Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Heat

Encounters by Sherisse

It must have felt for a long time like there was nowhere to go, no airplanes landing or taking off. Like meals consisted of the same three ingredients. Like there was no context, a very limited self. Now he works in an office in midtown Manhattan standing up. It’s called a Varidesk, I think. For variety, I suppose. He hopes his buttocks will firm up soon. He checks it daily; he’s installed a long mirror in the living room for exactly that reason. All those years of sitting, headphone wearing, looking for his father in the dark. The roosters wouldn’t wake him up, they refused to take him on. He would buy a car, move to Westchester, move in a soft pet. If that is what life was to be. If he was to go straight to being old from being young. He would fuck here and there, hide under the covers of his own bed, the handsome body of a stranger tangled up to his limbs. How intricate, passive. He would continue this conversation started long ago because the end of it was like a frayed string caught under things, whole seasons. He’d keep busy, he’d avoid making any explosives even though the computer in his lap provided plenty of how-tos. He’d go to bed hungry or dizzy or hung-over. He’d wake up greasy in some places, chapped in others and play the part, collect a paycheck, buy new shoes, avoid responsibility. He’d write heart-breaking poems and give them to loved ones who were no longer with us. He’d remember the mailman at 2pm in the afternoon and go look for him with an umbrella in the rain.


The Crossing by Alan

If there was a question before it had happened, it most surely was packed away by now. In mid-crossing, he noticed the lights on the other end of town. By the time he stepped onto the sidewalk and down Avenue C, he was thinking in declarative sentences and marking sites he hadn't visited since the 80s. Confusion, he thought, was a temporary shine in the tunnel of our lives. Matilda, he called it. Your name.

Matilda, begin each day anew as if you have forgotten that question. Matilda, believe in the principles of rockets for someone in the world is on a journey. Let the birds and other flying things enter your room at night and sing their seasonal songs in languages you will almost understand. Wrap your arms around the distance - it will nourish your hungers. And most of all, think of that boy often, the one you never met because of the point at which you entered a life and it entered you.


Cock of the Walk by Bill

“You try to rob me! I rob you! You try to cut me I’ll cut you! Every day some suckers come up here and I put ‘em back down on the ground. I’m breaking ‘em. You talking to me about indifferent tragedy and I say there’s nothing indifferent about it. Tragedy is acute. It’s got a point, like a spear falling toward your heart thrown by Odin’s very own hand. Like the tip of a bullet and the sights are leveled at your head the second you come tapping out of your shell. You don’t want to consider the cruel vagaries of nature but you weren’t born in some bulb-warmed glass case for the amusement of goggling pink little finger-lickers passing through the farm pavilion at the state fair as a respite from the sun between bouts of vomiting up cotton candy on a ferris wheel. Out here you want to eat you better fight for it. You don’t want to fight, don’t eat. Simple as that, so don’t come round here talking about tragedy unless you want to be the next one.”


Crossroads by Lyle

The crushing heat wasn't unusual. Nor the sweating asphalt. It tends to do that in this heat. It melts down on a molecular level. Sort of pools there like quicksand. The chicken would only appear at the crossroads when it got that hot. Some people say it comes right out of there. Sort of like a mirage. We can't catch it, that's for sure. People sit on the bench in front of the antique store for days in the heat to try to get a glimpse. There have been more than one fainting spell; many fewer sightings. Many fewer sightings. The crushing heat wasn't unusual. Nor the sweating asphalt. The chicken on the other hand.