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. Continue reading
Lot No. 1
_____Pranski created works of graffiti-art that should not have been famous. Every inch of him and his possessions was steeped in an overpriced ego-driven posturing. Even his shoes, which he paid several thousand dollars for, he lied about for some reason. He said they were the most expensive in the world. They were not. Having inherited oil money from a family member whose name has now been lost to record, Pranski would pay police to turn a blind eye to his vandalism. Then, he would call them up so he could get arrested in front of his spray paint doodle and cause a big scene while crying and forgetting that the arrest was purely for show. Later in life, when critics had become fed up with the way Pranski’s art, which was always done in lower-income areas–Pranski said this made his painting ‘more authentic’–would drive up property values and drive out the original residents, it was revealed that Pranski had been paying said critics for the entirety of his ‘career.’ His fans were unfazed, deciding that this somehow added a ‘layer’ to Pranski’s genius. He, however, did not feel the same way, and so he paid a vagrant to jam a spraypaint can down his throat and take a polaroid picture of the result. “This will be my greatest work,” Pranski probably told the man. The vagrant used his hands to choke Pranski, then kept the spray paint to get high with. Continue reading
I was parking and she was screaming and for a moment I thought the world might end. You had to really hear them, piercing and full of life. The kind of shrieks only eighteen-year-old non-smoker lungs can belt out.
She was covering her mouth with one bony hand and pointing with the other. She was pointing at the lamp in front of my door and soon enough I was slamming my car door, I was running, and I was flipping the switch.
As soon as I turned the light off I could hear the buzzing, the flapping of fuzzy wings dispersing into the night. Moments earlier, a tornado of moths wrapped around my light post.
She was afraid of moths. She wouldn’t get out of my car until I swore it was safe.
This girl, we’ll call her moth girl, zoomed in and out of my life at lightning speed one time after another. We would talk, first on MySpace, then in the living room of my apartment, then on Twitter, then on a patio sharing coffee. She would disappear. We had mutual friends. We’d add each other on social media, share a message, and she’d evaporate. It became a rhythm through my twenties. Surprise visits I could never see coming, but could look forward to. Continue reading
HEY YOU GET OUTTA THERE
i said to it
and there was painted before me the vast scenes
buildings and the abstraction of trees
and the things before faded softly you could say like the memory of a lover
and it was the new place we’d for so long been hearing about
trains still made their sound outside
tho it was clearer we couldn’t see them Continue reading
My eyes are a camera. When I was a young boy eight nine ten years old, I’d keep my left eye close to the wall, at eye level as if I were a living breathing Steadicam, my right eye closed, an eternal tracking shot, my left eye forever open, the score always in the background, the score I had written on a one hundred dollar Casio. I pan down the hall, to the left, past the bathroom, Mama’s room, into my bedroom, I pivot and the left eye closes and the right eye opens, it’s seamless, undetectable by the human eye, a marvel at 50 FPS, my tiny bedroom a diffused here and now, Mama’s voice coming to me from the kitchen – Nathan, what are you doing? Nothing, mama! The camera finally telescoped into a close-up of the Snoopy plush on my bed, resting on my pillow, excited to see me, the director of everything. You’re a daydreamer just like your daddy was, Mama says. The world isn’t kind to daydreamers, Nathan – remember that. Continue reading
He took these hunting trips three times a year. He hunted one kind of game but he never had the stomach to take it.
The hunter hiked through the bush—no, it was not bush, he corrected himself. The autumn leaves on the forest floor made him think of corpses, for some reason. The sun shone over the ridge-line ahead. He had been here as a boy.
The hunter never carried many rounds. He kept ten in the cartridge loops on his belt for appearances. He breathed out and went downhill. There was a wide stream that trout lived in at the foot. He came here in the summer to fish. He crouched at the stream and the cool air was refreshing despite the autumn winds.
He was going to be back at his job on Monday, maybe, back to listening to the bitch make demands of him over nothing and expect him to act as her confessor. Coming home to an empty house was normal to him.
He looked up from the water and a deer stared at him, a doe. He stood up slowly. The doe ran up the ridge on the other side of the wide stream. The hunter sloshed across. His boots filled with water. That was alright.
He listened and stalked. He was not after this doe; it was the wrong kind of game. He went after it anyway, tracking the disturbances in the dead leaves. Continue reading
Something like. Like track ballast. Igneous, dense and heavy. No, weighty. Full. When you were young you had a friend who lived near the freight line. Ballast would appear in his backyard. Once when you visited you put coins on the track, waiting for a train to come by and warp them into smooth, useless flakes. Like the ones he’d brought out in the school playground at lunchtime. While you hid in the bushes by the track you thought of your mother and this waste of money. This literal sheering of cash; it made your palms sweat and your ears drum. Made you want to piss. But the train didn’t come and when your mate suggested following the tracks to the signal hut to throw stones, you were quick to hop up and pocket your coin, a fifty cent piece, now worth more than the five and the oh on its face.
Coin in your pocket, you followed your friend. You kept an eye out for the train, an ear out for its approaching rhythm; dogs barked at you from backyards. Eventually you arrived at an old hut. The door was kicked in and each wall had a scribble of graffiti on it. Every window was already broken but, even so, it was a thing to throw rocks at. The scrub around the signal hut sprouted from small pebbles. Before long, you were scooping them up in handfuls and catapulting them into the air. Of course, soon, your mate threw the coin he was ready to let the train press flat. Threw it at one of the broken windows but it curled sharply and missed the hut altogether, tinkling as it landed on the other side. He turned to you, as if expecting you to do the same with your coin, but you grinned and hurled another handful of pebbles at the hut’s roof. Continue reading
My aunt spoke to me quietly, in a confused and troubled tone, on the landing of the stairwell in my grandmother’s house, which was inexplicably crowded.
__I know you’re sad and you have problems and things, she said, but please do not bring them to Twitter.
__A tall, thin creature with a human head and the body of an iguana walked slowly past us up the stairs.
__My aunt waited until the iguana man was out of earshot then whispered, It’s just, then paused. Nevermind, she said, visibly struggling to hold back tears.
__I noticed paintings on the walls behind her. They looked antique, but had shiny new price tags on them.
__Running, she said. Or basketball? What about basketball? You used to love playing basketball, she said. Continue reading
you go, we stay
of my friend
says, just checking,
just checking, if
this human, I’ve spent
twenty years remembering
is real, why can’t
now erupt into
time traveled thru
piece and peace,
the guide, TV
IS ME, and
you are the
one I love,
is grounding Continue reading
Purcell’s fingers tarantula twitch
draining mauve in the pocket of his close fitting tracksuit bottoms;
mithering at a piggish erection with dictionary definition disdain.
Purcell’s sallow lips purse and thin;
on a cracked black plastic whistle;
to modulate increasingly shrill blasts of spittle sodden disinterest,
brought to issue with a slight slurp;
that drool pools,
on his weak bottom lip
depending on the qualities of the boy shivering in line for the shower
The pipe servicing the urinal trough that runs the length of the wall has leaked ever so slightly all season;
and so Purcell has, really quite entrepreneurially,
had the run off stewing;
in a crusty blue bucket;
for the duration of that mornings training session, and for however fucking far back the team has failed, docile, to perceive total trauma;
sat curdling, as froth on the already collected;
slop bucket cushioned by cut wet grass;
slicked to the once white tiling;
a small font of sorts;
for a baptism of belittlement in the offing Continue reading