Thursday, March 1, 2012

(New Fiction from the Astronaut Blood book) Wifeboat


Snap fingers to a four count with a little swing.

“Get your feet off the wifeboat, Tony”
“All hands on the wifeboat, Tony”
“Leaking crude on the wifeboat, Tony”
“Shore leave cancelled, on the wifeboat, Tony”
“Man the guns on the wifeboat, Tony”
“Abandon ship, on the wifeboat, Tony”

My principal folded her hands and stared into my eyes.
“Where exactly did this….song or…poem come from?” she asks.
“Made it up” I blurt.
“I see”
“Do you know why I called you down here?”
“You have no idea why I called you down here?”
“I see. Today in class you were asked to write down your thoughts regarding a picture of a sailing vessel, is that correct?”
“And you couldn’t help but inadvertently turn this exercise into another display of your father’s angst towards my having divorced him?”
“Is that what it means?”
“You know damn well it is!”
“I just made it up, I didn’t know what it meant.”
“I wish I could believe you.”

We both stared out the window. Things were much better out there. My friends were playing soccer on the grounds. Lunch time was almost over. I was going to miss everything.

“Tell you what. Jimmy, do you know what a Western Haiku poem is?”
“That’s the five seven five syllable stuff, I think.”
“No, it’s easier. Forget the math part. You don’t have to sacrifice words to fit any superficial meter, but you still have the three line structure. The first line of the poem is usually about time, morning, night, Fall, Winter, dusk, whatever. The second line is an action, and a descriptor should be in there somewhere. In other words, describe the action. The third line of the poem is the consequence. But it should have some resounding conclusion. Make it simple. How does it make you feel? What does it possibly mean? Channel all these things. Now, I want you to write a Western Haiku everyday about something your father does. Everyday. And then, at the end of the month you’re going to hand it over to me okay?”
“Ah c’mon, mom!”
“ You’ll do what I say or you’ll be here with me every lunch period. I’ll even make you read all the goddamn magazines the secretaries leave in the office. There’s a nice piece in Glamour this month about eyelash extensions. Turns out you don’t need to employ fake lashes- but I don’t want to tell you too much, as I don’t want to ruin it for you”.

can’t control the afternoon
friends don’t see
my trouble

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