by Jon-Michael Frank


IF I WERE JABBER I WOULD remember that field. If I were him, I would lace up my boots, drag a stick across Milly’s picket and let em’ hear: ricket-ricket. Tell em’ I was coming up the hill. I’d let that sun creep on up over the edge, fill in my pockets, grab the little shiner and pull one to the heart. Shovel me under the tallest tree and shade the cows till rain tomorrow.






That pup bitch had it coming to her. That pup bitch had it wide on the face. After Jones got out the car, the bitch let the last wheeze for the winds. All direction of them. Bitch had her mouth wide enough she ate the daylight in one swallow. Dead woofing. Milly’s fertile bitch lay red on the road. All the canine undone. Jones took to his knees and played preacher over her neck, boy, he looked around so much, you could hear his ins say: hoot-hoot. From how I heard it, Jones let his tags hit the cement, that crude almost got a stitch from the arms back when. He said he was a real hard-on before I even got here. That was around ‘70 then. He said he saved the mighty States’ comrade like a grade school wit, he did. He said, that boy beat you to the razor and gave a flush cheek to all the range girls. Jones wrote a song on the acoustic about him, tuned on the wry, “Here I am a hero in gold / better to have saved than sold,” after all it’s almost like a whistling given now. You can hear em’ down at the mill warbling the hours long. Hitherto, Jones never seen it so bad the day he got the bitch. Even on his merit, he couldn’t sift it. The way I heard it, Jones grabbed that pup bitch like she had a name on Nam. He brought her to Milly’s, laid that poor bitch on wood and turned his aim to feeling regret for her. Milly said she had five lil’ ones in her, and Jones said he met the devil, making Milly’s pup bitch a sixth. Everyone knew that bitch needed a chain, bitch never even had a collar as long I’d see her scraping outside Milly’s. Milly said everyone knew where she went to sleep, said in this town she’s just as right as any other livin’ thing. Well after Jones heaped the bitch, story goes it he unturned his clothes right there, brought them to a fire and walked the skinny out of there. Jones is out on the boon now, chews on the grit till his teeth are a tin house. Guess his soul is on the strip but there’s that ever so often about him; some say he sleeps during the day because he claims night is when god blinks.




5 things I wrote in my journal

1 Zero means nothing.

2 Boo.

3 I impress original.

4 No one loved as much as Jabber.

5 Sure, I’m just a shadow boxer.


Well, that legend gave depth, this town roots for any great liking. I told Pop one time that I wanted a whole pinwheel of flags. Told him Indonesia, Turks, Spanish, Madagascar… the works. Said I’d fly one a day, hook the stick to my back window, set a compass on however I sought to be. One day I’d collect the terrain on my heels, come around and shake the anecdote till the town wished they’d knew a better word for kings. I’ve been to the Dakotas once, but you can’t wage your travels in symbol there. If I had a better showmanship, I think I could make it to the poster at least. If I was telling the truth I’d say I might be one of the ugliest craft there is. My inner most has been right carved as long as I can remember. I wanted to be all the fuss about some day. Pop always said it is what it is. Pop said the glory comes at a price, that living a slim life has about as much punch to the layman. Pops stuck to the farm and I guess I am too.




I knew Billy Billy real well. I used to fish with the sore on the harbor. Billy Billy is all cheers now. Set his valise right into the bank world. I hear he fits himself just to sheer boredom now. Some say you couldn’t even pin a 1,000 dollar bill to your breast and shape the way he does. The least I can say is I had about a trout over him just to rag the sore by daybreak. We’d grease the spine and fry the flopper right there. A few things Billy Billy told me before lunch:

1. Money is the only thing that makes a man a millionaire.

2. If man fates his own perdition, it is not the narrowing of the path that sets him

but the wayward of his stroll.

I tell it, the world is sometimes like a confession booth. I could spit enough tongue to heal a cat’s hind. It’s like I got enough mind in my head to concave in the soils of an ole can of beans. Pop says I got to shut up the talking. I remarked Pop once, if I could speak the France I’d give it my speech just like this: Tout va bien, the hell with the rest. Pop had me by the palm after that. He took the flag that was stretching along the sill and gifted the States flatland under his boot. I have to guess that some of us are born under the harness and get to the kicking.

As was Billy Billy, he wasn’t always that way. I knew Billy Billy in grade school, when you could shelve a stack of Iliad on his head and call him Pisa. He always had a strange tongue though. On and on about the makings. He had already cornered his riches in the great scheme. I tell you the thing about Billy Billy was he had a destiny. I don’t mean a parsec to pearly doors, I mean an open sesame to brass tax. Even when he was the pea brain, he had it under his belt, the whole world turned on the brink and shouldered in the sleeve of a newspaper. Most of them never knew it but I’d have known it even if you told me to matador the horn with my eyes turned. That’s the basis to Billy Billy for me anyway. Billy Billy was my first insight. Billy Billy was that gut comprehend that Pop would say steers the human commotion as he’d put it. He’s almost as much of myself as he is himself. People are a right jumble to me. We all got our own collections. Boy, I‘m sharpened to have a pitchfork on eternity. Even as it is, Billy Billy isn’t Billy Billy anymore. William is alive. William is the right. William is the man with the bank. Billy Billy was a friend of mine, a friend I shake hands with when I’m alone.





When it comes to Jabber, Jabber had a callous on his legacy. I’d give a leg just to walk the gossip. He fashions a way of forget, but he hasn’t had the muzzle on his holler a life long like I been. I’d be pleased to have a tenancy in Rin if it meant I’d get a knowing nod in town. I had a thought on Rin myself once. I told Rin, I’d make for Jones’ wheels and give her the sprint if she’d take to it. She told me Romeo was for the deck first. Good ole Juliet, glad I had the book under Ms. Gladstone’s bifocals. I haven’t had all hand to hand. Pop says ways like a flower, well at least, that was mother’s saying. Soon enough I’ll spread a petal.

Rin was and still is the share of silver. We all had it on Rin at one time. She said she was going to play the film, said she was going to sign her name to everyone she met. Said they’d love to snapshot with her. Stand next to her, wear her arm and smile like they were Zeus waiting to give their skull to birth. Rin had at the charm. No matter the time of day, if you back sleeved Rin in polish, she’d put a sunray to shame. Rin’s Ma told the boys she’d wane their hearts before they had the might to put the love on her justly. Rin is the type if she were a good rain, you’d settle a hat and gloves before stepping the porch. Rin said she would be the revolution that would put Helen in a pauper suit down the throat of history. Yes, Rin was a cathedral. And if the chorus slackens, her doors will never let leave the hymn.



Rin and Jabber scripted trees.

Jagged, R + J.

R + J were chickens in a coop.

So, this is the story, clear as blue water.

up until now. no, right now. straight from the hill. the field. the wide field. the full field. the field flat. the field apex. the field spread. the field like somewhere to lay down. the field like being tired. the field like who you are. the field always. the field stood from a world of feet. two silhouettes. touching like steam from a tea kettle. soon, there is no quality. no way to quite say it. the silhouettes traverse. the silhouettes stomp more than what the earth has given them. they always leave things behind like walking. they traverse the field. they vindicate these personifications like corporeality. these silhouettes have hands. walking like they are, they look like telephone wires carrying hello’s and goodbye’s. Rin is a far silhouette. Jabber is a near silhouette. depending where you are. they’re interchangeable like homonyms. something to say like lovers. sitting down. laying down. after the dance. shake and shake and then drove to the field. a cooling down for Rin and Jabber. we heard about the field. now, no, right now, on the field. Jabber says lay down Rin. her body speaks as if it were murmurs. she lays down now. now that is like mumbling. Jabber gives her conversation. not recipient to recipient, but salient as being unheard. he says what you would expect: want you. what is acquisition? Jabber, Jabber, Jabber, as laconic and lax as haiku he tells Rin this is what formation is like. Rin, almost coughs, peeling her hand into her mouth, encasing an opening to her body, places where she has never seen or felt but knows that exist: like ovaries, hearts, stones, and immunity. Jabber hands his arms alas like tree limbs garnering the fruits from which they had come. Rin, settled along the ground like that, prostrate into the parallels of earth, beginning like the erosions of puerile rivers haphazardly mouthing seas into oceans and always bodies of water. this is exactly where Jabber kneels over Rin and dams her like so many metaphors. and alike; so many metaphors, Rin feels trepidation, and then impervious to the opening and closing like screen doors along country porches. Jabber takes her from her inside. an entering of her. it is not with her body that she acknowledges herself, but what is of her thoughts like placebos. Jabber looks to her as he would look to a room, beginning with walls, and then along the borders, up to the manifestation of furniture, and then like clearing the mantel, he pockets all these decorations. the room of Rin inhabited by Jabber. this is what happened: the passivity of Rin and then Jabber like an austerity of giving something for Rin to say, when she had said nothing at all. Jabber dammed. Rin watered. Jabber made Rin remember. afterwards, silhouettes crossed, Jabber triangulated the shadows of himself, leaving the field alone, and Rin alone, recumbent upon the hill, and recumbent upon the loss of all absolutes. a red water coming from Rin’s empty room. Rin, will you collect yourself?




What I added to my journal:

I want to love.

On the farm, we all get to the thinking. Jones, Billy Billy and Jabber knew it clear. If I had the chance, I’d be glad to kill the bitch, be a Billy Billy, and worth my gossip with a room in Rin. People in their phoenix are a right exhumation. On the account, what even Pop say, em’ are frantic unknown what to do. Damned if I didn’t get a spread, you can bet your nobility I’d had a punch on the ticket. Hole enough to kaleidoscope all the better world. But, like it comes down to the tinder, ain’t no morals in being known, ain’t no titles to a fencepost. Crown the proverbial: I wanted to be someone. Let me just give that the yelp: I wanted to be someone. But it’s on the brink, solid as a rust, and here it is as it always is: let the lore undone and the siren’ll have its sung.

JON-MICHAEL FRANK has work appearing, or forthcoming in JMWW, Bartleby Snopes and elimae. He is also the Co-Editor of Mu: An International Haiku Journal @ Jon-Michael misses Philadelphia and prefers these things: wabi-sabi, gift horses, Philip Frank, Brittany Guie, "The Lion King" & love is all you need.


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