Two Bits
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Two Bits

 Youssef Alaoui-Fdili
 Youssef Alaoui-Fdili
Two Bits
by Youssef Alaoui-Fdili  FollowFollow
Youssef Alaoui-Fdili does what he can to keep himself in ill-fitting shirts and crusty underwear. His fingernails are four inches long. more been mistaken for Howard Hughes at more than one juncture, he now wears Kleenex boxes for shoes while holding a tin cup, asking for donations of a million dollars or more. To date, his ploy has been very unsuccessful, garnering multiple fines from the prefecture. At least there are no bedbugs in the jails of Gay Paree. Youssef has spent much time with the dowdier whores at the lower end of Rue St. Denis, in the Vieux Halles. Bed was a fresher place with them.
Two Bits
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Manhattan has had indigestion for over two hundred years. What started as a hiccup has matured into a complex, multi-chambered stomach of rought iron and concrete. The streets are intestines. Holland tunnel, the asshole. Central Park, the lungs. I can see the city breathing in front of me, moving in the trees. The American flag is a uvula. It purrs occasionally, atop the pole, way overhead.
You can find yourself alone in New York. Truth is, you most often are. Manhattan is a lonely human-making machine. It is a psychological phenomenon that infinitely perpetuates itself, due to a certain geologic property; it is the largest and oldest deepwater port town in the country.
This city summons, in one way or another, every person on the planet. There are probably at least five representatives of every country in the world, at all times, on any street corner, on any five block cross section. Likewise, any act, procession, ritual or procedure humanly possible is taking place in the space of a single day on this city island. So if it can be imagined by the human brain, you can bet its happening right now in Manhattan.
Now here’s a blank page that beckons. This dusty cushion is a sure score. Street-found flop couch. God knows where its been but I’m only here for a few days. Yes. The desert is raw and quiet.
A 23 year old little missy with the narow butt last night taught us to shoot straight pool. She’d been learning for just under a year herself. She promised us that once she gets that handgun she’ll shoot back. But just in self-defense. Played with snakes and javelinas as a child before the tiny spot of Marana, AZ was even a spot. I’ve seen it. The bus stops at an adobe liquor store. Some plumpish white women, two, entered the bus there, on my way down. One of them went straight to the potty. The other, a blonde, sat just behind and across from me. Wore glasses. I felt a beam from her face for the rest of the ride. I think she might have wanted some conversation. Well. No luck for her. I would like to get back to that bar and the narrow butt woman. But its not worth the trouble.
This fukkin paper is yanking useless lines of ink out of my pen. I can’t put anything worthwhile down and yet I won’t stop. I feel the moment ending. M returns. N and T are finished practicing. The four of us converge on the front porch. Speaking that Frenchy thing. Its good. French is a language meant to be whispered. Sort of a pouty, mushy little language, somehow massaging syllables. -Voom- Right back to a similar moment as before. Deja vu? M comes up the step and through the door and that’s about it. T and N never appear. I hear their voices over the wall of the porch. The paper is still here in my hands.

This thirsty little pad is demanding to be lubricated with ink hashmarks. A fly licks my finger. The low afternoon sun lights its abdomen like an amber bead. My toes are numb from crossing my legs. A woman across the street cooes at her children. She laughs now and then, then voices sternly at the dog. The freeway swishes. A distant dog yelps. The sun resigns. The breeze lightens. The leaves jostle. A car passes, brakes squeaking. Most cars do here, from dirt in the drums. Flies wander and probe. The trunk of a car squeaks. Its lid responds to divots in the dusty street. The walls soak sound. The neighbor paints. My note pad beckons. Dishes clank and crash inside. My stomach would feign hunger at this moment, but responds as if sunburnt; bushwhacked.
The people are still, yet moving. Active, yet sticky. Sore, yet grateful. Well-behaved, yet inefficient. Thoughtful, but brave. Innocent yet reticent. Everyone ready. The sun yellows. The trees jostle. The setting sun pulls air toward it. The air glows and looks toward the sun. The neighbor lights a pipe. Marijuana most likely. Might be thinking of offering. M’s voice nears the door and fades back into her room. She’s speaking English. N approaches the screen door. Light decreases in quanta. The breeze continues. The ocean is far. The mountain is bathed in thick yellow light. Stomach groans. Bladder full. Sun dips below a roof. Hank Williams song creeps out the door. Mood changes. I will watch the rest of this sunset without words.



  3 years ago
I love the line, "If it can be imagined by the human brain, you can bet its happening right now in Manhattan."
  3 years ago
Also, I like the juxtaposition of New York and Tuscon. Either of these could be chapters in a longer work.
  3 years ago
I enjoyed reading this. A slice of life that could have been mundane, but you made it very entertaining by your writing style. I hope to read more of your work.

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