“The trouble with intellectuals,” Manny, my boss,
once told me, “is that they don’t know nothing
till they can explain it to themselves.
Last night, I bought a 12-pack of tacos
at Taco Bell, not because I was
especially hungry, but because I could.
Out driving, I like to come up behind trucks
with mudflaps, chalky, slate-colored ones
hanging onto their hard jobs
I think of the sound of factories in the voice
of an old boyfriend from The Cass Corridor –
cocoon of his attic bedroom, mattress on the floor,
candle light and books in that long season of snow
I did everything right, but I perpetually had very little money.
See the men break through the early morning mistlike phantoms from a dream; their hat brims
pulled low, shirt sleeves rolled above elbows,
boots caked with last week’s mud.
Night after night Erik works alone in his bakery. His only company is the late-night radio show host whom he persistently attempts to get through to and be honored with “Joker of the Week”. He has gradually become more and more distant to his family, and all his efforts to re-establish the connection seem in vain. A growing depression hurls Erik into a tailspin that in the end culminates in a bizarre cry for help.