Poetry

In a Landscape: XLIV

April 13, 2013
“Is our ability to have confidence in another owing more to others 
or to ourselves?” Now we’re getting somewhere. When I worked 
at a restaurant, back in that first year of social security 
deductions, it always seemed to be back of the house vs. 
front of the house. I think we all liked it that way. Later, 
when we ended up at the same parties, we didn’t seem to 
mind each other. One of the waiters told me, once, that had a vision 
when he was a teenager, and then one day, he suddenly 
couldn’t remember what it was. Nothing was left. He’d lost confidence
in it or in himself or something. Like waking from a dream. He 
described it that way. Like waking, and whether or not we like it, 
we’re all waking into in a Buddhist, non-knowing, stance, 
in regards to most things. 
 
When I was about 10, I was served 
with divorce papers by a sheriff, in uniform. It was a mistake, of course, 
and he was apologetic, but still I should have taken it 
as a sign. Two or so years later, I forget, but it was when 
we were living on Long Island, I had a Penny Saver route. In some places, 
they’re called Greensheets, I think? Or Penny Press? I was on my route,
and had just thrown to a fourplex, when a man came out, 
he must have been about 60, and said he hadn’t gotten his Penny Saver 
in the past, and wanted to talk about it. So I followed him 
into his apartment. Once I was inside, he shut the door
behind me. The walls were covered in pornography. He turned to me 
and said, “I just want to dance.” 
 
He didn’t do much. Held me close. Kept his hands 
to my backside, all over my back and into my pants. But there 
was no music. All the music was in his head, and I was able to get out 
after just a minute or two. Nothing worse. And the punch-line 
is that when I was a safe distance away, I turned and saw him 
in his door, and asked him if he really had a problem 
with his Penny Saver or not. It would mean my job. One of these days 
they’re going to come up with an application 
that will have our emotions for us, and then things 
will be perfect. All things will be perfected. All will be made trivial.
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