09 December 2008

wild horses.

[I haven’t thought of a title yet.]

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. Grey and white save for the conifers that populate the forest dashing bits of green here and there, though the wind has tipped them westerly and the snow has fallen atop them, pushed the tips of every needle towards the earth, stretched out like ostrich necks, fearing more ice and wind.

That was the year that he abandoned the horses. Money was tight and paying for feed was a near impossible task each month. Two of them he slaughtered himself. Economical hardship had caused him to place regulations, laws and taboo on the back-burner. Nevermind the peculiarity of the slaughtering of the domestic animal, he thought, times are hard and I’ve a family to feed. So he slaughtered two of the horses much like he would have slaughtered the cattle if he hadn’t sold it off to pay mortgage for the winter. He put the roasts, the flank steaks, the ground horse meat, and all other cuts into the freezer, removing one of the many varieties the day before to allow it to thaw in the kitchen sink. At first he wasn’t thrilled to feed it to the family and the family was not thrilled to eat it, but after the arrival of the first butterfly steak on the plate and the movement of one hunk of flesh to the masticating jaws of his daughter it was decided that the meat was far more edible than expected; the opinions bordering on surprisingly good. The horse meat was sweet. He would have placed it someplace between beef and venison. He freed the other horses from the stable. There were three that confusedly ran off into the snowy conifers.

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. The moose have retreated to the caves on the southern face of the mountain and he can see them pacing at the entrance; they are weary of the bears hibernating deeper into the tunnels, but more terrified of the gusts that threaten to drag them down by their antlers.

That was the year that he realized moving to the mountains, away from the city, in order to lead a life fueled by agricultural was a poor life decision. It wasn’t that he was a poor farmer, no, but he simply didn’t have the funds to withstand the maintenance on the barn, on the stable, on the tractor. And when he was faced with the worst winter he could have imagined he began to slip into desperation. So the family ate the horses. To save money for springtime finances he chopped away at the barn daily, barely fending off frostbite, in order to gather wood to burn in the fireplace. The thermostat runs at a lower temperature. While at night his daughter sleeps between he and Catherine, his wife. They moved the bed into the living room, right next to the fireplace. Catherine complained only to the dishes, never furthering the sickness of guilt that plagued her husband. The daughter, Madison Faye, spent some of the few hours of daylight in the yard making snow angels and praying to them, asking them for something to eat besides horse meat, a softer blanket, and a puppy. She was six years old and did not understand the severity of the situation.

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. In the mornings the daughter would make three angels in the snow right outside of the window and the angels rose up from the frozen earth to speak with the father from time to time; they brought bad news of more snow and more ice.

That was the year that he chopped off the tip of his middle finger while sawing a plank from the barn door into thirds so that it could fit easily into the fireplace. He was wearing gloves when it happened, and as he saw the tip of his glove hit he ground and the blood spurt after it he nearly fainted. He stared blankly at the tip on the ground, could see a small white bone, before swooping down and picking it up. He moved quickly to the house, carrying the tip with his pinky and ring finger of his injured hand while trying to quell blood flow with his other hand. The blood stained the fresh powder snow and steam rose from each splatter. He burst through the doorway and fell to his knees, holding up his bleeding hand, the blood trickling down his wrist, soaking the dry portions of his wool covered hand. The look in his eyes said ‘doctor,’ and without putting a second thought into it his wife picked up the car keys, grabbed a jacket for herself and began dressing her daughter for the cold. Madison Faye’s eyes had filled with tears.

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. Darkness had settled and the light radius emitting from the house displays only the empty graves of angels.

That was the year that he realized living far away from the rest of civilization was a terrible mistake. His finger was well beyond repair when they made it to the hospital. The doctor did what he could, which was little more than apply a salve of sorts and bandage the wound. The combination of the two slowed and then stopped the bleeding. His wife had been awake through most of the night, sleeping here and there while her daughter napped in her lap.

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. Where the blood was splattered from the saw-teeth that gnawed the bone there is fresh snow, hoof prints, foot prints, and from that corner of the property voices, shouting and the scrape-scraping of metal on metal are heard.

That was the year that he saw the horses he had freed clad in heavy armor and trotting alongside the car as it putted along the ice covered rode. He tried to warn his wife but she was convinced that the Vicodin the doctor had given him for pain had caused him to hallucinate. But there, where the darkness from the trees fell beside the road the three angels were dressed in war gear. The angels carried swords in their right hands, had shields strapped to their backs, had covered their hands in gauntlets, their feet in greaves, and their chests in sturdy, plate mail stained brown with dried blood. The horses moved just behind the car on its passenger side. The angels weary of being seen, being careful to stay in the blind spot, stayed hidden in the shroud of the trees. As the car neared an S-curve the angels picked up speed, dashed in front of the vehicle as it began to make its way around the first curve. The horses stopped fifteen yards in front of the car but Catherine could not stop the car in time. Her reaction time was off because she saw three winged creatures mounted atop armored beasts but that was the least of her problems. The road here was covered with a thick layer of ice and the brakes failed stop the car before it careened into the three horses. The angels, of course, spread their wings, and began their ascent to wherever it was they were off to next. But the car collided with the horses and the armor that covered their bodies damaged the car or punctured their skin and broke their bones. The car was heavily damaged by the size of the horses, by the strength of the alloys used in creating their armored plating. Catherine and Madison were fine, though they were momentarily unconscious, caused mostly by shock rather than the impact. The husband, he would never wake up again, though he would not die for many years.

It is at exactly the same moment that the hum of the radiator disappears and the wind that rattles the windows and whistles a vicious howl ceases to exist. The windows have fogged over and frozen, a stained glass window lacking in color but abundant with creamy swirls and spider web cracks. But there is one spot where the palm of his hand has been pressed against the glass and this spot delivers a tunnel vision view of the winter world outside. His daughter watched her mother moving boxes of their possessions to the moving truck, she no longer made snow angels for fear that they would get her mother next.

01 December 2008

[as per V--'s request]

Six Times in Four Months

An eye crusted shut by sleep is rubbed by thumb and forefinger. The morning has brought sunlight to the window on the east side of the building. Toes wiggle as legs stretch, a body adjusts to the temperature around it. Only cold is felt outside of the patchwork quilt. Storm windows would certainly help in keeping the warmth within the living area.

Another eye, also encrusted by sleep, opens slightly, then an eyelid exerting more strength pushes open wide, letting in the light. Good morning. Yes, good morning. And even here the legs stretch. But the legs stretch toward the other set of legs and as the prospect of flesh on flesh draws nearer a magnetism of warmth begins to push them rapider to the other until finally they are together, connected as if one. Kinetic energy. The friction of a day’s growth of hair against that of a lifetime.

Good morning. Yes, good morning. And here is the weaving of limbs. Naked breasts pressed against a bare chest. The quiet comfort of winter is nearly void of comfortability to a room with too many windows and a thermostat stuck on room temperature. Yes. But. Yes, but, let’s do it anyway. Goose pimples rise but will drop as the friction begins again. And hiding under the covers will help to hold the heat in.

When it is over with there is a pitter-patter of cold feet on hardwood floors that have seen years of abuse, have seen years of feet pitter-pattering across, have seen the urine of animals, have seen it all. Oh. Oh. Cold. Cold. Yes, very cold.

Whoosh. A rush, a stream, a jet of water sending itself in a gently slopping arc toward the bottom of the ceramic tub. Oh, shit. A hand swoops down and removes a clump of long blonde hair mixed with short black animal fur. The mass is tossed into the waste barrel to the left side of the sink. Come on, hurry. And feet pitter-patter across the floor again. The bathroom floor accompanied by four feet.

The shower isn’t exactly built for two but it’s always been something that could be worked out when necessary. And in the white-grey of winter it is necessary to shower with someone else everyday, especially after sex.

The water rushes down on the bodies. The cold feet heat up too quickly, grow red hot with the differences in temperature. Each solitary bead of water hits with bee sting sharpness, like stepping bare-footed onto a tack. It’s momentary though, and as if flees the warmth continues the blood flow of previous activities. The top of a shampoo bottle is flipped and a young couple revels in the joy of helping one another wash each other’s hair. Shampoo is rinsed and hands move to the bottle of conditioner so the cycle can be complete.

The show is where teeth are brushed in the morning. A hand reaches outside of the shower by pushing the curtain aside and grabbing a tube of Crest® and pulling into into the warm water stream. One hand squeezes the tubes pale white, red speckled contents onto the bristles of a blue and white brush and immediately aims for the molars while handing the tube to another set of hands. These hands repeat the process, emptying the contents of the tube and tossing the empty tube over the shower curtain rod. It lands with a surprisingly loud thud on the hardwood.

Forward, backward, forward, backward. Spit, rinse, spit, rinse.

Soap is lathered on a loofah. Wash me. Naturally a hand starts at the chest level and goes back and forth from one shoulder, the left, to the right. The hand continues, washing the breasts, the stomach, the waist, the thighs, calves, and shins. Spin. And continues starting at the shoulder blades and stopping to watch the soap as it runs down the spine.

When getting clean can go no further it is necessary to step out of the shower and begin the day. Hands reach for separate Him and Her towels and dry themselves off. Laughs are shared as bodies go from warm to slightly less warm to cold and colder. Quick, let’s get dressed. And a race for the closet, two bodies careening down a hall and sharply turning the corner into the bedroom where the closed windows have decided to let the cold in regardless of design.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It’s a sweater day, Roger. Yes, a sweater day, Roger. How unnatural it felt. But it was time to get dressed anyway. It was time to get moving. Besides... a stomach was hungry. Will you be joining me for breakfast? Yes, I will be joining you for breakfast.

Breakfast that morning is eggs with bacon and toast, lightly buttered. It is enjoyed in the breakfast nook. The view from this side of the apartment is nice. There is a drop off at the edge of the parking lot just outside the front door. The view from here is of tree tops, mostly pine trees. Heavily and tilting with snowfall. The branches bending. They can be heard creaking from the position at the breakfast nook.

On the windowsill a set of hands found the remains of a cricket, it’s legs stuck together in a tangled love song, no doubt symphonic on those summer nights. The other looked on with bewilderment in the eyes. The other body stood up, and moved to the trash can where the love-struck cricket was deposited into the black bag. What will you do today? Whatever you ask of me, love.

Then let me give you this list. One, please get dinner for tonight. Two, pick up the clothes from the dry cleaners. Three, Amelia has a kombucha tea mother for me. Take the jar on the counter to her and she’ll know what to do. Four, take my check to the credit union and deposit it. That should do it. That is a rather lengthy list, I should be leaving.

Feet and legs hurried towards the coat rack, grabbing a pea coat off of its hook and putting it on. A scarf for wrapping around the neck. And then a set of hands buttons up the buttons. A peck on the lips. See you tonight. Yes, I’ll see you tonight. And lips kissed lips good-bye one more time.

Roger returned having completed each task. A body that moved with the precision of an incredibly important solider with incredibly important tasks that must be carried out.

Hands were busy that night chopping vegetables and preparing meat. Fingers were busy that night stay away from the sharp serrated edges of the knives. And when all was said and done a delicious stir-fry meal was created. Hands picked up chopsticks, chopsticks picked up food, arms moved to the food to the mouth, incisors tore the fleshy meat, molars ground everything into a thicker paste, the tongue pushed it all down with a swallow and gulp.

That night was a relaxing one. After dinner was a movie, a romantic comedy that was acclaimed to be above average by most film critics. The two bodies were wrapped in a microfleece blanket as the disc spun around within the DVD player, the colors of the bodies on the television screen.

The bodies feel into sleep that way. Never making it to the bed; never making it past the couch.

Four hours passed before she woke up, finding herself colder than usual. Roger’s body was cold, frozen stiff. No. No. No. She ran quickly to grab her cellphone. She flipped it open, nearly ripping the top half clean off. She pressed * and then then number 1 and the phone’s display flashed quickly as it began dialing “Speed Dial #1.” As the phone dialed she moved to the hutch, pulling open the top drawer with force. Inside she found a manila envelope that had Roger silkscreened in a bold typeface. She undid the string on the back and removed a glossy sheet.

Please enter your 17-digit pin.

She punched: 2-5-9-9-9-8-4-3-1-1-0-5-9-5-5-6-7.

Thank you, please hold.

She didn’t hold for very long before a voice came on the line.

Mrs. Gibson, my name is Hamilton. How can I help you?

It’s Roger! He’s done it again. She was panicked.

One moment. The operator on the other line was typing, was pulling up records. Mrs. Gibson this is the sixth time in four months that Roger has malfunctioned. We’ll send a box along with a crew and a replacement in the morning.


Dial tone.

22 September 2008

Welcome back.

All that happens must happen simultaneously.

I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop. I am one of eleven people inside of the coffee shop. Eleven if and only if you count the gentlemen in the bathroom whose notebook computer is a single table in front of me and if you count the gentlemen who is, at present time, but not at all times, the barista of the coffee shop. Right now the barista of the coffee shop is the barista of a coffee shop as well as a father and a brother and a son but he is also running laps around a track, riding his bicycle, playing basketball, having premarital sex, having sex with his wife, having sex with a woman who is not his wife. In fact, all of the people in the coffee shop are doing and not doing exactly what they are doing at precisely right now. I am taking a drink of my coffee, is is Colombian French Roast, and I am also sleeping in my bed. Two people have just walked out of the coffee shop although the items that they brought with them are still here. One of the people who left is the person whose notebook computer is directly in front of my table. Alongside his notebook computer are criminal justice books. One of the people who had walked out of the coffee shop but left the things he brought with him has returned, but he is not the person who left his notebook computer unattended. While the man whose computer is unattended left the coffee shop he was also leaving the bar, leaving his house, leaving the classroom, leaving his wife, leaving his family for the first time, leaving for Europe, and leaving the earth all at the same time. There are but nine patrons of the coffee shop now, myself and the barista still included. The middle-aged women in the north-east corner of the room are having a discussion about the PTO in their area but they are also participating in a PTO meeting, visiting a classy restaurant, observing their children playing with Lego building blocks, and filing papers at the office. I am sipping my coffee again but also discussing with a friend the fact that I have thrown out the manual to the toaster and subsequently burned her toast, and I am driving my car across state lines to visit family in Illinois, and I am going to Six Flags amusement park with friends. A girl is discussing the hearing loss of her father thanks to working at General Motors, time spent in the military and time spent at the rifle range. Her father is presently working at General Motors, participating in a military campaign and practicing his aim at the Field & Stream range just outside of Saginaw, Michigan.

At the doctor’s office I am in the waiting room but also waiting for my birth and death, waiting for my Cephalexin prescription at the grocery store, waiting in the rain in a cul-de-sac for the girl I want to date, waiting at a stop light, and waiting to pounce out from behind the wall in order to scare my roommate. In the waiting room I am asked to fill out forms and therefore I am filling out forms that ask me if I’ve ever done any drugs and if so how frequently and which ones and do I smoke, which I say yes to, and do I drink and what drinks do I like (i.e. whiskey or beer) and how often do I drink them but I am also at the bar drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette while attending a going away party for a coworker, and I have also quit smoking because the good doctor has recommended that I do just that, and I am smoking again because money is tight and despite the cost, five dollars per pack, I purchase them because my stress level is so high. The doctor informs me that my BMI is not especially endearing and that I am overweight. He is practicing here but, he is also a medical student at Michigan State University, but he is riding his motorcycle straight to California right now and he is driving his Toyota Prius through downtown Chicago for a shopping trip with his wife. The doctor says that my weight has amassed around my belly and he doesn’t believe that I don’t usually smoke marijuana, that really it was a one time deal, but while I was smoking marijuana that one time I was also cuddling with my high school sweetheart, crying in first grade when I was frustrated with the teacher, viewing my picture in the hometown newspaper after a photographer snapped me up on film and a journalist wrote an article about third graders and colonial days, and lastly I am at my grandfather’s funeral which was in June, after school had ended. My cousin flew in from Florida for the funeral but he was also at the hospital for the birth of his niece, at the chapel for his sister’s wedding, at his father’s side after his first stroke, and driving me home from Sanford so that I could go watch professional wrestling with friends. The doctor’s name is Dr. Tom and there is a woman in the waiting room who is waiting at 3:35 to see him at 3:40 but she is also seeing Dr. Tom, walking the streets of this city, traveling with her first son who would later be abused by his father, and she is grieving over the loss of her mother which she did not learn of until after her mother had been deceased for fourteen months. Her son, who was abused, is alive and well in a foster family but also living with his mother in that one bedroom efficiency apartment on the lower east side, and he is with the authorities because he has been removed from the care of his biological parents for their negligence, and he is a grown man going back on his word to his boyfriend and meeting somebody else at the bar when he said he was going to visit his foster mother. The doctor prescribes me a prescription of my infected arm though I had hoped for amputation, to at least make it fashionable, but as he prescribes my prescription he also prescribes Xanax to a patient suffering from depression, while prescribing himself sleeping medication because insomnia still plagues him, and prescribing medication for erectile disfunction.

Refilling my coffee mug at a coffee shop in Baltimore, MD, I am reminded that it has been hours since I have eaten any sort of substance but even now I am eating. I am eating a lobster dinner with my good friend’s for my 23rd birthday and it is their gift to me, I am eating pizza in New York City while on tour with my friends, I am eating crab ravioli at a ritzy restaurant located on the river with an ex-girlfriend and her father and step-mother and her brothers and sisters and even now we are still dating though I am presently single and although I’m presently single I’m simultaneously married but also going through a divorce all while maintaining a necessary crush on multiple girls.

When you are sleeping I am staring at the nape of your neck. When you are sleeping I am staring at the eyelids that have not yet been washed clean of the days makeup. When you are sleeping I am awake and reading The Slaughterhouse-Five by the deceased and alive and writing Kurt Vonnegut. When you are sleeping I am sleeping in a bed by myself because we haven’t met yet even though you’re presently sleeping in my bed. When you are sleeping in your bed and I am sleeping in my bed you are awake kissing the tip of my nose with your hand on my hip trying to wake me up because you awoke from a dream thinking of nothing but sex. When you are sleeping in your bed and I am awake and alone in my bed you are awake by my side in a bed that we both share, which we received as a gift from your parents as a wedding present while we moved into our first house. While we were living in that house together I was at a coffee shop drinking Colombia French Roast and you were attending college courses and I was listening to my favorite band play at a tiny venue in Detroit while you were biting your fingernails and I was driving my car home from the house of my first serious girlfriend and you were moving into your first apartment. When I am sleeping you are at art museum but when you finally sleep I am alone at the art museum, just as you were before me. And when I am sleeping and you are at the art museum I am also at the art museum.

You and I, we share a mutual friend. When you met this friend I was asleep but I was also awake meeting this friend and you were also asleep but you were also getting married to that man you dated after college. You met that man when you were on a business trip in Okinawa but while on that business trip you were also vacationing in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the city of Vancouver with your boyfriend of the time who just so happened to cheat on you but it ended up being irrelevant because when he cheated on you he was also making love to you and you were also trying on your wedding gown after the man in Okinawa proposed to you and you were asleep in my bed after the retribution sex you had no choice but to commit after your serious boyfriend cheated on you but while you were sleeping we were having sex and while we were having sex I was still an embryo growing inside the belly of my mother, who at the time was a child and a grandmother and an aunt and a wife because she too got married, on the same day that you got married and on the same day that I got married. In fact we were all married, by we, I, of course mean, my mother and father, you and the man you met in Okinawa, your ex-boyfriend who took a trip with you to Vancouver who cheated on you causing you to have sex with me, and I also got married to a girl that I met one sunny afternoon while she was walking her dog through the park but she was also sleeping in the same bed with her younger sister when she was seven years old.

When I met the woman that I married while she was walking her dog on a sunny day it was also raining and I was having sex with you after you returned from Vancouver where your boyfriend cheated on you and I was having sex with my wife and she got pregnant that time we were having sex but she was, at the same time, three months pregnant and my mother was pregnant with me at that time all while my grandmother was pregnant with my mother and the mother of my father was pregnant with my father and she was also pregnant with his brothers. And in the times that the following people were pregnant my sister was pregnant and you were pregnant with the child of the man you met in Okinawa. The man from Okinawa, whom you met when you were on a business trip but also sleeping in my bed after the already mentioned time, was born on the same day that I was born and the same day that you were born and on the same day as my father and his brothers and, of course, my mother. And let us not forget that he was born on the same day as my brother as well as your brother. All of the hospitals in all of the world were incredibly busy.

I wounded my knee but I was also drinking coffee in my favorite coffee shop but also, at that very moment, drinking orange-mango tea with the blonde haired girl that I lived with for a short period in time in the fall of 2007 and I am still living with her now and she is also living in New York and in Taiwan and at her parent’s home in a rural Michigan town. When I lived with the blonde haired girl I was getting tea and you were in Okinawa and the woman’s son who went back on his word to his boyfriend was diagnosed with HIV and we were all sleeping. While we were sleeping I was awake and at the grocery store waiting for a prescription that I ended up getting for free and I was waiting in line to collect my check from unemployment. I spent that money on my wife. When I spent that money on my wife I spent money on you and I, us, so that we could have safe sex, and I spent money on a book for my brother that I thought he would enjoy. When I went shopping for my brother’s birthday present I shopped for the birthday presents of every being that I ever bought a present for. When I paid for my brother’s birthday present I paid for the gift that I was too scared to give to you.

When I was too scared to give you the gift I bought you I was also too scared to say that I loved you and I was also missing you and I was getting married while you were getting married to the man from Okinawa and my brother was married on that very same day. My parents and grandparents were married on this day as well. And the very next day we all died. I died of old age, my grandfather died of a stroke, my grandmother died of pneumonia, my mother passed away of lung cancer and regrettably my father passed away from cancer of the liver. You passed away of old age on the same day that my family passed away. Your husband from Okinawa passed away on that very day because humankind had passed away on that very day and he was stricken with loneliness. Your brother passed away after being murdered by a serial killer who was never caught. Your parents died in their sleep. While your parents were dying in their sleep you and I were asleep in my bed after the first and only time we made love. And while we made love your boyfriend cheated on you and you married a man from Okinawa. I married a woman I met in the park on a sunny afternoon while she walked her dog, which was a labrador retriever named Comet. Comet died on the day that my wife died on the day that you died and on the day that I died and on the day that your husband, your family, and my family died. Comet died on the day that my childhood dog died, which coincided with Christmas day, which coincided with the Ides of March, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Sunday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Boxer Day, World War’s I and II, the war in Vietnam, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Let us not forget, July 4th 1985, President’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Hanukkah (each day), and more Holidays than I care to list.

On the day that your casket was lowered into the ground my casket was lowered into the ground and my grandfather’s casket was lowered into the ground and there was a boy there who played the trumpet while two other uniformed men folded a flag and placed it in his grave. When we were buried I was getting coffee and drinking tea and working at my workbench making a guitar and you were in the classroom learning, in the classroom teaching, on a train to Washington D.C. and crying. On our death days we find comfort in our birthdays and vice versa and on those very days were are sipping coffee together the morning after the one and only time we were together and we were both witnessing the births of our first children and we were kicking soccer balls and reading scrapbooks and taking final examinations and graduating college. On the day that I died, the day that you died, the day that your husband and my wife died, the day that our parents died and the day that mankind died we are living every moment of our lives.

11 November 2007

What Strange Things Exist in This World

"Island dwarfing is the process and condition of the reduction in size of large animals - almost always mammals - when their gene pool is limited to a very small environment, primarily islands."

"The smaller animals need fewer resources, and so are more likely to get past the break-point where population decline allows food sources to replenish enough for the survivors to flourish."

Dearest John,

I have written letters and letters to you but each and every one I have torn into a thirty-three different pieces and placed them in the trash. I burn them with my cigarette butts and spit on them to extinguish the flame. I don’t know how long we’ve been in Malta, searching for the remnants of the dwarf elephant. All of this island talk and these languages I don’t understand. I want America again. I don’t give a damn about these Maltese people, John. I want them dead like those damned elephants.

Look, here’s the story, the elephants, maybe some day, after the big bang and also after the dinosaurs there were some elephants, and they were not woolly mammoths John, and they were big and big and big and then they grew small and small and small because of island dwarfing. They got smaller and smaller because the god of evolution told them to do so and evolution said, “hey elephants, if you shrink then you will have to eat less fish from the Mediterranean” and the elephants started to shrink just like a grandma in old age. John I’m so sick of my father. He is searching and searching for the bones.

And I am stuck in this cabin. I don’t care about the beaches John. I’ve taken to drinking and drinking lots. I will drink beer and whiskey and smoke and smoke. I have been holed up in my room. Father finds a bone of a small child and he says, “this is a tusk,” and I say, “Old man, you are an old bastard, that is the bone of a child,” and he will tell me that he knows that it is the bone of a child but that he wants me to at least show interest in his work. And I have told him over and over that I am only interested in you, that I have invested all I have in you. I have told him that I want to have your children and that I want to marry you and maybe have a farm with goats and pigs and spider named Charlotte that might talk to all of the animals. But the animals will not talk to us, no four legs good two legs bad or whatever they said. The cows might have bells and we’ll save money by producing our own meat and crops. We’ll roll our own cigarettes and we’ll make children together. John, we haven’t had sex yet but I can tell you I can’t wait but we must wait because I don’t believe in birth control what so ever. John, I am madly madly in love with you.

Fuckin’ bugger, I’ve spilled red wine on paper. On the parchment. What a pretty word. Is parchment not a pretty word? I told myself that I would send this letter no matter what so I’ll have to hold the blow dryer over this spot before I can resume writing this letter.

John I have blow-dried the spot on which I spilled the red wine, do you see it? It has left a small purple-ish mark.

Did you know that I am drunk John? Even still, my hand writing and spelling are impeccable but I am very careful to craft my penmanship and my word choice and my spelling in such a manner that will not reveal my inebriated state, unfortunately I have done so via the text.

It is mid-May now, darling, and the island is nice and warm. If you were here and this damned exhibition was elsewhere, if daddy were off digging up voodoo witch doctor skulls in some unknown island and a komodo dragon would eat him then I would be more than happy to have you here, to have you here with me, drinking red wine with our meals, drinking absinthe after dinner.

My Mediterranean fantasy builds and grows despite my own oppression that is self-inflected. Daddy says I can come with him but I don’t want to. And I try to enjoy the scenery during the day but I can’t bring myself to do it without you.

And I keep thinking about elephants, pygmy, baby, tiny elephants that are nothing like real elephants because they’re so small and I bet that if daddy can find the tusks he’ll sell them for a lot of money and if he finds the bones he’ll sell those for a lot of money too, but not to a museum but to some private bidder who wants to add to his collection of weird odds and ends a full grown elephant that is the size of a baby elephant.

What strange things exist in this world, John. I love you, forever and always and forever.

Sincerely love always,


28 October 2007

Howard Forgot Every Last One of Us

Howard Forgot Every Last One Of Us
By Gary Nye

The last time I saw my grandfather I said, “Hi Howard, how are you?” Howard said, “I’m doing good, but I’m not doing everybody.” He was a funny man who insisted that his coffee come like his women: naked. That day, wearing loafers and slacks and a white Hanes undershirt, he asked my girlfriend her name. “Madison,” she told him. “That’s a beautiful name,” Howard said. It was Megan’s graduation party and I imagine that all of the people and the cigarettes and the yelling and the celebration brought Howard back to Korea, to some base full of friends and dancing women. Everybody was ever so cordial with Howard, since his wife had died two years prior. Her name was Erma, and she was short and beautiful. She was my grandmother, and together with Howard, they gave their grandchildren twenty dollars in their birthday cards every year until their son ran their million-dollar business into bankruptcy. When Erma died my mother wept. My father, a man who could live by the Gander Mountain mantra: Hunt, Fish, Camp, and loved Michigan Wolverine football cried. On the day of Erma’s funeral Howard sat in the front row and asked where Erma had gone. She’s with God now, we said. “Where is Erma?” And Pastor Rob said, “In Heaven.” So Howard forgot that his wife had died, and that he had named his children, Wesley, Ernie, Roseanna, Howard, and Corrine. He forgot I was named Connor. Howard forgot every last one of us.