Monday, November 30, 2009

Day of the Dead

The Living by Beth

We’d been together a month when she took me out to the suburbs to see her mother’s grave. First she drove by the house where she grew up, pointed out where the new people had changed the fence, replaced the picture window with a bay. She looked for so long the car started to veer onto the other side of the street. I felt bad for not warning her before she bumped the curb, but at least there were no other people around.

The graveyard was huge and the grass was still green, scattered with red and yellow leaves. I’d never seen graves like that, rows of pink or gray granite with granite vases stuck on top of them. I expected her to lead me to one of those, but instead we went into a building with glass doors like a mall and a room with walls of gravestones piled on top of each other like mailboxes.

“I never feel her here,” she said, and I could see why. I couldn’t wait to go back out into the bright sunshine, where at least the graves had different flowers in their vases.

On the way home we were mostly quiet until she said, “I’ll never love anyone like I loved my mom. She was the love of my life.” I rolled down my window then, slowly so as not to make it seem like a comment, and turned my face toward the wind.


In Chambers by Michael

There was something too austere about the place, and I was looking for the right handle to pull. Places like this aren’t made without trap doors. I got wondering just then, maybe someone else had the hand on the lever. I might find the trap door alright, but it wouldn’t be through my own accident or cunning. The atmosphere spoke to that, told me that I should pop in to see my maker sometime. He was missing me and might want to see me home safe and sound. Well, not yet. I’m not done here, so don’t try to overwhelm me with your sacred aspects. The only awe I feel is toward my limitless rage. It has no bottom, and cannot be contained. Tonight I find what I am looking for. Solace in blood on the temple floor, on the temple walls; everywhere but the on altar, for that is where I will sleep.


How to Remember by Alan

The man who lit the candles lived not too far away. Up maple, and then a left onto…I forget the name of the street. His house was the only one on the block. There are old bikes in the front yard, overgrown shrubs, and a kind of warm smell of neglect when you stare into the photographs of it. That’s one way to remember. Another way is to repair his favorite ladder. They still have it at Rose Hill – the caretakers never use it though. Someone said it would make a great gardening design tool. Lay it down on the ground and dig some holes for flowers, herbs, and plants. The geometry of memory…all lined up and preserved for eternity. Then the plants would grow and grow and wave in the gentles stroking of night wind. Or even breathing, I guess, if one were really close to breath is wont to do to a flame.


Language by Lyle

When I found the one I was looking for, number 223, I realized that it was only a number. The candle was lit, but flickered like a moth. Odd that the others were so still. Directly above it, the space had been filled in. I looked around and then knocked on it. Solid. I took a photo — the lights blurring together. I put my hands in my pockets. Voices susurrated down the corridor, along the walls, impossible to understand. I bent down to look closer at the candle. There was writing around the base, tiny, black writing. It looked like Cyrillic or maybe Sanskrit. The corridor moved down in either direction while people studied the numbered spaces. The night outside must have been dark and silent. The dead were nothing but dead.


Silence at the Last Place They Find Guiomar by Forrest

Returning visitors withhold silence at the last place they find Guiomar Hector de la Rosa. The guide will take them to the fourth catacomb in the western hall, marking off the twelfth row, then counting up six columns: there remain de la Rosa’s two shin bones. By then, they have already seen his empty sockets peering in the famous Skull Room (confirmed by his well-documented abnormal cranium), his rib cage dawdling in the Hidden Antechamber (a fair chance—five had been broken by his uncle’s design on separate occasions), and his pelvis languishing in the Old Clock Room (supposedly). Scattered unmarked in the three previous catacombs, the rest of de la Rosa. Only these shin bones granted eternal proximity at the fourth next to his beloved Azucena in the adjacent tomb. She often kicked them, the guide has been trained to say, while they slept. The guide will shrug. Perhaps she did not mean to kick his shins, or de la Rosa never complained to her noble face. It has been speculated that he accepted the punishment for this special violation of her family’s patronage. He had studied many such tribulations beforehand. And his personal diary shows, at least, he knew what would fall upon him in the tenuous customs of this region. Today, when the visitors’ shouting commences at the tormented shin bones of Guiomar Hector de la Rosa, they understand they also wake Azucena as well. The guide will not mediate. It is a regrettable interment. She is a poor lady anyway, the visitors will profess as they stand catching their collective breath, waiting for the guide’s further instruction.


Untitled by Bill

Shame shame shame you dying, like falling rocks dwindling into silent space like the hidden faces of lovers we hate, of marriage beds we would see burned. On lifeless planets, where little tinkling grains of metallic sands whipped by the wind, shining like stars on the horizon as they race toward you to pick apart the flesh on your skull and the softness of your eyes, can you hear the chants of the believers of a loving god calling for the blood of the abomination. And whose breath motivates those winds? What thoughts awake in gasping dreams? Are you scared, confused, sitting in a tent on the wild-west show looking out at the poor starving children of the people that buried your heart at wounded knee. What do you feel when they grip the lions by their manes to yank back the head, in that instant, tense with friction as a knife to skin before the jerk across?