Wednesday, December 30, 2009

23: Dale Murphy

Look, he says, my glove has Dale Murphy’s signature printed on it. That glove was magic playing school lot baseball. Snagging searing grounders, somehow stretching to catch flyballs that should’ve been just out of reach. His hand inside didn’t even sweat on blazing summer days. By the time the other kids looked inside the glove, the stitches had frayed and the webbing was worn enough to let balls slip out. One more inning, he’d shout, as night fell, as moths circled humming school building lights, their fake suns.

Monday, December 28, 2009

22: Like Penguins

They huddled on a frozen island, gathered close together like penguins. How they arrived, and why, and what would happen. The first instinct was huddle for heat. Next would be food, then how to go home. Eventually someone would climb above everyone, take command. Why is for later, now is for solutions. They wait for his promises. Boats made of air, seas leaping of cooking flames, seared fish captive on spits.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

21: Something Borrowed

Here’s a book to borrow. I know that for you “borrow” is actually keep, since you won’t return it. This isn’t part of your chemistry. Please be kind to it. The pages are thin like a telephone book and the cover is glossy and black, displaying oily fingerprints. The plot is convoluted but the characters are like neighbors who would lend you spices, help change your oil. Please do not write in it. The margins are for your fingers to draw rectangles, your mind to have clear space.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

20: Picture Frame People

Those people in the photos that come with picture frames are government agents. Also, they can see through the frames carrying their pictures, spying into the private lives of the picture frame buying populace. Their eyes staring back at you are their eyes staring back at you, aided by microscopic camera, satellites orbiting Earth, and monitors on the other end of somewhere. That is, until you insert your own pictures.

Monday, December 21, 2009

19: A Favor

He called on the bureau guy for the owed favor. First the guy offered dinner at a high-end steakhouse, porterhouses like marble slabs, keen vintage port, Cuban Cohibas sold on the sly. He declined, said, give me details on a woman. An ex-fiancĂ©e, seven years prior. In three days, slipped under his door a manila folder. The pertinent details. Married, mother of two, didn’t stop him. Early evening he stood on her front step. Inside he heard laughter, the click-clack of shoes on floor. He waited for her voice, the brass door knob reflecting hazy street light.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

18: Three Christians

At a jazz bar sipping cider, he overhears the guy behind him say his name is Christian, just like his. He turns around, says, that’s funny, that’s my name. The other Christian points to the guy next to him, says, he’s not Christian but his best friend was. The guy pulls up the sleeve of his shirt, reveals a heart-shaped tattoo bearing the name, his friend now dead. There’s a moment, three connected strangers, perhaps it’s spiritual, then the crowd returns, a swell of voice. The player on stage strums the bass, keeping time, holding the tune.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

17: A Quick Take on Spider-Man

He’s a nerd whose parents are dead. A nuclear spider bites him. Now he’s split into two people, the nerd and the spider-like freak. Uncle Ben’s his surrogate father, his death a symptom of fallout. He looks to MJ, radioactive in her red flame hair. Their skies span endless, a chance to fly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

16: Underground

H descended the manhole ladder first, followed by K. Both with lights mounted to helmets. How far down does this go, H asked. Not sure, said K. Countless rungs. The air musty, old. Their voices became funneled echoes. They reached a point where the daylight above became a pinpoint. H stopped. Here, he thought, eyes closed, his mind on home. K tapped on his helmet. Keep moving. The world above invisible, ruins.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

15: Kid Ego

Did you come down to earth when we cut strands of your long golden hair? She wanted to treat it like jewels, hide it away for a keepsake. We saw you in the corner, tears like a baby’s cry, your portrait melting. We wanted to strap you in a chair, make you watch us shave each other’s head, shine our boots and stomp the air. She’s the one you should thank, her head full of stardust.

Friday, December 11, 2009

14: The Letters

We sent letters to your last known address hoping you were still alive. But we found out you’d been dead for 12 years. All those letters—family updates of job promotions, marriages, deaths—sent nowhere. Last week, we learned our letters had become a museum exhibit. At first, we were aghast; then, we saw it and weren’t. Viewers were moved to tears, as were we, seeing our handwriting, our words to you thought long lost. We can’t help but keep writing, this art form of you not dead, we still clinging to obscurest hope.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

13: Prisoner's Cinema

He sits on cold damp concrete, in darkness, sees lights. Swirls of red, orange, blue, yellow, white, green. His crime, stealing. Here comes a shadow with a bludgeoning tool.

Monday, December 7, 2009

12: Magnetic Pull

He went to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling right. He’d always complained of joints aching like nails have been driven through them but it had grown worse. Like the nails were trying to exit. He asked the doctor, is it magnetic pull? Are we getting to close to an asteroid belt, the moon, the sun? The doctor, his mouth twisted in frown, said, yes, we are, lowering his eyeglasses to look right through him.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

11: Scribble

This is a scribble for your posterity. In the future you can open up this up and say, what, and she’ll look at you, like she does, and think, what are you holding on to, as you do.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

10: Steak Tartare 7

Gordon Gekko, freed from prison, orders the steak tartare. He looks down at the meal and smiles. Greed is eternal. He’s got a plan. He takes a bite. Here is his life again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

9: The Something

The something arrived one day, a fractured monument in miniature resting in the town square. You said, it looks like a golden avocado. I disagreed, thought it was more like squash, a copper color. Everyone saw the something differently. An authority said, it might be from space. Which caused parties, weirdness. Let’s not go, you said, and I agreed, so we watched the night from our window, celebrating things we knew, goblets of champagne and meteor showers.