Luz blessed the day her neighbor, Don Chuy rolled-over his milk truck. Nobody would ask for an accident like that, but now, years later, she knew Don Chuy blessed the day too. It was the day he was miraculously spared from the jaws of death, the day the Virgin spoke to him.
It’s a chilly day, but despite the cold, a guy stands at the intersection where drivers wait for the light. He’s selling bouquets of long-stemmed red roses, the kind men who forget may seriously need. The kind my aunt sent for my father’s funeral because, as she wrote, “red roses are for someone you love.”
The projector’s charm is Cary Grant’s
tan. Although James says Hitchcock
was a little weird with colors.
Grant wears an antiseptic suit
in cobalt (weird) that shouts:
This is the fifties, we are mannered,
my waist is trim and strong
As soon as the bus driver pulls the door shut, I drop into an empty seat, pressing my head against the glass, closing my eyes so I can’t see the girls waving their arms out the windows, muffling my ears so I can’t hear the boys chewing gum. Mrs. Harden and Shanna are standing in the aisle, delivering their speech about good behavior but I’m thinking about bad behavior, about Shanna’s body, which I can see even though my eyes are closed.
A living fossil, the delicate
ginkgo is all that remains
of an order died off. Revered
as sacred, temple tree of China ,
My father closes the refrigerator door and takes seven steps, so I know he is halfway through the dining room when he lets out one of those long-winded farts to beat the band. The shuffling sound of socks on tired linoleum tells me he is doing the victory dance he always does when he thinks he has outdone himself.
My friend Debbie mouths, “Yuck, gross.” She knows better than to make a sound.
I’m sitting at a small rickety table by the window of this nondescript cafe, its only sign a half-shattered plastic square that reads “Breakfast.” No name, just what it serves. What I serve. Remarkably, Angel manages to keep this place open. I don’t know why he picked this location, this dingy block of downtown Long Beach , so empty of hope the only life on the sidewalks are the alcoholics ditching into the Algiers Bar across the street. I’m on my break, trying to read a moldy paperback copy of The Stranger, drinking coffee I’ve laced with whiskey from the flask I keep in my apron pocket. The awning of the bar reflects the sun in glaring hot swaths across the asphalt. I lift my cup to drink and in she walks, predictable as the heat of the California sun.
Damian McNicholl’s successful novel, A Son Called Gabriel, tells the poignant story of a boy coming to terms with his sexuality within the bosom of a family that’s hiding a dark secret from him in conservative Northern Ireland.
Like the way religion gets in the way
of the spiritual, and the habit
of honesty gets in the way of truth,
I have gotten in the way of myself.