All in Prose

"CHICKEN WINGS" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

Writing this in The Bu (Chevy Malibu).

 

Was at a bookstore.

Just bought a literary mag.

4:30 PM, Halloween.

Now, I'm in traffic.

 

A migration of MASSIVE,

aluminum turtles

extends like defeat

in front of me.

 

I'm wiggling in my seat

to Lady Gaga.

YES, A 33 year-old,

straight man can do this!

 

The song ends.

My dancing ends,

and…

I JUST CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!

 

I inch off to an exit,

glide to a red light,

make a turn,

and jerk it into

a strip mall parking lot.

 

There's a chicken wing place.

Wings?

NO WINGS!

On another diet.

Gotta stay sexy.

 

A good day

until the bookstore.

They didn't have what I wanted

(besides the literary mag).

 

Making my purchase,

the clerk hacked and coughed,

throat ejecting all over my book.

THEN HE SMILED AT ME!

He smiled

and handed it over.

 

How do I handle these situations?

How?

 

I took the book.

Thumb and forefinger only.

All other digits splaying,

flaring out,

trying to escape infection.

 

Now I sit

in this parking lot

with the book

radiating death

next to me.

I can feel it.

 

I look at the lit mag.

I want to devour it.

I want to burn it.

It's like an x-girlfriend.

 

I breathe deep,

withhold decision,

and turn

looking at the world.

 

The traffic's there,

rising to an overpass,

staring down at me like a colossus.

 

AAAAAHHHHHHH!

Time. Time.

All this Time!

 

I look back at the book.

Read?

Disease?

 

I start thinking.

 

Between me and my apartment,

somebody's dead.

Poor person.

Blood on the highway.

Probably had a family.

Halloween,

kids dawning costumes,

candy treats being prepared,

significant other devising sexual adventure.

 

Sorrow.

The one that went down…

They went down fighting

this invisible foe.

It'll claim every one of us.

Poor family.

Bad day to happen.

 

Should I try the highway again?

Approach the gauntlet?

Can I take it?

NO!

It's scary out there.

Better to sit here

in The Bu

with the disease.

 

Chicken wings?

NO!

 

I look at a vacant area

adjacent to the strip mall.

It's a small field

about the right size

for a football game.

Crab grassy and level.

 

There's apartments–

even shittier than mine

–beyond.

 

I look at the field.

An old man's out there,

walking,

swaying a long pole

in front of him.

 

He's a blind man, I think,

but then  I understand.

He's carrying a metal detector,

swinging it left to right.

He's out there searching.

He's searching while we all

cruise toward DEATH.

 

I decide I like the old dude.

I hope he finds something.

I haven't.

 

Chicken wings?

 

 

"SHOWERING" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

At the gym

I shower.

They don’t have towels.

You've got to bring your own.

 

I've got eight hand towels,

precision folded.

Eight

little

perfect 

baby-blue

squares,

in my gym bag.

 

The water is ice.

Thin

piercing

rays

of anger

slicing me.

 

They don't want people like me here.

They don’t like car bums.

They keep their water heater low.

Gym people don't like homeless people.

But I am a paying customer.

 

I shower like an Olympic sprinter.

Soap!

Scrub!

Shampoooooo!

 

There is an older man at the gym.

He gets there when I do.

He works out when I work out.

After I flip on the water,

he sneaks into the shower room.

He does push ups on the wet tile floor.

He gets down there,

pumps them out,

genitals dangling.

They make slimy,

slapping sounds

as they plop,

then lift

then plop

on the tile.

 

When he's done with those,

he grabs a three-inch pipe

running the ceiling's length.

 

In the nude,

he performs pull ups,

facing me,

watching me.

 

He pulls.

He rises.

He descends.

He watches.

 

I've started showering with my knife.

I place it on the

wall-mounted,

liquid-soap

dispenser.

 

I shower fast,

get out,

shake like a wet,

freezing dog,

then I dry off

using my little hand towel.

 

Physically, I’m clean.   

(written in 2015)

"SHOWERING" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

For New Writing, News and The Everyday Grit of Life, follow Gabriel Thomas on Twitter.

"TOWN TALK" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

TOWN TALK

 

The talk’s of work,

needing a job,

getting a job,

minimum wage’s

too minimum.

 

Then, now,

it’s the high rent.

Can’t afford it.

Got to have two workers in that home.

Got to have two incomes, at least.

 

Long ago,

they say,

it wasn’t like this.

 

I have a hard time imagining that.

 

And there’s those Politicians, they say.

We get on those politicians.

They’ll run you over, son, they say,

suck you clean.

You young people need to do something.

This world is fucked, they say.

 

Then,

they ask me,

“Can I get a cig?”

 

Now, it’s politics.

Now, it’s election.

Now it’s rock the boat time.

Rock the vote time.

Those politicians, man!

 

On street corners,

in trollies,

outside libraries,

this is town speech.

 

And I’m thinking…

The Pacific’s four blocks away.

It’s the biggest thing

I’ve ever seen.

Sunset’s at 7:04

I’ll eat rice tonight,

make it spicy somehow.

 

As the woes of life call from street level,

as human bodies quiver in state necessity,

locked inside me,

I know a secret.

 

I’ll share it with you,

but you may not like it…

 

The World Doesn’t Owe You Shit!

 

"TOWN TALK" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

"BLUE CANISTER NECKLACE" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

"BLUE CANISTER NECKLACE" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

When I lived

on the fringe,

I wore a necklace –

a blue rope with an

aluminum canister.

 

The canister was

shockproof and waterproof.

Inside lay a flashdrive –

almost EVERYTHING

I’d ever written.

 

It was me and my necklace

sleep contorting

in my car.

 

It was me and my necklace

counting the cards

over the blackjack table.

 

It was me and my necklace

public showering

in fear.

 

It was me and my necklace

pounding keyboard

at the library.

 

It was me

and

my

necklace,

 

and now, I don’t wear it.

 

Sometimes,

I reach up,

fingers press

the patch of chest

where it laid.

 

It’s gone!

Panic EXPLODES.

Where is it! Where is it!

 

Then I remember.

Then I know.

 

The days of thrift are over.

There’s light up ahead

in this black, black tunnel.

 

But I reach up.

 

I feel

 

My blue canister necklace?

 

It got me through.

 

In the darkness

you need a light.

 

Maybe, it’s best

When you make

your own.

"BLUE CANISTER NECKLACE" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

For New Writing, News and The Everyday Grit of Life, follow Gabriel Thomas on Twitter.