Notes for a Notebook Full of Questions
Is the opposite of a double cross a cross, and if so, what does
that make a Judas, what does it make of the guy who thinks he's
steering you clear when he really leaves you hanging like a red
dishrag on some clothesline in East St. Louis on the coldest night
in winter? He didn't have to make you red, you think.
Is the opposite of genuflection something like reflection,
something like the way a car slowly rolls by, and you're standing on
the curb seeing your face flash, or flicker just the way you think
you might have seen some hint of lightening in the sky, or perhaps
what you experience when you're standing alone in an empty room and
someone carrying a mirror rushes down the hallway past the open door
What's the easiest way to forget you're going to hell, and what's
the slowest way to get from the Bowery to Hell's Kitchen?
What's a taste of your own medicine when you're feeling pretty
snappy other than that one little flap of skin?
If you really hadn't known, and because of that didn't mean to,
would you have anyway, over and over, and then have bought the
turpentine with your last sawbuck?
Why did her dress hold her body that way, like it was speaking to
you, like it had all the answers that had ever been spoken in that
roadhouse, that little spot between where and where was it that, try
as you might, you can't seem to ever get out of your mind?
Even then, back in the "good" days,
she had a feeling she'd wind up...
I had one good idea in my life, and it turned out to be a bad
idea. I sit at the window and watch the plans we made roost, leave
their droppings, and fly off to God knows where. It wasn't just
talk, wasn't just this and that and that and this, and boom boom
we're in the money and the temperature's always 82, and your suits
look like they were made for you, and not some monkey in Brooklyn.
We thought about things, and we used our eyes. We had a guy inside
who knew all the dope and was married to somebody's sister. We made
sure our watches were wound and running at the same time. We slept
well and remembered to leave our gaudy ties at home. We called our
mothers and said Hail Marys, loaded our gats, and even checked the
tides. Then all of a sudden it's like you're walking into a wall of
warm air, your arms get heavy, and you remember the one little thing
that turns a good idea into a bad idea, the one thing that you know
you really knew, but just didn't think enough about. Boom, boom,
there's no money and the birds might as well be heading for
Capistrano, or any other place where birds go to on their way to God