I think the tainted, tepid consumerist thrusts of unhappy women intent on savings gave my soul a seeping rash
if not that then, men with gray hair and matte windbreakers in faded hunter green, crisp navy, or black with disapproving mustache families in layers, and layers, (cold from the bus?) buying desperate necessaries, in a tired, resignéd rush
one woman, at least, was very happy to pay more than $60 for a few pounds of formed plastic and polyester not happy, relieved, I guess the centerpiece of christmas, she called it
Why must the
mountain loom, in the window of her room? Fore and aft in all her thoughts?
tea and too much cream slid silken past pale, frowning lips and down her
scratching throat. Smooth synthetic fabric tickled the tops of her pink knees.
Samantha realized how much she shook. The teenage girl sat heavily on the
goldenrod folds of her unmade bed.
traced elegant curlicues between daisies and daffodils on her rayon robe. Plastic
vines and dim christmas lights hung in shallow waves, interconnecting the
multitude of smiling photographs and sun faded posters.
it stood, framed within her only window, that terrible cragged peak. Still
there it lay, the odd poem in her tangerine glittering dream journal, written
in crabbed script.
Colossus, north and west
patience, past, and rest.
Movement of fire,
slow. Breaking perception and scale.
Glacial, molten, motile, unchain’d.
Movement of fire,
ash and groaning stone.
Stone and glacial flame.
Todd she was going out for some exercise. Short green cotton shorts and a faded
gray sweatshirt quietly confirmed her lies.
mom if you’re gonna be late.”
did not follow her out the door. Sammie’s phone was under an orange towel, dead
on the bathroom counter anyway.
She did not
remember how she came to be there as she started up a steep dirt road, far from
home. Cold wind whipped across her long legs and stole the sweat from her brow.
Soon enough the angry fire of her ascent washed the dry winds’ discomfort
from Sammie’s surreal awareness.
The rest of
the trek became little more than unpleasant flashes:
mud on her lips and gritty water in her mouth.
stones slowly giving way to rust and black basalt.
the green punctuation of juniper, turning to leafless gray scrub oak.
at her hands as she climbed ever higher.
all intermingled with distant memories of Todd. Times he was drunk and they
He used to insist
she sit on his lap:
in her neck when she relented.
jittering in her ribs.
weight of his rough fingers lightly resting along her thighs.
A memory relived
of Dan stealing a kiss Sammie did not wish to give.
The slap of
Jenna’s fingers against her face in return.
The weeks of
lonely lunches thereafter.
squatted with feral strength on the volcano’s naked southern face. Her skin was
abraded and bleeding, blood becoming mud in the incessant scouring winds.
her aching bones, deep within the mountain’s ancient bowels, she felt slow
crushing movement. She knew the insistent joy of glacial flames.
futurity did see; the false town beneath her suffocated in caustic ash.
the brimstone caress of burning flesh. The dead-eyed smiles of cashiers choked
away in sudden black skies. Church steeples burning unseen, dry distilled and
rendered unto crumbling charcoal crosses. Fake laughter and undeserved
apologies dying on ten thousand lips…
laughed through clenched teeth and tears. Stones jittered underneath her
I wanted to imagine,
the lights flowing across these three faces in dark rooms held some
Chet on sporting forums, bold blues and lost yellow draping
languid against his skin. Ironic, this muddied against melanogenic responses to
Cindy’s pale grey face lit with thin white text against
black backgrounds. Distorted skeletons of poesy dance in teary eyes.
Across Carrol’s shining black eyebrows, green highlights flit.
Rapid green text evolves against a black background.
But, I mean, really?
A kaleidoscope of vacillating colors vary across their faces
and screens. Some come from the aesthetics of aquaintences, of strangers. Some
are broadly constructed to sell objects and ideas. Some are simply the misbent accidents