THREE THINGS by GENE GOLDFARB

101 PHOTOS OF MY DUMB CAT ELMONT


This was a project I took on in grad school. It was a minor course I took on to fill out my course requirements. My major was a triple, funded by a union grant through my local labor department. So the tab was half on the government and half by a trade union looking to get a foothold at a start-up factory in my town. Oh, almost forgot to tell you. I told the labor interviewer when she asked what my major was. I told her the truth. Sex, Bowling and Rock ‘n’ Roll.


She looked at me with a mixture of surprise, disgust and disbelief. It seems she didn’t know what she was doing or was new on her job. Really both. She checked some kind of directory on courses covered by this labor program. It had expanded from helping carpenters, electricians and sheet metal workers, to social workers, and eventually swamis and fortune tellers, which today they like to call “seers”. Political correctness had made great strides in the last ten years.


The directory on qualifying trades and occupations was a bit out of date and had a printed supplement that had all the secondary courses that were eligible for a young, ambitious man who wanted to contribute his knowledge and skillset, they didn’t say skill any more, to benefitting local employers in the Midwest. It didn’t matter that the union was one of stevedores and waterfront workers. It had taken on a cousin union that was filled with a local public advocate firm. The interviewer finally found what she’d been looking for, which had some kind of supplementary category that seemed to cover my sex, bowling and rock ‘n’ roll major. But doubtful she remained, excused herself and approached someone who appeared to be a supervisor on the office floor. He listened, laughed and waived her off.


When she got back to her desk, she looked at me, and said in a very serious tone, “Yours evidently isn’t the first such case about the triple major you chose. I’ll be honest I hadn’t heard about it before today.”


“So,” I ventured, “my girlfriend is out of town this weekend. How ‘bout coming out with a guy who’s dedicated to the furtherance of sex, bowling and rock and roll?”


She was ten years older than me, I guessed. But she wasn’t a bad looker. I really don’t know what made me do it. I was bored, I was aware of that. So far I hadn’t lied once about anything.


Her eyes widened, then darted at me. “You can’t be serious,” hissing the words. “I’m old enough to be your aunt, your big sister anyway.”


“But I am. We could see how it goes.” Boredom makes you brave.


“Oh, really? Let’s see. So this course you’re signing up for now…Cat photography. Seems alright.”


“Yeah, I could shoot some pictures of you, too.”


“And you have a cat named Elmont?”


“If I don’t, I’ll get one,” I laughed.


“You really are a very bad boy,” she announced, and a broad grin arose on her face like sunshine.

 

; (SEMI-COLON)


Living without you is like

being a semi-colon;

it’s breaking in on answer & response;

on the continuation of a thought;

an utterance abandoned in a spiritual wilderness;

a kiss proffered insisting on a kiss received;

it’s two parties going on under one roof;

it’s two adjacent walls painted in contrast;

each threatens—a bluff—to cross the dividing line;


it is not even an escort on a list;

more of a border guard seeing

that no one gets too close to anyone else

except in the most platonic sense;

or moves past too quickly or too far;

but lumbers on in an orderly fashion

as long as these written refugees hold on

to their own beat-up luggage.

Dancing without you is a morose twirling

stagger; it’s playing Zorba with no one to see

and no dishes to smash; it’s a semi-colon

where you’re drawn and severed

by the wild giddy horses of passion;

where the universe divides down the middle

of you and the stitching just won’t hold.

 

SOLD OUT


No corn today,

we’re out,

yes, no corn

we had corn

but no corn now

nope, no corn

sorry.

Corn tomorrow?

Can’t promise

we ran out

earlier, yes

we had corn

but I told you.

What can I say?

we still have beets

yes, beets.

 

Gene Goldfarb now lives in New York City, not being able to decide whether this is just a very modern prison or an undeserved prize located in the center of the cosmos. Inherently lazy, he loves all sorts of things not requiring too much effort: reading fiction and non-fiction, watching all kinds of movies (including cartoons), travel all over the world, and international cuisine. He enjoys writing humorous short stories and poems. His funniest stuff has appeared in Black Fox, CafeLit, The Daily Drunk, Rat’s Ass Review, and Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight.