Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Memory Hole

The Lost Transcripts of Stewart L. Rifkin, Entrepeneur by Alan

The first tenet of any good operation of this sort is to make sure that community is everything.

It shall be called “All Books” or “Every Book.” Perhaps it should read as one word: “Everybook” to ensure a kind of psychological coalescence.

The primary measure of veracity is the individual’s relationship to words – how they’re used, at what moments, with whom in mind, etc. Everything is a flammable cornucopia of possibilities in which the lie may be born, harbor itself, and create many lives.

The system is infallible if the system is watertight.

To avoid the perils of capitalism and to separate oneself from another, we must avoid the furnace of greed and keep a hand on the hose, so to speak. A fire extinguisher in the hand is worth two on the wall, behind glass, shatter in case of emergency, etc.


Practice by Bill

You have to let them get close, to surround you, suffocate and sting your eyes, feel it on your skin, singeing, sound rising, growing, forcing you to listen, because you’ll never be able to hear the sound of your own voice until you can pick it out of the crowd. The winds rise up. The smoke follows. The pyre collapses.

It could be a pit, it could be a sunken tomb. It could be an open shelf of stone atop a hill where they take their sharp knives to open the body and dedicate its matter to the gods of sky and air.

Anyway, in the end, time appears insufficient and never there is enough, to make a dent, to get all the way through the stack. They will temper your heart because you will never burn as brightly for yourself as you will for them.


The Desert Won't Let Me Forget by Johanna

The fire was meant to destroy my memories. I thought my memories were contained in the photographs inside those cardboard boxes. It felt like they were. Every time I saw one of those photos, those moments returned clear as the present. Not that the present is so clear. It is clearly wrapped up in memories. Unreliable memories at best. She wore a red dress in the black and white photo. We were in a desert, Death Valley. We fought the whole time. That song kept playing on the radio. Da da da da, la la, da da da. When she fell to the ground, I reached for her.

Standing over the flaming pile, I imagined a hole in my head burning through the memories the way a photograph stains brown and disintegrates when you hold a lighter under it. But I was wrong all along. Overly optimistic. The memories did not char and disappear but grew brighter and brighter until I thought I might go blind.


angryOrange by Lyle

It’s spring. Which means there is a slight breeze. It stokes the fires. In our hearts and dotted throughout the meadows, light green with budding grass. And angryOrange. We are all angryOrange. It runs like JavaScript through our DNA.It tells us that we don’t need books anymore. It turns us green from the inside. It makes us crave thin mints and powdered sugar. We are only watchers now; tenuous, brave — aren’t we? No one thinks about the fire-stoking ending though. That last letter on that last page in that last book curling up in a calligraphy of smoke. And then only the cicadas to keep us company.

Our angryOrange flattened and dissipated amongst the other living things without words. New languages were bound to bind to even… WasWere-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


The Pariah by Forrest

I took the book as far as I could with me, and let it go. It stayed there long after I was gone, I was told, along with the others left there by those who followed me, who would not be gone. The fires burned night after night for those who would not be gone, could I believe they stayed as long as they did. If I did not want my book, then no one would have theirs. No one, they insist. Night after night they took turns luring other books to the fire first followed by those who would have stayed after I was gone. Only the one who left told me this. Only the one who could not believe all the books were gone in the fires followed. Could I take only the one, I believe, then no one would follow me, and I let the one go who would not be gone. The fire burned night after night. No one would would have theirs. No one, I insist.


Mama Said by Nicole

Mama said on the day I was born Aunt Lucy was in the church basement making stock for the Sunday chicken dinner with Father Thomas. Mama was at home with Uncle Lenny who was burning trash in the grass lot behind our house. That was back in the days before the city took over our side of town and made the rule about paying to have trash picked up.

Mama says she was inside at the kitchen table and she stood up real fast to answer the doorbell when she felt like she peed on herself a little. But it wasn’t pee because it didn’t stop and mama called Uncle Lenny from the kitchen and he didn’t hear her. She says she called him so much her throat kinda went dry like when you stand next to a fire and breathe in the smoke too many times. So she lay down on the floor next to the rooster shaped mat that Aunt Lucy keeps in front of the kitchen sink. Mama would have me on the kitchen floor later – she said Uncle Lenny came in through the garage with an armful of old cardboard to throw in the fire when he saw her and called 911. And Uncle Lenny would hold mama’s knees open while he talked on the phone and they told him what to do.

But that’s not my favorite part of the story – this is. When mama looked out the sliding door she could see Uncle Lenny next to the fire pit throwing pieces of trash into the fire. She said he was burning old boxes from the kitchen. She said he moved around the fire and picked his feet up funny and sometimes waved his hands in the air. When he circled sometimes she could see him through the other side of the fire and he waved in and out like a ghost. She said she watched him and it almost looked like he was dancing.

But mama told me this story a long time ago. It’s my job to burn the trash now. The city says we can’t but Uncle Lenny and I do it anyway. Sometimes when I circle the fire I think about Uncle Lenny on the day I was born. I think about what we might look like to someone inside the house curled on the floor with her head rested on kitchen rug. I move behind the fire and cross paths with Uncle Lenny to make our bodies wave. I imagine that mama is watching me.