Bob Lucky

Chinese Sketches, in Which I’ve Embedded Myself

1.	I’m walking along the riverside promenade, backwards like an old Chinese woman killing time 
        before she joins her friends in the park for an hour of ballroom dancing.

2.	I’m walking along the riverside promenade, my t-shirt rolled up to below my man-boobs, 
        fanning my beer belly and balancing a cigarette on my lips while I shout into my phone.

3.	I’m walking along the riverside promenade and thinking about a cold beer while a tidal bore 
        twists its way up the river, but I don’t know that yet.


[from “Song of Myself,” stanzas 1-5; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition]
Some Questions An elephant in the backyard singing the blues, his trunk sweeping the ground on the off-beat, his broken tusks bowing the air. Where did that come from, my wife asks. An egret doing a soft-shoe shuffle on the elephant’s back, feathers ruffled by the whistling wind. What have you been up to, she asks. A chimp sitting in the rocking chair on the porch crying, wiping his tears on the sleeve of a cast-off shirt I gave him. What have you done to the monkey, she asks. What monkey, I ask. A peacock spreading its tail feather to fan the elephant, who’s getting into the song now and breaking a sweat just above its toenails. Have you been to the zoo again, she asks. Secret Agent Logic, or How I Thwarted My Assassination Like James Bond, I assume beautiful women are out to kill me. So, when I see my wife slip bottles of hotel shampoo into her toiletry bag, I say, “If I were you, I'd put those in a Ziploc bag. They'll pop open during the flight.” She never does anything I suggest. In another hotel room, my wife opens her toiletry bag and discovers her silencer is ruined, soaked in shampoo. “What should I do?” she cries while trying to distract me with a pair of lacy underpants. And I say, “Put those panties on and shoot me.” Earthquake
[from Wanderings of a Pilgrim, in Search of the Picturesque, During Four-and-Twenty Years in the East; with Revelations of Life in the Zenana by Fanny Parks, volume I, 1850, page 285]
Bob Lucky is the author of Ethiopian Time (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Conversation Starters in a Language No One Speaks (SurVision Books, 2018), My Thology: Not Always True But Always Truth (Cyberwit, 2019). His work has appeared in Rattle, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Otoliths, and other journals. He lives in Portugal.
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