Child of the Cabbage (Ep. 7)

Gracelyn Polk stood in front of her social studies classroom and cleared her throat as she looked down at the paper she held in her hands. She moved her head up, addressed the empty desks with her eyes and smiled.

“For my report on the person I most admire, I chose someone that I just met. You may wonder why that is and how could such a notion come to be… The truth of the matter is, I’m often quite lonely. I don’t have a lot of friends and my family is all long gone. I don’t really know where they went or why. But here I am, before you today.”

She paused and looked out at the empty room. She started to feel foolish but went on with her speech regardless.

“My new friend’s name is Farm Guy.” She chuckled. “No, it’s not a joke this time. His name really is Farm Guy and I know that sounds awfully peculiar, but once you get to know him, it fits somehow. He’s a very nice man and a very smart man, too. He knows a lot about life and history and how to build things… And how to make the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. And he’s nice to me. And in a world such as this, I suppose that’s the best thing a person could be… And worthy of my admiration. Thank you.”

Gracelyn waited for the applause that never came and then went over to the large desk at the front of the room that once belonged to a teacher. She opened a drawer and pulled out a red marker. She yanked off the cap and sniffed at the tip, careful not to get any ink on her nose. “I just love the smell of markers,” she said aloud to herself. And then she moved her hand down to her social studies report and wrote A+ at the very top and circled it twice. She held it up in front of her, smiled with pride, and then went back to her own desk.


Astron Puffin looked down on planet Earth as it spun there on its fragile thread in the cradle of space.

“It’s set to snap,” said a strange voice from behind him — a deep voice, a slow voice, like a tape recording playing back on the wrong speed.

Astron turned his head. “And then where will the world go? Doesn’t it have to go somewhere?” he asks the one that looks different but is the same — his skin an oddly green color, but richer than that of himself, the eyes the brightest blue there could ever be, strange hair.

“It will drop out of the universe like a Price Is Right Plinko chip… And there will be no prize.”

Astron let a small, haunting laugh escape from his throat. “Price Is Right?”

“Come on down,” the alien said in his slow, monotone, deep voice.”

Astron turned away to look out the incredibly large window again. The Earth was still there. “I don’t ever want to go back,” he said. “Please don’t ever take me back.”

But then Astron’s eyes were closed for him, and when he opened them back up, he was lying on his back in the middle of a cabbage field. It was a very large cabbage field, seemingly endless except for the low hills at the furthest edges, the color of green mist. The air around him smelled of good dirt. He looked up and the sky with its dying sun was there — an ocean of blue filled with the white sails of cloud ships. He stood up and looked around him, turning slowly in a circle like a searchlight. It was an unfamiliar place to him for it was not his own farm. Deep in the distance he saw something that jutted up out of the horizon. It was a house — a large and welcoming house of yellow. He decided that was the direction to go in.


Gracelyn set her bicycle down in the front yard of Farm Guy’s big, yellow house. She bounded up the front porch steps and excitedly knocked on the white door with the inset frosted glass window. It wasn’t long before it opened, and the man was standing there in a plaid shirt and denim pants. A bright smile came over his face.

“Well, well, well,” Farm Guy said. “If it isn’t the infamous Gracelyn Polk.”

“It is me. I wanted to bring your cookie container back and I have something to show you.”

“Then please come in,” he said, spreading out a long arm before him in a gesture of welcoming. His eyes then quickly darted around the outside world with a hint of suspicion before he closed the door behind them.

Farm Guy took a seat in his favorite living room chair while Gracelyn sat on a small sofa across from him. The girl looked around the cozy room that reminded her of Christmas when there was a Christmas. A fire crackled gently in a large fireplace, even though it wasn’t extremely cold outside. The heartbeat of an old clock pulsed in rhythm atop the mantel. The view out a large window was lonely. She saw old pictures of other people scattered about the room on walls, tables, and shelves. Some of the people looked strange, different in an unexplainable way.

She set her backpack to the side, unzipped a pocket, and pulled out a piece of paper. She stood and took it to him.

“What’s this?” he wanted to know.

“I did a report about you.”

“A report? About me?”

“That’s right. And as you can see, I got an A+.”

Farm Guy reached to his chairside table, fished for a pair of reading glasses, and placed them on his face. “I’m going to have to take a look at this very closely,” he said, smiling and tipping his head forward, eyes looking out from above the frames of his readers. He held the paper before him and began reading it, his eyes half squinting as they intensely glided across the words. He let out brief snorts of wonder and charmed humility as he went along. When he was finished, he set the paper aside and withdrew his glasses and looked at her.

“What do you think?” she eagerly wanted to know, sitting on the edge of the sofa now.

“I’d have to say that’s just about the finest report I’ve ever read,” he answered. “And I don’t say that just because it’s about me. Do you mind if I keep it?”

“It’s all yours.”

Farm Guy got up from his chair and made his way out of the room. He motioned to her to follow. “What do you say we take this in the kitchen. I’ll hang it up on my refrigerator. Come on. How about some peanut butter cookies?”


Gracelyn sat at the kitchen table with a tall glass of milk and a plate of peanut butter cookies set before her.

“Can I ask you something?” she said.

“What’s that?” the man said as he stood, his back to her, admiring the girl’s report that he had just attached to his refrigerator with a Las Vegas souvenir magnet.

“How do you have all this stuff?”

“What do you mean?”

“The milk and the cookies… And the good electricity. Everything. I mean, it’s all just like a regular house from how it was before. Where does it all come from? How does it work?”

Farm Guy turned to look at her quizzical young face, her upper lip now striped with milk. He went to sit at the table across from her and struggled to think of a suitable answer, a serious tone morphing his face. He reached for and then handed her a napkin. “Do you believe that life extends far beyond what we experience here?”

She wiped her mouth and thought about it. “Do you mean on this planet?”

“Yes. But not only on this planet… I mean all around us. Even here. Right next to us right now in this very room. There’s so much more happening around us than we ever even acknowledge.”

“You mean you get all these things from somewhere else?”

He leaned back and studied her. “I suppose that’s a pretty good way of putting it,” he said, moving his head around to look at everything. “It all comes from somewhere else.”

“And what about you?” Gracelyn questioned. “Do you come from somewhere else?”

He looked at her intently, tempting to reveal himself completely, but at the last moment pulling the punch.

“Of course, I do. I’ve lived in many other places. Haven’t you?”

“Absolutely… At least it seems that way,” the girl said, and she tilted her head to the side and gazed at him with wide eyes “Can I ask you something else?”

“You can ask me anything.”

“Why do I never die?”

TO BE CONTINUED


Beyond a Shadow of a Lemon

It be catastrophic ink

Hand-held jubilee in Sicily

Heart ripped

Via raw meat grinder

Downtown high school

The high bums making their way

In cascading light and atrophy

Train whistle kid runs

I bus tables at some Italian joint

Dirty head ware

Lomticks of lowly paycheck curse the bank

Stirring spaghetti sauce with hair drenched arms

Spotlight America whore vibrato

Sad jaw crumbles in the rain

Insane dreams beneath black blanket

What does a kiss taste like?

Anymore???

The door, to the bones

All bleached and static

Bare feet and flannel

Smoking fire in moon’s grave

Heart flaming on highway cocaine

The insane

Cabin by the strip mall

Fake forest

Remnants of Earth boiled in greed

God’s basketball court at dusk

Humans’ suffering heart

Heroin dialect, monkeys on fire

Soul ripped Merry-Go-Round

Plastic steeds crushed in

Smashed guts, broken ribs

Starlight all fucked and asunder

Blood on my shoe

Garage warfare

Dig in ebony tattoo bruise

I crave ham steak

I crave real life

I crave a pond and a warm bullet

There’s lemon meth on the couch

To write an opera

In a dingy tri-level Colorado hurt

It’s all hiding and pain

I the trees and high heights

Mossy wet rocks pointing to grave

Where are my wishes?

Where is my Howard Johnson hamburger in sterile light Albuquerque by freeway feign?

The tick, tick, tick of dead traffic and the insane American bitch

I am panel and door and alien light of night

I am loved dash and LA 405 hurry it up

I am the Long Beach Mormon drama crush queen

I am a night of fight

I am the one who wants to disappear into dreams and never wake up

I am the liquor-laced atom blowing up on the café porch

Aspen, Vail, Trinidad, Raton, Denver boom boom king

I am bomb of heart

The dead muscles whacking at breath and blood and tick tock life heart

Waiting for a blonde to lick my blood back to life

Carpet scars on a flight to Dublin

The waitress clown pinched my peanuts

It’s a Las Vegas grass pass prostitute love charm via gratuitous charm and lavender eyes

Money for boner

Boner for drugs

Lawn light cascading across foreign bed sheets

I think I am done

It is lonely in this space

Somewhere in the stars called

It’s time to go home

And just look out the window.


Where do you go?

Where do you go when the lamp switch flips in the direction of darkness?

When Romulus scratches from beneath the ruins, or flies down in a hollowed bulb of burn-stained glass, like those stinging eyes you hear, like those burning sounds you see, like the crickets in the thickets that just aren’t there, and the air is electrified with these Hong Kong highways of thoughts.

Pink paper lanterns and bullets in school hall walls. Parked beneath a banana tree in the summer wind, wasps red like thinking, my dreams tangled in the sheets… penning novels with glowing crayons and soul blood. Such grandiose ideas are but a symptom. Where do you go?

When the questions arise, to take a dive, in a dirty downtown Vegas dawn, before a thread-like walk to the golden palace of pools, to swim in burning light. I can smell her on the train — her viridescent geometric dress, her perfume, her coconut shampoo, her lip stain — the angel of that high light wheel set to spin in the glassy blues of some radical night on Earth. But where did you go?

We cannot find you beneath the lights or crashing waves. No one can find you in the circus night down by the ocean. It’s that loud place you don’t really like, there are no friends in that green parrot bar bathroom stall. Stop writing on the walls. You’ll get in trouble for that, and we know you are used to trouble. Everyone will know when you go, when you go to the cell at Mile Marker end of light and day and time.

And you sit there like innocent evil at the drive-in of life, twisting the tales in your head, the forceful wringing of a white towel in some place of loneliness, the balcony on level 11 on the shores of Myrtle, and would you just kiss me like you mean it before I fall. Down into the sandcastles, pacing the walls of the gritty dungeon. I’ll be so down and buried — you’ll never know, where did I go.