Friday, June 09, 2006

Poetry Friday: The Word is “COLLECT”

The sexy man who shares my bed, that be Sergei, has offered up the Poetry Friday Word. For some reason I had a hard time at first wrapping my brain around this word, and then it was like an avalanche, and I couldn’t STOP thinking of ways to use this word. However, time being what it is, and as I am starting this near Midnight and won’t be available Friday, my contributions will be brief.

Feel free to pepper, salt, or season your blog post today with the word “COLLECT”, in whatever creative manner gets your juices flowing...story, photo, wildly manic audio post...surprise us.

Have a flea-and-tick-free weekend, y’all!

March First

It wasn’t even time to collect the rent. We both knew that. We both knew I wouldn’t get out of the building without giving him something to tide him over.

It wasn’t that he was mean, or smelled bad, or didn’t fix the ceiling when the rain seeped in. It was his eyes. He didn’t blink. Not like normal folk. If you happened to bump into him in the lobby and he struck up a conversation (which he always one seemed to have a need to talk to him first), after half a minute you’d notice The Stare. His eyes would focus on something distant and delicious that lay somewhere behind your head, and you could feel the sinews of his body straining to hold him back. He creaked. We’d always find an excuse to leave the building quickly, sometimes in a ridiculous manner, like, “Well, I’m off to the firehouse, big fire to tend to, y’know?” We were shameless.

He stepped into my apartment and closed the door quietly behind him. The cuckoo clock my grandfather had given me chirped “Coo-koo...Coo-koo”, the wrong time of day to be alone in Oak Park Apartments.

He stepped closer to me, and I smelled Gray Flannel on him, which stymied my senses, as I loved the smell and hated the bile that was building in my throat, while my sleepy head tried to decide what to do.

My voice hid as I opened my mouth to make an excuse, something about a dying grandmother out of town. The stare he met me with commanded no bullshit. Could I run? Was he armed? Am I just dreaming this?

My voice, the sound of it, was foreign, as I heard myself blurt, “Stay for lunch?”, and my feet moved like I was hiking downhill and my hand plunged and twisted. Then I saw it...the stare, the unending, tickertape stare, broke, and I saw a flicker of something human in his eyes, before they opened wide, fluttered, and closed as he hit the carpet. I don’t know how long I stood there and looked at him. I remember watching his chest as it stopped moving, and as the red pool formed. I remember wondering if my eyes, staring at him, now contained his stare. It takes an awfully big butcher knife to cut a watermelon, and I knew for sure I’d have to wash this one off before I finished making my lunch.

Things I Thought Of While Pondering the Word ‘Collect’

collection plate
"correct" as sung by the Chinese restaurant chorus in “A Christmas Story”
gathering sticks
sweat as it pools at the base of my spine
colleen, a girl
collette, another girl
a bank, not unlike that in “It’s a Wonderful Life”
my movie collection
my music collection
my art collection, mostly in books
finding my clothes after a drunken night with that guy in college named Mister Pants
finding my wits
finding i’m not so afraid as i thought

somewhere over one hundred

never did it in the desert
or in a pop-up camper
lunch being mostly eaten
and he being mostly eaten
until the push down
and the lift up
the adjust
the tilt
the ahhhh
i ran the boston marathon ten years ago
and i didn’t feel this drained
or this sad to finish
retracting my nails from his back
reclaiming breaths
sweat collecting in the canyons of my collarbones
the taxed a/c groaning
california being handfuls of dirt away
the mini-freezer full of ice cream
mint chocolate chip for him
heath crunch for me


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