art, fiction

Outside my Window 7:26 – 7:59 P.M.

hijben

A man is standing by the cars outside my window, smoking. He is not a man, really, younger. A boy. But he is wearing a suit like a man. I don’t think it is his car, it is nice. Something with an animal for an emblem. But then again, it is a nice suit.

Turns out it is his car. It seems he didn’t want to smoke in his nice car. He must be a man.

A boy in an orange shirt; bright orange. Oranger than orange, the orange of a blind, elderly fashionista. He is standing in front of the market across. There is no telling what he will look like when he is older. He is wearing glasses, his hair is a mess. One day, he will see, I won’t. Oh well, he went inside.

A woman pushes her daughter on a silly looking carriage. It is shaped like a bike, with a fat seat. She is eating ice cream, the little girl. The mom has a small boy in the other hand; jealous of his sister, probably. I would be.

A whole group. A messily clothed slog of meat walk by. A disturbing amount of floral shirts are among them, despite age. They’ve passed.

A woman in heels heads into the market. I can hear them click from here. I am on the second floor, across.

Two twenty-somethings and a girl in a gray dress stand outside the middle eastern restaurant beside the market. She is smoking, they aren’t. One of the men has his hair up in a bun. I don’t like that, I don’t know why.

The young man in the nice suit and nice car has been sitting a while outside. In the air-conditioning, most likely. It is a decent day. A woman just got in. I only just noticed his scarf, it is floral, too. They are driving away now. It his nice car with an animal emblem, like a leopard, but without spots. They are gone, off somewhere nice, I suppose.

A man walks with his girlfriend in one hand. Not his whole girlfriend, of course, just her hand. In the other he holds a skateboard. It is bright orange, but, at least he is wearing sunglasses.

A girl in an orange scarf passes with her friend. It is a sensible orange, more sluggish. She is talking with her hands outstretched, holding an invisible ball. I can only imagine.

An Asian looking an with blue streaks through his hair passes, drinking Gatorade. It is blue, too.

A man in lime green shoes, violent green, sour–a sour, sour green–he walks by. I can’t see the rest of hm.

A truck just went by. It was dirty, so dirty. The men in the front look dirty; in a good way, an almost-dangerous sort of way.

A woman, carrying her blanket walks by. The blanket is checkered. Black and orange; soft. Two boys, one bigger, one smaller, chase her on bikes. I don’t think she realizes the chase is on. She finds the right song.

A woman walks out of the market. I didn’t see her go in. She isn’t a woman–really, few are. She has a fat face. I wonder why that is all I can see, I hope she sees more.

A girl, maybe three, or four, just ran by, calling for something, or someone.

A man–I think it’s a man–walks by holding a painting. I can’t see the painting. His hair is frizz. He turns. It isn’t a man.

The man I buy coffee from in the morning walks on by. He has very long hair, messy. Off he goes, in the wrong direction of where I’d expect him to be.

The girl, the one who might be four, has found her mother. She is quiet now.

A younger man, a less well dressed one, stands across, he is on the phone. He looks like the boy in the orange shirt. It turns out he won’t be all that handsome after all.

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art, fiction

The Hung-Man’s Bottle Cap

She sat there, social as a dead butterfly, bending beer bottle caps in half.

“Why are you doing that?” I asked.

She paused, ruminated over the words “Miller High Life,” then responded.

“When I can’t do this anymore, I will hang myself.”

“What if you break your fingers?” I said, smirking.

“Then, it will be a loose knot,” she replied, without humor.

I laughed–tried to. I picked up a cap; gave it a squeeze.

“Ouch.” It dropped. We both looked at it, she looked up at me.

I frowned. “I’m not going to hang myself!”

She shrugged, looking rather disappointed.

 

 

Standard
fiction

Worship

I found her on the bed in what appeared to be my house.

I said, “What are you thinking about?”

She said, “Why don’t you ever buy new sheets?”

I would chase her around a conversation, but she never thought of me.

It turned out everyone lived in that same house.

I thought of her as a goddess, and believed that if the whole world worshipped her I wouldn’t mind.

In the end, it wasn’t even my bed.

And I did mind.

And it didn’t matter about it not being my bed. I was in trouble all the same.

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art, fiction

Tee-ball at a Picnic

I don’t know where we were
My brother and I
At a picnic maybe
There was a Hot-Girl
In tight pants
With holes in them
Her hair was short
She was smoking a cigarette
“Go talk to her”
My brother said
“She is out of my league”
I told him
He said
“A girl is only out of your league
if you believe she is out of your league”
It was simple
It was profound
It was inspiring
It was genius

It was
Wrong

She smelled like warm leather
and laughed like a hail storm on a flower patch

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art, fiction

all that remains is the smell of orange 

Untitled

art by geoff mcfetridge

She counts the chairs in our dining room, one, two, three, four, five, six. She points to each chair as if unconvinced, her brow furrowed in concern. She circles the dining table and counts the chairs again and again. One, two, three, four, five, six. I lose track of her revolutions. My leg begins to cramp, where I sit on the staircase, crouched in the shadows. I feel cold. It is later than I thought. But she is almost done. She touches the backrest of each chair. She grows weary now. When she collapses in a chair, I will bring her tea. She will take it and I will wonder as I always have if she ever thinks about where the tea comes from

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art, fiction

Wrinkles in Time

I started teaching A Wrinkle in Time to one of my students. I thought it would be appropriate for his level since I’d never read it.

Around half way through the first chapter, he stops me.

“High school?” he asks.

I nod. I point at him. “Elementary school,” I say. “Then, Middle school,” I continue, laying my hand flat and rising it a little.

“And University?” he asks.

“After high school.”

He nods. I smile. I ladder my hands as I repeat.

“Elementary, Middle school, high school, then, university.”

“Ah,” he says, he mimics my motions.

“Elementary school, Middle School, High School, then, work?”

I nod.

“Then,” he screws up his face, “death?”

He drags his finger across his throat and his tongue falls out of his mouth. His head falls to his chest. He tries not to smile.

“I suppose so,” I say. He laughs, I laugh.

He makes the dead motion again, killing the joke.

“Well, you know, there is retirement,” I say, awkwardly.

He frowns, “like, before death?”

I nod.

“Like my grandma?”

I shrug, “Probably.”

He looks thoughtful for a moment.

“She’s dying,” he decides, looking sad.

“Oh,” I try to look empathetic, “sorry.”

He nods his head.

“But, so, yeah, that’s what high school is,” I say. “Should we continue?”

He nods, picking up the book, and continuing to read.

 

 

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fiction

How Did You Sleep?

There’s a car down the street with a guy in it been there a long time. Guy been in there a long time, long as the car, far as I know, I didn’t check on him every hour.

Wife said she’d be home by three. I said you’ll be home late and she laughed about that and didn’t say anything else and we had some bread and cheese.

I been asleep since then, had a dream about that man in the car and he came over and terrorized my wife. I was angry and I told him to hit the road. Hit the road, I told him, just like that and he laughed and sang a song about well I can’t remember.

Me I wasn’t even scared of him in the dream but my wife was screaming about it and throwing things at him. She picked dumb things to throw at him. She threw a glass jar of sugar at him and spread all over the floor, the floor was all sticky and dangerous.

Been there a long time, that car with the sleeping man, though and if you ask me the man in there is dead. I walked by yesterday afternoon, was buying a bag of coffee because my wife said we needed to save money and stop going out for coffee all the time and I said to hell with that I’d rather die what was the point of working if you couldn’t even afford to go out for coffee but she was listening to some program on the radio about financial what’s-it and anyways the man in there looked dead and cold.

I figured they’d move the car, some tow truck would come or something, I don’t know, police or put a boot on that car at least but you know maybe if the guy is in there it’s ok to park for that long. But I wonder if anyone else is noticing how long that guy has been in there and if he’s not getting in and out and if after all he’s dead. My wife said to stop worrying about it said she didn’t even see that car there earlier, and anyway she said the guy was breathing and I said to her how can you tell? She said she saw him breathing but she wasn’t looking at him she was checking her email or her instagram I don’t know.

Sometime I feel bad in the afternoon and anyway every morning I don’t know what to say over breakfast. We usually eat different things. I don’t eat anything usually just drink some water and clear my throat a lot. Not that I don’t like silence.

I think that man knew he was going to die and he just pulled there in front of that dollar store. Probably thought someone would help him or I don’t know, probably not. Anyway I was thinking about calling the police but what would I say. My wife said that was a stupid idea. She’s right, anyway, I’m not any good in those situations.

If I could do anything I would help that guy, sure. But I guess I’ll be eating breakfast alone soon enough, too, and maybe whenever he’s gone from there if he goes maybe when I go to the dollar store once in a while I’ll think of him.

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