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“Aw man, they don’t have any SmartWater®” says some woman

at Gate B14 in Terminal 5 of JFK. Jackie and I look at each other

and roll our eyes and whisper under our breath, “Aw man.” This is

the only thing I’ve ever wanted. Hey, sure I like sex and vacations

can be nice too and if you’re giving out awards I’ll take one

but the best is being alongside someone who just gets you, and it,

the whole stinking pile of noise and nonsense streaming by

and sweeping every one of us along. Lucky, I think, is the word

I’m looking for, looking at Jackie who’s searching in her bag for

a pen for me to be able to try and write some of this down, when

the woman comes back around the corner from which she’d previously

disappeared and says to her I think son and daughter-in-law and

their baby her grandchild, “look what I found!” in each hand

a bottle of SmartWater®. She shakes her arms up and down a little,

swinging her hips in some sort of ridiculous victory dance,

the biggest goddamn smile on her stupid happy face.

“Are we in a SmartWater® commercial” we wonder aloud, and off we go,

riffing, about the woman and her family chugging the plastic bottles

in one cartoony gulp, then proceeding to solve complex chemical equations,

even the baby getting in on the fun, nursing at the plastic nipple atop

the SmartWater® bottle then pulling out a little baby-sized chalkboard

and broken piece of pink chalk to write out, 2 + 2 = THIRSTY!

That’s Jackie’s bit, and maybe because we’re the same age and

raised on the same steady stream of capitalist television propaganda,

each and every cheesy late 80s early to mid-90s advertisement

shouting “BUY THIS” that I can absolutely and completely see it

as she writes it into my mind, the baby in cheap black sunglasses

which he lowers to look and wink at the camera before saying

in a deep basso voice, OH YEAH…


She’s sitting next to me now on the plane, asleep

against the window, and I’m looking at her

eyelids and the curve of her soft left cheek as it gives way

to the lips and mouth. I can’t stop time. Not with words on a page

and not with my futile one-word prayer, which nonetheless I slip between

the motions of the above-all-else-and-everything moving clock:

Tick, tock, stay. Tick, tock, stay. Tick, tock, stay, stay, stay.