Oh Frank, you and your instant coffee with slightly sour cream.
I down you with my third morning cup, my now lukewarm as we barrel through the city, past apartment windows, above a maze of streets and low-lying buildings, into the density that grows taller and thicker the closer we come.
A woman is screaming, Why are you scared? You weren’t scared then! She’s caterwauling. Half the car clears with the next open doors.
Clark & Lake is neither a body of water nor a pair of explorers. Outside, bells are ringing on every corner near red shirts and tripod money pots. I would pay them to stop.
At what speed does the wind that numbs my fingers pierce my coat? Fingerless gloves accompany me wherever I go.
Crowds of people are coursing through candy-striped tents, stopping in front of windows, bags proliferating as if they’re spawning. But haven’t we had enough already?
Oh Frank, I swoon, you save me, let’s stay in and work in the dead of night, weathering wonder from the top floor. Of course you are good, I will reassure you.
Life of late is sour coffee with cream, imbibing books and poems and you, writing. I am wondering, as we’re wandering New York City streets in my mind, past Fifth Avenue storefronts, the Rockefeller Center tree, let’s glide through Bryant Park and pretend we’re on the catwalk, then stop in to gaze at Picassos and Pollocks on 53rd for free on a Friday night.
Frankly, I wish I could join you. ‘Till then I’ll settle for lunch.
VIENNA ACTIONISM on a TUESDAY NIGHT
You ask about my afternoon and I say it’s fine but imply it could’ve been better, if only I’d gotten into those classes, if only I’d gotten that boy to admit that broken swans’ necks and spilt blood on chests is not the same as squirting a hose in the summer at your brother. She’s wet and writhing and that bird’s head is in her cunt, its beak now in his mouth, turning its head from the camera as if it’s ashamed. Her ass undulates like she’s laying eggs, the bird sits below, and you ask how this death isn’t dignified.
I am thinking of kidnapping, too many women without voices, too few men who care to listen, and somehow this ties in to sex and a swan’s neck. I am pondering the abattoir, the butcher’s blade, and how we eat slaughtered meat even when we cannot stomach the source.
Slaughter is merely meat strewn between spread legs.
Next time I buy soy chorizo, but in my brown bag the loops still look like sausage casings, like wieners penetrating orifices, anuses, then bitten, slivered into pieces, showered with cereal and pierced with metal skewers. Milk and cereal, antennas and vaginas shouldn’t be mixed, I insist. Nor should a swan be subject to open legs.
Anne K. Yoder’s work has appeared in Fence, Bomb, and Tin House, among other publications, and is forthcoming in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing. She is a staff writer for The Millions and a member of Meekling Press, a collective micropress based in Chicago. Currently she is working on a novel, The Enhancers, about coming of age in a in a techno-pharmaceutical society.