NONFICTION: KATIE GOETZ – Glenn Marx & The Swivel Sweeper Max

Glenn Marx & The Swivel Sweeper Max

“Take your cleaning experience to the max!”

You could almost eat off the floors at 44 Samuels Path.
Maybe that’s what Glenn Marx had in mind when
he muted the TV and ordered the Swivel Sweeper Max
he’s always wanted, but never wanted to pay for.

“…just two easy payments of $19.99!”

All this month, he’s been shining up his home
in Miller Place, NY, near the new Mt. Sinai.
(The old one, you’ll recall, is where ten tidy commandments
like THOU SHALT NOT STEAL were first handed down.)

“It’s so lightweight, even a child can use it — and they will!”

Across God’s miles and dirtpiles, I Discovered I’d been thieved.
I muted the radio and dialed a series of numbers to clean up the mess.
A customer service rep unspooled all the details, as if
combing hair, thread, and floss out of The Great Digital Vacuum.

“The brushes spin at 4,000 RPM!”

At 40 bucks, the Swivel Sweeper Max is a steal:
Its brushes are removable, it runs on a rechargeable battery,
and it collects all your floor junk in a no-touch tray.
Glenn Marx won’t have to handle the mockery of facing an actual dirtbag.

“Other vacuums and sweepers get munged up and bunged up…”

Leave it to a man named Marx to think that what’s yours is his.
I like to imagine him rolling out a perfectly groomed carpet
when I call him at (631) 474-5607 or (631) 374-4675 or (516) 473-8847
to hand-deliver a clock worthy of gazing upon his floors.

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The place you come from
will call you home someday
when it really needs you.
Like it or not — understand it or not —
you’d do well to listen.

I couldn’t have known then
what was really drawing me back,
but time is a teacher:
It was to know my brother,
fully formed,
in the crucible that forged us.


Too few years later,
three sets of headlights pointed the way
as we caravanned through the desert
to carry his things home
without him.

My dad led the way in the pickup and trailer.
My older sister drove my mom
in my brother’s car.
I brought up the rear and let go the gearshift
to clutch my little sister’s knee
as she sobbed in the scoop of my passenger seat.

A moment or an eternity later,
I found myself in the cradle of the universe —
no need for clock or compass.
To be held so mercifully —
to feel as one with all that ink —
this is God, I remember thinking.


It seemed brighter in the driveway
than the moon had a right to be that night.
We crawled out broken as a car crash,
knees wobbly as a newborn calf.

My mom, my dad, my sisters, and me —
now the answer to “Where is everyone?” —
we just couldn’t believe it,
even with a box trailer full of proof.

There in the gravel, we stumbled
toward an uncertain center.
Winter’s night could have been summer’s day:
membranes melted
until we stood
a single pool of sorrow in the desert.

Had we stood that moment
anywhere but in the place that made him —
the place where he made himself,
the place where we made each other —
we would have failed him.
We would have failed our own nascence.


NONFICTION: DeAngelo Maestas – Untitled


On the other side of town only a fifteen-minute drive feels so distant. The one place I can always let the world go.

-The place of death,

How ironic, live green grass in the summer encompassed by death and tombstones. The still air as it seems… like time doesn’t matter.

I always know where to go in that little upper left corner. One little spec, in a wave of grey and green, spread on forever like what seems to be infinity.  There she is. The stone made into a heart.

One of a kind.


A big sunflower engraved on the front with such detail.

I always bring her peanut m&m’s. Always the king size. Never more, never less. If I can, I bring her a sunflower. One with the biggest brown center and the yellowest of petals. I make sure it faces the sun… Just like her taking things head-on.

This place is dark and somber but her pink heart gives me hope. I can still see the black lettering now:

“June 5,1970- September 26, 2010.”

Her last name engraved with the finest of fonts.


I always do things different just like her. I put the peanut m&m’s in the flower holder. I lay that one beautiful sunflower on her heart. I like to think her actual heart was this big. Loved everyone. Me, my brother, anyone kind. I still hear her voice. Her calm tender touch. I feel it embrace me.


I don’t wanna leave. The place of eternal sadness brings me true happiness. The thought of seeing her again. I run my hand across the stone, say my goodbyes and let her know I’m doing just fine.


The spec of hope in a world full of darkness. That… is who she was.




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