Eyewitness

24

There was a murder on the beach last week. A man curled up in his sleeping bag, bludgeoned. A spate of cruel murders of endangered seals had been chronicled in our local papers. Kauai’a own true crime. We wondered if the psycho serial seal killer was accelerating, perhaps graduating. Or did he mistaken the cocooned sleeper for a beached monk seal?

We brought a volleyball to the beach. The meet-up listing should have said Bocce Ball we were told later. Which is Italian bowling. Which theoretically with bowling in my genes, my grandfather owned a bowling alley in Racine WI. and my father Italian. I might have had instant mastery, but no Bocce ball was ever produced.

John and I bumped the volleyball to stay warm. It was a blustery evening, sunset on the horizon. Parents had set up a slip and slide for their kids, or was that a roll of dark garbage bags unfurled? Smoky coals and and lighter fluid coughed from a grill.

In attendance a local star surfer who had a wave break named after him. Another fellow turned up with meat. A steak and long raw sausages held up by a Yo-Yo Ma doppelgänger. I looked at him for a long time. Like I know you. How do I know you?

There were a lot of cakes too. A Tuxedo cake. Red Velvet cupcakes, unfortunately the frosting was NOT cream cheese. Chocolate chip cookies with white chunks. Costco chow. Lightly whipped up sugar batter overkill and immediately regrettable.

The subject under the gazebo was Michigan and the novelist Jim Harrison and one guy was impressed when I mentioned I knew him.

I ate some questionable vegetarian collards greens. Cooked perfectly, just the right tooth. But an odd taste, something off. I asked the chef how long she stewed them for? She answered – chicken broth. Then corrected herself. No they are vegetarian; I used vegetable broth. 45 minutes. With red peppers and garlic flakes.

On the way home I asked John if he saw the way the wild haired cellist held his cake? By the dimmest sliver of orange moonlight (or peach moon if you consider the pitted craters). He sustained. Like a glowing aftertaste. Holding his mush of cake in his claw instead of a plate,  wolfing it down.

I remembered him. HE was the man up at Kukuiolono Park. The one in the grey truck that I had called the police about (that I saw again years later trawling the Eleele BEST SAVE grocery where everything is freezer burned) that saw me -alone- feeding chickens and opened his car door so I could see him with his pants scrunched down to the floorboards. Whacking off.

1.

I liked her, but I didn’t know her. A friend of a friend. Kind of punk and butch. An open face. I was distracted easy chatter when she took my arm and brought it to her lips. A gentle sucking. Light. I said what are you doing? Trying to give me a hickey? She left a tiny kissed outline. So light that when the knife came out I trusted her. I noticed the nose on the end of it turned up like a Persian slipper. A silver bead. Just an underline she said. For the blood sisterhood. But the knife was blunt. “DO IT!” I said. I had to close my eyes. She was too gentle and sawing. UGH and when I peeked there was a deep convex cone of flesh missing from my arm.

Fellow Inmate,

I am writing to you from an adjacent cubicle not more than 15 x 15. Wearing the same shift I fell asleep in last night. Never thinking of clothes. Sometimes I gaze out my window past the dark cedar of my enclosure. Or look up from my reading. It’s 73 and never varies more than 10 degrees. Today it’s primordial and foggy white, with a shadowy outline of trees. In the distance a cow bell and groan. The surround is innocence. A parade led by a speckled hen with her pulsing chorus of chicks ends with a sunset and a dream perhaps of stringing strange and beautiful beads.

1-Botany 101

Up at the T., where the most ardent students plant themselves. Ravi. With her anti-vivisection tee screaming on her back. I take note and fold up a sloppy crane. Nudge the shoulder in front of me to pass it up.

She turned. I grinned. Gave her a thumbs up. Waving.

At lunch I told her everything. Hating people. Except one homeless looking actor. But that I wanted to kick him too. We began meeting between classes daily in the upstairs lounge trading smokes. Studying.

I love plants. I tell her, animals too. That I’m depressed, a mope. Incapacitated. This bird just died that the cats nicked… Too terrible. The mighty spotted nape dove. Heroic measures failed. Droppers of flax seed didn’t work. Sugar water. I even tried cat pain meds to make it comfortable.

For days I watched it cripple and die. In rigor, I was the stiff, curling up with it into a maze of dust.

“Hmmmmmmmmm. Leslie you need to swallow. Find the spider the snake. Eat your fear without pause. Speed’s the trick to killing.”

“Hun??”

Mother yelled that I was a wild Indian. But Ravi was the nickel, the real mccoy. Not only could she poison a samosa, she had an army of zombie male slaves. They surrounded her bed. Slept on the floor. With her long black slick of hair, she whipped up a house. And we stepped in.

She did tricks. Stuff with her tongue. When guys wanted two women. The air between them. How easy it was to feign.

She thought I needed to buck up. And she was going to teach me.

“Les listen. Your not listening. We will begin at the bottom of the food chain, slowly with ants and Arrowhead water and sticks.”

I barf. Guzzle water. Nibble on ginger. I starve myself. Ravi has 15 cats. Mining food is as easy as attraction.

Simple recipe: Very hot pan. Off the cooker. Toss ants 1 cup of showered and strained ants. Toast quickly just a nano-second. Add salt and out.

“Just like vinegar and chips, only crunchy no?”

I wait for Ravi’s voice to waiver from the coo of seduction.

“All ants are one. So that if you nibble off a few, it’s like a fingernail.”

I feel better manicuring one disembodied monster.

“Look here Auntie. I am potentially assisting your soul in the reincarnation hierarchy. If you are a good ant and very delicious. With an especially peanutty flavor and just the right tang who knows what cast of Hollyworld?”

“You might get him again as a crab.”

“Thanks for saying him.”

My final ant I take slowly. Mindfully with a magnifying glass. I pick out Mr. Perfect. He had a soul. Or was part of one according to Ravi.

“Aren’t you a dear thing? A hard worker no doubt. A family ant?”

Ravi is impatient. “Jesus Lesss…”

No condiments, tongue. Slowly I allow him the baptism of my saliva.

Surely That’s Poetry

she had a feeling
where once she had been an empty balloon
she memorized
Frost
Sweet Jane
rhyme
that’s poetry
but then her period ended
cramps
stained everything she touched
surely that’s poetry
her pretend first date
and dumped back 15 minutes later
the tag still attached to her new dress
half sentences
one line per page
notebook scrawl
muffled
changing lines
iChing
surely that’s poetry
all these copies
at workshop
Wednesday night
next to the bearded lady
Franceye rocking
right there
in the next seat
tapping her Birkenstock
white chin hair
listening

Middling

I asked Katie if I could sleep over.
She was my best friend.
When she got worms, I stopped going to the lavatory.
Snakes, macaroni and cheese, even Spaghetti
I quit.
We would watch TV but mostly pretend.
Walking each other thru various scenarios like a talking meditation.
Or a practice.
Pretend we bought an entire furniture store instead of a tiny mansion.
Her brother Mark started dropping in after lights out
wanting a back rub.
Katie did it until she got tired.
Then I Play-Dohed his shoulders.
In the middle of the night with the ocean waving.
He inched his fingers, touching me while I slept.
When he tried to put something inside of me –
from the center of him. I acted like I was waking up.
He wanted our middles to touch.

For sport I would

I want a penis

to practice guitar

full bodied explosions

I’ve heard

immediate sleep afterward

not just a better jerk

but the alleviation

of choked bar chords

and weak rhythm

if I could borrow for song

certain musculature

but then revert back

as fast as a serpent’s tongue

make a retraction

I would