Below Chinatown

“Mr. Barber?” When Ravi tees me up with that faraway voice I get nervous. He’s a bright and serious kid, the kind that can lull me into being serious in return. I’m liable to get dark, forget he’s a student,…
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Listening for the Kettle

The kettle in our house makes a sound when it's done: an electronic rendition of steam whistling through a tight valve.

The first note strikes tinny, petulant, mood-curdling. Then comes...
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Cold Steps Empty Cup

That feeling when you’re lost at the edge
of Old Town
or Downtown,
lost on purpose, meandering,
and you stop —
arrested by fragrant croissant
or coffee or apple tobacco
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Human on Canvas

A man had a stroke and slumped onto the gallery floor, a spotlighted bit of the floor in the corner of the room, and after a while another man arrived and stood looking for an explicatory plaque, what is this, hmmph, stood and squinted at the man crumpling in and at his limp lower lip, and this second man told his catching-up wife he preferred the photography on the mezzanine, and she said she did too and that she didn’t get much art these days, and another woman who had just arrived overheard the couple and inched away from them, face puckered in distaste at their distaste (that photography, god, so juvenile and effete) and she looked at the man on the floor and his eyes straining to focus and the gallery brochure fallen from his soft grip and she thought yes, yes, life is art and art is life, human on canvas, here is Man dying in his own gallery, each painting and sculpture is a day lived, each one a pursuit of love or truth or the ever-unknown, some days mellow and spare and others violent and unsettled and one, that oil painting in the line of his dying stare, a mire of blacks and bright greens, the last flash of a life flashing; the woman looked on, exalted, and the man died.
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Maria Opened the Door

Maria opened the door.
Why must you always begin with stage direction?
I don’t. Do I?
You do. So at least give it something. I want to see it, feel it.
Maria opened the red door.
Don’t be facetious.
Maria put her rattly old hand on the rattly old door knob.
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