I close my eyes and I see grapes. I lay my hands at my sides and my fingers come together as if to pinch at invisible stems. I count the bunches as I fall asleep…
It is cold morning. I plod down rows that tumble over landscapes for miles and miles and miles. I look east towards the muted silver sunrise, obscured by the floating drops of dew that will eventually settle on the vines. I’m inside of a cloud.
The plants look refreshed. Must be nice. I tug on a tangled vine to get to the purple meat. I am slapped in the face by a cold, wet leaf. I take the hint and adopt a gentler approach. I must appreciate that the plant feels and responds.
The vines wander from a central, robust trunk. They twist joyfully to extend their arms and, as time passes, wrap themselves into a knotty and effective embrace. The web traps the hand that plucks; the vines remember where they come from.
“Stay on your vine,” I hear from the old woman picking next to me. Yes, OK. Except I do not know where one ends and the other begins. Your vine is catching the fruit that falls from mine. My mind returns to counting the falling bunches. The ones that are not caught stain the ground and I am far behind the old woman picking next to me.
I remind myself that I am more than the buckets I fill that get dumped into larger and larger buckets and taken away in a truck. A whistle sounds and we all stand upright slowly with creaking knees. I approach the van with a sweet beard and crimson fingers. “Blood on my hands,” I think as the boss waits for the engine to warm up. We sit in silence and the van moves. I close my eyes, and I see grapes. I count the bunches as I fall asleep…
Joey Perez is a rambling writer currently residing in Long Island, New York. Primarily a songwriter, he has been collecting musings in the margins of his journals for years, assembling them into a cohesive piece for his 2016 debut EP “Unearthed”. He spent the past two years writing, recording, and performing original music in Austin, Texas under the name Joe Isaiah.
Joey has also spent the past few years penning creative nonfiction and poetry. He draws inspiration primarily from his travels, both domestic and abroad, as well as his experiences as a laborer for various odd jobs, offering glimpses into the mundane to illuminate much larger truths. His second EP is set to release in Spring 2017.