Archive for the ‘Flash’ Category

 

 

Resonance
Over and over again
That echoes of your name
Shall never cross my lips
Again.
Not as a smile
But as a reminiscent fragrance
Gently whisper into your ear
I am here. I am here.

 

**********

 

Sitting idle at a metro station after a long time. Looking at the metro come and go. The sudden rush of people, squirming chattering complaining and laughing followed by a desolate silence. Some look at me looking at them; I wonder what they think.
In the sequence of things, the mind plays a trick. I see myself in one of those groups and I see some familiar faces too. They enter the metro and before I can understand, they’re gone. The article in my hand screams for attention as it falls off my hand and is kissed hard, by the heels of an enlightened student.

 

 

GATHERING WOOD FOR BRADBURY

Fair in height, 451 tall trees with an enormity of loose leaves allowed me to  see the world for what it really was. I saw grids, launch pads, bacterial  formations. I saw intricate simplicities from the design of daffodils to the  correct function of an extraterrestrial larynx. And I watched it all circulate.  Bent on challenging and supporting the natural order. Chronicles depicted  neo-gothic expenditures, forest treks, diagnostics on the unexplainable  creationist chop block. Existence. A carpenter’s self reflection in the waters  of a glazy brown marsh.

The passengers on an exclusive interstellar trip to Europa’s Indian  Reservation organized alphabetically, chronologically — and according to the  masculinity of voice boxes. The swelling size of wicked wallets.

We forage for tree trunks homing the tenacity to plant seeds never planted  before, to bear fruits inconceivable even in grandiosely exotic foreign  landscapes. We’ve got nature’s inebriated touch: dream wood pulp, that majestic  literary type of gloop. Leaf resonates well.

Sometimes “pioneer” is an insufficient adjective, attachment for praise. My  main man, late night storyteller book master, counting the pages until Earthlife  is rekindled as organic and flesh-like, fully AWARE of these DNAnachronicities  plaguing the depths. Hidden from view until men’s voices grow dignified enough  to reach the canopy levels, and hold a torch to it. So birds can listen and  humans can find it.

Memories of the T-Rex from “A Sound of Thunder” take up large proximities in  my nostalgic data storage, you see. Laboratory physicists must’ve known how  expansive Phineas Fogg could be in filling the woodland wilderness with stifling  air – science fiction’s oxygen tank.

Manhood

Illustrated

by our supplied actions
The verdict is supranational library up keeping
a good way to keep the true characters alive

He Said, Sideways, Twice

 

Buttermilk strangers alone in a world of Autumn

caressing the pavement with uneasy stares,

facing the day sideways and aware

of the death within us all.

It’s colour (I’m British) is burgundy

and it laps gently against our tongues

as we try not to speak in rhythms

of anything but passion.

We fail sometimes but fucking hell, we try

and alone I master it: see them fail and pounce,

this world is a background only, I am the magician.

I weave and disappear at will

un-caged and un- harnessed

I am the North side!

you are not alone.

 

© Paul Tristram 2011

 

 

 

Electricity

 

We were having another argument and it was a right fucking beauty!

The last one was so bad that I had taken the house phone out into the back

garden and thrown it into the top pond, then I had grabbed my mobile phone,

taken it out onto the road at the front of the house and thrown it, watching it first

bounce and then shatter into smithereens, whilst thinking to myself

‘That’s £300 I’ve just trashed in less than a minute!’

Then walking back inside the house I proceeded to cut off the plugs to the

computer cables, rendering her vicious emails useless.

But this time (with new phone to my ear!) I was giving it some wellie,

screaming down the phone at her, verbally slicing and tearing back.

This was now my 3rd house phone that I was on and I was not intending to be

buying a fourth one.                                                                 

The arguing intensified to a crescendo where I was now a screaming lunatic,

completely

 

“Fuck you Bitch, you Cunt, you Dirty, Stinking, Filthy Fucking Piece of Whore Shit!”

 

Boom, 3 light bulbs popped above my head, followed by 4 in the kitchen

ping, ping, ping, ping and then the trip switch went for the entire house.

 

Just after I had put the trip switch back on and I am looking for spare bulbs (which

I didn’t have!) she calls me back, only this time the ‘Cunt’ word has made her flip

she is now a neurotic banshee straight outta Hell and she goes for my jugular.

I retaliate, snapping straight into temper, where I thrust and parry with the force

of an amphetamine-crazed wrecking ball (hey, that’s how I roll!)

Whilst walking through my kitchen I see through the glass oven door of the cooker

a blue flashing light and hear a bang! Jesus, that’s my oven ruined now.

I actually find out a few days later that my washing machine has gone too, blown.

I proceed to then drink myself into unconsciousness, after unplugging the phone

and I awake on the settee  at dawn by the dog whining to go out, I let her out in the

back garden and see 8 of my koi fish floating on top of the water.

‘Fuck it!’ I think to myself I’ll deal with them later.

The last time I split up with a girl I blew a water pipe in the bedroom behind my

wardrobe and soaked all my fucking clothes and gear but it had never effected shit

in the garden before.

I opened a can of beer and the curtains at the front of the house and watched an

ambulance pulling out from the old peoples bungalows opposite, this sometimes

happens but this morning by the time I’d drank 5 cans 2 ambulances have been

and gone.

Not too long later she calls me and says

 

“Baby, I love you, please let’s not fight!”

 

I tell her about the fish and the old people and she says

 

“OMG, that’s terrible, I’ll come around later with some new bulbs and look at the

cooker for you, It sounds like the element, I can fix that if we buy a replacement

part, don’t worry.

But baby, we’ve got to stop fighting, you’re fucking killing fish and old people

now, I bet they had pace-makers fitted, Jesus, I’m glad you don’t use an electric

blanket.

I’ll be over soon, don’t touch the kettle, keep drinking beer until I get there baby!”

 

© Paul Tristram 2013

   The Idabel City Line

                                                   

 

Arthur Kirby had something really cool to show me.

“Sumpin’ you gotta see, Jimmy. Sumpin’ most boys don’t learn until they’re older,” but he wouldn’t tell me anymore until I followed him past the Idabel city line all the way into his daddy’s broken down barn.

I thought he might have a brand new BB gun, or an arrowhead from back when our part of Oklahoma was Indian Territory, or maybe one of the hundred cats in his barn had birthed a two-headed kitten.

He wouldn’t say anymore until we got where it was safe. “Where nobody can find out who ain’t supposed to know.” Because this was one of those special things that grown-ups couldn’t know about like Cherry Bombs and stolen packs of cigarettes.

“Come on Jimmy.”He ran through an old stand of Christmas Trees that were too big and too full of bagworms to sell.

I couldn’t see the Idabel city line, but I felt it the second I stepped across. Things were heavier on the far side. Air was thicker—harder to breath. Shadows were thicker too.

Arthur Kirby was twelve. I was eight. I wasn’t supposed to play with him because he was too old for me and nobody in his family was any good. But there we were on the other side of the city line where every bad thing in the world was sure to happen.

That’s what my mother told me.

“Ain’t no rules on Kirby land,” she said earlier that morning. Said it loud enough for Arthur to hear as if she knew he was right outside our kitchen window. There’d be trouble if she found out I went on Kirby land, and everybody in Idabel knew what kind of trouble Mom could cause.

I watched Arthur dance through the broken down door of the broken down barn where horses used to live before his mother ran off and his daddy started drinking. It was kind of dark inside and I should have gone back home but not until I saw what Arthur had to show me.

“Sumpin’ grown-up-deluxe-special,”Arthur said. “Learned all about it from Jessup Tubby down behind the Wal-Mart.

Cats ran every which way when he pushed into the barn. They hid behind haystacks and broken tools and piles of rotten things that had been lying there since before the farm grew up in weeds.

I almost ran off too when Arthur told me, “I named my peter Oscar.”

Telling wasn’t good enough. He fiddled with his zipper and showed me the first uncircumcised one I ever saw.

“Wow!” Oscar was a lot bigger than I expected.

The door behind me was still open and I figured I could be through it in a second if it came to that. Arthur wouldn’t follow me until he got Oscar put away. That might take some doing.

“We’re gonna have a Peter fight,” He said. “Come on Jimmy time’s a wasting.”

“Peter fight?” I’d never heard of anything like that but Arthur waved Oscar around enough so I had a pretty good idea how it would go.

“Oscar’s the McCurtain County Champion.” Arthur told how Oscar whipped Jessup Tubby’s Peter in twenty seconds flat. “Pinned him against the asphalt of the Wal-Mart employee’s parking lot.”

“Jessup calls his Peter Little J,” Arthur told me. “Pretty big, but Oscar’s bigger.”

While my eyes were stuck on Oscar, Arthur put himself between me and the door.

The cats came out of hiding but they clustered in the far side of the barn where they could disappear into the shadows again if Arthur lost interest in me.

I didn’t have a watch but I looked at my wrist where I’d wear one if I did.

“Guess I ought to go,” I said. “Guess I ought to go right now before Mom figures out where I am. Guess I better go before she calls the police or something.”

I said, “Police,”a second time. Said the first part of the word louder than the second so it came out PO-lice. The way Arthur’s daddy said it when he complained about the government.

Arthur wasn’t listening. He moved in so close I could count his heartbeats in the big blue vein across Oscar’s back. I counted up to ten out loud because I couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“Come on, Jimmy,”Arthur said. He repeated those words in a high voice, barely moving his lips so maybe I’d think it was Oscar talking.

“Peter fight! Peter fight!” He squeaked as if he just took a deep breath out of a helium balloon.

“Come on out and fight. I dare you!” Like an angry Mickey Mouse.

“What’s your Peter’s name, Jimmy.” Arthur went back to his regular voice. “He’s gotta have a name if he’s gonna fight the champion.”

“Well . . .” I had to think about it for a second or two. Not much longer than that because Oscar and Arthur weren’t in a waiting mood.

“Charlene,” I told him. “My Peter’s name is Charlene.”

Now Arthur and Oscar didn’t look so anxious to fight. “Heck Jimmy, how come you had to say that?”

The barn cats ran for cover as I stepped outside and headed for the safe side of the Idabel city line.

 

Tomorrow is a New Day for Secrets

Emily Ramser

 

The boy turns the pages with curious fingers. He runs them across the glossy photos, lingering on the women’s faces and pouty red-painted lips. They are all so beautiful, he thinks. That is the word he should use, isn’t it? Beautiful? They steal his breath from his tummy and lite him on fire.

 

He can feel if racing through his body. The flames tickle his palms and make the crevices between his fingers sweat. He flips too another page, and his eyes widen. So lovely. She looks like his mother, he thinks. He strokes the model’s deep brown hair and pale skin. So pretty.

 

From beyond the bathroom a door slams. He drops the dirty magazine in fright. It slumps against the bathroom’s tile floor. He stuffs it back in the pile of magazines resting on the back of the toilet. Tomorrow. He would look again tomorrow.

 

Across the hall the girl presses her thumb against the lock of her door, assuring that no one could enter. Not like anyone was home. Her house was a ghost town expect for her younger brother in the bathroom.

 

She sits on the edge of her bed. The purple comforter spreads out like a mystic sea behind her. Her mother had picked it out. She would have preferred a red or green, but her mother thinks a girl should be interested in purples and pinks, not boy colors like reds and greens.

 

The letters on the brochure match the blanket, she thinks. Maybe her mother designed it. Her lips tilt up in a smirk. As if. She reads them again, holding her breath as if they might have changed since she picked the paper up at the clinic.

 

“Trans youth, we’re here to help you.”

 

They haven’t changed. Her breath flies out in a woosh and she unfolds it to read the information inside. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll go back and talk to the clinic counselor, she thinks.

 

Outside her window her father’s car idles. He sits in the front seat with his hands holding a pack of papers to the steering wheel. He reads the same line over and over again.

 

“Am I doing this?”

 

He whispers aloud to himself, filling the quiet car. He rereads the divorce papers and turns off the car. He fingers the key, nervous energy keeping him from being still. Might as well get this over with, he thinks. Is she even home?

 

He walks inside his empty home. Were his children even here? His daughter was never home, for she was always out with her short-haired friends smoking cigarettes. His son hid upstairs more often than naught with his video games. He often finds himself wondering if he even has a family.

 

He lays the papers on one of the placemats his wife had laid out earlier. She will see it whenever she decides to come back, he thinks. Then she can leave without having to worry about arranging placemats ever again. He smirks. When she leaves he will light these plastic things on fire on the garage floor. He can see them now, twisting and dancing in the flames.

 

He collapses on to the living room’s overstuffed puke-green couch. His wife had picked it out, so when she left she could take it. He would get something a little less puke colored and a little more leather colored. He would finally be able to make his own choices. Tomorrow, he thinks. After tomorrow I can do anything I want.

 

The house shifts on its foundation, sending a creak through its halls. The girl looks up at the noise and stashes the pamphlet under her pink pillow. She uses the remote on her nightstand to turn on her ipod radio. The boy turns up the volume of his game in the room opposite hers. Downstairs their father turns up the tv so as to hear the actors say their lines. Tomorrow. At least tomorrow it will be quiet, the house thinks.

E.
My cigarettes hold a thousand problems and maybe a thousand more thoughts.
Early dawn rises from the east as I stumble out of the nightclub and
down the grit of the fire escape alley. Sober now, the bar closed long
ago, and I couldn’t get my hands on any pills, the only reason I’d
hung around was to try and get it in with E, but she was too rocked to
even see, let alone fuck.
She came from a different world, one that isn’t always pretty. She
belongs to that part of the night when everyone else would’ve, or
should’ve, gone home. A part of the world filled with faces you’d
rather forget, and drugs you can’t remember taking. Something in me
suspected that her life held higher expectations and greater
disappointments than my own, but she had a knack for recovering
quicker than most. She had a way of overcoming her own wounds that
would make any self-help wanker froth with jealousy.
She was beautiful, in a drug-habit kind of way. Tall and pale with
short blonde hair, her clothes always fell around her body lazily as
if, in any moment, they could slip off. I’d never seen that on anyone
else. She had the jaw line of a much older woman, and round eyes that
covered at least twenty shades of blue, though they never looked
straight at you. But when they did it was hard not to be overcome with
her infectious sense of warmth.
I wanted to fuck her. I wanted the alcohol-induced one night stand,
and then we’d be done with each other. But part of me didn’t want to
hurt her. It’s not that I couldn’t bring myself to; I knew I could,
and probably, eventually would. But I didn’t want to, and I felt like
fucking and hurting were connected.
There was something about her warmth, something deeper. No one else
had it; no one else I knew could look at you and suddenly make you
feel like everything was going to be ok. She was immediate and
infectious.

Can, Sir

Can I help you hurt? It helps to hurt. Then again, don’t copy me. I’m just pulling skag off trees, digging dreams off roots.

I won’t go away, not yet. I didn’t drop the e; it dropped me. Right into your lymphatic system.

Way, way under your skin.

You couldn’t feel it. It would have helped if you could.

“Paper or plastic?”

Who cares. Either way, we’re going to expire.

“But I care! I care!” cries a voice, plaintive and pure in the mud-cum.

“Poor kid. You’ll die before any of us.”

I knew they were right. After all, how many fresh organs can stand to flourish in the midst of bitch-fumes? We’re miserable, coated with pus-gels.

You have to rub until it burns, baby. It helps to itch and simmer and scream.

It helps to hate and ache and learn.

I rocked the curb of your neck. You should have seen the show. We ripped blood cells from their flesh-pockets and the groupies went insane.

I licked, sucked and fed. Chewed and purged.

You tickled me every time you shaved!

Why couldn’t you feel me?

I ate out your pores. They came and curled and creamed the sheets clean.

You didn’t have what it takes to feel, feel the gnat before it burrowed. By the time you were swollen and sweating from the head, it was too late.

My tummy ached. The spores settled.

Then again, don’t listen to me.

I’m going to get out. And I’m taking you with me.

I am a visitor. I am not permanent.
We exist somewhere between the black flood of Friday nights, and the soft, hollow light of early Saturday mornings. We exist in the spaces between fingers, clenched white around bottlenecks. Under each other’s tongues. In the backs of dirty clubs, we search for something more than what just is.
Above me looms a dagger, swaying reminders of past has-beens.
We don’t spend a moment apart, we dive into the escapism we find in the other. Being apart is like coming up for air and realizing how far from shore you’ve drifted.
So we stay. Nestled in necks, finding the perfect indent in pillows to rest our heads.

Hospitality.
With one hand clasped around a cold glass of gin, I watch bodies move in and out in a sort of strangled unison whilst the lights over us blink on and off to the music. Everything here is at a distance, people speak without hearing, and I smile politely, offering them canned laughter for their worries. Drink enough, and it all turns into white noise, a jovial mass of bodies jumping and grinding against every other. Amongst it all I can’t help but to think of mass burials and how deep I’d need to dig.
A girl I know is outside throwing up, or at least I think she is. Her head’s cocked to the side, and she tries to shield her face, hunching over her knees in the corner of the outside balcony. I sort of know her, but then, I sort of know everyone. We take her outside, and for the fourth time tonight I pray you’re not around.
In my mind, you’re rounding every corner.

I could probably save Axl Rose. I could make him whole again. I could teach him mindfulness techniques like the one I learned the other day where you visualize all of your problems as a leaf, and then the leaf floats along a fast-moving creek until it disappears out of your mind. I would make him sit with me and rub my feet, both of us wearing sweatpants, and I would say Axl, Visualize your Guns N’ Roses bandmates on this leaf, see? The leaf is disappearing down the waterfall into never-ending space. We could stand on opposite ends of the room and speak to each other in telepathic wavelengths. The voices in his head? They would still be there. I am not a miracle worker. But we could shape the voices, give them personalities, something more akin to James Cagney or Bette Davis, Peter Sellers or Monty Clift. Our relationship would be platonic, I mean he’s nuts after all. I could probably save Axl Rose, and in return he would sing November Rain for me over and over so I could finally work out all the psychic rage that I never resolved in my twenties. I have a shitty Yamaha Keyboard, but he would make it work, and I would throw roses at his feet, long stemmed, with thorns.

Birthday Boy

Mom counts the candles on my cake one last time.

“Thirteen,” she says. “Little Robbie is growing up.”

My friends pretend they don’t notice the clear lacquer on my perfectly trimmed nails. Nobody wants to see my Da freak out. He’s tough as a polyester leisure suit, but sensitive. Doesn’t like it when I call him Da because, “It sounds too queer, Robbie.”

And I already sound too queer for Da.

Eddie Sanchez says, “Blow out the candles dude.”

He’s is one of my Mexican friends. There are lots of those at the party, because we live in a transitional neighborhood. A little bit of everything: Da’s kind of black. Mom is Mexican and LBJ. That’s a little bit Jewish.

Eddie calls me‘Swish’ when Mom and Da can’t hear him. They think he is my best friend, and I guess he is—even though he hates me.

“Yes, blow them out, Robbie.” Mom takes my hand and leads me to the ‘seat of honor’ where the birthday boy sits once a year and celebrates a day his father wishes never happened.

Later on I’ll open presents. Sports equipment I don’t want, butch clothing that makes me look even more girlie-gay.

“Take a big breath, Robby.” Mom holds her hands together like a little girl who doesn’t know whether to clap or pray. Sometimes I do that too.

“Don’t tell anyone your wish,” Mom says.

I take the deepest breath.

I blow out all thirteen flames.

I wish I was a girl.

***

I figured that out this morning when I was all alone.

When I tried on one of Mom’s dresses for the first time ever. We’re exactly the same size. Exactly the same coloring too; I used her make up; I put on one of her wigs. I swished around the living room in her three-inch heels, pretending I had hips, pretending I had all the girl things, including lots of boys. I sang I Was Born This Way, and I knew for sure what Da suspected for a long, long time.

I didn’t hide when the doorbell rang. Da was at work, and Mom was shopping, so I walked into the living room like a runway model and looked through the peephole to see if it was anyone who mattered.

A Jehovah’s Witness boy missionary stood on my front porch waiting to tell me the good news. Maybe eighteen years old. Dimples and good posture.

I swung the door open, looked left and right really fast.

“Don’t you guys usually travel in pairs?” I gestured like the blond girl does on Wheel of Fortune, only instead of pointing at letters, I pointed at my living room.

“Come in.”

He started a speech he knew he’d never get to finish.

“We . . . uh, I . . . are visiting families on your block and we . . .”

“Yeah, you guys usually travel in pairs.” Another sweeping gesture, this time with a tiny high heel bobble.

He stepped inside, bobbling as much as me. Nervous.

It’s so much fun to be a girl—for the first ten minutes anyway.

“What’s your name?”I gave him a gentle shove toward the sofa, where we could sit together and he could tell me about Jesus while I drove him crazy.

“Jonathan.”

“Mine’s Rebecca.”Made up on the spot.

I let my hand rest on his leg. Close to the knee, nothing scandalous, except that he was a religious boy falling for another boy in a dress. He stopped breathing for a while and then made up for it so fast he almost fainted.

“Have you ever wondered if the world could be free of sin?” He talked fast; I was so cute he couldn’t stop himself.

I scooted, close enough to make him tremble. Breathed warm, toothpaste flavored air into his ear. Kissed him on the cheek.

“Well . . . There’s a Bible verse I’m supposed to read, but I can’t remember it.”

He looked like an asthma attack getting ready to happen. One noisy breath, then two, then:“Gottogorightnow!”

He speed-walked to the front door. No time for a parting prayer. Stopped after it was open. Stared at me. Frozen on the spot.

I gave him a finger wave. “Come back any time.”

He gave me a goofy grin. Then walked away backwards.

***

I force myself to smile at the soccer ball Da gave me while my so-called friends eat cake.

They sing Happy Birthday, ready to get this party finished; they all know something’s coming and they don’t want to be the first to notice.

Even I don’t know what’s coming, until the doorbell rings.

“I’ll get it.”Because everyone feels happier when I’m not in the room.

I open the door without looking through the peephole, protected by my boy disguise.

Jonathan says,“Hello.” Calm now, because he sees the unreal me.

“Is Rebecca here? I met her earlier today, and I really want to see her again.”

“Oh.” Now I’m the boy who can’t remember how to talk.

“She isn’t here right now, but she’ll be back.” I consult Rebecca silently.

“Tomorrow, I say.“Around four p.m.” After school. Before Mom and Da get home from work.

I hear Mom walking my way. Sounds made by the shoes I wore earlier today.

“Robbie, invite your friend in for cake.”

“Sorry mam.”Jonathan gives his watch a thoughtful look. “Got to go right now.”

“He just dropped by to say happy birthday,” I tell Mom, and Jonathan can’t object because he’s already gone.

“He seems nice,”Mom says.

“Very nice,” I tell her. A girl couldn’t ask for a nicer birthday wish.