Paul Dickey

Things No One Seems to Notice in the Neighborhood:
A List Poem













It just always feels like a blackbird has settled on a clothesline, but upon second thought you recall that there are no more clothes lines in the neighborhood, the last one having been taken down about fourteen years ago when the appliance store had a clearance sale on obsolete models of washing machines and automatic dryers.

An unknown, black Chevrolet has been parked down the block for two weeks now and no one has been seen since, going or coming. The lady who lives in the house was once caught at the supermarket using expired coupons. But that was months ago, so that can’t be the reason.

There is a neighborhood watch sign on the corner and it is being watched constantly by a 78-year old man. The man bought his house before there were any trees in the world, much less the neighborhood.

At an unspecified address and minding his own business, a man drives his SUV into his garage. The woman who lives next door to him and whose husband is out of town selling computer software is scrunched down in the seat until the garage door finally closes. Rising to get out of the SUV that her husband covets, she says she wants a martini with an olive.

Every day, one or two different teenagers do not come home when expected and to the consternation of their parents. Although her teenager might have come home today, one parent can remember when yesterday he did not. On any given day, every parent of teenagers can remember their teenager previously not coming home when expected. Thus everyday it seems like no teenagers ever have come home when they are expected. It is just logic.

The young lady who delivers the mail is unusually attractive. I don’t think I am the only one who has noticed. Watching for squirrels and chipmunks in the yards becomes very interesting for gentlemen in the later afternoon, typically about 3 p.m.

John Wilcox seems to be working out of his home now. I am not sure if he sells software anymore or not. He and the missus do work in the yard a lot together and sure do seem to enjoy each other’s company, if you know what I mean. But I am not judging. He told me once he would like to have an SUV like Sampson.

All the overgrown oaks and maples on our block would make it easy for a burglar to hide, especially in the shadows about supper time when the gentleman have gone back inside or the early morning sunrise when Mr. Tethers is not yet awake. Maybe we need another sign.

The widow Mrs. Smathers has her grass mowed once every week and always on Thursday. The high school boy who does it is pretty slow and drinks a lot of lemonade, but Mrs. Smathers never seems to mind. She is a sweet and sugary old lady and sometimes brings cookies she has made out of herself to the watch meetings.

The black Chevrolet has a few rust spots near the back wheels. I had not noticed that before and it may have happened since it has been parked here. We worry we may have neglected to put expiration dates on the parking tickets we placed on the windows. But then again, that might not matter to a woman like that anyway.

Children walking home from school are wearing record players and movie projectors around their necks. Upon being stopped and asked, they fail to have any knowledge of music or films that actually could be played on the obsolete equipment that they have been sent home with from the school library.

The man and the woman in #5 above may or may not have teen-agers. Some things in this neighborhood are impossible to know.

Paul Dickey won the $5,000 2015 Master Poet award from the Nebraska Arts Council. Paul Dickey's first full length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January, 2011. His poetry and flash have appeared in Verse Daily, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Southern Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Pleaides, 32Poems, Bellevue Literary Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among other online and print publications. A second book, Wires Over the Homeplace was published by Pinyon Publishing in October, 2013.

More info is available at the author's new website: https://pauldickey9.wix.com/paul-dickey.
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