Sunday, February 24, 2013

This is what I think friendship looks like X of Y

Walk in without knocking.

Smile at his husband. Say "Hello again" when he comes around the corner. Grin, nervously, as he asks: You ready for this? Your husband knows where you are. This is fine.

And it is.

You're sculpting. Okay. Honesty. Modeling for a sculpter, who also happens to be a family friend. He is older, wiser, flirtier, hornier, and that is all okay.

There is trust between spouses and an understanding about what it is to make art.

"Fags can be friends with fags, too" He told you all once, but staring into your eyes, over dinner. And he's right.

The two of you don't talk much, you don't have to. Not for his sculpting, not for the friendship to build.

Afterward, he cooks you dinner and laughs that George (his husband) will be mad that he missed the juice-iest chicken he's ever cooked.

You down your glass of wine and make an ill timed cock joke. You both laugh, he  more politely than you, and you sit on the couch and talk art and nothing for a while.

Before you pass out, he calls you a cab and the cabby (an American who doesn't talk much and has a Taoist book on the bucket seat with him) rolls down the back window and lets the warm spring air rush over your burning cheeks as he drives you back down Water Street.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Look. I know you know where the boar is now. But I have to do this. This is what I've been doing for three years. I can't not do this now. I'm just --two weeks, okay? Then we will --Fine! Sorry! Too long. Three days. Three days and we'll find the boar and you can do whatever you're going to do to it, okay? Thank-you."

The Octopus looked somewhat deflated as it moved toward the bathroom.

"Nap." it signed, behind itself.

"Tired?"

"Not car."

The writer haha'd at The Octopus, who quietly closed the door behind it.

"Come on," The writer said to the door. "Don't be like that! We almost got it last time!"

And indeed they had. IT had been close, the boar. IT was eating in a dumpster. The writer had been driving to the Boutique Condiment store for more Himalayan Table Salt. The Octopus had grabbed the wheel a turned them through three lanes and into the parking lot of a burger chain.

"Back! Trash!" Frantically and over and over and Tom obeyed, choosing very consciously and conveniently to ignore his pounding heart.

The Octopus was out of the car and flinging itself madly at the dumpster, scrambling up the side before the car fully stopped and just as Tom stood up, keys still in hand like a flatulent bottle rocket the boar shot out the top of the dumpster, toilet paper streamers whipping, tusks looking moldered with mustard and pickles. The leap was impressive.

The Octopus's arms caught the boar's hind legs and yanked it back toward the dumpster; the boar tried to tuck and roll, misjudged the jerk, smashed its snout into the rim --shattered a tusk and some teeth.

The boar roared in pain, began stomping furiously at the mounds of trash, hopping like a mosher or a jack hammer.

"Holy heavens! What?!" Tom exclaimed, uselessly, as the Octopus slither suckered its way up and started snaking suckers around the boar's throat, covering its eyes.

The boar slammed itself, back first onto the dumpster wall; slippery in the detritus, the boar seemed supernaturally strong, regardless and the Octopus lost its breath, loosened its grip and with another roar (that shattered the windows of the burger joint and Tom's car and set off car alarms) the Boar burst from the dumpster, buckled the roof of Tom's car and was gone.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Too Ex

The snowflakes twitched in the flickering torch lights.

The boar and The Octopus eyed each other quietly, their breath pulsing, clouding, in time. The red snow and the myriad of silently dripping fluids sank and spread like slow atoms.

Finally, the boar lowered its head and inched toward The Octopus.

The Octopus hugged the boar.

They closed their eyes.

They disappeared.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Won of Ex

The boar panted in the dark, its flanks streaked, its tusks broken.

There was a boom as the gun went off, then silence. Before the boom, a minuscule moment before the roar: a flash, reflected in the writer's tears.

Snot coated his upper lip and he heaved. The writer could not talk, only gasp and suck air through his constricted throat, into burning lungs.

With another boom, another flash, the mangled, imploded cave of the boar's head, frozen in the salt streaks.

The forest howled cold, evergreen words, branches wrestling as if to immolate each other.

With the third and final flash (the boom droned out, lost in the howling of the trees): Steam, rising from the cave, the hole.

"Done. Go. Go. Go. Go." The Octopus signed, "Ocean. Go."

"I agree. I need to wash." said the writer. "In the ocean."

"Ocean. Go Go Go." The Octopus signed, inflated itself and shivered like misplaced seaweed in the new dark.

* * *


They had tracked the boar to this forest, deep in the upper peninsular of Michigan. The weather: blistering cold, with wind that made the backs of their heads feel like chopping blocks.

The Octopus did not feel the cold as it slip thumped through the snow, arms leaving a sun burst trail of slashes as they strode onward into the darkness.

Just past the tree line, Tom took out a flashlight and turned it on, handed it to The Octopus, who nodded appreciatively.

Tom said, "This is it, right? It dies, you die?"

"No. Cloudy." Replied The Octopus.

"Cloudy, huh?"

"Yes."

"Do you get to go home, after this?"

"Home?"

"Back?"

The Octopus wheezed out a laugh. It signed, "

Sunday, February 10, 2013



The man is sitting in a coffee house, laptop out, coat flung over the other chair. The Octopus is perched on the back of his chair, reading and clicking its phantom limbs on the laptop of the man. It is reading, learning.

Korean is the easiest pictographic language, but ahah! American Sign Language works with just limbs, no need for fingers or contortions.

They sit, learning basic words: Food. Left. Right. Yes. No. Up. Down. Love. Hot. Cold.

The Octopus picks it up much quicker than the man, who is named Tom. Not short for Thomas, or Tomas. Simply: Tom. Certainly, he has a last name, but he doesn't want to share it --hiding the innocent, et cetera.

Tom draws diagrams in his note book, shaky lines denoting motion and direction. The Octopus approves.

They search for specific words and phrases together. The Octopus first searched for an image that captured the nature of the boar, but the man didn't understand.

The Octopus didn't know to show him Grant Morrison's Animal Man comics, or Promethea, by Alan Moore and JH Williams. It did stumble across a review of the Korean movie "Chaw: Attack of the Mutant Killer Pigs" but that confused Tom even more.

Finally, to move the conversation along,  Octopus settled on an impolite lie: My bad brother: here. Need. Brother to go home with me."

"Your brother is a boar?"

"Yes."

"I think you mean bore."

"No."



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Toa Wakes



"I miss you." isn't a sentence Toa can say. She doesn't have the word "Miss." There is a short word that means, "Off target" --it is an intransitive verb. When your grandparents sing you to sleep, when your siblings will come home eventually, pink and gossamer and glowing though they may be, there's no need for that word.

Toa is laying on the same branch she was a day ago, though. The rain hasn't stopped, and a tree just south of her has been struck by lightning, has caught fire. The water drips down her hair, matting it, warming her lips.

Idly, Toa wonders how her pool of tears is faring. She has not returned to her camp for three days, has continued further and further out, away from her part of the jungle.

"Survive" in Toa's language is the same word as "live." and she has seven different words for "Secret." All of which also mean, "Magic." But magic to them isn't the same as magic to us. Magic, for them is

(Seven kinds of magic, there's a thing.)

Like a torch falling from the sky, a comet soaring into the forest. This is two days from the rain, forward, not backward. The boom of the comet's impact shook the tree and Toa almost fell out, fell down, almost. She's steadier than that.

The impact started a fire, a big, big fire. Big enough to be followed, but Toa is smart. You don't go following fires in the night. Its still dark where you tread and there are still beasts hungry for your meat. Teeth and thick paws, flashing nails and shaggy fur.

Toa made a note, scratched the direction of the fire into a tree branch with her spear point, incase it went out while she slept.

She couldn't feel the fire, but still knew it was there, rising into the sky just like the boar's tunnel burrowed into the ground --both lost themselves in an edge --a cloud line, the angle of the pit.

They thought they were so clever, with the pit. The boar, though, had out smarted them, had climbed through a door it made itself, bloody snout through all that packed dirt.


"Enough contemplation," Toa thought as she drifted off, the summoning prayer half finished, slipping through her lips.

It worked anyway.

Her grandfather sat next to her on the river bank, their feet and legs warming in the salt pool. "You know we're proud of you, don't you?" Her grandfather said.

Toa laughed. She thought for many minutes. Her response: "This again?"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Dreaming, Flowing Across the Sky

The day Toa meet another person, The Octopus almost died.

She was swimming in a river, not her river, and the boy was sat, fishing, and his hook almost caught her eyelid, but

(The Octopus was blinded in one eye, its left eye poked nearly through by a broom handle wielded by an ancient Chinese woman with thick eyebrows and the remnants of bound feet.)

instead a fish took his bait, eating a cockroach who had been holding its breath for half an hour while patiently ignoring the hook through its abdomen.

Toa cried out and the boy startled too, as she surfaced. They eyed each other, cautiously.

"Hello?" The boy said.

Toa frowned. She asked him why he spoke her language and they fell immediately into conversation about their village.

He had been sent out three years ago, but had failed to catch the fish that had eaten his father's legs from the knees down. Instead he had met a turtle, who taught him to catch cockroaches, and also how to fish.

But that doesn't make any sense: Turtles don't use cockroaches to fish.

(Toa and the man wake from the same dream simultaneously.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This is What I Think Friendship Looks like (6/10)

"So, how do you want to do it?" She asked.
and
"Can I come with you, if you go to that reading?"
and
"Did you like that song I sent you?"
and
"Isn't that fucking amazing? Did you see the one with the twigs, hanging from the trees?"
and
"I know, right?" (Totally)
and
"This would be the worst first date." She was laughing. She was totally serious. But it wasn't a date, and it was hilarious and John's furious blush was as much from the belly laughing and trying to drive as it was  his mysteriously soaked posterior.

They got home, to her home, and her boyfriend came down the stairs, ruddy and big glasses and widely grinning; curious about the boisterousness in his kitchen. They laughed and traded their days apart like easy poker hands while the cats fought.

The first time they hung out in a meaningful way: Running into each other like the best brunch time five car pile up. They'd just finished, but John and his wife were good company and the conversation flowed like coffee (for the record: meandering, lingering and deep, full bodied) and someone thought: "I could spend the rest of my Sundays like this." as they were giving their see-you-later hugs.

Life, flowing like the blues and laughing like the young dyke with dyed white hair, a soft morgan freeman face and Beyoncé tits.