Dreams About Women, III

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It is untold when she will focus on me
in the cramped store with the mesh grate window gates
strewn with receipts and bills like a pawnshop

I put my fingers from my parents in the grate and pull
until the knuckles, peaks and valleys turn searing white,
the red tips point outward toward Soto Street

“I was in The Decline of Western Civilization,”
she says, “but I was only a baby.” She sells beverages.
Ginseng and Malta. It takes way too long to pay by card.

“I’m closing now.” Outside I pour it into a glass.
“King Taco” rotates above my head. Lumbering metal.
“Smoke,” she says, indicating the sewer, “al pastor.”

“Steam,” I say, perplexed, “it’s steam.” Metal,
tanks of sorts, great round things stenciled with
advertisements, lumbering past, floating past.

“…it doesn’t matter anyways,” she says, “this part
of California will be annihilated.” Yes. Sanity. Arm-
ageddon, voice of reason. “I’m from…” I begin, “from…”

Funny feeling. I look. The glass was chipped.
The lip. My throat. Felt. Nothing in particular.
But things can hide in your throat for years.

Hillbilly of Monterey Bay

Originally published in Heron Clan VI

Hillbilly Larry and I looked back on all
those America places that weren’t beaches
and we probably thunk a spell on all
those beach places that weren’t America.
We poked a dead bloated seal with a stick and
pointed to a flat otter on the road and he said
“you know I don’t read,” and I said, “neither
do most, honky,” an’ that’d be why the

Steinbeck Center was back in town and
Hillbilly Larry and I are walking among the
lettuce in flip-flops an’ West Virginia Reeboks
talkin’ the cardinal directions what organize us.
Lar never saw the ocean before and I
hadn’t seen a tent city for a few days but
I looked at Larry and I pointed out to sea
“I ain’t ‘splainin nothin’ to you, Larry. Go

get knocked around by a coupla waves,
then we’ll get drunk and I’ll talk about all the
beach towns I know back East.” Lar knew
better ‘an that… “‘slong as I don’t wind up
suppin’ on a young girl’s breast or lookin’
out there thinkin’ a rabbits,” “I’m tired of
your hillbilly crap, Larry,” I said, “go swim!
I want you to text me from China by noon.”