Monday, May 5, 2014

50/50

Up in Alamo Heights,
Wayne used to come in to the Handy Andy supermarket where I worked.
She wore no make-up.
She had a Texas twang
and would look down when she smiled.

I knew where she lived.
It was on her checks,
and besides, she invited me over.
Wayne had a roommate.
Her name was Myra and she was the personnel department at a bank.
I dubbed her "Orchestrater Of Demises."
She was six feet tall.
I liked her.

Wayne and I would go to the Broadway 50/50.
She always drank cognac.
I forget what I drank.
We talked about all the things we would do,
and didn't do any of them.
Wayne's cigarette would burn down,
balanced in the glass teeth of an ashtray.

In May, it was my birthday.
I had to work.
By then I had been let go from the supermarket for trying to unionize,
and I had a job closer to home;
closer to the park where the whores hung out.
They would sit on the fountain with their pimps, getting high.

I got in long after dark.
There were twenty-one stairs up to my door.
Wayne had left me a bottle of champagne with a gold bow.
The note said,
"Sorry we missed you.
Sundance snuffled at us appealingly from under the door.
Happy birthday from your harem!
xox
Wayne Anna and Orchestrater of Demises."

I went in and fed my dog.
Then I turned the lights back off and sat near the window,
drinking by moonlight
to a Willie Nelson song.
_____

my attempt at a vignette for Kerry's challenge ran a little long, so I am posting it to OLM at Real Toads instead.

 
 
 

15 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

In truth, my background reading said a vignette could be 1000 words, so this surely qualifies as such. You give the reader a glimpse of time and place as seen from a distance. It is full of heart and keen characterization.

Sumana Roy said...

like this sketch of time, place and character in vivid details...

TexWisGirl said...

i could see it. loved the line 'glass teeth of an ashtray'.

hedgewitch said...

The thing I especially like here is the conversational tone, which stays level and descriptive, a story-telling that never falters under its load of 'this was' into anything saccharine or too navel-gazing, just a shot of experience slightly tinged with that ol' sweet nostalgia--I need to do one of these someday--it's a wonderful challenge--but I know I will never do one this good.

Björn Rudberg said...

I like this a lot.. it's more than a vignette... it tells stories .. many stories... and characters. I could easily walk into your world and see you.. and feel the neighborhood... the detail about the cigarette left... reminds me of a song by a forgotten band called City Boy.. called "cigarettes"...

gabrielle said...

You are such a natural story teller. This is so rich in detail and imbued with so much heart. The “glass teeth of the ashtray" brought it home for me.

colleen said...

A sweet slice of life and well told. A boy named Sue and a girl named Wayne?

HermanTurnip said...

Beautifully written with a natural flow that was infinitely easy to read. Brought a smile to my face!

grapeling said...

strong line held throughout; clear-eyed; stellar ~

Susie Clevenger said...

I dubbed her "Orchestrater Of Demises." Just one of the many I love about this...you are such a fabulous storyteller..Your words engage all the senses and stirs imagination.

Sioux said...

As is always the case, I'm amazed by the varied voices you can channel when you write.

This was folksy and charming.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I so love your stories, especially the ones about your real life. And I LOVE seeing Sundance in a poem. Beautiful boy!

Mama Zen said...

"Orchestrater of Demises." I love that.

Daryl said...

i could echo all the previous comments but i would rather just say i am glad it 'ran' long

Sara said...

I love it when your poems tell me a story. This was a bit sad, but you captured the characters so well and do it in poetry isn't easy. You made me see them as if I could walk out my door and there they'd be.

Also, there's a message about friendship here, as well. Sometimes running a little long is even better:~)