Laura Glenn

Brick Wall A little group, roughly my age, relaxes in lounge chairs outside a brick building. I sense the easy connection between them ≈ warm waves in cool air. They don’t look familiar, yet I recognize them, as people I half-know. Without saying, I make it clear I want to share the intimacy. So, I’m delighted to be handed an orange brick— feel its rough heft, and see my initials baked in; until now I hadn’t noticed the small letters scattered across the wall― or the brick-shaped opening lined with mortar. I insert the brick―viscous paste blurring the lines around the edges―and complete the staggered pattern. When I try to align the brick, I lean against the wall; it gives way like a revolving door I stagger through. On the other side, I’m now alone in a room with an exposed brick wall, a tidy bed with comforter of delicate flowers and vines, a desk and chair, and these words―each a brick of varying size. I start to build the end, or beginning, of the dream. The Exchange A man at a table with three empty coffee cups jumps to his feet: “I do!” A woman behind the counter had just announced: “Who wants a free cappuccino?” As it’s handed to him, he surveys the café, apologizing for his greed, as “Of course, someone else might want it,” he concedes, noticing my saucer eyes. This joe’s not ordinary; mine featured two swans aswim on foam—the space between their heads and necks, a heart. He says he’s nursing one that’s broken; I think he detects some hidden pain I don’t have, and asks if I too need a pick-me-up? doesn’t wait for my reply—he traverses the room and with silent panache, taking pains not to spill one drop, or disrupt the brown-and-white feathery valentine encircled atop his cup, he fills mine halfway up Writer’s Retreat Breezing through the city, weaving in and out of galleries, watching light bounce patterns off windows full of flouncy clothes―I fear I’m just a flaneur. I enter a café treat myself to latte, pull out the Montblanc I was gifted years ago: I’m no mountebank. The authentic self is where? It’s good to explain I’m in Montreal writing, exploring, renewing, while I ground myself visiting my son: when I feel unreal this validates me: “No one can be a poet all the time,” a teacher once said; constantly creating even myself—a work in progress, in motion, commotion, not accomplishing enough: I hole myself up in a room with an exposed brick wall―a castlet, mini-monastery. Or am I confusing gaol and goal? There’s a block-wide power outage. Time stops: the clock doesn’t blink. There’s a candle holder, but no candle; an oil lamp, but no oil. I’m in the ink-to-paper stage, working by the light of my computer. If blocked I’m undeserving. Who can think and feel deeply, perceive uniquely all the time? My pen runs out; I etch the page sans ink― my best lines invisible. For company I read mail: On short notice I’m invited to a literary costume party. Away from home, can I pull this off? I could go as myself: too arrogant. I fret in the dark, then dream of masked identities. Come daylight I’m squandering time in the tacky Halloween store: a mustache speaks to me. I stop at the local epicerie for a bag of madeleines; then don black pants and jacket I hide my braid in. I stick on the ’stache, and scalloped sweets in hand, who wouldn’t know I’m Proust? But the room I enter is full of plainclothes writers; one even says, “I came as myself.” So I take the prize and in my meager French say, “Je m’appelle Marcel.” Laura Glenn has a book of poems, Can’t Say I’m Lost, out with FootHills Publishing. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including, The Antioch Review, Boulevard, Epoch, Green Mountains Review, Literal Latté, Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Poetry, Rattapallax, and the anthology, A Fragile Index of the World. Her poems are forthcoming in The Cortland Review and Theodate, among other places. Laura Glenn is the recipient of a CAP fellowship in poetry and a poetry grant from AE Ventures, and she is working on a second book-length manuscript of poems. Also a visual artist, she live in Ithaca, NY, where she works as a freelance editor.