"Tangled Up In Alice (October)"
Have you heard the phrase about a lie going away for the weekend with her lover and getting back unnoticed before the truth even gets her dress on? You can clearly make a good case that that applies to a certain one of Alice's friends whose name I'm not allowed to mention. But having said that, you can take every single line from Blood on the Tracks and make turn it into somebody more profound than anybody even Alice has ever met.
"Just North of Avon (A Fairly Recent Vera)"
With each passing year she notices a greater and greater need to drive down NC12, pull off and watch the ocean. Doesn't matter the time of day. Or even the month. The only priorities are a turnoff with no cars, being by herself, and maybe a warm enough ocean to jump into.
"The Need To Be Organized (Kate One Evening a Few Months Ago)"
Do you keep the silverware all in their neat little compartments or let them go free range? Do you really brush and floss twice a day? How's that laundry hamper looking lately? The constant struggle of being organized and responsible vs saying fuck it I need to go to the beach today. And then there are some days Kate just needs to get laid.
"One Night at Tortugas Without Company (Vera)"
Some are them are okay, she'll admit. Nice enough barkeeps dispensing nice enough bourbon with nice enough personalities. Some of them will even give her a decent shot when she smiles and plays with her hair, giggling a little at selected comments. But what Vera needs tonight is just a healthy pour and then to be left alone with her own regrets.
"Waking Up in the Giant Mushroom Forest; Jane Has Her Hands Full"
In Jane's dream she gets a call from her sister saying that Madonna's sister is asleep on the railroad tracks and she can't get her to move. So Jane hops on her bike and the two of them manage to pick Madonna's sister up (who although being very small is abnormally heavy). In the struggle to carry her, Jane's hand sort of accidentally has to hold the Material Sibling by her boob, which strikes Jane as both embarrassing and oddly funny.
"Decay and Rust; Ivelisse in an Abandoned Mill off Route 522"
I dig upwards with teeth and fingernails. I force my head through moldy floorboards. Pigeons flap. Mice scatter. I listen for your gears turning but the only sound is the November rain dripping through a rotten roof. So I turn a dial. I flip a switch. I open a valve, and listen to machines cough rattle and sputter, then grind rasp and collapse. The power's on but all that's left of you here are vandalized rooms and rusted gears.
"Not Quite Washed Away; Jane in a Different Hurricane"
Jane lies silently in an ugly beach hotel room, remembering a different beach hotel room. There was a hurricane going on outside, and she and her lover were taking polaroids of each other dressed in various hats and sometimes bedsheets. The hotel moved in the wind.
But being at the beach is not like being anywhere else. The ocean eats away at everything near it, not just the shore. So she lies her little head next to mine and feels the slow grind of this hotel as it slides slowly downhill towards the sea.
"Traveling a Midwest Backroad; Alice Takes Photographs"
I'm taking photographs of an Indiana cornfield, with a run-down equipment shed nestled in the back against the woods.
I'm taking photographs of the way light surrenders to the inevitability of November.
I'm taking photographs of the time and place I want to be kissing your shoulder blade.
I'm taking photographs of how, ninety-seven times out of a hundred, people get exactly what they expect.
I'm taking photographs of all of the ways that fog makes my life better.
I'm taking photographs of you.
"Having an Elaborate Imagination is Often Helpful; Ellery's Recurring Dream"
She goes to the Kroger and buys two packages of crescent roll dough. She makes a twelve inch tall version of the Pillsbury Dough Boy with most of it and eats the rest raw. She puts the little fellow and a Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottle into a little bed that she's made out of a New Balance running shoe box and some old Sears catalog pages. In the morning she and Mrs. Butterworth go to the beach after she's turned the Dough Boy back into a giant crescent roll.
"An Alternate History; That Night Vera Came Back From the Beach"
I'm not talking about what you oughtta believe - so don't go thinking that - but there are things you don't know. There aren't that many people who know the Vera that I know. So just keep in mind that there are always (at least) two different histories - the one that's revealed in photographs, and the one that's true. And yeah, I was the one sitting on her porch that night.
"The Turtle Ponds Near Sherando (Monterey Long Ago)"
Monterey tastes the water flowing into her. Monterey is a pond all overgrown with vines and bushes and water spiders. Monterey has a muddy bottom. I call her name and irritation ripples across her face.