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July 2018, vol 14 no 2

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Alex Jankiewicz

In Living Color

…fear of freedom, of which its possessor is not necessarily aware, makes him see ghosts.
                                                              ~ Paulo Freire


I crawl into a black place, say hello to the darkness and feel a cold breath of wind. The same breath from long ago when as a child alone, I was afraid of the darkness behind my closet door. With that same black breath, I again feel the fear...that fear of life without love, of being alone, of death, that fear…

I inhale the cold breath. A witch’s breath. White breasts and rotted teeth. I kiss the ice cold nipples erect.

I awake to the morning birds singing through the darkness, then fall back to sleep... just when Louis Armstrong arrives. We talk about blue skies. White clouds. Blessed days and sacred nights. We have a drink before he leaves. Satchmo goes back to from wherever he came.

My eyes open to the white of my bedroom blinds. I feel the warmth of a morning breeze through the open window. I remember the witch with white breasts and smell her rotted breath, but then, from somewhere, a whisper of "a wonderful world" reminds...

blowing in the wind
the emperor’s new clothes –


The morning cup of coffee and cigarette with the first conscious sigh of daylight. The first morning view from the balcony to make sure the city seems just right. The offer of a glance to a neighbor, an old man and his bible, an old rooster with Captain Ahab charm. The courtyard watchdog of moral decay. The courtyard pope with the inspecting stare at passersby.

I offer the expected wave to the old man on his balcony. I mouth Viva il Papa and smile. He always raises his hand with a certain papal flair and nod of the head. He offers his “God bless you my son” with a clearing of phlegm. You can almost taste his approval or disapproval by the shape of his mouth. While in the courtyard it’s obvious you’re in his domain: The courtyard pope and his perpetual glass of red wine.

I turn my head, then go back inside, turn on the radio, and how ironic to hear: "Revolution" by The Beatles and a man named Lennon. And I think to myself, "Oh, what a wonderful world."

false gods
casting shadows –
hit or miss