Back Alley Blvd.

March 20, 2008
By jacob fox, Ball Ground, GA

A slouching figure, leaning against a dirty window. A carless wind blows whimsical leaves across cracked, oil stained pavement, rolling them in graceful cartwheels. He places his hand absently on the old brass door handle, polished smooth by years of use. Smudged glass, peeling window shudders, faded paint, soft breeze, blue birds. Reflections elongated in the sides of shiny cars parked in the shade, and shadows cut into long, thin ribbons by the sunlight, velvety shadows on hard pavement. He is one, and he is a thousand. He is every shop boy or dish boy shoved into a back storage room or dirty kitchen, forgotten, just another piece of unreliable equipment. Wearing a clean smock, or a dirty apron, gazing emptily out at the still life presented by countless basement windows, unclean portals into neglected byways. Old cigarette butts crammed into dirt filled cracks in forgotten sidewalks. He peers from beneath bleach stained baseball caps, with dead eyes and lanky thoughts. Sand flecked mortar looks to be squashing out from between the bricks that frame his window like petrified red lace. He moons dreamily after the pretty girls, driving by in their sparkling convertibles, wearing large sun glasses with their hair streaming out behind them in the wind. Plastered brick walls splashed with gold by the setting sun light, staining them with pure, unnamed color. It is the light that makes it beautiful, he thinks, the sunshine peeking around every corner and from between every cloud. The clouds looked like splotches of white paint in a Van Gogh picture. He is in a place where all thoughts stray, and the mind gets stuck in the same monotone plain. Dreary, flickering fluorescents cast shadows on his youth, and withheld sighs flood his head. He feels as if he is strolling down an endless corridor, the floor covered with a soulless carpet covered with the maddening design of dentist’s waiting rooms and banker’s offices. There are no doors, or windows, just black and white photos hung crookedly on the walls, photos of people staring at their feet and walking in circles, eating their ties and trying to fall in love.

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