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.


The living room was oppressively bright --bleached pale, washed out, the sun breaking across the bay windows. But, the kitchen. The kitchen faced north 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.

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 shrugged.

"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 enjoying the cool of the black porcelain sink.

"Miss me?" She asked, coming back, wiping her hands on her black cotton dress. Some of the seams were frayed where the swathes of more black cotton were sewn in, like a loose toga, swirling, covering her breasts and hips. The grey stitching looked like halogen contrails under a midnight Caribbean sky. Devi's smile was wan, her eyes cagey.


I shrugged.

Devi's brow furrowed.

I smirked and reached toward her left cheek with my right knuckles.

"You guys ready?" Her roommate shouted. The garage door slammed.

I laughed.

Devi yelled, "Almost! One second!" Then, "Buy clothes when we get there?"

I said, "Cool."

We stumbled, weak knees, green pallor, down the stairs of the small airplane, warm rain pelting us like a monstrous, warm massage shower.

I stopped at the stairs into the airport and finished emptying my stomach. Thunder rolled over us, sending a wave of goosebumps up my spine while I spat, hands on knees. Devi firmly rubbed my back with her finger tips and whispered encouraging, soothing words to me.

I stood. I smiled. We stared at each other and, simultaneously, grinned, nodded.

Taking my hand Devi pulled us through the airport.


Later, I sprawled on a towel, propped on my elbows and watched Devi kick and splash in the ocean. Behind her, the setting sun was red and small. Above us, the edge of a storm rolled toward the sun. Devi wasn't getting rained on yet, the roar of the ocean hiding the pelting, clicking and putting sound of the huge, warm raindrops.

I turned my head up and closed my eyes. I could still see Devi in her black cotton sun dress, an arc of ocean bubbles spiraling from her foot.

Thunder rumbled. I smiled. I stood up, slowly, stretching my arms over my head, then down to my toes. I yawned. I shouted to her, but the ocean and the storm stifled me.

I followed the edge of the storm toward the sunset, toward Devi, never taking my eyes off her. She turned while I was a goodly distance away and I stopped, the rain rushed ahead and a moment later I could barely see Devi through the veil of water.

Devi turned just before the edge of the storm caught her, soaked her warmly. I heard her startled laugh through the pitter and the patter. Behind us, lightning cracked the air, then thunder. I ran to her and wrapped my hands around her waist and picked her up and twirled her and the tide went out and the sand went out from under my feet and we crashed into the white muck, laughing, drenched, warm and a wave crashed hard over us and knocked her forehead onto my nose and I laughed and said, "Bonk!"

And Devi said, "You're bleeding!" and thunder rolled, and

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.

"