by lisa rosenblatt



            “If we had not been in love, would you understand?” she asks me, but I have no answers. A finely detailed walk occurs, they go casually, both with hands thrust in pockets down a long, rambling, cobbled passageway. I kick a can, feel boom, can, boom, far from home.  Toe hits boot even boot feels a whoosh boom as the leg swings sending that old can hurling.

            “If we had, I mean, not been in love, would you understand?” I tell her to make a list. First on it, kick the can. Just as silent is quiet is a mid-dinner's eve it is out there now, stated, between us. I don't know if she will, but maybe she'll make a list, put the names, the right names, like Johnstone's and Liberty Cleaners—list it all there and down at the bottom of the list... the smoke hangs as the only decoration. I'm not there. Her hands adjust down at the ends of arms and decide upon a crossed position.  And those arms are long, sure, as long as long can be, as long as a sigh between courses—running tongue around on both sides, back and forth over smooth surface of teeth, feeling each ridge, moving over to the inside. She lisps a bit. I urge her to list it. List it all.

            We are walking, she is doing the, hands in pockets, expect (except you can't remember what) my … how's that face go?  She wipes it off and grins. I chew at the time, well worked gum between teeth going “uhm hmm, oh ya”…  “And if in love,” she says... slurring as she sips on her coffee. I stare in her eyes. I can't remember how I got here.

            I hear nothing; don't even know it is nothing. But I hear it. There are hands, a figure sashaying across a wooden floor, fingers digging in corners of rooms, in pockets collecting lint and loose change. Searching in pockets, proclaiming... what I mean is; the thing to know by the (you'd say) time we should... know.… When (oh shit) she sits down next to me. I just say, “find anything?” 

A child, hat with two feathers on the right side (having found them in a trashcan by the side of the road), dances a fumbling jig and swings a blue and red plastic pistol (also found) between a pair of passing thighs (likewise). 

     I turn as she says — “You don't have to pick my nose if you don't want to.” I say, “breathing is an addiction.” This whole conversation makes me feel like I know what I'm doing, at least I know what I'm doing... finally. There is a wave from the window of the coffee shop: where walls cover the proper places; posters line the walls, events of which I am a part. I settle my hands onto the smooth wooden surface. 

“I can't do this,” she says, there is something seriously at odds here... shuffling feet, whispers muffled by a hand, sighs of pleasure, coughs ... hope. 

            “Have you finished? Good, let me have a look at that,” he says. 

All along the walls are pipes. Pipe-lined walls' intricate systems recording every cataclysmic chemically induced discovery, delivering and removing fumes, farts, urine, static standstills, mutterings, gases, liquids, electricity, voices, rampages of timeless space... ideas, odors... They can do anything, sure. Just give 'em a minute or two to figure it out, they'll be transporting us, yah, they'll be ripening us into places fast as a… okay still a few flaws. Flash, boom. 

     No matter how hard he shakes his pencil I thrust it aside and then do not pretend that is for your sake, friend, for the purpose of protecting your human mortal soul that I stop.  It's not. I can't do nothing for you. I'm saving my own ass. I can't even do nothing for myself. You wanna do nothing? Just do it. You really want it, well just go and do it, you really really want that, well just go, strive and do it. The events line the walls. I'm going out.  I'll shove my hands in your pockets if you let me.  That's it. That's all there is to it.  Just take your time.

(I take mine) “Why do you think I have come to lead you through to where the present and future have fled most commonly called the land of the...” “Whitehead Mall?” “You in the first row...” Pointing to a very polite looking young man in the first row who is calmly raising his right arm... very calm elbow bent — left hand open, palm open, still, facing open as open as a palm can be — “You — what did you say?”  And he says pointing to his hand, “it's up — really.”  You, just put that palm back I say with a wave. Shop lifting socks, records, that's shocking.  And you I ask — “How do you get here big boy? Smoke the reefer big boy... sucking the sugar cubes in your adventurous I lived on a yak farm routine...” and, who do you think I'm talking to? Why, do you think that you're here? Bad grammar? ...much... bzzz... bzzz... three... bzzz... one two three... bzzz...; “Not everyone gets here you know,” he says sneering softly. “And if I do she says... just for example, if I do ...can I leave now?”