You float in a sea of fog. You grasp the substance, but it escapes the tight seams of your fist with a hiss and a whisper. It scolds and teases, but never simply is. It’s neither hot nor cold, heavy or light. It simply is.
You kick your legs and windmill your arms through the sea-fog. You travel, achingly slow. You see a school of fish; you stop and stare because they have wings. They splash into the distance and are gone. They had wings. Do you? You’re left with a drop on your nose, which falls and plunks into the distance below, echoing into dampened distance.
You try to look at yourself, but your body doesn’t work. It doesn’t want to bend. If you had wings, could you feel them? You don’t know and you forget to think of it.
You hear a sound, rippling through your eardrums and ripping through the sea-fog, leaving slow swirls and lazy spirals in its wake. It beats your chest cavity and claims your heartbeat with urgency. Many more follow. It wrenches on your body – like a jackhammer met a tornado and decided to... do something. Why can you hear that? You don’t know and you forget to think of it.
Wings and sounds – what a crazy sea-fog. You drift this way and that way, across empty wings that don’t have any fish, over rusted bicycles without seats, through rain with no water. How do you know if it’s rain? You don’t know and you forget to think of it.
An inhale tells you that the sea-fog wants to sleep and dream. The exhale tells you that it never can. It tastes like expression textured with tenets. It is slippery, sweet, and overrated - you want to do more than taste. You want to swallow and deconstruct the sea-fog between your teeth, breaking, grinding, until it slips down. Breathing turns labored and your lungs want to sleep and dream. But your wings keep you afloat.
Wait. Do I have wings?
It’s raining again.
Oh, there’s my bike.
Tall spires stand, a woman turns around. Anchored by metal points, ever expanding vertical stratterns.
Her scarf blows in the wind. I'm uncertain as to why this centers around her. Larks fly overhead, and my hand is held tight by passivity. "Don't leave me," is said.
Take this dream-world, fortune, and sink into oblivion. It will be a journey made by birdcall and coursed by a small nothing that happened long ago.
Her name starts with a J. But mostly I know the wind that knows her. She blew away in bubbles under a drowned blue vehicle.
He wore a black earring, and the pole in front of him. Held fast to the chrome as the earring held his ear. A hoop and a hand catching on to reality, tight. Pursed lips, ready. Bare stomach, slick. Hairline, in denial. Eyes, blue and scarred and charged with the spirits that come in bottles, asking to be taken out and taken down.
Colored lights against skin stretched over a light inside. Such determination to keep it on, keep it in, keep going.
Apparently, that night, Whitney Houston wanted to dance with somebody.
There was a wise owl named Darrell
Who sipped from many wine barrel
Fly he did try, but all efforts for nigh
‘Cause no matter how wise, there’s only so high
Owls can fly when the moon’s in their eye
I thought a little ditty
Called for it,
But being a cat
It said, “What is that?”
And continued to yawn
On the shelf
I found a chair
And I reeeeeached
But never could breach
The gap between ceiling and floor
I stared at my feet and
Thought, "well, guess sometimes words don't come when they're called."
One million decisions per day
To not crash into each other
Worn blue handles at the top of a slide
When are things no longer ready for play,
And does that happen to us?
Someone dug a hole in the sand
Little bits of their fingernails, invisible
In the darkness at the bottom
One hair is caught on a bolt
Does the owner miss what they never felt leave
Or do bits fall apart until we no longer have a whole, and wonder how that happened?
All the scratches on guide-rails
Clutched in fright
Or frightful folly and pretended risk
All the divots in the picnic table
Nicking, kicking, knick knacks not caring
An abandoned unicorn backpack sits underneath the leaves
Waiting for one decision
One with the spindle
Prick a finger
Sayings go and go and go
Alliteration will bend to the mouth
Of spoken word
One with measured rod
And golden antiquated grief
loves dilapidated hearts so cheap
All a number,
leave in silence
One with knife to cut and choose
She’s the tank of blood, beware
All who cross them, it isn’t fair
Holes in walls, carved and torn
Thin pallor of distrust mortifies these women with the future in their hands.
Will of a hollow ground.
They grind and shift against each other.
This ferrous, frayed substance is real.
It is what binds, is what breaks.
Languorous largesse, stupendous recipients. Silly, long words.
Why do glaciers carve out the inside of things?
Beauteous subjectivity glances off the sunny exuberance of time. Dive into modified nouns. Dive into immortality. Dive into an insistence of purpose. Dive across misery, oceans of it. Silvery perplexity is braided in hair of every colour.
Dancing bears with scissors.
I was my father’s daughter. He was not of the meat people, so neither was I. When I was young, he told me I had the strength of one hundred meat people and my mother’s speed. She was fast, a legend among her tribe. She was one of them. So, I was half. And then half again.
Because of this, I was never considered whole. Without words, reproduction was forbidden. My father had broken another unspoken rule with my mother, and while I was allowed to remain with my father, she was not, and was returned to her tribe. But I was an aberration.
So I wandered. From the small huts my tribe built, through the canyons full of snaking streams, across plains that bent and twisted, I wandered. I returned to fill my cornseed sack, and went out once more. I slept on dark, warm rocks - they cradled my bones and breathed me to sleep. Never more than a day’s travelfrom my tribe, although sometimes I wouldn’t return for six. I visited others, including the meat people.
I visited my mother, who knew me when I first slipped into her cave, unseen by her tribe. She weathered storms I could not, fed me when I was weak, and looked at me over fires, never speaking. Her wide forehead and flared nostrils were extreme compared to the faces of my people. But the unfamiliarity of her features only amplified the truth and purity of each expression. I never stayed more than one-half day; I always left a token of my appreciation. One night, a storm clawed the sky in white, and I smelled fire. After, I found a hard, clear swirl in the sand. I gave it to her. She kept it close, looking and touching.
You must stay. My father ordered afer I returned from a seven-day absence, my longest yet.
I have no purpose here.
Then you must run with us.
The smoke furled silently between us, unbroken by wind or breath.
I will not belong.
No. But you will do this, as my kin.
My father ran with seven others. The oldest man was our leader. He lived in the biggest hut, ate the most corn, and had the most children. I was one of other seven. The five were, just, others. I did not know their names, because I never needed them. They were men, two were young, one was the fastest in our tribe.
I knew why I was to run. Because I could not contribute with my body, I would sacrifice it. No female ran, for more unspoken reasons. With the length of my father and the breadth of my mother, I was suited to neither hut nor plain. I was a child of the canyons, the between.
Twenty days after the smoke furled between us, my father and I sat beside another fire, bigger and hotter. We were bathed and dried in mud. Our leader spoke and said words I didn’t hear. The other five sat across from me. The youngest stared. The flames danced, and I found their movements more interesting than his eyes.
Thum. Thum. Thum.
The drums pulsed in my chest. The others breathed faster. The drums stopped. Without words, we rose, turned our backs to the fire. I felt the mud crack on my skin. We ran into the night, and I fell behind quickly.
I couldn’t move, for fear of waking the darkness. So, I was silent, and then left my body behind, and ran with the sky.
She came in at 2pm every Tuesday and Friday, with silence. The women would stop, the men would stop, and they looked.
She didn't have a way about her. She didn't have it. She was brittle and rough and when she spoke, sand crunched underfoot. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t soothing. She wasn’t many things.
Her hands spoke. She ordered loaves and pastries with long, tapered fingers pointing to the menu. Oblong palms met each other while she waited for me to bag her purchases. I tried not to stare, but was caught by the opalescence of her nails, the smooth, dark skin of her knuckles. She gave me cash. I’d always noticed people’s hands. Their calluses, grip, and nail length tell me things. I’d never shaken hands with the woman, but I was unendingly curious for the story of her hand. I couldn’t just, you know, ask for her hand - wouldn’t that be strange?
The bell rang and she left the shop. The cold draft echoing her departure raised the hair on my arms. I sighed. Maybe next time. Wouldn’t that be strange?