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Contents Page: July 1, 2011, vol 7 no 2

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Eduardo del Valle

 

First Morning

bellying green
tarp cracking on
grey thin bars

Another glance at my behind-the-times, olive-green, vinyl strap analog wristwatch. Someone else passes by, the third so far, this one nodding a bit more briskly — I see him, obliquely, my eyes pretending on the round space, the white numberless dial. His eyeshot sways on the damp-dappled slab, going on about something nobody but apparently I, albeit obliquely, notices, his hands fluttering, digging into, turning, flinging chunks of lactic air to the air.

(Coming down from up the stairs I hear a somewhat familiar ey-emnewyork ey-emnewyork—

tabloid aproned—
paperwoman's breath melting
in springlight

Wondering if it's hers, the voice, the one who'd been peddling news in the morning of my first interview, two, three weeks now — never before has someone like her been seen at this sort of toil, actor out of an unexpected character: her skin boiled-shrimp pink, lips limned in a redder crustacean shade [Hear! Hear! This one's to you, DFW, as I consider the lobster], hair (once most likely flaxen) now bleaching away inside a khaki fishing hat, Malcolm X-type browline glasses, long plaid skirt, round orthopedic shoes)

steel trumpets
blooming on concrete—
quilted walls

It's early yet — inferring to myself — squinting, taking a peek through a slit on the tarp — spongy, sort of soggy (from last night's downpour, still?) — holding it down, apart, making a lanceted opening into the steely confusion of structural members and machines and oversized toolboxes at the bottom of the pit; one set of victory fingers hooked on a taut 10-gauge wire and galvanized flatbars, demarcating barrier between planes, this transient mezzanine here, in-between elevation hovering over that cluttered hollowness, drifting below the up-there — hear them coming up the steps now — hoping he's on this trainload — & soon the symbiotic sounds of their nasal sighs, soles-on-wet-grit touching off from under their feet, filling the musty cooler like space as they ascend, closemouthed, from the heights of the glittering schist — unearthed bedrock, long since claimed from the shallow end of the Hudson by civilian forebears of the legendary Seabees — and amble to, through the rolled grille gates, on to the walks of their those-other lives they rise, a collective of clashing countenances swelling, spilling onto the pavement,

rock salt crystals
in threshold crack—
last storm's remains

No, he doesn't ride in on this surge either, so with them I decide to go, give up the wait — it's not as if el cabrón hasn't stood me up before, 'I waited for fifteen minutes,' I'll fake frustration and tell him this time, 'couldn't be late on the first day—' this ought to make enough sense — and past her I walk [it's she, the same one], ey-emnewyork ey-emnewyork; aft of the wave, crossing the street by the rear of Saint Paul's churchyard, past the bronze businessman doing his Double Check on the bench, crossways through Zuccotti Park, under the steely red legs of Joie de Vivre, through the bronzed doors, checking in at the security desk, up the cabled elevator cab, directing myself to what's obviously been designated my cubicle, the simple fact of its barrenness inviting me to its diced domain:

morning
fluorescent haze
lorn on grey carpet

 

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