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After Lunchtime
The Pigeons

Two poems by Victor Clevenger
Published August 16, 2015

After Lunchtime

Jackie had told a story on the schoolyard during recess one day; she knew
a girl that had pulled the plug from the hole and nobody saw her again.  The
hole had sucked the girl down, and the girl's parents called the best
plumbers in town to pull the

drain apart, but even after the drain was pulled and lying in pieces on the
floor, the girl was still gone, so the girl's parents then called the police, the
firefighters, the doctors, and the on-call priest at the parish — Jackie
chewed watermelon bubblegum

and all of us believed that her stories were true, because she said her
father was a police officer and her mother was a doctor and that they
both went to the missing girl’s house.  Jackie was the smartest girl in
class.  Summer was the second smartest girl; her

parents were well known photographers and had traveled the world.  I liked
Summer better than Jackie, and Summer liked me better than Lee.  Lee
liked Jackie; he was the smartest boy and his parents were just like mine
. . . . shouters and fighters, but

none of the stature mattered before bedtime, thirty years ago, because
every bathtub seemed immense as we laid flat on our backs with our chins
tucked loosely against the top of our chest; the water would rise and fall
against our lips.  We were all

submerged deep inside the guts of a great porcelain whale and we all
feared the hole at our feet because of Jackie. It wasn’t until first grade that
we discovered that Jackie had made all of the stories up; her father was
actually a butcher, and her mother

answered the phones at the electric company.

The Pigeons

On days by choice, I lack employment, I sit near the back window and
watch the plants grow — I inhale smoke, exhale smoke, and the plants give
me the silence which I command.  I look out the window as the men of
dedication rush into the

bustling sway of capitalism, dropping pebbles to mark their  paths that they
travel back and forth from. I watch the pigeons take shits.  They shit
constantly covering the concrete and each pebble that rests on it; the
masses of men become confused, still

dedicated though, but now they are lost in the machine; lost and unguided. I
have sat here and watched them long enough to recognize a few of the men
by their hairstyles and a few others by their shoes. I watch her, recognize
her, love her, and wait for

her — she routinely returns home around three-o-clock on the following
afternoons: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; by three-o-five
she has already hung her flashy handbag up and sat down on the toilet to
piss.  The bathroom is close

enough to the back window that I hear everything.  She flushes and then
walks towards me to complain that I will never see change; that I will never
become something without effort.  I tell her, "I have come to the conclusion
that the pigeons make it all

worthless, look, they just shit everywhere, and I don’t wanna be lost like all
the others."  She sits down with her afternoon snack in her work-wrinkled
hands and cuts an apple into quarters, then cuts it again to remove smaller
slices; she chews quietly and rubs

the side of her head before she tells me, "You have become the pigeon to
my pebbles of emotions."  I knew what she meant so there was no need in
arguing the point; she moistens the filter of each cigarette we share with
the sweet apple juices from her lips and I like that; some days she almost
convinces me to try harder.

With guts full of grit, I spend my days in a Madhouse and my nights writing
poetry and short stories from the kitchen table of my ex-wife's home.  I have
self-published three collections of work,
Broken Bottles and Bus Fare, Pill
Bugs In The Bathtub
, and Building Bird Nests.  Selected pieces of my work
have been accepted for publication with the
Chiron Review and Eleventh
.  My work can also be seen in anthology collections published
by Lady Chaos Press.

Victor Clevenger's Facebook Page.
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