The paratroopers fall and as they fall
They mow the lawn. –Wallace Stevens
Everyone was talking about a philosophy of life. It seemed important and the kind of thing that could stand one in good stead for years to come. Things were falling apart. The ex: money again. No news there. My best friend Flipper was freaking out on me again. Two kids in need of school clothes and new footwear. And I had a brother in rehab. Then the dog died. I swear, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Every time I turned around, atomic. The kids made me write a funeral service. We threw the goldfish in the hole too; yep, they came up dead too. I needed to get ready for an important job interview, but had nothing to wear. Flipper offered his suit, which was a kind but stupid gesture, since he is a 52 long. Are you with me here? The sky stretched thin and pale, loaded with cumulous. I couldn’t notice, I was up to my neck. I told Flipper that if I couldn’t write it up I wouldn’t know what has happening to me? I said it just like that with a question mark at the end? You know? The way I learned from my ex, who learned from Oprah? And he laughed and passed gas and told me to forget about it. And I said, I am serious, I do not know what I am thinking until I write it out. And he goes, that is one scary mothafucker. Which I had to agree with. Right here was when I caught my mother screwing some man in her apartment. I walked in with her Chiclets and she was on the couch putting out for this guy, he looked like Marv Albert. With the hair piece, the big voice! SPREEWELL IS ON FIRE! The guy from 1050 ESPN radio who calls the Knicks games is screwing my mom for all he’s worth, and she’s holding on for dear life. All I could do was look. It was like my own private Sopranos episode. Her dentures popping. Oh God, it is so disgusting. They’re going at it like a pair of pit bulls and Flipper comes over from next door to see what is the racket? When he sees, he leaves the room like it’s the most normal thing of the week, he nonchalants it. I am glued to the floor. Neither of them notice me. My mom’s hearing aid is loose and flapping. SPREEWELL AT THE TOP OF THE KEY, CIRCUS SHOT! Flipper returns carrying a fire extinguisher. I tell him, my heart. I’d like to die. Marv is covered in white. He has a stripe on his back from the foam on his black T, and let’s face it, he looks like an angry Pepé Le Pew. I hand him a towel, nod at mother. My mother! for chrissake. Later I will write my mother a strongly worded letter. She never believed a word of it.
Gary Percesepe is the author of eight books, most recently The Winter of J, a poetry collection published by Poetry Box. He is Associate Editor at New World Writing. Previously he was an assistant fiction editor at Antioch Review. His work has appeared in Christian Century, Maine Review, Brevity, Story Quarterly, N + 1, Salon, Mississippi Review, Wigleaf, Westchester Review, PANK, The Millions, Atticus Review, Antioch Review, Solstice, and other places. He resides in White Plains, New York, and teaches philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx.