before you slip past the bounds

the not at all solid barriers

that seem to stand between you

temporary insanity


let me attempt a solution to

your current struggle with the world

something to calm or least slow down

this careen

you can feel approaching

my grandmother Flora

used to rub Noxzema on me

and hum softly

tunes from "Fiddler on the Roof"

and that often worked

my father liked to

pour me a Mexican beer

in a bowl-shaped mug

cerveza eased my rough passage

through many

marital crises, real and imagined

I had a girlfriend many years ago

(no no I don't wish I was still dating her, believe me)

took me to French movies

and allowed me to heavily pet her

all well-meant

and they often worked

at least made me feel better

but perhaps

this time we need the big gun

I saw it used only once

I'll never forget the impact it had

on the day that they fired me,

such trumped-up charges

after ten years

behind the drugstore counter,

Marianne, my Dutch roommate,

offered me a cheese sandwich

heated on both sides

so that the cheddar was soft

not quite molten

and the bread

sourdough, yes,

stiff yet yielding

the way a good mattress feels

after sleeping on the ground

and on the top

my name

spelled out in slices

of English cucumber

I remember laughing, crying, swearing, chewing, singing, and discussing the limitless future

it's going to be all right

I promise

JD Frey -- August 23, 2005



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