paying dues

Paying Dues


It’s not how you say it, it’s what you say if you say anything at all. It’s the timbre of the voice, the glint in the eye, which way you veer at the crossroads. It’s the amount of contrition, your robust ambition, your bring-it-on leap from the cliff, how you clear your throat on the way down. Do you pick yourself up at the bottom and climb up again? Do you wait your turn, or elbow/lie/cheat/steal to get to the top again?

Is this a marriage worth saving? Do you collude and cooperate, cave in when the baby cries, borrow against time to buy back some frayed memory? Can you love what they’ve made of you, is your conscience clear?

On a clear day you can see forever, dodging in and out thru the juniper, professing this and suppressing that, a pale kind of enormity.

Enormity, enmity, eunuchs on a spree in Schenectady, looking for pallbearers to carry the load. This is your heritage, your slim bill of rights, your sullied opinion that you wave in our faces like a grotesque absolution. Come on now, be honest — don’t you want the whole enchilada, smothered in hot sauce?

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