Sunday, January 29, 2012

Devendra wants to be a math teacher

Devendra says he does not give a rat’s ass, guns it and scrapes hard, crushing the downspout drain with his jitney cab just to prove it.
The club owner is standing outside smoking, but he just drives past, no apologies:
Shit happens—just keep going.
That’s what he says.
I jump in fast up front and hold on.
He drops the men in back at another club.  It’s raining and they want curb service and umbrellas.  He has a stash in the trunk.
He gets back into the car, wet, huffing.
Is it alright if I . . .  I start.
Hells yeah, he says
and shoves his last tip bills at my purse.
Drunk boys bang on the hood, humping the cab and rubbing their khakis on my window.
This shit, he says
and drives off.
Takes me to his room.
No touching.
He lets me be, lets me plop on his bed.
My heels are soaked.
He props them by the radiator.  The paper insoles crack and rise.
He lets me dry out as he sits cross-legged at the end of the bed, smoking in the dark.
I watch the red coal of his cigarette breathing with him, neon glow, a watchful dragon with a small jewel in its maw.
He lets me cry and sleep.
I draw on paper bags and dream of mountains and Mother.
She says the garden is fifty fucking percent trash trees and briar, as she leans on her hoe, smiling and smoking.  With one hand she sweeps her brown hair, tucking it under a tortoise shell:
Just keep talking and crying.
It’s alright.
She’s going to hang my clothes out tomorrow on the sun porch.
And tomorrow is a grapefruit slowly shrinking in a bowl,
an avocado pit skewered in a juice glass,
egg curry and toast.

Devendra bought me a tin of watercolors.
I spend the morning
dropping small white dots
on the red brick mountain,
One thousand times over:
cherry blossoms of snow.


  1. jesusmothertuckingod! jesusjesus! oh please, jane, where the hell have you been? and can i live inside of this poem forever?



  2. hello, jane. thank you for this poem!! it brings me to life today, a pocket of time out of time, very honestly beautiful.

  3. Hahahaha. Thanks for your enthusiastic response, erin.
    I guess I needed to replenish the well a bit. I also, as you may recall, have been teaching myself to draw. So, I'm torn; I see something and want to write AND draw it. No editing in the ink drawing I'm doing right now. I just sit quietly for an hour and draw what is close at hand: beads, flowers, seed pods from the box elder. I'm trying to make it a regular practice. It is like writing though, I get to the end and see what has come out, what's on the page, and I'm often pleased, as with this writing, which just sort of fell out of my head. Most of it is a dream. I woke up after it at 4am and felt the need to write the bones of it. As I got up, I saw that it was snowing the finest, lightest little dots of flakes. Thanks for reading.

  4. Thank you, James. A pocket it is. I'm torn between prose and poetry as perhaps you can see.

  5. am lovin' this. drew me in, made me care. wonderful organic imagery, and the various metaphors mesh perfectly i reckon. and i love the way you've let the emotion just leak through the seams of the thing. iyam a happy reader :)

    1. Thank you, dear Mr. D. A happy reader is my favorite kind.

  6. wow..what awesome place us right into the scene and made me feel the rain, smell the smoke, organic images for sure here and great work on the characters as well..much enjoyed

  7. May I pile on my enthusiastic howl to this commentary? I'm a couple of weeks oddly off to find it, but it's none the worse for the simmer, I think. I love it, Jane. I love that you are writing this way, making us all so happy.

  8. Thank you, Ruth. It made me pretty happy myself when I wrote it. I'm glad that it resonated with others.

  9. "Shit happens -- just keep going." What I so admire about your work is that you do exactly that, taking your confections and bouquets into startling new quarters. This sort of narrative is hallway, don't you think? With who knows what to come. That's what makes reading it so rewarding. - Brendan

    1. Thank You. A hallway, that's good. I held myself back from opening too many doors in this; well, actually, I started opening doors and developing the characters more, and then I just went back and trimmed. I enjoyed my departure here from my usual form. We'll see what's next. Thanks for reading.

  10. Yes, I agree with Claudia that this is really good storytelling. I like the visuals that punctuate the story. I also like the way it breaks out of the present tense in the final lines, like some promise of, I don't know, promise?