Tuesday, July 20, 2010

America Loses a Few Teeth

According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Rachel Fernandez, a pot bellied pig and “full fledged member” of the Fernandez-Fleites family of Miramar, Florida, who died after dental surgery, “lay under her favorite pink Princess blanket…a sweet smile on her lips, is the first swine in the cemetery.”

So who cares about a $500 billion orgy at Goldman Sachs, or a governmental takeover of the banks? This isn’t Venezuela. This is America, a one big hooray with a cruise to the ATM and beyond. What spiritual revelation when a woman in Edgewater, Florida gets knocked out by a leaping dolphin. Why isn’t the dolphin a friend? He’s on TV. You can swim with dolphins (for a little cash) but as with other wild creatures, don’t feed them.

Unfortunately, the amphibians hulking the governmental shores these days prompt financial cartoons parlayed in flotsam and jetsam while Congress stands at the edge of the aquarium voting for Ahab to harpoon the game.

One can wiggle, froth and blow off simple love, the little pig that died at 15 months in a human dress and sweet embrace. It does bear faith in earlier pleasures like the pet rock, a wig on the bald, and the spirit of America. More so, the pig belies the ease, the mask we have become, not a hurtful creature at birth, our friend; this metaphor is like the talking M and M, the sweet bears selling toilet paper to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus with a wild hug for more.

No surprise when the “dolphins” turn up at the party, the back door of your local broker, bank or get off course and knock the bottom out of the boat that is you, all in the name of democracy freedom and terror. These gorgeous creatures’ radar spins irregularly these days. But, we can’t stop tinkering with the wiring.

One has to feel sorry for the pig, or maybe the “family” who put the pig in the dental chair for a mere $2000 with little chance of return. The truth is, Rachel Fernandez is not the first swine buried in a cemetery.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bastille Day

I drive into the VA clinic
parking lot at 8.43 a.m. Friday
just as WTMI radio announces
Bastille Day, time for the Marseillaise
I whip around the lot four times
squeeze into my parking spot.
and the glory that was France
fills my small car.

I slip the car in Park and pump my arms
singing what little French I know.
I’m marching past the Arc de Triomphe
when in the left corner of my front
windshield I spot a blue pickup
with the words Blue Angel hooked
to the top of the front license plate.

A chiseled seventy plus cowboy
with straw hat and sunglasses sits in the cab
holding a long plastic tube
and I stop marching in my car.

This cowboy shoves the tube down his tracheotomy
with the gauze around the metal
jams the tube past his gone larynx
sucking up phlegm and snot.
His head lurches. He gags.
He wretches. He sucks up
war, cigarettes and time.

The Marseillaise breathes victory all around.
This whole pass in review marches by.
The sun beats on, the cowboy
puts his tube away and wipes his chin.
I turn off the radio.
We turn off our ignitions
and get out to stand
in line again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Morning at the Deli

Looks like Friday’s quiet,” I say.
Larry of the red and green Italian Donegal
adjusts his wireless glasses, leans an elbow
on the display case at eye level between
mozzarella and salted mozzarella and says
“Don’t give me no trouble.”
“What trouble? Who gives trouble?” I say
“A half pound of red peppers
a half pound of mixed olives
the Gorgonzola crumble and I’ll go
for the mild Italian sausage, two please.”
“You would,” he says and I watch his hand dive
into the glass case and flip up two nice ones.
“What else?” and he sets them on the scale
steps back and presses the buttons.
Up come the red numbers 1.2 pounds $3.71, then $6.47.
“I’ll go for the two pound pork loin, the one in the back.”
“You eating it tonight or freeze wrap?”
“Regular is fine,” I say glancing over at Marietta
the clerk with pulled back black hair who waves
“ Good to see you. Where you been?”
She flirts a hair and she knows, I know.
We talked about her high cholesterol last time in.
Today she goes back to the provolone cheese customer
a short woman with gray hair and tiny hands.
Do I need meat pie, grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, no
I’ll make my own I think while
Larry rolls the pork in white paper, tags it
and sets it on the counter top with both hands
“Thank you for the trouble,” he says and I say, that’s fine.
Larry’s pale blue eyes recede to the customer numbers.
“Twelve?” he shouts? “Thirteen?” and he’s gone.

I stick my sausage, pork and the rest in the green basket
move to the pasta aisle, the rice, the capers
the frozen sauce to my right and down
past the bake shop to the right of the register.
“The engagement's off,” I say to Nancy from Queens
and she laughs as she always does.
“See how you are?” she smiles.
Her small teeth delight the bright morning.
She rings up the meat, cheese, two tomatoes, sweet onion
brussel sprouts, Romaine lettuce the fat bunch of basil.
I’ll make pesto for a month and then some.
“Yeah, I see, but, it’s true love,” I say.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and pressing the bills and the change in my hand
she slides the plastic bags my way and we wink
without winking and I step outside
into another good day.