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Calluses On a Soul

by V. Blake

she shuffled out of the supermarket
half of her hair in curlers; the other half
taking what looked like a pretty desperate shot
at marketing itself to a creature less repugnant,
or more stable than the humanoid junk drawer
that was now making her way through automatic doors
into a concrete summer rain.

even to the timid strangers,
who were sitting in their cars
waiting for loved ones, or a reprieve
from the ninety-pound humidity
that was still being pelted with piss
from guardian angels that had grown weary
of following people around this re-purposed tropic,
it was becoming increasingly obvious
that she had made this journey at least once before--
and that she would make it many times again.

it wasn't the pocketful of lottery tickets
that slowed her walk to the heap of scrap metal
that, for the purposes of this story,
shall henceforth be referred to as her "car."
it was neither the high heel on her left foot,
nor the less-high-heel on her right.

the more skilled voyeurs among the afternoon crowd
noted the tiniest hint of relief
in the only miserable imitation of a strut
that her destroyed,
perhaps once-seductive frame would allow.
it lasted precisely until her gray-green car door
gave way to a fifteenth tug,
and loosed the wails of three infant banshees
that had gotten trapped there in blissful moments
that must have seemed like part of a distant past.

even through the torrents of liquid and regret
that were streaking her windows and the air about her,
you could taste the blank stare that each child received in turn.
you could hear her words get trampled under breath.
and you could feel her turn those sunken eyes slowly away,
having lost interest in the undisturbed hallucination
of three ashtrays filled with yesterday's dreams.

with the deepest breath her necrotic lungs could manage,
she pulled a cigarette from her shirt pocket,
lit it with shaky fingers,
and moved to turn over the ignition,

though it would take eight more tries
before the damn thing was gonna work.


Posted on 07/20/2010
Copyright © 2021 V. Blake

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 07/20/10 at 01:50 AM

You've gotten sooooooo good at this style. I adore it!

Posted by Anita Mac on 07/20/10 at 02:30 AM

I could smell the wet asphalt. This is absolutely depressing in a brilliant sort of way.

Posted by George Hoerner on 07/20/10 at 12:15 PM

Really good write Vince. I certainly got the picture.

Posted by Laurie Blum on 07/20/10 at 05:51 PM

Depressingly good. Quite a picture here and entertaining to read.

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 07/20/10 at 06:33 PM

Just stunning. It's wonderfully easy to get lost in a piece like this.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 07/20/10 at 11:50 PM

Your delivery is no less than masterful, no less than what I know I'll find when I come visiting you, Vince. And in here, you lend to me the eyes as if I am standing right at the scene, seeing what you describe, feeling every thrum -to where I can taste the cigarette and exhale the heaviness, peering into the depths of despairing souls. Tres bien!

Posted by Morgan D Hafele on 07/27/10 at 01:57 AM

this is such an amazing capture, and entirely depressing. thanks for sharing.

Posted by Max Bouillet on 07/28/10 at 02:06 AM

What a detailed character sketch. Thos person will be immortalized in your words better than any picture could ever convey. This is a tragic case of potential lost. Great read.

Posted by Laura Doom on 08/29/10 at 11:24 AM

Hyperpoetics taking the retail experience to an all time low -- no surprise then that I'm sold on this piece of character deconstruction, much as the queue of consumers above :>

Posted by Veronica Phoenics on 12/09/13 at 03:07 PM

your writing is s a treat.

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