Barcelona Blues – Greg Dybec
I follow a man because something is promising about the way he only looks
forward as he walks, through narrow streets and across the yards of colorful
homes wrapped in Catalan flags and steaming in the summer breeze. He doesn’t
look back but I know he’s leading me somewhere. We cut through alleyways and
apartments heavy with European graffiti and intricate circuits of clothing line
that tangle and rise and appear to be holding up the walls. Children flood the
thin streets, and everybody looks overheated in a way that’s passionate and not
at all discomforting. The man picks up his pace as we cross a stretch of grass,
while the breeze acquires a chill and the day prepares to end. We eventually
reach the water, and there’s a group of what I assume to be his friends on top
of a hill. They’re all limbs and long hair, melting into shadows as the sun
descends. As we approach the hill I notice the Mediterranean is dark and thick
beyond a large freight yard, with stacked boxcars and sleeping machinery all
red, yellow, and blue, stretching what must be miles along the coast. The air is
sweet and makes me hungry. Looking out over the yard and into the water, the
thought that one-day none of it may exist makes it all so pretty; in the way
that it’s pretty when Spanish girls cry.
Love Not Love – Ford Dagenham
He saw her long black hair first 1991 at her locker in college hall wearing all black with floppy black hat and knew and felt she would be special for ever.
Her boyfriend in prison she wanted nothing right now she said smoking close together in the smoking corner by kitchen bins while he said nothing at all heart in his mouth heart in his boots.
He went out in her car colour of primer at lunchtimes and she cried on his shoulder upset for no reason on birthdays at the pub on the sea wall where big boats float into London.
He dropped out of university 1994 she got her degree 1996 met a man there and too late he said something late at night after the pub shut sat in his garden staring at the stars.
She married he went wearing shiny borrowed suit and ate only booze embracing everyone and demanded to know she was happy before he could leave for the pub to punch a hand dryer and cry for two hours at the sea wall where big boats float into London.
She moved abroad 10 years and had three daughters kept in touch by telephone and postcard visited twice a year for calm days on garden furniture and quiet forest walks daughters run everywhere her husband never came.
His grandmother died 2006 she left her husband and fled home with daughters and stayed in his bed one New Years Eve where at last they touched.
She rang every night and said we’re not going out you know he laughed happy but worried about her alone in council accommodation.
She was seeing someone from the old days a friend told him he’d seen it on Facebook and he said no she isn’t but when she called she said she was and the Nick Cave song playing was burned into a sad place in his mind and he punched big holes into the bedroom door.
She hadn’t known what she was doing she said and sleeping together one more time he couldn’t stay inside her because she convulsed laughing at his rape jokes and friends again they have endless afternoon coffees.
Skyline – Eirik Gumeny
We were fucked up – on cocaine, on acid, on a case of shitty beer and
on everything else we were handed that night. We were hot – trapped
in a tiny bathroom with a broken door and a radiator set on Kill. We
could’ve, should’ve, just turned on the water and taken a shower.
Taken a bath, a piss, curled up on the mat and taken a nap. I
could’ve, should’ve, fucked her against the sink, watched the both of
us in the mirror. But we wanted, needed, air, and the window was in
better shape than the door.
We danced along that ledge, along a foot of concrete, tearing off our
clothes, laughing and shouting at the skyline that stabbed through the
streets. We danced along that ledge, craning our necks to stare into
infinity and breathe in broken moonlight. We could’ve, should’ve,
crawled back inside, leaned against the tub and fallen asleep in each
other’s arms. But we were fucked up and freezing, naked and
screaming, and we wanted it to last forever.
Tuesday – Shannon Peil
He calls himself a fucking idiot and kicks the shitbox again before picking up his shirt, throwing it over his shoulder and turning back to walk back the way he came. He fingers the phone in his pocket and knows someone would pick him up if he tried hard enough but maybe not cuz it’s the middle of a workday and then he pats his back pocket and makes sure his wallet is in there and how much could a cab really cost from here to there, it can’t be that bad. It’s probably worth it, it’s hot as hell out here today but he could use the exercise and needs to be careful with his money for the next few weeks while he figures this all out. He wonders if he should just walk to an auto parts store and buy a starter yeah it’s probably the starter but he isn’t sure. They’d ask him what kind of car it was and he’d look at them and say it’s a 1980 shitbox, I think it’s a 1.8 liter flat four but it’s definitely a shitbox can you look that up in the system there buddy. His lighter’s in his hand now and he wonders why he even keeps it in his pocket, he doesn’t smoke anymore but he wonders if that guy at the bus stop wants to bum him one and he’s pretty sure he’s got fifty cents in his pocket. He thinks fuck this cigarette is good, worth a whole dollar even though it’s a menthol it’s not so bad and how far away is he now. Probably 10 miles and his feet are aching already and he doesn’t even know what he’ll do when he gets home. A car honks and he looks over and three girls are whistling at him and his cheeks start burning and he thinks about asking for a ride but okay the light goes green and they’re gone. He flicks the cigarette butt into the gutter and immediately receives a dirty look from a young woman on a bicycle but he’s too tired to do anything but blankly stare at her.
Vade Mecum – Hayley Chewins
The sea whips its weight behind us, pulling back like an obstinate child
when we turn to laugh in the direction of the sun. I have often thought of
this place, of you, and have put your feet back exactly where they were, in
the hollows where your heels had sunk into the sand. To say that the dunes,
the wind, the sea, all gathered together in a truce to hurry us from our
stagnant paths, undulating silently, would be whimsical – but we are in
love, and so whimsical let’s be. ‘Let’s be magical!’ I say, and you don’t
even notice the impulsive incoherence of my thought, but instead, wishing me
towards you, place your ear on mine, as if listening for the murmur of a
wave’s oscillation. I would catch you gliding, like a small boy, on the edge
where the foam’s line touched the beach; I would catch you floating, a piece
of dark kelp, in the crash of the ocean’s cerulean burden. I have pulled you
past too many memories to let this one contract and die. The darkness
threatens us from the West, motioning to the hill that winds us home. I will
sleep, a rough tide for lullabies. I will keep the pearl of your voice,
untouched. I will sleep, and rest this memory, so it can grow into a great
stalk of black kelp, and rush with the sweep of the moon’s pull towards the
apex of the sky.
What You Are About To Do, Do Quickly – Shane Jesse Christmass
The knothole in the wall had indeed become a human-house in a four-story redbrick building in Jerusalem.
The horse-cups of coffee, the eyes closed or staring, lost in watering.
The stone had clearly been rolled back, enough done, for duty-once as contentedly at his Godly task. Christ, the hero of this tale stared at Judas.
An indefinable dread came upon Jesus.
He rose to shake the acoustic shadows.
Judas ran to the donkey-house, the stable, as thin ascensions of blue smoke signalled preparations for some reason that had abandoned the mystical-enterprise and constructed the strip-mining that melted in Jesus’ mouth.
In addition, Satan yielded up the life that had spanned another life.
The synagogue, said that Jesus was resented and arranged with convenient Holy Troops and Squadrons, and that he collected all of the elemental powers of the Jewish race, but the talent was now summer-gone.
Judas whispered. “No wonder that fellow thought me forlorn.”