Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I Think About on My Way In

Here’s what I think about on the train, with Jackie, on my way in to drop her off and go to work.

I ate some chocolate last night, half a little chocolate rooster, or rabbit, or something—must have been a rabbit left over from Easter—some ridiculous shape they mold chocolate into, anyway, that makes you feel greedy and ashamed for having wedged it somehow into your jaw so you could snap it in two, little shards collapsing into its hollow core—it’s always disappointing that it’s hollow, and the disappointment deepens the shame—or falling to the kitchen floor where you’ll have to pick them up with a paper towel before they melt. It tasted good. It was milk chocolate, of course. I prefer dark chocolate. It makes you feel less silly, less of a child, with its hit of bitterness. Dark chocolate is serious. Wasn’t it as good as gold in Europe during World War II? All the books you read, the movies you see, people trade it on black markets, they bribe border officials with it, they break bars in half and share it with their lovers, they hand it to doomed urchins, their little arms straining from the windows of trains, in beautiful gestures of mercy. What did this chocolate look like? Had to be dark. Was it Swiss? Were the fucking Swiss pounding out chocolate and cuckoo clocks like they always did, oblivious to what took place around them, even as they turned away the Jews? I envision good, dark, sober chocolate, a little grainy maybe—the best cacao is hard to come by in the war—but so much better than the crusts of bread and boiled potatoes people lived on that it had to seem radiant, magical even, when you unwrapped it from its gray wax paper and beheld its smooth, ebony form. Some people in the War had all the chocolate they wanted. Imagine that. Nazis. Nazi officers could probably have chocolate all the time. And wine. Red wine, white wine. Champagne. They just marched into those wineries and chocolate factories and told those fucking peasants, you’re Nazis now. Keep making this shit. We’ll drink it. We’ll eat it. We’ll dispense a tiny fraction into the world and watch everybody else scurry around like rats to catch it. Carry on just like you did before. You’re leader is French, don’t worry. His name is P├ętain. What a good, French name. Your government is safe and sound in Vichy. That’s a good, French town. You can go there to cure all that ails you. Don’t worry about a thing.

TROOPS

“Oh my God,” Mae thought. “It’s heaven.”

TROOPS

Even such a figure seemed so low,

Monday, February 24, 2014

I felt queasy. Disgusted at myself for having drunk that terrible wine after the gin and tonic on the plane. Two gin and tonics would have been so much better. But I had the wine, the merlot, as recommended by the stewardess. Save 15% on a pairing with a snack.

So I tried to rest my aching head as our driver took us from the airport across the island. There was a detour around a chasm in the road that opened in the rains last Christmas Eve. The driver told us a car had come upon it, with two older men and an eleven-year-old boy. They drove straight into the ravine and only the kid survived. Everywhere else holiday shoppers were stranded in stores, left to sleep on top of tables and shelves as the flood came in. Tour-is-m! our driver said. That’s what the island needs. That’s how the island survives.

We wound through the rainforest with its steep hills and giant ferns. Observed the local life: kids playing, a beggar and his dog, people walking home from shopping with their burdens on their heads.

We drove into Castries, where the cruise ships all come in. A rain came and went in about five minutes. Finally we got to our villa by the sea. I took two painkillers and drank a beer, and began to feel better.
Jackie sang a song while she strummed my guitar today, me fingering the chords. It sounded like a made-up song, something about rainbows, but it might have been something she picked up from the shows she watches. Still, she played the guitar and sang.

Monday, February 10, 2014

TROOPS

often pushed in the pages of comic books.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

My window at work rattles for no reason. Even when the sky is clear and the world is still.


On the ride in with Jackie in the morning, I imagine I’ll have to defend us against someone rude or oblivious, someone who won’t accord me the vague deference to which the stroller-pushers and snack-feeders of the world are due. But everyone is very nice.

TROOPS

heard, with his stern command,

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

TROOPS

The spring after Bobby died,

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

TROOPS

There's some good equipment here.