Coffee Sounds

by Jeff Glovsky

Underground… feeling heat in the furious subway.  Flipping through a candy rack and trying not to deal.  I buy a pack of gum and turn to see what kind of juice there is.

I hear come up behind me, as I stare into the cooler now, a pack (or two or three, at least) of pissed off, sudden voices.  Angry voices…

Daunting voices.  Haunting, loudly overlapping voices…Countershouts in Arabic:  strong desert protestations.  “Fuck!” cuts through, then “nigger”… then the whumph of impacted, cracking flesh.  A muffled ‘pop’ next, silence, running… metal pounding to the floor.

… Go over.  Blood pools, train comes, goes… A thermos cup of coffee cools beside a stack of crackers.

 

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Once

by Jeff Glovsky

You storm down the street, you’ve got your cellphone on.  Just pasted there, upon your face!  On hold, apparently, not talking…

Listening?  Or just a cover?  Masking emptiness, aloneness…Screaming rudeness, anyway!  Your fear drips…vulnerability…

Frustration:  Lack of interest.  Human contact, touch, communication…

I follow you regardless.

Just to listen what you have to say (what depths of conversation!).  Make an effort.  Try and look, to smile…maybe even say ‘hello’ (make eye contact, imagine!).

You were nice once.  Friendly.  It was “courtesy”, remember?

Once…when “boys” were an anathema, and men did not disturb you…

 

Authorities

by Jeff Glovsky

“Oh, so you like that TV?” he asks…squeezing so his bad chicken breath’s tight behind her.

She whirls to face the foul offender.  Sees he’s a cop, or a guard of some sort.  “Hi,” she feels compelled to say; then leave her window shopping…

Forced to scurry away down Broadway.

At another intersection, yet another interruption:  stops and plants himself mid-sidewalk, turns and mumbles to the pair of single legs strolling behind him.  Asks her, “What you said?”

…Apparently, he ‘doesn’t hear her’.  Doesn’t hear the silence…

“Oh, I thought…”, as she bumps into him.

You thought?  C’mon man!  Costumed bozo!  What she said, be “You at work now.  You can’t talk, or hit on me!  I might pass by this way a little later, at the end of your eight or ten hour ‘beat’, who knows…

“But lose that uniform!”

Power Kicks

by Jeff Glovsky

The homeless guy’s asleep on the subway platform.  He doesn’t beg.  He doesn’t speak to anyone:  just lying there, a giant duffel bag of cans beside him, he obstructs, perhaps, the sense-pleasing aesthetic of the subway platform…otherwise, harms no one.

A cop loving his job comes over.  Gun drawn, kicks the homeless gent (though gently), yells at him to beat it.

Grinning, the homeless guy agrees.  “I was just going to,” he slurs, wanting no trouble.  “I was just going to.”

He gets up, shambling to his feet…gets kicked again for good measure, picks up his clanking cans and moves on.  “I was just going to,” the cop repeats after him.

“I was just going to,” he sneers…

Fainting

by Jeff Glovsky

The old blonde Russian twists her ankle.

Sits down on the pavement, pulls and strokes it, purring angrily.  Her husband, or maybe the limo driver, tries to make it better; “Let me help you up,” says he.

“No!  I can do it!  Oh … ”

“Magda!”

“I’m fainting!  Leave me be,” says she.

The man extends an arm and hand, and tries to lean while lunging.  Thusly gallant, he stands posed that way:  one foot up, knee bent, on the curb …

She doesn’t take his arm and hand.

As dead as chivalry itself, she stares, and screams again, “I’m fainting!”

Needing Attention

by Jeff Glovsky

She stumbles down the street, she’s drunk a little … Got her night clothes on.  Dressed tightly, nightly … Mumbling to herself, and looks pissed off a little.

… At least, I rejoice, she’s not selfishly bugging her friends on some terrible cell phone.  I threw mine away!  “Smart” rings and tones … invasive temptation to need, and cling …

I sing!

Now she seems to be stumbling alone

Without warning, she shoulders around to face me.  “Are you following me?” she fairly howls.

Scared, I actually start a little … Catch my wits, and sidle up to her.  “Am I following you?  No, why?” I ask.

“Stop staring at my ass!” she grins, half mumbles to herself …