Saturday, January 30, 2010

38: Equilibrium

What’re you writing, he asked, peering over her shoulder, and she replied, I’m trying to write a story about equilibrium. Well, do you want the scientific kind, the ear kind, or just plain old balance? Any of those would do, she said. He stood still thinking, his blank face that just passes seconds and isn’t doing anything, said, I don’t know why you waste your time. Perfect bait, but she didn’t reply. He left and there came the story, the writing furious as she worked to undermine him, drop him to the floor.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

37: Three Guys on Fire

He swerved the car, scraping an oncoming vehicle trying to avoid the three guys on fire standing in the road. The living matchsticks were still, ghosts eyes staring back from some netherworld painting. Lost consciousness then a voice, how’s your head, as vision returned, a cloud fizzling, flashing lights, his hands lifting to brush black smoke.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

36: Rock Star

Once when I was 15 I was in a mall music store, picked up a guitar. In the store window I saw a ghost reflection of a rock star, LP cover and festival pose, then a small boy staring through. I gave him some Eddie Van Halen two-handed tapping. His eyes were wide, like I was MTV. Later, I saw him in the pet shop looking at hamsters and tarantulas. I gave him a wagging tongue, crazy air picking, but I was now invisible, fading pointless hero.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

35: Zurich

Suddenly a scorpion stung a woman in a Zurich bar. Outside the snow-covered Alps. A green-glassed bottle of Vollmond, label of moon by starry clear night, slipped from her hand, crashed. Her hand molten lava. The scorpion scuttered. People stopped and stared. Only one person thought to scream.

Friday, January 22, 2010

34: Near the Pond Fishing

Years before we stood near the pond fishing, day fading into night. In one moment the air brushed the water surface. No voices, no sounds, except crickets, frogs, leaves. The splashing of water, the whirring of pulled line. Hey, I caught one, you said. I turned and you were gone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

33: Detachable Detective

As kids we used to play this game called detachable detective. We’d make up mysteries to solve. No game board but just telling it like a story, back and forth. I was the detachable one, able to take off arms and legs, hands and feet. One time I took off my head and you said, enough, time for something else. Years later I remembered the game ended without my putting my head back on. I called you and you said, well it’s too late now, spoken like truth.

Monday, January 18, 2010

32: The Canoe

The canoe pitched us into the cold waters, our bodies from the waist down instant popsicles. We stumbled to rocky shore, dragging the wobbly vessel, holding each other, a list of things soaked and ruined. Some day we’ll take inventory, laugh about our losses.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

31: Grabbing the Moon

You tried grabbing the moon when I was holding you, arm outstretched, small hand clutching for night sky. I laughed, said, you can do it, and there it was in your palm, opaque ball humming like an electric heart.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

30: The Writer There

The writer there. You mean the one inspecting tidbits of dust, trying to find paintings in the sky? Yes, that’s the one, go.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

29: A Particular Sunset

You described it as like a baby being born. The sky orange and red, the day’s blue washing away. Beautiful, certainly, but I didn’t understand. I remember her wrapped in pink blanket. The world a blur, sleeping an hour at a time. Outside, snow and rain, white pellets tinkling against the window. The three of us in the hospital room and it’s more like sunrise, tired eyes and delirious smiles.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

28: Invoice, Multiple Items

Dear B—, Enclosed is an itemized invoice for things unpaid from long ago. One Activision Keystone Kapers cartridge for Atari 2600, borrowed by you, claimed lost, $19.99; one baseball bat shattered in anger, without apology after humiliating strikeout, $7.99; one green swordtail fish, leapt to its death after you opened aquarium lid, chased it with net, $0.79. You owe me $30.21 including tax. This amount is based on actual purchase prices and doesn’t account for your careless scarring of my childhood memories. I know you won’t pay but perhaps years of guilt will change your mind. Best, C—

Friday, January 8, 2010

27: Pumpkins

You wanted a small one, the kind that fits easily in your little hands. I gave you a black magic marker so you could draw a face. It’s Mrs. Jelly, you said, holding up the orange orb, cowlick stem, face of circle eyes, triangle nose, jagged razor grin. It certainly is. The world outside dried leaves forming crunchy carpet, wood burning in stoves, whispering cold dusk. A landscape of monsters, your imagination.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

26: The Epic Novel of Our Time

Christian Bell’s latest novel exceeds 800 pages but here’s the short take. A re-envisioning of various conspiracies but not like Dan Brown. The government, the Illuminati, Kennedy assassination, Black Ops, etc., but original interpretation. While writing this book, he claims to have seen his doppelganger, had his life threatened seven times, and witnessed streams of black cars patrolling his house. The novel is complete but awaits a publisher. What you see here, though, may be it. Tomes reduced to blurbs. Enjoy with Moscato d’Asti. The reading’s quick but, please, savor the wine.

Monday, January 4, 2010

25: Steak Tartare 6

V, in a world devoid of fire and electricity, forms a circle of uncooked meat, tops it with a fresh cracked egg. The questions are, from where did the meat and egg come, and is this dystopia past or future?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

24: Ordering

He walked into the bar, tattered backpack over his shoulders, translation dictionary in his hands. With much struggle, he ordered a beer. The bartender, frustrated, sighed. He sipped his beer, printed a to-do list that stretched to his last day. Museums, stores, restaurants. Then he pondered the language: how much does that cost, good afternoon, may I buy you a drink?

Friday, January 1, 2010