meantime pudding

If I myself die tonight, if that son-of-a-bitch lunatic ex-roommate Doug next door comes at me or tries to kill me this evening I will be ready for him. I will destroy him even if a piece of my human side dies in battle….”

 

by michael internicola

 

I stand naked about the middle of this room, one fourteen A.M., perhaps by accident in sweet sweet Paris reading and reading the letter Emily’s grandmother sent me on Tuesday regarding her death. Emmy managing herself insignificant by Auteuil Viaduct that day, overheard near Pigalle doing finger puppets on the wall…doing dishes, incorrigible, her face in a way that shocks, “We were just making progress.” She said, “We have baggage now. People like you are dangerous because you never know what to expect. Don’t know what’s coming out of their mouth or where they will end up but at the same time people like you have strong minds–a good punching bag for people like me.” The soft words by Emmy. 5 by 6. Her long lashes springing out. Emily Frances over and over again, flat on my back suddenly until the lights go out and there’s only us disguised as something grandiose, something blazing or swarming blank. I am lying where the blossoming skies have opened; imagining the gentle breeze is a restless one storming over the candles I have provided in this space. And the room is darker tonight, this flame glaring past the package and sweat on the floor. The apartment continuously silent–which is still empty besides that crazy roommate Doug walking heavy outside the place. I was thinking of Emily, of those times before her untimely passing had entered my life and I feel her. I feel her like sharp rocks or cactus pricks all over my skin, punishing and persisting without much warning but combined with a treated love, a token love that mustards and coats my blue body warm. For all the good it did us in the fall of ’98 I can’t really say. Which is to say: Emily’s life is over. The date–summer 2001, about thirty years after I was born. I have confused emotions otherwise. The ashes and directions seem simple enough to understand. At Emily’s request, I should take her spirit and place it somewhere special like the rest of her friends. It could have stopped at any moment.

I pause. I pause because I can picture her, as fine as she can be, walking lead footed in secret wind and slightly weakening to stop for a second before looking at me, positioning herself towards others and cocktails, a laugh possibly and a chat with bartenders in French about bird shit or the hero on the corner of the stairs. that was how we came to know each other, in a restaurant around Paris sipping chardonnay and talking shop about manly gestures, Euro-trash or bullfighting. I can hardly remember the diplomatic conversation or her eyes, her generous stare, her noticing me. I sat between Emily and an English-speaking cohort discussing a last second trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming before they both traveled abroad and initially came to Spain. I knew Emily at that point to be a 25 year-old novelist with no books to her name, strung out on grad school problems until age 23 in New York City, decided to say fuck it…made up of mostly Irish and Dutch descent. All girl, all coached work with ruthless dirty-blond hair needling in fine print down past her shoulders. One of the prettiest women I ever saw. She looked certain, pledging no-nonsense but funny about it. I was already in love with her friendship but I can’t imagine I meant anymore to her at the time than another stupid American peeing in the bushes; smoking and ashing on himself all the while he did it. From there this five month friendship started. I began to examine our long nights in bed, our travels to foreign land and all that make up in between. We talked about my books, my comparisons to famous literary freaks–always included in the New York Times list of God knows what.

I reflect now, kneeling before my pencil and pad, of the many terrific lies I have told myself about those days of invisible backyard barbecues and bed bugs biting. That they never figured in my life or that she was just another chick for me to meet and no good or no fit in my run about things existing out of nothing. Indeed, I made myself believe that–made HASH believe that, dancing out of the mess of things I made up in Key West, F*L*A* and watching her skip town without saying a single goodbye. I spoke to her twice after she returned to the States. Once when I thought I was moving back to California and wanted her to come but never said anything about it. the other time just to say hello and spark up a conversation but that didn’t work, promising to send copies of the finished chapters but I couldn’t. I believed her to hate my guts for asking permission to call after that. It could have been the way we left things or her new job. Either way, I hit the ground running towards France. I always do. And now the footsteps drift away like shrills scattering, transforming and bouncing themselves into something momentarily different along the backbone, something boundless or flinging in my head. The vase or vial is there, a turquoise color wooden sculpture that reminds me of a toy car. Whatever Emily’s fate, it was a bad twist of fate for someone who clearly enjoyed living as much as she did. To imagine her hands so elevated, so detailed with my girl Good Luck Luck Charlie resting on the sheets beside my legs, beside my microscopic purpose or the cockroaches wallpapering the wall means almost shit to me. Charlie remains curious about it, wondering what I’m gonna do with my travel plans already or where I’m going. If anywhere. It was all about adult puberty, an artist liking I tell her. Give a damn passion. Give a shit kind of things.

If I myself die tonight, if that son-of-a-bitch lunatic ex-roommate Doug next door comes at me or tries to kill me this evening I will be ready for him. I will destroy him even if a piece of my human side dies in battle. I have the door stiffed shut with a coffee table in front of it in case I’m surprise attacked. There are liquor bottles next to my mattress along side the broken fireplace. Not good enough. I go to the closet and get the largest kitchen knife I got. If I have to use it mid sentence I will. My money is stashed. My books are hidden. The only thing he can harm is my computer with my other stuff on it. Whatever went down this morning with me kicking him out is because nobody feels safe. I had to stand up today and be a effing man about things. I had to go to work today both here and there. Effing cocksucker. Fucking weird cocksucker. Fucking asshole was stalking his girlfriend until she called the cops and got a restraining order against the fuck. Fucker started playing guitar outside her job in the middle of Sucy Bonneuil then he just took off booking from the police. I’m crashing that Saturday and he comes up the stairs pounding on the fucking door, hemming and hawing all shivering and shit and he’s asking me about how long I’m gonna live here and why it took me so long to answer the door and random stuff like he’s been wearing my shirts and shaving with my razor because it’s a man’s razor he says and he likes the way I carry my muscle? He wants to rent the whole place out and start his family with this girl who won’t even speak to him. He tells me he spent time institutionalized at a nuthouse in Portland last winter and that his father made him have sex with is deaf brother growing up. He’s shouting and roaming the corridor, screaming unconditional love and I don’t whether to beat the fuck out of him or fucking whatever I’m gonna do. Can hardly imagine this…that his job was working as a musician in a day care before he got canned for that shit. Two days later, he knocks on my door. It’s, like, six in the morning. Charlie’s getting ready for work and he tells her he thinks we’re both motherfuckers for gossiping about him behind his back, that she’s a bitch for bringing up the crazy house thing again that he believes he’s told her in confidence. I didn’t know what I was gonna do because I didn’t want to kill him and bring the fuzz in around me. I kicked him and his fucking dog Honey out about one hour after that. I felt bad cuz’ i liked the fucking dog but he’s on his knees begging me to let him stay and that things are just starting to happen for him or he’ll leave me alone but I can’t budge. I won’t have it where I write, I say. He left all his shit in the apartment, got into an argument with the landlord about him losing the keys for the hundredth fucking time and walked Honey out without a lease–dumped her off at an apartment store and nobody’s seen or heard shit since he came back tonight to get his things. I look at the knife. I don’t ask why I’m living like this. I know what’s going on. I picture him shooting through the walls or killing himself in the next room over from mine. I manage a blindsided attack with a stab to the chest or a bottle to the head. I fear no one. I could have slept someplace else tonight but I decided to protect the home front even if I hate the front of my home. I wear war paint and have a twenty-inch cock. I am dyed solid blue. I can not get the dye off. I can sleep with one eye open, overcome obstacles only I can beat. I am more man than I have personally met elsewhere. I fear no other human being or situation. I get off on that. I would eat butterflies but they are scared of me. I smash heads and growl when I talk. I will eat you if you step the least bit on my toes. You are gone. I am here and I am waiting. If I decide to, I may come after you and you will be killed. Believe that. I am the crazy fuck, the one people are looking at on higher effing ground. I am a rocket ship, a tough slug, an outrageous sexy beast in the brush surviving in the Parisian wilderness–surviving in a mean fuck nut world. I am out of my fucking coma. This is the hippo’s area and the lizard must leave. The fucking lizards are gone.

Incredibly enough, the grocery stores are flying by as I think of this six days later. 65 mph on the surface of the earth. Changing and shit. Good Luck Charlie is finally sleeping. I think she’s snoring, overcome with grog and a low gargling hissy fit sound that plays like grease sizzle. Fuck those other things. I always try to show teeth pertaining to persons named Darling, especially if I’m forced to be next to somebody I can’t stand like that insect over there. This goes for any mode of transportation. I don’t like to be huddled. A non-snuggler slash non-spooner Charlie says. Sometimes, I’m just quiet. I have traveled further. Once I did a Istanbul to London trip for two and half days of foul matter. I pawned a T.V., got a paycheck and rolled one out European left coast style. I was dirty. I shit myself and had gas the whole time down but it was interesting. I slept in parking lots and sex in the woods with twist kitties. Everybody disappears on a road like this. Shadows blend, static blends…people’s voices multiply and divide into one bold stir–like getting used to crickets chirping or a strange noise in the house. I get used to that rumbling because I’m stones and begging for goo-losh in the middle of the forest. I hear it in my skull. Black stuff rolls by art cows, light and shit coming into France. The bumps on the road aren’t too heavy and I hardly ever sit still. There’s no reason to move. At stops I stare at people and most stare right back dead center. Ballsy people who just don’t give a fuck about shit but a bed or seeing that place they are missing or traveling to–maybe a meal in between when something looks good. Most folks don’t come here because it’s just that lonely. A lot of kids can’t pass time comfortably looking outside a window and that’s a shame. It’s a travesty, not being able to run to the ocean like that, and that’s what’s wrong with things right there. That’s why the uniform is ripping and tearing itself in two. The nature of the world is going down.

Nevertheless, the American guy behind me did undergrad at Rutgers and now he’s, like, in law school at Cornell or Cortland-something very wonderful and ingenious like that. He has sandals on, curly hair, roughly twenty-four…Diesel jeans parked, sitting with both his feet up going to Edinburgh and feeling the power of what’s going on over here. Good Luck Charlie is talking to him. The Spanish girl is on the cell phone asking for her papa while offering me a piece of gum. I motion no. Good Luck Charlie taps me on the leg and asks me if I’m alright. She’s on, something like, page seventy of the book I bought for her–isn’t it something how she continuously begs me to pay attention, say things to her or how she wants me to be nearer to her and when I try to build her up, help her along–she just ignores me anyway. The chick next to me smells like Brut cologne and her right arm keeps hitting mine while I’m writing all this shit down. Good Luck Charlie and I went abroad in the world but we never met anyone who could withstand the tough questions or talked the kind of talk I was looking for. On this outside world things turn back around–stars fall from the sky, kids and adults travel the road for adventure, for putting other stuff off to the side. It is the encouragement and the discovery of ideal spots to tell other formed friends about. I found this my first time around with HASH, cooking clear across Europe with backpacks on the bridge and special photos. The feeling of being a writer; the element of X with plenty of meaningful conversations too. In certain company, I do not plead the fifth. maybe I was just younger, more giving or more hungry. I did not find these things with Charlie.

The first time I feel things change is when I button my lip in the can and I hear the many many voices of Good Luck Charlie scratching so sad in this, the soon to be Frenchiest of all afternoons. It is the first trip I’ve taken outside the States with her in over a year–hitting the wall in Montreal, Canada for Christ’s sake. However impossible as all that sounds to you–somehow off the tracks I am. In a wink of an eye I am, I am. I have, like, what anyone would call a thousand years of shortsightedness, a blindness that is firmly the way others perceive me. I am pretty much an unlucky asshole. I write words in the most simplest way you can describe the sentence or the action. It’s always been there for me. I am a simeple guy, like I said. When I was twenty-four, a book collector offered me, something like, two hundred dollars a month to write a bunch of short articles about my eye condition–this retinitis pigmentosa that the doctors are willing to call it. I rebelled because my mood at the moment was opposite of that, because writing to the order of the way it is…is gelding work; because writing like that is no sunshine daydream. Money don’t mean shit to me unless I ain’t got none–it’s candy boxing things. Good Luck Charlie told me that on Monday. My condition, as it was explained to me, usually in time destroys the retinal sensory nerves–the light receptors in some kind of 100 watt turning pattern. To the point, it means I will eventually not see. There is a narrow ring of damage close to the fovea. The fovea being the most sensitive part of the retina and something that is usually spared by this retinitis pigmentosa and blah. I don’t feel anything about it. I’d mostly describe it to you as a gradual onset of dim tunnel vision at times, like a lot of peripheral images packed together on the sides and sometimes, in my case, replaced by painted darkness. Occasionally, I can’t see color or I have a hard time looking into light, like, it hurts when I stare boldly at it and then it feels like my eyes flew somewhere else and ducked out on me or I’m stuck inside an empty beer bottle trying to get out. Over the last ten years the doctors said my mother had an infectious disease during her pregnancy and this, above any other history-taking diagnosis, is what everyone’s going with now. The disability, said the specialist in boring confidence, would be but a minor problem until age thirty to sixty. It is a high tech race to see past the curtain. My mother dies seven hours after I came out.

I feel bad for Good Luck Charlie because of the stomach thing. I don’t want her to be alone if something needs to be done as far as a clinic thing goes. I love her, I do. I don’t want a baby and neither does she. So, if she’s pregnant, she’ll have to have an abortion back in New York while I’m in Paris. It’s about a half hour outside some Swiss destination that we’re heading for. This is not the place for these things to go down. If you could only see the way she loves me or looks at me doing nothing. What can I fucking do? If I could I would let it go. I’m trying to write the stupid novel and she’s, like, tripling somethin’ fierce on things. I’m not taking calls anymore. God, fuck it. Sometimes who cares how miserable she feels. I am bracing for it. We’re not doing anything but being young and being in love and having fights; laughing poorly about bullshit in this sleepless world…6:47, resting quietly, is a dull orange sunset. Anyway, Ralph told me about the publisher. they sometimes had a meal together. She supposedly bought a manuscript of poems from him during some two year college stint and then suggested he write children’s songs for one of her old wealthy clients. She couldn’t tell him anything about the style or subject matter–just that it needed to be for kids. Ralph started doing it as a joke because we needed the money for rent in New York. He entered into it as an operation to try something new, and it seemed simple at first: he never used his real name which was important at the time (P. Vertigo, I think it was). After a while it wore on him like everything writing will do to a person. I remember I used to think, God dammit, it’s because he’s a chick and he hasn’t figured it out yet or because he’s only twenty-four years old. It’s because he hasn’t read this or that or, like, is a poor and stubborn writer like me. Regardless that’s how I got ******** *** **** of the ground and sold. There ain’t any real answers out there out there because that’s just the way it is and it’s not going to get any better. I can see that. I can also see Good Luck Charlie, a runaway slave next to me from St. Louis, Missouri sitting in some highlife conference room doing marketing and thinking she’s being creative outside writing or sculpting. How does she do it! I can’t stop worrying about her though. I want her to be tough but then she says she thinks she’s dying and she talks about stomach cancer running in the family or how all her friends all have real jobs and suck and here’s me above it all giving my two cents on hangover things as she describes the pain shooting around her pelvis, “It’s nothing I haven’t felt before but listen…” she’s saying, “We should have used erasable pen on the Eurorail ticket. We could have changed the dates.” I have nothing poetic to say about it and I can’t use or think of anything else to mention. I don’t have any time to wait for things. I love her and I’d be crushed, like, devastated if anything bad bad happen to her. I want to help her in so many ways but I can’t. It’s bullshit and that’s just the way it goes. I have no suggestions or arguments in me. I can’t truly say my feelings because I’m hurting…I’d never say how much I loved Emily. I’m not gonna worry about it anymore.

There are times when I’m looking out the window at something: something like the SLOWMOTIOoN sky (the first stage of mortification), a squad of hogs or a refection of my face and unexpectedly, without previous notice, the dark flesh of another train comes by and snaps me back. I don’t need anything here. I linger there, I consider and fold. I think about Good Luck Charlie leaving Paris again. The mountains don’t show anymore. I follow the telephone lines and they get farther and farther apart. Charlie and I are quiet for many many miles–whipping snot on the seat, supporting each other’s headaches, sitting on my hands with what little I have…my toilet mouth, my writing manual, my two ham sandwiches packed together in sticky wax paper. Gotta get out on my own. Got no choice. Either fucked or not fucked. Badly beaten each day. It’s just too late, too late in the day to even care anymore. Shit heel standing here, standing up to check his baggage. It’s his thought process and he isn’t even aware of it…Got no choice. Either fucked or not fucked. I am badly beaten each day. It’s just too late, too late in the day to even care anymore. Shit heel standing here, standing up to check his baggage. It’s his thought process and he isn’t even aware of it. It is me badly beaten, in the phantom cracks and out of this unprofitable life. It is me following the river smooth, six hundred something feet away. Adults are talking. It is me eating vitamins. Good Luck Charlie shrugs, shakes her head and insists, “We on the road now, Jules.” the snow that sits on top of Switzerland looks about seven inches tall getting there. Jungtraujoch they called it a few hours back. I cough once. Good Luck Charlie offers me a sip of her drink, pinkie stirring a little on the lonely side of the cup but I don’t say anything, “Take those sunglasses off will you…” she says, “You look like a goof. Like a pervert or something.” “I am a pervert” I say, copying these words down, “get your head out of your book, Julie. We’re gonna see some nice scenery here (innocent)…GOD, I love this country. It’s my favorite…love switzerland.” And the climb is a pretty one, filled with adventure stones chanting past Wilderswil, past Laurenbrunnen and then left for dead in the Alps. I smoke a cigarette looking at the silent cars driving by the rail–getting smoke on my clothes. Char sits up and peeks out the glass. her back is shaped perfect, eating pizza and drinking the soda. Her legs are crossed down by her feet…her ankles rest on the other foot’s flip flop. She’s a Midwestern girl and she poo poo’s regularly. She’s a hairy girl and she poo poo’s regularly because of her Lebanese roots. She’s, like, some daze child–Good Luck Charlie is, who don’t move her chair for nobody besides people here going to The Mosel Valley or Schleswig-Holstein or Dusseldorf even. I bang out my philosophy, “This is usually the time I like to pull my pants down and run around the train” I say to the tape recorder in between her bags, “Go for it” she answers, ponders and smiles, “You wrote that down?” a funny face wavering. She brushes her hair, “Can I draw little circles on your shirt?” I ask, “I can see if this was funny conversation…” she says, “…but it’s not. It’s just stupid stuff coming out of your mouth.” “Another chicken soup?” she’s grinning, “Is this like a real book?” “Keep talking…brilliant.”

As I glance over, I surrender. I am fairly drunk on a section of the swimming pool over by the big helicopter thing. My eyes burn and bleed. The light goes flat on the well-kept patches. Good Luck Charlie is writing notes to Danny or Debbie Hawkes. Sometimes, I don’t even feel like I’m here. there are minutes passing by. There are minutes passing by, scorching or tricking me into thinking there are other matters besides the book. there is no order here. It doesn’t make sense. Charlie hiccups. the doors open up, on the verge of making it…the wind sails in…the countryside is magnificently open, non-touched, attentive and spacious. It whistles strangely around the ideas of sense and pleasure. Good Luck Charlie is broken when I say I don’t feel validated visiting this place anymore. I’ve done that to her so many times. Her in her white T, blue jeans wasting away…chipped pink toenails shooting through. Good Luck Char is shaking her head, invisibly denying she’s not crying again, “Look at the river” she explains. More graffiti and intricate railroad tracks, “Ohhh…” she murmurs, “I’m gonna kill myself when I get back to New York.” “Why?” I ask, “What’s the matter, Doll?” “Because I don’t want to get a job but I have to cuz’ I’m poor.” “Temp for a while. Wait tables or something…” I tell her, “Till’ you get back on your feet.” “Then what?” “Live…” “Live what?” “You’ll figure it out. Like we planned…come back here or teach English somewhere.”She maneuvers her backpack and finds room on the floor, “I don’t know when I’ll be back.” she says, “Char…what’s meant to be is meant to be…you fucking will.” “When?” she asks, “When I’m retired?” I laugh inside. She laughs too.

This is my real frustration. I am covered up with heavy blankets. Nobody speaks to me. My fingernails wear into this page. They stab next to me, kicking me in the back seat around my neck and elbows. Whole world’s coming to an end now. Gliding like spaghetti or yarn…and slow it down. Okay now, the proper state. Hocked the graduation watch for rent money–on my own time now. The overpowered feelings are gone and I’m fine. Do I know LOVE? Good Luck Charlie believes I do. She believes she is safe–her hands make mention of this. Leaving Zurich, I’m told I really didn’t get a chance to see the city. After all I’m, like, still recovering from the sea bass stomach virus I think we got in Cinque Terre along the Italian Rivera. She’s here with me for a reason and I DO think it’s trust, something restless…It’s my friendship, that something never on equal terms. It’s my Sunshine Girl’s little magnetic LOVE. Oh, beauty. The same ol’ train. We stopped talking for nearly the last two hours. Cold. Fingers cold and stiff. Can barely write. Heavy blankets. Tonight, I really do LOVE her just the way she is even if we talked about not seeing each other for real anymore. Starting today, I am a happy man…a man twice blessed, temperate and hungry. I am, today, what I always wanted to be. My petty LOVE life will suffer but in the end, whether it be ten years from now or ten years gone, I will be patient with others and allow them to pronunciate my name correctly. I am a man of the world, of the people–whatever I get from now on I get on my own, “What’s my name in the book?” Charlie asks, “Your not in the book” I say hunkered down, “Good. Keep me your own little secret.” “I intend to.” Good Luck Charlie lowers her head, mischoosing her words and wishing we could go farther with things, “Don’t make me look stupid…I think this is where Anne said we should go. Look the season is returning. I have it all written down in my journal somewhere. Brig? Is that the name of it?” she asks, “I don’t know. You’re the one who wrote it down.” “She wrote it down. I put the notes in my journal”she answers. All the remedies I have provided to problems that arise seem good…she don’t want me and we’ve moved on, “Can’t believe it’s spring already.” I shrug. Someone picks up a Coca-Cola, “I know.” It is me dragging my weary finger down the throat of the dragon. It is a burden on my hands some. It is sweet misery to see the sun come up. It is past the 4th of July now, America’s birthday…the right side of the train has a better view. There is really nothing to look at now besides shit woods or a river here or there but it is the sweetest feeling. On the road. I wish I could give them away to somebody for even a minute. I eat them for breakfast. I put my head on my jacket, feel the goggles and I lean them against the side. I press forward automatically while others are speaking French. I look at rocks crashing off the curving machine, “Did you get a picture, Char?” “I’ve taken two.” “Two, huh?” she bites her lip, “Your missing it, Julie.”

Good Luck Charlie is staring at me hard from one seat over. Fifty minutes ago she had her period so that put those things to rest. Sometimes news like that feels good. Seven hours before that, I awaited the French border, rushing $200.00 worth of pot past the Swiss police set up at the gate. Fucking crazy. Once on the train, I scoped the john but decided to plant the stash in a white ibuprofen bottle right next to me by an ashtray that folded over.The only proof they’d have that it was mine would be these notes and they’re in chicken scratch English, “Jules…will you let me read the book?’ Charlie asks, “Yes.” I say, “Why wouldn’t I?” “Because you said you would but then you’d have to kill me…let me finish mine at least.” My theatrics kick in, “Yeah. Well, that’s right…we’ll see.” The train stops at places like Vaux-le-Vicomte where all the kids look poor. At Barbizon the house is yellow. I lag behind. I write a letter to HASH about nothing. Around Fontainebleau, Good Luck Char say I will lead a very lonely and miserable life and I believe her. Sometimes I don’t. And what an amazing feeling we shared in the Alps, getting high as kites and playing pattycake in the grass. All in all, we got maybe twenty rolls of film done since we left London one month ago. Good Luck Charlie is supposed to check out in a few days, head back to the States I guess to work on another life crisis she says. I thought it interesting, about all she’s seen over here versus what little she’s seen of her own country. She talked about moving back to Chicago or California someday and I believed her. I look at her and she’s trying real hard to be on top of things, even me, but I know she knows we can’t do dick until I get my writing down. Charlie just loves me and I love her. I watched her face when she told me she was on the mend. I asked her when she actually had her period and she said sometime today. I think about places like Oregon and Milwaukee while she takes pictures of billy goats and nature. Everything is so breathtaking, the most commendable endeavor and so spelled out for me. I see a girl on a red bike, the man next to me is smoking and checking out small matters too. I see farms and farmers and horses; a flimsy place called whereabouts or what have you that everyone always talks about. I pass by chickens and rich stuff in the ditches. In some spots it’s still raining little hearts. the water falls look like small veins, a bloodline passing through the stone. Three girls from Amherst college are still talking. I hope nobody has died back home. I notice: a small boat, a white neck tie in the box, a ripped surfers’ shirt, the Moulin Rouge 1959, a Euripides play. Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, I hope not to bore you but the river runs by almost gray…a pointed stake in between tall skinny trees that look like quails behind them. A few older Americans get on the train and they are stuck saying words like heck and this way that’a way. We shake our heads because it’s funny. Water is chugging down the hill. That cop looked me firm in the eyes when I walked by with the weed hours ago. I think it’s weird what you do when you get nervous. Good Luck Charlie says she is nervous for me staying in Paris, “Why did you let me fall in love with you all over again?” she asks. I sigh. Yeah, yeah, yeah…yeah. The roof of her mouth is violet, “It just happened.” I say. I reach over and touch her breast. I put my arm around her still waiting for customs to come and search me but she moves away disgusted. Her dope body floors me, she is tapped. Wasn’t sure if the Geneva train station was the only drug check point but the closer we get to 8:30–the less chance of it. I move my eyeballs back to the window-sash. See broke slums where they bury everybody who ever lived there on the high hill and what shapely hill they are–proving to me that there must be some kind of hip Higher Power out there. I hear her gasp for air. The signs are in French, “I don’t know, Jules. We’re getting pretty close…” Good Luck Charlie says unfettered getting up to stretch her back, “Twenty more minutes, Love…twenty more minutes we’re in Paris again.”

Originally published:
Issue Thirty-Three
October 2004

 

(illustration: john richen)


Michael Intericola came to New York City to go to film school and in those seven years has written five books, made a movie, sold manicures and pedicures and served many many drinks. The poems included here are from two separate poetry books, Malism and The Darkest Place Is Under A Streetlight. Excerpts from his novels, Kiss Me Baby, Sunflowers!, Chaz, and All Our Skies Are Blue have appeared in Caffeine Magazine, The Quadrangle, Mule and The Mosquito Lounge Review, which he started in Los Angeles in 1996.  More from Michael can be found in the Vault of Smoke.

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