Dear Jane Doe

I am so sad you want to end the life of your child. Please let me know if I can help you, help change your mind. Help you and your little one….including sponsorship.

Elea Lee

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The Night Squeak

here is what is known:

  • The squeak sounds tinny, electronic
  • As though it came from the bottom of this
  • deep historic stairwell
  • Only heard at night
  • It pings the depths in either a randomly-assigned, diabolically-complicated algorithm of beep-short silence-beep-long silence
  • As though Morse code and a squeaky sneaker had a love child
  • Love child, not exactly a fact, but I can see myself rising like a cartoon effigy of Scrooge, antiquated nightcap and tallow candle in hand and
  • Searching the building for you, squeaky electronic ghost
  • Is your battery loose?  Why do you emit these little beeps
  • So like a telemetry monitor only 
  • In this case the patient is 
  • Wide awake, thoroughly alarmed by what has to be broken-
  • Monitor or heart

Ordinary Seduction

By  some inexplicable quirk of middle-age

I see the couple clearly-

Silent in the breakfast nook except for

the clink of spoons on ceramic bowls 

a regular crunch of cereal

They two alone in a room filled with light

not meeting

the gaze of the other

Because of ordinary seduction,

The old-ass Latin kind,

Where there is no longer even the lingering whiff of sexual connotation 

Only the word itself in primal 

dark splendor-

Adrift, led astray, removed

These

Soldiers pointed down the wrong path 

or lovers lost at sea

Where the simplest accident of seduction

Could drive this tiny boat off course

In an endless and unforgiving 

Sea.

3:03 am

if you were to ask me why

Am I up at 3 am

I would say it is because of:

The missing victims’ impact statements

The juvenile probation officer who said, “well, we can’t keep him forever”

(Like the rape of children ain’t no thang in the great state o’ Tejas)

The count prosecutor who proved wormholes in the fabric

Of the universe 

By simple recounting in court

The  drole one

About inadvertently possessing a marijuana tree

For awhile anyway, until his peace officer friends pointed out 

It’s general unferniness.

The municipal prosecutor they made up

To save themselves and not the little girl

Whose deliberately misplaced name still drives this mother-rage 

Against all the feckless adults who should have

Known better.

No band-aid love

these paper cuts

Crass bits of pain

Catch unaware the

fireflies and sparks rising through

Cloud gray skies

Recumbent dragons-rivery road-

rundown house unblinks as the

broken boy steps in front of 

The barreling  18-wheeler.

Call for the medic, the surgeon, 

the poet who can

Conjure words to turniquet this-

No band-aid love-

All wounds and piercing sorrow

You smooth out your own discarded flesh

A coat laid down at our muddied feet

Temporary tomb

Swaddle  the dead

Call gossamer gauze, 

shroud, or interstitial subatomic strings

Cast lots if you will

For his seamless

Heart.

Chinese Handcuffs

you could think

They are just dollar store trinkets

Palm fronds woven across

A flat plane twisted three-dimensional 

Could be a rainbow or

The real periodic table

Or a map of the world 

In which somewhere there is

A factory full of 

Chinese handcuffs

Woven ropes braided through which create a binding

Tension through the center when

Pulled apart

Another name for divorce

Or a party trick

Or the object a scared man uses to explain things 

He doesn’t understand

Like Thomas Jefferson for instance–so hard to tie a knot

At the end of a rope

Harder still to be

The rope

Affixed with nails to the handle

Holding the world together–

No rope, no hope

Hold on tight

Of all the gin joints

Ok, one more question, she asks, gesturing toward the paired wooden markers by the wharf.

Casablanca?!. When did “Rinderhafen, Texas” become Casablanca?!

Oh…funny story about that. Just around the time of the big real estate bubble the city counsel was convinced (due in large part to a sudden proliferation of vacation home development from here to Tivoli) that we were on the cusp of a resurgence of the great tourism boom of the leisure train days.

Sooooo….they put their heads together and decided it was time to reshape the image of this little patch of undiscovered paradise.

In fact, “paradise” was a contender in the race for a new identity. Also at play were Portwein and Portofino.

There was also rumblings about a “Gulf of Mexico Rivera.”

We almost came to fisticuffs at a couple of counsel meetings.

In the end Casablanca got the votes. And no one had any gumption left to object when the major’s wife got the contract for the renaming campaign and all the signage commissions that went with it.