Gary Percesepe ~ Philosophy

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.