Friday, December 17, 2010

Buenos Dias

Holding you pen to paper, you wonder where the words have gone. They were right there. Tip of the tongue. A torrent. Niagara Falls. But your pen holds still on the page. A blue stain spreads out of the metal nib across the page. Like some sort of pool. It reaches the edge of the page and keep going. Over the desk. Down to the floor. Up the walls. Soon you’re underwater. Holding the pen. Ben Braddock is down there with you. But you know how he is. Looking up, you see sunshine. And Pedro. He’s skimming the pool. A beneficent smile on his face. You wonder what he knows. He nods. Tips his hat. Maybe he says, buenos dias. You can’t be sure. He points up to the sky. The air. You remember air. You close your eyes. Kick up hard from the bottom. Burst back into the world. Breathe in the cool air. Blue ink drips from your fingers and hair. You shake yourself like a dog. The ink fills the page. With words. A block of them. Something like the poem you had imagined. But different. You name it Buenos Dias and cap the pen. That’s that, you say. Not knowing at all what you mean by any of it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Neighbor Spits On You

Jesus says, turn the other cheek. Atticus just wipes it away. You should do as they do. But if you don't spit back, she might spit again. So maybe you should do as she did. But instead, you pick up your pen. You put on the second person. You listen to your voice as though it belonged to a wise man. You try to shake it off. Try to let it go. You wish you were Atticus. Or more like Jesus. You wish you didn't ache. You wish that she was kind, that you understood your world, and that no neighbor will spit on you ever again. Mostly, you wish you hadn't deserved it.