I’ve got my mind on George Will, psychometric curve and the pythagorean theorem. I’m standing in my backyard watching the hazy glow of evening splash across the trees and grass. A massive, prehistoric looking tree, which fell across my yard during last winter’s great icy show, lays across my yard. It’s an elegant piece of work. Art, is what it is.
When Shirley grabs a rug and shakes it in the yard next to mine. Shirley’s always cleaning house. She likes to be known for that. To the obsessive degree. I clean like a surgeon, once a month and don’t stress on it.
So, anyway, Shirley’s gotta be better than me. Her strawberry blonde hair is longer than mine. She’s got a better body than me. Okay, and she cannot clean better than I can, but she’s got that hamster-ready daily routine thing going. She’s got all those popular psychology sayings down.
Who gives a shit?
Shirley’s in something. It’s some sort of hick-gladiator deal where somebody’s gotta be better than somebody else. Her husband goes on tangents and screams things like “Nigger”, “Wetback” and “Dick”. Shirley screams better than her husband and can eject more words per breath.
Everytime I step out into my backyard, I feel like I’m being dragged into the Grapes of Wrath. Shirley’s gonna start breast feeding the old men. Her husband is going to start another small scale Civil War.
To their credit, the black people across the street have held their tongues. Maybe it’s out of fear. But I don’t think so.
I miss Santa Fe, New Mexico. Where my neighbor was a harpist. I miss the beauty of New Mexico.
Shirley used to follow me around when I went outside, hissing taunts of her superiority. I overlook such things most of the time. I mean, it usually is a grand cue of mental illness. But Shirley pushed it too far and a few days ago as I stood by my fence, I curled my come-here index and she walked over to the fence.
“If you don’t quit screaming, you’re going to be picked up and sent to a nut bin.” I told her.
“I ain’t crazy!” She screamed.
“Really? Well that shit is enough to drive somebody crazy!” I told her.
All I ever really wanted out of life was just enough peace to think in my own territory. That and a writing career. The freedom to paint. Beautiful children. Some whiskey ever now and then.
I’m getting it while I can and I can still outrun a kid.