March 27, 2003



"how i met your mother"
-- david berman

"you can tell he has an older brother," she said
"how," i wondered "do you know that"
"by the bb scars on his ass"

we watched "motherfuckers" cackle out of his mouth.
he wanted something. something like a mini-mart blowjob.
she propped open her briefcase and pulled out
a stack of research on tonights guests.

i was surprised she was willing to share information.
we'd been rivals for eight years, writing the society pages
for our towns two daily newspapers.

truth told, i wasnt up on this crowd.
id only heard rumours about the house on route 727
where they used a nineteen letter alphabet
and held nude parties fueled by 5 dollar bills
pulled out of birthday cards by the host,
a postal clerk with a sharp eye for grandmotherly script.

"OK," i said, "who is mr. whiskey over there by the bean dip?"
she glanced down at her notes, "he just opened a salon
by the courthouse for defendants who want the innocent look."

the subject was listening to a women bitch about parrots.
"they talk but they dont understand!"
"if animals could talk, we would have killed them
off years ago," he said dryly

"how about the lady in the orange crossing-guard sash?"

"part of the downtown crowd.
she paints portraits of children who cut in line."

i recognized the fellow she was talking to.
a spanish exchange student. his lust
had scorched several area trellises.

an old man came out of the guest room
and walked up to them.

his necktie acted as a valve
that kept the sadness bottled in.

"frederico, i want you to meet elmer, of elmer's glue"

my exact thought was, "no way..."
i faked a disinterested look around the room.
on the wall behind me hung a framed photograph,
"nephew with first stereo,"
and a painting called "three ideas about maine"

the old man approached us, pulling an oxygen tank
on a little chrome cart. he wore a checkered sportscoat
covered in industry medals that clattered when he moved.

it was taking him forever to reach us.

i guess we both looked at the phone and thought about
calling the story in for the morning edition,

but there was something more finely drawn in the air
then the dotted line that showed our possible paths to the phone.

she took my writing hand in hers,
and after that i could find no precedent.

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