Three Short Memoirs

Gregory Sherl

Don't Get Stolen on the Street

We are always good to the ducks. I never want to say We were always good to the ducks. This would imply that we are either no longer good to the ducks or that K no longer sits on my lap. Our love affair consists of words, coos, things worth writing down if smiles were pens. I can barely handle anything real right now so I walk in a giant circle. I break myself trying to smile so I hobble around a giant circle. Every suburb smells the same. Every car goes the same way. There are just as many cars as trees and that doesn't make me feel anything. I text K Find someone to put my molars back in so I can get them re-pulled and remember what Vicodin tastes like. It's dusk when I call Bangs. She wants to know who took all the alcohol out of PBR. She's going to drive somewhere really fast and no one will catch her. Something is always moving underground and that freaks me the fuck out. Today is mild: mild weather, mild emotions emitting from my mild bones. I tell K Don't grab me too hard, I'm barely a fan of JELL-O. I will never write another book where I number all of the girls I've had sex with. Will we ever like Mel Gibson again? He's got a new movie coming out where his hand is a beaver. If you spray Lysol on a butterfly, it will probably die.



Are the birds concerned about my rap career? I haven't had a hit song in twenty-six years and gray hairs are starting to show on the left side of my head. There are good hearts and there are bad hearts and I have been inside a few of each. Forever feels so short when K says it quickly, like she's reading the side effects from a new heart drug during a thirty-second commercial before the credits of a rerun of Friends. In the shower I ask her What is so magical about a marker? My superhero career is way better than my rap career. The birds agree. They tell me while I hang with them on light poles. They tell me while they dive bomb earthworms after a rain shower. The birds have left but K and I have pancakes so everything is pretty copacetic. When we are done with our pancakes, K checks the sound of my heart. What she hears: a broken alarm clock, a broken heart pretending to be a broken alarm clock. She never lets me whittle my heart into a crescent moon. I feel like a stack of hundred dollar bills when she moans. I have never written a good poem called "Love Poem." In the morning and in the daytime and in the nighttime I am always kissing her throttled throat.


Make Believe

I wake up and go to therapy. I sit on a warm leather couch and tell my therapist about last night: a poetry slam at the Funky Buddha, a girl drunk enough to only stand and run her hand through the left side of my hair before lighting a Newport and leaning against a wall. I smelled the cigarette before it was lit. She wandered off while I drank locally brewed beer and my mouth thanked me. My hair thanked its loneliness. There is too much intimacy in my phone to notice smooth legs, lipped eyes, gold backs. The beer was cold but I felt flushed thinking about where I'd rather be. K comes over because she just lives down the street and she'd rather be around me than around the street. I say Let's make out on every bench ever created. There's a nod in her voice so I climb the Empire State Building. No one complains about my King Kong blood. When did they move the Empire State Building to South Florida? Jay-Z would be pissed if he could see over his lowered Yankees' cap, which he can't, so Beyoncé is always making sure he doesn't walk into walls. K says What if we miss a bench? That bench would be so sad. With my tongue I draw a map to every bench on K's thighs. Now we won't miss a single one I tell her, my mouth so dry she wets it with hers. Gas is getting too expensive though, so we're going to walk the world. Later, K and I dig a hole in my backyard. We call it monogamy. It starts to rain. The hole is being filled and soon it will just be mud. K goes away to find a tarp to cover the hole. I try to text her Smiling but autocorrect changes it to Smoothly. I let it go.