Driver’s Side Airbag #43
march st. press

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Visions Fill the Eyes of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Show Room: A symphonic poem poem in three movements

1 - Visions fill the eyes

So close to the desired end, earthly paradise is summarily withdrawn, replaced by fevered heat dreams that rise from superhighway lanes, borne on gasoline vapor locks instead of air, assuming the no longer nebulous form of a white stretch limo parked in a blacktopped lot outside the showing room, the arena, the black paneled windows smeared with oil-rich smoke and volcanic dust, acid rains etch furrows in, spreading space like burst veins on a hot, slick surface, moist dots of a clotted rain simmer and boil on, exploding, tiny worlds contained therein, formerly entombed by glass, released now, lost galaxies of hidden stars, marbleized, frozen in sidereal motion.

2 - Of a defeated basketball team

Denied the basket and the ball, wordlessly they congregate at center court, hours after the outcome, the arena emptied, shut in, lights blackened, each man mimes his movements in the game they are forced to play, scattered across the hardwood, twelve separate paths to the goal silently blocked; in total darkness, they describe arcs to the hoop, no longer one by one, they are blank, mirthless shadows within shadows, silhouettes cut from darkness, pasted on a field of black, rising to the occasion, spurred on by the wordless cheers of the dissipated crowd, a white noise that rises and clings to the unseen rafters overhead like smoke, a second skin or is it a flock of black birds descending in tight circles, drawn downward by a primal need for revenge?

3 - In the show room

In the junkyard of Petaluma or wherever the detritus of civilization collects, wherever the dead, exploded television sets collect, their screens empty, glass fissured and scorched by internal combustion parts, components in ruin, disconnected wireless radio messages contained no longer inside cracked stereophonic speakers released like the hot-wired audio machines welded to the generator that exploded expelling Compact Discs, VCR tapes and cassettes, vinyl records that melt like blackened eyes over the metal husks of rusted, ruined cars, on the tanks of discarded toilets, in which all the filthy rain that falls, collects, spreading tiny rainbows of oil and gasoline on the porcelain skies, rain drops fill to different levels; a trained ear can make out the discordant notes each drop makes, together, collectively, these notes become a kind of symphony.

Alan Catlin


Eric came up to me at work
and asked me if I'd ever been
thrown out of a party.

Not for years, I told him.

It happened to me, he said,
the other night.

What did you do?

I ate macaroni salad out of the fridge,
he said.

That's not much of an
infraction, I said, thinking
about the time I took
a dump in that guy's sink.

How'd they kick you out? I asked.

How'd she kick me out,
he corrected. With a broom, he said,
his eyes widening as if it was
frightening just to recall.
He mimed a crazy person
stabbing another with an
invisible broom. She chased me,
he said, all the way to my car.
I had to throw the tupperware
container in the bushes.

What kind of people are you
hanging around with? I asked.

I thought they were my friends
but I guess they're just

No shortage of those, I said.

By the way, how was the salad?

Terrible, he said,
bunch of health nuts.

Mather Schneider

"Visions Fill the Eyes..." originally appeared in Stop Making Sense.   $6 from March Street Press, 3413 Wilshire Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408.   Also Dirigible magazine.

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