Breathing Machine

They hover over me and peer down and say, yes, maybe it’s time. The lights behind envelope them in a honey glow, wrapping around their figures making them indistinct and unfinished; a study started at the eyes, with great attention, but as the sketcher continued they grew bored and sloppy. These benevolent ones evaporate into the beams, scattering into the world that I know exists but cannot confirm. Their eyes, so kind and gentle, grasp onto me and wait. I watch them watching me and I have no clue what they want.
We know you’re strong enough, they say, we’re going to take it out. Their eyes squint tighter, yes, they say, it’ll all be fine. They confer among themselves, their arms swimming around in the golden pool, until one of them breaks away and reaches down. A finger brushes my face as a fist grasps at the tube. Oh, and I can feel it snaking through my windpipe as they pull. No, not yet, I think, you can’t take it yet. Those mechanical gusts sustain, methodically filling me up. Whoosh. Pause. Pause. Whoosh. But now they’re taking that away from me, and what then?
One being reaches down and pats my forehead, shhhh. They’re trying to silence me, calm me, tranquilize me. They say I’ll be fine, it’s just a momentary discomfort. And for the life of me, or for the death of me, I don’t know if I’ll be able to adjust. It’s been so long under the spell of the machine that I don’t know if I’m remembering or forgetting. The tube is out now, the world awaits. No more metronomic assistance. No more rest. Maybe I’m coming back. Maybe I’m leaving.

So Close

The ice machine buzzing down at the end of the hall sounds like it’s on its last legs and the bedspread has cigarette holes in it. I check my watch again, hold it up to my ear – still tickin’. It’s been years since you could smoke in a place like this but it seems that the Idyll Glade Motel has a long memory. Either that or it’s a slow learner.
10:18. You said you’d be here by now.
You should be here by now. We should be gone. Continue reading

Forever / Cannonball

Things you like: popsicles; the way the sun speckles the ground through foliage; patios; the feeling of grass under your palms as you recline in the park surrounded by hundreds of like-minded young adults – and not so young adults (and children, too) – all of you swilling beer (well, maybe not the children, hopefully) from camouflaged containers as you enthuse about cookouts and late night dance parties under the stars and gentle kisses by the lake and the air in your face as your bike prowls the street for adventure; the scent of sky before cooling rain; grilled meats; sunglasses; the feeling of entering an air conditioned room after searching, fruitlessly, for the perfect present for your friend who you’ve known forever – you’ve known them so long you can remember their birthday with ease, August 8th, so you know that if you can remember that you at least owe them the perfect gift so you head out to the opposite end of the city (on foot, to better bask in the glory of mid summer) because you heard there was a specialty shop that specialized in Tibetan art (for some reason your friend got really into it, just constantly babbling on about it which could be boring…but you indulge…) and when you get there you realize that the shop is closed for the first two weeks of August (how Parisian, you think) and now you’ve been under that beating sun for a couple hours and it’s starting to take its toll on you so you hop onto a streetcar back to your hood…which takes forever, because you know how streetcars are, and even though the windows are all open and the air is streaming in you are still roasting in what is essentially a portable oven until you thankfully reach your destination and pull out your key (which blazes in a beam of sun like a sword about to be plunged into stone) and open the door; watermelons; friends with pools; the busker on the corner playing folk songs on his fiddle; seeing children selling lemonade on the street for a dollar a cup, which, granted, is higher than it should be but you suppose that inflation really does affect all capitalist enterprise no matter how small – and maybe you’re older than you think and you’ve basically become that guy who sits in the corner of the room and smiles benevolently at the young while you try to explain to them how it was when “I was your age” and they fidget and roll their eyes when they think you aren’t paying attention but politely wait until you are finished to immediately forget everything you were saying; being warm in shorts at 2 AM; noticing the tangles of vines grow fast and furiously up the back fence; blasting hip hop as you sit on your stoop, aware that it’s kind of a cliche but not caring; coconut sunscreen; sandals; slow workdays; long conversations; the hope that maybe this time – fingers crossed – the winter won’t hit until after the new year, and when it does it will be gentle on you and everyone you know, that it will melt away gracefully until it is only a faint memory of the past/future…leaving, only, the yellow-white of the sun at noon, forever; etc. etc.

Pretty People Pairing

I had a dream the other night.  We were walking along a bridge, side by side.  It was the same bridge that I took you to on the day you told me you loved me.  You stood close to me but we were not touching.  All around us were people grouped in twos.  They clung to each other’s hands and whispered into each other’s ears.  I couldn’t make out what they were saying, all I could feel was a mosquito buzz tickling my ears.

We stopped in the centre of the bridge and watched the fireworks as they shattered up above us.  You turned to me and you were the girl that lived across the street when I was five.  You told me that you were moving out of town and that I would never see you again.

All the pairs on the bridge quieted and turned towards us.  Then they jumped off the bridge and you weren’t there anymore.  Then I woke up and you were asleep beside me.  I lay awake the rest of the night.

GRAVEL

Back then, they rode their bikes along the shoulders of asphalt roads, turned off onto the dirt path that wound through the brush and juvenile trees, and crossed over a trickle of creek before jettisoning their wheels in a spinning heap when they had reached their destination.  It was perpetually Saturday, early afternoon, when the sun was full and bright but occasionally obscured by passing wisps of thin-stretched cloud.  They would approach the pit without speaking and slide their way down to the bottom of the inverted mountain.  In the centre of the crater they would yell out curse words and shoot pellet guns at any small creature that dared make its presence known.  They would talk of what had happened in class that week, or what they saw on television, or the stirrings of philosophy and lust that had begun to battle for prominence in their minds.  Sometimes, they shared a silence that was more comfortable than trying to convince the other that they knew what they were talking about.  Always these two, always together. Continue reading

LongBranch

Already late, she scrambled toward the train.  Coffee slopped and sloshed in the insulated mug she slung back and forth as she click-clacked at a frantic pace.  Twenty paces from the entrance, she heard the chimes ring.  The doors stuttered open and closed for an instant, as if to wink.  Come on, you can make it, the train seemed to say.  Look how I am creating a diversion for you.  Maybe a mechanical error is in order?  I care not for the others, it’s you I want.
And she ran faster and clipped and clopped and dripped and splattered.  Her hair whipped, her skirt fluttered, her case slammed into her galloping calves.  The last few steps were close, but as the doors slid closed she Indiana Jones’d her way through the waning crack and yanked her case through just in time.  And the train sighed and said, yes, now we can commence.  And they did.