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.).

Belgian Neighbors

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?

Griselda Blanco
An elderly woman who was known as Colombia's "Queen of Cocaine"
was gunned down in Medell�n, 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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