Tuesday, July 24, 2012


A stale fog hung on the edges of evening. Joe slipped the pint out of his pocket and took a deep drink. It burned. He was not a drinking man. He did not consider standing because he was not sure he could. The building would hold him up until he was feeling better. Through the grime of tears, Joe stared numbly ahead, watching the parade of commuter thighs.
            It still lived in him too strongly. It was too bright and too strong for him. Drinking stopped it. He tried to remember the last time he had felt right – the last time that he had looked into his home. The blood and lingering smell of gunpowder had gagged him. He would never forget the smell. He was speechless. Then it was pure shock. And that was the last time he had been home.
            It had been weeks. Months? Shit, he had no idea. He could still hear the police…someone to call?  Someplace he could go? But there was no place. There was no one to turn to, no place to go, just the streets. On the streets, he could almost convince himself that he was on his way home, ready to see what Jen and the kids had made for dinner.
            He wasn’t even angry. That amazed him. There was nothing to be angry at. A force. A disaster. Like being angry at an earthquake. The anger had left quickly, replaced by a deep hole that he could not fill with anything resembling decency. His faith, the little he had possessed, was now gone entirely.
            For days he had read the paper, read about the murders, and he had not been able to understand that they were talking about his family. He knew it – knew it in the way that you know you have offended someone – it was a glancing acceptance. But a larger part of him did not believe it was true.
            An image sliced through his brain and he winced, reached for the bottle. He would always see it. The small, innocent faces he had cupped in his hands. The woman he loved.
            Don’t think. Just don’t think about it. Don’t ask the questions. Don’t start the goddamn questions. Why? Why not just rob the house? Why this? Stop it. The police. They were looking. Sure, they were. He could still hear the young cop ask, “sir, is there anything missing?” He could feel the gape-mouthed incomprehension on his face. Then the older cop pulling the younger one aside. Anything missing? Don’t fucking think about it.
            He took another drink and tipped the bottle high. He was forgetting. He was becoming wooden. His mind was skittering slowly over something, like a scratched record, pebbles in a stream. A whisp of dream. He was no longer there. With the liquor in him, he was there – death – the real home he had chosen. The body could give up any time it wanted. As long as there were buildings to hold him and liquor to drink, he would just be dead. And if he kept being dead long enough, the questions would stop.

Monday, July 23, 2012


She looked into the mirror and hated her hair in fifteen distinct ways. She felt the past behind her like a dragon’s tail. She looked into her eyes…green. She tried to see herself. She couldn’t.

So many years ago. It all seemed like a vague memory. It wasn’t a dream. It was déjà vu of a dream. It was looking into a mirror for ever and ever.

The sound of the door shocked her. Then she knew. Time had been moving quickly again. He was home. She should have known that he would come home. Any minute. Goddamn, what time was it?

There are things that no one wants to remember. Then there are the individual things…things the rest of the world ignores…the personal indignities that scorch and burn. Knife cuts. Abandon.

He was making his usual noises. Goddamn, he was so fucking noisy. He made animal grunts as he heaved himself around the house, breaking the calm. He would want to know things. She would hear questions behind the screeching in her ears. Concentrate.

Look into the eyes. Just the eyes. The eyes are everything and they hold the answer. Don’t break the stare. She heard him calling her name. She ignored it…just stare. 

When she was a little girl, she had wanted  to do everything. She often did nothing because everything was too big.  He didn’t know about any of THAT shit.  He didn’t know as much as he thought he knew.

A tear kissed the eyelash. Don’t let the tear drop. Keep the eye contact. Don’t answer. Don’t hear. She had been in love with a guitar player when she was in college. He was not a good musician, but he thought he was, and she had loved him for it. That was long ago, but it was all jumbled really. That was the problem.  She had been shaken.

Eyes. Always the eyes. They were sometimes unkind, but they spoke in truths. There was no avoiding their honesty. They had no stake in the game.

He was in the kitchen. Probably making a drink. She tried to remember how to greet someone. The right way to smile. The words she would be expected to say. She couldn’t. She accepted that it would be awkward. It always was. She always knew it would be and that was that.

He stood when she walked into the room. He was sweating. Tired. He looked tired and broken. Like something that needed taping. She fell into the hug and let go. Closed her eyes.