Ghost Town, 39

Blast out all your memories like a limestone quarry dustbin. Wipe your clean brain. Tears dripping down your nose you think about the ruthless obstacles that lie waiting in the path of young life. And you were no better off yourself, always playing second fiddle to your older sister and begging for attention from the local lowlifes. You’re not the housewife and you’re not a homely girl. Sit with his carcass on a long busride to Minneapolis, meanwhile he’s picking his nose and pinching your ass. Gaze through the glass, witness withering smokestacks burning black holes in the clean sky like cigarettebutts in a white tablecloth. Out on the plains feeling blue you dream of jumping the track and alighting in roadside towns, make a fresh start. But somewhere along the line you will find silhouettes acting out manslaughter in the lighted windows of a tavern.

Orange candleglow windows of the pub invite you in, friends here, let’s play the scene. Meatloaf dinner, darkglass of porter, old man twinkle in your eye.

Jesus walked around just like that: no card, nametag blank, missing introductions all around, trudging barefoot house to house looking for someone to plead with a child and adopt a gentle paternal posture. Near and dear, hungry for affection make love a god. Sitting on a steppe for three hundred years, stony rock somewhere in South America under heaven’s thunderdome a mountaintop, love the pure heart of a monk. Porter at the door keeping watch, stirring the pot. Sit like a dog at the table, running laps tongue hanging out, before a tall vermillion wax candlestick mercy me, a pentagram and redtailed rooster sacrificed over muttered blasphemy in an adolescent orgy, hunting out spittleflecked flagellants praying to Satan. Validation. Please don’t hurt me. Leave us your sentimental rosewood crucifix. Have the savior punch your ticket. Oneway trip to San Antonio. On second thought he came and went and that’s the end of it.