A boy drowns in a lake. Another opens
his head against a steering wheel. Another
goes downtown. Into a boardroom. Into
leveraged buyouts. Into Italian shoes.
Into spearheading something. Hi, you’ve reached
Victoria Chang. I’m not at my desk right now.
Please leave a message at the beep. Never mind
the kickbacks, passing the sound barrier in
the Concorde, its needle-nosed body. How much
mahogany we all had. Cheese stabbed with
sticks our teeth tugged on. How many drivers
in black cars we said Happy Valentine’s Day to.
Each morning, I put on those shoes, legs,
nylons, sex, black briefs with texts. Each
dusk, there were martinis, drinks that said
Cocktail! No choice. Of course, starters, soup
& salad, main meal, dessert, coffee. Always
in that order. Business models. Pigeons on
ledges I watched. Dimmed rooms with white
screens, a man with a pointer. No one stops
him. Someone make him stop. My watch gets
tired from looking up at me. The next table is
once again pioneering something. I can shake
a hundred hands in an hour. Watch me.
Thirteen dollars a share. The man on the phone line
has a rope in his throat. The closing price is
rouged. We can believe in God again. The banks
are full. The streets are hungover. The man on
my left is rich. The man on my right is a month
from dead. The Champagne ditches its bottle.
The London air free-falls in the hotel room.
There are plates of carved fruit. New York is
cheering through the phone. Heaven must
be this way. Tomorrow, Germany. Then Paris.
Hello. Goodbye. Where’s the bathroom? I don’t
understand. I am lost. How much?
A man carrying a tray of sandwiches.
A woman on a cell phone. The doorman
on California Street. The cable-car driver.
No one knows how beautiful the check
looks in my wallet. $94 million. Tomorrow,
$106 million. From: IV Drip. To: Bob
Dahl. From: Ivy hiccupping up a wall.
To: John Hedge. Everyone is drunk today.
Everyone is preparing for sex today. Little
turquoise boxes with white ribbon are hand-
delivered around town today. The smell of
beef is powerful. The cemeteries are still full.
Tired of the stitched ball, line of breeze.
Tired of the corporate seats. The Samsung.
The Solectron. The Synopsys. The Pitch.
Positioning. Presentations. Tired of summer
that can’t stop its inverting. Of the cartoon ball
under the cartoon hats that keep moving.
One, two, three, the crowd shouts. Someday
the big screen will dangle in rust. The headless
field will become untethered. Someday
the rain will withdraw from the sleeping dog.
Somewhere in a kitchen, a mother will watch
the last piece of beef fall off a bone.
- Victoria Chang