Lou Storey’s writings have been published in The New Yorker, New York Times‘ “Tiny Love Stories”, PROEM Journal, Beyond Words Magazine and in various academic journals. He works as a psychotherapist, is committed to anything that tells a story, and lives on the New Jersey coast with his husband Steve.
Listen—These sounds, they push against nature. The wet rush of tires accelerating into asphalt distance, the proverbial lonely train whistle. Trite, I know, like melodrama violins, yet it gets to me every time. And that warbling ambulance birdcall, a warning; that could be you headed to the ICU. I love these noises.—I am telling all this to my husband Steve. We are in bed, another Brooklyn monsoon winter.
Listen, I say again, as the long rumble of a sixteen wheeler gearshifts its way down Ocean Parkway, following a stream of ruby taillights, diamond headlights, dazzling high beam just outside our window. It’s romantic, I say, seeing him squinting, as if willing me, his crazy husband, to make sense. You mean you’re in love with noise pollution? He asks, clapping off the light, rolling over.
I remember a guy in my college dorm who had an aerosol horn -he thought tormenting us all with it was a blast. I hold that remembered horn now to Steve’s resting temple and press the trigger. I imagine him jumping out of his skin, jumping right out the window, right onto Ocean Parkway just in time to add a momentary squoosh to the indifferent rush of traffic.
I have killed him off, yet again.
His breathing softens into small gulps that catch and pop, increasing in volume until it beats back the traffic, even the lonely train whistle is muted as his steady roar peels the paint, rattles our soot speckled shades.
Sew a ping pong ball into the back of his pajama top, I hear my Nana advising, nodding her head to punctuate her certainty. She so wanted to share her hard earned wife-wisdom with granddaughters, but I, wrong gender but right attitude, was her only taker. A lifetime later, I got my man. And Nana, no one wears pajamas here in the twenty-first century.
I consider rolling Steve over on his side, but I don’t want to stop his music. This time the sound, this lung-fueled aria, is sung just for me and not from something running the other way, that intangible out of reach message, forlorn, lonely. No, he’s right here.
Listen—Mister Noise Pollution, my Love Song.
Housebound healthy inside
windows invite me outside
gilded frames that dress painting flesh
furnishing importance, acquiescing center stage
Solid rectangular share of landscape
a shutter lens Kinetograph capture
the hidden MSG potent spice
elevating into sharpness each savored visual
The curtained performance begins, the dais
drops away, humble space holder
bestowing boundless animation vignettes
dandelion sun, primrose moon
The unblinking eyes of this house
yawning open mouth keeps alive
these weary hard- turn walls
Revived with every breathe
Housebound alive inside
The window invites me outside
past final horizons, undefeated
glass paned freedom-giver
Carries me further than
I could ever hope to go
Today I Heard Your Voice
In a crowd
behind my left shoulder
a tease into pointless searching
your absence no longer a number
years beyond fingers and toes
details of you scrubbed with rough
intention, sharp red pencil edits.
Yet I hear it, your voice
it echoes down hallways
taps at dark windows
refusing to rejoin
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