Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Equilibrium of Things

On the third day, I watched it rain ears.

At first, it was one or two - hollow thuds on the shredded tire playground floor - but soon they fell harder, a downpour, sending children screaming into their mothers' minivans, chased by a heavenly volley of bloody hearing organs. My umbrella tore to pieces in an instant.

As the world burned around me, I picked a particularly fleshy specimen up from the ground and marveled at just how easy it is to upset the equilibrium of things.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the sprite

in the distance, a choir of angels sings, as
you watch the hunter's rifle come off his shoulder,
up -
(he's practiced at this)
his dog poised

feet set
barrel up to
eye level glasses
pushed out of the way
he takes aim and breathes and
caresses the trigger like the way you
touched me underneath my arm the last night we were

the angels have stopped singing

you watch the dog drag back a bloody pile of flesh
and robes
and wings

and you look at the hunter, who shoulders his rifle and
looks you in the eye and says,
with a shrug,

"gotta eat"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Guest Post 4 - Not Falling

At first, it wasn’t flying—it was more like not-falling.

He was walking down the steps when his foot stepped out into nothingness. He almost tripped, almost snatched his foot back, but instead, he took another step, tentatively, into the air. He stayed there, suspended over the concrete steps of his apartment building until slowly, he began to sink back down, landing softly on the pavement below.

It didn’t happen again that day, or that week even, although he waited for it, holding his breath every time he walked down a flight of stairs. When it did happen, suddenly, two weeks after the first time, he tried to move around. He floated to the roof of his building and landed, taking off again a minute later, completely in control.

And just like that, it became more than not-falling. It became flying, all on its own.

After that, he flew all the time. He flew to work, to the supermarket and back, to the library. The neighbors were startled at first, to be sure, but he lived in a small town, and people adjusted quickly. A few people tried to not-fall themselves, but just ended up with broken bones and scraped limbs. I’m sorry, he said. I don’t know why it’s just me. People were jealous, but he wasn’t selfish, and soon everyone realized how useful he could be, saving cats from trees, washing building windows. In fact, at the town fair, he took all the children flying with him. Just hold my hand tight, he said. Don’t fall, now.


It stopped as suddenly as it started.

One day, he was called to rescue a little boy from a tree, and when he got there, he just couldn’t leave the ground. He tried a couple of times, and then gave up. I don’t know, he said, and everyone was nice about it. Don’t worry, they said. Everyone has an off day.

It wasn’t just an off day, and, although he tried, he never flew again. Sometimes, walking down the stairs, he would not-fall, but it never lasted long, and after awhile, even that stopped too. The windows he had washed became dirty again, and the fire department became busy again, and as time went by, it became a fairy tale, told over and over again, sitting on the porch on a summer’s night.

Story By: Rachel
Photo By: Monica

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Guest Post 3 - Cold

It was cold out on the football field.

I didn’t think about how cold it was at the time. I didn’t brace myself against it. I didn’t pull my jacket close to me or rub my arms or try to warm myself up. I didn’t hold anything close, because that was wrong. Or maybe I just didn’t register that I was cold at the time and I’m being a drama queen now because it’s easy to find metaphors and symbolism and every other goddamn literary device imaginable when you’re looking at the past. The past is a novel, which I guess makes the present Twitter or something. But, back to the weather.

In one respect, it wasn’t the worst kind of cold. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the late-December freeze, piercing my skin and chapping my lips and drawing tears from the corners of my eyes with the slightest breeze. It wasn’t the first chill, the first time in months that the prospect of wearing only short sleeves and flip-flops seems unreasonable, sending a weird shiver into the air that you feel for days on end. It had been relatively warm, if not sunny, all day, and now it was just cold enough and my clothes were just light enough that the only thing that would warm me back up was going inside or another body pressed against mine. And that was pretty shitty timing.

I shut my eyes and let my fingers spread out on the grass, which was also cold or wet or something. Either way, it was seeping into me. Into my skin and my hair and my mind, the cold that wouldn’t go away. It had been cold for months and months then. I didn’t remember much besides freezing after everything that had happened. Unless you count the snow, and that was only because I fell in it. It was cold, and it was dark, but the soft lights from inside the school and the floodlights from the parking lot shone just bright enough to blot out the stars. The school was full of people I knew and people who cared about me, people who would notice my absence and come looking for me once they realized that I had turned off my phone and run away twenty minutes after paying five dollars in quarters to get in. I should have gone back in. I should have never left in the first place. But the one person sitting at our table who would never care again had driven me away, and hell if I was coming back. I was going to lie down in the middle of that field on the grass, under the stars that I couldn’t see, in the cold that I couldn’t feel. And I was going to stay.

They found me after a little while and helped me up, looking like dark shadows with bright bulbs at their backs. They took me to the park as a sort of botched apology and let me take the blanket out of his car and wrap it around my shoulders.

I sat on the slide and looked up at the star-scarred sky until they found me again and took me home.

By: Ali

Monday, May 11, 2009

Guest Post 2 - Exceptions

It was an unspoken tradition that after every party during the summer we would all move out to the screened- in porch. The adults sat with their drinks, that they had been refilling since that afternoon. The kids ran out into the backyard to sneak a swim in the pool next door or catch the fireflies. It was calm and slow. These evenings were made of moments where that feeling creeps up on you and makes you think about where you are and what you are doing and how you will never forget this insignificant night. There will be a night like this a week from now and you will forget that one and the one after that, but you will never forget this one.

You won’t forget how your mom spent the whole day in the kitchen preparing a steak and then ended up making you go buy hamburger meat and hotdogs. Then one of the guests wrinkled their nose and the prospect of eating a hotdog and your mom put him in his place in less than a minute. You’ll remember why you are so glad you have your mom because you know she would do the same thing for you.

You won’t forget how nice the water felt as you and your sister and the boy next door sunk into the pool, hoping that the elderly couple that lived in the house would not wake up. There were races from each end of the pool to the other until you could not see. Then your sister got out because she was cold - it was just you and the boy from next door. While he was swimming, you could not stop thinking about how you have known him forever, but also how cute he has always been.

You won’t forget how the neighbor four houses down drank too much again and was telling stories that no one wanted to hear again. Her husband was trying to drink too much so that he could ignore the fact that everyone was staring about him. It did not work. Everyone was uncomfortable and he quietly shuffled her loose body down the steps of the porch and across the street.

You won’t forget how your aunt and cousin came to the party. She sat and talked to the other moms about her new stroller or something. As she talked with her fancy cocktail in hand her son struggled to open the door of the porch. He had been staring out of the screen for the past 20 minutes. His nose and cheek pressed up against the screen, giving him indents on his skin. All the little kids were running around with cans catching the fireflies. They were laughing and calling his name to come and join them, but he just stared. His mom told him no. You won’t forget how you showed him the hook that his mom had locked and how he reached up with his hands that barely knew what they were doing and pushed the hook out of its place. Then, with his head stuck staring at the open door, he grabbed the doorknob and pulled. His mom never noticed as he ran down the stone steps and into the yard. He did not look back at you and smile or say thank you. He just ran to go catch some fireflies.

That night when you were in bed listening to the parents clean up the kitchen, your hair was still wet from swimming, you had a jar of fireflies sitting on your nightstand, you had a plan to sneak into the pool tomorrow night with the boy next door and you thought to yourself that these are all the things that you will never forget but all the things that never mattered.

By: Meredith

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guest Post 1 - My Turn To Speak

It always happens like this. They have become the most important people in the world to me but they are strangers to whom I have nothing to say. Months of preparation and planning have been wasted and my only thought now is of escape, because soon it will be my turn to speak. I start to hope that perhaps I will have a heart attack, or a stroke, or be struck by lightning and then the ambulance will come and rush me out of the building, onto the street, to the hospital. Oh the sweet relief of being strapped to a gurney and hurried away! But that doesn’t happen and soon it will be my turn to speak.

It always happens like this. I force the panic aside; I know what I need to do. I need to forget myself and my fear and think about what I know and what I need these strangers to know, things that I need to tell them, things only I know. I start to get that good feeling: it's game day, it's time to play, it's time to get it together because I can, because I do, every time, always like this. It's my turn to speak and I know what I will say. I start, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…"

By: My Mother

P.S. Happy mother's day, mom.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


#3 in a series of 5. Collect them all!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

It Would Have Been Easy

Having recently been told that he smelled like fall, he contemplates the mysteries of life on the drive home from the hospital and ultimately decides that everything is just a matter of compromise, a matter of picking what is easy or what is hard or what is right or what is left, because it would have been easy to swerve out of the truck's way when it tipped over and it would have been easy to put up with the abuse for the two more years he had left to put up with it, but suddenly he turned right instead of left and the dawning comprehension on his stepdad's face didn't have time to change. He wonders what it would have been, though, if the truck had taken a half-second longer to crush the passenger side to dust; would it have been easy - the anger that seemed to come so readily, the lip curl he knew so well? Or would it have been what was hard, what was right, would it have been an apology, a tiny, redeeming glance of remorse, just for a moment.

He stops at the accident intersection.

He had never stayed at a hospital overnight before last night, his roommate was a girl a year younger than him, and it goes like this: she wakes up in the middle of the night whispering to him about how scared she is about the surgery she has tomorrow and telling him she hates how the hospital smells, it smells like age, she says, but not the good kind of age that books smell like - hospitals smells like the bad kind of age - and it would have been easy not to say anything, to pretend he was asleep, but instead he rolls over, he looks her in her amber eyes, slick with tears and shining in the sterile moonlight that filters through the blinds of the third floor room, and he tells her that she has nice eyes and that he has never heard anyone describe smell like that, and she chokes out a smile, so he asks her what he smells like, and she tells him she can't tell from so far away, and so he gets up and stands next to her bed, she grabs his hand, pulls him next to her, and buries her face in his shoulder.

She breathes.

She says he smells like fall.

The light changes.