Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

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Location: Zeeland, Michigan, United States

Hi. I wish I had a job selling squirrels. They're so furry, and give you toothy grins. Unless they're rabid, in which case they will eat your face off and then find the rest of your family. That's not so good, I guess.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kicks Are For Trids

Carrie Cooper once was convinced
Her daddy was a Nazi prince.
This made him wince.
Dottie Draper used to think
Her mom and pop would drink
Ill-smelling brown brews that made them shrink.
Carol Cranston liked to believe
The Shrine Circus lived up her shirt sleeve.
Esther Adams used to like
Roses stuck in the spokes of her bike
Even if they had little spikes.
Patty Palmer tried to deduce
Just why her daddy would find an excuse
Whenever her prize sheep got loose.
Rhonda Rudolph had a surprise
When she was forced to realize
Her four-winged gerbil had met its demise.
Vanda Visser knows
Eleanor Engel chews on her toes.
Christie Coleman can't understand
Why other people don't think it's grand
When she shoots flames from the palm of her hand.
Norma Nader knows not a thing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm A Leaf on a Windy Day

He walked. Puffing a little, starting his fourth mile on a half tank of Rip It and a 40 inch waist. He could only exercise on a Sunday, and all he liked to do was walk, so he always overdid it. He'd drive into the city, park somewhere, and deliberately head in a direction that would make it hard to come straight back without getting bored. A favorite trick he played on himself was circumnavigating Reeds Lake.....pretty damn hard to take a shortcut back to the car with the placid, unrippled moat of kings and barons in his way. Today, he parked in front of Elliott's Newsstand, and, after purchasing an adult magazine and a map of Holland (feeding his twin obsessions), he struck out up up up the long hill past the community college and into Heritage Hill, the graveyard of grace, all the elegant mansions carved up into apartments, rickety stairways tacked on like orthodontia.

All over the city, people were emerging from the winter hunkerdowns, showing a little tiny bit of fettle. A coed hipster cotillion kicking around the Hacky Sack, ironically. Three kids in heavy leather jackets and skullcaps, roasting in the heat but too cool to change uniforms. One asked him what he was listening to on his giant flaking house-stereo headphones. (Sam Roberts. "That some kinda heavy metal?" "No, it's Canadian." "Uhh, okay." Blank stares till he hustled across a busy street.) A dog park, teeming with beaming yuppies and yapping puppies. Little kids kicking around a big blue rubber ball in place of a soccer ball; unseasonal exuberance sends it across the street. On a whim, he ran over and kicked it back. "Here you go!" A kid caught it, gave him a nod of thanks, but said no words, his eyes wary....all their eyes wary. He was suddenly very sad. When he was a substitute teacher, he was a joke, a tool, a fool, The Man Who Must Be Defied....but at least he was part of the system, an accepted piece of the daily puzzle. Out here, now, in his olive jacket and his poverty beard, on the street, to these kids he was just a big scary white guy. He hated feeling fear from children, from their dart-eyed mothers. He just put his head down and kept moving. Oh, good. He loved this song. He made tapes, endless mounds of tapes, bought records and CDs galore, because every new piece of soundtrack he added was another 45 minutes he could spend outside his head.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Highway Star

He drove. Heading to work. Making the turn off the highway onto 120th. A truck turned behind him, and roared right up onto him, clearly intending to pass. Now, he was not the manliest of men, but behind the wheel, his worst impulses always came to the fore, and there was no way this guy was going to pass him; he was not in the mood to leave his testicles dangling from some dude's rearview mirror. He sped up. The truck sped up too. 70 mph in a 55 zone. But then, ahead, a guy in an ancient Ford Exploder, going about 42. He slowed down, stayed behind the Explorer. The guy behind, in a big new Ram, went to pass, but he swerved left and blocked his passage. Naturally, this pissed him off. Now, with oncoming traffic, he swung back to the correct lane--the guy behind stewing through one, two, three cars whizzing by--then trying to pass again, being blocked again. Now he was gesticulating, swearing, dialing his cell phone. Some yuppie scum in a buzz cut and a powder blue dress shirt and a big penis Hemi engine truck. Riding his bumper, surging left then right, all the while the putzer doing 42, oblivious to the drama. Four way stop. The guy gets out of his truck, starts walking toward him. He guns it, burning through the stop, leaving the guy staring, dagger eyes, phone dangling from his hand. Looking back, he sees the guy get back in, gun it, roaring up on him, determined to get past this mysteriously antagonistic asshole in a rusting Intrepid. But here's the turn to work, so he let the Ramdick blow past, then leisurely make the right turn. Only then does he realize his hands are shaking uncontrollably, his heart racing, feeling almost sick. Someday this is going to get him killed. Someone is going to have a gun, or will nudge him into a ditch, or push him sideways into a head-on collision. But till that day, he'll be damned if he lets himself be passed up. He's poor, and ugly, and stupid, but hey, on the roadways, the illusion of power is still intact.