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so guess what, one day
I found a key (to a closet (in the church.))
and it was very dark and dusty
in there &
the ladder nailed to the wall was only wide
enough for
so, it’s lucky that
I’m skinny enough to wri-i-iggle my shoulders
up and through the hole in the
closet’s web-trailing ceiling.

I clambered up there and into this black
Plants were sprouting
up in big rills and clumps--
stalks thin as my finger and
pipes wider than my waist,
some fading up into the ceiling’s darkness...
others squatting low, and glaring up
at me with One. black. eye.
they were all deathly still.

the creaking boards, the black forest, the cramped path of unmarked dust that winds between the pipes, all that just
and with a hisssing hoarsse
and my heart just stops!!! BAM!


and i feel ****** into a dark mouth! i am caught and trapped by this black closet’s maw andI’mwaitingfor Godknowswhat tocomewrigglingfromthepipes-- ! --!
and then guess what?:

!b’URsting up its throat
is a SONG!
slowlyand Suddenly,
a blaring, screaming,
!EAgle of a chord
that s(oa)rs and c’RASHES into anotherand another one
all rising and falling,
champing at the bit until One Thousand hhums and shhivers
fill each pipe.

and it feels like
holding ten coins in a stack and making them jump-clink-clickity-HOP together--
oh, it feels like
pushing your fingertips into a bucket of cold paint
it feels like the moment after jumping off of a tall tree
it feels like un-rippling your braided hair with both hands
like a songbird’s claws curling about your finger,
like closing your eyes in a hot summer-sun
and falling asleep in a hammock

it feels like holding a blacksnake
that curls and struggles strong against your wrists,

that’s what this church ***** feels like.

I’m gonna **** the genius that started playing while I was in there.
I want to walk out
into the ocean’s gentle swells,
and feel God’s palm
cupped around me.

I want to step,
over the smooth, fluted stones,
and the whorled shells
of bright abalone,
to sink down
onto sundrenched
and close my eyes
to see my blood-red sun-lit lids
flicker and flash, as
shuddering net-designs
dance, threaded and lacy;
as they curl,
tangling across me.

I want to slide my fingers
through the slithering white sand--
the grains carved into
ivory ripples by the
currents’ deft hands.

oh, I want to lie
and close my eyes
and feel the soft lurch of each wave
jerking overhead, its
strong tug like a kite,
watch the shining fish
scything past above,
and let each dancing point of light
from their scales
scar my pale face.

Oh, there is a howling, starving dog
that circles on the shore,
he’s keened his frantic misery to the
deadpan moon
for so so long
that no one listens anymore--
they gave it up long ago
and just sprawl, licking the dunes;
they lie and swear the grit quenches their
aching thirst
until they choke on their sand-covered tongues
and die.

You see,
I want to see the moon rise,
quivering through
deep-water blackness;
listen to the dolphins’
ghostly shrieks and clacks,
and the whales’ deep, grieved noises.
I want to forget
the sound of human voices.

I long to close my eyes,
and never rise.

bright, irregular globes
flutter from my mouth
coruscating orbs
of prayer,
they shudder and
dart upwards

saltwater, salt tears,
ask Him if He hears
you gasping.
It was confused and dark, dark, so dark,
dark like when Charlie got drunk for the first time, came back, and stumbled-open the door long after Sam had screamed at everyone to leave her the f--- alone.  

And Jesse is standing there, swaying slightly with the beer and the pounding music, and Charlene feels her ribcage shiver with each bass beat.  The pale light oozing off the stage silvers Jesse’s angled face like water, soaks the black shapes around her, pools in each eye as the constant ripple and shudder of the crowd shifts her hips.  Somehow her thin, bare shoulders speak her excitement, and in the dim shuffle of the audience she’s half drunk and lovely.  “You know that calc test is tomorrow,” Charlene screams over the straight roar of chaos. “Don’t remind me! God!” Lovely Jesse laughs and her hand sketches a lazy gun that jerks at her head -- don’t remind me, God don’t don’t don’t --  and Charlene clenches her eyes shut and still that flashes, dark dark dark, her loose-jointed fingers flicking up, twitching in sickening unison with her mocking head, again again again-- don’t remind me, God,
don’t remindmegoddon’t remind megod god oh God,
Sam loved drinking herself sick, stumbling home with her arm ‘round Charlie’s neck, slurring alcohol love and despair to her ‘bes’ fren, besh’ roomate evr, Charlene a.k.a. Charlie.  And “a.k.a.” as Sam loved to call her, was always there to pick Sam up and clean Sam up and sober Sam the **** up.  And every stupid drunk party night that semester she told Charlie over and over again: ‘listen, a.k.a., here’s a funny story: a girl went to buy her mother aspirin cause her mother had a terrible ******* headache and she bought some from her dear second cousin Kurt the cashier who was a trublueblooded Eagle scout mama’s boy back from college, that sonofabitch and she came home, but her momma didn’t have that headache anymore and gave her a mostly delicious popsicle and it was red strawberry, the end.’  And every stupid drunk party night that semester Charlie watched and listened as Sam made up new stories about aspirin (always ending with popsicles).
See, Charlie was always there. Charlie never drank.  And Charlie, she always listened to the stupid f---ing drunk-strawberry-popsicle story.  And Charlie never gave a **** about Sam, did she? She sure didn’t, no, Charlie didn’t.  

“I’m gonna go find the bathroom” Charlie screams into Jesse’s ear and plunges out into the sea of dark shadows circling her.  The door struggles open, then she’s crushing it shut, crushing splinters into her palms, she’s bending over the counter, both hands white-pressed onto its imitation marble, choking down these sharp sparks of nausea bursting like fireworks inside, and the music’s faded out, its just the thud of that ******* drum that pulses over and over and over --god stop it-- fills the room, rattles the stalls, over and over and Charlie’s convinced its a heartbeat, its Sam’s heartbeat, thud thud thud, god its going on and on and pounding, OH GOD, charlie screams, IT STOPPED, no no no no SAM no SAM SAM SAM OH GOD it stopped no no GOD
next song. drum starts again. and the room is inside of the drum, it is the inside, the taut air’s quivering with each beat, taut ribcage quivering with each beat. Charlie is inside a drum. beat beat beat drumbeat heartbeat thud, thud, thud,
god I look awful, Charlie’s looking at her face in the dim vibrating mirror: blue shadows under her dull eyes, pale, dead-tired, dead-drunk, and so f---ing dead-alive,
she goes back to Jesse, wriggling through the black lumps: lovers making out, heavy spellbound listeners, uneasy loners, angry drunks, drunk as-- drunk as Charlie’s first drunk night.

Sam was so ****** that night and Charlie dragged her home to their dorm, sick of Sam’s tangy alcohol breath and her sagging, skinny weight on her shoulder. “I’m sick of your breath, Sam.” sick of it, god Sam, just stop it, wish that breath would go away, I mean,
it was blowing all over my cheek Sam, cause your **** beautiful face was lying on my neck-- that’s why I said that, I didn’t mean that, Sam.

And then you said ‘well, all right Charlie, I’ll tell you a funny story Charlie,’ and I said ‘oh god Sam, not again,’ and you said ‘no, its different this time’ and you said ‘one day there was a little girl who went to the store to buy aspirin for her mom and the cashier took her into the back of the store and hurt her and she came home and told her mom and her mom slapped her and told her to stop talking ***** and shut the **** up and then that little girl’s throat sure did ache, Charlie, even after a popsicle it did. And Charlie, Charlie, a.k.a. Charlene, sure did hate her breath. see, that’s my story and isn’t it a funny story...”
you drop your drunk roommate on the gritty hallway carpet, give her the key say
‘’bye Samantha", goodbye samgoodbye, bye bye Sam, "I’m going to go get drunk don’t be too much of a ***** while I’m gone.’

floormates told Charlie later that Sam screamed at everyone “hey, all you motherf---ers, leave me the f--- alone,” then laughed, slammed the door. and they did leave her alone.
Charlie came back *****-drunk, touched the doorknob and heard the shot, the door opens,
Sam’s falling and Charlie watches her beautiful, bony wrist flick back as she gets blood all over and ruins her face and Charlie sobers up really f---ing fast.  She always was good at that.
There's a note on the desk in Crayola washable marker (purple): "well, a.k.a., I guess I am being way too much of a ***** while you’re gone. you’re welcome. sorry for ******* it all up again as usual"
*Thanks for that Sam, thanks a lot Sam thanks thanks f--- you
I wanted to write a short story in a realistic voice other than mine, so here's a hard, obscene, despairing 20 yr. old?  Its pretty dark... not sure if I like it, but it was interesting and different to write.
He fumbles with the **** and clicks the door half-open,
blinking silently at us as we pile out of the van,
his owlish eyes peering.
He struggles to find words after so many long days--
good words for his grand-nephews,
words of strength for his grand-nieces--
and Chinese words stumble out.
He stands silent for seconds,
halted in the midst of a sentence,
searching for the English.

So we try to fill the still house with life and noise.
It is grey and large, with blank, staring windows and empty beds.
Our laughter does not echo well in its long hallways,
muted by the weightless, suspended air.

We eat at the kitchen table, and I watch him.
He seems so strong sitting there,
deceptively powerful,
corded arm muscles and heavily veined hands
and silver hair, carefully combed
in a wave that was dashing forty years ago.

Then he stirs,
stands and shuffles slowly to the sink.
The illusion of strength falls away.
He is a worn old man--
tired and sad.

Quietly I wait behind him as he washes his hands,
then pauses, confused,
wrinkled eyes
querulous and vague,
and slowly washes them again.
The rhythmic movements of his once sure fingers
rub in an unchanging pattern
from when he was young.

I remember many years ago,
--when I was even younger than now--
I remember him looking at me,
I remember seeing my dark and warped reflection in his wise, laughing eyes.
I thought surely he was the most dignified of men:
alive and slow and gentle,
quietly commanding respect,
his amiable face in permanent creases
from too much kind smiling.

Now those wrinkles have faded.
The faint lines no longer trace across his face,
and his house is quiet.

My great-uncle is alone.
with the countless photos of her.

They are fading slowly in the streaming sunlight--
If you could fly to the moon, I might follow.  Sailing through the clear darkness for an eternity, I’d reach the moon’s silvery craters and softly land. As I touched down, the powdery dust would eddy up from beneath my tensely arched feet in cloudy plumes --small billows of slow-motion, churning grey.  And in wild tangling curls, my hair would float above me, swirling in the empty blackness, full of stars glittering behind the strands.  
The moon is a cold bright landscape of black and white.  I would run through its pale light, floating slowly over the dusty craters in a clear, quivering, underwater-silence.  And when I reached that line, where smooth dusty darkness begins, and the silver light ends, and the shadow-line drifts from month to month, then I would stop.  I would stand on the dust -bare feet apart- drop back my head, bare my throat to the line that divides me down in half -light and dark, dark and light- daring you, earth and stars reflecting in my eyes.  If you reached, stepped towards me, I would watch you --an image, and a despair, and I’d slip into the moon-night.  You’d be alone, blaming me for my hatred.  Because when it becomes her habit, a girl flinches away, before wondering if, perhaps, that time it wasn’t necessary.
When the many
the ground

[copper autumn leaves]

I fear,
lest I am worth

[and forgotten]

I have
word: he never will,
it’s never enough

[for me]

my heart scorns
to believe
this sparrow

[you are mindful of her]
In God’s mind,
there was infinity.
a slowly whirling,
of terrifying bright night,
full of
flames that sprinted in ellipses,
and marbled floating globes with
golden belts of grit and sand
all this,
tethering His earth with their

In God’s mind, there was
a glassy-toothed plesiosaurus,
soaring through the

In God’s mind, there was
a rumply, wrinkly boulder of an elephant,
curling his corrugated trunk
shaking his curving tusks.

And in God’s mind there was His Child.
In God’s mind there were His children:
heads, feet, hearts,
muscles, nerves,
veins, eyes, and hands and mouths.
all these.

And once upon a time,
in God’s mind,
there was a
feathered thing.
light-***** and fragile,
with a pert, sassy **** to its head--
a daring rascal of a bird!
It had a thin, flat tail like a paintbrush,
that flicked and bobbed as though
held loose in
an artist’s indecisive fingers--
As for the feet, their scales were like a lizard’s
gray, scalloped ones,
fringing eight skinny claws--
such a small bird!
And the wings --He smiled--
the wings were the best part,
those bronzy-edged feathers,
as neatly lapping over each other
as shingles on a roof.

Ah, yes,
in God’s mind there was
a sparrow.
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