III. Sunday in Creve Coeur Memorial Park
of Furious 7
the entire Fast & Furious
franchise is just so-so, the power walker muses
as he goes over
the opening scene carnage:
two hospital workers huddled
behind an EKG machine—
an armed SWAT team slain
and scattered about the hospital
hallways, elevators, lobby
—the sinister assassin casually walking away from the hospital,
back turned to the grenade about to explode. . .
—BOOM! screeching away
in his Jaguar F-Type Coupé R!
The power walker shakes off the difference
between here and there
and strides ahead with a dedicated pace
along the Creve Coeur Lake path.
It’s the quietest place on earth. He hums the chorus
of a Doobie Bros tune to drown out the bloody Furious scene.
Some dogs bark.
No one cares
about who you are, or who you say you are—
they care about belonging and they care about who
can accelerate that for them, and who can blame them
for wanting to feel like they belong and who. . .
Yadda! Yadda! Yadda!
—the world is harsh
and the comforts
‘76 was the same year
I worked as a Sea Hatch busboy—an upscale
seafood restaurant in the Westgate Plaza:
half shopping mall, half corporate park with a Marriott.
According to the menu, the Sea Hatch legend reads:
“Spawned in the fresh clear waters of the oceans
of the world and then tenderly harvested
and air freighted to our doors. . .
If you look about we think you will notice
how management combed the world, literally,
to acquire many of our accouterments.
For example, our dining tables are all ship hatches
recovered from sunken vessels in the Caribbean,
brought to St. Louis, sand-blasted,
and then treated with a special epoxy to expose
the magnificent oak graining.”
American mink, river otter, yellow coneflower,
rose turtlehead, plains pocket gopher, red squirrel,
Bagel Factory, pied-billed grebe, woodland vole,
Quesadilla Company, eastern cottontail, muskrat,
Il Bel Lago, southern bog lemming, Pasta House Co.,
pine warbler, Lion’s Choice.
On a stone bench by the lake, a young guy, maybe 16, strumming his guitar, and
a bigger guy, with a thick beard (for his age) is standing next to him singing
along—a proud and gregarious baritone. The song is a duet about rejecting
fatherly advice. Some more friends mosey around the lake’s edge: a few Imo
pizza boxes, Marlboros, Busch beer… it could almost be a picnic, except for that
one dude, his name escapes me, wasted on quaaludes, flicking his cigarette into
the void. Balthazar! That kid’s name was Balthazar!
But everyone called him Ballsy,
which, of course, he didn’t like. I also heard him called Belief
because his father was a Pastor, anyway I’m told he now runs
a gun-shop out of a Sunoco station in Crestwood.
In Autumn, the red and yellow leaves rest
on the cracked face of the Falls. Pay attention
the Falls calls out the squirrels, no one
is saying the circumstances make good impossible.
Newlyweds pictured on glossy brochure
holding hands, a wavy blonde
affluence, her bright print dress,
his striped bell-bottoms, leaning against
hours unknown death
Under a clump of bushes, two teenagers are
in love, they look up at the stars. . .
it’s around midnight. . .
they talk but they stop suddenly.
Four orbs cross the night sky
—one announces how fucked up he is
and slams the Bronco truck door.
The sound of gravel turning
beneath their boots,
unsettling the serenity of the lake.
The lovers behind the bushes stay
still. . .
one last stoned
guffaw wild in the distance. . .
It’s so quiet, can you hear?
The face of the Falls is rested,
the folds in the limestone, more
the majestic wrinkles of an elephant than
the eroding steps of an ancient ruin.
Is haunting the thing that doesn’t last?
The dreaded aura around the parked truck?
Where did they go this late?
Does the park ever close?
What’s the best way back to Fee Fee Road?
A different day but the same trail, the power walker takes great pleasure in the routine
of his Sunday exercise above the bluffs, looking down on the empty
gravel parking lot littered with cans of beer.
Getting back to love, or more
accurately, love loss, since everybody is singing about it,
making up stories about the heartbroken
leap from the Falls—who’s there?
A cop points
to a sign nailed
to a tree: here lies the city!