Admiring an alembic fosse he felt foxy. Airing out she fastened herself to various farandoles
remembered from Childhood. Then years interceded and they realized the break-up was a
mistake but neither could face admitting this so they stayed separate and lonely.
A cockatoo whistled to itself in an armoire mirror although if they’re like dogs then it may have
been blind to its 2-d image and the sound of seeming recognition was a coincidence. The bird
belongs to the lonely girl’s farandole-loving boyfriend. He works at Microsoft.
Fossils in the fosse made him miss her. He said so hiking with his best friend: a ripped gay guy
whose hair changes color almost as frequently as the sky. One of them felt a span of vertigo;
they held hands looking east; behind them across a stream-bed palominos mated. Bluebirds
The parents of the broke-up remained friends; daughter and son liked this but the situation didn’t
help in admitting he still loved her and she him. He quit his job at Microsoft and dreamed of
opening a barbecue shack called Le Petite Hog. Sky Boy pulled a muscle–“fattened.”
He didn’t feel rebellious quitting his job–just rich enough to afford to. If he invests well he’ll
still be eating at expensive (and hopefully awesome) restaurants. His cockatoo fans seeds out its
cage bars. The paper lining the cage are unsent letters and a print-out for a reading at the KGB
Sky Boy’s good friend buys a lottery ticket and wonders if he wins will she move back in with
him? He manages to pay his bills but wants–though not desperately–health insurance as
without it even now that Prozac’s gone generic it’s still painfully expensive. She tells herself
money wasn’t why.
He’s started calling her Farandole; she wonders if this is affection–the objectification of
girlfriend-hood–or both. The cockatoo whistles whenever she enters its room. He–he has
been sexed–has no name because her beau doesn’t believe in choosing an appellate for a being
that can’t decide itself.
All this week he’s been experimenting making stocks: chicken duck ham-hock onion;
he’ll sauce margrette de canards–with all his shares 26.62 a pound isn’t a biggy–
with a reduction of the piggy one; underneath the rosy slices there’ll be rhubarb-glazed icicle
radishes and wilted rainbow chard with parmigiano.
He wonders why his sweetest Farandole insists on driving to the conference thus making it take
10 days longer. She hasn’t told him she’s on assignment for the New Yorker: her reason why’s
to say surprise! Even more so it’s to poke fun if she asks what’ll you do and he replies: “I think
I’ll write a novel.”
He swallows a Fluoxetine with Chardonnay bought at a gas-station. Out the window–through
is blood and there’s no gauze nor can he afford 9-11–birds shriek out of view in trees he half-
expects the city to condemn to build something at most 16th of the populace will use. Weirdly a
yellow Ferrari’s parked across the street.
He strolls along streets feeling good because he looks–only in different clothing–like
The men on the billboards he passes beneath. His good friend’s become his best-friend for the
week as none of his other ones have had patience for his celebrating waves he’ll never be able to
surf (he hasn’t learned); Montauk’s going off.
She’s waiting for a pump at a Chevron in Tucumcari. A Beryline hummingbird whizzes;
she pictures its combustion. The attendant is sexy; he has a heartening accent. She hopes
gas prices rise higher and suddenly everyone’s walking except then there’d be no top-40
country music on the radio to listen to: home’s not the place.
She ponders the word husband; it makes her think husbandry and protecting folds from wolfs or
pumas. She’s growing to dislike the nickname Farandole; this doesn’t lead to feeling closer to a
man currently in the midst of writing a book review that’s paying: it’s not enough to return–
relearn–I need to restart sans memory; maybe marry!
More than once a month he sees the yellow Ferrari; he’s still unsure who drives it; he admires the
person for trusting the town’s street-curb with such an expensive car and wonders where they
live; for a moment he imagines they live in the car but then logic kicks in and he knows its
interior’s too small or has it been customized?
He’s not worrying about her–wondering if she’s different than when they first met: he knows
there’s no way she’s not; he knows uncertainty rules and relegates it to the place of omnipresent
constraint like gravity. Sweeping seed he wonders if he should tell her he wants to have sex in a
barn; that night he checks listings for farms.
Sky Boy makes a profile on Dudes-Nude. He lists himself as a top so then he can appear
generous if someone wants him to bottom. After that bit of business–he contemplates learning
to ride horses bareback deciding it sounds like a sexy second date. Straight goof calls; he lets the
message pick it up: he’ll call back after a beer or three.
She walks into the kitchen and the cockatoo whoops then parrots what sounds to her like “what a
bitch” and she wonders if he’s stubbed his toe on something or it’s her being referred to. Once
coffee’s been made she pads into the bedroom and plops on the bed–thinks Mr. Bitch’s owner
must go deep down on me once he’s home from not making money.
The woman with the yellow hotrod has started having coffee with her horsepower’s admirer.
They talk about her x and he thinks of his. She always pays and on Sunday’s he waxes her car.
It turns out she knows Sky Boy officially settling the dispute they’ve been having. He gets so
many responses to his profile the acceptance rate for a meeting is 4 percent.
Does it mean I’m getting real or losing it that reading a Danielle Steele novel gives me hope? One of the main characters is hot and, sockless, wears alligator loafers seemingly everywhere; it’s hard to imagine meeting a man like that, and very appealing; I guess because it means mobility–he can go to Jean Georges or indulge me and go to a honky-tonk–would the loafers become boots? Mobility is what I know, and a small town is what I wish I trusted myself capable of learning: am I full of bullshit and had best go back to being in fifth grade, feeling the jet-set makes the most sense? I know how to order wine, not change a tire or open the hood of a car in anything other than horror. I know poetry; but maybe there there’s real hope: poetry’s the space for the unknowable, or at-least where one never knows for long, where “real time” can really be real, where the gaps don’t show lack but indicate wholeness, where I’m not a hypocrite, but the far kinder non-de-plume in love, which is all, not only a you or they, or he, though many days it feels like that mostly–a singularity which contradicts wholeness, makes me feel foolish when I could (should?) be feeling good.
Adam Strauss has poems forthcoming in Fence. Poets he adores include, among many others, Melvin Tolson, George Herbert, and Gwendolyn Brooks.
“Honestly, I’m not familiar with front porches; I’ve spent more time perched on back decks or back patios; my grandparents’ on my dad’s side had a wonderful patio with lots of flowers, some small potted lemon trees, roses, bougainvillea growing over the walls. It’s tempting to, a la Hamlet, spin a story based on the porch of my ears, but assuming I’m not making the line up, that could lead to being poisoned.”