augury doggerel

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Delta Rhythm

Reading on the bed at noon, I try to stay awake. Strong sun through the window on the cat and the carpet. When I close my eyes, the cat is black on red squares. Then I can't open them. Don't sleep.

When I was alone in the toy aisle of a department store now long defunct, I took one experimental hop on a pogo stick and landed hard on the back of my head. The next morning I staggered and puked and staggered down the hall. All the way to the hospital, they made me sit up and speak and keep my eyes open. Don't sleep. At the end of visiting hours, my mother said she was just going down to the nurse's desk for a minute. She thought I'd nod off before I realized she wasn't coming back.

Out, out.

On the tram, two beefy brothers in shorts drink from bottles of beer. They sway in their seats. Then the slow spatter of one hunched and puking between his knees, puking a pink that spits back up again to his calves. At the next stop, the other leads him by the arm down the steps and away across the road towards the lot where the amusement park used to be. One face red, one face white, together a flag in a strong breeze.

A skinny old man with soft eyes gets on at the same stop. He has a decent suit and hat and a long nose with one very wet drip just about to fall from the end. But it doesn't.

On the sidewalk, a married pair, a pram, and a newer model of the woman, a younger sister. He laughs and trades shoves with the girl he married while the woman he lives with pushes the baby along. A girl going the other way modulates galumph into gazelle in two steps when she thinks I'm watching, but I'm only wondering.

I buy some old jazz, a five-piece combo in new 20-bit suits, and a Beowulf plain and glossed.

There's no television at home, so news at the pub always skewers me. I see a minute of Irak and, farther away, a land called Nowy Jork. There's no sound, but it's some sort of celebration. They must think it's over. Then the channel changes, dirt track motorcycle racing, and the sound is turned up, "We Will Rock You" on stadium loudspeakers.

A man who can't work doors with his one unbandaged hand comes eventually in to beg anything and gets a glass of water and an escort back through the door. He leans outside and nods. We could use a shave.


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