STANTONThe night is a wall of sound. All incessant beats are intertwined fightin’ to touch the moon. I can make out the frog bellies, the cicada, takin’ turns to fall in tune, rhythm of the darkness. Again and again they call out perfectly spaced—I’ve tapped my fingers on the bark to test. Who starts it? When is the final salvo decided upon as dawn creeps upon us? Is it the why I ponder as we lay about to make such primal music, screamin’ into the black searchin’ for … this night, I’m in the middle of all of them like a young audacious bull in the ring scannin’ in all directions for somethin’ to charge at. So, I enter as the frog. I am the cicada. I am the barred owl who doesn’t adhere to the evenin’s program. If I can hear it, I can be it. They know it and love me unconditional for it. The language of beasts opens the secret door to understandin’. A mutual respect, a camaraderie thick as blood. My throat clicks, my tongue slaps and writhes, none of it human as we palaver while the others sleep. I’ve seen them speak in tongues, those vacuum salesmen and bank tellers grindin’ along the shabby blue carpet with their frothin’ cheeks. Not bein’ touched by anything but the want for attention. I attest God is not in those shingled lie parlors where you can only see the sun through the grimy stained glass. God is the matter that makes up the ink black sky. God is the beautiful madness. The rise and fall of creation are to be witnessed each night with the ear of agin’ flesh.
Can you hear me, God? What creature has your ear tonight? Does the coyote howl out its sins to you? What insect aloft on a gentle leaf inspires your pride? I will be it. Your golden trumpet molded from the earth. Let me use my power in true glory. My mouth shall forever trip the light fantastic.
DELIAHLook at Stanton, down there in the wet dregs, mimicking the low beasts. What pleasure is there in acting like a bug? Bleating like a toad on a log? Slopping in the mud with the pigs makes you nothing but soaked-through filthy body and mind. I’m sure glad Mama saw me into this rich world before him. Him tied to the roots of earth like a coon hound that never gets to hunt. Me? I have the wind. There is nothing better than flowing through all there is. Through is oh so right. The gust may bend around a tree or an old barn, the pyramids or the curly red hair on Little Lea, but it also goes through. An absolute solid state is a myth no more real than a lustful centaur chasing maidens through the Foloi Forest. The atoms disperse and the wind invariably finds its way to wiggle between them. Through all those little spaces, it must pass. The wind sees inside as its journey endures. Dare I ride my invisible steed frothing from the source to the delta? Why use a mortal form when your vocation flows above and into the terra firma? If I could remove the shackles to my wasting vessel I surely would. Might I stumble upon some archaic scripture in a forgotten Nepali cave that will present to me its secrets of liberation? Could the Sumerians have held this ability to shear our coil? Is Houdini up here, waiting to approach one late fall afternoon skipping along the stratocumulus to present the answer by my side? The countless days have taught me much, but the unyielding truth is the wind knows what puts you together and what will take you apart. What branch will topple a big ole oak, or how a worm will enter that perfect peach as it falls to the ground. The past, present, and future is gauged by the weather vane. I bet I have blown through you on that cold park bench and I know where you keep all the darkness.
LEAI need more damn matches. 646 matchbooks. That’s 12,920 matches. If I light 64 matches a day I will be out by 3:46 PM in 202 days. Daddy is some kind of good at gettin’ me my matches. Everywhere he goes he gets them for me. I have 89 different restaurants and 58 different motels. 33 are from bars and some Daddy told me to not ever show Mama. I don’t want to use those—they’re special secret matches, but if worse comes to worst they gotta go. You got s**t for brains if you can’t acknowledge that nothin’ is better than the smell of lighting a match. I must smell that smell. That scratch when I drag it across the strip, how that little thing transforms into such power. I’ll get more tomorrow—you can bet on that. I can always ask Daddy or Stanton for a ride over and walk down to the dock with my blue bow and old easter basket and gather them up from our little corner of the world. Johnny Jumper at the Tricker Grill likes when I sit up at the counter. He makes me Lumpy Lea milkshakes that make me feel warm-in-the-tummy happy. He always has matches layin’ around, every table has one right inside the crystal ashtrays. I think he knows, but let’s me sneak them. Acts like the creepy uncle I never had, bidin’ his time. I head right over to the gas station after that. You wouldn’t think a gas station would be a good place for matches, but I always find some. Better off with me, I’d say, than sittin’ stuffed in a pack of smokes on top of one of the pumps. It’s always some older teen like that rich kid Lonnie or zitty Nick or some other stupid boy name flirtin’ with the bikini girls as they get their Daddy’s pontoon topped off for three times the normal price. I could walk outta there with a boat motor runnin’ full throttle and they wouldn’t notice. Other than Johnny Jumper don’t none of the boys pay me much attention. Either I get my boobies soon and get ‘em good or maybe I’ll just burn everything down so it makes the lake steam with a beautiful dancin’ fire.