Thursday, January 9, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

You need to back up off me. You need to recognize, fool. This is my side of the sidewalk, and you can’t have none. This is my box full of repurposed air I’m breathing, get your own. This is my show and my friend and my place to do what I want. There’s no room for you. I need it all. Every bit of it. It won’t ever satisfy, and I’ll just keep wanting more, chasing that feeling of freedom. That fear.

I don’t need it, but you can’t have it. Look. There is a boy playing in the grass. He is frightened because the big people are yelling. His eyes are stained and smeared and his breath is ragged. He wants to bury into the rich dirt and dig until he is submerged. And you want to take that from him. Understand? Do you get it?

Back up off me.

Taste this. It tastes weird. You’ve got to read this article, it’s going to make you so mad. I have an unpopular opinion that everyone actually agrees with, can I beat you to death with it? Let’s talk about my mortgage. Let’s talk about professional sports teams. Your sister’s not here? Let’s talk smack about her. Let’s wrap ourselves in dogma until we drown, choking on our misconceptions. Let’s set our imaginary saints against each other and die sinners. Let’s take more than we need just because we can. Let’s be loud for no reason. Let me hide inside this cheap fortress of lies and innuendo. Let me hate because it feels good. The anger is so cleansing. Let me throw myself against this immovable object, just to feel the thud. Let me make assumptions. Let me deliberately misunderstand. Let me put my me-ness over you. It’s the only way.


  1. You've captured the tone of the era, and it hurts.

    1. "...just to feel the thud" got me.

    2. These are such bitter cruel times. We need someone to preach love and hope and not ask for a percentage of the take afterwards.

  2. The sky is orange. Not from sunrise. Not from sunset. From the heavy veil of smoke. From the fires.

    He walks through ashes still warm. When he took his boots off last night, he saw the treads on their soles were malformed. He doesn’t look behind him, doesn’t see that their malformations leave curious tracks.

    It is hard to breathe. They told him he should wear a mask. He tried. He couldn’t stand it the claustrophobia. And it doesn’t seem right that his lungs should be protected while so many were breathing in the dust and dirt.

    He looks up. Black trees form converging lines against the apocalyptic skies. He hears aircraft in the distance. Fighting an unwinnable battle in a continental war.

    Other than the planes, and the crunch of his feet, it is silent. No birds. How he wants to hear birdsong. Even a magpie. Even the magpie he heard about on the radio, the one that is mimicking the sound of sirens from the fire trucks.

    There! That tree! A malformed eucalyptus, or...

    Or! He tramps toward, then runs to the tree. Shiny black eyes stare at him. No fear. The koala has seen hell, nothing will scare her again.

    He makes a cooing, clicking sound at the animal, and his eyes examine her skin. Slowly, he extends his arms. The koala reaches back.

    He carries her back to his car, not caring that tears make tracks on his ash covered face. The koala’s heart is racing.

    It is only one koala he has rescued. Only one. But it is something, he has done something. On the way to the rescue center, he tells the koala it’s all going to be okay.

    And he hopes, he prays, that he is not lying.

  3. You both caught, and trapped the situation, into one tiny particle of the horrendous whole.

    1. We all need a saviour, even when we don't understand the danger facing us. So eloquently written and so very timely.

  4. Lilith waited. Today was her birthday, the third of the week. She had a habit of demanding tributes whenever her days became too mundane, and today had been terminally dull since dawn. It had been gloomy for elevenses and dimmer still for lunch, and it seemed likely it'd be pitch dark when she had dinner. Crow and Raven had gone missing, no doubt afraid of her when she was in one of her moods, but with the lack of light here in her domain, they could have been anywhere. All they would need to do would be to close their eyes: the shadows would envelop them if they stayed still and spake not.

    In the underworld, opportunities were sparse for the eternal. It was always the fresh meat that caught the greater demons' eyes. The more mature flesh had an aroma which appealed, of course, but a gamey seasoning reached its peak after about a century. After that, it was all downhill, whatever you tried, although a virgins' blood bath could help. Lilith had passed her prime more than half a millennium ago, and she was always wary of the newcomers who were embarrassingly keen to impress.

    Today, she'd been entertaining Winneth and Carillyn. The three of them had enjoyed working their way through a thousand men and women, taking time to savour the more perverted ones. Carillyn had taken a liking to a nineteenth-century courtesan, his ability to gargle with brimstone making him particularly amusing. It was only when his chest had begun to burn through from within that she'd thrown him away onto her discard pile. Winneth had a predilection for quantity, her orgies regularly including slaves by the hundred. It was as well that no-one here was house-proud because the cleanup would have taken years if they'd been on Earth.

    But now, she was alone. The mess didn't bother her - sloth was one of her favourite sins, after all - but the company of a couple of birds she couldn't see left a lot to be desired. She'd already considered more than a thousand amusing ways to prepare their carcasses, but even that would have to wait until she caught them.

  5. Your anger is ego and I will not hear it.
    I will walk away, I will wish you well.
    You are a prisoner of your own hate. You hurt yourself.
    We are all connected but you can't see through the fog of pain and hate. This is your punishment,
    And I will not go with you.

  6. A horizon is a line, stretched like a promise between two lovers. If the sky glowers like a brow, the land might compensate with a smile, however grim. The stubble of this field is moveless, stoic. Crows darn the chill air. Starlings sweep upward like a sketch, righting the backhanded wrongs of some awful dream. Black, white, silence, hustle. I swallowed my meds, submitted to a world that fakes its own death, stood gobsmacked before a blastocyst, cried at last when I knew they cared more about a lukewarm knot of ill-defined protein than the living children left crying alone in pens like veal calves.

    Yeah. You got this. We got this.

    1. So bleak and so very cruel. We need more people with empathy in control of our governments. But the bottom line is always the profits and how they have to increase year on year at the cost of everything and everyone else.

    2. Bleak was the word that came to my mind, too. This piece does what good writing ought to do: it holds a mirror and makes us look at ourselves.

  7. “I don’t care for him,” Evelyn said. “Will this be a regular event, Mrs. Weissman bringing Harold when you play canasta with the other ladies?”

    Celia frowned at her nine-year-old daughter, skinny arms crossed over her chest. She set her tea tray on the breakfront, smoothed the back of her dress and perched on the couch beside her. “Oh, he seems like a nice boy to me.”

    “Well, he’s not. He was a sore loser when I beat him at checkers. And he picks his nose. He’s absolutely horrid!”

    Celia fought a smile, but apparently not quickly enough. Triumph danced in Evelyn’s hazel eyes. “You think so too!”

    “Still, that’s not a ladylike way to speak. Especially about the son of your father’s boss. Remember, we owe the Weissmans a great debt of gratitude.” She swept a hand across the living room. “Why, they found us this lovely new house in the best neighborhood in Williamsburg. They paid for the help to move our things. They put food on our table, when it comes right down to it. You can certainly afford to be courteous for the few hours you’re in each other’s company.”

    Evelyn gave out a defeated sigh. “Fine, then. But I’m only doing this for you and Papa.”

    “I would think you’d do it for yourself as well.” Celia worried her wedding ring around her finger, unable to meet her daughter’s eye. “First impressions are not always the best indicator of a person. With some people…well, it could take a while to get to know who they truly are. You might be slamming the door shut on what could be a very nice friendship.”

    “You’ve obviously never played checkers with him.”

    This time Celia didn’t fight the smile. She stood, patted her daughter’s head, admiring the silky curls. Remembering doing the same when she was a baby. And how her husband, Abe, had reacted when he heard the news.

    “Girls,” he’d said with a smirk through a cloud of cigar smoke. “At least a boy, I could bring into the business. Girls…they’re just expensive.”

    “Mama?” Evelyn’s mouth rounded. “Are you all right?”

    Celia blanked her expression. “I’m fine, dear. She turned for the tea tray. “Go practice your piano now. We’re paying Mrs. Ferraro a pretty penny for your lessons and we don’t want it to go to waste.”

    Evelyn slid off the couch and clumped into the parlor. Celia hurried to the kitchen. Set down the tray and clutched the edge of the sink. Staring out the back window at the beautiful courtyard of their beautiful house as her eyes glassed over with tears. As Abe’s words came back to her: “A bargain is a bargain. The kids will be fine. Like you and me. It’ll all work out. You’ll see.”

    1. Ah, enchanting and real characters, with just the right amount of mystery. May we read more?


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