Felsenfeld. He disliked trees because they stayed. He rode a horse
across Mali. He could not stop leaving. He could not stop arriving.
Felsenfeld, he rode his horse, Chance, across Mali. He kept doves in the
bathroom. He could not stop arriving. He blew up his own car.
Underneath his overcoat he had a sawed-off shotgun. Was arrested for
impersonating a saint. His name like a field. Like the sound of galloping.
Traded his wife’s dress for a bow. He gave me the bow. For my wedding,
he gave me a necklace of tiny skulls he stole from a monastery in
Katmandu and a shrunken head from the Amazon. For my wedding, a
necklace of tiny skulls. I could not keep it: lost, the bow with its long,
serrated fishing arrows. He could not stop leaving or arriving. His name, like
water cascading down a long stairway.
The Felsenfeld Movement
We thought we were in another town so I asked this man who was
sitting on the curb, What town is this? He answered, We Thought We Were
in Another Town. I thought he was a wise guy and considered smacking
him. But then I noticed the sign: We Thought We Were In Another Town.
No one comes here on purpose. No one wants to leave after they have
tasted the waffles at the We Thought We Were in Another Town Café.
Felsenfeld started walking out of town as if he were balancing on the
white line on the road. Every few steps he would stop, and stand there
with his arms spread out like a scarecrow. It was his special dance. He
called it, The Felsenfeld Movement, and said that it would catch on
someday. He began to add new moves, slow, underwater-like moves.
The road into Confusion was downhill and coated with ice. I wondered
as we slid, my foot not touching the break, if there was only one stoplight
in Confusion, and if that was it at the bottom of the hill, and if it would
change from red to green. Felsenfeld scrunched low in his seat, an unlit
Pall Mall dangling from his lip, the visor of his cap over his eyes. If I wake up
dead, he whispered, I’ll kill you. I remember reading in the guidebook that
the original name of Confusion was Quandary. As we spun in circles
through the intersection I noticed how quiet it was, how slowly we turned,
or were we absolutely still, and Confusion was revolving all around us? This
seemed like a good time for a little known fact. I said, did you know that
the first toilet seen on television was on Leave it to Beaver? Felsenfeld did
not answer. He was asleep, an unlit Pall Mall dangling from his lip.
Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, both from BOA Editions. His most recent publication is a chapbook of prose poems, Chickenhead, available only online from FootHills Publishing. His website is www.richardgarcia.info.