Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate and composition instructor at the University of
Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers where he serves as an associate
editor at Mississippi Review. His work appears in Booth, Cleaver, Hawai'i Review,
Permafrost, Switchback, and Waxwing, among others. He received his MFA from
the University of Arizona (U.S.A.).
European price tags on their sleeves,
he gave me his records after dinner,
pounds and francs for Walton and Ravel
the spring Richard turned seventy-six.
Lured to America by electronics,
he built the droid phylum that surrounded
William Sanderson and Darryl Hannah
in Blade Runner—the wiring a rift engulfs.
My mother thought Richard was a spy.
She parsed his background over conversational
tufts, mention of the Belgian intelligence,
laundry hung with a numbered arm.
Knowing I was a musician, he figured
I'd appreciate overseas vinyl: Brahms
and Romanians, Britons and Bach. This
was before I made a living as a violist
in the Canton Symphony, minutes from
the National Football Hall of Fame,
Camrys departing the gas station
where I broke a fainting concert-
master’s fall the March we played
Saint-Saëns. Richard's voice, the turquoise
of an appraiser's nails tallying records
in a resale shop, the Hattiesburg market
for Pachelbel on par with the demand
for flâneurs, though the cash was enough
to reupholster a chair used during game night,
friends' words shuffled into a hummus-facing deck.
Years later, my mother searches the obituaries
for Richard, convinced his Belgium will trickle
to light, as if funeral columns could divulge
the deep cover of a robot curator. She says
the neighbors are his son's family, misdelivered
mail from an engineering school her proof.
Hours as the block spy hunter filled
with large print, something disconsolate
about the story she tries to recollect.
Shut-in's hygiene (& mine)
Passion like mouthwash
trademarked the drain.
Scope spatter no ardor, but
can you blame the hangnail
on a toothbrush? Its owner
marooned on guile, what
makes a breath strip blush.
No sense in navigating
the hallway unkempt,
ergo a little aloe vera
and are you very alone?
An elderly woman who was known as Colombia's "Queen of Cocaine"
was gunned down in Medellín, police said Tuesday - CNN.COM, 9/4/12
There's satisfaction in freeloading the chalk, being the first to write
'cocaine queenpin' on the board, my students in all the Livestrong
bracelets you can shake an Exorcist soundtrack at; lunch, the E! True
Hollywood Story of chicken soup. Apologies for the ceiling fan and
saltines, Linda Blair, your age closest to three cousins I'll never know
outside an anniversary photo. The twelve of us clustered around our
grandparents—the matriarch and the candy store owner—when I ask,
whose vinyl starter kit marriage is it anyway? Afterward, an ear infection
sends me to the Saratoga ER. My parents miss the champagneotomy,
my father barbering up the beauty ladder. The story of a tarantula
loosed in his salon, one for infamy's spinneret. Addendum to animalia,
my tenth grade biology teacher, the terrarium knave, who came to my
quartet concert of Haydn and Borodin, the ginger-clef cellist a member
of my confirmation class where I chose the name Paul after Hindemith
the composer, my hotel check-in alias, Neel Jaye Realm. Anagrams over
anatomy, gila monster doctrined into the safe. Blood cold, the board game
of non sequiturs before a komodo dragon toe-gnaws the ex-husband of Sharon
Stone. Stone, with me in the Police Academy IV letterbox sense; stone when
I toe the subculture of clubfeet. Leg brace worn until I was three—Big Wheels
and bedrails—you never see a cemetery next to a DMV. Tonight, the reefer
olfactory of a couple seated near the café's focaccia display, a poet shoehorned
into dichotomy. I annotate Griselda Blanco’s bibliography the Friday I spend
one Harry Connick Jr. talk show in a Goodyear watching the jazz gabber condone
a cake of his likeness. No one-note degradathon, though a riff is forthcoming:
Griselda, five years deceased. Not as bookable, not as regenerative as someone
a little more Medellín-proof, my clubfoot, degrees from Achilles' staid. My lizard,
my Linda Blair fixity. There's no culture a tapestry won't enshrine. No authentic
a tapas hog won't squander before I get to hair stories about my father. Back then,
beauticians could be Warren Beatties, Griselda deputizing a corner out of herself.
The queenery it conflates. Enlightenment, what's derived with the right IV.
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