The Boulevard Has No Saint
Updated: Oct 7, 2018
You find something. You think of yourself as prepared but you never knew exactly what for until now. You realize it when you brush yourself off, wiping hands on knees and saying something like ‘golly.’ You’ve only seen perfectly coiffed and it makes a lasting impression. You caught a glimpse ofrough edges and it fascinates you in a way you’d never anticipated.
There was a day several years ago when you picked up the phone and began frantically dialing numbers because you needed options. The voice on the other end of the line offered you just one: press three if trivial, four if catastrophe. You say to nobody in particular, “I choose pickle.”
You open a bright orange journal. For the past three years, you’ve scribbled down things like, fail harder and go fish. You’re committed to uncovering things stamped confidential. Lately you’ve taken apeek at up-close-and-personal and find you prefer spontaneous concessions. If parameters widen and point toward consciousness, then you can end a conversation by saying the word smart both as victory and aspiration.
You think about the day before yesterday when you wrote a letter asking her opinion. You have pressing questions. For instance, do you like wrens? Or do you prefer robins? The small clarifications, you need. You would like to be greeted by her as you are in your dreams, next to eggshells but unburdened by the knowledge that the boulevard had no saint. This idea is dislodged when you enter a building with nameplates and titles.
Sometimes you talk about street names and things you find peculiar like fortune cookies and doorbells or grand gestures gone awry. When you are with her, you plan the hour with spaces for breathing. It seems to go something like: fidget, shift, designer shoe, peg leg denim, thumb ring, laugh, avoid that area, goose bumps, yawn, hunger pangs, unspoken compassion, temporary silence, but wait, but still, you tell me, scrunched up face, delicate words, tea in a paper cup, uncomfortable, beauty, bergamot, instant epiphany, red glasses, connected, left out wanting, fill in the blank. You forget to mention things that require keys and a jacket but she is quick to offer remedies. This reminds you of the last time it rained. You were wearing a green skirt and your legs were cold with the breeze and the wetness from the sky spitting water. You were walking with your head down, counting the steps you took in each square on the sidewalk.
That evening, unlike all the others, you paused before divulging secrets. You were wishing she’d speak of mundane events and silverware, forgetting ethos and the miles between there and here. These questions are often traded for brand new records, instead of B-sides. And so.
In your purse you carry a book given to you by a friend. The pages are dog-eared and you stop on sentences that use words like quell or bother or matches or threat. There is a lady on page fifty-six who talks about things we should know like no sun august and chapped noses. Both have been known to signal change. Usually, you quantify this inevitable reality with backward numbers and stale bread but the woman in your book was not talking about coins.
GRAY and GREY
Once inside, you forget the imposition of meaning and read aloud from pamphlets detailing the effects of secondhand smoke. You highlight areas of concern for the upcoming interrogation of strangers. She knows you prefer snacks to dinner and frills to overcoats but you counter with glue and collages depicting facts, thus creating an impasse.
Today she tells you to wear a different hat. This is not fashion advice and it overwhelms you. You mention missing particulars and she looks down, making a sad face. When you aren’t looking, she covers you in gold flecks, placing lost things and sparkles in your pocket. Inside you find wakefulness and a note.