Sunday, April 6, 2014

Teeth

"I love you. I'm sorry I'm not what you need right now. I will see you later." I said.

I turned the lights off and walked down the hall, down the stairs.

I sat on our couch and practiced deep breathing exercises.

I lay down and went to sleep.

Escapism

We, Devi and I, were chatting and sipping coffee and whiskey (with ice cubes) in her kitchen. We were waiting for our sweet potatoes to finish baking. The rice sat, slowly cooling in its stainless steel pot. Outside, her dogs barked at a jogger.


We were both sweating like our mason jars. The air was still, despite the open doors, despite the open windows. We leaned against the ancient Formica countertops. The salad --chopped kale, red pepper, cucumber-- smelled strongly: the vinegar dressing shone on the crushed peanuts.


It was sunny. The living room was oppressively bright --bleached pale, washed out, the sun breaking across the bay windows. But, the kitchen. The kitchen faced north and into a forest. The verdant trees meant that at dusk, noon, or nine the kitchen was pleasantly dim.


She said, “Look,” while staring into her coffee cup. Devi bounced an ice cube with a long finger. “I’ve got my student loans, and we don’t need passports to go to Puerto Rico. Let’s just go. Let’s go. To the airport, now. Let’s just leave for a while. Just a week. I don’t care. Only if there’s a flight today. Or not. We can eat dinner. Whatever you want.”


I swallowed coffee-whiskey for a long time. I looked at her and I said, “I don’t.” but then I stopped.


And Devi looked at me and said, “You don’t what?” Her blue eyes caught the light of a passing car, all the way from the street, through the living room, into the kitchen. Devi blinked, her eyes suddenly wet. “What ever you want, alright?”


There was a moment of emptiness while I tried to fish something out of my memory, but couldn’t. “I don’t know” I said. “Will your roommate drive us?” I smiled.


“Probably. Or Samantha.” she said.


A breeze stirred. Our mouths were wide as our eyes as she texted her roommate. The timer on the oven beeped. We reached out and turned the stove off at the same time, our fingers twined.

Devi's phone beeped. "We're good." She whispered. She rolled and lit a joint, her brass zippo was dull, dented, nicked. "What am I going to pack in ten minutes?" She asked.

"Nothing." I said. "I'm not packing anything."

"You're bringing your laptop, though."

I nodded. "Well, yeah."

Devi nodded. She tapped her chin."Then you're packing. Don't worry, I'll buy you clothes."

I smiled. I shrugged. "Puerto Rico?" I asked. "Just a bathing suit will be fine."

"We'll see." Devi narrowed her eyes at me. "We can't spend the entire time on the beach, we could do that here."

I acquiesced with another shrug.

"I'm gonna," Devi pointed. I nodded.

While she was gone I took out the sweet potatoes and sliced, buttered, salted, mashed them. I carefully spooned starchy, waning moons into bowls, then slid spoons down their rim. I swirled my coffee and wiped the mason jar against my forehead. I stared out the window, palms flat against countertop, fingers enjoy the cool of the black porcelain sink.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fever Dreams

Last year, for a while, I was a boxer. I punched people. I punched people and they crumpled, and some of them died.

Yesterday A long time ago, I was a gardener.

There was a peach tree behind my house, in a vast, low, yellow and white field. The field was ringed by lonely, distant ash trees.

Ash trees were rare, back then.

The farmer of the field didn't care for trees. Don't blame him, they weren't his stock or his trade. He trimmed branches according to whim, then retired.

When I came to the field, scythe hoisted across my shoulders, shears in a back pocket. I smiled. I said, "Hello." to the peach tree.

The peach tree stood quietly.

I pruned branch buds and thin sticks. I chopped off dead branches and carefully sawed through thick limbs. I didn't finish the pruning before the sun slipped behind the mountains, but the peach tree looked cleaner when I looked at it from a distance; Less brutalized.

The peach tree was riddled with stubs. Branches cut in the middle, for no discernible reason, no forks or burns, just branch, then:


Like a poorly cared for veteran.

Like a poor amputee.

The peach tree was stripped of its stubs and crooked limbs, its stunted branches culled.

I smiled.

Listen: everyone in this story: I am them. I am everyone. This is a dream we're sharing, you and I, my reader. We are both everyone in this story. Understand? (I don't care.)

This is a fever dream, because I am sick. I've told you already: I kill people. I've killed so many people. Strangers, friends, acquaintances, lovers, family. Like tree limbs. Sometimes. Sometimes I danced while I did it. a jig, a mosh, never salsa, though. Salsa isn't for killing.









"Hello dear." Dale breathed to his cat as he closed the thick apartment door and set his keys on the chipped, cigarette burned Formica counter top. Dale did not smoke. His cat did not smoke, either, any more. Tonight, the cat tilted its head and started to purr. "On the table though, cat?" Dale asked his cat. The cat's name was










a few years ago I had pink hair and a vagina. It was awesome. I smiled all the time and none of this should surprise you. I was named by the doctor who pulled me into this world. My mother died, you see. (I laughed when I typed that, I laughed because what else can you do? It was a long time ago, now, and you have to show people you're okay with it.) So my name is Thursday. I was born on a Thursday, but the birth started on a Tuesday. Thursday June Smith. The doctor was thorough, even if she wasn't particularly creative. I bet you can guess what month I was born in, eh?

I met a man the other day, a much older man. This other day, I was early twenties (I don't remember, exactly, any more) but he was clearly in his mid thirties: short, grey hair, flat fingertips and scabby, hairy, knob knuckles. He had a crooked grin and a rambunctious tongue. He closed his eyes when he ordered his aniseed green tea. I frowned. "Is that any good?" I asked.

"Do you like black licorice?" He asked. He smiled. His tongue darted.

I smiled, but my eyebrows continued frowning. "I dunno." I said, "Not really."

"Would you like to try it?" He asked.

I said I would, and we chatted for a while, after I ordered my Americana. We talked about coffee and the weather --how cold it was, still. We



He told me he missed talking, like this. He missed, he told me, talking like an adult. I laughed, secretly flattered to be called an adult. I said, "






"Hello." He said as Marie slid into the passenger seat of his car.

"



Saturday, March 22, 2014

bien sûr, por supuesto, obviously

"Listen, if we're friends, please, please just come over. I'll text you my address. Text me, yeah. I'm serious."

Hector stared at his hands, the snakeskin of his dry knuckles. the dried blood from the cracked joints. The hair he didn't remember getting so thick. "Thank-you." He said.

He texted his friend, Bertha (everyone called her Bea) his address, including his full name on the first line. Sure, they chatted. Sure, Bea gave him her number and offered to cook him dinner, or buy him a ("Just one, I'm pretty broke." She sighed.) a drink. Sure. But this was the first time either of them had called the other, and it was late.

"What a first time to call someone." Hector said to himself. The mass of butterflies flittering around in his stomach were hiding the pit, covering the dank opening, though it growled, hungrily.

Hector stood in his small kitchen, looking anywhere but at Bea as she bent down and unstrapped her summer sandals. Under her red hooded sweater --a zip up, that wasn't-- Bea wore:
  • a black t-shirt skirt with a rough cut V decolletage that she made herself. The seams stemmed from knots of thread by her kidneys
  • An pair of lacy black boy-shorts panties
  • A black, full cup bra with spaghetti straps
Hector wasn't blushing, but only because Hector didn't blush. Hector didn't smile much, either. Polite acquaintances called him: The Supreme Poker Face. Bullies in high school his freshman year called him Frankenstein. After a brawl in his junior year, Hector didn't have trouble for a solid three years, but now.

Bea stood up. Her t-shirt skirt had the impossible to read logo of a Swedish Black Metal band on it. She smiled at him. She smelled like baby powder. She wasn't wearing make up.

"Drink?" Hector asked.

"I'm hungry, actually. What do you have to eat?" Bea replied. She looked around Hector's apartment. She asked, "Got enough couches?"

"There's three more in the other room, if you're concerned." Hector said. He opened his fridge.

"Where do you sleep?" Bea asked.

"On a couch."

"Just any couch?"

"I've got a lot of couches."

"But not a favorite?" 

Hector did some math,  counted on his fingers, then mentally chopped some vegetables. "I could make us some vegetable and egg stir fry, and rice." he said. he added, "If you don't mind sharing food."

"I would share a drink with you too, if you offered." Bea said. She smiled at him, hands in her hooded sweater's pockets. She rocked on her heels, a sly grin curled a corner of Bea's mouth.

"Let me show you my favorite couch." Hector said.

(earlier that day. . .)
Hector Tanner stood tall and thick. From the ground up he wore:

  • Thick black gunner's boots, with reinforced toes.
  • Thick grey socks, with anti-smell heels and toes.
  • Black, boot cut, work jeans with knees his mother turned inside out and reinforced.
  • A black t-shirt
  • A dark grey, short sleeve, work shirt with a name tag sewn on. The name tag said, "William."
Hector Tanner held the splintered remains of a baseball bat. He stood tall and thick and hairy over the abject, broken, bodies of three college students. At least, they looked like college students. One of them moaned. Hector dropped the useless half-a-baseball bat and stooped. He gathered his library books and tablet computer and his backpack and carefully put everything back where it belonged. Hector sighed. The one with his wallet had run off while he dealt with the one who had the gun. 

The gun.

Hector looked around in the darkness. He found the gun and emptied the remaining four bullets from their chambers. He put the bullets two each in the breast pockets of his shirt. Hector put the gun in his backpack.

Hector Tanner slowly, quietly, finished the dark, over grown path between the gas station where he worked and his apartment building.

There were three people sitting on the stairs of Hector's apartment building. Three white boys, all younger than him, but not by much. One of them had a black eye and a split lip and a gashed open cheek, he stood up and pointed at Hector. "That's him." He said.

Hector stopped under the orange street light on the edge between the husk of one apartment building and the parking lot. Hector's hands gripped the straps of his back pack. "Hello again." Hector said.

The other two men stood up. One of them seemed almost as tall and stocky as Hector. This big one cracked his knuckles and a smile. "That so?" The big one said. "Well, Jon." He patted the pointing guy on the shoulder. "At least this one looks the part."

The three young men were all wearing identical, mottled grey hooded sweaters --zip ups that weren't-- and blue jeans that looked new under the parking lot light.

"Pardon?" Hector said. "May I pass?"

"May I pass?" Jon asked.

"Hector J Tanner, I a regret to inform you that you are to be evicted. Due to violations in the sub clause of your lease, you have forty-eight hours to vacate your apartment. On Monday at eight o'clock, the cleaning crew will arrive at your apartment. Anything still in the apartment at that time will be removed. Do you have any questions?" The biggest guy, hand still on Jon's shoulder, looked at Hector. He said, "I'm sorry Hector. You crossed the wrong guy."

"Really?" Hector asked.

"Really. Forty eight hours. I'm sorry."

"Well then." Hector said, "Excuse me." He strolled through the trio of men on his apartment building stoop. Through the two doors --his keys still worked. Up the backless stairs, through the mustard and dirt smelling cold spot on the stairs.

The key to his apartment also worked. "Huh." Hector said.

In the aloe scented darkness of his apartment, Hector sighed. He did some math, counted on his fingers, then mentally unpacked and started filling the dozen plastic totes in the bedroom closet. He stood there for a few moments, visualizing. He said, "I should probably actually do that."


(earlier that year. . . )
Hector tilted his head. "Thank-you." he said.

"Sure. Hi." 

* * *

The gas station doesn't have a regularly mopped floor. The gas station is also a mechanic's shop. The mechanics are young, dirty, honest. They laugh and most of them smoke. This is where Hector works. Hector does not smoke, he does oil changes, brake pad changes. Tire rotations. Tire changes. On his lunch breaks, Hector reads a book, or listens to an audio book.

Hector eats five apples a day. He is loosing weight, according to his plan.

Hector is twenty-five years old, and is not in college. He does not need college. He likes learning --is an autodidact. Eventually he will be the owner of









We were, the seven of us, sat in chairs, feet up on the patio table, while young fireflies flittered around the pine trees.


We were, the four of us, sat on a blanket, while the antique, electric fan rattled and kept the mosquitoes away. It was hot and the Absinthe was long warm, but black Absinthe (its first, startling, aniseed bite: so tasty) was designed for Greek evenings and rivuletted beautifully through our misshapen ice cubes and coiled delicious at the bottom of our pint glasses.


We were, the three of us, cuddled on the couch. We listened, mouths open, breath held, for the next thunder clap. We smiled and clapped and forced laughs that turned real with each boom.


We were, the two of us, stuffed in a booth the night before



. . . look. This isn't exciting, it is wish fulfillment. You don't have to read it, you probably shouldn't.

I want to remember moments where we held hands and stared quietly into a roaring fire while sheets of rain thrashed against the windows. I want to remember the

I am writing this so I can remember the curve of her hips in those brown pinstripe pants we found at a thrift store in Charleston and no, it doesn't matter which one. We got funny looks and poor service. She wore a white a frame shirt and a cream colored bra that made many things defy physics that evening, and she grinned with her thin, wide lips and her verdant eyes shone like polished lake stones.

We laughed, incredulous, at the dry triangle of t-shirt under her boobs, the first time she wore that bra and we got caught in the rain. "How is that?" She asked, holding the shirt up.

"Your boobs." I said, "They are literally comic book big."

She shook her head. "That's ridiculous." She said, "They're ridiculous." And she sighed, heavily, goose fleshed and August tanned.

I am writing about the past because I am trying to come to the present.

I am writing while I wait. I am waiting. I have a friend, I am her ride to the hospital when she goes into labor. Well. I might be her ride to the hospital. I might go out dancing tonight, later, depending on how she feels. She has slept most of the day, and been prone, half dazed, when awake.

I wanted to write a "simple" heroics story. A clever set of events that a group of friends or acquaintances experienced together. Instead I'm pretending I'm single.

I'm not. My friend is my wife and the fact that she's my friend isn't a lie, but it isn't the truth, either, because people always expect you to tell them the biggest most interesting and life changing part of a story first, as if it were their business that I'm married to my best friend.

As if they have a right to know who I actually love.

I love my best friend, and she is asleep, or about to be, on the couch. And I am here, writing. Putting words down, trying to express the present, so I'm not stuck looking into the past, no matter how far that may be.

Do you know the song "STUNNER" ? it came out in October of 2013. The singer-song writer is a very tall, very old man. He is in his forties. He wears black clothes, t-shirts with his name in huge block letters, white on black.

Maybe if I have a sip of vodka my daughter will kick off this

Simple
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Stake

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gracias, amiga.

Sus manos son frágiles. Son las primeras cosas que veo.

Comienza pequeño. Pasos pequeños son el único modo de conscientemente llegar a algún sitio. Múevete lentamente, presta atencíon. Mira más alla --dos veces-- todo el tiempo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Enthralled by a summer witch in the dead of winter

amaba una bruja de verano en el medio de invierno.


I sat and secretly enjoyed the smoke from the man's cigarette. It was crisp, and reminded me of corn mazes and a summer with witch's fingers.

Me sentaba y con yo me gustaba los humos con el pitillo del hombre viejo.

The ghosts of summers passed. The ghosts of past summers. The ghosts of passed summers.

"Pass the past," he said, and passed out.

Por favor, dime el pregunto del realidad. 

En éste momento, quiero preguntarte: ¿qué vas a hacer? ¿que quieres a hacer? ¿por que éstos no son lo mismo? 

voy a escribir un relato en español. Va a ser un travelogue de mi vida, mi corazón, y mi cabeza cuando soy un papa.

Sí voy a escribir en español --va a divertido pues, ó cómico?