Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Last Night As I Lay On My Pillow

The man never notices anything because that’s his business — not
noticing. He gave me the key like a bribe. The yellow bulb was gone out
at the door that was my ration. I held a lighter up to the knob and
there were ten thousand stab wounds all around the lock. Thirty years and more of lemme in lemme
in lemme in. You could almost feel the heavy paper sack in all their other hands.

The clock is banging on the seconds like a railroad spike. I begin to wonder if a man doesn’t really die, just dissolves slowly in the rain. You try alcohol but it’s not a preservative.

There isn’t a floor crooked enough in the wide world to make that chair sit flat. You lean at the jalousies and watch the nobodies go nowhere, and smoke. A jalousie apparently only has two sides: dusty and dirty.

There’s people next door going at each other like strangers. They’ll wish they were strangers again soon enough. The other side is teevee teevee teevee.

The neon across the street flashes out of time with the clock and you’d like to meet that man, that neon man. You’d like to meet him like a train meets a cow out on the prairie.

There’s an odd number of pulls on the dresser. There’s an even number of tiles on the ceiling. There’s a smell like the laundry in a funeral home in the bedspread. You know why people smoke now. There’s nothing and nobody in this world but the faint orange spark at the end of your nose. 

3 Responses

  1. Maybe rubber tips on the keys might solve those stab marks. A guy could market those at the liquor store.

    You're a modernist writer, Gregory. Better watch out for that. Except – I love it very much.

  2. People say it ain't that bad but they don't no nothin', them people. For them it ain't but for the rest of us it's that bad. That bad and worse for sure, brother, let me tell you. A man gets born and don't have a chance in this world unless he's born lucky. And lucky I ain't. No use cryin' about it though.

    Find a nickle on the street and whattaya got, besides a nickle? No more where that came from and if some fella sees you pick it up he gets mad and says it's his. You say well it ain't now, it's mine. And then you got a fight on your hands. Better off to leave it layin' there.

    Layin' there, just like me layin' on this stinkin' mattress in some lousy flop room cause I ain't got nothin'. No job and no luck. Maybe I'll hop a freight car and head west. Or south. Weather's better this time of year. Gotta be better'n this.

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