“Stone Bottle Balustrade,” “Chelyabinsk-65,” and “Squiz Normcore”

Image

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

Stone Bottle Balustrade

Stripping one

                         of one’s

                       memories

                     the cruelest of outcomes,

                   by design

                  or

                 predetermination,

                matter leaking

               from your

              compromised

             egg over easy.

            Thoughts stillborn

            on the verge

            of elocution,

            but

             you’ll like

              where we’re going.

               Fresh air,

                hilly,

                 vineyards,

                  breakfast served

                   on the portico

                    with stone bottle

                     balustrade,

                      morning birds

                       mapping the day,

                        plotting

                         the overthrow

while we drink mimosas.

Chelyabinsk-65

A river south

of an underground city

where they produce

weapons-grade plutonium.

A self-contained city

with an artificial sun,

and shops with premium

imported goods at

wholesale prices.

Lying along its banks

are fish, dead-eyed

and open-mouthed,

with lower rows

of human teeth,

bits of human teeth

embedded like shrapnel

in the upper mandible,

fractured bits of

molar,

incisor,

bicuspid,

some not far

from the eye.

Springtime,

ubiquity of dandelions

with two or three stems

fused together

beneath a single flower.

A shallow lake

filled

with piles of concrete blocks,

rusting girders,

beams and bay doors,

partially submerged,

partially not,

to the horizon.

A cellist,

his cased instrument

leaning against a table,

French wine

he swills

from the bottle,

with red-rimmed eyes

attempting

to drown

a monumental headache.

Convicts, he says,

they left the gulags

in Siberia

to come here,

trading

the interminable

for the finite.

Hard labor,

bitter winters

and frostbite

exchanged

for five-year lifespans

producing

weapons-grade plutonium

in the most cosmopolitan

of cities

in the

CCCP.

Squiz Normcore

Squiz Normcore,

your struggles with

indolence,

as a

generalist

in a

specialized world —

workbench,

clindoc,

beacon,

cogito,

ambulation,

cobalt,

refractory sensors

with

abbreviated intervals.

Your brilliant

improvisation,

your disdain

for

Venn diagrams;  

it’s always been

either

zero-sum

or the dim sum

with spring rolls.

Do you remember

that

spirit animal quiz,

Squiz?

Acquisitiveness

is a buzz

you’re

unacquainted with,

hyper-addictive,

Shimano Tiagra

with your

thirty-pound

test line,

reeling in phrases,

throwing back verses

lacking party affiliation.

Suffering from

acidosis,

asterixis,

tremored

timorous

timidity,

axillarin

in O-methylated

flavonol,

right in the old

Pulicaria crispa,

hydrocarbons

rafting greenflow

through a

secular reef. 

About the Author

Steve Biersdorf

I have written professionally as a general assignment reporter, editorial writer, contributing editor and freelance granter writer. One of my editorials was the lead story on the local six o'clock TV news, and I wrote two successful grant proposals to the US Department of Commerce for $634,000 that allowed the organization I worked for at the time to open a branch office in Beijing. I have five fiction short story publishing credits. I am a graduate of Florida State University, English/Creative Writing, and a resident of Florida.