Sometimes I'm moved to do a righteous
violence, but I've learned to turn away
and decompress, content with
doing my toenails--"Raging Pink"
always strikes me as the color
of calm and tender. When my old
criminal tendencies wince deep
beneath the scars decorating my flesh,
I let my penitentiary memory rise up—
Curls was a fine girly-boy who did
many a damned and damning thing
behind the Big House bars, but when
he escaped the hands and howls of
the other demon dogs, stuttering my way
in an effort to settle himself, then
our nightstick realities relaxed
into softwood, all 'cause that boy
asked to paint my toes. We're talking
the simple act of cradling a stank foot
and forgiving, making an ugly thing
brighteous with enameling that whispered
of a second-chance world that could smile
at all things manicured, silly, and quiet.
My wife knows and nods, mirrors
that ten-year felony jolt by gussying up
my big ugly crookeds
with the small brush; she uses
the word "cute" which I want to hate
but I have no time left for hatred,
no gift for sustained anger expressed
with knuckles or jacketed metal.
I still have a glossy photo
of that boy Curls all bright-eyed smiling
through his signature false eyelashes.
Scott reads "Glossy":
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Scott confesses: "I teach a creative writing course, and one of my assignments involves writing from photographs. I am quite taken by the rough-edged characters in Daniel Woodrell's fiction, and 'Glossy' grew out of reading Woodrell and photo poems."