s has a taciturn belly. he had to pay 600 for an health inspection.
the indonesian coffee has been a mainstay.
p’s body odor has changed. it smells rank. he hopes it doesn’t mean he has an odious disease. he still has stiffness in the middle of his back. he hasn’t been able to exercise which would worry him more if he wasn’t losing weight from a dull minor depression.
the weather is black and tumescent. in his dream a familiar face wouldn’t let him pee. he had to use the adjacent yard
how come you do me like you do a singer sings forlornly in a song.
p hadn’t heard from v in months. she blocked him. p wasn’t able to text her. she got involved with a man and is now pregnant. the man went to sea on a ship for three months and doesn’t want to have the baby, nor is he coming back to seattle. v has decided to have the baby. she doesn’t need the man. she never needed him for more than the baby. p doesn’t know why she contacted him. p teased her once about wanting to use a man to have a baby and p thinks she wants for him to know that she’s having one and that now that she’s having it it proves that she’s not only interested in him to reproduce. he’s sure though that she is wanting to find a father for the baby.
by the way you sent me a facebook message that we never kissed but we did, v said.
good to know, p said.
i’m surprised you forgot, v said.
anger, p said.
anger, v said.
that’s usually why i have blocks, p said.
ah, v said.
remember that time i said i was in seattle to see you, p said.
yes, v said.
i never was in seattle, p said.
i know, v said.
p likes to be out past six to see the prone bodies and the smudged heads.
they see him like they see themselves. one grabs him and asks to see his photo. when he says that he doesn’t have one the large tall black man with arms like a leaf blower shows him a photo of a black man with grey hair that looks like him.
i need more pills, the large black man said. i have run out. i need something for my anxiety. what they gave me isn’t working. i feel inadequate.
who is the man in the photo, p said.
p has a bottle of ajax cleaning liquid and twenty bags of earl grey black tea. he has a thirty three year old woman who looks russian when he is alone with her and close up. he wants to make black tea for her late at night, even though it is caffeinated.
the black tea is a sedative for p.
p has the comics from 10 to 50. there are five of them. they are japanese and are read from right to left. a young woman in her twenties with convincing blue eyes and dirigible fingers is happy to sell them to him because she read them when she was a teenager.
you look tired, said the large black man.
i get this way in november, p said.
what way, the large black man said.
are you the man in the photo, p said.
yeah, said the black man.
you look older in the photo, said p. you have more grey hair.
no, i don’t, the black man said.
do you want to take a walk by the river, the black man said.
i have cherry whisky, p said. it tastes like cough syrup.
i don’t want to talk about god, p said.
they cross the steel bridge. bikers slow down when they get close and look up at the tall black man. p wants to ask where he is from but decides not to get into the black man’s history.
i used to manage forests, the black man said
what happened to the white woman at the granada apartments, the black man said.
how do you know about that, p said.
i work on the grounds from time to time, the black man said. last night i replaced a tenants fan for his heater. he sat on the couch while i worked. i felt his stare.
what’s your name, the black man said.
paulus, p said.
i used to know a paulus, the black man said. you’re nothing like him.
i saw an entire forest burn, the black man said. it will take hundreds of years for it to be what it was.
they walked to the burnside bridge and crossed it back to the west side.