i haven’t written anything that long yet. still trying to figure out how to do short stories right.
and here we mark the distance: your first dog’s nose in your sleeping mouth, your girlfriend’s big toe burrowing into the neck of your sock, the smell of smoke after your first car accident, the sway of a box step at a friend’s wedding, finger-memory of your old friend’s phone number ninety-eight ninety-seven, beer and pizza on top the brown boxes in a new city, the tan line from a missing ring, a funeral program in a coat pocket, a letter that you might’ve hung once on a wall by a mirror, morning breath (you know whose), yellow ribbons, red ribbons, black ribbons, flowers, very expensive flowers in football fields and in hospitals, that softest shirt that you never wash, mom’s bed, and the constancy of McDonald’s French Fries at just $1.79 to be shared with good friends and family, or try our Extra Value Meal featuring the classic Big Mac Combo for just $4.99, and just to let you know we’re giving away our signature coffee for the next two weeks. Stop by today!, marginalia in your old handwriting, the gum stick you split in half, the burned cds, the jacket you never returned, jet lag in hotel rooms, and the sight of an ocean you’ve never seen before.
My final trip of the summer was to Las Vegas. Jenny brought mollys and we squeezed into an overcrowded club and we tried our best to dance together but even before it was midnight we gave up and headed up to our suite. It was hard getting her out of her dress. It clung and we were too distracted by each others skin. We smoked a cigarette while looking out the big window from the 30th floor. We were disappointed with this city and how hard it seemed to carve out our little moments here. So we made do with what we had: we turned down the thermostat and hooked up our phones to the portable speakers we’d brought. We turned down the lights and jumped on the bed with our shoes on and clothes half off. We danced like we wanted to, ignored by the rest of the world, timeless in the rhythm, in tune with bodies that were no longer our bodies, expectant and fulfilled, we decided to stop being so human for a while and break.
I hate it when they actually leave.
I spent the last few days at home making sure that the door was unlocked, smoked so many cigarettes I wondered if I had a cold. I sat on the balcony only in my underwear and let my legs dangle over with the plants on top of the street.
They always forget a few things when they leave. One time it was a shoe, just a single shoe from a pair. She must’ve taken the other with her to wherever she went. I held the one shoe to my ear like a telephone and promised into the laces not to forget her. All I heard in response was the dark inside of the shoe, empty, a ghost of a foot, a gym-like smell.
I’m learning how to make coffee again. She was nice enough to leave the press. I take it slow and remember how she did it. It doesn’t taste the same. I waste so many coffee beans and so many cups of water. The apartment smells like that aisle in the market. Caffeine saturates the air. I don’t sleep. Nothing sleeps.
My friend and his girlfriend dragged me out on the fifth day. I made sure to leave a note in case she comes back wondering where I went. They took me to the beach and bought me a beer. We stared at seagulls and I rubbed my newly formed patchy facial hair. They invited me to stay over at their place. I smelled the shirt I’ve worn for the last few days. I wondered about my underwear.
I came back home and checked if anything had been moved or if there was a message on the phone. But everything was the same. This is the worst: they leave and everything is the same. I turned on the shower and accidentally used her shampoo. They always forget a few things when they leave. I hate it when they actually leave.
Love is self-expression and can not be separated from myself. Therefore it is not an exclusive product to be offered to you without “me”, my body or my functions.
This is why I farted under the sheets, babe. And this is why I pushed your head into the dank darkness.
She lends with a fist; a brushy caterpillar the color of green pasta flaked with deep reds and browns like that of the guts of a ripped tea bag mounts and descends across her knuckles then curiously prods my cheeks for security or maybe familiarity. While her fist pinches the skin of my cheek with my top molars and gums, the caterpillar accepts the oils and the stability of my face. He likes you, she says from some way above my one open eye and I see a kaleidoscopic pattern of legs and fall-like diamonds shift to a tickle above my eyebrow as the little creature bridges the height of my vision between my eyelids. I never really liked insects but I try to take this like a religious experience, something about nature and reality, something about transference of life, something about being more than twenty six years old and feeling spent as if I was too smart for all this but not smart enough for how smart I was. I feel the last set of legs disappear behind my ear and I can make out the microauditory scrunches and scrapes in the meeting of caterpillar and grass blades. He’s going off on some adventure, no fear or courage, the bastards just going and going because he’s going before he knows he’s going. Gonna be a butterfly, he probably isn’t thinking but he should. And he definitely isn’t asking, Why the fuck do I have to be a butterfly?, because he doesn’t know, he doesn’t care, he doesn’t really have a choice, and what the hell is a choice anyways? Just push one segment after another, a million legs to follow, colors saturated and bright like overprocessed Kodak frames spinning across the entire height and length of my sight.
6x6 for howbraillesounds
for the same reasons I bike instead of drive on thursdays, spend a little extra to get the good beer for friends, sleep early and wake up late, swim at night, jog for miles along the coast, sort movies and books by mood, scream obscenities in the car, occasionally litter, drink too much water, stare at people, and answer things in lists: I’m not really sure why but it’s what I do, man.
your attractive drug addicted cousin trying to convince you to watch true detective on hbo.
I post crap on tumblr or write crap in notepad/phone about idea or life events. come back years later and pick up the salvageable lines and thoughts for short stories. share the product with the same two close friends. let the stories ferment then revise. then hoard these stories until I’m adequately convinced I have enough taste to know when my own writing is okay.
The Moment Right Now
reading. lots of reading. too lost to write.
sharing finished works. too self critical. solipsistic. onanistic. grammar issues. largely uninspired. etc etc etc etce erearefddafdsfiaojfaoiwefoisjfokncxjnvsddjkfnslfn
A Writer Is
someone who writes stuff. so pretty much everybody. unless you can’t read or write. then you suck. and I get to say this because you can’t read this. hah.
Don first came in with an unsettled heart and we were able to cure him right away. The treatment consisted of spending time with smaller creatures such as beetles, shrews, and goldfish so that he would understand that the world isn’t as big as he suspected it; it’s just that he’s smaller than he ever cared to imagine (just like these little friends).
He held the goldfish bowl up into the sky. The sun was refracting off the glass angles creating little sweeps of rainbows. We let him name the fish and we let him take Ernest the Rainbow home so that he could care for it until its death and extinction. We wished Don luck and he drifted away from our office like a string of fish poop falling to settle among the little pebbles and the algae muck.
We heard some years later that he married, had kids, passed away in a car accident among thousands of car accidents that occurred in the summer of ‘05. The city had record breaking heat waves that summer but he would never know it. The goldfish outlived him then (killed and) died in a poorly maintained aquarium.
Nell came a few weeks after Don. She seemed to have a similar problem but her unease came from more than an unsettled heart. She complained that she knew too much and thought that the best procedure for her was to forget. We explained to her that it wasn’t common practice for us to implement our selective amnesia process as the first treatment. She relented after some explaining and accepted our suggestion that she pick up a second job.
She worked as a nurse and she found another at a gym where she spent many hours of the night sitting at a desk and staring at late night ESPN replays. Sometimes when the gym was empty and slightly frightening in its hollow, she would play songs she heard in high school and jog around the line of treadmills while thinking that she was turning the turning world in some new way with her movement. She’d get dizzy and fall over onto the plastic matted floor and she’d lie there with all the mirrored walls reflecting each other. She never again felt the loss of knowing that all knowing wasn’t really knowing.
When she came into our offices for the last time, she looked tired and worn from the lack of sleep. But she seemed unsad. She no longer wandered or read or approached friends to have conversations about things they didn’t care to think about. She merely tried to sleep when she could. Her loud, definite voice became stretched out to a slurred whisper. She told us she was okay. We told her that’s why we’re here. We’re too human you know? You just have to forget that.
Some years ago, I found a room in my house I had never known existed. I’ll spend many years in that room, sick, sweaty and alone, imagining a key I’d laid just outside for me to find.
— you’re making a mistake.
— relax. I do that all the time.
he told me this is the best way to break up with a somewhat serious girlfriend: he says to take her to mcdonalds or something similar where there’s people and french fries. he says to stand up from the table and get a refill of coke or something. he says to tell her after you get the refill and before you sit down because standing next to the table will make you look more definite but it will make you look more like a coward in her eyes which is better for her because she’ll get to say things like “that fucking coward” to her friends or to herself. he says to say the things people say in movies or television during successful break up scenes because this is the easiest way to clearly communicate to people like us about what is happening and she’ll have social cues on how to react triggered by those familiar words which will prevent her from freezing up or stuttering or just breaking down. he says to have a list of your own faults and her faults and the relationships faults and to slide that list over to her across the table. he says this is important because the break up can be a growing opportunity for everyone and that list of faults could be a good start to a better you, her, the world. he says to tell her that you’re sorry and if her eyes look like they’re getting all moody post-rock, he says to tell her that she can punch you in the stomach if she’d like. he says you might get punched but its a real solid way to end a relationship. be careful not to spill the soda, he added.