, which was, quite clearly, so rhetorical that even a child recognized it at once. one child who recognized this somewhat faster than the other children who beat mr. witherspoon was ludwig wittgenstein. yes, THE ludwig wittgenstein. one of the children that mr. witherspoon played was ludwig wittgenstein, the great german philosopher.
Ill never forget my afternoons in the pradastaste playing checkers with mr. witherspoon, he would say, although I cannot rightly say that it ever had any influence on my decision to become a philosopher. he did teach me the word hell, though...
mr. witherspoon liked the word hell. he used it all the time, although generally not during his checker games because he tended to concentrate deeply upon each move, although it didnt matter because he was so terribly bad and stupid to boot that there wasnt a chance (in hell, as mr. witherspoon might say) that he would win a game. and so he saved all his hells for relaxation time before and after his games.
where the hell have you been? the weather certainly is like hell today I dont know what the hell you are talking about you call this hell? Ill show you hell hell, hell, hell oops, hell dear lord please kill me and take me away from this hell and do you remember the time I said hell yesterday?
one day, years ago, mr. witherspoon won a game of checkers decisively. he was wearing a green army jacket over a black tea shirt with a small rectangular pocket over the left breast and faded black dungarees and an eye patch and authentic indian moccasins. he was playing his imaginary friend, mrs. witherspoon.
so there! to hell with you! he said triumphantly. a fine victory, to be certain.
after the game, mrs. witherspoon smiled and made mr. witherspoon a cup of apple tea, and shooed away all the smart alecky checker-playing little boys with their clean clothes, or so he said. according to mr. witherspoon, mrs. witherspoon was curvy and sweet to touch and sensitive, and loving, and completely devoted to mr. witherspoon and easily as smart as ludwig wittgenstein.
even though he imagined everything in it, it was, without a doubt, a day that mr. witherspoon would never forget.
the holiest of holidays!
I always fast on valentines day. I fast and I spend a lot of time getting my car serviced at
......the service station. one valentines day, it needed a new fuel pump, a radiator hose, and an alternator. you could tell that that it needed the alternator because the headlights grew dimmer and dimmer over time, and the radio got quieter and quieter over time, and the heater gets colder and colder over time, which is just like when you are young and you fall in love and you feel like you would do anything for her, anything at all to make her happy, and then she tells you that she doesnt love you, and that actually she never did love you, and suddenly it seems so cold and silent (and dark) that you wish she would kiss you even once, even if everything that she is saying is true, and maybe not because she cares, at all, even a little, but maybe just to let you know that someday, someday, someone will care, and it will be really very good and very wonderful but of course you are afraid that someday someone never will--or perhaps that someone who would will pass by your window on the night that you should have e met, and you will be alone upstairs thinking about how cold it is, watching television that you dont like, with a cat on top of the television that you hate, and that hates you, and so she walks away by herself to her own television and perhaps a dog instead of a cat that she doesnt like either, and the radio gets quieter and quieter and quieter, and the lights get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer, and finally they just dont work at all, and there is no where to fix it because it is a holiday and everythings closed, forever.
Do we think about impressions: No,
they are ready made. Tonight I told Olga that
walking down the street, shots rang out,
one night, long ago. I followed, without
a thought "Let's go"
I said to my companion at the time.
"Let's follow them."
"You're an idiot" my companion
at the time said; I thought is was
I didn't tell Olga that my companion
at the time had beautiful breasts that night
wrapped in ermine provoking thought
and an attitude that you could slice
like a ripe vidalia onion.
"But there's a one in a million chance that
you would be shot!" is what Olga said who
born in St P., prefers to say that she was
born in Leningrad, you see
"I like the odds. But shot? I think not; There's also this thought:
'when you wish upon a star' and also "so what?" &c.
in the same town
we research another time. Here
2 years before: the Police Museum
on Biscayne and saw two slugs
removed from the brain of John
Dillinger, leaving the theatre
2 days ago: Stephen Jay Gould told me
by way of a book that he read me that he wrote
that the woman's brain is smaller than man's;
according to physiological research, p.s.
The same evening, I confess
I told Olga that it was a woman
that invented the soul
"Your soul, maybe" my companion at the time said
"And soul music" said Olga from St. Petersburg,
whom I told a piece of news:
"They're moving Lenin's body soon, and for keeps,"
it wasn't long at all before Olga said "People should know
their history," yet still it is Leningrad, Leningrad, in her sleep
and she likes
New York, she likes New York, NY
In the alley near where two shots rang out
two years ago and I dreamed a children dreams
two days ago, two men play the bongos now
and there is a Jamaican Party, very loud
there too and it is
just like New York
Sometimes I think about 'companion' and how
it almost looks like 'campion' which is spanish
for 'champion'; isn't that what all companions
"Think about it." I said to myself though not at the time
Right now this time a hug would be well just fine
with me I ask Olga while she works away
at the onions, chopping & chopping
here in the south, so full and so
when we last saw our hero roger, he was successfully escaping a tribe of aborigines who had decided that he was king. being a king is not so bad, roger thought at first, and then, later, but actually, it is.
and it was. and lo and behold as fate would have it, roger escaped and found himself no longer in australia but instead in san fransisco at the end of a very nice day in the midst of the gay pride festival, lost, not knowing where he was. roger, then, with the confidence of someone who knew he could be king (please note: a king of aborigines), decided to ask directions of a stranger, who looked like he had been around and knew the scene and was wearing a leather mask and led by a chain that was attached to the leather mask at the intersection below the chin known as the larynx, or voice box.
excuse me, roger said, addressing the man in the leather mask who eyed him curiously (although he probably didnt recognize him, and perhaps when you are in a leather mask and you gaze out intently no matter what it appears as though you are eyeing the world curiouslyits possible, you know)
can you tell me the way to the bay bridge?
the man in the leather mask paused and eyed roger curiously again, if that what he was doing in fact. it was your typically beautiful san fransisco day: there wasnt a cloud in the sky and the mist, which prevails in the morning, had left as if by magic.
Srtywarew, the man in the leather mask replied, and then continued:
mmmmmghme memneemnhhd mm ahh mmndm mmbbee, nnnd mmnbee grrrr mmmrn ninnn mmm brrr mm rnrmnrmn rnrm mgnggn grrrrrr, mnvvvvvvrrrr gmmmmnnnn, grrrrrrrrr.
roger thanked him and turned away. grrrrrrr, he thought to himself, wondering if he had forgotten anything, making his way to the bay bridge at his own speed, and in the most memorableor possibly regalway possible