The Factory Juke


I’ve seen mine buksta-faced grandfathers,

havin’ ‘ere a time of it,

on ‘ere fartin’ arses:

it up,

A cry-like

slick busting


slide up,
an’ a
slide down,

through a horn-


Ole’ Honeyman was a-holdin’,
got-busy Fats all-speakin’:

“Once red-bottled Coke,
all Houston is slide”;

be-fore canoein’ a guitar

(daisy-yellow and dustin’,
dustin’ in back corner).

The Red Spoon did pine,
remain spendin’
his dime-

his last three day’s
o’ nickeled-worth change.

And the

greened Aaron:

survival afoot,
a-left a-loom,
in-side a soft,

soft blouse

of cloth.


Gropin’ up-ground

to ‘er
denimed blue,


to ‘is right pit,


‘hem blues-

a “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

And in the end—

gave ‘er
a bug,

tweakin’ brass,


minted mud.

No felt lip ‘here,

was a-pokin’
with-a stud.


How do I approach the mute? Why he’s just a boy! Frozen there on his boy’s bed, two televisions for eyes. What should I say? Should I ask pointed questions or speak softly in reassuring statements. Do you even know? Maybe I should ask someone else. Do you have experience in such things? Surely it wasn’t the same kind of thing. Okay. I will just go over and hope he responds. If not, nothing lost, right? Oh what a strange thing to have to do. No, I can’t. His stillness is too unnerving. He’s so thin! Have you noticed? Is he really breathing? I remember him though. Just a few years ago. You wouldn’t pick him out from any group of boys his age. Is he heavy? How would you even know? There seems to be something heavy about him. Why hasn’t anyone tried to move him? Does he eat? How often? Do you even care? Okay, I’m going. I can see that it must be done. It’s funny though. When I was little I would often sit so still in front of my mother’s little set everyone would become concerned. Did I like the attention? I don’t know. I liked the shows. Why? They didn’t make fun of my weight for one thing. But no, they were funny. They had life to them. Yes, my family were characters in their own right. But I guess they began to bore me. They grew predictable, they weren’t all that complicated you know. Well they were, but not in a fun way. What? Oh yeah, the boy. Did I call him a mute? I’m sorry. There used to be a man who walked up and down the neighborhood. That’s all he did. He had a real goofy smile on his face all the time, and he never said anything. He just walked and walked. What was his name? He had one obviously, but they called him a mute. When I first heard that I thought it was strange. The word, the word was strange. Him I just thought part of the world. I wonder if this is what he was like as a boy. It’s sad. It really is. Maybe I should tell that story to him. To the boy. Maybe, you know, he could know there are others like him? But who would want to be like that? You think he already knows that? Is that what made him freeze up like this. When everybody tried to get me to move from in front of the television they screamed. They were afraid and I knew it. How did I know? some things you just know. Even as a little girl I knew. It seemed, it seemed like they were screaming at someone else. Isn’t that funny. Not funny funny, but weird. Who were they screaming at? Did they think I would turn out like Memmy? That was his name! Memmy! Who? Yeah, the guy, the guy that roamed the neighborhood. His jacket was always dirty. He drooled a lot too. Oh how funny that I should remember all this now. But this boy is no Memmy. He’s a smart kid. At least I thought he was. No…Memmy had crazy parents. No one knew them. Me? Everyone knew my parents! So wait, what was everyone afraid of when they were yelling at me? Ah, who cares. It’s done. What’s done is done. I’m going to talk to the boy now. He hasn’t moved at all in all this time! How is that even possible? You know, sometimes I feel like that. I mean not like that, but like I don’t want to move. Like I want the whole world to go away, and if I don’t move it will. What was that? Yeah, maybe. But when I was a girl I loved those shows so much! Now, there’s not so much to love. Just for things to go away is enough. What happened to this boy? Does he have such trouble that he becomes like this? It’s different. He has no hair on his face. Memmy always had a shadow of a beard. Not real scruffy, just dirty like. But this boy has a nice face. Nice and clean. Mine was pudgy. I was a little pudgette. I had always been a little heavy. My mother? I don’t know but she was heavy too. And my father little. A little red haired guy with glasses. Yes. Always. Wait, why are we talking about this? No, I’m not avoiding talking to him. Can he even hear what people say? What do other people say? It can’t have done much, look at him! Okay, I’m going to just say something quick. Maybe he doesn’t like to be bothered. Maybe that would help. You know, knowing people want to help but not really bother. Who, Memmy? Who bothered Memmy? Who wanted to? He was disgusting. He was…you know I think my brother knew him. No? Yeah well I don’t talk about him too much. He’s an asshole. Yup! Red hair too but alway skinny. Not too skinny, like athletic skinny. He loved basketball. Or he was good at it, I know that. He loved being an asshole! Who, my brother? No. Who remembers what he said to me. He was so much older, I barely saw him. To my mother, that’s who for sure. I think I used to see this boy playing sports. Yes. He was wild, really wild. But really realy cute. His mother? She used to scream the shit out of him. No, no one. Who’s going to say anything, the kid was an animal. And now look, he’s not even a person. When I first saw him I had like a, you know like a flash. Where I saw the boy playing. But this one seems so different, it’s like I forgot it right away.

Only One

I eat only one meal,
each only one day.

I smoke only one pack,
consume it only one way.

Have only one pair,
only one shoe,
only one sneaker.

Have only one tear,
(the pants with only one pantleg),
for each and only one leg.

I have only one set,
only one right eye.

I have only one hood,
on or of,
only one zipped sweatshirt.

I have only one television,
in only one bedroom.

I have only one thing,
on only one floor.

I buy only one drink,
with only one cigarette,
at only one store.

I go to work at only one place.

I walk there only one way,
walk back home—
the same only one way.

I have only one
abiding principle,

to have only one
abiding principle:

only one moment.
At only one time.

With only one yea.