My Kind of Joy

This man comes into the bookstore, smiling what I think is a pseudo smile, because he’s expecting me to pseudo smile at him, and like the poet who feels guilty for not recognizing his own work, and catches himself throwing it away in the garbage as if it were junk mail, and then recognizes his beloved through a ketchup stain, he asks me if I know of an anonymous place where he can make photocopies in town, and I want to tell him that he can walk out turn left, and walk straight down the sidewalk, past the character-building Rand’s Hardware, and the spirit-lifting Anderson’s bakery, until he gets to the disembodied Subway, and that behind that there is a Frankenstein called True Colors, a white building with a single door in it, where the world is marching through to clone its mouth. Then I think that his insincerity is not this pseudo smile I perceive it to be, and so I tell him without smiling that he can make photocopies down the street, and when he leaves, I recheck the garbage, knowing I don’t need to, because not needing to remember who and what I am, feels, in truth, just as forgetful. Alone then, I moan behind the counter like how I imagine the organ pan of Frankenstein would moan if it suddenly knew it were alive, and I see the customers looking at me funny, and I wonder if the horror I see on their faces might not be my kind of joy .