the beauty's in the leavingRead aloud here.
sweetheart, let's head out. let's
drink up the desert asphalt and that last bottle
of johnny walker blue--
one last toast to the copper sunsets,
to the good earth. a pair of
tailgate stargazers, you and i:
roaming curves across the glove compartment map, until
every foldline is worn flannel-soft
and it'd rather stay open
let's forget route sixty-six. let's forget
and pick up terra cotta dust--
breathe in the mojave. let's pretend
that the world's already ended
and it's just us.
let's leave the door unlocked
PurposedTireless a secret that I was meant to digress.
Hollowed and moving a fortitude I was made to lose.
Rendered by life to give light to a dark world,
As I love her I’m stuck hiding even as I count words exposed.
Still moving no more decaying,
Seeing blood and years mixing the umbilical fears.
I plead to forget the memories only to consciously forgive.
The breaking, the pressure under,
To see a calm likeness to my dreaming preference.
Repay the highest priest with what’s due,
This new life too much to bear as I continually shatter.
Like window panes of open intimacy,
Blended then forged into idolatry lost wax casting.
Knowing I am free yet wondering why I can’t turn my back,
Resolving to look for the key other half.
The world’s betrayal of a time and place in a boy’s confidence.
I stumble, the temperature drops,
I leave the body of what was fiction,
Though I will never lose the memories of a time when I wanted justice but instead accepted victimhood as unreali
to the woman who eats cold apricotswhat didn't you give to yourself?
you must see it in me, how i wear
heels like i'm not sure who put them
on. how i don't talk about the ones
who put me on my knees. how i stay
there now willingly. i wonder if you
ever swabbed the back of your throat
like stroking the swathe of scales
sheathing a snake or if my acts are
the physical manifestation of what you
have been trying to do for years: pull
out the shame. i wish i could love myself
half as much as the love i wish i could give
because i know that i pinch my thighs
like you know i dream of pleasing you know
i can't sleep like you know i eat like you
go mute like you drift through memories like
you. the limitations, those persistent lip
peeling lines, where i want to tell you
i can't decide what disgusts me more: the excess
or the inadequacy. the part where i buy the
two-piece for the beach or the part where i
am scared to wear it, where i wonder if poseidon
will turn me into a sea urchin for my unsightly
audacity or pity the
Bowlesian Sonnet-en if this paper in your hand was once
an Aspen, thick with sunny leaves; around
the base of wet and living wood, a ground
that reeks of life and death at once, then conc-
-entrate, and know at least in brief the grand
machine you sleep in, twitching fingers, won-
-dering just how one feels a texture, sun
lights warmth, bare prickled skin, bare feet in sand.
Oh this body. How I will tend to it
seventy-five or eighty. How I will
bend arthritic knees, by five windows, still,
the summers passing. Faithful friend! Now, bit
by bit, you close each window to its clasp.
This paper in your hand was once an Asp-
decemberist dreamingpurple rings over the hills
so noticed at the close
of the solstice long day
now the sun has set
and the dark hangs higher
blackened hills below
tell of where the days
have been and above us
the unavoidable truth
as ginsberg said
I am a ripple on the wave
she told me how we can
and so I did saying I am
angry! waves rolled and
crashed saying punch me
putting my fist through calm
I found a mirror of depth
and I asked how can something
so beautiful smash into
huts and living things draining
back into calm
as if you need to ask said
the mirror of thought
when all parts of the ocean
consist of water
on the beach lotus flowers
growing in sand
now this is impossible
and I am dreaming wide awake
good red wine a poetry book
and the moon over the sea
I have fallen out of love
with love itself
the lesson of repeatable
and replaceable I know
and I choose my empty
hands knowing water
will always run through
until my night is purple
at the dusk of the solstice
they are still sitting
on the sof
defeatheredand this is where we bury our hearts,
between self-defeating personality disorders
and burnt bridges and midnight ramblings
we promise ourselves aren’t true;
embedding our memories in forsaken homes
like it is a conscious decision to shed
our wings (reptiles don’t fly)
and maybe I am the monster of every
myth: wide-eyed and jagged toothed and
looking to regain a piece of myself the
world borrowed, many moons ago
as I falter and stumble over my own unaware
feet, wreaking havoc, reeking of self-acquittal--
all I ever wanted to do was belong.
dreams are flaws much like the hearts we
flaunt on our sleeves, and I seem to
have lent all mine away; I am
something entirely ignorant, in the dark,
believing fingers fumbling can find answers.
they never told me reflections are backwards
and the world spins the wrong way and
hurricanes are really an embodiment
of all our own withdrawals:
but one day, these walls will crumble,
and I will learn to breathe in dust.
6 . 7 4 6 117 miles from the
town I grew up in,
there was a river, and a
a hundred heart-jumps above it:
with a walkway to the side that
didn't feel wide enough.
59 miles-an-hour, as
with each nervous step, your feet
prayed to the concrete,
and cold wind would beat
at you between
green, rusted rails,
just to remind you how high up
you really were.
Every once in a while,
there would be news that
someone had "jumped".
walked out to the middle
[or just where it looked high enough],
with the wind colder
than usual and the
feeling solid for once,
they'd put their hands on the
covered in lovers' etched
prayers to time,
they'd gripped tight onto it
as they lifted one leg,
then the other,
Darkness Smells Like RosesDarkness Smells like Roses
I blew the stray eyelash off of her cheek. She shivered as my breath brushed across her skin, but she didn't wake up. Instead she nuzzled the back of her head further into my shoulder and kept on sleeping, her even breath keeping time with the grandfather clock next to the couch we were on. My arm was falling asleep, but I couldn't bear to move it and wake her. I also couldn't fall asleep. I never sleep when I spend the night with her. All I can do is lay still and silent, watching her chest rise and fall in steady rhythm. There was a clawing noise against the cloth covering the back of the couch. Puddles, Emily's cat, squeezed his way up from behind the couch. His eyes looked disembodied in the darkness, his black fur melded with the black couch and the dark of the night.
He purred at me as he moved languidly forward to snuggle into the crook of my neck, right above Emily's head. I was just a popular guy tonight. I let Puddles bury himself into the
My Friend, the ReaperChloe bit in the curse as her coffee spilled all over her hand and down her skirt.
"You're twenty tomorrow and you still don't know where your mouth is," Mel snickered and dragged Chloe into the bathroom. The cold water was worse than the burning coffee.
"I think it's going to be one of those days," Chloe grumbled. She snatched her hand back and turned off the tap, then rolled the toilet roll until it cascaded onto the floor. She tore it off and wrapped it round her hand. "Thanks, Mel."
Her friend's face was red with suppressed laughter and her shoulders trembled. Chloe could even see those huge hooped earrings shaking. I swear everyday is 'one of those days,' with you. You'll probably trip into your own grave."
"That's a little morbid." Chloe grinned.
Mel shrugged and said with mock gravity, "You know it to be true." Lightening her tone she continued, "Come on, Danny's waiting for us with our suitcase."
"Dammit," Chloe said. She splashed water onto her skirt, then tried futilel
Pocket UniverseI can smell the typewriters beneath your skin
metallic, halting, smudged vibrato
wavering note stretched out far beyond
the edge of the universe tucked in your front pocket
breathing out in time with your heartbeats.
All along the wall I find notebook pages
old teabags hung for too long, green flakes whirling
while you sit in the lean of the willow tree
and watch the play that is my life
chew the scenery; the stage collapses with a groan.
You pull your scarf in
and wrap the scars in burnt umber
while the show goes on
pray into my collarbone
let your snake tongue slither
with the syllables.
i wish for soft-chested nights,
and the trickle of champagne down crystal glass.
poppy-lips, lull me to sleep,
nurse my coiling tongue with yours;
tap my scalp like a silent drum,
and wind my hair in between your fingers
like broken guitar strings.
(serenade me with the buzz of pollen in your kiss.)
Our DutyWe swallowed the path home
Because we were hungry,
Though starving is an ongoing
Story, an empty bag
Dancing in the streets,
Full of an unfastened voice
Walking through the house,
Wind unchained, heart admonished.
Heaven fills its eyes, crawls away,
That sleeping boat content to follow
The vacant waves, intervals
Of dying that we dare not interrupt,
And we watch the kind ear shrinking
From our charcoal docks; heaven
With a full stomach crawls away.
This is what we were put here for.
Vanguard, Chapter 1: DuncanDuncan's Journal: Day 1288
I consider myself a good man. I respect women, elders, my equals, and the dead. I say a morning prayer, and an evening one. Hell, I even thank the gods for a meal, instead of immediately chowing down in the voracious manner as the other soldiers here do. By all logical means, I should be in paradise. No really, not just because I'm a good man, but also because I should be dead by now. So I ask myself: why, oh gods up there, have I ended up in hell?
1288 days. 1288 days of my life have been spent in this misery, and I'm beginning to lose faith in the glory I was promised. Some of the rookies still live in their ignorant bliss, but I've lived long enough to realize that there's not much glory to find here. “Sing the songs of glory and march into battle—-join The Crusade today!”. Such were the words of the posters The Crusade has spread all over The Mortal Realm. Gullible fools practically stand in line for these songs of glory that th
Stuck The car sputtered and shook as it came to an almost silent stop. The engine had gone silent as the horn beeped loudly through the dark night. The orange gas light blinked mockingly at the woman behind the wheel. It was making fun of her; she knew it was making fun of her. Grabbing the black cellular phone on the passenger seat, she looked at it with full intention of calling somebody to come help her.
“Oh, what the hell?!”
The “no service” sign was mocking her at the same exact time. The horn beeped loudly as she slammed her head against it once again. The day was out to get her in general. She had arrived at all her classes late, and her son was sick with the flu. The babysitter was able to watch him as she went to her late night classes. Giving a heavy sigh, she lifted her head off the wheel to look out the window. Drops of water pooled on the windshield as rain started to fall in a pitter-patter pattern. She didn’t quite understand the message th
Red Letter Day - Prologue
So here I am, writing.
I’m writing, I’m writing – just as you told me to.
I’m writing, I’m writing, I’m writing.
Have you ever noticed that when the sun goes down, this flat changes? It does. The walls are white during the day and lingering brown at night. During the day, I’m with you and the light from outside paints the walls that heavenly color. But when that sun goes down, the demons wake and I’m alone again, even though you’re just a room away.
Somehow it seems less threatening tonight, and I think it’s because you’ve given me an assignment to try and fight off the darkness. You gave me a stack of papers and a pen and told me to write everything that comes to mind.
It’s a strange feeling to have complete freedom. These empty pages are mine to do whatever I please – I could even wipe my ass with them – but they’re also terribly intimidating. The blank page has always been a nemesis of man. It&
i don't think im alive enough to die yet.we used to play russian roulette on dingy street corners,
cigarettes hanging from soot-blackened lips
and morphine running rampant through our drugged up systems.
i remember how i was always shot.
you ran away when i didn't die
and left me to bleed out
onto the cold concrete.
but you don't understand-
dolls and wallflowers are empty inside,
and hearts constructed hastily with broken matchsticks
don't beat true. it's just dull thumping
in a hollow chest cavity.
(and even the best dentists can't fill this one up.)
CrossroadsShe's at a crossroad again.
If she recalled correctly, then this was the fourth time in her entire life. She tentatively places a foot forward, on to the cool glass. Decisions were never my strong point, she thinks. Knowing that this could take anywhere between an hour to a few days, she takes off the bulky coat, spreading it out before taking a seat in the middle of the cross-section. There weren't going to be any passer-bys after all.
Wait. I've...I've never looked back.
The thought crosses her mind for less than a second, but it clutches onto the messy vines inside her head and before she can stop herself, she's turning her head around looking over her shoulder and gazing into the mist-filled street. It's murky, grey, dark, and filled with heavy rain.
Why have I never looked back?
She doesn't know if that's really a question, or if it's something she's asking herself, but she definitely finds the confusion that comes with the thought loathsome, at best. Deciding
The Curious and Peculiar Tale of the Simonov TwinsThe Curious and Peculiarly Tragic Tale of the Simonov Twins
I have done most of my post-doctorate work alongside Dean Eroslide as he ran Harry Loaine School for Boys. It was a tiny little establishment, set up in a series of pathways and cottages that made up the dormitories and the 'holistic' and 'traditional', designed to accommodate Dean Eroslide's philosophy of natural living: 'clean and untouched life energy regulates all chakras and promotes a positive educational environment'. Needless to say, Harry Loaine School for Boys was a parent's last resort, when everything from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Interventions and to Involuntary Hospitalization was never enough. The Dean had no degree of any sort other than a few licenses for Chakra healing and Reiki, so the entirety of the upkeep of the facility remained on the shoulders of these desperate parents--and of course the government kickbacks the School received for keeping me as a full time Child Psychologist
The NecklaceCliché Hallmark cards
Always start the waterworks.
Even at crowded restaurants.
To know.... it's a piece,
Of my Mommy Jean
Shaking, beaming, crying
As that slim white gold clasp
click... for the first time.
A feather's weight
Instantly at home on my collarbone.
Slit-eyes red and swollen
That pendant-spot between my breasts
Scratched and red
From shaking hands,
Grasping for anything to ground me.
Tremblingly closing that slim white gold clasp
click echoing with tears
Heaving my duffel up my steps
And down the hallway,
To my last door on the right
Dropping it and a gasp
Hands immediately undoing
the circular clasp at my neck
Frantically grabbing the chain on my dresser
Breathing slowing as the heavier chain,
But lighter pendant comes to a rest
click and my breathing becomes regular
Sighing as I flop into bed. Home.
White Christmas Love LetterI'm writing to you from underneath a streetlight, watching the black curve of the asphalt road lead away. Soft whispers of wind passing dark and silent while the rain falls, white music over the rooftop of the world like silk and dust and static in the dusk. I look for the light flooding across the open sky, a red blush that makes me think of you, the rosy hues of your cheeks underneath the soft hush of snow on a Winter's day in Florence. The white blanket's tread covering you like a child with a cloak.
I want to lay you at my feet with that white Christmas, the soft flight of your heart beating with mine, your chest pressed to me and our hands entwined under the pale oblique fall of rain and ice in the dark. Flowers bloom here for Christmas, but not for me without you. Across the world, the blossoms fade and die with cold, their loveliness more beautiful for that fragile flame, extinguished under a damp, light cloud. A moment lost is precious simply for being a memory.
Here, the air s
The Feral Dance Of InfinityBodies held together like Pangaea
shaking, trembling, turning,
the translation of foreign emotions,
and days spent speaking in tongues
on latin skin.
a phenomenonYou are a trajectory from which I have fallen, Moon-bound
Earth-boy. With height and speed your molecules shifted;
I dropped away by degrees – further, then further.
There must be all the sky between us now,
but I taste your dust with my fingertips,
BreakfastYou told me she had died in a hospital bed
With her glasses on
So that she could see Death properly
And I picked away at my breakfast,
Which was pancakes and strawberries,
Trying to imagine
Her squinting ahead at Him
With her dying eyesight
The pancakes were dry and store-bought
And my plate was a pool of cold syrup
When I had finished,
And my hands were stained with the sweet blood
And you took my place,
Picking away at soggy crumbs.
Soldiercigarette between his lips,
tar-induced lungs struggling to inflate –
struggling to make sense
of a war
where men are only equal
when they're dead.
Twenty-three years before the crippling of Crown Prince James III
He was fourteen and she was probably aged about the same, give or take a few years. It had been an hour since he'd met her.
He hated her already.
She scowled behind him and likely shared the sentiment as they scampered up the hillside in a desperate attempt to escape the roaring mob that seemed to be growing perpetually larger and coming ever-closer. Gabriel would have liked to say that it was all her fault he was in this situation, though it was his careless nicking ofwhat was it? A chicken that started the first old woman running, but how was he supposed to know that she'd stumble and fall and everyone else would think he'd assaulted her?
He hadn't. He'd taken the chicken, snapped its neck and run, because he hadn't eaten meat in weeks and he was starting to feel the affects on his already weak limbs.
This is what happens, he thought. This is what happens when you live like th
Some say it brings beauty
Some say it is the pinnacle
I dare say I might agree
If it only didn't feel as perjury
See form to me is hypocrisy
I as an artist, choose to be
Chaos despite the world's ordering
Read these words and see simply
that form is the pinnacle of my misery
Shove me in a box and package it well
Throw me on a shelf and sell sell
I don't care if you publish these words
I don't care if you think me absurd
Art is expression and my soul is chaos
My heart pumps fire and my lungs breath sulfur
See, no but do you see? DO YOU SEE?!
Form is great when practiced with care
It gives order and meaning that wasn't there
But I dare say that for me and my ilk
Form is that of which prisons are built
I am wild and untamed and my soul grows anxious
I can smell the blood in the water
I feel so vivacious
Thesaurus me and you might find
A glory of work you cannot define
For if you choose to let emotions run unkempt
You might find that which S
Dreams of realityA pair of eyes;
Open and stare through the lights,
Into the darkness of doom.
And yet they smile,
Yet they smile.
A drop of tear;
Seeps through the garden of death;
Falls to the mortal soil.
Dreams and desires will blend again,
To render the roses alive.
I am floating through a vision.
Like ripples, floating through the pond of life.
Can reality be so real?
Let me drown again,
Into the silence of familiar noise.
As I wander through the lanes of reason and passion.
The flame of hope burns bright,
Drenched in the colors of freedom.
So let my dreams unravel my soul,
As darkness fades away;
And let mortality draw me closer to destiny.
As these pair of eyes,
Open to stare through the lights again.
Is this reality?
Can reality be so real?
Time passes by, as the eyes keep staring;
Staring at the distant lights;
Staring beyond the distant skies.
What do they see?
What do they long?
What do they desire?
Then the skies will break down;
White lightning striking the dreamy clouds.
Moments will tur
Crown of ThornsShe wakes up with red staining her pillow
and the taste of blood like iron in her mouth
It stains her teeth and leaks from her lips, and as she
rinses her mouth out, she can’t help thinking that
it’s better than dirt and ashes
it feels like she’s wearing a noose
of broken promises and shattered glass
that tightens around her throat with every day that passes
She nails a smile to her face
and doesn't let herself think the word dying
Bedtime Stories : The Tree That Was Seen*The Tree That Was Seen*
Once upon a time, on a planet far away, there lived a little tree. But this was no ordinary tree, no, this little tree could speak. She could speak to the Sun, oh what bright conversations they would have! Every morning he would greet her with a loud, boisterous HELLO!!! and then the two would talk for hours.
They talked about the brightness of his light, his magnificent rays, the perfect symmetrical shape of his body, and how healthy he made her leaves. But before long, the Sun would go to sleep, and a smaller, dimmer, shy little moon would appear in the sky.
He watched over the tree every night, but had never, not even once, said hi. The little tree, being a lover of the day, would fall to sleep, and wait for sunrise. And so it was every day and night, the Sun would shine, the Moon would pass by.
Days, turned to years, and the tree grew strong in the Sun. The Sun, would gloat about what he accomplished. "Look, dear Tree, and see what I've made you! I'v
Mind PicturingThe eyes are the mind's camera
The pictures I take of you are stored only in my mind
However, sometimes I wish I could print them
So you could see yourself
the way I see you
Embody My DarknessBe my darkest nightmare-
the position must be filled.
The day-to-day won't scare me now;
I want something that will.
Maybe it's a secret,
hidden deep inside my heart;
but once revealed, you can be sure
it'll tear me the fuck apart!
Maybe it's a memory,
simply eclipsed within my mind-
and daily I'll go searching
for things I don't want to find.
Maybe it's when I realize
that I'm a broken, evil man;
and no matter what is said to me,
I refuse to understand.
And no matter where you point me to,
I'm finding my own way-
ignoring the consequences and not caring what they say.
And if I'm not a lifeless wreck come the closing of the day,
won't you embody all my darkness
as to keep the light at bay?
SpellSometimes I ponder,
To a place far
my thoughts wander,
to a question
What is it that makes a spell?
Its tiny, torn paper
tea dyed by age;
a carefully chosen rhyme
scrawled across the page;
the hint of intent
be it good, bad, or neutral;
the elements invoked;
belief in the ritual...
hidden in folds
escape, run, go;
I can't but sway
hope drips away.
I must listen.
Still I wonder:
make the effects linger,
the torn paper
doomed to failure?
Sit down for a spell,
to the rhyming old croon;
as she tells her tale
The Girl With The Jackalope SmileShe always told me her life was a cake walk
But I'll never understand what kind of happiness comes from
Crushing pastries under your foot
She could stitch sunshine along her wrists
And leave the rest of us in the dark
Trying to paint our own cerulean skies
And leaving us all bereft when we only managed
To stain our skins blue
And she could dance a two-tattoo on the arch of moon beams
Licking her diamond lips to taste something more
Willow wick finger tips gleaming with still flames
Tempting a hand into her grasp so that she might
Burn life back into our hollowed bodies
She traced constellations on her lungs
So she could breathe the star dust
And have shimmering breath all year long
Instead of just in December
Her canines glinted when she grinned
Candle drops of light shinning in each tooth
And melting our hibernation patchwork
To reveal our summer skin
Her veins surged with hot apple cider and wildfires
And her cigarette smoke smelt of burning wood
Her orange and red
The Old God, Savitrॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।
The wind blew sand into your nonchalant soul,
and your heart coughed. I entered the circle
at night, and I was consumed by fire. I did not
know of you then. I have fractured myself into
a thousand souls: but they are all whole, for I did
see you in my absence. Yet you? - you
were sailing, and your head was
full of water light.
I was significant when your mother poured out water
in a copper pot from a balcony; water, which
caught and held the moon, and then spilled over
with a quiet radiance. You wondered whether
the moon l
I AmI am single,
but I am loved.
I am not a genius,
but I am intelligent.
I am not breathtaking,
but I have beauty.
I am not a saint,
but I am kind.
To the world,
I am not perfect.
But for someone,
Half a Life"Once upon a time I was child-like
I was a cute little bastard, one of a kind,
Looking through the telescope at the star light,
Standing in the windy fields without a friend in sight..."
As I walked through this life of seething pain, spilling so much blood, it was pouring like rain. I never pondered at the thought of what I could possibly gain in this circular existence of hatred and misery, like an animal unchained.
Baby, you know I kept on running and gunning, building up this false image of where I didn't need anybody, I was stunning and cunning. Bullets were flying and the tides were rising, and yet all I could think of was:
"Once upon a time I was child-like,
I was a cute little bastard for the longest time,
Without a drop of sickness in this blood of mine,
Now I have a heart left dark, and scarred by life"
I often wondered why I'd get carried away, every time I'd drop kick some stranger that got in my way. Were they helping me? Where they fighting me? I could never ever tell, it
PilgrimI'd been alone in the wastes for near ten days when they found me. The building I'd holed-up in might have been a bank, might have been a church; I wasn't going to call it. But its walls were stone-built, and most of them were still standing.
Meals of tinned mystery-meat, and only-slightly irradiated water had kept me alive as I picked through the detritus. I found little more than empty, rusted tins, and kid's toys that had survived the fallout. That is, until I turned up the device; some relic that still had power. It came alive in my hands, splashing blue light across pitted grey stone and orange rust.
Of course, I was far from the only one interested in that trinket. My first warning was the quake; stones shifted beneath my feet and rusting I-beams groaned overhead. Still, that was more warning than most got, and I wasn't about to waste it. I grabbed my pack and ran.
I burst out of the shaking building, arriving at a cratered street. I didn't stop; the quake was hot on my heels. An
for frost: we need not live in vigilwe don't have to split a fork
in two (or ten or six); may then diverge
our Paths along the path
not finite, un-impossible? you
may have rule and road, miles and
sir. the Hoarfrost gathers great
on you, like winter on the words
you forged from wood and wakeful spurs
remainders); like ornaments
that decorate dull
in any other season.
you are boxed and labeled, kept
in the murky & foreclosed adjunct space
that borders the heart but never enters
a tease of a tease to touch
the lives of those who happen by
i've left minds more open and
know travels- even in the way
everyone travels- that will carry me
for miles until i sleep.
Little Miss It“Do you enjoy her company?”
That, Avadaci concluded, had been the extent of his grandfather’s kindness. Thank the stars he had broken his neck after a failed attempt to ascend the castle staircase. Not that many were privy to this information. The official listing on the cause of death involved something along the lines of falling in battle after slaying at least a dozen demons, although this was treated with quite a bit of skepticism by the general populace. Yet, interestingly enough, a decent portion of the locals believed a tale about the cannibals of Unkhtom devouring him whole.
Not that Avadaci really cared how his grandfather had died. He was just glad he was dead. And if he was glad his grandfather had died, Avadaci wondered, why did he have to attend his funeral? In fact, the whole kingdom was glad his grandfather had died. Why did they have to attend the funeral?
“Oh Avad,” proclaimed his mother, “obv
on old sanzu - absolutely true fictionlast fall i stole my friend down by the tama river. we sang. we danced. we skipped dead fish like rocks and watched them get swallowed by the undertow. we got sick off of bad chinese food and went skinny-dipping and then a week later she drowned herself.
her uncle was a yakuza, i think, but he really just wanted to be al pacino or something. anyway, she loved him a lot. maybe that’s why she went down the way she went down; cement shoes. not real cement, but it was the same idea. she had two cloth bags with yellow-painted cinderblocks inside, and they were tied to her ankles like the prisoners’ chains from o brother where art thou.
in my mind’s eye i can see her, limping dreadfully close to the edge of the current, her left hand gripping at her breasts through a loose t-shirt. kneeling by the wastelands, elbows in the gravel, crawling forward out into the water. angry like a dermis under wool, all teeth and salt and sand. sleepy, submissive, sublimated.
I Belong To You I hate rain. Not really, I love it. Just not when the most beautiful, perfect, wonderful, perfect, comfortable, waterproof, perfect coat in existence has been savagely butchered by my so-called friend’s Dalmatian. Every slap of rain on my naked arms is a stinging reminder of the irreparable hole in my wardrobe.
Some people might try to fill the void with lesser coats but I can’t bring myself to betray Valentino, even after her death. Instead my slippery arms grapple with each other in wet shock as I stumble to the op shop, clinging to one last thread of hope. I know in my deadened heart that I’ll never have another coat like her. Yet here I am, blundering through the elements in my vain search for the acceptance and warmth I found wrapped in Valentino’s woollen sleeves.
Thud. My body slams into the door, making the ‘open’ sign quiver and the bells tinkle in offense. I fight for entry, the door’s assault doubled by the stale funk of
PetalsThe grass tickled between her toes as her father toiled away with the roses by the letterbox. She watched his fingers weave between the thorns to pat the soil around each bush, humming to some John Lennon song she couldn't put a name to. Despite the sun just tipping the horizon, she saw sweat prickling his brow and his eyes squinting against the light. The fine lines on his face were suddenly accentuated by shadow, and for a moment, she swelled with wonder.
'Maria, come here,' he said, waving her over. 'You're not going to learn anything sitting all the way over there.'
Excitement sparked her limbs into motion, and she crawled over to sit next to him, careful to tuck her skirt beneath her thighs to avoid the dirt.
He picked up a pair of clippers from beside him. 'Now, you need to snipe back these diseased parts here and there from the base of the plant. It helps it grow better.'
Snipping off two pieces of wood with ease, he deposited them in Maria's outstretched hand. Their rough textu
At World's End LITTLE BOY
boy girl r e
c o n c r e t e r
I Dream of CeresA sci-fi pulp.
The Cerean Anthem blared out of the speakers of the cell’s viewplate. Trandon was awake beforehand, out of habit. He wore sonic-strength ear plugs just so he wouldn’t have to listen to that fucking song. They were proscribed items for that reason and he had paid out the nose to get them, but they were SO worth it. After the jingle came the news. This was worth watching solely because of the buxom newscaster (he had heard that the reporter in the women’s cells was a hunky dude, but he didn’t know for sure). She covered the usual shit; buy Cerean, work hard, brush your fucking teeth so you don’t cost the government a pair of dentures.
The work listings came on and he stopped looking at the woman’s chest and at the numbers that crawled up the side of the screen.
“Due to mishaps in the Level 23 dry-docks,” -people died- “the completion time for the freighter Chalmar Truntz is behind schedule. Ceres Astrowerks is
ClippingsYou press down on the lever, straining for the sound you adore.
Sharp metal blades clamp down, and a strip of white breaks free. One more snip to go, you've been waiting for this. You slide the clipper a touch right; you squint as you adjust the blade's position; too far and you unearth new fleshy depths, too near and you’ll waste a snip. You take a deep breath and tuck your elbows closer to your ribs. Pull your head lower, closer. Your chest stops rising, the soft whooshing of air from your nostrils stop. Control is vital!
A little white sliver does a dainty somersault flip before falling into darkness. You see its little curlicue flip, but you must move on. You are on a mission, and the goal approaches. Victory will be yours, must be yours. None must survive this purge.
But the sounds you loathe are always loud and clear.
"Are you cutting your skin again? How long have you been at it?! It's all over the floor! Oh my god, your finger
Pieces of Junk, UnsortedShelves
It’s been over a decade since my parents first bought the house, but the garage looks as if it gets cleaned once every century. It may just be my imagination, but I’m sure that a colony - a community – of spiders lives in the farthest back reaches of that garage. Don’t blame them. It’s easy for a body to get lost in the musty air, the blank smell of dust and cement. Even the neighborhood squirrels know this, and exploit the never-sorted-through storage shelves during the winters.
The first time I saw my father cry, he had been talking to me and my brother out in the garage. A sunny day provided the backdrop as he had just been exchanging bitter words with my mother. We felt the discord, just as real as the dust motes in the air. Asked, like kids will, about his day, his friends, anything besides the pain in his face. We hoped he’d be able to smile and let the argument go. Just because we tried to laugh, doesn’t mean that
After We Lost HimWe found the church three days after we lost Dick, buried in a copse of trees three miles south of the city. Looked like nobody had been there for weeks, but in this world, best not to take chances. I went in first, keeping Jamie behind me.
“Remember, you see someone, you run,” I said, keeping a firm hand on the pistol I’d picked up two weeks ago scavenging in LA. It’d been a lucky find—fully loaded, well kept. It was maybe half-full now.
She nodded, her chin steady, eyes bright. “You got it Mom. But you’d better be right behind me.”
I would’ve laughed at that three days ago. Now I just nodded back, and slowly opened the door. It creaked, squealing on rusted hinges. Still, the wood felt strong.
We’d been right. The place was deserted. Fifteen rows of pews, a plain altar, a few statues of Saints I couldn’t remember the name of. The only sign that anything bad had happened here was the broken crucifix—Jesus had been
Heartless Automaton - A Love StoryCombat Mechanoid 732 of the 3rd Armoured Battalion - though he went by the name Al in casual conversation (something easy for the fleshies to remember). During service he had dragged his ferrosteel body from the flaming wreckage of a particle tank on four separate occasions, once going back in to recover the memory core from a crushed comrade's skull. He dedicated himself to the cause not because of the propaganda or idealism, but because it was his job (and unlike the fleshies he knew how to do his job without whining, or stopping to rest every couple of days). But now the war was over (with both sides claiming victory) and Al was to be sent into civilian life.
The press releases had been careful not to suggest that mechanoids were considered alive in any way (because that might make someone begin to consider things like their rights and privileges), but instead focussed on how they might benefit the human (fleshie) population. They were told that the mechanoids would offer valuable a
time to paint
a shiver’s shape
each side of a sigh
this morning's taste
of yesterday's goodbye
FlightPeople will say many things, will deliver platitudes like so much detritus to sweep away, will make conciliatory promises as if those might be a blanket in which a girl could stay warm. Yet, when night falls and the people leave, their words float away with them, and all that remains is an ashen flavor.
Night falls heavy here, air thick, cloying. Father upstairs, and she knew what his fingers were doing. She had memorized the calluses on them so long ago, knew where heat or pressure had burned their mark on his flesh. She knew how those same calluses might catch against her mother's fine, silken dress, or perhaps her simpler cotton shift. She knew he wouldn't pick something she had worn all the time, no, that'd be too much rather he'd dig deep in the closest until he could find an old dress or a shirt she hadn't loved. It'd be the first step he'd be able to take.
She was going to take her own first step, though.
She knew he'd be so, so sad if he found out, so he simply never wou
an arc is an infinite number of straight linessay i
& you too
& asked it to appear
& so it soul-sprouted out of earth
or spilled all star-dusted from heaven
or emerged from a gang of goliath worms
& was so splendidly riddled with prisms
we saw god in marvelous feathers
of flaking gold or seven robes
of mica or divinely impoverished
with a putrid buzzard’s beard
we were destined
our phantoms of truth be
so distinctly two of these
that they must eventually
down inside the kuk, kuk & skow
crackling out each green heron beak
is a different sort of time
or now than is
grown within the roh-roh-roh & awk
of every great blue one
deep within a claw of bear
black & river-blessed
exists a unique air
of holy space
which is oh-so-never
alike that which is
sewn within a talon of owl-bird
silent & flying ready-spread
with fiery night-sky eyes
far along the sweet flag
patch of summer swords
withered & seeds to set
Anthropomorphic: an Interview with the Wolf ScribeThe day is Wednesday, though they are calling it Wolfsday now. The wolf known only as Scribe sits at a desk, tapping the sheet of paper in front of him with a single digit of his paw. Despite what his name suggests, he is the liaison between the wolf leader and the US, and is a wolf of high notoriety. He read the transcript of my interview with one of his kin multiple times, and is meticulous about the details. Apparently he approved of my work, since he agreed to meet. It is important to note that he requested this interview, not the other way around. His accent suggests he was originally British.
When did the change take you?
That question has been asked hundreds of times now to hundreds of us.
And I’m asking you.
And I’m not answering. [There is a shuffling of fur as he adjusts himself]
Was it painful?
Very. Some didn’t survive the transformation. The old, anyone that wanted the change but didn’t understand what they were
Jonahdeep in the meadow, there is a box.
it contains a letter.
the letter is from a man who never had a name. i like to think he was not a handsome man, but gorgeous in ways undetected by the path of average society. his eyes were always puffy from crying and his lips were always swollen from chewing but his heart was always locked away like only the heart of a beautiful man could be.
deep in the meadow, past the rotting remains of an oxen cart that maybe used to carry turnips from the mountains to the valley towns for market selling. or maybe it was goat milk. or hawks' eggs. past the rotting cart and past the abandoned house with no chimney, the box can be found in the tree stump of a huge old maple among termites and ants and wasps that have overtaken the old tree as a way of reclaiming the earth. it's funny how life has a circularity that way. what once belonged to only the tree itself was taken by man, and once man passes by onto the next land, insects and birds move in to benefit from
my left arm
tanned darker than my right arm
the habits of daily life
the split the spread the threadyou were standing in the lamplight with all the grace and incident of the black sea
and i sat with a scrape of skin pressing into the carpet uncomfortably.
a shift of light moved us quietly into arms, some forgotten touch newly placed.
the only stirring in all the world was the moving of our chests
which at their crests would touch—a faithful mythology of meeting.
titular gestures carried italics and lost their momentum mid-air.
we were xerics of this arid landscape brimmed with sea air.
the shifts of light moving our bodies glared ceremoniously,
our puckering sensations forming a stunning tear.
we danced as statues with flesh and touch
more soft and real than our real bodies ever had
and covered the subway floor with our gritty concrete shards
—a bloom of breaking that spread and mixed and marked
that linoleum floor, grounded stone(fire)works.
a warm and gathered silence of togetherness.
the still beat of murk.
spider song, purple ladyshe carried
a pair of scissors
in her purse so she could
cut the filter off her cigarette
before she smoked it.
she sucked in her
cheeks and pursed her
lips when she had to be
patient for anything.
'how do you
stay so thin?' i asked
she gathered her bracelets
at her wrists and they clinked
like wine glasses, like the twinkle
of her smile, 'cigarettes and ritalin,'
she said. 'a steady diet of cigarettes and ritalin.'
she had small
hands that were not
feminine. her fingers
were short and her palms
her was purple. even
her eyes. they were brown.
she didn't wear
lipstick. only gloss.
stinking, pink, and sticky.
don't go too near, you'll end
up with your lips stuck and then
she'll eat you. you'll love it.
i asked why
she didn't just
cut the filters off
all at once, all at once
at home and she said, 'honey
it's wednesday, and i've barely
made it past monday yet.' snip,
flick, fzzz. alright, i said, you know
you're one hell of a girl and you're
alright, i said.