does it start with a key?

Art Direction by Tom Hingston
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

There used to be a story. It was sweeping like the plains I used to drive across with my musician parents. My father would let me steer on the highway because it was so flat. The story was the road, that black line that pointed to a distance I’d never seen before. Yellow dots, cut here. Turn signals and red lights on the tail end of cars clicking their heels together three times. Windshield wipers in time with the rain. I read a lot of books, there in the back of the truck. There were never three seat-belts. When we were pulled over, I would hide. The police thought my mother was interesting for riding a motorcycle. They thought my father was charming and always looked tired. It was the driving. We were always driving.

Refrain, as a verb, asks for a pause, a holding back of intention. He was to call me today. I rang at one thirty, the day has filled up. Tomorrow, that little orange haired orphan doesn’t love you anymore. She grew up in the world of the sugar daddy. His milk is sweeter because he says he loves her and the diamonds on her wrist glitter to blind the eyes. This is the jazz refrain, that impulse to lie on top of the theme with improvisation. There used to be a story, the repetition inviolable. That’s what the word means. Hold one self back, don’t think impure thoughts. Tell the focus to go fuck itself, tell the world that everything is okay with a plastic smile glued to your lips. Learn. Rinse. Repeat.

The easy listening station at work is killing me. I find myself cringing inwardly, holding the product tags like talismans and thinking, “Anything can be endured for two hours. Anything.” Customers are a welcome distraction. They ask questions and I try my best to answer them. Try to be matter of fact about the word anal without the word retentive. My product knowledge is minimal. I don’t have any. When I listen to the other girls, that’s what everyone calls them, the other girls, no matter there’s only three of us who work in the shop and one of them’s the manager, I feel like I’m trying to learn something utterly foreign. The language they speak isn’t mine. This isn’t greek unless that’s what you’re into. The china brush is a desensitizing liquid one paints onto the underside of the head of the penis to sustain erection longer and preclude ejaculation and Leather Cleaner isn’t.