A man, wearing a dark-blue, short-sleeved, collared shirt, stethoscope around his neck, latex gloves, is shuffling, fumbling instruments, gauze, sheers — “Remain calm, sir.” The man, gripping a penlight with his teeth, grimacing, hangs an IV bag on a metal hook, squeezes, leaves it dangling, drip chamber trickling steady drops, liquid funneling into a thin, clear tube.
Por-fucking-fin — it’s over. Children overturn dirt, the dead, Mr. Potato Head.
We trek, climb a hill, run into a boy, smoking a cigarette, sitting Indian-style, brandishing a pistol.
He is a catcher, a dreamer, a whistler — a nobody.
“Reckon you’re lost,” he says. “Ain’t we all.” He blows his brains out, leaves the earth in a red mist.
“Are you drunk?” Abigail, Dennis’ roommate (and sister), stood near the front door, brows furrowed, an oversized purse over her shoulder.
Dennis grabbed another cube from an ice tray, dropped it into a glass — clink. He looked up from the kitchen table, answered, “Matter of opinion.” He reached for a bottle, pulled the cork — plup — , poured a bronze splash.
Christopher Arkansas picked through garbage avidly. Light crept into a stairwell as he squeaked down three flights, wearing a pair of fishing trousers.
Christopher worked for Gimmick, an SF-based art publication. He spent the past three weeks roaming SoMa’s narrow alleyways. There, he took photos with an old Canon he’d nabbed from a pregnant woman; sat on the curb, next to snoring homeless, scratching notes. But mostly, he sifted through dumpsters.
“That’s my bin, bitch,” gargled an old man, waving a hotdog.
That’s so tongue and cheek. Wait, no. Tongue and cheek is what you order from the butcher.
Granted, you can take the shit home, and put the tongue in the cheek — but don’t try to distract me.
I have a point. The point is at the end of this knife. I put it in your face, and you agree: “Yes, you have a point.”
I’m glad we get along. We must, if I’m to remain prolific.
Wearing days. Memories in the hamper. Seasons in calendar chic.
Memories are colors, the way we think of them — outfits. Difficult memories are colorless, leave us naked.
It’s like standing in front of a mirror, staring at your genitals, wondering what to wear. Escape
Into a onesie. Wake me in the morning and say: “You are unfashionably late!”
Sand. Charred fireworks and empty bottles. Shells and driftwood. We walked towards an orangey light, where we’d left our shoes.
The concrete there felt like a petrified sponge under my toes. She smiled as I slipped a sneaker on, let her palm glide down my chest, looked at me in a soft, I-love-you sort of way.
“You have your ducks in a row. But they don’t quack. They bark.”
“I don’t know what that means,” Henry returned, puzzled.
“Of course you don’t — ugh,” Renee said, as she unloaded a suitcase from the back of a cab. She plopped the bag on the concrete, popped out the pull handle, and finished, “You’re helpless.
We hunkered down, watched as pails of rain flushed the streets. The thicket above us kept us relatively dry. We gripped our brown grocery bags, and waited for a break in the rain.