Green, sweet melon. Take a bite and you are greeted by juice running down your chin, down your neck, and into your shirt or lap. I fill up my plate greedily. Knowing if were to eat this whole melon it wouldn't be the end of me, but an affirmation to summer fruit and living off the land I have never seen where this melon grows. But someone picked it for me. They removed it off the vine and now it's come into my home and onto my plate and it is heaven. And thank you, farmers and pickers alike. To the truck drivers and supermarket workers. This was a good one. This was a success. Knock back the juice that pools at the bottom like a shot. Nature's good ol' sugar rush to keep our eyes open and the grass growing. Honeydew cucumber face mask mojito. Night time lotion where when I go the mall I just want to root my feet and grow up, up, up, and up like I am an extension. Like I am part of it: Guardian of the Food Court; That intersection in Willowbrook where The Body Shop overlooks Starbucks, the landmark where the Court begins. The only reason why we stand guard, the only reason why there is order is because there are choices, options. We are all hungry, but able to choose our meal and sit, on a hard plastic, fake marble bench and plot our next Christmas shopping move. It's never been fun for me. No one's taught me how to do it. We throw out the rinds and the seeds and take a towel to the mess made on the table. Bald-headed man Muppet. Mr. Honeydew. Mr. Melonhead? Melon is so great because of its hydrating properties. I was thinking the other day of proscuitto and melon and my high school graduation party. It makes me feel lonely and unsure of many life choices. It makes me recall how different things were then and how different I am now. Of course, that melon was cantaloupe. And every time I have proscuitto and melon (which I not often at all), I think to myself this isn't going to work. How can these flavors work together? This is so strange. Who would have ever thought of this? But I take a bite, and it works, and the saltiness of the proscuitto mixed with the juicy sweet creamy texture/consistency of the melon just - work. I take another bite, and then another. And before I know it, I have to stop myself before I get carried away, wanting to experience the flavors again and again. Avant-garde project. Baseball with fruit. But who cleans up the mess? Do we play in the compost heap? What sort of hippie project is this? It is the dew of honey, which actually is a pretty apt description of the taste: Sweet like honey, light like dew.
Installing a latch on a door frame. Power tools, check. Thick nails force their way into metal and wood. This is a matter of utmost security, this door latch. So that when the intruder comes, this chain will stop him. Unless he has bolt cutters. Then it’s time for plan B. The latch is an oddly shiny golden color. Over time the paint will fade and brown, get worn. It better hold from those bolt cutters.
Latch-key kids, to whom I was never a part. But they seem like a pretty cool gang. House keys that lie under the Welcome mat, in the mailbox, under a potted plant, in the dirt. So many creative ways of breaking and entering, or yes of course, leaving an extra key in case one was forgotten or you locked yourself out.
I don’t have much else to say about metallic latches, or even those that exist with some pulled drawstring that opens something. The word and object seem so incredibly mundane I cannot give it life. It is stone cold dead to me. It is inane. I think of hotel rooms and my grandma’s and great-grandma’s apartments in the subsidized housing unit they lived in. Latches at the door. Economical alarm system if you’re awake enough to hear the rumble.
There is a latch on the back of a necklace. Or is that a clasp? So small, tiny, and made for dainty fingers. It is a lesson in patience. And sometimes there are just bracelets that are impossible to put on by yourself. There should be signs that say “do not buy if you are living alone”. The glint and glitter of silver and gold sparkle. Some middle-aged woman’s pirate chest. That will sink to the bottom of her inheritance, that she won’t be able to take with her when she dies. Scream and scram. And then she disappears into a puff of smoke and cackles like the Wicked Witch of the West. Ruby slipper prize. They probably hurt too much anyway. Could Dorothy have just called it quits and lived in Oz on the run? Spinning cyclone houses. Special effects were pretty good for the 30s.
The last life-changing lobster roll I had was at the Sagamore right on Lake George, right on the water. Outdoor patio, balcony dining pre-COVID. Where’s that time machine? I wanna go back! It was a beautiful summer day, Mother Nature penning out her persuasive essay on how lakes upstate can be vacation spots too, not just beaches and the Jersey Shore. And holy shit, you know what? She was so right; Consider myself persuaded – To this day! I stan a good mountain vacation as well. New Hampshire a year later was also *chef’s kiss*.
But this lobster roll came out a big, lightly toasty, flat-top grilled brioche bun. Shiny, and maybe as big as my face. And overflowing inside was big, huge pieces of fresh lobster. This was no skimpy sandwich, but a true testament and statement to the art. Buttery, and creamy and ultimately heavenly. I wish my vocabulary could somehow do it justice, but it can’t. It was … transcendent. a transcendent taste and dining experience. Of course it must’ve been served with delicious fries, but the star of the was this lobster. And I’ve had lobster rolls since, some pretty good. But not like this. This was the star on top of the Christmas Tree.
That whole vacation was spectacular. Kayaking on the lake was a huge highlight, worth the insane arm and shoulder soreness the following day. We must’ve kayaked miles. I’m actually not even sure. I think we did rent the boats for at least 3 hours. So peaceful. So beautiful. The air smelling sweet and of pine trees. Between the lobster and the lake, that trip was worth its weight in gold. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be at Lake George (or near Lake George), but the memories are enough to sustain me for now. I don’t particularly care for busy vacations, filled with activities. I prefer to go with the flow and see what comes. I’ll go crazy with anxiety otherwise. I remember us driving, driving, driving into more and more desolate locations, getting more in the thick of nature, with less and less cell service. If I recall there was a room mixup, but one in our favor. We were supposed to be staying in the hotel, but ended up being put on the edge of the property with a kitchen and living area and fireplace; A patio overlooking the woods. It was wonderful. When they came back to correct the mistake, I put my foot down and said I’d much rather prefer to stay here if it wasn’t too much trouble to them. And they obliged. We really lucked out that trip.
There is a woman walking in one of our great American shopping malls with a tote bag around her shoulder. She is unsuspecting and seems to be in a hurry with a determined and certain destination. Her high heels click and clack on the tile floor, passing the food court and the fountain; This shrine of capitalist paradise where everything is clean and nothing hurts. She is on a mission to return a pair of shoes. When she opened the box upon delivery at home, there were two shoes alright, but two different sizes. One too big and one too small. And although this Goldilocks and the Three Bears humor is not lost on her, really, she harrumphed at the inconvenience of it all, angrily closing the lid on the box of two beautiful, but mismatched shoes, mellow pink heels, glossy with lace trimmings. So furious was she that justice be done as soon as possible, she put the box in a tote bag, immediately got in her car, almost forgetting to turn off the stove, and drove to the nearest retail location for them to right the wrong. No patience had she for the USPS, or any delivery service. And no immediate need did she have for these shoes, but alas, a glowing bolt of unfulfillment had wrenched itself, impaling her brain and body, and she would not be able to melt or dismantle it, this rod of dissatisfaction, until the mistake was fixed.
Passing the food court, she resisted many temptations: Fresh baked cinnamon pretzels, coffee and french fries and Chinese food and pizza. Combined with the air conditioning, all these smells wafting around made her want to break down and cry. But no. She would not succumb to these Christ Desert temptations. Her restrictive diet would not allow it. And she was nothing without her thin physique, bordering on the problematic. She quickened her pace and found the store in the distance. Entering the shop, she rudely dismissed the greeter who said “Hello” and was she “looking for anything in particular?” With cold shoulder and pout, she headed straight for the register planting herself in a deceptively short line. Deceptive, because the woman at the front was demanding to see the manager on the issue of expired coupons and a sale that no longer existed. Eyes rolling, heart pounding –
Limestone gets smashed and crushed down to make cement. Chain-gang prison sentence. The men wipe the sweat from their brow, working in rhythm. It’s all you can do but not look too far ahead when you have a life-sentence. And even though these men have been condemned, I do still believe there to be song in their hearts, which is why they sing, and hit the rocks like they mean it. It is a meditative flow state out of necessity. Because they would go crazy otherwise. And who’s to say they haven’t already gone? Each man winces as the sledgehammer comes down, as the pick-ax falls. They think back to when they were young children and how they never thought they’d end up here in this moment. And in this chain-gang collective unconscious every downward stroke becomes a thought they destroy: Child’s birthday’s missed, romantic relationships in tatters, their own fateful mistakes that got them here – whether their own fault or the fault of an unjust criminal justice system. Key word being system. Was it the cop who profiled them? Was it the jury who profiled them? Was it the lawyer who has seen too many disastrous cases, or perhaps fearful of ruining his record that urges these men to take plea deals, profiling them, anticipating the profiling of them? And so these men destroy these thoughts as they smash the limestone, hoping to never hear from them again. But they will. In sleepless nights of adrenaline sickness, during sick nights of adrenaline dreams, where they are running – from what they don’t know – and then wake up in pools of cool sweat to then notice bars or dappled moonbeams peeking through corrugated windows, disappointed they have awoken because for a moment, that unknown moment, there was a taste of what it was like to be free. There is an unspoken vow to willingly destroy one’s body in this process. To hit even though you can’t feel your hands, to pummel these rocks to dust even though your muscles are crying out, even though quitting sounds like a long cool drink in the hot sun. There is a war of wills between these men and the guards. And these men must never waver. The guards do look on, loosely fingering the bottom lip of the triggers of the guns in their holster, waiting for any sudden moves. Glancing at their brethren in watchtowers above.