I couldn’t pull it off under the tree in front of my grandmother’s house as rain banged on top my head. How many times I have stood under this big oak tree as a little boy? When I learned to tie my shoelaces, when I first saw my friend hit by a car, when I checked off and hit Donald in the face. It was all I ever remembered. But what do you get with a watery nose and now I stand as a man with my own family and study for a test to not cry under this tree and every day listened to my Duke or Ella. Screams. Three kids cried for their mother and daddy to stop fighting in the night. One day ft will all be fixed, one day I will sit at the oceans edge and look back at my beloved country and see nothing but laughter. The issues with the car, the job, the damage of living in the city, the suburbs or fixing my eighty-eight Ford parked in front of the brick house I grew up in thirty years ago. Was it all worth it, in the blue book with almost eighty thousand miles on it…I wanted a drink that would help me through the night.
Was I insane to listen to Bobby telling me my wife was gone? Was I insane to not believe him and who was responsible for that? Mr. Yao cleaned my snapper and shook his head, rejected me out of pure love. Stabbed me in the back and charged me more when I wouldn’t listen to him curse me about my wife and her bubbly ways of coming to the butcher shop. He had to stop doing that, I just wanted to look at the filet mignon and not talk about it. She said my priorities were with school and her cousin. How could it be? I wasn’t over my head with her cousin Ella. She was a big chunk from my past. She was a little story from my
past. Although over the last two weeks she was nicer. Her eyes were sweet looking cheek smiled as she swept her front porch. In the end she became a person to listen too. I promised you my friends. I spent most of my days on the road, delivered mail and cutting into bottom line gas prices. Power outages, was like a gas bill that blew out in the western plains. I can’t find the hundred dollars for her, a tip to all you boys who like your wile’s sister or cousin. Weak. Watch your air filter and buy more gas because I ran out.
Screams. I was an August weak brother; at this hour I wanted to talk. Still reluctant to deploy from my past, I walked away from this wide Buffalo nut oak from my boyhood. At least it is still there to remind me of the good days I played around it. Chased Bobby, Kenny, Jeff with slingshots and popped velvety Catholic girl Debbie Cook upside the head as she cursed me around this wide hip tree. I leave these memories with this tree and quiet rains. Where I go to walk the earth like a wild rock band. Every day frowned upon moments as I became older, recognized as a man to fix things around me and grateful to not be dead yet. Odd, do call me and tell me where to meet you, as I didn’t catch my wife with another man. In depth look for her as she knew we were the wrong couple under Athens Georgia rains.
I drove off and went back home to where I belonged, three flights to an apartment as my children waited for their daddy. Dark in small bedrooms, the living room television on, as my wife wasn’t there. Children laughed. Lucy left them alone again eating Kentucky Fried chicken.
The youngest with big pretty black eyes sucked her thumb and jumped in my arms. I kissed Ella on the cheek as curly Betty grabbed me around the leg and squeezed me tight.” Daddy! what you bring me…what you bring me?” But little Stan offers no welcome. The oldest was handsome ten and chocked up with his mother leaving them alone again. I went to him and hugged him around the neck, holding back my tears and I knew he was glad to see me. He was glad that it wasn’t over as the voice of his father was glad to meet him. My keys jangled, rolled on the living room table. They gathered around and answered my questions of course on how was school today. Finger licking, greasy faces like gifts from Jesus.
O’ Lord these are my children. I qualify or half ass qualify as a father for them. They are flesh of my flesh. But her mother and me aren’t going to make it. I am the only one praying in this mess.
Stow down my television attention, as I put them to sleep a little after ten. Sensitive night she comes through the door. Family sleep. She sensed me there in the room waiting for her, threw her hand at me, took her shoes-dress off in the cooling jell of the night. It was a warm Saturday. I didn’t have to go to work the next day. We tried everything like dry winds chipping the skin off your ass. She put a number on me as I got on my knees and begged her. Asked her…
u Baby, whafs wrong?’
” Harold,” she said,” let me tell you. I don’t want to play this way anymore.”
B What way is that Mrs. Wolff?”
” You had an affair with my cousin,” took her earrings off,” the two of you have always been a problem sense you came back from your war.”
” Kuwait?” I rubbed my head,” wait that was a joke.”
” Any war,” she shook her head,” you know we got married because I was pregnant. Maybe if we could have waited. Become trustworthy and see how it all could work out. But you wanted to get married. I was the woman in this relationship. You were the little boy. You always were the little boy as I sell my soul to put food on this table.”
” You don’t do this by yourself,” the next thing I knew cops were on my door red-hot they hollered like it was going to be a vacancy.
u Open up, police!”
I had to be cool like Denzel. I opened the door and they ruled me out with a black jack across my throat. Unfocused. My head with a legal headache and swept off my feet against the wall as my children cried.
” Officer! Officer!” she screamed,” what are you doing!”
” Mam!” he put his hand up.” We got a call of a domestic disturbance here.”
She sliced tears from her eyes.” I didn’t call!”
I wanted to hold them and than I knew in the cash back night. My soul was all hungry with a bad depression and the last time I would ever see them again was tonight; right now, calm and serene as the two cops stared at me and knew what I had to do. They knew even before they came to the door. tt Okay,” I shrugged them off,” I leave.”
Asking Fellini out…
Six months left me hardened. Trees cannot walk but blow wet wooiy dangleberry leaves across the triangular college campus. A giant clock sat out stretched green lawns through the day as students chuckled with nothing to eat but books and knowledge; sometimes I don’t have much food. But I eat tuna sandwiches between lunches; there is a fear-a pain in my stomach as < move on through life knowing I would never see them again. In the kingdom of my life I straightened out the chairs in my heart, and sometimes help out in the church. By eleven fifteen, 1 go to my philosophy class, bawled my fist and struggled not to scream. I try not to think of them. She has a good government job they tell me. She has a new husband and all and my children have food to eat. I make sure I send them about twenty-five a week. But it is the pain, the pain that tears me up. As I become free and think about me sliding away into a life of books and writing, my ma always wanted me to go to school. Pay attention to the educated fools. And I even have a fancy girlfriend now. I stand in line for a can coke. At nights I sweep the computer labs, sometime think applying for a job in the same building. The boss wants me to apply. I sat and read about great leaders and how to work. Maybe I will in the summer after I finish these three courses. My bed is cold; my new shiny girlfriend is cold. She is a heartburn beauty but she is my future. And I will suffer and be cursed for what keeps me up at night. And dark green regrets these travels and nibbles at my splendid bits of life as (eat toasts and drink coffee over brand new G.I. Bill books. I carry on without a family and will be cursed for losing the first family like every man. We regret and cry alone, away from the crowd. We don’t want the world to see us lose and gain five dollars inside the kingdom of dreams. My work is my life. Cut off from laughter, old, old laughter. Actually doing good things, sacrifice towards the rise and fall of nations scraped by our own bare hands.
The man who wore style…
It was necktie weird to be stuck to a desk. I just wanted to go out my way, to be turned loose. But the menagerie was that I couldn’t keep my hands off this other girlfriend’s sister.
I was a wild animal, and I didn’t have sense to stop this drama of do whatever I wanted. I committed the same mistake, and I hurt a woman who never hurt me. I was a stray, and my apartment became a den of snake women. Drugs, sex and give your heart a break feeling sorry for a spoiled man who wanted to die, die in the arms of lost and inconvenience of losing it all in the kingdom.
u I caught you,” she slapped me,” I caught you.” She cried with tears that dropped hard to the carpet. I wanted to get on my knees but it would be a cheesy act. I just found the guts and left, left for the west.
Oakland California was a leftist hangout of black folks (ike me waiting for the next Marxist revolution to come. Blues travelers like me were soup to a country where I had to fearfully tread as they snatched Mexicans off the Greyhound. For five full years I was the black Messiah Provost Officer at the community college. I missed my children, wrote them letters as the country weather of Northern California churned me out. I didn’t need incentive in Oakland in front of the TV. or watching A’s baseball or listening to kitchen jazz bands on lake Merritt. At the park I met some delicious women from Louisiana. Devilwood shrubs surrounded wistful Earlene and Maureen. I stopped, bought a bottle of red wine and extended them to the best times of year as I eased over them like fresh com.
Perspective: I married both of them; in a heavy stormy part of the season. A minor tropical excursion, we didn’t do the church or anything like that, but we lived together in God’s eyes. And we loved together until rains and earthquakes woke us from blue silk sheets. We curved away and I took the both of them down to the Caribbean into the valley of storms and people minding their business. We loved. We had children and we watched and spotted planes flying away wagering flesh trading democracies.
In a tiny wooden shed…
We survived and lived under palm trees and witnessed fishing on San Pedro Cay. On Tuesday, I got in my truck and drove the ten miles up the road to meet my buddy Lee Findimen. He was a half ass Rasta with a PhD in Russian History, half black guy drunk most the time, He wanted to sue everybody but decided to Batman comic books instead.
” How long you been here?” I asked.
” Since ten o’clock.” He was on the bench hanging out with his gray parrot as the tides drifted away from his toes.
“No, here on St. Mathews?”
” About sixteen years,” scratched his locks.” I just don’t have enough money to get back to the States.”
I looked around at the span of blue water. The white sands and my two wives and three little babies spring in the oceans beach. My heart had slowed and the sky was blue and low. I poured him another drink of wine, and thought of the warming trend in my heart.
u Do you want to go back?”
” Hell! no!”
He slapped me five and sipped his wine. I rolled a joint and watched the women lay around, mostly shaded and naked in the comfortable blue steady morning. Sailboats cruised down the beach with their International flags and drug drop on the reefs.
Lee played his guitar behind a voice sounding like finches…
Got to get me the love
Cause you know what I mean O’ mama
Got to give me the dream
Cause you know what I mean O’ mama
Got to give me the blues…
Cause you know what I mean O’ mama
Got to give me the snooze…
Cause you know what I mean O’ mama
1 puffed, cut off and ran with my family down Momingstar Beach before another tropical wave came and checked me out like old shoes.
Picked up my two kids in the winds, swung them around and became happy again as I went to help the island people, willing to sleep, clouds drove over dead car accidents and reggae music in the afternoon in my monkey tree thatched house. My act one and warnings of floods persisted in rains off the reefs and shoals, as forecast got stronger. On Sugar Bay I still wept sometimes under a giant coconut palm with the loss of a first wife and sliced banana children to later shift gears and find two beautiful moon black women with nice breeze voices that needed somebody to love, and talk to inside the kingdom. Winters passage: I came back to the U.S. in homesick moments. Recovered. Spurts and starts but always left again, i wasn’t interested in black American politics anymore. 1 became alive in the kingdom and had two more babies.
” Honey,” I remember Earlene asking,” where are you going?”
” I’m going to take some medical supplies to Haiti.”
” I love you,” Maureen kissed me,” we love you.” I kissed my children playing soccer in the yard, out the gate they ran along the rocky beach not looking at an uneasy father.
I was Volkswagen parked. Upset I shut the screen door as it swung leaving them with money, mosquito nets, guns, fresh marijuana plants, mangoes, Red Stripe beer, fishing poles and sewing machine as I drove away from Black Beards Bay. I had it. I had it as Panama lands asked me to sleep.
Two years later dry mouth flags flapped. I sailed with a group of Dominican Republic pirates. However, later got malaria in the town of IL Doro. I lost every woman and danced in villas with Italian forecasts. I became an old black crow, white gulf layered beard, sometimes weakened or got stronger and continued to be welcomed in most spaghetti westerns.