The Ladies of the Hour The ladies sit in rigid chairs, hands crossed in skirt-covered laps. A silent room made loud by expectations. Miss Understanding smiles [knowingly] but never speaks. She fears the labels- foolslutbitchuselesswoman- but can’t live with the judgement. Miss Take quietly steals bagels and donuts from the untouched serving trays sitting in the back of the room. Miss Behavior watches and frowns, though secretly envious and so …Read more.
“The Orient Mine”
Smoked oysters, red wine, and Darla’s brown skin open to air in the middle of changing her shirt. I’m drinking whiskey, playing old songs— the one about the girl we want, the one who left. The woman outside watching the fire she built might not be as pretty, but her white dress and black hair dance in these mountains. The railroad strike is over, the harvest is coming north. All …Read more.
“Top Ten Memories of the Green Chair”, “In the Valley of Secrets” and “Sweater Weather”
The green chair was the width of a three-year-old
so when stretched horizontally across your legs
I was perfectly encapsulated by its soft, mushy arms and you
you put cherry blossoms in my curls
“A Calling”, “Something Sexier than Foxes” and “Gentle Bonfire”
A Calling The sunrise burns us up. It’s been a long night and nothing has been refused or taken back. All of our friends are stealing night terrors from the cracks in the walls. We have kingdoms melting in our pockets. We have trails of crushed cherry blossoms threaded through each rib. We’re reading The Ethical Slut and hitting on German lawyers. In the Dutch winter the parallel scars on …Read more.
“Saint Sylvia”, “The Weight of Memory” and “Prayer Slippers”
Saint Sylvia Mark him for the amniotic writ as he stands before me, pockets full of stones. My weightlessness will not prevent his sinking. The half-hearted are heavy. The one before him was full of lead, a crown of bullets worn as life preserver. Seeking Daddy’s meridian eye he fell down. Sank. The brute jelly fish. I draw them, grim-faced men, like the moon. Pitiable poets who fashion garnet daggered …Read more.
“Millennial….”, “I’ve Paid in Full” and “The G.O.A.T. goes to?”
We have tattoos and an impeccable work ethic, They do not know where to put us. Our faith should be in the old system, In white male hood we trust. I drink. I curse. I go to work it doesn’t slow me down. “I’m a vegan.” I shit 4x a day. (No, not really) I see no time any day to rest or just lay. I could blame the whole …Read more.
“Appeasement”, “Lament of the One-Wish Djinn” and “The Last Earth Day (22 April 2112)”
Appeasement What you did wasn’t so bad so you told yourself as you stood in the garage, waiting for hope. Hope for appeasement by an ex-best friend but the rusting white chariot that slowed then accelerated was Tundra not Tacoma No, you’re right, it was terrible to live without love in small rooms with flawed creations, the trivial handiwork of a dream gone bad Do you know the grail is …Read more.
“Transfiguration”, “Sojourn of Bonfire” and “The Cutting Arm”
Transfiguration Black ground eats the light of every heavenly expression in this ungratified November night. We watch the dissipation of vapor and mist, endearing darkness further to itself, betraying the tranquility of nocturnal harvest, the lunatic scraps of this moment fighting to keep their particular bearing. In this nearness, I measure the asymmetry of your features with my own, revealed by a sudden and gradual intrusion of amber, a different …Read more.
“Empty Parking Lot, 2:07 a.m.”, “Checkpoint” and “Horripilation”
Empty Parking Lot, 2:07 a.m. over that hill, past the mills, is the crooked house I escaped from. it wasn’t a great fall with the colors, mostly hunter green and rust with the rain. like it was too depressed to go ahead and shine like it usually does. now, it’s a sheet of white, the dying hidden. catch snowflakes on my tongue, a cold smoky taste. how winter feels on …Read more.
“The Purest Spiritual Weather”
The milk moment, the churning need- bubble echoes empty into “them.” The words that circle, your bird’s eye view is weak and needing. Only what you catch will live another day; so it’s spoken. The words you hear are reminders, a memory stream bright and beaming. What you say to yourself, how you picture what is thought and felt; all the word storms that plague and infect your life, all …Read more.
“Hidden Losses”, “The Imaginary Weight of Bones” and “Languages”
Hidden Losses It never crossed my mind— what would happen after reaching, finally, that happiness. How it would feel giving up the open-ended beauty of indifference, my love of following the dark into the secret corners of people, cities —feelings that can only be scraped against by willing to give it all up at a moment’s notice— To be done finding love by pulling it out of the dirt by …Read more.
“Manumission”, “Cigarette Flick” and “The Westbury Elegies #2”
Manumission …from the mud, spiraling double-helix intent upon apotheosis ersatz DNA, verisimilitude of countless generations separating us from first mover/primordial ooze copies of copies effigies of weltschmerz simulacra of daedalian dreams melted by sunrays burning as we venture too close or wake, blinking at the morn. What then? Can we escape the cave, turn from shadow to illumination, or should we find contentment in mud and echoes? Cigarette Flick Speeding …Read more.
As Hilda stepped off the train, it caught her eye, gleaming like a star misplaced on land. She felt drawn to the gold pendant, as if an extrinsic force were compelling her to pick it up. It was shaped like an insect—not quite a beetle, more of a scorpion without the tail. Commuters hurried past, no one appeared to be searching for anything. The pendant seemed strange but familiar, as …Read more.
Gangsters and Wise Guys
Blood was spurting all over Lenny “The Bruiser” Gigliotti’s clothes. He was not happy about the blood, but he was even less happy about Ray “Skippy” Delano having his knuckles crunched and twisted with pliers. Ray had been holding out on the boss, Vinnie, and Vinnie wasn’t happy. That was what brought about Vinnie ordering Nicky “The Claw” Ragoni to twist Ray’s knuckles with pliers in the first place. Vinnie …Read more.
Of Pinot Noir and Shams of Tabriz
It was midnight and Katju was exhausted. He owned a quaint little Italian restaurant at Ashwem beach and had spent the entire day waiting tables. Raju, his only waiter, had been dipping into the till and Katju had recently sacked him. With a glass of Pinot Noir and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich at his elbow, he opened ‘Forty Rules of Love’, a book that described the relationship between …Read more.
May, 2015 There was always a moment, right before she entered the clinic, that Hannah had an almost unbearable urge to turn and run. It was some combination of revulsion for the neediness of the women and dread of taking responsibility for their welfare that nearly propelled her in the opposite direction each day. It wasn’t rational. Hannah was relieved when she saw that all the chairs in the waiting …Read more.
Road To Nowhere
God, you haven’t even been out five minutes and you can already feel the sun burning your shoulders. That’s got to be cause for concern. Six miles of this kind of exposure and you’re probably looking at some serious, lasting damage. Really, what good is running if, in the end, you’ve got melanoma. There’s not a single cloud in the sky, and your mom’s SPF 200-something is apparently worthless. Look …Read more.
Okay, she says, with only a little sigh as she shifts her weight around on her tired knees, turn around, let me see. She touches the small of my back softly, softly, propels me in a circle so I am facing her. The quiet, familiar touch of a parent. The instinctual response, son obeying mother. Her hands rest for only a moment on my tiny shoulders, one on each side, …Read more.
A Simple Matter of Cartography
A lie had been spread through the king’s court that his dominion was much smaller than previously believed. Such falsehoods were grounds for capital punishment, but the threat of hanging did little to quiet the courtiers. Court, once noted as the “most quiet and authoritative of all gatherings” by the king’s historians, dissolved into whispers and tittering behind cupped hands. Rumor had it that even the peasants were staging plays …Read more.
“Wakie-wakie, time to get up sunshine.” A husky voice is present in the room. A door slams shut. The sound waves vibrate through the entire room making the inside of my head spin. Keys jingle as they thud against something firm; getting closer the jingle suddenly stops very near to me. There’s a tapping above my head. It gets persistently louder. Every sound is like a needle to my eardrum. …Read more.
Every morning Harry scrubbed the kitchen sink. Dishes were carefully rounded with a sponge, massaged clean and dried quickly. He brushed at an old stain, hunched over, pushing into the ceramic with window light behind his ears. He tried to wash away the little birthmark in his imperfect kitchen. He’d make a second cup of coffee after neglecting the first, replaying memories in his mind. Each memory was something to …Read more.
Today I decided to read Waiting for Godot. I read four pages. I believe it runs about eighty pages. Perhaps I need someone to read it to me. Or with me. Or I need to watch it performed on stage by a couple of actors who really know how to read lines. Chances are slim that I will read seventy-four more pages. Ever. Today, also, Wren came to see me. …Read more.
He yearned for the onset of winter, a real winter, a winter from his childhood in the Normandy countryside with snow and rain and wind so strong it threatened to steal away the tiles from the roofs and the very breath from your lungs. There was none of that here in the white city, the Algiers of the holiday posters and steam packet boat advertisements. Here there had been weeks …Read more.
January in South Korea, without enough snow to close schools but just enough icy pavement to make walking treacherous, broke my spirit. For three weeks, the sun never cracked through the grey cement of the sky. I visited a tanning salon adjacent to the U.S. Army base in the hope that some vitamin D might break my foul mood. My co-worker Katie, from Wales, handled the frigid dishwater sky better …Read more.
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