text mode CrossConnect previous next

Issue Contents
E-mail Us
   p l a t o n i c    s p e l u n k i n g    i n    a    b e r k e l e y    p i z z e r i a

--- T O N Y   B A R N S T O N E

I plug my mind into the games lined against
one wall of La Val's (cheap eats, basement level)
and quarter by quarter jiggle joysticks,
seeking the climax that comes when the pattern
comes clear, yet knowing beyond the pattern is
another pattern, levels upon levels. And so I lose
quarters, faith, patience, and when the pixilated
bombers and submarines clear from my vision,
sprint up steps and through glass doors, emerge
into the pastel light of California, Plato from his cave,
and find myself on Durant Avenue, planning
stratagems to evade traffic and mail a letter
across the way at the swarmed post office.

All about is a gabble on the far side of sense or that I censor out (digital phones conjugating with satellites, 700 channels shunted through cables in the underneath, mouths and tongues playing the wind instrument of the throat, yammering signs, streetlight grammar, handbills posted so thick the telephone poles have inch-fat paper vests), but when I look down at my feet I see spray-painted on the concrete a message that slips through the mind's filtration system, a graffito reading, "Who really needs a red wheelbarrow?"

And as my mind wheels that question back and forth a few times, trying to decide if it's empty or a load, an open Jeep loaded with whooping frat boys in baseball caps and wife-beaters yowls up the street, and one, seeing he has collared my attention, pumps his fist like Che Guevara (power, after all, to the people) and in perfect Californese shout to me and no one else in the world, Carpe diem, Dude!

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2006 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |