by Daniel Joey Oakley featured in Issue 0 of the raffish
I still dripping from a cold shower, me mum asks in taped glasses: Ma Zeh? It’s Yiddish, from Poland, immigrants who on Easter hid in the oven, but in AMERICA! shared one car which, “If you were lucky!” once a summer would carry them out over the wilds of Jones Beach.
I am sea-change convert showerer—free blood spikes!—from a month in a coldwater cabin, writing wresting wrestling soul’s CURSE book into submission (WHY. WON’T. YOU. STAY. DEAD.)
I bought my momma a Benz, I bought my booboo a Jag
I can survive on beans. Drink back-pocket whiskey. Strip. Save for the Tennessee backwoods before signing devils’ dotted lines.
Man, provider? Man need meat, fiy-ah, need wo-man
Mums handled not driving anymore like a class act. I just want to buy her a ride to synagogue. To groceries. The funeral. Is it so life of luxury that the modest woman get her hair done?
The job was to begin poetically post-Labor Day. Headline: Oil-centric News Takes Offense To Covering Climate Policy. Subhead: And The Record For Shortest Tenure Goes To...!
Typeset: Be a banker now? Lawyering like Father Dear? Work made Pops cuckold Mumsy and ultimately die? And the Newsies waving copies: Fat Man Leaves Behind Enough for Son to Go Be Artist For a While Op-ed: And what of all my unborn babes? Sing—I guess I didn’t try hard enough—their lullaby?
There was a moment there, viewing the Total Eclipse from Yellowbird Art Farm outside Nashville, encased in soundless seaglass: Everyone fell silent, and black burned cool in a ring of a power. So too now does this beachside Victorian hotel—we splurge a few days a year—host more melanin than in its history.
Burn black your rings of power. The Universe has spoken. For what do moms’ magical mobiles run on? Fairy goddust? Particulate soot of Our one mother It ain’t easy being noble/rich/the societal value of art And this one strata on a spectrum so less lucky Lately we ask: When did you give up on your dreams? Not: What is the search and rescue of your heart?
So in all, honesty. Heap the scale with ugly truths. Leave the sauna naked and honesty, that frigid spigot, is a trad jazz trad toast from my (now) privileged half: May you be in heaven two hours ‘fore the devil know you dead.
Daniel Joey Oakley is a novelist, former energy analyst, and clumsy adventurer. He is currently freelancing while surfing the frigid Irish Sea, which had initially seemed like a good idea.