poetry and prose by F.D. Marcél
Caught like a wild dog
& forcefed what’s good for me
& if I wrote you an S.O.S.
in the middle of the night
would you feel it
in yr veins like
morse code pounded by a weaker heart
for you to save me from
the american workbot
they turn out through
Medicaid & bank funds
paid my check, it was
72 hour observation that turned
into a vacation
& last time I was here, an orderly
grabbed the thigh of the love of my life
sometime in the night, I heard
& and when they caught me screaming for her
they put me in the room
next to the janitor’s closet
for 12 hours until I accepted
that there is
no such thing
as a hero.
Someone had been given their pink slip at the grocery store on the northside of Colombus. I sat on the curb by the quarter-fed spaceship ride. The disgruntled employee had his van parked out front in the fire lane, trying to load a cardboard box heavier than he was capable of handling into the back. He put the box down and opened a rear door, slamming it, opening the driver side door, slamming it, cursing. Mother pulling her daughter away, through the automatic doors.
“What’s going on?” Jana said from above me, standing on the curb.
“Van Man.” I said. Jana sat down and took a bottle of Maddog out of her jacket. My jacket, hers for now.
“Think he got fired.” I said. Van Man slammed another door.
“Door-slammin’ Van Man.” Jana said, laughing through sips from the bottle.
“He’s gonna do something.”
“Don’t know, but he’s gonna do something.” I repeated. Chino was still inside, took his time when lifting food from stores. He’d gone in for a bag of chips for the three of us to split. Been in the store a long time. Van Man stared at the box. He let go a few variations on ‘fuck’ and pulled a snow globe out of the box, throwing it through the store’s front window.
“Yes!” Jana hollered, standing up. Van Man got in his van and sped off. The store manager ran out. Chino appeared a moment later. We took off toward downtown. Chino asked what happened.
“Van Man happened.” Jana said.
el fin (shit)
I imagine it as a dying flower
in a field without winds
in a world without light
in poisonous soil
in rain made of acid
with roots planted so deep
that feel so much;
there is only suffering
and, every so often,
moments of warmth
that remind the flower
there is more than
death, there’s also
Quinn hadn’t seen me drunk in years. I used to fill my stomach with high-proofs until the world turned utopia. My legs would find a seat and I’d swim in my contaminated blood. Blood you could set fire to. But it had been three years since I’d showed up at jobs presentably drunk. Three years since I signaled my last day on a construction job in Memphis by attempting to do doughnuts in a steamroller. I remember the old man, Gene, laughing, drunk as me, pointing and laughing at six in the morning. The supervisor paid me on the spot and told me to get lost. I hopped a freight to Tulsa and worked in a warehouse for a month. And now, I was twenty-six. Quinn had stayed off the freights for as long as I had, four years strong. Suddenly, he’s asking about me at the uptown motel, the one I always retreated to when I came back to my hometown. He found me on his third day in the city, drunk at the diner on 9th street eating the two-dollar eggs.
“Jesus, where’d you come from?” I asked, turning to figure the face that belonged to the finger tapping me on the shoulder.
“Mexico. D.B.’s place. You smell like gin.”
“He’s still in Tampico?”
“Still.” Quinn said, motioning to the waitress for coffee. I kept eating the eggs.
“How long you gonna be here?” I asked.
“Stopping through on my way to New York.” he told me. His ex was still in Brooklyn. I knew she still hadn’t forgiven him for disappearing to Europe years ago.
“She still hasn’t forgiven me.” he said. I laughed. Quinn did too.
“I had a dream last night, about Vicky.” I told him. He got quiet.
“I never think about her.” Quinn mumbled. He sounded like he felt guilty. Quinn had been there with me, on the porch of Vicky’s mother’s trailer, while Vicky wasted away. He was in the kitchen when she started breathing shallow, with my hand on hers. And then her eyes went dead.
“I dreamt she was still alive. We were hitchhiking to Yellowstone.” I said, staring at my plate.
“Must’ve been nice.”
“It wasn’t.” I told him.