Friday, April 8, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

I can't play the song unless you give me the key. I'm locked up. Perfect pitch seems like voodoo to me. But I'll take a swing at it. 

I fell down a few times, sure, but my motives were pure. There's just not enough of the stuff inside me. I'm a broken-wing seagull snatching opportunistic fries. The boardwalk is my hunting ground, where folks walk, bored. 

I wish I could see the things you see. I'm blind until I put everything into words, play with the sounds. I have to construct a metaphor to see things clearly. I get better at it daily. Yearly. I'm an ambitious snail climbing a wall, not that poor slipping fuck from the math problems. They call them word problems, but words have never caused me problems. Math did. 

You're zipping through life with blinders on, but I'm looking everywhere. Trying not to crash the car while I look for hawks in the shimmering air. You got a second? Man, I got none to spare. Time is stretched like a pregnant belly, full of promise, full of danger. Every day this shit gets stranger.

I wish I had your confidence. It's a superpower, that ability to crown yourself and not feel awkward. I feel like a phony even when I'm not. Don't give me a second thought. Cave my skull, and leave my body for forest rot. 

I don't sleep well - there are things in my brain that won't let me rest. Maybe that's for the best. This world was made for open eyes. Slip the needle, euthanize. Make it one last big surprise. 

Keep running. Don't stop. Momentum's about all we've got.


  1. I love your short, staccato phrasings, Dan. I also love the way you slip into the Mader Rap without warning, making me skip back and re-read what I’ve already read so I can enjoy it to the max. These posts always strike me as being written off the cuff like they’re a stream of consciousness that’s been pinned to the page like an exotic moth from an alternative realm where darkness reigns. You skip from topic to topic, heightening the feeling that you’re speaking your truths as they occur to you, spitting fire and venom at everything that disappoints or offends you. But whatever you choose to include, its always engaging and real and hits its mark truly.

    1. Momentum is all we've got indeed. Keep going! I love the rhymes of the opening, the images of the seagull pottering around doing his stuff, and time being pregnant in particular. People do zip through life with blinders on - they're in too much of a rush to stop and smell the roses.

    2. And, once again, damn. Love the images, the musicality. The seagull snatching opportunistic fries.

  2. I spit up some bile and run the tap, seeing her blood.

    It’s seven days since the incident, and I haven’t slept. I’ve nodded and zoned out for a few moments, but I’ve been awake all the time. I can’t stop remembering how quick it was: one moment, Davina was alive, then the next, the balance had switched.

    And then there was almost nothing. No reactions, no breathing, no hope for any of us. There were pools of blood everywhere - the carpets were awash with it. One of the eight of us – was it Joel? – stumbled through them, out of the room and then up the stairs before we noticed the trail of steps he left behind him. I think Davina was still coughing up blood, although she was much quieter then than she’d been, and was finally content to just lie still and watch us while she died. She’d seemed kind of peaceful then – almost serene – wearing a kindly, forgiving but smug look like it was all a game, and she would laugh at us later for not realising it was a joke. Knowing she'd be first up next morning, wearing her apron, burning toast, frying our eggs like she always did, her throat missing the grim slashes, with the walls still questionably clean.

    But that was not the way it was the following day. That was not how it was at all.

    Joel was curled up, still rocking, his knees tucked into his chest. Frank was kneeling by the hearth, burning carpet, Lawrence and Geoff slicing it into squares, Anna and Amy washing clothes. I was researching potential sites for the burial, a forest gravesite being our best option at that time.

    And Davina was upstairs in the bathroom, still dead.

    We’d debated where the best place for her would be, Frank suggesting the freezer in the shed at the bottom of the yard. Geoff overruled that immediately, reminding us that it was overlooked by the neighbour's bedroom, saying we’d never know if anyone had seen us until too late. Anna and Amy both said we should slice her up and remove her piece by piece – that 'we' meaning me – referring to my time a couple of years back working in the local charity home food bank and kitchen. Lawrence and Geoff almost said nothing, preferring to vote on others' suggestions and assist with whatever was needed. But they did help to remove the body upstairs when we asked.

    And then the responsibility switched back to me, with my cooks' knives, my sharpened cleaver and my professional skills.

    But a joint of pork never looked less like a friend. And I can’t bring myself to make the first cut, remembering how we'd kissed.

    1. This is quite gruesome! I'm not sure what's caused her death, so that's a mystery. There's a lot of detail in here. The discussion over what to do with the body is gruesome too. Interestingly, she doesn't become a 'body' or a 'thing' - she's always named cos he had a relationship with her, which makes it even more gruesome. On second reading I noticed the 'cruel slashes' on her throat, so that's how she died, but it's a mystery who did it and why. But they're all in on the murder. I like the lines about her thinking she'd go about her regular thing the next day, cooking breakfast - she used to do that for them, which makes it even more terrible.

    2. Super dark, and there is so much that can be unpacked. That penultimate line hits hard. I like the darkness, and I think you left a good amount of unspoken drive in here, too.

  3. Out to sea (a nonet)

    We set sail in the chill, sinking rain,
    under lightning rays of pure white,
    our small boat unfit for storm.
    Silver stars blink and wake –
    they echo our dreams.
    The moon is dressed,
    crossing the air
    without a

    1. This creates such a sharp image of the scene. I especially love the last sentence - the thought that the moon dresses itself for her audience is quite charming.

    2. I agree, and I like the form, too.

  4. Starry night over the Rhone (a nonet)

    Stars gather, coast across the night sky,
    drifting on strings invisible,
    shed yellow tears, drip, drip down.
    Candles burn in windows,
    on waves shimmer,
    dance far out,

    1. Stars feature in this nonet too. The thought that the stars hang from strings is delightful and you've caught the image of the candles' reflections on the waves beautifully.

  5. Part 1, most likely:

    People get Lola wrong, most of the time. Especially my pop. He thinks she’s some kind of bubblehead golddigger. But she’s got brains. I mean, real brains, like genius smart. She don’t like to parade it around too much. Says that’s how she gets the drop on people. That’s how she got my attention, for sure. Yeah, the pretty face helped. And that body in that little silk number –nothing but curves.

    But I digress. Fancy word, huh? Lola taught me that. Says men like me, in my line of work, they gotta sound smart. “You don’t wanna come off as some kind of lunkhead. You gotta sound like you pick up a book every once in a while,” she says. So I do. I mean, I never minded reading, much, in school. But it seemed like a waste back then. And book reports? Forget them. I get one of my guys to write them for me, easy peasy. These days…yeah. I got time to read.

    I ain’t got nothing but time.

    Funny, that word. Time. Doing time. I’m doing time, all right. And Lola, she says, when she comes to visit, “You might be doing time, but don’t let the time do you.”

    See? Smart. So smart that sometimes I don’t know what she’s talking about, but that’s okay. Another thing about time. I got lots of it to sit and figure out what she said. Maybe like don’t let it make a putz out of me. More than I already am, ha ha. But do something with it. Something productive. Get an education. Get smarter. So that next time, I won’t get thrown back in here. What, you thought I was going straight? How dumb do you think I am?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I had to read this a couple of times to get the full measure of the relationship between Lola and the first-person narrator. I wasn’t originally sure if the writer was a victim of Lola’s or her partner in crime but settled on the second. As you always do, you’ve captured the essence of the characters beautifully, as well as giving us a delightfully voiced narrative. It’s an utterly charming scene you’ve created here – my only disappointment is that you’ve not written another part to follow it yet. Fabulous.

    3. I find myself interested in the narrator's story, but I also just want to see you spin this out.

  6. I like the development. Lola comes across as an interesting character too. I like how you gradually work out where he is and I also like the catch at the end, that he doesn't plan on going straight! No way ho-say!


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