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A Round-About World...story...please critique

Posted to Action Poetry




Tonight is a nice one....recently, there havenÂ’t been many like this. Too many months now nature has been covered in ice and snow; however, one could barely tell if one looked at this night; everthing is, even in this dark, green and Spring. ItÂ’s cool with a slight breeze, apparently coming from the east, and I was getting by with sandals and a light jacket over a button-up long sleeve. yes, this is my kind of night. The last time I looked, about four or five minutes ago, at a clock, it was three-thirty in the morning. I decided to step out for a quick smoke before drooling over my fluffy pillow, as I often do.
Nights like tonight persuade me to take my drags slow and sit on the concrete porch and just breath in the night air with each intake of smoke and nicotine. Ahhhh...the night air. No one is in sight from where I sit, but why should there be? it is almost four o’clock in the morning. Damn bastards should be asleep! “only freaks are out at four in the morning” , my grandfather would later quote. I suppose, in some nineteen-forties, old person way, my grandfather is right in this small-minded assumption.
“Here Jezebel. Come here.” I hear a scratchy voice coming from the corner of my street. I’m wondering just what the hell is going on. To be honest, I’m kinda scared and curious. So, I take a few steps forward and peer squinty down the street to see a shadowed figure crouched over another shadowed figure.
“Atta good kitty. yeah” ah, yes. Jezebel is a cat! I’m somewhat happy it is and somewhat disturbed at the same time.
“fucking nut,” I say to aloud but to myself. The man picks the cat up and moves to his feet. I notice that he sees me watching him, so I slowly step backward, knowing that the situation is awkward anyway. The nut is whispering little odd scratchy-voiced gibberish to Jezebel, you know the way people sometimes talk to babies and animals. I picture this man alone and old sitting on a park bench some place thirty five years from now uttering those same pseudo-words to pigeons that could not give a fuck less.
"No smoking in the house?” What the fuck?! he’s talking to me...how odd...what do I do? ummmm.....
“No, nope. I’m trying to hide it from the family” is all I could say. The fact that it
was truthful making all the better. I smile a bit fearful to myself as this man continues to
stroke Jezebel and whisper the words
“white albacore tuna”
in the poor felineÂ’s ear. IÂ’m thinking of things, almost immediately, to pull myself out of this damn awkward situation and go back inside to a nice warm bed and my fluffy pillow. I can almost see that the cat lover is feeling a bit awkward himself. I get the feeling that he believes that I have entered, without permission, into his private study or something of that nature. Almost as if IÂ’ve accidentally stumbled onto a hidden family secret. Before I know it, a callous, hard-worked hand is thrust into my direction waiting to be taken.
“The name’s Steve, and this is Jezebel. A real sweet cat once you git ta knowin er.”
“I’m Jason,” I didn’t really know of anything else to say, so... “How long have you lived here?” I asked, just trying to make our mutual awkwardness subside and perhaps a friendly conversation would arise in it’s midst.
“Oh, well, going on bout--now, Jezebel, calm down. He’s a friend. Sorry bout that--ten years.” He tells me that he, Steve, has lived in the neighborhood approximately ten years and that he “used to live over there”, he told me pointing to the Hunter House(which basically was a large three-story house converted into single apartments
about twenty or so years ago) but now he lived in the small cottege-esque house just down the street. I had never seen the man in my life.
Jezebel eventually won her freedom from Steve’s arms by clawing him once, soft and affectionate like, in the face. She ran back towards the house in hopes, I think, of eating canned fish. We talk for a few minutes longer. Not really any definitive conversation concerning important or interesting matters, just ‘shooting the shit”. We shake hands again and go on our respective ways. Philosophy, I think then, is lost on that man, but he seems interesting.

I sit on the steps, leaning on the black-painted banister, and sigh deep, taking in the fresh night air as I watch leaves swooping down the street as if being steered by an unseen driver. The wind has become colder, more chilly; however, I stay where IÂ’m comfortable and shut my eyes in hopes of some sleep or perhaps a life-affirming/insightful/ introspective dream. The wind blows over me and I forget everything. I lose Steve and I lose Jezebel. Whoosh whooshy whoosh go the tumbling leaves. They are
dolphins in a dark sea. I am standing, young and tired, where I am.
I am standing behind a counter at a grocery store( I am a cashier at a local grocery story...would you like paper or plastic). I can hear a distant yet distinct hummmmmm of the little motors that power these godawful machines. The Ignorant surround me and are chit chatting away with nothing useful to say, nothing useful at all, not this day.
Someone, blonde-haired and thin, calls my name but no heed is paid as I contently stand.
BEEP BEEP BEEP go the boxes and cans over the scanner with a swift motion of my right hand to my left. The wind is back and my hands shiver with its cold.
"How are you today,” I ask, with the complete indifference of a cud-chewing cow, of the elephant woman standing two feet away and breathing stagnate, decaying breath. I
do not, I can tell, care what her answer might be...not even a slight bit. The BEEP BEEP
BEEP continues on. The lights shine bright from the ceiling brilliantly down on my face and body and everything beyond is dark. I can see nothing at all and there, coexisting, is nothing to be seen. Harmony. My eyelids squint back the beam of light falling like God over my person. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP I stare ahead blankly with a dull,
expressionless gaze that reveals only comptemtment and hunger, nothing more, nothing
less. Life life life? is this it? this is all? My face relays nothing. It is the stoic expression the sacred mule from KerouacÂ’s novel. Nothing given nothing taken. Life?
Showing some emotion, I jump up and down up and down....for no descernable reason at all. Other than pure energy and boredom I have no reason to jump, but how many reasons does one need anyway? The chains keep my feet from going too high, too high not at all. Je veux aller la bas, but I cannot. I can do nothing other than allow this to happen while I pry the shackles from my ankles. The chains are tight and I am locked in for the flight. BEEP BEEP BEEP All background noise is nothing now, vanished without a thought. The silence of silence is all I can hear. Feed the dragon, ride the snake, do what you will ...but I cannot. The buzzards, scrawny and bald, land on my shoulders, one on my left and one on my right. I believe these creatures have circled my head throughout the day, but I couldnÂ’t tell nor see them there. They begin pecking away at my scalp,
“thank you have a nice day” I say emotionless to the customer that isn’t there.
I hear, from this silent darkness, droplets of rain and a “blah blah blah” of the
buzzard on my left.
“ What is it that you are after, young, yellow-beaked thing?” I ask of it, but no answer is given and none is expected. Can buzzards talk? I don’t know. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEP ahhhh, I can barely believe before, I could take
it, but now I cannot. To my right, where the isles of great prices on your everyday items
should, I see tall swaying, beautiful, blades of grass. I run, ragged and free, through this
translucent life springing up from the soft ground. I am running free of the chains and I
can see the birds gliding in the sky as I drop to my knees and throw my dirty hands in the air, “YES” I yell for no one to hear other than my echo, soft in the distance on this day. I scream at and for everything I have ever known and nothing at all.