Posts tagged writing
Posts tagged writing
The hill dog followed at a distance, one trot forward for every two steps she herself took. She could see no raised hackles or snarl-borne teeth, only ears folded flat against its head. Despite the height of the snow, it loped with a practiced grace between the footprints she left behind her. Twice she turned and called to the hill dog only to have it bound back beyond the treeline, where it would remain until she started walking once more. Every hundred paces or so she dropped flakes of venison atop the drifts on either side of her, knowing that when she eventually doubled back on her path they would be gone.
She crossed over into the town and the hill dog did not follow, as she’d suspected. Instead of relief, a hungry bit of guilt nattled in her head. As if she’d let the hill dog down. As if the poor thing had seen in her the same breed of mistrust of the townfolk as it itself espoused. And, in stepping onto their shoveled roads, she revealed herself to be cut of the same cloth. Just another person. Just another disappointment.
Talos (or, Song For Cretan Sun God)
the writing process
Open to blank page. Pause for third mug of coffee. Close eyes and imagine a windswept lowland rolling down from the crags of snowcapped mountains. Open eyes on desk covered in bills and half-finished scribblings. Drown empty stomach in fourth coffee. Press forehead to window, the cold will tether you. Think of everything and nothing at all. Uncork the weight in your chest and wait for it to rise to the surface and sink deeper inside your murk. If it sinks, write a quick and oblique thematic quibbling—Can emptiness be filled?—that you will answer in the morning. Dab napkin at corners of mouth to soak up the bleeding.
There were weeds pushing up from out of the cracks in your sidewalk. Leafy fractals and clovered runners shouldering their way up out of layers of concrete and asphalt, reaching through the skin of man’s urban decay for just a chance to drink in the sunlight. They were survivors and you called them ugly as we returned from the store, lamenting how you could never find the time to properly commit to yardwork.
'Why won't you come outside today?' asked the threadbare man from his place on the porch.
'It's too heavy,' replied Adelaide on the opposite side of the threshold, tapping two fingers to her sternum. 'There's one final room, a solitary chamber left in my heart and it's filling up with seawater.' She tasted snow on her lips but couldn't feel the cold. 'I just want to be alone today.'
'I'd help you if you'd let me,' said the threadbare man.
'No, you wouldn't.'
'No. I wouldn't. But it sounds nice, doesn't it?'
Adelaide closed the door on him and laid back across the floorboards. She watched the perching birds in the wallpaper, waiting for one to finally hop free from its pattern and natter at her in its sparrowspeak. By the time she moved again, the light had changed and the threadbare man was gone to wherever ghosts go to pass their free time. She knew there was no tea left in her stores but she checked anyway, hoping for the smallest of miracles.
A man is not a man, Zeus’s father would intone when blind on bathtub gin, until he’s killed his pa. Not a real death, ya ken? Kill his spirit. Kill his livelihood. Cut him down to your size if ya want to get ahead. Which all stood to reason, for that was precisely how Pa had come to inherit the farm, the house, and that poor weeping willow standing like a lighthouse in a sea of barley. Pa was only a young man when he took Grandapa’s stone sickle and—slift!—took off his manhood in a single twist. No matter how hard he scrubbed, Pa could never remove the scrim of urethral blood from the sickle’s blade. And so it hung on the back of the barn, held aloft between two roofing nails drilled into the board, its handle smooth and gleaming from two generations of sweaty palms.
A couple people asked about the aforementioned ‘Faulkner-esque reimagining of Greek mythology’ I’m working on, which had its genesis here on Tumblr. For simplicity’s sake, I’m just reglobbing it. So read it if you want. Or don’t. It’s only the first episode, as such.
We pulled our argument onto the porch, away from the party, you barefoot and myself without a coat, both too distracted to pay the February night any mind. Instead of throwing them over the railing, you extinguished your cigarettes—three, consumed in an unbroken chain—in your beer. I didn’t smoke so much then and thought it a tragedy you’d choke a 312 in ash. And now the tragedy isn’t that I can’t remember the nature of the argument, only that you tipped the bottle over the ledge to shatter four stories below. A constellation of amber glass poking up out of the snow. I would have finished that, if you were done with it. It was all you had to say.
Wake up, teeth chattering. Fumble for lightswitch on wrong wall. Blood on porcelain, your crimson smile. Breakfast cocktail of coffee and ibuprofen. Same path—two lefts and a right—down to the waterfront. Check email. Check messages. Reply to none. Take the train and listen to the same dozen or so sad songs. You’ve left another sliver of yourself behind today. Another dinner from a box. You can’t recover it, nor the other parts you’ve shed over the years. It’s been years now, hasn’t it? Remember when it was only months? Only weeks? Only a first night in a new city where the streets didn’t make sense and you genuinely wanted to meet as many strangers as possible? Restart the same chapter in a book you bought so long ago, you can’t even remember how it started.
prelude no. 15 in d flat major (op. 28), frédéric chopin
The vinyl skips somewhere along the fifty-third measure, the pounding piano left irresolute. A low static hiss slinking from the gramophone horn. It’s been played too often and threatening to snap, like an old belt warped at the buckle. I’m still making dinner for two, as if that were your beckon home. It’s the last of the old habits. The dog eats the leftovers. He’s grown fat in your absence, a good boy who sleeps in front of the fire.