Jonathan Montgomery

The Closest Thing to the Sea

The 28th Street McDonald’s parking lot was pretty big and the Applebee’s next door had just closed so there were lots of empty spaces.  You didn’t have to pay for them and no one from McDonald’s was going to come out and hassle you for not being a customer.  There were many seagulls and it smelled like Filet O Fish sandwiches.   It was the closest thing to the sea in Boulder, Colorado.

I would dock my taxi-ship there under the shade of the trees, roll down the window, let the air come in my nose and go “Ahh.”  At lunchtime other workers would come and throw down their anchors next to me and we’d nod at each other thru our windows.  All the sail-vans and pickup-boats with ladders on the roof and company phone numbers on the side doors.   The hardworking Mariners of Boulder taking deep breaths as they sprinkled extra salt on their French fries.  The birds going “Tweeg, tweeg, tweegull.”  And we’d all think what a nice little harbor to escape to during the mid-day storm of job.

My parents used to take us to a beach on Nantucket Island every summer but it was never as sea as that parking lot.

Word had it a Trader Joe’s would soon open up where the old Applebee’s was and then the busy shopping people would need all those spaces.  It would once again become middle-America landlocked pavement and we’d have nowhere to dock but the sea of our own imaginations.

My Fingernails are Scattered all over the Streets of Boulder, Colorado

As I drive down the streets of Boulder I put my fingers in my mouth.  I put the nail between my teeth and snip it and then tear it back until it comes off.  Then I pick the nail out of my mouth and look at it.  Hard and white sliver.  “Mm,” I say and then fling it out the car window.

Cab Stand 11th and Pearl, Fox Theatre 1135 13th St, Boulder Theatre 2032 14th St, University of Colorado 1700 Colorado Libby Hall Farrand Hall Baker Hall…

I’ve been a professional driver in this town for 10 years and that means 10 years worth of fingernails have been flung out on its streets.  There could be so many still out there.  Lost in the grass, stuck inside birds’ nests, piling up in great drifts in the alleyways.  How long does it take for a fingernail to decompose anyway?  They seem a little bit indestructible, don’t they?

Boulder Community Hospital 1100 Balsam, Boulder Transit Center 1400 Walnut, Table Mesa Park n Ride 5170 Table Mesa, University of Colorado 1700 Colorado Sewell Hall University Memorial Center Folsom Stadium…

My nails all over town.  Interrupting your day.  A nail flying thru the wind at your face.  Heaps of them blowing out of hand, scratching the pavement, climbing up the walls of buildings.  No one knows who they belong to, do they?  No one’s doing the DNA Test, right?

Outback Saloon 3141 28th, Darkhorse 2922 Baseline, Harpo’s 2860 Arapahoe, St. Julian Hotel 900 Walnut, Boulder Outlook Hotel 800 28th, Boulderado 2115 13th, CU 1700 Colorado Engineering Center Music building Wolf Law…

So many nails.  Ten fingers and they keep growing back endlessly and now stronger from daily multi-vitamins, SCRATCH.  Why not just trim them with a clipper and throw them in my bedroom trash can? No.  They need to be in my mouth.  There are people punching my car out there cuz I won’t pick them up.  There are passengers who demand small talk even when I’m in my ‘quiet mood.’  So many pizzas years ago got there late.  And my novel needs to be finished now.  My novel needs to be finished before now.  It needs to be finished but I’m always driving a car for work instead.

29th Street Mall 1700 29th, Taco Bell 2450 Baseline, Frasca Food and Wine 1738 Pearl, Flagstaff House 1138 Flagstaff, Naropa University main campus 2130 Arapahoe, apartment 2011 Goss, house 2060 Grape, San Lazaro Trailer Park 5505 Valmont

Come here nail!  Suck suck snip.  Fling.  Take that, finger and body, take that Boulder, I’m nailing your nailtown and nailstreets with my nailnails.  I confess it is me who is causing the city’s Nail Issue.  And I’m not going to stop because they don’t stop growing… and IT doesn’t stop.  You know what IT is, right?

Carelli’s Fire!

Carelli’s is the Italian restaurant in the shopping center on 30th Street and Baseline, right across from the Williams Village Dorms.  And there is a fiery cauldron outside its front door.  Orange flames shooting up into the night until they close.  I can see it in the distance as I’m driving down Baseline and it makes me think maybe I should finally go in there one of these nights.  I’ve never actually gone in but I appreciate the fires drawing me in.

Carelli’s Fire.  A landmark for me.  Passing it every weekend in the cab.  Driven past so many times I forget it’s there sometimes.  How can it not be invisible when you’ve just picked up the freshman who says, “I bet you make mad bank at this job.”  And you have to say “No, man, I’m poor, I’m one of those poor people you hear about.”

Carelli’s Fire!

When you look at it that way, the words in that order, capitalized with exclamation point, it’s the Mythic Knowledge! The Hot Soul of the Gods! Something that can save me I think!

Ohhh, The Fires of Marketing make me look and I like it.

Restaurant, you don’t have to do this torch, but you do.

Carelli’s Fire, a never ending supply of gas.

“Look at that,” I’ll say to all the college girls jammed into the backseat.  “It’s so bright orange.  So wildly rising and falling.  Where will the wind tell the flames to go next?!”

But they don’t answer, cuz they’re not listening.  And maybe Carelli’s Fire is only seen by me.

Carelli’s Fire, some instinct from within that needs to be witnessed with eyes and escapes out of me as hallucination.

That’s it.  I’m the only one who sees it.  The elements of me projected outward I’m sure.

And where will it ignite next?

Pearl Street Fire?

University of Carellirado?

Infernosfree Poetry Bookstore Weekly Tuesday Open Cauldron?

Oh man, next time I pass Carelli’s I’m going to stop the cab and get out.  I’m going to jump right into the flames and make sure they burn my whole body.  “Carelli’s Fire!” I’ll yell out in pain.

Carelli’s Fire I’m going to find the hostess to get seated.

Carelli’s Fire do you have gluten-free pasta?

Carelli’s Fire show me your hot menu, I’m finally coming in.