The Post-Recessionary Concept of Bill and Me During the Recession

for Bill Knott

Bill and I are minding the store when a French tourist
takes his camera out and begins filming us.
“You call it a store, but you just have pictures
and take orders. You drop ship dreams. Action”

We’re wondering if he’s seen our new website
so we don’t even blink. To encourage us, Jean Luc says,
“It’s all about this, what’s under the hood,”
tapping his noggin, as if we need some sign
that his one true church is Duchamp’s Fountain.

All the same, it brings out the monogrammed handkerchief
of the little hobo in me. I pose as a watercolor
of my lunch in a bottle of Beaujolais, whereas Bill
is a portrait of the artist as an old hangover,
a hint of vodka without the glass.

“Just a few more,” says monsieur.
“You have an unrequited love for Europe. Action.”
I sniff the icy cloud bank of a girl from Prague,
and the unheard music there is positively Enya
with the dull thud of the euro’s bass drum.
It never seems to work out between us.
My olive heart coughs blood in a dirty martini.

“You are winning at something. Anything. Action”
Bill’s eyes grow still as the painted glaze of a cat
in a staring contest with the neighborhood fruit fly,
and I could tell each bet the farm on this one.
When the fly buzzes off, Bill says “hoo-hoo,”
grooming one side of his moustache with his tongue.

I raise a picture of a wine glass to the camera
and say, “Santé,” and to Bill I whisper, “you blinked.”


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