The weekend is full of anger

The weekend is full of anger: anger at the people who decide what must be eaten and what must be said; anger at those who speak but do not listen; anger at those who follow the speaking with mild condescension, smirks, and outright laughter.

The weekend is full of memories: people come back from the dead time bridging the past and the present. We eat ribs and drink coffee and heckle the waiters. She looks at one with such intensity that I am surprised he doesn’t notice. Her stare takes him completely. He’s married. I become curious.

I remember a man’s daughter, three years my senior, who fell off a horse and got trampled. She’s here, in the city. From what he said, she hasn’t grown. I’ve grown. He hardly recognizes me.

The weekend is full of hope: I start to believe in fate, only to reconsider a few moments later. I rationalize it by thinking that I did not want to go. I wonder if it would make sense for someone to believe in fate for themselves, but not for others. I start to think that it doesn’t work that way.

Trieste Two

“Hey buddy,” he says each time I walk into the cafe.

The building is situated on the southwest corner of Dwight and San Pablo with a column supporting its front corner. It’s a rather awkward architectural design, because you have to avoid the column on your way in and out. Outside, on San Pablo, there is a bus stop directly adjacent to the building, and also the aforementioned sex shop and fancy restaurant. Across the street is Cafe Gratitude, or some other such liberally named establishment. On the opposing corner diagonally across the street is a liquor store, where Teddy usually takes an old shopping cart to buy ice by the twenty pound bag.

Cafe Trieste has several tables lining the San Pablo side of the building where the usual locals (a tall older man with a cap who looks like a disheveled construction worker) smoke and drink house wine. The tables are next to several bay windows which are often open in warm weather.

The cafe itself seats thirty people at most. On days when Papa Gianni is present signing opera, there is a standing-room-only crowd which spills out onto the sidewalk. People stand inside, some with cameras, listening to Papa Gianni (who must be at least 80) belt out traditional opera and watching him down cups of espresso. Whenever he’s there, I tend to walk in and order a quick vanilla latte to go before heading back to my apartment. Papa Gianni’s appearance always deters me from studying at the cafe.

I come to the cafe late at night to read and watch people sit around and drink wine. The cafe also has a delectable assortment of pastries and cakes. My favorite is the white chocolate cheesecake. When I started to run out of money and food, Sam would give me free coffee and food whenever I showed up. I’m still amazed at his generosity.

You can’t fail if you don’t try

So I’m trying. Here are a few literary contests I’ll be submitting work to in the next few months. I’ll probably be adding on to this post later. I found these on the deadlines section of Poets and Writers, here. They’re arranged by reading fees and deadline:

No Reading Fee Contests:

The New Esquire Fiction Contest

No reading fee – submissions of 4,000 words or less based on these pre-selected titles:

1. “Twenty-Ten”
2. “An Insurrection”
3. “Never, Ever Bring This Up Again” (this reminds me of DFW’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”)

Deadline: August 1st

Memoir (and) Memoir in prose and poetry contest

No reading fee, online submission system – 10,000 word limit or 5 poems

Deadline: August 15th

Contests with Reading Fees:

Literal Latte Short Short Story contest

$10 reading fee for up to 3 pieces, $15 for 6 – paper submissions only. 2,000 word limit.

Deadline: June 30th postmark

Narrative Spring 2009 Story Contest

$20 reading fee – 15,000 word limit for fiction/nonfiction

Deadline: July 31st

Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize

$20 per piece reading fee – paper submissions only. 10,000 word limit.

Deadline: September 1st

Literal Latte Personal Essay contest

$10 reading fee for one piece, $15 for two – paper submissions only. 6,000 world limit.

Deadline: September 15th postmark