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Once from China - by nate


i'm in this 清真烧烤 reading rushdie—all right, ahead a myself—i'm always in muslim restaurants reading rushdie. and they're always like "你看什么书?" and i show em the cover and they just sort of shrug, then open the book to a random page, scratch the head, open to a different page, scratch, blink, try another page and another as if, all of a sudden, the text will suddenly break into chinese and they'll go "!" and know what it says. it ain't pound, though, it's rushdie, so they don't, they won't. byline could say "tub o. lard" for all they know. could say "fatty fat fatwa" for all they know. i point to the calligraphy on the wall and say, "hey, does that say ibrahim weizir allah" and they say "我听不懂英文" and i say it's arabic yo and look at my watch to see if it's friday while they laugh and shake their heads and call me neuropathy.

one time ann asks me three times to tell 'em she wants pork. my thumb like i'm hitching jerked at the photo a the ka'bah behind me.

so where am i... oh yeah. a cute girl walked in. it made me smile.

women's underwear up here tends to cover, oh, about half the thoracic vertebrae. but they still wear the same icanseehalfyrass jeans that inspired my former employer to write a dress code telling women not to wear low rider jeans that show their panties—but not to not wear panties, neither. i'm waiting to see a union suit. under a miniskirt.

oh, yeah, so this girl walks in and she's cute. her panties are seafoam and they don't cover half her thoracic vertebrae.

i evidently don't have vertebrae, under my thorax or anywhere else, cuz i don't talk to her.

or i just don't care.

cockroach comes scampering out, judy jumps in the air, i don't kill it.

cuz i don't care.

they're in the apartment checking for damages cuz i'm—now that summer's here—gonna move way far way down south—where it's hot and sticky and sweaty and people say "we can go to the beach, it's full of salt water!" and i can feign sniffing my armpit and go "so am i. or, was." and nobody laugh, smiles cracked in confusion.

the chemical composition of urine.

by train or by plane the question of the day, chuckie in china my ass on a hard seat thirty hours doubleplus, my ass flying coach maybe zhou at the airport maybe not. today i'm sober and stood up and seated and bored. the monitor's having problems. issues. colors becoming other colors. two years ago i coulda gotten technical, but i've been recently admonished for getting technical. so. see. !

ennui everyday, and a car on every sidewalk. the gated community of the global village.

sugar in every gas tank.

筷架 in christina's purse.

lint in my pocket and blood in my heart.

bump.bump. bump.