Some stories start with a bang, but not this one. It’s the moment after an affair or a heist when the action is over, and someone’s left picking up the pieces. It was a cold Portland fall morning, and the rising sun painted a shimmer on Pioneer Courthouse Square. John sat on the brick step with his coffee from the area’s first Starbucks, contemplating what he would do now that he was single.
His kids weren’t allowed to talk to him, and now, he had no job; John should have felt awful, but a sense of freedom grew from his…
Jon came over the other day.
We sat on the sofa and watched YouTube.
Clips of shows and movies devoid of story
for four hours, a little like our lives.
Jon ordered pizza.
I had beer.
We ate on the floor from the box,
chewing with open mouths
to not burn our tender palates.
Oil dripped from our fingers
and cheese stuck in his beard.
After four hours of YouTube,
we fired up the PlayStation
for a friendly game of Call of Duty.
Pizza box on the floor
topped with a mountain of snowballs
drenched in olive oil and pizza sauce,
“Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
― T.S. Eliot
Sven woke to his alarm of gentle ocean waves. An unaffected Jen lay sleeping beside him, her arm folded over her forehead. He carefully lifted the covers and rolled out of bed. In the bathroom, he stood before the mirror, staring into his tired eyes.
“We have got to get out of here,” Sven in the mirror mouthed.
“Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.”
Jen hopped into the bathroom and pulled her toothbrush from behind the sink.
“The room was weird. It had green velvet…
The brown-green blades
of the Grama grass undulate
in the dry breeze,
and the only sound
is the distant soughing
of the trees.
The House, Southern antebellum,
protrudes from the dry earth,
but the hot, dry breeze
tells me I’m not in the Southeast,
far from it.
I’m somewhere old, unfamiliar, desiccated.
A light wind blows against an unseen gate,
creaking and knocking against its post,
and at a picnic table two women sit
angry, quietly spitting venom at one another.
Tight jaws, contorted mouths,
they exchange susurrus daggers,
hissing stings back and forth.
One woman takes her…
“I don’t know,” she said
cocking her head and crinkling her nose.
“I thought my heart was in it,
but it turns out it’s not,” she went on.
She reached over the bed and grabbed
her panties, then slid them over
her smooth, tan legs.
I poured another drink, watching
her as she stood and pulled a red,
one piece dress over her head.
She crawled back under the covers
and snuggled into me.
I tugged a cigarette from the pack,
lit it and placed it between her fingers.
She brought it to her lips, closed her eyes,
and took a long pull…
The big dogs know life changes one shoe at a time.
Afternoon in the foodcourt isn’t much different from morning or evening. Fluorescent light pours over cheap acrylic tables and chairs, and the smell of high-calorie, nutritionally empty food lingers heavy in the air like leaden smog.
He stood behind the counter plunging a stick into the juice — his red, white, and blue hat off center. He paused to rest his arms and excused the act by checking the clock at the till. It was two o’clock in the afternoon. A smattering of customers had congregated near the Panda…