CENTRAL AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Duhamel fell out of Dragon’s Cafe, stumbling over filthy banks of plowed snow
to Perron’s New Look Furniture Store. In the display window a box with a round
glass ball flickering like the witch’s crystal—she rubbing her hands, attended by
her avocado winged monkeys as Dorothy sleeps in poppy fields. On this globe of
black & white, a big man dancing in drag as Carmen Miranda with silly lipstick.
Movies in your own home! Struck dumb, he imagined his forehead a camera
filming the slow blues of waiting taxies, yellow in reflected office neon where the
town’s only midget manned the two-way radio.
Duhamel buzzed as he caught the jazz-waltz hi-hat of New Haven Railroad
freight cars clicking past at 12:15. Refrigerated cars filled with dead Spanish-
speaking revolutionaries, their lives flashing out in silver glints and melted flakes
on honed rails, “Just like them Rosenbergs,” Duhamel muttered.
“Korea, Korea. Any small country where red and white zombies kill to see
whose ideas will rule the next century,” he crooned drunkenly into the
feathery swirl. Snow floated down past the lights of the Miss Carnegie Diner, its
one customer listening to Doris Day sing, “Once I had a secret love,” on the mafia
owned Selectronic juke-box. And away down Central Avenue, an electric man
steamed in his glass world, reading “the latest news” in a mime’s voice, while
Duhamel’s gut ached like a penny flattened on a rail under a locomotive.
from Duhamel: Ideas of Order in Little Canada