On an empty highway splicing desert plains a Shamrock Farms semi-truck, loaded with milk varying in percent and fruit flavor, overturns, where the rear steel compartment, gleaming with strips of twilight, cranes over the front end, an extended creak of metal, hitting the asphalt, bouncing, crushing, yawning in piston pumped beats which lead to an explosion complete with flames, catastrophe, bursting from the sides of the compartment, leaking smoke into the bluing morning, and resulting in another flip where the front end returns to order, spinning wheels in the air, only to land, smash, crushing the steel grill, the crack of the windshield, compartmentalizing the frame in a compact plastic and leopard seat covered box, of which the rear compartment, door swinging open, points straight upward, supported by the condensed front end, where smoke rises from the engine—where’s the screaming?—and then bang, boom, another explosion, more flames, which parade across the carpet of gasoline left behind from the initial flip, charging down the empty highway, the flames, toward an approaching school-bus, a short-bus, filled with caroling catholic school girls led by their headmistress, a nun with double-d breasts conspicuous in her starchy gown, and the students sit in their warm leather seats, watching the nun who stands facing them gesticulating to signal tone adjustments for the oboe-less rendition of Hot Cross Buns until the bus driver, a deaf woman without her driver’s license, spots the flames and, in an attempt to swerve, ends up barrel rolling the bus and thus—cut to jazz, lights low, chitter chatter, chitter patter, a saxophone and drums and guitar, shining brass in the blue stage light, compete over the sliding of chairs, opening door, coughs, cell phone ring tones, but the floating instruments are all ba dipa du da wa, peechu a kunawa, siplipity wick spout top ya bingashingah do dah dada do yoh, applause—and meanwhile at the maplewood dinner table Jack Jameson, a criminal defense lawyer, sits in his black and white checkered pajamas, sipping his coffee from the World’s Best Dog Mug, the smell of hand ground Colombian beans still on his thumb, staring through the glass patio doors at the rhododendrons before the plot of Kentucky blue grass, yellow in the morning—skip over to the white baby-grand piano, alone in a narrow hallway, shadowed, water stains on the walls, and the recurring eighty-eight key low A, dunnn, duunnn, duuuuuun, dun, duuuuuun, duuun, dunuuuuuun, dun dun dun dahhh, dun, silence—and concomitantly a group of men wearing suits and women wearing high heels and low cut dresses sit, some on the crème carpet and others on the white furniture, around a glass table, ovular, upheld by ribbed white legs not unlike the women present, and one man, the one who happens to sport a gold hooped earring, reaches in his blazer pocket and retrieves a bag of dusty white rocks which he throws on the table along with four black spotted one hitters, which less polite members of the group immediately seize, pushing rocks in the instruments and lighting up, cracked out and smacked up, grabbing each other on the shoulders, rubbing noses together, jumping on the couch with heels puncturing the cushions, banging a wingback chair against the glass door which shows the lit billboards outside while another does pull-ups from the chandelier, and then the hooped earring man, pipe in mouth, looks at the woman putting lip-stick on her arched eyebrows and tells her that he hates his life, which is when—the Macbook, secure on the podium, attached to speakers over five feet high, exudes acute bass through the red lights angled down above the stage, shouting beats: poom, poom, poom, poom, popade, po-pa-de, po-pa-de, popade, popoade, poom, poom, poom, po-pa-de, po-pa-de, po-pa-de, poom, poom, popade—and in bed, the sweat bitter sheets crumpled near their bare feet, he stares at the ceiling fan, spinning, and she holds her head against his chest, dragging a long nail above his belly button while he palms the small of her bent back, and he smells her tea breath, and she feels the oil exchanging between their flesh, her cheek and his breast, and then he swipes her long hair, thin and fried from myriad dyes, planting strands behind her poly-pierced ear, repeating, the moonlight from the window in a box around them, feeling her head rise with his breaths, scratching under her left breast, and she says “I just can’t tell what’s real anymore, like what’s not possible because it’s just, we’re always trying to show that nothing’s impossible and so doesn’t that mean anything could be real, like I guess,” and he interrupts with “I could never tell the difference anyways, the real, the not,” and she continues with “in that movie I took Justin to everyone was jumping from all these buildings shooting each other, yeah and I’m just like it seems real, so then is it real but,” and he interrupts “there’s no point worrying anyways we’re all, I don’t know, under this illusion, but so I think none of it, is real,” and she comes back with “what about this?” and he rolls over, facing her, blinking with her blinks, pulling his knuckles across her prickly thigh—the drums taking over, tish tish tish tish tish tish tish and then the saxophone, waning up and down, burnuranurr banaranur banahanara buurah, tish, tish, tish tish tish tish burnarabanauranaburahaaaburaburabana—and on the subway Sally Sue sits between a taxidermist and a marijuana dealer, and, with her headphones in, listening to “Wrecking Ball,” she occasionally glances up at the elastic waistbands and hairy armpits of others, between which she occasionally spots the whooshing wall, fractured by the graffiti marked windows, but she, legs folded in her denim skirt, shaking her right thong sandal, taps her pencil against the selected page of her crossword puzzle book, searching for an eleven letter word which ends with y and starts with p, and she bites her lower lip, clicks her tongue, peering over the boxes marked with eraser and scribbles, picking up the oniony and dried tobacco scents which plague the mobile cubicle, and she drags the eraser above her lip, under her nose, the course friction against damp skin, considering per, permiscousity, portentously, pretentiously, pausing for a beat to doodle next to the boxes, drawing a full on cube, three-dimensional, and then the car stops, shaking, letting some squeeze off and others barrel on, taking hold of rails, clicking cell-phone screens, checking watches, and then she taps the pencil over each box, a line directly in the artifice’s center, though she refrains from considering the puzzle directly, instead dreading her stop, which she likely passed many ago, for her father’s funeral, and then she considers her job at a coffee shop where she shouts names and hands steaming beverages over the counter and then, tapping the pen harder against the page, she considers her fiancé, who, from reading his text messages, spends his Wednesday nights in a studio apartment off 96th and Broadway with someone named Cassandra—and she’s thinking like my life is so cliché—and while she mimes the text she read—Give it 2 me like so fkn dirty—she finds the word, boom, pow, and, standing up, banging into the rodeo clown holding the rail next to her, she shouts it aloud, throwing the book on the floor, yelling “Perfunctory,” and then again “Perfunctory, perfunctory,” and several people are all like the fuck’s going on with this one when—a man, reclined in his Laz-E-Boy, socked feet up, microwaved popcorn on lap, cries, bouncing his chest, spilling popcorn in the leather cracks of the seat, staring at a television, a seventy five incher, which is currently off, showing only his reflection, oblong and shrunken—and he continues to rub his knuckles against her prickly thigh, closing his eyes, though she watches him, and he asks her “Well what do you think,” pushing his nose against her soft inner forearm, breathing, and he asks “What do you think if it’s not real,” and she, kissing his forehead, her nose in the acme of his dense widow’s peak, the smell of bleach, and she says “I think you’re deferring,” and he laughs, biting the inside of her forearm, and she says “but it doesn’t matter, it can’t affect this, I mean not being real,” and he says “Nothing can,” and she kisses him, and he kisses her, and reality disagrees.

Photo By: Wouter Kiel