Waiting for a Roll

 

“Ey man, the line’s this side.”

I wasn’t having it. “Look, I’ve been waiting here for 30 minutes already. I’m after you. It’s fine”

“You must queue this side though.”

“No I’m not going anywhere, I’m standing here.” I said, not quite slurring.

He looked at me from over his shoulder. I looked at him frankly, then looked back at the simmering skottel of onions and boerewors, watching the lady turn them: pink, raw, boiling in their juices. The onions smelled good. The guy was still staring at me.

“What’s up?”

“You gotta queue over there dude.”

“Yeah I’m not moving. I’m behind you in this line, get your shit and you can leave and I’ll get my fucking roll.” I gestured to the skottel, drunk and expressive.

He glanced over at his friend. “What did you just say?”

“What?”

“Don’t say ‘fucking’ again dude.”

“What?” Smiling, “Fucking, what’s the problem? Hey? Fucking.”

Now he’d turned to face me. I took my hands from my pockets and held them loose and ready.

“What’s the matter? You wanna swing at me? Come lets go across the road if you wanna fucking swing.” His friend was laughing but they weren’t going to try anything. He turned back to the skottel.

And so did I. Still feeling merry and wanting to be on good terms, I started talking to him again.

“Hey. Listen. We could actually be friends.” He was weirded out by the proposal.

The friend chirped in, laughing, “Yeah ____ you guys could be friends.”

“Think about this” I continued earnestly, “Think about this. You were born, and raised, and had your life.” I illustrated the timeline with my hand. “As was I, my own life, nice guy, and now we’re here at this moment. We could be friends. I don’t want any beef. I’ve just been waiting here a long time, that’s it.”

 

 

Later, still waiting for this lady to finish stewing the sausages:

“What’s your name?” He held out his hand.

“Shaun.” Taking it. “And yours?”

“Loyiso.”

“Loyiso? Nice to meet you.”

 

 

Rollin Rollin

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Polar Sunsets

 

Glass film, fiery cold behind

burning behind the blue wisps

and orange, like winter morning on snow

ice, the sea a film too

And her eyes wild burning

Manic sunset

And his eyes kind and sad

on the couch wanted to come

“It’s nice to have you back.”

 

She’s soaring and burning, beautiful, in trouble

never been stable, screaming child

The sky burned cold, the sea was dull with a thinning

strip of sunlight and building clouds.

It gets dark too early, sun’s drowned too early

Wednesday 15 March – Cloudy Prose

The morning was softly lit. The clouds lay low in a broken blanket, a contrasting white in the cracks. It was heavy, dim and cold. He glanced up through sunglasses, meekly asserting his gaze longer at the sun: a pinhole searing cold through the cloud cover. He rested them back on the road, broken grey with pothole rubble, swinging round the traffic circle, descending to the icy rich voice of Westside Gunn.

The black Whitey Bulger, I want my money now or I’m ‘a smoke ya.

He was in a lecture scribbling away, half-imagining holding his pen nib-side-up on the page and driving his eye into it. An ant had somehow found its way onto his page, crawling thoughtlessly from the bottom up. He didn’t kill bugs anymore, actually had become a bit of a benevolent deity in their existence, flicking them from drowning pools, accommodating them out through open windows, watching them with removed affection. But with the mechanic scribbles of his hand he had crushed the ant, and seeing it dead he brushed it off the page with a mild apology.

The coffee shop was once a jail and he sat writing and needing a shit inside one of the old cells, now converted chic with silver plastic linguine threads hanging on the back wall and a patterned rug on the floor. Out the small door was the tower, a tall cylindrical building painted a dying yellow. Grey and musty red smears ran from the small rectangular windows notched in two rows around the building, and from its aging cracks. Quite a beautiful building. There was a multi-directional cross black above its roof. Beyond the tower stood a magnificent tree. Its bark was like bone or antlers, tall and spreading into its leaves. Solemn, stony, its leaves only moved a little. It had grown peering into this grave place when it was still grave, and now it was a coffee shop, quite a good one; it imposed its gloomy presence lest we forget it.

Later: Clouds were large overhead but looked bigger over the small houses on the hill across. A landscape of blue-grey curves, separated from the little block orange roofs by a band of lighter, vaguer clouds in the distance.

A Pimp, Marooned

“Gah damn it bitch you better watch your fucking tone when you talk to me girl. Woooh! Girl you gon’ feel all five a’these knuckles against that cocksuckin’ face a’yours. You think you know what busted looks like? Do ya?”

“Five knuckles? Whatta you gon’ do Tony, hit me with your thumb?”

Tony raised his hand in a tiger paw, demonstrating his thumbs prominence in his old pimp hand. He was nodding.

“Come ‘ere bitch, let me change ya life.”

She just looked at him. She and the other girls were standing on a raised, harshly lit platform. Tony stood on the street below in a musty crimson suit.

“I tell you what, listen, hey, look at me when I’m motherfucking talking to you!”

“Shut the fuck up Tony” Another girl called. “You’re scarin’ away the customers.”

“Clarissa that you? Bitch I will kick that fat ass of yours down these stairs. Y’know what your problem is? Diabetes? Yes. Asking for payment in fries? Yes. But what’s really gonna kill you, what I will give my assistance to by giving you a light shove with my foot, is gravity.”

“Yeah fuck you too.”

“Now Shirley, listen, you’re gonna go to the store, -”

“Am I?”

“Alright that’s one slap for interrupting.” He counted this with his thumb. “Go to the store, and get me something befitting of my status, something classy and refined, but big, I’m hungry. Depending on how appropriate your purchase is, I may spare you a few broken limbs.”

“Tony I would shit in my hand and throw it at you but I’m too much of a lady. You aint even worth shit no more. Hah!”

Tony had opened his mouth. He blinked his narrowed eyes, emphasing to all, including himself, that he could not believe what the fuck he had just heard. He adjusted his tie by its knot and started up the stairs.

“Tony…Tony you can’t come up here! Louis! Louis!”

The other girls all began screeching, clamouring for Louis.

As he reached the platform, the large figure of a man appeared from around the corner and stood in front of him. He dwarfed Tony. Tony was faced with the broad chest, the crisp white jacket of young Louis Farigno.

“Tony…” He purred. Tony looked up at a grin. “What are you doing?”

“Did you hear what that bitch Shirley said to me?” He rubbed his palm along his knuckles. “She disrespected me Louis, ME!”

“I know, I know. I heard the whole thing.” He consoled him with smooth gravel. “But I can’t have you harassing my girls.”

“They were my girls!” He pointed a finger at them. Then he turned to look out across the intersection, sunken red under the streetlights, the warehouses, Franky’s bar on the corner, the coke hustlers leaning in the shadows, those ugly squat palm trees on the island of dead grass, his sight almost reaching to the next block along. “This all used to be mine.”

He felt Louis’s heavy hand on his shoulder.

“Watch the suit.” He mumbled.

Louis kept his hand there and walked him further around the platform, away from the girls.

“What’s the matter Tony, you need some money? Huh? You’ve been wearing this for too long, it’s starting to stink. I gotta dispose of things that stink on my turf, you know that.” He spoke softly, pleading to his sensibilities. “If you come around here causing a stink, I’m gonna have to dispose of you.”

Louis pulled Tony around to face him. He tugged Tony’s lapels straight.

“I respect you like a father.” Tony stared blankly at his chest. “Get a new suit.”

Tony descended into the street and walked off in darkness. He heard one of the girls, probably Clarissa call out:

“Bye Bye Tony, you fucking bum!” The statement was punctuated with a loud crack, then a tumble.

“That’s gravity bitch!” He looked up at the stars, feeling the sidewalk’s lifting maroon. Like that fucking movie.

 

 

 

Been reading some Bukowski

 

She hadn’t replied but I left Friar’s anyway. The air in there was sweet and sweaty, and there were hardly enough black girls. I lurked outside, leaning on some knee-high patio and watched the sprawl of students outside the bar. Feeling self-conscious, a person who reminded me of a friend I held in high regard sitting drunk across the road, I moved on, towards the girl who had been occupying my mind the last week. She wouldn’t be there. I walked in her direction knowing she wouldn’t be there, knowing I would be sitting on the stoop of some dark house across from The Rat and Parrot with its wailing pop anthems.

 

 

 

The half-Asian guy

The urinals

The guy who looked the bassist

The drummer with an injured wrist

All in the men’s bathroom

For over 30 minutes

Unaware of Instagram

The hot chick who used to front for them

My knitted jersey that seemed to bother them

And my knowledge of sum 41 and blink 182

Which soothed them into a state of friendliness

All in the Rat bathroom.

 

 

 

 

Black Dog in the Garden

 

Stare at a spot and the trees merge,

Blurred impressionism,

Different green lights,

Moving differently,

Moving together.

 

The black dog was having a good time on the grass.

Rolling this way and that,

Moaning, snorting, pawing at the ground, stretching in pleasure

Then he moved to the metal gate and sat, watching.

His eyesight was poor.

The violent thing rarely left the confines of the garden,

With its tittering boundary of bright trees,

And concrete walls.