Grinderman by Jose Padua

Grinderman

Taking my wife to her pre-natal appointment this morning

I wonder what it would be like if I weren’t me

but were Nick Cave instead.

“How are you today?” the doctor will ask my wife.

“Good,” my wife will say.

“And how are you?” the doctor will ask me

and I’ll say, “Doctor there’s death out on the plains,

and in the cities are men and women walking who are thinner than shadows,

their souls are lost like flies.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” the doctor will say

as he turns back to my wife, rubs jelly on her stomach,

then places the sensor on the left side

to listen for the baby’s heartbeat.

“Sounds good,” he’ll say.

I’ll brush my pitch black hair away

from my eyes

and stand straight and tall

like the devil’s pitchfork.

“Doctor,” I’ll say, “I am a shell of a man

in this world, which is not of me,

which hovers above me like a bird of prey

at the end of time. Yet I, alone,

am the one who will not abandon you.”

“Thanks,” he’ll answer.

“Doctor, I once knew a woman who got snake eyes

every time she rolled the dice

down on the bayou.

Every time she picked them up it was

Pow Pow POW!”

“That’s a great story, Nick. It’ll make a great motherfucking song,”

he’ll say—that is, if he’s one of those doctors who uses

the word “motherfucker” with his patients

(there aren’t many, and for that I blame society).

Later, when we’re home, my wife will say,

“Nick, could you pick up some pre-natal vitamins at the store?

I just noticed that I’m all out.”

“Sure, babe,” I’ll say,

and I’ll step out of the house wearing the stubble

on my cheeks, black jeans

and a pink Hello Kitty tee shirt,

and I’ll drive down to the store in a ’64 Cadillac convertible,

staring down everyone who looks my way

as I wait for the light to change.

Jose Padua
 
José Padua’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon.com, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Up is Up, but So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, and many other journals and anthologies. He has also written features and reviews for NYPress, Washington City Paper, the Brooklyn Rail and the New York Times. He has read his work at the Lollapalooza Festival, CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, the Black Cat Club, the Public Theater, the Washington Project for the Arts, and many other venues. José also blogs at Shenandoah Breakdown with his life partner, poet Heather Davis, and at the blog, Kings of the Road, and for Salon.com. José Padua’s most recent collection of poetry is a chapbook, The Complete Failure of Everything (2008: The Apathy Press Poets, Baltimore).

Photograph by Jose Padua. Jose Padua is co-author of the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.

Posted on by josepadua Posted in Daily, Jose Padua, Photography, Poetry, Writing

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