Mouthful of Dirt

I turn the hot water tap
and let it run on my fingers
They slowly turn red
Warmth and then pain climb up
synapses with uneven speed
Hardened sides of my forefinger and thumb
don’t feel anything at first
I consider thermal distribution
through a lizard’s skin
It is Monday around noon
thoughts of sex draw an invisible
crown around my head
It is my Birthday perhaps that’s why
I wish there’s something to say
about this Monday
The pain in my fingers brings
tears to my eyes, face contorts
and I pull out scolded flesh with a howl
(too loud for a superficial burn)
Immediate relief at the touch of cool
air is closest to bliss
Pain follows
Memories of sex still haunt me
Intimacy is too vulnerable
with its smells, skin imperfections
and desolate urge to touch
to be awarded to anyone with memory
I look at my senselessly hurt fingers
and remember inadequacies of the past
Impotence neatly wrapped for the Holidays
(what was I to do with it?)
Premature ejaculation Type I – never saw him again
Type II – the happiest person I know
Irritated flesh from the marathon intercourse
that ran past Boston and down towards Bible Belt
Rubbing, pinching, grunting, promises
Too many promises
Too few reasons to remember them

On this bright day in October
I am looking for a job
What would I do at a job?
Lie and cheat in small ways
about minutes of my break
or the quality of what I am selling
listen to my colleagues with my ears shut
participate in social life of the hive
and not do my share…
I can do many things once I have a job
most of them devoid of meaning
In a Meaningful Life, Life is mandatory
and looking for Meaning
is permanent employment
Most of what we do has no meaning
That is how far I’ve come
looking for a job

I put on my walking shoes
take the brown coat and brown hat
and hurry outside
I might catch the quiet period between
lunch and the end of office hours
A glass of wine in the Sun
is like a postcard from distant memories
(not mine)
Now they resemble relatives
whose open invitation to visit
has become a relic itself – I waited too long
Construction workers move like mimes
in slow strokes of timed muscle management
Yesterday they would have stopped their dance
to look at me; today they don’t
If I show them my red fingers
they might help me cross the street
and I’ll look at their muscles and jaws close up
I don’t miss sex; I miss wanting it

Everything is closed – Sunday has moved to Monday
Only churches and banks validate
the parking rules of a traditional weekend
The waitress at a patio with cold metal chairs
ignores me for fifteen minutes
I’ll go home and pick up a bottle of wine
on the way

I have a new purse
It is cheap vinyl
bought at a franchise shop run by immigrants
A Birthday present from my daughter
Her father took her to the nearest mall
led to the store with bulging purses and luggage crates
and told her to choose
He did that with best intentions
After careful and intense consideration
of practicality and style
she found one, white and blue
with buckles and many pockets
and, as she explained later longingly
it was perfect
Her father said with an air of authority
that I wouldn’t like it
and chose the one I am holding now
dreadful, dark and infinitely dull like a Black Hole
She shifted her joy from choosing to giving
and called me right away from his apartment
Her excitement played hide-and-seek of crystal music
teasing my ear
I can’t wait to see it! – I exclaimed
She couldn’t wait to see my reaction
I saw it on Sunday
Her father said that it was cheap and the receipt was inside
It could be exchanged and he’d pay the difference
to upgrade to something better
She looked at him and then at me
Back at him
At me again
Too many lessons on meaning of life
Too few reasons to forgive us

I am almost home again
The cheap wine in my hand is too obvious
Like my other employments
drinking gets me ever closer to the top of the arch
from which I can fall to pieces discretely
I turn the corner and go across the little bridge
to the cemetery
It is peaceful
save for runners whose heaving breaths
make me deliberate on a new Holiday
A Day dedicated to the Immaculate Standstill
A day we’ll take our shoes off
and count our fingers and toes
like someone unerringly did
when we were born
On our Birthdays
No posters please
and no collections for fingers and toes
A squirrel hangs upside-down on the closed water faucet
and furiously licks water drops
its hind legs crossed over the metal pipe for support
one intelligent eye attentively on me

I fall on my knees beside it
and bite a mouthful of dirt
Nausea battles fear as I taste
the dead
snaking movement of earthworms
squirrel droppings
shards of broken glass
chipped roots
and varieties of poison
Dogs piss on top
women’s high heels poke through sharply
men pound heavily with their flat feet
cars and bicycles carry a dead weight

With a mouthful of dirt
I speak for the Earth
and myself when I say:
Fuck all this!