I found an F. I was walking with this kid at my job, when I stepped on an F. The world can get funny sometimes. Ha ha. Ha.

I found an F. I was at my job, with this kid, a boy, when I stepped on it: a cube, bevel-edged small; a bead: F. Like a lion thing, a thorn. Ouch, I coulda said, woulda, but this boy was watching, and I was wearing my sneaker shoes, their like-Faith cushiony soles. And the boy, no saint, like martyring Jerome’s Lion, he stopped walking when I did. He watched me lift my left foot. The cube thorned into my sneaker’s cushiony sole, like Faith. The boy’s mom is dying, so I Lioned for him: Ha.

I stepped on an F. My job is no place to Jerome, the boy is, like Faith, a great Lion. My job’s at a residence, with kids. A temporary shelter. An in-transitory place. Ouch, I coulda said, the world’s funny like that, but the boy kinda ouched before me. “ – It’s a bead – ” he said. I’d stepped on a bead, a cube, an F on its faces. Faith, so funny, ha ha.

“ – It’s a bead – ” the boy Jeromed. The kid watched me remove my F’s thorn from my foot’s sneakered sole, while I watched him. I need to, it’s my job. The kid’s is just Faith. Funny, y’ know, not often ha ha.

The kid needed be in bed, lights out: the Rule says. The house’s Rule, its routine, its in-transitory compliance. The kid, this boy, he shoulda been in bed a half-hour before; I took him to Seclusion. This is my work, my job, my I-complianced-the-kid to Seclusion. Just funny, or Funny, I suppose. Just Faith. Like where Saint Jerome would’ve found a Lion.

“ – It’s a bead,” the boy promised, his big eyes, his hair all curly. “For bracelets – ” Crafts, yeah, those Lion things staff does with these kids, at my job. I don’t craft, I just Jerome, but the kid’s got these boy eyes, all these curls. He said, “ – Arts ’n’ Crafts – ” I embrace F. The kid watched me craft the cube into my pocket, my jeans’ left-hip. It was late, my day all emaciated, past done, feeble, not-funny like the wherever wilderness where Jerome met the Lion. My day was done, as Jerome’s must’ve been. Maybe I might Lion.

Seclusion is the sorta, kinda room where kids need go sometimes: rubberish walls, blue-hazed like light, with a big, round eye of a mirror, so nobody needs look up and not find the ceilinged sky, rubberish too, so they cannot not see like a sun. Or, yeah, so they cannot not see the moon. I got the kid a ball, big, rubber: a yoga ball. For balancing spin. The boy bounced the ball, as he always did when he got one. This ball was like bigger than him, but he dribbled it, all Jeromed, he bounce-passed it to the rubberish wall, spinning, feinting, fading, and as if falling ’n’ shooting. Scoring, sure. The boy dribbled, globe-trottering, and the ball was bigger than between his legs, but smooth, balanced, he trick-move dribbled. He was pretty good, this boy. He was young, twelve, and basketball, he’d said, was not his first sport, not his favorite. But he was all right, pretty good, and he dribbled this ball that was like bigger than between his legs, like he had done the math, figured the physics. Like the ball got smaller, his legs longer. He’s no Jerome, but —

“ – Fuck – ” the boy said, dribbling, and, “ – Fuck – ” That’s a Rule, too, the house’s: no “fuck”ing. I let him “Fuck” in Seclusion. He dribbled. “ – Fucking Fuck Fucked – ” he said, dribbling, and then between his legs’ math, the boy bounced the big ball big, like to the mirrored moon, where it hit the eye. It caromed back fast, hard, it caromed off of him. “Fuck.”

Ha. Ha ha.

My Rule: don’t begin paragraphs with “I”. I’ll need begin this story/essay/thingie again, and tomorrow I will. It’s my Rule, no “I” to open, and y’ know, a kid gave it to me, this Rule thingie, another boy. Years ago, my teacher days, in Denver, my olden days’ in-transitory. I will need begin again, because that kid, his Rule, he ’n’ it stuck, some thorn thing in me as if Lioned into my sole. That kid was like a first favorite of mine, when I teachered. This boy, in this residence, is kinda, sorta a favorite. His mom is dying, in like three minutes she would be gone, so the kid got sent here, where I needed take him to Seclusion. I don’t know where his father is. I guess I should, but the kid dribbles this big ball like he’s done the math, though he’s said basketball isn’t his first sport, that baseball is. I like baseball. Baseball’s my favorite, my favoritest American thing, and this kid, this boy, he is twelve. His mom is dying, in any minute she will die. He is no Jerome, but fuck. Or Fuck. He’s twelve. He can still wish. He can still want to play. Beginnings are no place for “I”.

The kid, the boy with the Rule, he was like my favorite, then. I don’t mean to find favorites, but teaching, I did, and I do here, at this work, in this residence. In America, of its in-transitory. The kid with the Rule, he sorta saw me as if pocket his paragraph thing. That’s a Rule for me too, about my pockets: right-hip, always, blue pen, black pen, car key ’n’ house key ’n’ every sort of superfluous key, like a job’s keys. Left-hip, always, coins, any thorn-thing I find, any found or gifted fetish. I do do Rules. For me I do, for myself. At my beginnings. So I can do my own math. So I can learn trick-dribble ’n’ spin. Except, ha ha, it’s America. Rules can get all fucking fucked. And Fucked. Like Faith.

The kid who gave me the first-person paragraph Rule, like three years later, he found me. I was still in-transitory in Denver, and he found me, again. He sent me mail, an invitation: he invited me to his wedding. No one, not really ever, invites me to their wedding. Friends don’t. Family doesn’t. F didn’t, but she didn’t know I ever wished find her, and she would’ve probably found all these Rules if she had seen I’d always seen her. Rules about why I shouldn’t Jerome. That’s funny, this world, this America. Ha.

The kid, he invited me to his wedding. He wrote inside the invitation, a card, “Dear R.” Then he wrote, new paragraph,

“I would like you to come to my wedding.”
Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.

Tomorrow, when I work on this work, mine, I will newly open

The bead said “F” when I stepped on it.

The bead said “F,” and when I stepped on it, at work, the boy laughed. It was funny, and this kid laughed. He doesn’t know what I see about F. I see: Faith; Funny; Finding: stuff I see, but the boy doesn’t. He can’t. It’s not a Rule that he can’t see, but the kid, his mom is dying, in any minute she will die, and he had these boy eyes he watches with, and this curly head o’ hair. He’s fucked, as in Fucked. I don’t mean to, but I find favorites. It helps me, y’ know. My job is fun, but it’s not funny. Like teaching is. It can get all fucked. The kids can be fucked, and they are often fucked over. I get to love ’em all, and I do, most always I do. This kid I do. This boy. I Jerome.

The bead said “F,” and the kid doesn’t know what I see about F, its Folly, its Fluency. It’s Failure. Mine. He just saw me find an F: “ – A bead – ”: and he watched me craft it into my pocket, my jeans’ left-hip. It was late. I’d just got done watching him, in Seclusion. The kid’s fucked, his mom’s going to die in like 96 seconds. Yeah. Late. I Favorite him.

Then I remember: three nights ago, at this residence, we communed a group. The clinician did. The milieu clinician. In this house, in this milieu, she grouped a group. A fun word, milieu, funny, not ha-ha. In America, funny, like groups are, ha-ha.

Three nights ago, at work, the clinician communed a group. Nights, that’s a Rule, the clinician is supposed to group. The clinician did Two Truths and a Lie, her Favoritest group. She does Behavioral stuff, this clinician. She is funny like that, in this milieu. She communed the kids, for group, for telling two truths, one lie. I grouped, too. Some kids talk, some don’t talk, so the clinician likes me to group with her, to help. I think groups’re funny, not ha-ha. I like to Jerome. I’ve got F, out of pocket or not, and I see America as fun, funny, but not as ha-ha. Just Fucked, and groups are.

There was, too, this girl in the house, with this boy. The girl was like the most beautiful I have seen, sure, and like my favoritest, sure, for that then my favoritest ever. Sure. It’s such an in-transitory thing. The boy sat next to her. He had these big boy eyes, and he watched me watch her. I liked him, this kid, this boy, my favorite. But the girl he sat next to, she was my favoritest.

The clinician milieued group. Two Truths and a Lie. I grouped, but these kids, they talked. I sat in a hard-plastic chair, a Jerome chair, grouped like in a circle in the community. The boy sat on the couch, alone, almost right across from me, fun funny. The girl sat next to him, in the chair to his left, alone. This girl was beautiful.

No ha. Not ha ha.

This girl had made her hair six tones, blonde blonde, blonde white, blonde brown with some black, brown tanned tinted green, toned plum, so there was like blue haze lit into her hair, and when she showered, her hair down her right side curled, waved light upon her shoulder. Just beautiful. The girl cut, of course. This is America. Her mom’s here, her dad’s there. She cuts. Of course. The girl had these beautiful hands, these beautiful arms, and she cut these fucking beautiful gashing slashes into her arm. Y’ know. Like America. Like anger; like hate. Fear. I swear to shit, fucking beautiful. Or just Fucked.

We communed group, three nights ago. The milieu clinician did. Two Truths and a Lie. Group.

This girl, my favoritest, she said, “ – Fucked – ” True.
Like thorns, she said. Like raged fear angered. Like violence into her arm’s fucking beautiful flesh. True.
She wants to live, her Lion, she’s just fucked, with no as-in.

The boy saw. The boy saw me. The boy saw me see her Lion. I am Jerome. I as in Fucked for her, with her.

The boy said, “ – It’s a bead –
“ – From Art ’n’ Crafts –
“ – From group– ”
He saw me, this boy, and he said.

We were in group. The boy saw me see the girl. He said to the group, to this America; to this in-transitory community: Fucked. True.

His mom, yeah, True, and for her, for all of these kids, like beautiful.
This group, he lied. Crafts group, Arts group, grouping group; America.
This milieu, I wanted Jerome for him. From the French for Folly, for Failure. For Fucked, yeah.

We’re done. The kids talked, in that night’s milieu they did, and we’re done.
But wait. Ha ha.
Wait: the milieu clinician, she still wanted I group too: ha ha. They all did, ha ha.

Grouping groups is fun, I begin, Lioning. America is funny, I Jerome. Then I look at the girl, my favoritest ever, look at her arms’ angry, their hate and their rage, and I look at the boy sat next to her, his big boy eyes. His watching me. I’m old, done with in-transitory.
Baseball. Yeah.
Like Faith.

The boy watched. The boy kept watching, and he saw. “ – It’s a bead – ” he will tell me, three days later. “ – For Arts,” he will say. “For Crafts – ”

The clinician, the Rules, this milieu, the kids all went to their rooms after group. This kid did, the boy. His mother is dying. The girl, my favoritest, she is beautiful, her America’s anger, her such rage.

Then lights-out. Me, the milieu clinician, we go room to room, putting out lights. The kids do, they put out their lights, their like goodnight.

Three nights later, this kid, the boy, he says, “ – Art – ” We’d just went to Seclusion. I leave on his light, where he goes into his room, to his bed, to what he’d worked on, ha ha. A paper, he handed to me: a poster, sorta, and kinda big-lettered, penned-in penciled. He’d drawn words, I saw, and like a sun, the eye, the Seclusion moon. “For her,” he promised. “Art.” Blue penned penciled black, like a sky; like light. Faith. “ – From me, for her – Art – ” In this milieu, in this residence. In-transitory. America. Not ha ha. Just ha.