Alsatian

We lived in Everett,

my sister and I,

and we got tickets

to see a show

in Seattle.

 

We wrote down directions

and set forth on the journey,

congratulating ourselves

when we found the venue

and a parking space

in the big city.

 

A few years later

I moved to Seattle

and became friends

with the city.

 

I ran into that old venue

on the street one day

and I told it

Now I know

where you live.

I can find you

whenever I want.

 

But I don't want.

Seeing it again

was like when

I found out an Alsatian

is not a magnificent,

fire-breathing, dangerous

creature but just

what they call

German Shepherds

in England.

The Bear

I am driving up the freeway in the spring

past barren areas and woods, small towns and suburbs

and into the heart of the city.

Vines from an overpass threaten to wind themselves

round cars frozen in thick traffic and suddenly I see

a bear cub climbing the vines and I think it looks confused.

But traffic picks up and I tell myself it wasn't real

and I am confused and I shake my head to clear it

and drive out of the city into suburbs that pass into suburbs.

Sounds of Home

Belmont hears the keys, leash, and collar,

quickly sits at attention.

Ready, we go outside.

He sniffs around, marking his territory,

and I hear a familiar chuff chuff,

a sound you don't expect

from a bird

called humming.

A jingling bell gives away Chuck Norris.

The kitten meets us at the fence,

bats at Belmont's nose.

When they grow bored, we head home.

I know it's home now

because I no longer notice

the loud whir

of helicopters

chasing away the bogeymen

late at night.

My Day at the Library

Back before we’d set up our internet, when we first moved to Los Angeles, I would visit the library to use their wireless and job hunt online. So I went there one Tuesday some years ago, and I took over a small, round table in the back room, to sit and work at my laptop, and this is story of what happened that day.

I was in the room where the teen books lived, as well as a row of computers people could sign up to use in one-hour time slots. It was usually pretty quiet. I’d been there a couple hours and I was starting to need a break from writing cover letters and answering stupid questions like, “When at work, are you seen as more a) interesting, or b) motivated,” when I noticed some activity by the computers.

A woman had arrived in the room a few minutes earlier to use one of the computers. She had a small child with her in a stroller that she had pulled up next to her and sort of behind her, near to the next computer over to her right.

The child was whimpering and she turned to it and said, “SHHHHHH!!! You stop that!!” then went back to the computer. The child whimpered some more, and she said, “SHHHHHH!!!” some more. The child whimpered. She turned around and looked at the child and said ,“Do you see my face? I am serious. You better quit that or you are gonna get a spanking.” A whimper. “I'm not joking. Look at my face. Do I look like I'm joking?” She did look kind of scary.

The child stopped whimpering and I stopped noticing what was happening with the woman. But something else caught my attention. A man was standing behind another man who was using the computer next to the woman and her child. Let’s call that standing man Indignant Man, and the man sitting at the computer Unmoving Man.

So Indignant Man says to Unmoving Man, “I booked this computer, could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “If you try to log in, you'll see that you can't because I booked this computer. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I wouldn't say I booked this computer if I hadn't just booked this computer. You're wasting my minutes. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man's friend comes over and joins in the chorus: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I booked this computer. Now would you please move so I can log on. You're wasting my minutes!”

Unmoving Man doesn't move.

Indignant Man then pushes his way past the stroller so he can reach the keyboard and input his information to log on. That's when the woman stands up.

“Excuse me! Get your ass out of my baby's face!” (Indignant Man was showing some major ass-crackage.)

Indignant Man mutters something about wasting his minutes and continues doing what he's doing.

Unmoving Man is starting to move, backing his chair out of the space Indignant Man is now occupying.

The woman says again, “Nobody cares about your stupid minutes! You don't put your ass all up in my baby's face! You say excuse me, you say something to me, you don't just push my baby!”

Unmoving Man is standing now, and Indignant Man is sitting.

The woman says, “I'm serious! You wanna take this outside right now? I'm not from L.A.!” She then says to Unmoving Man, “Would you go and tell a librarian this man is getting his ass all up in my baby's face?” Unmoving Man doesn't move.

The woman sits back down, still muttering about ass in her baby's face, then she gets up and says to Unmoving Man, “Would you watch my computer?” He nods, and she gets up and pushes her baby out of the room.

She comes back with a librarian and says to the librarian, “That's him. He pushed my baby and was rude.”

Indignant Man says, “I was just trying to log into the computer I had booked.”

Unmoving Man and his friend say something about Indignant Man being rude.

The librarian looks around at all of them and sees that they all are on their own computers. She says, “You're all on your own computers now. Just try to stay out of each other's way.”

The woman says, “Okay, thank you.”

The librarian leaves and Indignant Man starts laughing uproariously, like he's just won the battle.

The woman sits back down and says, “If my brother were here, you wouldn't be laughing. He would take care of you.” She mutters something else and continues working on her computer, and I go back to working on job applications.