Archive for the 'oneiric' Category

on the subway

It’s a Fellini movie in here, jammed with people who look like out-of-work carnies grown old. That fat Russian man with the thick neck, he’s the strong man. I see the flowing orangey locks of a lion tamer, he’s reading the newspaper. There’s a stout woman with the sparkly makeup of the trapeze flyer, but she’s not swirling around the pole. A man whose nose would need little addition to play the clown leans against the door. One woman has a palsied face, her lips and eyes outlined in black, a bearded lady once, certainly. Sitting across from me is a tall dark man, his shaking hands holding a barker’s top hat in his lap. I know I’m staring at them. I am filled with wonder that might easily pass for rudeness. The train grinds into the station and the bearded lady gets up to leave. She leans down as she passes me and touches my face. “We were all beautiful once,” she says.


on the subway

Somebody must have cast a spell. Everyone here is sleeping.

on the corner

A man with a cane stops me, “I’m a bodyguard,” he says. “A second-degree blackbelt in karate. I’m for hire. Got it?”

at the cafe

His stiff, thick mustache has to be fake. Her ankles are almost too spindly to support her and her hair is dyed, it’s dry and frayed, the color of damp straw. Their accents are slavic and nonspecific. It’s all an illusion. They lean over their elbows on the table, heads bent close. I think they are plotting a heist.

in the neighborhood

At a stoplight, an elegant woman leans down and whispers in the ear of her frightened dalmation, “We’ll go to the park and look for other dogs, isn’t that right?”

Everywhere I turn, small children parade behind their teachers in two wavering lines.

on the subway

There’s a small man in a neat suit, and he can’t keep the smile off his face. He’s replaying something, the smile fades and returns. He puts a hand over his mouth to cover its brimming delight, then begins to stroke his fresh-shaved chin. A bunch of stops go by, and he’s still smiling with his secret. Now and then, his lips move, reliving the words that caused his happiness.

Next to him is a girl with pale brown skin, downy cheeks and sly eyes. She’s reading Pride and Prejudice. I want it to be the zombie version, but it isn’t.

in the cafe

Three old women sit down a few tables away. Their faces are still as masks, their wide eyes look right through me.

on the block

A cop is walking her beat, seeing nothing, sending text messages as she strolls. The corner boys, unexpectedly, are harmonizing on someone’s stoop.

on the corner

In the warm night the corner boys seem younger. They’re practicing footwork with invisible basketballs, pivoting around each other. One takes a jumpshot and his gaze follows it up to the shining moon. “Yo,” he says, “is the moon a planet?” He’s looking at the smallest of the boys, the wiry one who must be the answer man among them. Answer Man says, “The moon’s name is Maria.”

on the block

Three men with parkas over their pajamas, each pulled along the sidewalk by a dachshund on a leash.