Lavender Disaster

Lavender Disaster

Lavender Disaster

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 13 1997 3:30 AM

Lavender Disaster

It was in the old days in Atlantic City
& as the icy rain began to clear the boardwalk

Of even the most desolate stragglers

I pulled my ultra-cool thrift store fedora
Down low over my eyes & just kept on walking


& as I passed an old storefront painted up

Like a fortune teller's bazaar its ancient bricks
Covered in narrow stripes of orange and lavender

As if it were a gypsy's rippling tent

The old woman inside said softly to me the words
Come try & nothing else but after a few steps


I turned & went back & stepped out of the rain

To face her across the small round table
Where she sat shuffling a bent pack of Tarot cards

Sit down she said & of course I did just that

& as she laid the cards out slowly before her
She quietly rocked a little in her chair


Then she told me the story of the future I might hold

& as she spoke the room filled with a light
As thick as the mist outside & softly lavender

As softly lavender as an electric summer sunset

Down at the beach with maybe Stella or even Renata
& the gypsy's eyes closed & my own eyes too


As she said You will sit in the throne of Heaven

& die into the open arms of your Lord
Well that's really nice I thought

All this death shit & not a word about sex or money

But I couldn't open my eyelids for a second
& when I did the mist had cleared although a faint


Scent remained of my grandmother's lavender sachet

& the gypsy's hand was out so I slapped down a five
Then got out before she told me something else

I didn't want to know but I was worse than chilly now

A little bent out of shape & leery of the way
The night was coming down so black along the streets

I just knew I couldn't go on to work that night

So I turned back & started heading home thinking
How Stella would be pissed I'd spent that five spot

On the gypsy not to mention I'd be back

Early with no money from the shift I couldn't do
But maybe we'd go out to the movies

We hadn't done that since I'd been made a night clerk

That would make her happy I thought the movies
& then a drink at Jake's to make up for the fact

We'd be broke again next week for sure

& as I opened the door to our apartment
I swear I could smell the scent of lavender

& that same mist began rolling through the living room

& I could hear them then in the back bedroom
Making those little fucking sounds so fucking softly

So fucking tenderly it made me want to scream

But I just walked through the kitchen & grabbed
The ice pick off the counter where Stella'd

Left it after chipping ice flakes for their drinks

& as I came to the open bedroom door
I stood there for a second but

They didn't notice me her legs fiercely bicycling

The air & he was jack-hammering away at her
So I just stepped up beside the bed & punctuated

This happy dream with a few decisive holes

To let the lavender air out of the moment
& I'm not kidding as I watched the two of them

Stretched out silently across the damp mattress

I could actually see the mist clearing again
& again I could finally breathe a little

So none of the rest of this really matters

& you reading this matter least of all
Because I am the one man who knows my simple

Future & all of the rest of you must live in the pain

Of not knowing of not believing what comes
Will be finally not so different from my own

Wild glory as I come to sit at last upon

My own Lordly throne so carefully hewn
Of precious woods & polished by the sweat of men

Who before me have mistakenly believed only

They were worthy of this journey I welcome
As I am fitted with those perfect leather straps

A helmet wired to the future & charged by the grace

Of God & the Governor to carry me into that Heaven
I was promised one distant lavender