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Oddly American

Oddly American



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Published by BarbaraAlfaro
"Oddly American" is an excerpt from my poetry book "Singing Magic" available in a paperback edition at Amazon.com.
"Oddly American" is an excerpt from my poetry book "Singing Magic" available in a paperback edition at Amazon.com.

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Published by: BarbaraAlfaro on Jan 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ODDLY AMERICANIn McDonald’s this afternoon a punchdrunk fighter with a squashed faceshared a table with a woman perhaps in her late fifties.She was wearing button earrings,a white blouse, blue skirt, perfectly polished shoes,her Lord &Taylor shopping bagnestled beside her with its single rose.The fighter wore dark clothes,and spoke constantly.His voice sounded scraped, raw,and it was difficult for meto listen to him without wincing.Sometimes the woman looked away but only for a moment, thenrested her chin on her joined handsand leaned forward toward himthe way listening women do.She looked like actressesin old movies, ladylike,lovely, and oddly American.The fighter’s face had been hurtso often and so brutallyhe no longer resembled himself.Perhaps once he looked like Vinnie Love,a boxer I knew when I was sixteen,his face so beautiful I couldn’t believehe wanted to be a fighter.
Vinnie took me to a party.Most of the people were drunk.An older man, a writer, beckoned me to join himin another room. I followed him.The light was turned out.He slid his hands along my legs.The door opened. Vinnie switchedon the light and began punching the writer.Later, voices, and the writer askingthat the light be turned off. And whilethe fighter in McDonald’s is talking,at another table a baby is manglinga handful of French fries.I’m remembering my dress,at home – so much bloodI threw it away.When Vinnie called in the morning,I didn’t want to talk,didn’t want to hear his voice.I spoke but only pretended to listen.Today I’m thinking of howthe angels fought. They had no wings but moved as quickly as thought.They never used their hands but stunned and kept enemies from themwith sound, the way whales do.In other occasions, they playfully madegarlands of breath-whispers humanscould not see but felt brushing tenderly.What did his voice sound like before it was wounded – liquid, sure?Did he have a New York accent

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Rose added this note
I remember reading this awhile back. I still love it!
Blue Fern Press added this note
Takes me there, both to McDonald's and to the party, with vivid immediacy. Really well-woven. I love the baby mangling the french fries as you speak of fighters and their mangled faces. Perfect.
Phantomimic added this note
This is great Barbara, it appears you are describing a picture and the memories it evokes. Congrats on the featured!
David A Green BD added this note
That's really thought provoking - but also sad, so sad.
BarbaraAlfaro added this note
Thank you.
Rose added this note

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