Among other credentials, Steve is a recent Best of the Web nominee, poet, playwright, and essayist. He lives in Long Beach, CA.
© 2008 Steve De France
The cashier says have a nice day.
I whisper, “I have other plans.”
I head for my 1947 Cadillac.
In the parking lot an ancient pilgrim
in railroad coveralls stands
like a stone in a stream,
her shopping-cart wheels
jammed between cement lines.
She is streaming epithets.
I find the car.
Geno is sprawled in the front seat,
drinking wine & putting finishing touches
to a poem that tells how horrible it is
living in the suburbs with a female lawyer
& about the awful neighbor kids &
how he’d like to kill them.
I start the car & head toward the exit.
The ancient pilgrim is still leaning
into her cart as if into a high wind.
“I slash throats with a garden hoe,”
screams Geno. I stop the car.
“I crush skulls with a fireplace brick.”
I get out & say hello to the wayfarer,
her teeth slip, I lift her cart over the
gouge in the earth.
“Asshole,” she cries & clenches
her fist to strike.
I jump back in the car.
Geno is still ranting his poem.
“I eviscerate the little bastards &
roast their guts for the dogs.”
“You have a gift,” I tell him, “Pass the wine.”
I’m thinking of Dante’s Inferno.
Canto XVII to be exact:
“Those who have done violence to art.”
As we round the Long Beach Traffic Circle,
I suggest Geno call all the
neighbor dogs Cerberus.
The night grows hotter.
All work is property of Steve De France.
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