Idiomatic

He is sitting in a car, the windows rolled down, the humidity pouring in, sweat pooling on his back. Mostly he tries not to think, keep his eyes on the road ahead. It’s these long glass moments, that’s where he has no control.

So many yesterdays spent lying against each other, impressing their silhouettes against their nascent forms, shuddering and trembling at the faintest touch. She says, hand clasped in his, I am not just a thing, an idea someone had. We are possibilities, infinities.

The moments shiver as they pass and sometimes hold themselves still. In memory they are glacial. The world looks ready to crumble, to slip into oblivion, without questions, without answers, as incandescent as her smiling face.

Bound

He ties her in knots, leaves her hushed with anticipation and the heavy weight of knowing…

He was so many things: the breath of morning sunshine upon her face, the caress of the wind, the sky forever beginning above, and the darkness that is not there and then suddenly whole.

It is surreal to be separated from the cataclysm, standing and watching in a passing thought, empty of everything. The rain pours and then dries slowly away in the returning sun. She never felt the lightning, only heard the echo of thunder, long after the blinding flash had turned her eyes to dust.

The Comforts of Home

The door sits ajar, a deathly stillness within that cannot be touched. He slips by on his tiptoes, as a roaring wheezing sound emerges from its depths, the sound of some terrifying beast’s slumber being disturbed. Moving quickly now, for it does not seem a moment to linger, he runs through the parlor and the kitchen and then out the front door.

The yard he finds himself in has been transformed: the house with cracked and peeling paint set against a sea of grey. The air is full of the smell of rain that won’t come. He wanders behind the house, thinking he hears someone calling him. There is an old windmill there, creaking in the breeze, and a rusting behemoth of a truck set up on asphalt coloured blocks. He sits in the passenger seat, the sensation familiar and comforting in this strangely barren world.

A coughing rumble from the front yard draws his attention and he creeps around the side of the house, peering to see what is there. He sees his mother leaning against the battered door frame, a distant look on her face. She puts her hand on his shoulder and says, “Meet your father.”

He turns and sees a man on a lawnmower, driving in ever-widening circles as though expanding his realm. He looks oddly familiar and yet not, cutting the long brown grass whose desiccated blades crumble to dust at the merest touch.

Icarus

They used to sit beneath the sunrise staring at the crested sky, intangible in its very presence, looming over their contorted bodies. She would whisper something to him and he would think to himself, you are slipping through my fingers.

She fled, his twisted and gnarled ruins, leaving him to wander without escape. He talked endlessly to strangers, to whomever he would meet, because he could not bear the silence that persisted, hanging on. Sorrow and joy, he thought, were the same bird flying for the sun.

He could still flee, he told himself, to some lost distant place. There he would think he was away from harm, her memory like a ghost in the mist as he sacrificed another to her name.

So You’ll Reach Towards The Stars

They were having that conversation again. I cannot fathom it. It is beyond fathoming, I think. But those last moments. I can imagine them.  Yes.

Words, it seems, are empty vessels, shattered and left to ruin among the smoldering remnants. What can be said? In the end, what can be said, spoken down vast hallways clinging to grim silence, echoing and sterile, falling dead?

They peered, one looking over the others shoulder at what was left. An effigy of destruction. There were words spoken, and gestures, a hand tenuously reaching out in the fragile morning light.

The past cannot be reached. We are mutes, screaming through the flames.

Image

No Comment

“First I have a brief statement I’d like to read and then I’ll entertain any questions you have. In spite of the usual unconstructive partisan attacks and the Opposition’s continued attempts to distract from the real issues that concern citizens, the Prime Minister feels confident that we have plans that will best serve this country at this momentous time. I’ll now take your questions.

“Yes. Well, first let me address a few points before I answer your question. There have been a lot of distortions in what you in the press have been saying about recent events and I’d like to clarify that before we move on. First, the events of last week in no way constitute an invasion by alien forces. As the galactic representative made very clear in his press conference last week, they have been living among us unknown for years. They are simply seeking to reformulate the nature of their relationship with us at this time. Now, characterizing what the galactic representative said as a “harangue” is, not only patently untrue, but sets an unhealthy tone to the dialogue.

“Well, he finds the language very difficult, as I’m sure we can all appreciate.

“No, I think I did answer your previous question. And again that’s not really why we’re here. This party is interested in ensuring that this government is effective and isn’t drawn into pointless arguments about illusory concerns with the Opposition.

“Again many of these events have been taken out of context. Those deaths were most likely caused by some virus, not a death ray. But I can’t really comment on an ongoing investigation.

“Let me clarify: it’s suspected that the brains were sucked out through the nostrils, but again I cannot comment on an open investigation.

“No, Our Supreme Dark Lord has never stated, to my knowledge, any intention to ‘enslave humanity to eternal toil as minions in his army of darkness.’ Obviously that was taken out of context.

“Look. That is simply a literal translation of his title and I don’t think it’s fair to make rash assumptions from it. Prime Minister may sound totalitarian to them for all we know.

“Is there another question? Yes. I am well aware of all the rumors and supposition flying around. And no I do not know if they require our shrunken heads for divination in their religious ceremonies, nor what possible other use they might have for them. What I do know is that this country respects religious differences, and promotes galacticization.

“The Prime Minister and I both feel that all this talk and fear-mongering is cheap politics and distracts from the issue that matters most to people.

“As I have said several times already this week, Our Supreme Dark Lord has assured me that they have no further use for any experiments that may have been ongoing. But I really shouldn’t comment on an open investigation.

The Sailor

As a child she had imagined becoming a sailor, embarking on age of discovery for those lost places, abandoned in derelict buildings filled with lepers and the undead. There amongst the detritus and refuse of the living she would toil through the drawn out days. Only drowning men would know of her, the hollow terror of their eyes as they slipped under would haunt her dreams for the rest of time.

Life would offer its strange and terrible symmetries.

Everything becomes ruinous and crumbling, she thought, like the tide washing over land. She remembered those moments: the feel of grass, wet with dew, on her hands and the taste of oranges in her mouth. And the monotony that always followed, that bled out, the inevitable entropy. Day to day these things seep through her and leave her empty.

She longs for the crash and slap of the waves, the spray wetting her face as the wind blows. To lose herself, slip through and find a time to study the intricacies of existence. See the universe unfolding before her, terrifying and splendorous and undeniable. No one could bring her back.

Still Life

He dreamed he saw Catalina, the breeze stirring her hair, a clear sky above and the hot sun. Perhaps it was in Nicaragua, the volcanoes looming in the distance. The smell of her is overwhelming as he reaches for a strand of her hair.

In the evening, the sun nearly done its rapid descent, he sits to himself on a bench in the main square of the sleepy town. As they do everyday, the birds flock to the trees, small crow-like things, a cacophonous symphony. There is heaving laughter around him, those gathered at the day’s end to share a tale. All he can hear are his own screams, as he batters helplessly against the walls, while the air just seeps out.  His heart, he thinks, is corrosive.

Maybe it was Granada. He can remember the volcanoes and the heat, the way the clouds would roll across the sky in the afternoon. There was a quiet intersection, pink and turquoise buildings, two old women crossing slowly and a child playing across the street. He can see it all as it was in that very moment, a careless glance as he went on his way, now preserved, all fluid drawn off, unlikely to decay.

The Depths

The sound of the waves on the shoreline, echoing deep into the night. He sits alone in his hotel room listening, sweat collecting on his back, the blasting tops of the waves illuminated by moonlight in his mind’s eye.

“It’s a hard way to make a living,” Otis Redding says, a momentary tune singing in the back of his mind as he wanders down a crowded street. The clouds hang low in the sky so that he is dim in the pull.

Later, a breath of cigarette smoke and laughter, dissolve into the night.

Sometimes he awakens in a sweat, the darkness in the room like the sea. His dreams have him floating through a murky wake, the light of only the moon seen clearly, almost near enough to reach, so that he stretches his arms up, a desperate clawing feeling rising in his throat as he sinks further. Even awake, as he stares around the empty room, he can still feel himself sinking and the moonlight disappearing.