the night before martin luther king
was gunned down in memphis
he came screaming
out of a dream.
the instant outside roanoke
that his plane smacked a mountain
was the first time since holtzwihr
that audie murphy wasn’t afraid.
audie and martin met in heaven and
walked Paradise apart
from listening angels,
the ears of God.
what they whispered
to each other
was not put down
into the book of ages…
they swapped medals,
and their laughter echoed
through heaven and earth,
to hell and back.
Cyclops by Kevin P. Keating -1- White sunlight pierced the cracked, mud-encrusted windshield of the pickup truck, stinging my one good eye. The woods, green and lush and wild in the full heat of summer, became an impressionistic blur. With trembling fingers I adjusted my eye patch, desperate to see where I was being taken….
The yellow arrows on the pavement split to left and right, defining the acceptable movements of vehicles. And for a while, I’m immobilized, thinking of a butterfly flapping its wings. A typhoon I don’t want to create, so I sit in my car, studying the arrows. And I think then of my exhaust and of the Greenhouse Effect (especially because my particular automobile mocks emissions tests), and realize that not moving is a butterfly flapping its wings just as surely as turning is. And I’m jolted into action, but still haven’t made a choice. I shift my foot from the brake to the gas and the car leaps forward, splitting the arrows.
It’s a grossly long story; the missing Merrill Lynch Roth IRA account. The final saga in an ugly divorceâ€¦how could it not be an ugly divorce? It was an ugly marriage first wasn’t it? So why is it surprising to think than an ugly union would have anything but an ugly offspring…in this case, the divorce resembled a one-armed strung out hooker with asphalt-torn nylons a broken shoe and a lisp, “Thay, buddy, can I bum a thmoke?” Why do people call us buddy?
But the Merrill Lynch Roth IRA account is still missing. I think that it never existed. But then, I don’t really remember. I quit remembering a long time ago. As soon as the paperwork was filed I figured the money was gone anyways. Either she’d end up with all of it or I’d have to sell it off to pay the attorneys. Either way, I never thought much of it after that.
The hair around my nipples has grown longer. It’s not something that one would notice. Hell, I didn’t even notice until one late summer day – actually, an early fall day in Southern California where we regularly push the summers well into October and on into December if we’re lucky – while smoking a cigarette and reading the latest edition of “Modern Painters” I looked down across my bare chest at hairs that had begun to grey and noticed a lengthy curl about my left nipple. Fortunately, the right nipple had equal growth so I did not look unbalanced in any way but the long hairs and the greying and the fact that I could repose on a Thursday late-summer morning and consider this newly discovered arrangement satisfied me in a very adult way.
She ended it with the slamming of a door that had begun to chip the paint from around the jamb
One day she’d slam that door and knock all the paint off of everything and he would just stand there
There was no sign or warning
No look in her eye
No minor hesitation
And then, as if out of nowhere, she would lay 14-years of marriage across his face with a swift, flat hand that reeled the memories in his already spinning brain
It wasn’t fair
It was never fair
As a child he had lived this same way for too many years,
Until that day, as a young man, when he caught his mother’s hand in mid-strike and held it there
Just a little too tightly
And a little too long
And told her, “Never again.”
But not this one
He never stopped her
He just stood
And took it
And never raised a hand
She was just too close to him
Or maybe he was too close to her
And it didn’t seem to matter on which side he chose
Like trying to pick between two long lines at the checkout stand and always guessing wrong
There was no winning in it for him
Just chipping paint
And so many things left untold