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If the image is Andy Warhol dying unattended in a hospital room then the figure is a Grand Canyon juniper berry.

If the image is my dad shot through both legs and looking up from the ground at someone chasing his tractor across the field then the figure is watercress growing in a railroad ditch.

If the image is William Buell smashed by a train (in his oil co. truck, age 27) at a RR crossing then the figure is the Indian woman spitting into her own palm the stone of the purplish Japanese plum.

If the image is Juan Romero kneeling with RFK’s blood on a white busboy’s jacket then the figure is the nicked and gleaming octagonal head of a ten pound hammer.

If the image is a cop standing in a parking lot at the beach by a car asking if anyone knows who the man in the back seat is then the figure is the sweetish milk sap of the fig.

Q. Chopping motion with hand [700,000 Iraqis], oxy-acetylene virtue, cause hard ideo-zoological?


Q. Estiff motel tourism, make like a fish, I wish you smelled officially?


Q. Trouble, [sniff] the San Fernando Rd. route [girl in Castroville], hear?


Q. It was like posole, they were, the signs were all smiling, at the war’s end?


Q. [Bright] shirt, revealing [look], is he gonna mess with me about sending the check?


I leaned in to wipe his ass as he pulled himself up with both hands, the wall gleaming like zucchini fuzz, like a spinning drill bit, she’d invite me for coffee so she could talk about whatever, and start crying, the night glowing like red fanged Thai chiles, like the old tarnished slip-joint pliers, we drove up and he looked at us surprised, puked in the bushes after a three or four day drunk, drank a couple cups of coffee and got himself right, the sky radiating like the phillips head screwdriver, like red veins through kale, I drove all day for the chance talk to her for a couple hours in some northern Calif. town where I thought she might be, the air glinting like the blue chelicerae of a bold jumping spider, like glinting along the machete blade, he called me drunk to badger me to drive to Seattle but I refused, the heat glistening like the generator housing, glistening like the coiling and recoiling octopus that could not escape, we drove along the avenue without speaking, the steel sparkling like apples, sparkling like the blue tip of the acetylene torch, “shit,” her breath caught in her throat as she exclaimed, ducking behind me when she thought she saw her boyfriend, but it was not him, windows shining like black corn or like purple potatoes, they wanted to have their picture taken with me, that was all, the trees brilliant like the vise on the drill press, brilliant like the clove of garlic.

June 2011