Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Peach

I was in Italy once. Florence. A hot spring night, busy streets, musicians and magicians and the sauve European men standing on corners in black suits with shiny shoes and red ties on red shirts. In my orange cardigan and chipped painted toenails, walking. "These streets are ancient," and I'm walking over them with a notebook and a head full of the cheap wine they sell on the corner in blue bottles and open for me at the front desk of my hotel because I do not have a screw.

The storefront windows here are breathtaking. Three dimensional works of art commissioned to draw in and empty pockets, but I've never seen anything like them, and the men here are so brazen and they are always polite but does it ever find them their fuck?

I go deeper. Search out quieter streets and dark pockets of night folded into doorways. From one of these, from across the street, I turn, and look, and see a man.

There is an empty store front window. White walls. Only white. And he is sitting inside, behind the glass on the floor, looking up at the white in old jeans and a shirt so thin that I can see his shoulder blade sitting perfectly there and follow the line of his spine while it moves beneath the fabric.
Back and forth and up. Back and forth and up.
And then he stands and opens a can of paint. Robin's egg against the white.
I sit on the curb and watch. A flower. Black lines. Another can of green. He is working and working and I am watching, hardly breathing, or breathing soft and quick sitting in my pool of dark and all the colours come together so that my stomach aches and my wrists are hummingbirds' wings and he has seen me watching, and then he is gone.
He is standing on the street. We are looking, face to face, green-eyed to brown.

***

I leave the lights off in my room. In the dark I find the peach and hold it in my hand, warm against my palm and fragrant still in the night air. I eat the fruit and the juice fills my mouth, down my throat and drips through my fingers. I am only taste in this darkness. All other senses blind, deaf and mute. But touch.

8 comments:

Matt said...

Beautiful. I must say that your ability to express the full range of senses makes me way more jealous than I'd ever be willing to admit.

Cherie said...

Oh man...excuse me...I need to go take a cold shower.

Deanna said...

You are working and working. Thanks for letting us watch.

the hamster said...

i realize we've already talked about this post, but, in the spirit of good internet friendship, i feel the need to say something about this post here, even hoping to link it back to "the love song of j. alfred prufrock" and the peach line there but i always feel like that belittles what i really think about what you've done here. the truth (and the reason i haven't commented here yet) is that everytime i read this post i end up sitting there with my fingertips still resting right over the edge of my mouth, sometimes shaking my head, and all i can say in that moment is "damn."

so, i tell you here, in every good and praiseworthy way possible: damn.

Amber said...

I read this post several days ago, and I can't tell you how many times I've thought about it. So so very good to me - what poetry in that time shift.

I'm so glad you posted it - seems something to be stingy with.

Myles said...

I wish I had a story that started "I went to Italy once".

Cecily said...

This post was so evocative I quickly clicked 'back' with downcast eyes... that darn sexuality thing again.

But I keep coming back. And back. Beautiful.

Mike S said...

Wow! Other words elude me.