Sunday, October 31, 2010

54: Watching the House Burn

We watched the house burn, holding hands. For years we talked about its history.  A psycho father kills his family, hangs himself.  Every other family moves in, stays awhile, abruptly leaves.  The house sat on the grounds of either a prison cemetery, a typhoid-ravaged boarding school, or an abandoned psychiatric hospital.  We watched the flames, screaming demons eating oxygen.  I stare, transfixed, think I see silhouettes, black snakes of smoke moving uphill through bare trees.  We’ve come here since childhood, stealing kisses in the shadows. We don’t believe in this stuff. You clutch my hand, won’t let us leave.

Friday, October 29, 2010

53: Suckers

Growing up, we had seven cats.  We were suckers for strays, the big baby eyes of kittens.  We also had lemons for cars, bought encyclopedias from door-to-door salesmen.  Uncle Jim would come over, his eyes glassy, his breath malted, and plead with mom and dad, just a twenty, I’ll pay it back next week.  The cats would never go near him.  He’d stick around for an hour or two, make pointless conversation until my mother—his sister—relented.  Then he’d leave.  The cats would reappear, doe-eyed for treats.  Never again, said my parents, hopeless.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

52: Writing Prompts

Write about your house that has been bulldozed. Write about the time bullies jumped you, stole your money, destroyed your backpack. Write about the revenge you concocted, the payback in bullets and knives. Write about when dad hurled his bowling balls down a real city alley after a night of disgust. Write about all the times and all the people. Write about days that never come home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

51: Excerpt from the Exit Interview for the 47th Version of Death

Do you want to know why I quit?  Start with wars, tsunamis, earthquakes.  I can’t keep splitting myself up to meet demand.  I’m hard as bone and all, ha ha, but like #42 I have to say it’s the young kids.  My predecessor warned me.  I know it’s only been 64 years but enough’s enough.  #27 only lasted for 18 minutes so I did better than that.  As for what’s next, I should have an answer like touring the world, hitting the beach but I don’t.  Maybe I’ll just attend funerals, be passive, mourn.