Two huge cops. They were waltzing in the street chest to chest.
Hands clasped. Their care for each other showed white in their
tremendous knuckles. The drunk tipped the bottle of wine through the
sun into his mouth. Bright red with the sun in the green glass. With
his red mouth the drunk said something to his friend. His red tongue
lied limp and naughty on the bed of his lip. They both laughed richly
and seemed a part of everything more or less. Not isolated from it.
A dog trotted by with human feet. It was profane. The sound of
slapping it made. In the bushes also profane was a cat who sat upright
against a tree like a man, his arms framing his round belly, his hind
legs crossed in the dirt before him. She and I were watching. We may
have been the only ones who saw them. A crow on a branch slept. A
crow! Sleeping! It was so sunny, so hot. Babies were smiling at
Robbie crossed the street far away. His head doesn't seem huge until
you are far away from it. He sings about a girl named Lacy.
Everybody knows who Lacy really is. Many girls in the audience wish
they had somebody singing about her and calling her Lacy; many wished
it were Robbie himself singing. Those are not my words. They are the
words of a girl who is the friend of the real Lacy. I went to see him
play and searched the faces of girls for some indication of the
thoughts behind them. The day was bright and Robbie's copper head
looked very new and shiny. He was alone and out of sight and going
about his life, and it was definitely him, and neither of us called
out to him or said anything because there was nothing to say out in
the sun where nothing separated us from everybody and we didn't feel
the panic of something that we once took as solid pouring out, just
bleeding out, while we quite deliberately did nothing to stop it.
Nearer, right near us, an older Indian man crouched near the curb. By
the abundance of pigeon droppings it was evident he was reading the
pigeon droppings. It was not even in doubt. Another Indian man
approached him and said something angrily in another language.
Something like, "must you do this in the middle of the day?" A day. A
night. This is not a distinction only noted by people. Ask the cat
sitting like a man. But a beautiful day is such a speciﬁc possession,
each to each person its own precious sorrow. It takes no critical
thought to move from a general statement to speciﬁc incident. This is
the ﬁrst lesson of how to speak to people intelligently. The second
is only tell the very best dreams. Three to four a year even if your
dreams obsess you. Or else people will think of you badly, even
eventually your lover. This was not a dream. I told that to her
expecting her to say something like, "how do you know?" because she
has always to state a rebuttal to what I say. She only sat on the
chair in the sunny kitchen drinking a tall glass of water so slowly
she was also breathing in and out of it. She was far off, farther
than Robbie was when we saw him down the street. Her ﬁngers pushed
grains of salt on the tablecloth and the sounds of her breathing and
her throat swallowing were huge in the kitchen. Someone hammered
metal bars or maybe it was sheet metal down the street.
There was a dog with human feet and two cops waltzing. People sitting
at tables on the sidewalk were laughing. Who can blame them? Huge
cops waltzing is the kind of thing that makes some people feel it
isn't foolish to keep looking, that it is even-money everything is not
already determined. Others shared the joy similar to when somebody
shows you a shirt that terriﬁes you on the hanger but when you put it
on you feel beautiful and that opportunities for enhancing your
pleasure lie in thousands of ordinary places. Going from speciﬁcs to
law, that is the hard thing. Going from a beautiful day, a sunny
beautiful day, to anything else -- don't be retarded. Before she was
even ﬁnished drinking her water there was the sound of fabric tearing
and something dripping on the ﬂoor. Every object in the house glowed
without shame. We slept through the rest of the sun. She stayed in the
kitchen. I was in a deck chair in the mudroom with its window on the
He took the oven tray and put it on the cold burners. He took the
knife and put it on top of the shivering refrigerator. He ate from
the yellow and red striped tomato as if it were a plum and felt a
sensation of dry, wet greenness. There was the sound of the small
shock of the cat jumping off the sofa in the next room. There was the
rattling of the knife blade on the refrigerator top. He took the tray
and put it on the table. On the tray were thirty burnt pumpkin seeds.
He scattered the seeds with his ﬁngers so that none were touching and
waited for them to walk like beetles. The pumpkin seeds were now each
a separate thing when they had only recently been one much larger
thing. He waited for them to stop.
The marionette was tangled up and therefore had become responsible for
its own actions. Each limb did something unrelated to his intentions. He said to now move your arms up and the marionette vomited a small
globule of cream or fat. The cat had never liked puppets or things
that looked like animals but behaved like things and bolted from the
sofa-back to the space below the bureau. He knew even if his brother
were not busy in the kitchen he would not have to conceal his actions
from him. He brought the marionette to the cat and crouched to her.
The cat hissed. The marionette had never liked animals that behaved
like people and felt its nausea surging, something liquid.
The brothers were hiding. They knew only that they were hiding from
something and not that what chased them was a gigantic dog. They knew
they would be found and so had each brought something to bafﬂe their
pursuer. One brother held a knife. The other brother held the cat.
The space beneath the bush where they thought to hide themselves was
in fact the entire universe of some dream of the both of them in the
act of sleeping. Their bodies were prone as a couple of heavy coats
somewhere. Who knows what their bodies were up to? Three days of
moving between the limited scope of tasks available to two brothers
locked in a mostly empty house had been the very nightmare that had
woken a gigantic angry dog.
The two brothers had loved each other so intensely that all other
creatures had abandoned them except for the cat. This is the thing
about cats. They feel no jealousy and are not grudging. They ask
only to shit in the clean ground and eat the one thing they like best.
To the brothers' cat death was insigniﬁcant compared to the potential
of being kept awake. In dreams she saw mysterious ﬁelds where she was
larger and ﬁercer than any other predator and all animals feared her
so much there were endless rivers of them pouring away from her in all
directions. When she was hungry she jumped into one of these rivers
and ran on backs that tore beneath her claws. When she stopped there
was a line of twitching carcasses behind her in two parallel rows.
The two brothers marveled that she could sleep in the middle of such a
dream. They touched her head and watched her paws tense and untense.