No, it wasn't the same as my canyon-outlook,
But its stickiest fragment, a toe wiggle or a cough,
I pocketed. I remember
Drawing on red feathers the lost receipts
Of thrifty photographs, now adrift
In which direction? Isn't anyone
At the hole for us? We match well.
Thoughts resume their art. Autumn rakes
Are knee-deep. My son writes,
"not yet." Much interference is dialed-in
As the eavesdropper knows, but my own feeling
Is better viewed from a cliff.
Why no respite from outsider predictions,
From these dandelion idiots? This passion for blinds?
Coincidentally the hailstones, falling like crumbs,
Will always aggressively ask the window for seconds.
Not the case with my catalog picture of you
Under the mistletoe. Bundled there
Are whodunits and nibbles of cookie—
Lumpy potatoes, lumps of pillow for one head,
My years of random slurring and chemistry.
Don't run from the season premier
(However I turn is soon to be done),
Or the pebbles cavorting in your wake.
They spit on the suitable offer, the current
Beneath cordial like blankets quilted under picnics,
Wailing buckets about has-been coupons expired,
In lesser venues and crowds—so we may never get to check out
On a day like today, or yesterday.
We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was
also a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a
French restaurant. [...]
I could not tell the girl about the woman of the tollway, of her milk
white BMW and her Jordache smile. There had been a fight. I had punched her
boyfriend, who fought the mechanical bulls. Everyone told him, "You ride the
bull, senor. You do not fight it." But he was lean and tough like a bad
rib-eye and he fought the bull. And then he fought me. And when we finished
there were no winners, just men doing what men must do. [...]
"Stop the car," the girl said.
There was a look of terrible sadness in her eyes. She knew about the
woman of the tollway. I knew not how. I started to speak, but she raised an
arm and spoke with a quiet and peace I will never forget.
"I do not ask for whom's the tollway belle," she said, "the tollway
belle's for thee."
The next morning our youth was a memory, and our happiness was a lie.
Life is like a bad margarita with good tequila, I thought as I poured whiskey
onto my granola and faced a new day.
-- Peter Applebome, International Imitation Hemingway Competition
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