fluland is entering into a hiatus. during this period we will not be considering or publishing any new work. a note about the pause can be found here. thanks yall and talk soon
They caught the thief in a city a far distance away, after the apocalypse came. God began wrapping up the world little by little. Most people didn’t notice, but if they had wanted to look, it was right there to see. God isn’t cruel.
It was a big city, and in the middle was a slum. Everyone lived in the slum. The big buildings were all abandoned. People lived in tiny mud shacks for the closeness and for the feeling of being near other people. It was like huddling near the tippy top of a sinking boat. The slum was a valley with two hills, and it was packed with houses made of corrugated steel and scrap wood.
When new people were born, the community would throw them into the air. They would gather in a crowd and throw the baby up as high as they could, and then try to catch it.
There was a prophet in the slum called Ondeto. One day, Ondeto told his followers to go to the Central Business District, climb to the highest building, and fly. If they jumped, he told them, he would give them wings.
Mother died today.
Or maybe yesterday.
I don’t remember.
Wait, no, it had to be before yesterday, because I had tennis lessons yesterday. Maybe Wednesday.
Actually, come to think of it, Wednesday was the International Friends of the Koalas Day Donation-drive Call-A-Thon. And that was after she died, too. I can’t believe I don’t remember. Shit. Was it over a week ago? Last… Tuesday? Jeez. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. Wait, if it was Tuesday–
Fuck, I’m late.
The conductor comes up to me. His arms are crossed.
I remember when my family first got our dog. She pissed and shat everywhere. Dad would shout and Mam would say leave her alone, she’s only young. She had a stumpy little tail and shed a lot of white hair throughout the years. My sister used to feed her scraps, so she’d like her the best. Then everyone else started doing it and she got fat. I never bothered trying too hard. I cuddled her sometimes when everyone went to bed and I wasn’t able to sleep, but I rarely walked her. I wish I did now but I’ll make amends with my own pets.
The three good boys (myself included) drove home from the pet shop. I was holding our little pals in the back seat in their bags. Three gorgeous yokes; Sammy, Declan, Viktor plucked from the pet-shop shelf and ready to be taken care of. Soon they’d be best friends. Sammy was mine he looked like a pokemon, apparently. He was white and redish orange and had more girth than the other boys, his tail was big and transparent and it made him look very classy when he swam in circles. Declan was the traditional throwback, orange in colour, he was smaller than Sammy but bigger than Viktor, he was the perfect pet for a good boy and sat the most still on the journey home. Viktor was the cutest little fella you’d ever see, he was the colour of the sun and the fastest in the whole pet shop, so of course we had to have him.
Baron Samedi’s big black arse shines bright like obsidian on the deck of the Bay Marie.
I can see a lot from up here at the top of the masthead, drunk and bleary eyed, enjoying the breeze and the scent of the smoke rolling in from the city. Ha Long Bay. Two thousand lime stone islands jutting out from the water like a crocodile’s tail and the night sky is perfectly empty of cloud, more stars than I’ve ever seen back home.
People are yelling at me from the deck. They’re telling me either to jump or to climb back down. A six-foot pale Irishman is making it clear he wants to climb up next, he’s got a beer in his hand and he’s beating his chest like Popeye. I don’t think this rope ladder will support him.
Down below, the Baron’s oiled up rear end twinkles in the moonlight, a beacon in the darkness, then he lifts himself up and dives head first into the water. He’s followed by a Midas-touched teen in a red swimsuit; bleached blonde cornrows cascading down her back. For a man so large he’s oddly graceful.
I made a list yesterday of things that I needed today, or rather, like a list of things that amounts to something a stranger will need over the course of a year, or however long the lease is, so that this particular stranger might live comfortably and use the provided amenities efficiently, particularly the new bathroom vanity. This list was made up of all relatively minor things that all fit into a 5 gallon bucket construction store bucket: Philips head, small can of white paint and putty (for touch ups), wood shims, contractors’ trash bags, 3 crowbars, 2 measuring tapes, flexible drainage pipe, Brillo pads—all indirectly related to that one bigger thing, that bathroom vanity, to hold it together in place.
I was in the passenger seat of a car on the way over there. The car was an old pick-up, not mine, and we drove straight towards the lake anticipating a left somewhere in the grid since we couldn’t turn right. I looked over my shoulder from the passenger seat and I saw the building I thought we were going to; it was made of light yellow and tan sun-bleached bricks. MMMh, the smell of bleach is pretty good, I thought and I wondered if it should’ve been added to the list, if we would need it for cleaning.
You never know.
The Two Orchard Thieves
these two orchard thieves
a series and a brother the spirit seems somehow yet
feminine oily laughs when campfire staircases rise
up like milk our bodies sculpt a cheap iron colocynth
breaks our ranks touch again
doves watercourses a campfire
family laughter incorporating me
as simple as poetry
is a series and brother the black brawl
breathing cannibal horse
the formica peddler’s bathos
blackmail folio in mystery bronze/ i lost a coupon sheet last week and the experience felt retro/ gates open on outer phenom bathed in blue/ come sit on my lap and take off your glove/ and show me what’s inside/ show me what’s between the leather pretender and the moonwash fleshform you’ve slid in it/ just flex a finger and point where it hurts/ patty told me not to fret nothing/ the honda’s just a wastepaper basket in the supercluster dumpster and my eyes can’t track it/ damn good thing i sold it last thursday/ i took the cash and bought magic the gathering cards. see you tomorrow
ramblin moon piss psycho
rotted elf in a three piece suit/ his home is a stump in the center of chicago/ he took the train to nunavut and he made a snow angel & filled it with piss. get down here, idiot moon/ he cried from the fetid bottom of his hole/ your craters are terribly empty/ lemme fill em up & your pores’ll never feel better
He had made the same mistake, although the way that it had come about was different than before, for he had thought that he had learnt, and would be able to avoid it. Now the lesson he had taken from this ultimate surprise was that the same would always happen in a way that he could never have foreseen, and that the only way to cope was to accept it in advance. At the base of this acceptance was a difficult acceptance of himself, which came about by the rejection of those fanciful ideas of who he was, and of the kind of recognition he believed that he deserved and would have coming. In a strange way this acceptance of himself as he had shamefully perceived himself had brought him great relief, as if a weight that he had carried for as long as he remembered had been lifted from his back; and he felt that having seen him face to face, the man he was was now no longer, and the future had been opened in a way that he had never sensed before. He was the same man after all; but the fact that he accepted who he was had made him someone else entirely. He embraced his shame, and thought of it as that which would reveal another nature, and as that which would direct him to make better kinds of choices.
I picked Miss Belambini up at Cedar Park Elementary, where she was a teacher. Her car was in the shop through the week.
“You’re a lifesaver,” she told me as she got into my pickup. I had seen her only one time before, and she had been wearing a lowcut evening dress, with her face rouged and the upper halves of her breasts exposed. Today she was dressed in a skyblue sweater and white pants, her cheeks colored only by the day’s smiles and shouts. But apparently her faint lipstick had given her away: “My kids bugged me since morning bell—Miss Belambini is going on a date tonight! They told me I was lazy not to go home and put on more makeup, and I told them I couldn’t because of my fenderbender yesterday. But they’re so smart. I swear, I couldn’t keep a secret from them if I wanted to.”
I found her more attractive at that moment than I ever had. When she asked if I didn’t want to drop her off at her apartment to change, I told her there was nothing she needed to improve. She blushed appreciatively.