whiskey,” he said.
Tomorrow, we’ll drown in laughter.
Tonight, only a kick and a whisper.
Amuse me father,
to keep the dark at bay.
Just tell me,
What is it that keeps you up at night?
Among them, there were only whispers.
It was only natural how those words fell on his ears. They struck hard.
She said, or in his mind she said, “It’s all in desperation.”
"True," he cried. "True, I am desperate. But who will take me? Will you take me? Will you want me tomorrow?"
Not a word was uttered. Not a foot ruined the snow.
In this moment he wondered if it was such a sin to fend off the cold. If others would rather watch him and judge. Frigid. Dying. All of this for those days.
Here, though the sky is frost and ponds become mirrors, mosquitos still prowl.
Lizzy, with her azure eyes closed and her siren voice faltering says, “everything you are and everything you will be is a beautiful mystery.”
Together, they would trade words and pain.
Sometimes, on those days painted by spring, he would have the strength to call her lover.
Sometimes, on those winter nights when he would sweat through the bed, she would crawl inside of him.
Lizzy, how she would say “I love you”, and with that
We found the world’s end.
Nikolai called it ironic
and held a blade of grass between his fingers.
It was a sullen winter night,
John was leaning against a tree,
"I wouldn’t think of her so hard," he says,
shuffling his feet,
watching his stained shoes.
"You can’t fight what makes you"
Nikolai coughs into his cupped hand, restless,
trembling, he offers John the coat on his back,
its pockets holding the last of his possessions,
a gold watch, a silver spoon, and a letter,
all but one lost to him
"Take ‘em," he says,
"Its brought nothing but bad luck",
and into John’s pockets they were forced,
so that now they were different men;
one with two coats
and another with no hope
One lying frozen
and another walking dead,
and around them a life cracked open,
pouring into the street.
It was a burning summer day,
and Nikolai sat on the grass outside,
a blade of grass between his fingers.
He wondered why it was green,
why it lived when all it did was exist,
and yet he woke up every day
and felt nothing in his chest.
and to this, Nikolai could only look up
and wonder why he wondered at all.
My nose feels as though it’s bleeding. It’s only slightly damp. I rest my knee on the door panel and let the cool summer wind sting my eyes. For a moment I wince as the heat from these sunglasses sting through the sweat on my cheek.
The radio is on and a man tells me the state lotto has increased the jackpot to $645 million. He begins to list all the things more likely to occur than owning the winning ticket: struck by lightning, murdered by someone you love, eaten by sharks, struck by lightning twice, spontaneously combusting, hemorrhage after being struck in the head by a wanton baseball while standing in a Major League park, quicksand, et cetera ad infinitum. I take a deep breath and promise myself I won’t spend it all in one place.
My phone hums and rattles off the passenger side seat. I said I was coming fifteen minutes ago. If the clock on my dash is to be believed, I’m already off by five. I’m always chasing time, but today I don’t feel too hurried. When I was a kid my father used to always say, “stop coming and come.” I could never endure those lectures without a snicker.
I come to a slow stop at the light that felt the need to involve itself in my tardiness. On the curbside, an old man waves a sign that reads in bold black letters, “The Kingdom of God is Within You,” and I wonder whether it is my gallbladder or pancreas I should be concerned with because everything else is shot.
There’s an island, Tristan de Cunha, that I read about the other day. It’s floating in the South Atlantic refused by South America, Africa, and the Antarctic. I heard two hundred people live there and that makes it the most remote inhabited island in the world. I imagine those people feel everyday as though they live their lives on a vast drifting continent. I like to play with the thought in my head. They move, much as we do, but arrive nowhere. I wonder for a minute and then begin to doubt I’ve ever reached my journey’s end. From the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of a banner proclaiming that the Hungry Burger’s Bucklebuster is back and I feel as though he never left and I wonder what he got me then I purge the thought from my mind.
The end of spring makes it’s presence known sweetly. With the constant threat of heat, it’s hard for one to really tell when one season ends and another begins. Through the cracked window I can see the trees green and full leaves in vibrato over gas stations, massive homes, soccer moms, and taco stands. The birds are returning now and they coat the power lines thick.
A man in a cowboy hat waves hello before his baby blue truck cuts me off at the intersection. On the rear, his bumper sticker reads “Please always be kind to bicyclists.” I swerve slightly to avoid the woman in the green sedan with half a bumper that’s pulled a little too far out into the approaching lane. It makes all too much sense. A blonde girl with crimson streaks in her hair sits in the white SUV a lane over and screams at someone beside her, and I wonder why I feel no connection to any of these people. It feels as though we’re all moments away from colliding, leaving a permanent stain on each other’s lives. I imagine I’d leave behind a nice streak and dental records from when I had my wisdom teeth pulled eight years ago. In the deepest part of me I wish there would be something else, my thoughts, my actions, my words and feelings, my cares, my loves; but I know that’s impossible. I feel it. The responsibility of holding all this that surrounds me together, it’s too much to bear. The urge to be and not be simultaneously is the struggle of an indomitable spi—The man on the radio interrupts to tell me that thirteen people were killed somewhere by someone and I think that was unlucky. He goes on to interview the up-and-coming actor who will play the lead in the forthcoming film about the tragedy. It all feels as though it’s happening all at once.
As the light wanes and the city opens itself up to me, reflection comes easy. You wake up. Ride the walls to the bathroom and spit blood into a stopped sink. Spend the next few minutes to watch it dry into rust-colored bands striping the porcelain curves and imagine it too tastes of bourbon. Scrub the sink. A final hit. Open the blinds. Light a cigarette. Turn on the TV. Check the phone. Turn off the TV. Start your car. Don’t forget to breathe. And suddenly, you’ve reached your destination.
‘He doesn’t exist, but He is. There’s no pain in a stone, but there’s pain in the fear of a stone.’