Tagged: poetry

“How long have you been here? In gollyland.”

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this. I get asked this more than anything else, but it never gets easier.

I try not to show it, my anxiety, as I say, “All of my life.”

“Well, let me tell you this much,” she says with a look of surprise, before winking, “I don’t detect any accent.”

This too, I’m told all the time. Somewhere between the relief and paranoia, I mutter my thanks.

i just found out it was christmas

because the market was closed

Snowblowergirl says, “Once upon a time, gollyland used to be a really nice place.”

And she says, “It’s these kids getting into trouble and ruining the city.”

“And JC,” she says. “JC runs this city.”

I say, “Who?”

She says, “Jerome Corp.”

I say, “Jereme Corp.”

She says, “Jerome Corp.”

She says, “They run this city. And they don’t do anything for the city.” And she says, “You know how it says you can’t park in the streets between 3 and 6 in the morning? That used to be for street cleaning, but they haven’t done that in years.”

I say, “That’s unfortunate.”

She says, “In years.”

I say, “That’s very unfortunate.”

She says, “In years.”

I say, “That’s very very unfortunate.”

She says, “But it’s getting better here.”

I say, “In what ways?”

She says, “It’s turning around.”

I say, “How is it turning around?”

She says, “It’s starting to come back.”

I say, “What makes you think that?”

She says, “It’s in the news.”

I say, “What’s in the news?”

She says, “They’re rebuilding golly hi.”

I say, “What’s that?”

She says, “It’s the hi school.”

I say, “Ah.”

She says, “It’ll be ready next year.”

I say, “Great.”

She says, “And I was appreciating not having to deal with kids.” She says, “Once they reopen the school, you’ll see kids everywhere, breaking into property and getting into fisticuffs.”

I say, “That’s not good.”

She says, “There was a donnybrook at the concert a couple months ago here at The Park. You know they throw concerts at The Park. Like do you know the Beatles?”

I say, “Yeah.”

She says, “The Beatles perform every year.”

I say, “Are the Beatles from gollyland?”

She says, “No.”

She says, “And the Spice Girls. Do you know the Spice Girls?”

I say, “Yes.”

She says, “What about Cognitive Descendants?”

I say, “No.”

She says, “Average boy band.”

I say, “Are they from gollyland?”

She says, “No, none of the performers that perform in gollyland are from gollyland.”

I say, “I see.” And I say, “I’ve been around to Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, and other cities, and I have to say gollyland is like no other city.”

She says, “I’ve been in gollyland all my life because I can’t afford to get out of this hellhole.”

“Well,” I say, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

And she says, “I guess it’s a convenient location if you don’t drive. Everything you need is within walking distance.”

“Which works out for the environment,” I say.

“Fuck the environment,” she says, “I’m freezing my fingers off. The other day, I came home with the groceries and I literally took my mittens off like this,” and you could see her hands convulsing. “Anyway, I have to go to my next appointment.”

I say, “How much did you say I owed you?”

She says, “Twelve dollars.”

I produce my check book, and she says, “Can you make sure to put the suffix on it? My mom has the same name, and she might think it’s her check and cash it.”

I hand Snowblowergirl the check, and I say, “Maybe it’ll warm up before Christmas.”

“It won’t,” she says on her way out. “But you get used to it.”

Barreleyes says, “People are stupid.”

And I’m stunned to hear this come out of her transparent forehead. So stunned I forgot what prompted the blatant hatefulness out of her adorable lips, and yet finally understanding what she meant… after all this time.

Why couldn’t I feel that way when she was still within reach?

There’s no point in looking for her now. Barreleyes is out there, still out there, way out there, trapped in aqua space. Maybe somewhere, someday, I’ll come across her, emerge in my hot pink submarine and she’ll come aboard, treasured and enraptured, to fly away from the anti-gravitational cage of my infinite brain if she isn’t already a fish skull in an atmospheric diving suit by then.

Franky Sword says, “Yo Kwon, where you at?”

Franky likes to ask you where you’re “at” all the time. Location matters to him. It’s his way of keeping tabs on you. And by you, I mean me.

“I don’t know,” I say, giving him the round-the-mill answer. “In some ways, I’m over here. In other ways, I’m over there. My body could be in one place, but my mind could be elsewhere.”

I say this because I’ve already used Los Angeles, San Diego, and Cleveland for an answer.

And he says, “Where you at?”

And I say, “You know Franky. I don’t know where I am, but I know where you are. In my mind.”

That should give me another couple days.