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A Cold Ice Dream


Jerry Vilhotti

Johnny was riding his old trusted Monarch bike in this recurring dream of ice and dark cold. He was gliding away from his two older brothers - feeders on teats of dead cows - Leny One N and Tommy Polio who had tried to get inside him when he was six years old; saying they would not hurt him but Johnny's holding himself tense prevented them from entering his being and they said in frustration and sneering contempt - he was no longer a brother of theirs!

He was trying very hard to get home to his wife and three children but the ice was getting thicker and thicker as he slid from side to side; attempting to negotiate a steadiness on the ice that glistened beneath his rubber tires.

Suddenly, he was between two walls which reminded him of the cylindrical tube that had led into the courtyard of their Arthur Avenue apartment building where he was born and lived for five and a half years and then came the white stream of ice searching the sky for planes carrying ice cubes making lights dangle like ice cream cones go dark. He had been happy there in The Bronx - even when Leny and Tom told him that Black Jack, the man who took care of the building, ate little boys with curly blond hair and then spat them out into the very same garbage cans he always carried around with him - for his father was there to protect him.

Tina, Johnny's oldest sister who was sixteen when he had come among them out of the body of a thirty-nine year old mother in a somewhat upside-down landing snarled at him saying: "Big ears! Big ears! Your big ears will stop you from getting through the tube!" But he did manage to wedge himself out to the courtyard; scraping his knuckles to rivulets of blood that was taken by the oily wall like Kuwait was by a British oil corporation from a people whose descendants were from hanging gardens.

He could see his old mother, who really had not wanted him feeling shame at such an age showing that copulation was still going on like a Tina of Troy teenager was doing with half the guys around - one to become an eventual champion fighter of the world - and the fear that another mouth to feed would starve them all during the ice age dying of hunger days of the Great Depression created by those who thought wealth equaled self-worth, off in the far distance bending over and throwing bits of ice into the wind; the shapes of innocent babies as if heeding those with the stain of self-hate on their souls to make the little children suffer was a God given right. She said in dark cold whispers: "Don't die but die!"

Now, Johnny was even more determined to make it home to hug away any ice clinging to his wife and their son and two daughters. Looking up, he could see his father standing on the roof of the building in The Bronx, where once Poe walked below trying to make his ice demons lurking in his mind melt away into works of literature, shouting to him: "Johnny, if you ever get lost - you tell everyone you live at Twenty-four Eighty Arthur Avenue and tell them all you were my sun in the sky!"

The howling wind carried the words away to the top of Mount Vesuvius, just miles away from where his descendants were born and had called their province "Malevento" until the Romans came and changed the name to "Welcome" - imitating the Greeks in trying to make the body beautiful - swirling into snow dust; the shape of a bloody cross.

His ten year older sister Alice, who was not around to protect him when he was six because her mother put her away into an ice castle home for wayward girls for that summer though she had only stayed overnight at a girlfriend's house and was innocent of the mother's projecting a Tina's wanton ways on her, told him it was just like when she would dance with him on her knees to the songs coming from "The Make Believe Ballroom Time" that he would make it as he was always in her prayers. Alice would die first and be buried in a January ground in a place called Burywater.

The ice was now the depth of two oceans; One on top of the Other. Johnny was now approaching the hills where their modest home was and the hills were encased in long sheets of blue-green ice. He began the steep climb up their driveway. After a very long time he finally reached the top where he could see his loved ones huddled together; looking out of the little garage windows. He could not see his face in the frosted panes. He lit a flame to chase the ice away. He lit many more flames and then the ice became water.

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