Alec Solomita

Alec Solomita

At a certain point, it’s all loss.
You can’t drive at night any
more. Calamari gives you
indigestion. Booze becomes
as impotent as you.
Friends peel off like old skin.
Parents are long gone. Children
turn on you like it’s your fault.
And your spouse just drifts off,
thinning into the blue sky
like smoke at the nursing home’s
Fourth of July barbecue.

 


Alec Solomita is an editor and writer living in Somerville, Mass. He’s
published criticism in The New Criterion, The New Republic, and
elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in, among other publications, The
Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and
Ireland’s Southword Journal. Recently, he’s published poetry in
3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s
Head Review, Algebra of Owls, and Driftwood Press.

Say

– Alec Solomita

Say you’re approaching 64 and say you want to
write a lyrical poem about your first love. Then
say her name was Hazel Keister. Where does
your loyalty lie, with authenticity or music? Or
can you achieve both with the word dazy, the word
Easter, the first gin and tonic you ever had and
your first kiss on a warm, close, dewy night?
(Note to self: change her street name from Hurlbutt
to Chauncy or, better, Chelmsford Green.) Let’s say
her dad was Warren Keister and he was the editor
of the long-running Equality, a Marxist
publication that changed nothing but Warren’s
status. And say, or does it go without saying, that
Hazel was sharp and lovely and laughed at your jokes.
That her father had the bluest eyes and that hers
changed color like a mood ring. Say that she lived
in the enclave of Cambridge, Mass., where wealthy
Communists enjoy their love of humanity.
Imagine they had two summer homes,
one on the Vineyard, one in Ogunquit. Picture her
marrying wealthy, living wealthy, and continuing
to preach proletarian. Say you’re approaching
64 and your next love was named Peggy Hershtik.


Alec Solomita is an editor and writer living in Somerville, Mass. He’s published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. Recently, his poetry has appeared in 3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s Head Review, and, forthcoming, Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics.

Invisible


—Alec Solomita

My dear mother, God bless her,
was on the final stretch to forty-five
when she turned to me in the grocer’s
and said, as if she’d solved Fermat’s
Last Theorem, “I’m invisible.
That’s what happens when you get old.
You become invisible.
Four years, thirty pounds ago,
people could see me. Now they don’t.”
I still saw her but I saw her point.
Four years before, I was about ten
when frisky, stubbled cabbies tried
to get a rise out of my shapely dark-haired
mom, “Watch out!” she cried
when our cab nearly clipped
a pedestrian. “Don’t worry, honey,
I don’t want to clean off the grill.”
A grownup joke. She acted shocked.
I was shocked. And once on a crippled
brick sidewalk as I helped her
navigate my baby sister’s carriage,
a man with a tie leaned from his car
to sing, “Whatcha got cookin’?”
And there must have been subtler signs
beyond my ken that told her she was there:
admiring glances from women, men
whispering dark somethings in her ear.


Alec Solomita is an editor and writer living in Somerville, Mass. He’s published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. Recently, his poetry has appeared in 3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s Head Review, and, forthcoming, Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics.

Access

Alec Solomita

With thanks to Leah Xue

There’s a sensuality I find difficult to access.
It’s like finding my way around a hospital
with its five linked buildings and seventeen levels
and eighty-eight elevators and corridors beyond
count. I think it might be in neurology, but an
old friend says it’s more likely in psychiatric
gerontology. Wheelchairs roll by, and strolling,
shining doctors young as gods, for whom all
is accessible. In the Brain Fit Club, the women
are beautiful and wear fetching outfits
except for the receptionist who, like a lot of old
bats, looks mean as a least weasel, but says to
me as I wait for a printout, “Glad they decided
against the Olympics?” “Yes.” “I would’ve
left town.” “I think a lot of us would,” I say,
adding, “There’s a sensuality I find difficult
to access.” She looks up. “Tell me about it.”


Alec Solomita has published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. Recently, his poetry has appeared in 3Elements Literary Review, MadHatLit, Turk’s Head Review, Literary Orphans, and, forthcoming, Bloodstone Review, Silver Birch Press, and Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. He lives in Somerville, Mass.

Your Hair’s Sour Scent

Alec Solomita

Your hair’s sour scent
is all that seems the same.
Your gait’s gone slow and wary.
Your words scatter like cinders.
Your sadness makes it hard for
Me to lift my arms.
On the odd day your eyes know
something I don’t know, and don’t want to know.
You know where you’re going and might just want to go.
It’s as if the tide was always low
and the waves receding show the jewels
the sea hides beneath its slick black reeds —
polished stones, scalloped shells, and pearls.


Alec Solomita has published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. Recently, his poetry has appeared in 3Elements Literary Review, MadHatLit, Turk’s Head Review, Literary Orphans, and, forthcoming, Bloodstone Review, Silver Birch Press, and Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. He lives in Somerville, Mass.

You Never Got Back to Me

Alec Solomita

You never got back to me
to say why you never got back to me.

I remember it like yesterday.
Fat snowflakes floated sideways
in front of the Border Café.
We sort of half-hugged like newish friends do.
Your backpack held some leftover tamales,
and Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table.

Were you embarrassed by my clumsiness with the menu?
I think I was supposed to put the chicken on the pan
into the flat bread on my plate. But that would
be trivial, no? To end a promising friendship over a fajita?
I’ve learned a lot since then. Fajita means “little belt.”
Tamales originated in Mesoamerica between 8000 and 5000 B.C.E.

Maybe it was something else. A grown-up story or two online.
But you, a college student in the year of our Lord 2012,
would presumably suffer no vapors over sex.
After all, you’re tough, a girl boxer, winner of excruciating
spelling bees, memoirist of caustic honesty.

Or maybe it was just my pleasure in the noisy family
by our table and a loud round-headed toddler I called
“a little cowboy.” Your lips bent in disdain and you said,
“I don’t like children very much.”

Alec Solomita

Your heart is a weed,
promiscuous earth-spawn,
nasty as nettles.

 Your heart is an undocumented alien,
welfare pirate,
squatter.

Your heart is a motorcycle gang,
swollen,
savage,
loud. 

Come to me my melancholy baby.

Alec Solomita

“Hating yourself,” says the celebrity
shrink, “is classic displacement:
Who you really hate is everybody
else.” But this guy I know — well I
don’t really know him but I know a hawk
from a handsaw, weather permitting.
So this guy, with whom I have some
necessary traffic, seems able to hate himself
with a congenial bile and is supple enough
to hate everyone else with the same ease.
As an earnest young know-it-all, he
fell from a branch, hit his head
and became another kind of know-it-all.
With a little shift in the breeze, instead of a smirk,
he might have discovered gravity.

Alec Solomita

The summer bike path, dapple and green.
A biker frightens an ancient couple,
not with speed but a warning
(‘On your left!’). Baggy boys
saunter indolently, waiting for dark.
Vaguely bovine young women herd
daily-abandoned four-year-olds
by the dozen – same green shirts, same
chubby knees, tied together with
ribbon, bewildered, blinking in the
sunny spaces between the big leaves.
And, O! the runners: Flushed dismal
Lolitas, nether cheeks exposed in shorts
labeled ‘Pink.’ Starving gray Furies
grimly huffing into the foul air.
And the dogs. O, the dogs! Many
tiny, these days, and white. And their
walkers, each with his own plastic bag.

Alec Solomita

There goes Godzilla, destroying the city.
Again. The glassed in poster in Davis Square
mirrors a see-through phantom me, looking
kind of squirrely as lesbians rattle by like
smug bumper cars and the tattooed man
in the sideshow is every other guy.
“In the Valley of the Lost,” the movie should be.
Reefer drifting like sweet exhaust.
Texters on the street who walk like dreamers.
The indoor life bruited about on the cellular sidewalk,
“Ah don’ care what that ho’ said! That bitch
is dead to me! You know I mean it!” As do we all,
young man, as do we all. Oh where are we?
Tokyo should be so crowded and who is
lonelier in a crowd than Godzilla?

I begin to grow. I begin to change. Hipsters
become alarmed as I become engorged, enlarged,
enhanced, happy. I swing my arm and the
fusion restaurant across the street crumbles.
Like Japanese extras, the ice cream strollers
scramble for safety, wherever that may be,
stumbling over each other (and their little dogs, too!)
terrified through their interesting eyewear.
Mike’s Pizza is gone with a back kick. And
the little shops I snuff with a thumb—Magpie,
Davis Squared, Buffalo Exchange,
JP Licks, Comikaze, Blue Shirt Café
Every move I make is a catastrophe.
Every step I take is a disaster movie:
blinding dust, heaping bricks, shattered glass,
the screams of the dying, the stench of the dead.
There goes Godzilla, destroying the city. Again.