He practices the manly art of puffing out his chest, insisting that he knows best, refusing to ask for directions even having come to the edge of a very high cliff in a dismal dark wood just because the GPS lady told him to, pretending not to hear the woman in the room (might as well try to pretend there is no elephant in the room either – but I digress). He is manly and distant, irrational and rigid, vain and forgetful, illogical and funny. The woman who isn’t in the room because she’s out back scrubbing down the elephant and polishing its chrome, and even the hub caps, tries to pretend that he knows she’s there. Cooks him delicacies – mashed turnips, rutabagas with kale, large dishes of gluten (which is cheap now that nearly everyone is ‘sensitive’ to it), and some homemade crackers that would break his teeth if he would try them. But he won’t. She rues her lost youth, the nasty surprises that greet her each morning – a new sag here, an unexpected wrinkle there, is her hair thinner today? And lumps and bulges, and someone’s definitely been doing calligraphy with a very fine-point pen on her legs, don’t mention her thighs – she wise enough not to think about them. Parts of her body that used to be big, have become small, drained their essence elsewhere all over her body.
She practices the womanly art of sadistic silence. They are a perfect pair.
A Man and His Hog
Where is he going that man with the dashing white mustache?
How does he keep that cowboy hat on when he’s cruising
down the highway, trade winds blowing. and not even a chin strap?
Never smiles, at least not with the mustache, and you can’t tell
about his eyes behind those mirrored, mean-looking sunglasses.
What does the brown dog think, wearing goggles with special straps,
long, silky ears flying backwards in the jet stream, nose in heaven
rolling through unimaginable scents, rot and roast, feared and caught.
Dog must like the sidecar. He sits up straight behind the windscreen,
knowing that most dogs don’t travel this way.
What is that man reading in that newspaper as he sits on his flashy, full-dress hog,
in the shade of the ironwood trees down by the boat ramp in Kailua?
The dog seems interested in the Horoscopes and doesn’t mind
the pipe smoke from the man’s down-curved briar pipe,
doesn’t mind the Mozart horn quartet played low on the bike’s CD player.
Guess dogs are more accommodating than women,
even pretty girls, even when the man, the leader, is pirate-handsome,
wears motorcycle boots polished to a shine unheard of in Mississippi.
Guess a woman wouldn’t like the smoke, wouldn’t read the paper,
wouldn’t sit happily in the sidecar, but would want to go shopping.
© Alice Folkart
The island of Oahu is home to poet Alice Folkart. Between hula lessons and ukulele festivals she writes and volunteers as an administrator on Perfect Day 4 Poetry and the Internet Writing Workshop. Many of her poems and short stories have been seen in both paper-and-ink and cyber-literary journals over the last ten years. A cat, a musician husband and revision of her first novel fill her spare time.