Thursday afternoon Chiowaga-- an internet poet with ulcerated colitis--canceled his gastroenterology appointment. He sat in the battered Lazy Boy on his porch trying to write a short story, chewing on a Sharpie pen cap like the stub of a cheap cigar, willing words to come.
"You shoulda kept that appointment," came a squirrel from atop a nearby power pole. "What's wrong with looking after your health?... and sticking to poetry?"
Chiowaga looked up, and his mouth dropped open. Grigori, one of his fictional characters with sideburns just like the Love Boat Captain, spoke from the squirrel's face.
"You heard me."
Chiowaga shook his head like a waterlogged dog. His next door neighbor, harvesting grapes from along a fence line, looked up with a sun glare salute, and stared. And from this neighbor's receding forehead came the voice of Ilse, island girl and Chiowaga's other main character. Pure Joan Armatrading. Chiowaga pictured her: high cheekbones, dreadlock bonnet, big brown eyes.
"Pay no mind, mon. Mistah Grigori knows fuckall..."
"I know the ascending colon," said Grigori. "A slippery slope…"
"Look," said Chiowaga. "Ya need to, like ... get back."
In Chiowaga's story, Ilse the Rasta femme fatale was supposed to be hunting the hundred grand, stashed in a suitcase on the floorboards of a Prius sedan. Grigori had one Mickey left up his sleeve: a space age aerosol aphrodisiac that could change everything.
"You feel alright, mon?" asked Ilse from the mind of his neighbor. "Ya lookin’ awfully pale…"
"I'm fine, I'm fine," said Chiowaga. "Look now ... y'all got-- to get in the fucking car! ... Right?"
He glanced at his watch: it was two o' clock, and he could have seen the stomach doctor by now. He belched, and up came a burning mouthful of bile.
"Sheesh chief," chattered Grigori, waving a paw across his nose.
"Hmmmm," said Ilse. "It's food for da thought, babe."
Chiowaga pointed his notebook at his characters, realizing that attempting to write fiction was possibly a big mistake. "C'mon y'all ... Didn't you hear? A hundred grand, in the sedan!"
"Bull puckey," muttered Grigori.
"You want her!" cried Chiowaga. "You always have! Raisin d'etre, motherfucker. Mind Control. Hair Spray Aphrodisiac!"
"Nah," said Grigori, "not until you get some help…"
"We care about ya, mon," chimed Ilse, melting away, as the nosy neighbor turned, departing, shaking his head.
"She's coming back ... right?" Chiowaga asked Grigori.
"The duodenum's a tricky lariat," said Grigori, puffing out those lamb chop sideburns, "but you'll always be a poet."
Chiowaga made a note, to call his gastroenterologist back.
Then he wrote the first line of a new poem, about the mind, and the body, and hearing things. It would feature a 7 foot tall black man who sold 7 Up in the 70's. He would call it "Un Cola Nut: The Healing."
A real piece of work.
published 19 October 2011