Jubilee City

October 9, 2011

The man scratched the back of his neck, uneasily.
He was sitting, confused, in his gallery. It was a
Question he was used to getting asked but, this time,
He decided he would explain himself.

“About ten years ago,” the recording later spoke,
“I started painting again after a dry spell of a
Few months, and it was all landscapes.
Miles and miles of open farmland, green and
Gold and just as they have been forever.
But then, for a reason I can’t really put
My finger on, horses started showing up.
Some of them were far off, in the distance, while
Others were so close they were out of focus.
I couldn’t explain why they just sort of
Became a part of my repertoire.
And then, about a year ago, I started painting girls.
They would be smoking, or nude, or both.
Often it looked like they were about to say
Something but had decided against it.
And one day I was sitting here in my gallery,
Just sort of stewing over things, when I realized
That they were all the same girl. All of ‘em.”

A Chevy Nova sat in the field, breaking the
Gentle lines of nature with a dark velvet hood.
The car’s chassis swayed slightly, and a faint
Trail of smoke issued from the open windows.
Soft packed earth muffled the hooves of a
Mare, his nostrils sniffing the air curiously.
A quiet giggle, and the horse could see
Two high-schoolers, skipping school,
Naked in the backseat.

“Fragments of that moment-
The girl, the horse, the car, that field-
All of it was a memory that came cascading
Back to me bit by bit through my art.
Her name was Kay. I probably had five dollars
To my name, enough gas to get home…
I was on easy street, man.”

Why did you break up, I asked him.

“I think… I think I cheated on her,” he said.
“I went down to the lake, and did something
I shouldn’t have, in front of someone she knew.
She moved away pretty soon after that.”

There was a silence potent enough that
I could understand a tinge of remorse in his eyes.

“A while later she called me, wanted to
Meet for dinner or something. I agreed, of course,
I mean I wanted to do it. We talked for a bit and
When we got back to the place where she was
Staying she sort of gave me this look,”
he said, tilting his head to the side.
“She said, ‘Well aren’t you going to come in?’
And I replied, ‘No, I’ve got to get back to…’
I don’t remember, my new girlfriend.
She lit a cigarette and shut the door on me.
I found out the next morning that she had
Died in a fire that very night.”

I swallowed audibly.

“It’s funny, you know,
She was spirited enough. If there was
One person who’d come back and haunt
Me, it’d have been her. After everything,
It would have been her.”

Dedicated to Joe Andoe


2 Responses to “Jubilee City”

  1. you’ve left me: speechless, terrified, and thrilled all at the same time. I dunno how you did it.

  2. Epic. I liked this a lot!

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