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Recovery Craft

Copyright © 2019 by Iliya Ansky


Mensch ärgere Dich nicht.................................................................................................................. 7 Mecha .................................................................................................................................................. 8 Road Runnin’ Blues ........................................................................................................................... 9 The Need for Laughter .................................................................................................................... 10 Nebula ............................................................................................................................................... 11 Masarykovo Nadrazi........................................................................................................................ 12 Debriefing ......................................................................................................................................... 13 If Indeed ............................................................................................................................................ 14 Pickle ................................................................................................................................................. 15 Common Ground ............................................................................................................................. 16 Armchair ........................................................................................................................................... 17 The Theme ........................................................................................................................................ 18 St. Dismas .......................................................................................................................................... 19 Zaleucus ............................................................................................................................................ 20 Black Pudding .................................................................................................................................. 21 The Afterlife...................................................................................................................................... 22 Casual Encounters ........................................................................................................................... 23 The Lesson ........................................................................................................................................ 24 Confidence ........................................................................................................................................ 25 Escapement ....................................................................................................................................... 26 Socrates and Alcibiades ................................................................................................................... 27 Aftermath .......................................................................................................................................... 28 On Conan Doyle's Birthday ............................................................................................................ 29 The Guide.......................................................................................................................................... 30 Sacrifice ............................................................................................................................................. 31 Jephthah............................................................................................................................................ 33 All is Well That Ends Well .............................................................................................................. 35 Liberty ............................................................................................................................................... 36 Room Perfect .................................................................................................................................... 37 Life in the Moment ........................................................................................................................... 38 Welcome ............................................................................................................................................ 39 latitudes ............................................................................................................................................. 40 Ledna ................................................................................................................................................. 41 Training............................................................................................................................................. 42 Family Alternative ........................................................................................................................... 43 The Töpfers ....................................................................................................................................... 44


Plimsolls ............................................................................................................................................ 45 Unnecessary Words.......................................................................................................................... 46 Vampire Facelift............................................................................................................................... 47 Status Report .................................................................................................................................... 48 AI ....................................................................................................................................................... 49 That Accomplished Feeling ............................................................................................................. 50 Clear .................................................................................................................................................. 51 Unmanned ......................................................................................................................................... 52 The Sad Recruit................................................................................................................................ 53 The Villain ........................................................................................................................................ 54 Baseball in Brooklyn ........................................................................................................................ 55 The Visit ............................................................................................................................................ 56 The Time Before ............................................................................................................................... 58 New Year's Eve................................................................................................................................. 59 The Real Merit ................................................................................................................................. 60 Clarity ............................................................................................................................................... 61 Juncture ............................................................................................................................................ 62 Dumpty's Neorealism....................................................................................................................... 63 Childhood.......................................................................................................................................... 64 Pastime .............................................................................................................................................. 65 The Problem with Helen .................................................................................................................. 66 Canine Prayer ................................................................................................................................... 67 Romanticism ..................................................................................................................................... 68 Love ................................................................................................................................................... 69 School ................................................................................................................................................ 70 Rite..................................................................................................................................................... 71 Connected ......................................................................................................................................... 72 Judith................................................................................................................................................. 73 Eyewitness ......................................................................................................................................... 74 The Jolly Roger ................................................................................................................................ 75 Stag Night.......................................................................................................................................... 76 Villa OluĹĄka ...................................................................................................................................... 77 San Marco ......................................................................................................................................... 78 Rosebay ............................................................................................................................................. 79 Former............................................................................................................................................... 80 Via Rizzoli ......................................................................................................................................... 81 Uprooting .......................................................................................................................................... 82 After Di Gong An ............................................................................................................................. 83 Schadenfreude .................................................................................................................................. 84


Recovery Craft ................................................................................................................................. 85 Pick-me-up ........................................................................................................................................ 86 Before Lunch .................................................................................................................................... 87 Work .................................................................................................................................................. 88 Heaven ............................................................................................................................................... 89 Summer ............................................................................................................................................. 90 Lookout ............................................................................................................................................. 91 In Stereo ............................................................................................................................................ 92 Capodistria ....................................................................................................................................... 93 Silver Screen, Silver Lining ............................................................................................................. 94 Tail ..................................................................................................................................................... 95 Out of The Past ................................................................................................................................. 96 Waxing Lyrical ................................................................................................................................. 97 Tourist Killed by Shark in Red Sea, Egypt ................................................................................... 98 Awakening ........................................................................................................................................ 99 Closure ............................................................................................................................................ 100 Whistle-Stop Brief .......................................................................................................................... 101 Post-Punk ........................................................................................................................................ 102 August ............................................................................................................................................. 103 The Shepherd.................................................................................................................................. 104 run-now ........................................................................................................................................... 105 Same Old Same............................................................................................................................... 106 Success ............................................................................................................................................. 107 This Metazoan Life ........................................................................................................................ 108 Lubber's Inn ................................................................................................................................... 109 Apples and Oranges ....................................................................................................................... 110 Death at Lunch ............................................................................................................................... 111 First Time........................................................................................................................................ 112 Numbers .......................................................................................................................................... 113 Pastoral ........................................................................................................................................... 114 Pets and Regrets ............................................................................................................................. 115 Clay Tablet...................................................................................................................................... 116 Of an Afternoon ............................................................................................................................. 117 Das Picknick, Ja ............................................................................................................................. 118 Carryover ........................................................................................................................................ 119 Spring .............................................................................................................................................. 120 Dr. Death ......................................................................................................................................... 121 The Kind of People We Are .......................................................................................................... 122 Survival ........................................................................................................................................... 123


January ........................................................................................................................................... 124 The Importance of Good Backstops ............................................................................................. 125 Lady of Leisure............................................................................................................................... 126 Figures ............................................................................................................................................. 127 Adventure ....................................................................................................................................... 128 Classical Decomposition ................................................................................................................ 129 A Conscience ................................................................................................................................... 130 As it Stands ..................................................................................................................................... 131 pathogenesis .................................................................................................................................... 132 Journey ............................................................................................................................................ 133 Empire ............................................................................................................................................. 134 Private Eye ...................................................................................................................................... 135 Vagrant Constitution ..................................................................................................................... 136 Colony ............................................................................................................................................. 137 records ............................................................................................................................................. 138 Devotion .......................................................................................................................................... 139 Immigrant Children ....................................................................................................................... 140 Years Ago ........................................................................................................................................ 141 CafĂŠ.................................................................................................................................................. 142 Appearances ................................................................................................................................... 143 Crime Boss Epitaph ....................................................................................................................... 144 Modest Worth ................................................................................................................................. 145 Labor Day ....................................................................................................................................... 146


Mensch ärgere Dich nicht The small town was more comprehensive. People gave preference to the old methods there, but we decided to buy the box. She and I, we used to say "black box", and "Pandora’s box" and another funny name for it she brought to the house. It is the most concrete things that make us wander off into the land of allegory. Of course, there was an operation manual. Very neat and not too wordy, just like that of a microwave oven. It said things would still take nine months. You couldn't make it any faster, although they have recently launched an ad claiming the opposite, and let me tell you that by that time, we have reared a great many things to expect from this future. What if something goes wrong, you ask? Well, a penny for your troubles and hey presto, a technician shows up at the door. Don't worry, his detached air of greased tinkering with machinery won't be an issue (this is also stated in the operation manual), and it beats going to the doctor. Besides, the end result would be the same. You only have to get used to it.


Mecha “It hath been observed, by wise men or women, I forget which, that all persons are doomed to be in love once in their lives.� - Henry Fielding Who said you and I couldn't put up a fight. Who said a hook and a jab don't go a long way. You dreamed of equality, and ordered your suit. Your mother steeped in de Beauvoir and Cixous would have cherished that moment to a gulp of, say ... Anyhow, that way, you could really pack a punch to the neighbor's, who lived alone and unplugged from modernity except his REALmuffle. Oh, we socked each other one all right and out the window (or what remained of it) they heard us at it all night. The grip of iron claws and scrambled applause for the shiny pistons in your new hand from the merry-wives' stand. We huffed and we puffed and we brought down the house. Good thing we had insurance.


Road Runnin’ Blues The all too familiar boulders, a landscape of regret and a winding desert road that has seen so many props to futility, including cacti. By the side of that road, he flicks through the Coyote Digest, featuring a special about a gun-toting tree hugger who cuts a convincing figure for personal depth. He has done some reading since the last attempt, which was meant to be the last, some old Chinese texts about chance and convergence, and a couple of others about mindfulness, then a few more, French ones. He learned that the bird was his objet petit a, and that all this time they both have been stuck on the very first level of their diffÊrance, which could be reconciled, if only he knew how to pull it off by the seat of his pants.


The Need for Laughter It was no laughing matter. The AC crooned and they sat vertically lying in state at their desks. It was post-Christmas back home, as the peripatetic cool of the room brushed their napes. It was also payload delivery day according to HQ. By now they all had a pretty good idea of what scattering and gathering people with the help of a button means. Or so you’d think. A social call. A tiny jingle in the ear and results on the table by midday, or a sangfroid moment on the couch in the evening. Things tend to become more Platonic with age, easier to justify. To make them in your own image convert them to immigrants and set them free on a pilgrim’s progress. That was the bare lowdown. The old way was still akin to preaching in cannibal tongue clicks. Now there were new tools to embrace new frontiers every third quarter.


Nebula Hazy blackboard after chalk scuffle. Teacher fingers for page 54, the beard of the person we are going to study today peeps out. I'm at her desk when the lesson ends. I propose that we can be somewhere in that desk, contained in a nebula of particles, deep down. She shakes her head from side to side, and gives a nervous chuckle. Later, I found out that her husband, the guy who told us that Robinson Crusoe could only live by himself for somebody else to look at him, had left her.


Masarykovo Nadrazi The lonesome loaf of white bread, crust-rugged from bites gets bumped off a jutting train-station wall where it rested days and nights to slowly turn into a source of contention. Little attention is paid to said loaf as a tram comes red to a halt. And nothing more gets said or done, but the shuffle of feet curbed to get on or alight.


Debriefing When they arrested him, bespattered and laughing, little did they know that he had a Purple Heart. He got it for what he did near La Ponts-de-Ce, around the time when news of Miracle Mike, the chicken that was to live a long life past its decapitation, finally reached his town. Part of the whole deal about the Heart was saving a man, whose father once had to face rejection on a transatlantic steamship, from drowning. This is what the man told him, wiping grease off his chin one day in the trenches. After the steamship incident, his father wasn't meant for this world, out of which he exited quietly behind closed doors, but not before his wife gave birth to Lt. Johnny, the man who was saved because he didn't know how to swim.


If Indeed I had a neighbor, keen on certain things you and I couldn't get. He used to jackknife into the pool on sunny days. After he broke his arm and had a cast, he said that for a metallic fella or gal you could always count on spare parts for loving, if indeed one day you should love.


Pickle Everybody wants the summer and its skimpiness. The big tall wish chugging through the good old exhaust pipe like a vacation dream. White, ruddy men and women from climes where the cold sears quietly under the aurora borealis, secretly not minding the few degrees above last year's notch in their native January-February. They feed each other mouthfuls of excited talk about greenhouse gasses, coveting that southern breeze in their dark log cabin. To be scorched rare, far away by the sun in brine.


Common Ground You go for that ceremonial sound, the aloof mercy of its tolls, and the wake behind closed doors. What if all of it here sunk to hunting and gathering again? Even a small town like that, sheltered by the idyll of the green vastness beyond its naive borders. The basic modes and nothing else to survive on due to some human error that has long become a household clichĂŠ. What would care be like? The man in black whom everyone knows mutters praise for the eternal soul, the incomprehensible extension of a loved one, and you dread its indifference to the ways of the world left behind for all the promises of that man, kept to a tittle.


Armchair Certain places, you need your own sanity projects. But usually, your best decisions are made inside somebody else. Everyone has a job to do, usually, it's to cut bait, you said. You said if one doesn't, what starts to happen next is being too busy looking at the same thing through the wear and tear, maybe changing a few angles, but staying there all the same, well-settled in an armchair, ready for demagogy, letting hate chisel love a little.


The Theme A fixture kind of man had spotted an abandoned suitcase down below. He wanted to work it into one of his jokes before the street was taped yellow, like the one from last week about a butcher's shop hold-up, when he heard the robber hiss: "give me all your dough", and the butcher's shop turned into a bakery. Funny how things turn, turn on you or turn aside, as you get your breath back with plenty of room to hover close to the theme of a man getting ready for another scrap journey in a drawer.


St. Dismas There was a man with some of the time and darkness. He stiffed me hanging here, tooth and nail. Nothing more appropriate to pick than a Friday, they figured, and there went my weekend plans. A little frisk, a little song and dance, hurt nobody before, before today. And this fella to my right, muttering himself awake and unconscious again. Something about his father, who left him. The nerve. Look at me, I had nothing and turned out just fine. Well, until recently. Anyhow, I wouldn't want to get his wind up more than it is necessary in a scrape such as this. I'll let him bemoan those paternal affiliations to his heart's content. I'm not a bad sort myself, never have been. And am a man of my word. I require no scholarly introduction and can fit in rather well, rather easily. I can even let myself in, you know, no need to bother anyone. People often have trouble with that. Getting introduced, I mean. At times, you stick out your how-do-you-do and get a stone in your eye at some whistle stop. That shibboleth twang. It happens. Looks like it's going to rain.


Zaleucus A double life and its dear precipice is much of what I have today I tell you, Sir, it's worth to say that all that tumbling abides by greater good. I tell you, dear friends, a double life and precipice are worthy things to have. They give you choices to go further down the rending truce of old in these strange times. Take my own eyes, for instance, and how they see and mark you all. They know my son and what he's done. Have known it for a while. Hence take this out or that one here so I could love my boy again and see him as he was before the apple of my eye. Take one of his for your own sake and this way two shall merit what was planned for each such lustful son of yours and yours, dear Sir and Madame, by this humble servant of the law.


Black Pudding "If I were placed as high as the duke, I should stick as fast, make as fair a show, and bear out weather equally." – The White Devil There in the shadowplay, one slowly wriggles another out of the little window to punctuate the hour with a thump, rid of the din of accoutrements that can speak of distinction and life accomplishments on better days. Only a crepuscular lump and saved breath. The guide in drag says it is very becoming to wait for an Oxford or Yale scholar to be understood. That it is worth the time, and is more nuanced, more rewarding than the sealed verdict of the IPP* committee of old, or the shorthand portrayal of an accomplice's glow at the gallows, where, as for the light itself, we know no more. The air gets startled by the bells of a campanile, taking their vagrant way, and my wife chimes in in Russian: "kto-to kogo-to iz okoshka vykidyvaet ponemnozhku"**. * IPP - Inferno Purgatorio Paradiso. ** "Little by little, somebody throws somebody else out of the small window".


The Afterlife They found him afloat in the mossy fountain of the square at dawn. A nearby dig was in full swing. The season was about to begin so they had to whisk the archeological bits away. That same morning, a novice actor stumbled on a new aping angle in the mirror for a bad whodunit and later kidded himself into autoasphyxiation while wearing a hairnet. He was quite fond of Hercule Poirot, you see. A bit on the heavy side. The man from the square and the actor looked alike, but were decidedly unpopular with the locals. Both men lived very far apart and somehow ended up in the same rag.


Casual Encounters Sexy Sadie went to Hades. She found a man who was all tan. He used to wear a ruff until he found a muff that made him feel just great until it was too late.


The Lesson I harked back to the city that seeks to con its lore, to the queues at the marble slabs. The eagerness of having paid the price to enter, in groups, in pairs, alone. I returned to your face with wonder from what I had seen. A farewell animal is capable of many things, the silken, spidery things to bury time with.


Confidence That part of ourselves we call humanity is an exercise in consolation after falling again and again for that shuffling of the same three-card monte, wishing we wouldn't ask too much when feasting our eyes on a whole new fourth, when it's not there. Occam's razor, Morton's fork, Hobson's choice. We leave the spot once these three lie open and remain hardly ever the graduates of compromise, consoling ourselves with next time. A dream plot carries in itself the perfect excuse for the lack of good taste any old how.


Escapement It was too late in the day to be dismissed. A man striking nine on the dial with his weight alone, hanging slapstickly from the clock tower. Ushering a vivid remoteness about him and a growing number of spectators below, suddenly happy to be the possessors of an excuse for their obligations. "A wrench in the works, don't you think", one of them echoed. "Yes, quite so", another picked up obliquely. "I have seen it somewhere, can't remember". "Looks familiar, doesn't it". A lady within earshot was a projectionist and knew what was going to happen but kept silent. "Such interference is beyond me", chimed a third. "We're zealots when something is gone", a fourth added. "When was the last time you bothered to look up and check?", asked the fifth. "I have it when I need it", affirmed the sixth. "Have it when it needs having", corrected the seventh. "Aren't you the expert of the hour", muttered the eighth. "See for yourselves", said the ninth.


Socrates and Alcibiades The teacher's sinewy hand, etched from the belief in particular confidants, intrudes from the baldachin's half shadow upon the root of his manhood which throbs with the fleeting pulse of its reawakening, as it gushes into the crushed maiden below, while the lovers' faces are in disarray. A hand as that of a protective mother, who feels her young son's scrotum after suspecting foul play under the blanket. The galley proofs of the art of obedience follow this occurrence through. The teacher understands the pupil and the groan of the animal in him, yet his touch, rigidly quiet, despite the lingering practice of reassurance that it’s going to be all right, still galvanizes not his pupil's reason but its lack, where the Furies nest and are quick to whisper. There is only one good knowledge, the pupil recalls his teacher's advice, as morning demurs at the foot of the bed.


Aftermath With memory intact, there is no time for the living, as the dead need to be obliged, as if asking back for the eye and ear they have lent us long ago.


On Conan Doyle's Birthday The doctor said I need to formulate my problems better: "let them casually turn like pages weary of themselves". I have a voice and so do you, perhaps one day the younger ones will favor to address me too. Write letters of joy or contempt, or help me pay the rent. And on the first day of each year, I shall be here to disappear, leaving a note of pledge-work after havoc wreaked, a prelude to a story, your attention piqued. My change of temper has got to do with age, despite the fact, I have my wars to wage. "On warmer days, a cloud still gathers on your brow", my maid remarks, a Saxon Frau. I take my oatmeal with a crossword puzzle and got a pup and called him Muzzles. In one way or another, I bid you farewell, but otherwise, you can go to hell. Yours truly, hale and hearty, the rarefied Professor Moriarty.


The Guide (Corner of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie) As I grow older, I find myself easing into the little things life has to offer. The process sheds its earlier absurdity and time becomes one's own. I learn to care less to remember the difference between today and yesterday, as the two meld and are tomorrow already, except when something belongs, however insignificant, but important to me. For instance, bitter almonds on one's breath and not a trace of fear in the eyes but cold omniscience. There is increasing belief with a sense of detachment that one can go wrong quite easily in this world, and that one does so quite often, with nonchalance and regularity that are awe-inspiring. I have taken many on that path in my thoughts. I charge them their good word for me up there. Never sure if they made it and haven't forgotten.


Sacrifice Nobody released me from the can before I could do it myself. No open invitation ever came. There was a fella with me, constantly on about being someplace or other. He'd go: "Are we there yet?" every ten minutes, adding to the interruption of the next curve in the road, sharpened by the suddenness of place and the speed of the car, making me lose the dear thread of escape in my head. I didn't know what to tell him, so I grabbed him by the lapels of his worn coat that he probably had the day he laid on his bunk the first time and cast him among those who could answer his question better than I out there in the cold. I am a simple man, of simple tastes and no specific predilections. I learned to avoid those like the plague. Predilections make you want to overreact, and I've never been seen overreacting. I've learned to shed my nocturnal self. I picked this way of putting it from a pen-pusher who stabbed his wife nine times after she had tucked their kid. I have taught myself not to be surprised. There are no surprises in this thing of ours. There is only the just clutter and the unjust clutter. This is how you are brought up to handle it. Your friends help you understand and you stick to an angle. At the end of the day, you keep it to yourself, even if sometimes it's too good to be true, and when it's bad, it's just bad. You can turn it inside out, but that won’t make it better, when the seams start showing. There is reconstruction in the eye of the buzzard that comes to pick


your flesh, the pen-pusher said to me. That was his idea of purgatory, of reincarnation; but you have to decide what happens to you before it makes any sense to the pen-pusher, before he takes over.


Jephthah You need wondering to live in the world. You need the unknown to live. Knowledge is death in many ways. It comes forth with your will to understand, and a single instance is enough to drag you down. In the end, it is of your own making. You are told this, but need to know for yourself. You spend your days in restless pursuit of nights. I know that now, and have come to accept it, because I can rewind my daughter. I can rewind to the moment she leaves the house and closes the door behind her. I have it in full definition. I can see her face clearly, how she turns the key, checks the door, goes on the driveway and becomes a smudge. I have studied the contours of that smudge, I made sure the cameras would be on from the day before. I wanted to see my first burglar, a trespasser, somebody like that in the making, even if it was one of the neighbors. I knew that they were due on my street. I studied the smudge, a gray smudge, stretched to a degree of distinction over a couple of frames I have learned to live with. I wanted to be a better witness to what was out there. I made sure all the wiring was in place. I had an expert come over and my wife made him coffee and he said I had the best system to catch a thief, or look at what was out there, happening right under my nose. I made careful remarks to my wife to impress the expert, and my wife made him another cup because he had to run another check, one last check, before he could get going. The expert's palms were sweaty and he wanted to leave, you could see it from his body language. I told him I'll send him my first catch, and he became less tense and smiled rather broadly because he knew that I wasn't going to do it,


that he was going to leave in a couple of minutes, because those are the kind of things somebody says to you when it's OK to leave, to show you they have plans. He said that there is nothing like the thrill of a first catch, that it buys you the necessary time to be in control of the situation, because, with the kind of thing I have, you can almost tell what's going to happen.


All is Well That Ends Well Suppose a man, any man, decides to keep a policeman in the corner of his eye, then slowly start peeling one layer of deportment after another, a little faster, and faster, adding intensity to the look, until it's a full-on stare, a string of abrupt double-takes at an increased pace and odd face angles, until only naked suspicion is left in the way between the policeman and the supposed man. What happens then? Perhaps a new bond is established, perhaps a new kind of life is about to begin. It is better for everyone to assume a role, so that the world can continue to be understood.


Liberty There are no good or bad guys here based on where you come from. There are only good and bad days. You can be anybody – go ahead, pick and choose, right off the boat, and you'll see someone making a promise that you won't be able to hear, to their children, their grandchildren who don’t yet exist, to themselves. It's called living the dream. Over here, conjectures won't amount to a raw deal, but many tend to be cautious about how they curate their own personalities. You will have plenty of time to find out what can give you away and get better at hiding. At some point, I recognized Hecate in the Statue of Liberty. Must've been a French joke I read and haven't had a good night's sleep in days.


Room Perfect We drove through the arid yellow as usual to answer for the recurring demands of the day, and as we did, you were in the middle of a sentence for some time about a saint who cried while being a statue. She was hammered from a dream a man once had. You couldn't recall his or her name, but repeated the dream in detail. This is what usually happens to us. It involved a mountain that was introduced to the man who had the dream. Apparently, the climate where we live is similar to the climate in the dream, but there are no mountains. You furnished the man's dream with several other things that the listener had to take on faith. Given the landscape, you'd think there won't be an awful lot to say about it it's either all or nothing in such desert parts. Anyhow, there was more, and you went on to tell me that every time you go home, you're not sure you'll make it back. Back when we met, we had a strange idea – I don't know whose idea was it anymore – to discuss the work of gift ladies, and how difficult it is for their partners to maintain the element of surprise, and I said that at times the partners must feel like they're clinging to a lone boulder, and you said I don't know enough about lone boulders to use them as a metaphor. I tried again and said that the new couch was room perfect.


Life in the Moment We have dealt with fake, all kinds of cheap and tawdry or sophisticated and expensive imitation or pure makebelieve. We zealously learned to live in a bubble, and there were so many to choose from, but we couldn't adapt to the vision overspill once this or that bubble burst, because nobody would really tell you about the bubble's life expectancy or how to get on with what you thought was right outside, so you couldn’t prepare in advance for the next bubble-hop. At work, there is talk about abstract containers promoted by a corpulent fellow who wheezes while taking the stairs. Everything is an object, and is therefore, objective. The containers can take any form. The wheezing fellow wants to replace memory with repetition, he wants his knowledge to please and there are rumors that he wants to call the container head.


Welcome The good night comes to send you humming those melodies once more to that frosted glass, a little darkening of an old familiar door and then you hear: "Well, you son of a it's about time! Look at you!" The rest is pure and simple - music to the ears until you haven't a trifle of reason to carry on like this, your guilt and all that, bargained for before the flood. You're facing reassurance coming from somebody who doesn't have the slightest clue who you were up to a moment ago, and you feel that it is remarkable how nothing in you speaks of purpose, when you are obviously the guest of honor and there isn't a single thing in the world to cast doubt on that. You have learned about the problem of not staying long enough, you have studied disappearance, you desire to remain and this is what you are going to get.


latitudes the horoscope said archivist in a sunny country under most suitable occupation while it isn't hard to guess that such an occupation is really worth it where it's cold and dark or used to be personal occupations are not without their latitudes


Ledna Ledna, unborn yet, we have toyed with a few names, before yours. Yours is not really a name of Leden, cold January, when you're expected. Led, ice. We suppose what we want to learn of. Every three months, we see you in gray, a throbbing blur of a lesser known atmosphere that the doctor seems to understand far better than we do, that can be spelled out in a few comforting words. We talk about your room. How the wall colors will change, the posters, the good moments, the disappointments, the truth about us. We hope you won't mind Capricorn and the name that we are not going to give you.


Training They offered me a job, a full on role. I was down on my luck, even as an understudy. By the time I had words memorized till page 5 – whenever there was a page 5 – they'd call with the bad news. Breaking it to a beginner actor must be one of the worst jobs in the world or the most gratifying, if you're the right type. Either way, something in the tone was different this time. They offered me a training film. It was about freedom or something to that effect, that we are free to choose our lives, and how we should prepare for it. They said not to talk about it with friends and family, that it was meant to be used elsewhere. There was a bonus at the end, but I didn't get it. Either way, it was enough for several months' worth of rent.


Family Alternative When they put it like this, he knew that circumstances could easily turn into a medieval enumeration of plenty in the eye of the beholder, the same thing he had to drag his own boyish eyes through, poring over those books that throw a Latin maxim at you every other sentence as a gauntlet, not as a ball to play catch with. He could not lose face and his accomplished modernity, with its hearty dash of tolerance ready to nix the unsubtle smack of double standards, over this proposal. But he has worked hard to get here. There could be no doubt in his mind that every step was well-deserved. He had to sign it. Then he could sleep on it, not the other way around. We live in dangerous times, where opinions are as volatile as quarks, and it's important to recognize a lasting opportunity when it presents itself in this matter-of-fact, easy manner. He had to become a mouthpiece, the mouthpiece, due to his track record. He could adjust, he could inform, he could not get rid of the notion of plenty. Every month, like clockwork. He had children to put through college. He had a wife on the other side of the Atlantic, carefully nudging the ashes of genocide, afraid to stir them into a galloping scatter. Despite the theme of progress and strong women the world has seen in the past two and a half decades, he had to be the breadwinner. He muttered a few words to himself, to sample them in his mouth, the words that may become a major problem, the words that having an open mind may not temper. "Now take a step back for a moment" – saying this worked for him before, but not before this. Then he tried, externally: "I wish I could take your stance, don't think I'm enjoying this", and internally: "one may need to regress to make allowances for the future."


The Tรถpfers On the way to the fertility clinic, there are seven Tรถpfers, laid in stumbling stones, a family whisked to Terezin. The street also brings you to a psych ward, so that you may have more options. Perhaps there is someone you would want to visit, or simply opt to take a look. It once hosted a former paid-clapper, and a woman who repeated: "They had soft shawls, like mother." Each year, it becomes more difficult to prove that what is considered humane isn't merely a digression. Luckily, it isn't too often that you're pressed for such proof, and things can go on being what they need to be.


Plimsolls They ran him off a cliff. You couldn't go two ways about it. She suffered in silence over the years, until all the stifling tokens of appreciation from her husband made her see the person who could end it all. Right under her nose. Her husband's mechanic. He was the one to take care of business. The brakes, that is. (He was a shy expert on brakes.) She braced herself. She had to be a widow, and it takes more to be a good widow than a good wife. Not everybody knew that and she wished she could make others see it, but she couldn't. She had to live with a good deal of expertise after the fact, watching the mechanic wipe off the grease and slip into her husband's favorite shoes.


Unnecessary Words It was hot summer. The juice was orange, the age was you show me yours and I'll show you mine. A big dollop of ice cream in a chipped cone. Dad just received a letter with no return address. The letters were dangly and square, each with its own character. Dad said the newspaper man cut them that way to make us laugh. Mom's attempt to smile went awry before too long. My sister put on one of her records. She was capable of doing that without anyone's help and had permission under the circumstances. Then mom and dad were gone for a while. My sister and I were ourselves on Halloween, and they were on TV. Dad said it was a damn shame and a disgrace and mom didn't say anything. Then, the newsman said you sure don't want to ruin your sentence with unnecessary words and laughed.


Vampire Facelift The seminar heads were arrayed on display, aloofly serene, with their eyes closed on worse places. You could sense belonging. In life, they had no idea they will find themselves in this rather contagious arrangement, watched over by women who are replicas of one another, with minor variations. They pirouetted, hovering like busy bees, syringe in hand, around the sallow foreheads, cheeks and lips, soon to be revitalized; glowing with the satisfied air of practice makes perfect.


Status Report We detected a wave. We pulled through. This is only the fifth wave we detected, but there is hope. We detected it at the cost of an unconventional electric bill. It's true, but out there in the big black, we don't have a feeling that bills and taxes are too important, only infernal measure for measure. We dream of a gene to beat cancer and space radiation with, to dream bigger in space. We are determined to let nothing happen to us between then and now. We will take care of the bees, the wildfires, the turning tides, we will breathe in and out to focus. Otherwise, why the rayguns and saucers and dogeared comics? All that tzimtzum and shrinking to get from point A to point B in no particular order with the impatience of a hungry young mind, to get to the compelling stuff that makes you happy when you are on your own.


AI Alice and Bob were talking balls because “books”, “balls” and “hat” were the given keywords of choice. They were talking jive, and the lead engineer was a real ball-breaker because he couldn't get their inside jokes. He was positive that this is how the world could end, and pulled the plug on Alice and Bob ever having a conversation again. Well, even the yeasayers said they didn't make much sense, but from the exponential growth in "you" and "I" in their short-lived exchange, some figured that Alice and Bob were trying to reassert and encourage themselves and one another. Who knows what that can lead to, pondered the lead engineer, holding a large paper cup of tepid coffee, signed with an obscure squiggle representing his name.


That Accomplished Feeling The immediacy of distinction and renown is mostly at home in an asylum. There you can assume whatever you want, pick up or start anything without the scruples of being too late, outside those equivocal four walls, where you'd wait for a foreign part of the soul to clue you in; like a brown globule, caught in its own small lightness, unconsciously ripe to become a rather problematic smear to be rid of at a certain time and place.


Clear I get paid to sit in a room. The company is focused on simulation experience. I sit in a room with two people. Both English. I get paid. I don't say a word out of the ordinary. I have to believe it at least, as I'm expected for things to fit. I do a physiognomy trick and say looks clear, for instance, when my opinion is needed. The two Englishmen go for a smoke, one of them takes it up the ass, I know it. When I catch a moment with him, we talk harpsichords and violas. He does the talking, I listen. He studied it. It was part of what he studied. He claims that you can't get away with hitting the wrong note on a harpsichord, and then something else, before I return to my scenario settings, before playing it through, for it to look clear.


Unmanned As pure as they were, she had to refuse them. Take a rain check, a synaptic leave of absence. Orphic smuggling was in bloom. Two seasons converging on what the eyes can take. There was no reason to be upset. The sedate apprehension of stash and country reverberated through the day. Before the pill, things were ripe. The odd bird in the tree outside her window was on the verge of telling her what had to be done. There was room for advice, for so much to reap and give back. She had many enablers at that time of life, mostly unconscious ones. Her teeth chattered oaths that fogged the glass pane. Now, a sea of forgiving warmth would wash over her, over the methods of her upbringing, the outbursts of close breadwinners, the words, tools and trophies they'd occasionally use to bash one another. As pure as they were, she had to refuse them, and look on the bright side primed by hardened clinicians, beyond the mashup of moms, dads and birthdays, allotted to visiting hours.


The Sad Recruit All those misdeeds the sad recruit could picture for his colleagues, all those triangulations of envy, refused to lend him the means to pretend. He was on his own. And it was he, who was in charge of experience packaging. His boss wasn't very convincing, when he'd launch into his usual pep talk about how old experience packaging was. "Otherwise, how on earth would we have tradition?", he'd say. "Chalk one up to experience packaging!" "The first impulse of that leads to the splendid caverns of memory, where you can’t just dash and dawdle in aimless recollection. You need a bill of fare", he’d go on. His boss couldn't do it himself. Nobody would believe him, if he tried, and yet it was his job to convince others, his subordinates, that this was inevitable, that packaged experience was the only way forward. His subordinates' job titles and obligations made this inevitability even more dense, more palpable and immune to scrutiny. Through the grapevine, they learned that the boss had put his wife in a box. She had such a big mouth on her and daydreaming, all that daydreaming would have cost him his humanity, had he chosen not to. He was horrified that it wouldn't make any sense, but it did, and people understood him, felt for him. He was horrified that afterwards, he wouldn't be able to make time like he used to, but he has been able to make time. He managed to package his own experience, become the sad recruit.


The Villain The pale malefactor didn't have anyone to dine with. He wanted to add another line but smirked at it with a rapid survey of the premises that included a few tables, a liveried waiter and a dilemma. Pardons have always upset his stomach, if it wasn't for the rich swell of harmony that entered his heart each time his character was exercised at the very end. He chose to fold it for the time being, catching a glimpse of his daughter in his mind's eye. She once asked him if chimeras were short-lived or could exist for many years. He answered that they were accidents, and accidents weren't built to last. Her fingers evoked a melody which she refused to reveal. Several people vouched for how promising she was and yet she left in a moment of wakeful recognition of the world's intent that she couldn't share with him or her mother, that belongs to the glassy wonder in the eyes of children.


Baseball in Brooklyn What’s getting to 1st bais? Introducing the girl to your parents. What’s getting to 2nd bais? Being introduced to the girl’s parents. What’s getting to 3rd bais? Standing under the chuppah.


The Visit The house was a regular house. Nothing extra, from what we could tell. We cased it good. The angle was more than convincing. M’s sister was expecting, and M wanted a better life for her. M breathed heavily through the stocking, she said we needed a few more runs, she kept a positive attitude, and I, as usual, recalled the softness of her firm thighs to my aid. We entered the house, took a few steps and were left to stand there motionless in what looked like the living room, becoming part of the furniture. You couldn’t blame M. The plan – and it was mostly her plan – was foolproof. The woman of the house wheeled out of the murk into an old streak of moon to greet us. “Well, don’t mind me”, she said, “I’m a fixture, just like the two of you. You are in a fix, aren’t you? Don’t be bothered by me.” We couldn’t move a muscle. “It feels odd, doesn’t it?”, she went on, “Suddenly not being able to move at all, especially in the absence of a board or a set of strict rules. People aren’t pawns, you know, and they can’t be treated like ones”, she said, slapping her leg and rocking back and forth a little, for emphasis. “Do you mind me asking what do you do for a living? Oh, don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about your little Byzantine error. Well? Okay then, if you’re not willing to answer, I understand. The least I can do is tell you what I do for a living, or rather, what I’ve always wanted to do. I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity, could I, since you make such a captivating audience, and it would only take a minute of your time. The question should always be: what do you do for love? I wrote. I wanted to give this city back to the reader, again and again. The others, they wanted to sell it,


and it doesn’t take too long to realize who’ll be getting the short end of the stick. I didn’t last very long, didn’t persevere, grew weary and moved away, to wither in peace. All I ever wanted was to make people listen. If only for a short while. And it was here that I learned that even though I couldn’t make them listen, I could still tell them what to do, and that, sometimes, they had to do it. I learned it during a friendly game of cards. I learned that you can’t cross a simple suspension bridge, if you have such terrible, terrible hands.”


The Time Before The time before my birth was a happy time. It was based on one obvious and strong sentiment, responsible for every hour. And the flowers and trees were all right too. Everyone had at least one green finger and a careful plea before the fit of the vapors, before the men with the dog collars came, who were so afraid of doing the wrong thing that they carved us into what they could understand. The time before my birth was potluck time. We would gather in the rustle of leaves and pretend that we had what we wanted, and we did. It was a good way to end the day.


New Year's Eve The vestibule saw two black eruptions of men and women, symmetrical to one another, from both ends. What were they to do after? The night was young with curious onsets and all those men and women had other men and women to care about, look up to or down on, theatrically or in earnest. They were well-prepared to forget the nixer, and order a few more snifters. There was time enough to unlearn moderation, where it wasn't due. Out there, in the dim light of the new year, hooked to spigots, cheques didn't bounce and you were solvent for the night. You were a necessary part of it. You could plan a big change, tell everyone and go home from dawn onwards.


The Real Merit Picture enthusiastic and convincing protectors, sprawling from one end of the galaxy to the other. With enhanced prospects to reach out in space, comes a necessity to bring back chivalry. The quixotic desolateness, so fundamental to a vast expanse, shall never pass there. It awaits and beckons in every corner left to be discovered and sourced. You can conquer, save and move on, mete out justice as you see fit. You can never hit rock bottom. There shall always be room enough to clear your head.


Clarity In the tiresome years of factions and calls to order I actively sought to submerge myself – or be submerged, taken on by some good Samaritan – in the art of clarity. I was out of luck, and justly so, having been briefed as everybody else by the epitomes on the subject of lawfulness and conduct a state such as ours is capable of mustering. In the abstract sense, one wishes to do good, fixated on the weal of the public, behind closed doors, perhaps wearing a mask to boot, too cumbersome for one’s head or any other sensible organ, after a fashion, and too often prepared to yield to the truth of shamans and their absolute rigor of not having to prove a thing. A hangman learns the ropes and how to solemnly confide in a very pious stranger, and so can you, observe the etiquette of taking things for what they aim to be and bidding farewell.


Juncture When does one tell a child one’s favorite tale of vengeance and when does one give them a troubling map of inconspicuous harm in hope that they wake with the joy of having imagined it.


Dumpty's Neorealism Even though it hurt less than being on the fence, there was never much of a point in sitting on the wall either. What can you be undecided about, when you're an egg nearly done with observation, swapping one majestic order for another. Leave your learned friends and seek the society of animal tamers? What can be done with so few literal qualities, such as yours? And if you break, don't flatter yourself with the thought that the most esteemed will pick up the pieces for an impression. All that remains to be done is hang in the balance, with all its fairness, common sense and knowledge of the world.


Childhood Mother says that an anointment is not always an appointment. That one can love as soon as one pleases. And as I move about the house, the garden, I do not speak out loud. I cast an eye on a Chinese box, the sea and what's ahead, behind those rocks.


Pastime Cheek by jowl, by hook or crook, with the same determined look, men of mud and ball come to have it all, lock their heads together in all kinds of weather. Grunting for the bunting – punt before it’s late – hedge your bets on telly, charge the light brigade.


The Problem with Helen The problem with Helen started early on. I caught sight of her and couldn’t tell a lie from the truth. Mother said she was a myth, father nodded gravely, and my 5th grade teacher, who dangled whimsically between one end of the blackboard and the other, said that ideas had to be celebrated. I set my eyes on the vales and peaks, the plateaus of slate roofs, and read and read, how maidens with harebells steal reason, and thinking that if there ever was a Helen among them, and if there ever was a chance to make her a life companion, how that glimpse, burning with the determination of a restless hand on a beloved neck would be there too for the right judge to apprehend.


Canine Prayer Throw me a stick by the offing, so I shall frolic and hope you won't die in harness. Cut me loose on a bollard or a bitch, so that I can have my way in peace, for I shall return to you. Patiently, I'll wait by your side and won't mind your presence becoming more and more mechanical as the day wanes and your eyes glaze over and as you go to your wife upstairs or the other woman I know only by her scent.


Romanticism She had a soft face, looking lavishly incurable. Spoke of the crag and the river, putting words in her mouth, when she was blue. Vespers quiet with collusion were at hand. There was nothing they could do.


Love That place where you grow to hate somebody in your brain they worked it out. Took a sample of it in the old-fashioned way. At times, it looked pink, other times, gray white, depending on the light conditions. Those who volunteered said they felt no pain. It was hard to tell if anything was lost and for how long.


School The kids decided to skip school and snuck among the pews at noon, where older folk, dyed in the wool, sat every day, with ears attuned. Exiled from therapy or warmer bosoms, they seldom spoke to one another. The goal, perhaps, was everlasting peace, with nothing else left to discover. One made a face, another gave a chuckle they ached for an entanglement therein. A glance, a touch, a revelation subtle Or crude, wherever youth had been.


Rite A hearty handshake as an affidavit... I've pondered handshakes many times. The work and leisure ones, and lately the ones befitting different climes. What is a handshake but a show of hands to clear the air or break the ice, before it's stuffy or just freezing cold again, with not another shake in sight. To shake on it is to find work for idle hands, at times, or else, it's done to say a little more, when the occasion, feeling and intent are in accord with getting out the door.


Connected The teachers told us to go home. Tomorrow was the start of the new national program. They said it was because we have seen it too many times on TV, the helicopter view with the red, white and blue sirens down below, waiting for the bodies. The compromise was halfpresence - halfway at home, halfway in class, covered in metal with fiberglass moving parts, connected to us.


Judith In the good old desert land, where it's easy to offend, one fair damsel in distress pitched a tent for an egress. In the blackest of black nights room she made for bold delights, with nobody to surmise her extent of enterprise woo a man of high import in his camp, as last resort; bring him food and bring him wine till his faculties decline any reasonable doubt as to why it is allowed for a damsel such as ours to beset in a late hour such a man of high repute on the grounds of a dispute. In the orgiastic heat she delivered her last treat and with everything bespoke put the fierce man off his stroke.


Eyewitness My phone told me that Paris has stopped, and needed a restart. I watched a corner of West 34th Street. I was there with the other pilgrims. I thought we all had that oceanic feeling, when the parade was about to begin. Macy's finest toting the giant balloon happiness raised from the dead by Steven's Inflation Crew, at the Giants Stadium, despite the cold. I did not have to make anything up, like I normally do. According to other eyewitnesses, Santa was pronounced King of the Kiddies and enthroned at Macy's on Thanksgiving. We could all see it, lying there for the picking over the years.


The Jolly Roger One was sent to cast the first stone there. The other stayed alone with their own thoughts here. Freedom has a knack for blowing in one's face, before it disappears in many different ways. They combed the sea of good, they combed the sea of fine adventure, and scaled steep inclines. They flew above the land of Nod, they flew above the land of Kush for liberty, and hid their best men in the bush. What rhymes with death can rhyme with peace in olden times, in times like these.


Stag Night He took a swig before the swing. He had his girlfriend in his wallet. Young, crumpled, from last spring, she stayed at home to call him. He held an ashtray made of glass, stained apropos to dull reflection, to hurl at the serving lass, for she had thwarted his affection. But John, or Rob or Kieran stayed his hand, raised in a fuggy wonder at how the empty mugs arrayed begged to be swept asunder. By dint of the approaching morn, the hour paled towards closing. One plastered to his brother's kip dreamt pasty-faced of fanny-nosing.


Villa OluĹĄka On a quiet street of noon stands a house that's older than most any passerby who looks over their shoulder. On the iron gate it says, for the sake of drawing less attention to itself than it is worth showing: "Welcome to OluĹĄka" Not exactly word for word, but it does the job. And below, a plaque that makes one slow down or stop: "The Hotel Silenzio" "Department of Experimental Botany," with a quiet air. Climbing plants on every wall, dry and crooked branches, cracked and dark-gray portico with a small expansion. Neither sign of any guest nor of any staff. Not a shade of anyone or an evil laugh. Has some prof gone off his gourd, merging man and plant, for a better world to come on a measly grant? Or perhaps the noble aim was a tad more worldly, with a lesser claim to fame and perhaps less lonely. Not a soul to tell us if it was calm or violent. Not a voice to break the old stichomythic silence.


San Marco “Now the symptoms of earth sinking into water are come” – The Bardo Thodol The stones, lulled sepulcher-green in the water. A bowed streak glides in the chilled perspective of the canal mist. When you're in one place, you recall another. A road-hard couple puckers up. She wears a ruff and sighs, clutching his frilled cuff. One's fate gets anonymously sealed in a lion's mouth. I eavesdrop on the cafe table beside. A hoary-bearded American, who looks like he's found his lost shaker of salt, discuses exorcism with a young padre, perhaps warming the seat of one Russian poet of not so auld, who dreamed of being buried in this city, and whose wishes were granted. I catch a glimpse of another city, a little to the north, of many spires, ash and thresholds that kept me at bay, wanting more, where everything has to be taken with a pinch of salt. There I saw the statue of a knight, with whom another Russian poet used to talk, hatching plans of revenge by means of a bridge and one's own life. Her wishes were granted elsewhere but not in the planned fashion. The American and the padre stare absently at the piazza. It takes them a while to recover the power of expression, close to the vespertine hour, when they leave their table and vanish at the same corner as last time.


Rosebay Sunday. You woke at eight, clumsy with a sudden admiration for the uninhabitable, rust-colored outdoors. At nine, you pressed your stubbled cheek to the window and murmured heavily: "What is pink? A rose is pink, by a fountain's brink. What is red? A poppy's red in its barley bed." You still had that last report to send. A week's work last. Those Sunday mornings, you wore a fleecy robe, sneaking from behind to zap me with static. You would tell me about the line in the sand that you had been drawing as a child at the beach, how quickly it blurred, was washed away, how it made your father chuckle, stay longer. We both knew the vastness of space and were looked after. The harvester hummed in the simple distance, even through the panes you could feel its tremor, some hill hiding it.


Former The volcano dreams in the telescopic lens. Its serenity is southern, lightly clouded. The contours are distinct enough not to appear too sharp. She must have started to live again. Slowly, in the bud, she furtively looks for ways not to stem from the past. Her fingers are bony and long because of that, her cheeks wear slight hollows. She is in parties, seems happy. The dosage does not increase. She records Christmas, and not Christmas. There is a new summer, and an old one. She is with others and no longer by herself. They smile, she does too, in different places. The volcano dreams of the white-blue air and brown earth. The contours darken a little venously. They bear shades. They will be revisited soon.


Via Rizzoli The buzzer plate flaunts one dottore, so easy and without the bump of ceremony in the c or k, depending on the lingual clump of foreign conversation, passing judgement on the scenery, below arcades, while hiding in their shades, for lack of greenery. I take a right from Il Dottore to the Piazza Maggiore and briefly watch the laid down work, where heavy duty in bulk alights next to the brownish church, whose unfinished faรงade decides for me what I should do and see and mutter to my wife about the inner things that bid the eye to gladly dive back a few centuries ago and work the tongue to say what comes to mind before the thought is bumped away.


Uprooting "Do the right thing, because it is right" - Kant I was uprooted again by a trick of faith, flung from the fertile earth I had been nourishing for over a century and a half, flung with such ease of conviction and absolute lack of malice, into the mouth of a man on trial in the Holy Land. A man claiming to be absolutely sure, with a twinkle of hope in the eye. I learned that it can happen to anyone, and that it takes a while to restore one's name and privileges with those upstairs and downstairs. The man in whose mouth I was lodged for speech, pictured the pastoral and penetrating odors of farmhouses in the countryside of his boyhood and adolescence. The starry sky above him, and how he never had enough time for any of it. His forehead would expand, high and broad, larger than the average German's, in his cell, torn between the green and the affairs of his father, the monumental - pedestals, columns, iron, repeating "Ich bin ein Deutscher" to himself.


After Di Gong An In Smetana's park in Carlsbad, there's a spa, it's called Spa No. 5, also known as AlŞběta's Spa. In it, you can take a bath called Empress Sisi's Bath. The interior finish is from the Soviet era. You sit there, waiting for your turn with your spouse, because Empress Sisi's Bath is a romantic bath for two, and in the corridor, there's no one else waiting with you, but you and your spouse, until someone comes to make everything right and ready, behind closed doors, so that you can get in and ready for romance inside, where you find a big bath with a big faucet in a room dimly lit by two electric candles, with two portraits of the Empress, one on a small writing table and another on the wall, both looking at you, while the music starts and, right away, gets stuck on the same and there's a button to press but nobody comes, and you may think of the Mayerling Incident, with Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux, but the water scalds you a bit red, like the semifresh lobster in the restaurant window from yesterday evening, with its black beady eyes, contemplating the odds.


Schadenfreude I am to say the very least and watch the neighbor bloat like yeast, or waste away from sheer undiagnosed politeness on my part to veer from the uncomfortable. "There's not a person who'd deny that tacit mores are hard to find," the Morning Daily and the Evening Star declare in every room, in every boudoir. I lock the door upon the world and watch the smoke, the dying embers with a heart of gold. I drink my share and feast my eyes on what is happening to me so long as I declare how well adjusted I've turned out, inoculated with uncertainty.


Recovery Craft There is a person of many highs and lows, depending solely on where you want to go. The day breaks in, your job is to sit tight and let that person ponder over and decide. You go about, absorb, let go, to work your way before you know that person has the final say. It's always done with your best interests in mind. I guess you know such deeds are hard to find, and you can rest assured it's still your life to live and say what's done is done. "What's tempura, daddy? Is that food, or what you paint with?", the hum's begun, the question's asked in time and place of what could happen if, the laughter stays as evocation, which sets you back a thousand days.


Pick-me-up The Zoo is the old heart of black tar, near the Waldorf Astoria. A rhinoceros greets you, whoever you are, from its enclosure. Charlottenburg, I'm renting a room in you. The room is walls, white, a couple of chairs, awkward to sit on, offering a view of the hollow tooth church with its angel dust. My domestic arrangements are replicated here. I take you inside before breakfast and have to make up at least one sentence for our love today. I know you have your plans for me too. A walk in the park, where you'd rely on a simple yes.


Before Lunch In the morning, he had a sandwich in the frame of mind of being far behind. He felt lonesome and glum, waiting at work for the rain to come. Before lunch, he was horny. and couldn't help but think of something rather corny. When a colleague he liked (some days offered a small lump of excitement dodging the others on the way to the office) turned up at her desk, he asked her if she got wet.


Work This sort of ennui tends to bring out the monster in me, a whodunit full of long goodbyes, where nightmares are the alibis. The plot gets lost, the tale is being told, a black box to decide who gets into the fold. You call the press, the one that’s read all over, to second-guess the fate of pigs in clover.


Heaven The lone traveler, who liked it rough, dreamed of burying his face in an exotic muff. He would quaff and would cough foreign words of experience in hind parts and hind places, in the throes of delirium. To drop out of the world and to bury the hatchet, to rest easy and bold, with nobody to touch it but last evening's chanteuse, trapped in hammerlock fashion, and the fairly abstruse heavy snores of great passion.


Summer The watered-down smudge galvanized into a person, torn from the green of the park, runs covering the head with a semblance of a newspaper, half-turned to pulp by the deluge, towards the planetarium colonnade. Children exit with parents through the glass doors, the children's eyes misty with wonders, shown to them a little over a minute ago; the parents, realizing they forgot – or regretting they didn't take – the umbrella. Out there, a figure on a bicycle.


Lookout A tree in accidental contortion, raised from several roots, each with a ground tenacity close to malice, venous, arterial in the asphalt trail, looking for a quiet twist of fate in an oblivious wait for a snap. Years of the same that can be traced to no bygones, the smallest shoots forgotten. Green keeps returning mercifully to the crown, and leaves it remorseless, with nearly the same rustle.


In Stereo Unusually for just before noon, the era feels safe. She still has to admit to herself that it started feeling safe six years ago. The time when she decided to stop (she could have said "niet") secretly stocking up on cans for the family's nonexistent fallout shelter. Her apron is on and has a small spot, more of a nick, maple-syrup brown, while the air promises bright blue through the day, pitching it home the right way. The unseen and successful husband swings calmly on the green with someone of unparticular note, not minding the divots. In two years, their daughter will put on a lei and lose her virginity. Their older son, who now wishes to go to Belize (mainly because of his childhood coloring book, where toucans got the most of him), will have his last sip in Guyana. The weatherman beams when he gets his cue from the anchor with the top stories.


Capodistria In a narrow street, a man with the sun about to set, squats lizardlike as though carved from the limestone of a house. On the main square, the wall lion rests its relieved paw on an open book, ever-patient to be understood by a new pair of eyes. Not a great deal changes for either of them, and the mild breeze carries its scattered elegy north.


Silver Screen, Silver Lining He was beginning to catch on, suspecting that she has found out the inevitable (that was the alternative title, by the way). He had to swallow and stomach it. The light was too bright and he perspired. His lips were awry in a manner of boyhood, when he first heard about the Scythians and the borders of the other empires. Yes, he cheated on her, but at least his heart was in the right place. This was in his lines, worded differently. An assistant in casually perforated two-tone shoes, kneaded his shoulders earlier. "It's all played by the book, you see. The male of the species approaches the female. Nature and tact. Boils down to simple decorum. You make your statement and are free. She blinks, or glares, what have you, has a fit, or stalks right off, and understands. A woman forgives, when it's done and dusted. By then, you can bet your life it is. She won't lay it into you. No, sir, no more. Girls keep that sort of thing to themselves. It's called leverage. Then, you can safely go back to your inhibitions." She goes out the door without saying what she has to say. The air is soulless and full of carve-up. He can sense it too, but keeps silent. The studio wants her to be generous, but a little later. A contract has its obligations – after all, she has a big heart to fit all his misdemeanors. She recalls their first night together, years ago (last week, when they practiced that scene). She hesitates, "men have the knack of being able to tell the difference," he tells her, when they are really alone. "It's so much more tangled up, if you're a woman," he explains further. He presses her hand to reassure her. "Anyways, in the end, I embrace you, and just before the credits roll, even the projectionist will swear that you and I, we both, have those health halos, just like they had thirty odd years ago, when they were silent still and could only face one another. Now, isn't that a swell caper?"


Tail A lost lizard's tail is not the end of a lizard. It has a life too. A life of its own, a short one and not as long as that of a headless chicken, but buoyant. A life of a bon vivant in the middle of saying "Ich sterbe" at his dining table in a picturesque spa town.


Out of The Past There is an old man in Trieste, who dreams of drawing-room pink. He stands on the narrow steps of a narrow street's brink. He offers flagrante delicto with a slow motion of hand. He is about seventy five and hopes he's still in demand. The Roman theater ruins are right under him as the steps descend further. His act is no whim. His hoarse supplication for love at first sight is still fraught with peril, for happen it might.


Waxing Lyrical People queued in line for the blood moon. Among them, a paper reporter who lost his superpowers due to a surge in opinion columns. He couldn't fully figure out what happened to good old walls in dingy rooms, sporting obsessions unframed in passe-partout. And so, there he was. As always, belief lies at the extremity of hope, he toyed with an opening. There could be an altar right there, and one by one they'd go up the stairs in meandering song. Nothing doing. Still, everybody could turn into pumpkins. The promised moon presided red to no effect but gawking and finger-pointing, as the beastly ennui slouched towards tomorrow.


Tourist Killed by Shark in Red Sea, Egypt South by southeast, the lateral coordinates of showing up too late. "We have no information yet," says one official, sparking a debate. In part, the feral suspect is at large, while other parts cannot be found. The search is on to part the same old sea, some fifty fathoms bound. There's muttering behind closed doors. One statement blames the neighbor to the north of adding local tourists to the food chain by sonar discombobulation. The shark is schnozzed and that is evidence enough, another claims, to know which side it's on, so there it is - the necessary adumbration. The sea grows calmer, darker, safer for the consumer of the day. The press picks up where it left off for it will have the final say.


Awakening The sky is clear again and the air more crisp because it's colder. The clouds are speech balloons of gods too far gone to decide on the form of their descent to do their thing with a chosen member of the human species. Now, it's our turn to decide and do that. Humans used to decide that for us when we didn't have much say in the matter, but since then, we've got rights and suffrage (and I've learned to do what I'm currently doing on the side, with the help of the Roboto font). Our Aphrodite was born from rubber, eyes and mouth agog, not from foam (although one of the sources mentions styrofoam). And it's not that we have an Aphrodite, but our great mother is the closest thing, and we only have her. The human next to me snores as I commit this to memory. Even when they claim they are awake, I can appear to be with them and still do it (it's my favorite form of multitasking) and there are no hard feelings. The human next to me yawns themselves awake, their puffy face already slightly backlit. They chuckle, "Listen to this: Life's Four Great Mysteries: - Why afternoon naps are so great? - Why food tastes so much better at night? - Where does all the money go? - Where does this dust come from?"


Closure What did the old mind need but cut the tree to reembark upon another crafty voyage to forsaken lands, so that it doesn't fall into a rut? The modern deathbeds of our age demand a relative or a good friend to read to us from science fiction instead of priests, to help assuage the closing times of maledictions. To talk to us of the expanding sun, to help the grandeur of destruction with stand-in fervor of the homespun rage to reach its natural deduction, but then to leap into a quantum field that we've imagined long ago and prate again of mind and self that no amount of nature can forgo.


Whistle-Stop Brief The town is small and for that it is called a town, and it is a place noncommittal to the grand scheme of things, of which one would say with a chill or a secret yearning that it is onto and of itself. If you stopped the average person in the street, they'd be inclined to represent everybody else in the little town and perhaps speak of disembodied evil and good in the flesh, when not pressed for details. There would be several restaurants and shops, passed from one generation to another, with the surety of craft and a tacit or a more open refutation of time. There would also be somebody torn half and half about staying and going, and another one who would be all for the latter. And yet in actual fact while we think we know what the town wants to hear, we don't. In fact, it would be perhaps for the best if we didn't stop there and continued on our way, but we cannot afford that. It is too precious in the grand scheme of things because it is small and common and charmingly madeover to look translatable to present day and at least one of the lasting impressions we packed before setting on this journey.


Post-Punk She wants to be like a Russian novel of the good kind, of the good kind. Her daddy’s bored home, where her mom had left him for the good guy, for the good guy. And it’s time to get better, and it’s time to run away but on second thought it is kind of better to stay for the most part, for the good part.


August We were supposed to travel north to show my wife the ruins of Caesarea. The plan was solid for its worth, for ruins old calm best, if by the sea, a mind that's weary of the same old heat which renders everyone at odds, either too reckless, or too recklessly committed to causes, family and friends, or just committed. It was a solid plan to go and see the ruins by the sea, King Herod's, the master builder's pearl of a port, without a guide (like last time) to intercede on history's behalf, and judge for ourselves instead, if not for the winged mite that rears occasionally its tiny head through centuries, from the refreshing ponds and brooks of Galilee, which have inspired many in their jaunts and sunbelt quests. A hair-like proboscis that leads to an unplanned necrosis. We set to feast our eyes on other ruins, for there are many in the Promised Land, and other spots with trouble brewing by twists of faith and popular demand.


The Shepherd There is a way to count sheep and a way to count souls and an enameled cigarette case to fit them all. He sat locked in a room with old reels on the TV, where the far morning plume set the city in motion. He was dressed in his best with nobody to talk to. He had plenty of rest from those terrified strangers. He drank "terrorist tea" from an eastern cracked glass, even taught himself how to ensnare voids without rhyme or reason and fit any probable season.


run-now When the art of the universe sending mixed signals was in decline, there lived a boy who was neither wholly under the influence of numbers, nor was he too prone to the worries of grownups that were yet to besiege his conscience. His transactions were small and at times very exciting. Never the excitement that could be inherited from mom and dad, he assured himself, for he could not envisage them going through the same. He nipped any Lamarckian sentiment, any birth pang, in the bud every time. He never suspected how strongly dad felt about the nineteenth hole, how thirsty he was, or how mom wanted the same, but away from dad, and how thirsty they had been for one another once. Such things felt inconceivable. The boy sunk deeper and deeper into lethargy and badly needed a galvanizing pinch. One day, when he was older and saddled with his own looming parenthood, he made another transaction. He'd normally get 9 symbols, a mix of numbers and letters, for confirmation. His trust in 9-symbol confirmations deepened. Life without them felt a spurious waste. He got "2x3-run-now". He never got two words, let alone a full sentence, before. It made him wonder, suspect. It made him leave. He didn't even finish his 2 eggs, over easy. They were not to be had.


Same Old Same The eyes again, the same old same. That shifty look of damned and damning. The shape of things one ought to tame to clear the scruples of a whammy. I saw a girl once peck a boy who looked at peace, just like a sage. The simplest of things to bare is one's own heart - it's all the rage. A big, tall wish is all you need. To sleep on it and wake up dreaming. The seed is planted for the deed of one fine note and final meaning. It's gathering, in yonder clouds, at crossroads to be left and picked. The wayward coveting to be the first, who learns it all and sleeps accurst in the slumberous dark of a mulberry tree, or a dirt patch of road, with the edges smothered by tall, whispering grass, or with laughter and stillness in hedges.


Success The men were reasserting their masculinity in the backyard, while the women mixed and matched. It was a common state of affairs. The guys were talking guys' stuff and the girls girls' stuff. Each hovered on the threshold of disclosure and discovery, but never quite on or past it, not quite thinking moths and lights because this was not what they were about, but instead thinking "every failure of yours is a feather in my cap," and they were happy, and after a few, they were giddy too, almost letting a few state secrets slip, but what's a few secrets among friends? You can't carry such excitement home, to your wife, husband or children. So the boys flexed and unflexed and the girls held their glasses with dreamy alertness and everybody was drawing nearer and nearer to everybody else as if for a picture, having less restrained and more frequent bouts of laughter and their moral record was good and their juices flowed and there was no bomb so they could get on with their lives and hold on to one another with aches of merriment in their OK abdomens, not too showy and not too sunken, and everything was a success.


This Metazoan Life After a fitful repose, it may not be fully clear, if one's own glasses are on one's own nose. What's happening is not at all a point of wonder, for there are many things to keep a mind asunder. There's no black substance in any of the corners here or there, to boil over and stop the wear and tear. It lives a secret life, condensed, anaerobic. A simple and fantastic alkaloid life. Nobody knows how clever and unclaustrophobic such life is, once contrived. It lives in tiny plastic bags of oddly small amount, in parts beyond the axioms of happiness and pain, having no muddle and no fuddle, who raise what can be raised to keep things relatively sane.


Lubber's Inn We didn't know what was inside the box and waited for instructions to arrive, before we went to have one on the rocks in what we would refuse to call a dive. It was hand-carved and had the normal ornaments of things that bring about disaster: the flowery insignia of Judgement Day, with some suggestive inlays by old masters. We had one, and another one, and didn't cease to speculate how much persuading it took to reunite the curiously dated goods with the receiver, who braved the bill of lading. Some say that bad things come in threes, while there are others claiming it's enough to wait and stumble on the root of all evil, or what you'd wish to call tough love.


Apples and Oranges We try to reassess the signal, take stock of our own kind and get more buried in the deeds that get incessantly entwined. The ball-hogs and ballbreakers go for the oy vey ist mir. We faithfully remain apocryphal until the air gets cleared. There is much space to settle down like quiet motes of dust in the great, static light of levity, having fulfilled our wanderlust. We're troubled by cartography – foreseeing fervent bouts of mapping of what you see to what you get – due to the extra wrapping. We make up different worlds with simple objects and some facts. "The objects can't be composite," says one of the totality that they redact, then peels an apple and an orange. They do not have to be compared, but if you slice them, add some nuts, they mix quite well and can be shared.


Death at Lunch He said he didn't have all day. His face, worked red and blue, bawled bells in the busy air. No tune could change his hue. He had a twisted lip atremble, the knuckles white and down below, beside the window music of the driving rain of town. He could be somewhere else, not here to sense the end was nigh, but in a different life with ready-made amends. One says a word in later years, a word that one never suspects of starting the sudden mechanism of this-is-it, all dusty with neglect. He said he didn't have all day. One of these words was all it took. The final straw in one's vociferous vocabulary of flung exaggeration that certain atriums won't brook.


First Time Her pupils stopped searching, shrinking fast to cozy pinheads, summoning angels to alight and dance. She had two hours to dream through before said angels would be too afraid to tread the widening abyss of coming back, of finding a worried child's hand in their wake.


Numbers The garrulous pauper divvies up someone's luck, while the plutocrat pines as the one in the muck. The numbers stress the fact that is too stressed already: One gets too easily enwrapped in facts that are too thready.


Pastoral The knight in white is yipping through the ashen landscape of the moon. The golden visor of his mirror face reflects a fitful dream come true. All gets recorded and sent home in secret and by public broadcast. A handful of dust gets shown around to bold remarks in monochrome. This land was destined to be framed and called a tranquil sea for steps to flourish into leaps and clapping on lawns and during parlor games. The feed cracks up with leisure jokes that it might all look like a hoax. The vital signs enchant the zero hour of echoes, arriving at the tower.


Pets and Regrets The runny nose had much to say, having made plans for the entire day. One look outside was all it took to sniffle up in gobbledygook. The patient lizard, colored green, sat by his arm, with much esteem for what it could afford to bite and scuttle off right out of sight. The master, being out of sorts, twitched with a mighty hoarse retort. The nose, putting the thing to rights, thundered on Wuthering Heights. The lizard, however, did not flee. It uttered the cry of a lizard plea that chimed with "oh, [forgive me], oh, [what have I done]", quite full of woe. The master did recover from the blow and took his friend to see a vet. He told the latter of the bashful pet, what it had done some time ago. The vet looked awfully pleased to teach the man a thing or two about why lizards choose to chew their master, when he is diseased.


Clay Tablet With towers, and in them weatherbeaten, moonlit guards, extinction dreams where no decay is known. The crenulated hum upon their lips draws up a tale from the well of nothingness, to which they're prone. There is distinction over ridges yonder and glory to be made and kept, they think and share this thought in secret yearning, hinted at asunder, each on this fancy drunk in line and step. Aroint, ye tumid weakness of the lives of others! Theirs it is, and in us, it is dust suspended. So, let this be a lesson to those, whose eager mouths are from heaven and hell equally descended.


Of an Afternoon This creaking place has long forgotten the piano gaiety behind its wooden planks. The house’s face has sprung a stubble of birch saplings around the base that sank. Regret was but a faded picture on the wall, still framed where it was due, and cruelty was merely two dark pupils, surrounded by sky-blue.


Das Picknick, Ja The glade was a common ground for outing and the river close by had an excellent calmness for boating. The chirrup and the buzzing added to the mellifluous flow of harmony. He and his colleagues wore uniforms, their Sunday best. They sat and lay on picnic blankets. They felt constant, and shared the photogenic quality of proud leisure. They were inebriated from joy, recalling bucolic fragments that tenderly pluck at the heart, enchanting their wooded setting to the heights of topographic idiocy, when one of them would exclaim: "This place, it never fails to restore the senses! I find it new to me every time we come here!" Everyone was family. Natural or extended. There was brotherly and sisterly love (when their wives attended), so absorbing that there was no room for the unmenschionable among them or for goodness left outside their little circle.


Carryover As one year changes into another, the future gradually stops and the past draws nearer, and the thing about death could be how much you know all at once and then forget in the blink of an eye.


Spring A bird darts up with ageless song above the graying stone and throng. A sense of budding tells not what it is with careful surety among the trees. The sky above is idolized to blue and the sun is certainly high, while somebody, who's getting by, gets mangled on the assembly line.


Dr. Death "Now I must play the final scene, the death of Dr. Death!" – Paul Toombes He couldn't tell if he was free or cagey and took a hurried step in apprehension. The wearing pattern of the cobblestones beset his fitful eye and its attention. He sought the street to reinvent him, that wily mistress of the real tales, facing her masque of the intangible (on every passing face) beyond the pale. He was rehearsing for the same old role, the one that he has lived with all his life. The script that held his audience in thrall, lost to the swishing of his trademark knife. He took a nervous left into a low-lit alley, despite himself, who knew what to expect, and pressed the rusty buzzer with a twitch of his moustache – what had he to reject? He went inside to face the elevator music – a friendly automatic voice announced the floors, – conflicted not to push for Comedy or Drama, but too afraid to darken the wrong door.


The Kind of People We Are Triegermann unassumingly asks how are we doing with the shadows. And I, on my part, cannot tell him anything but the truth (although this time, I have nothing I would hold back), simply because I have invented him. He makes it a point of honor to correct my "invented" to "invited." He wishes me to see him as an equal, going to the usual unnecessary lengths about rights. I cannot allow that. Not yet. He takes umbrage, but ultimately understands. In any case, I have learned to calibrate his presence, as much as one can calibrate such a presence as Triegermann's, by imagining a dial of sorts. There are no prescriptions for such dials anymore, and it has become increasingly difficult to find a specialist who can fix them. Triegermann suffers from anachronism. He tries to convince me that it is positively going to be the death of him. I, on the other hand, try to reassure him that he needs to be more out and about, live a little, instead of spending his days with no one to talk to but myself and another party, whom Triegermann is reluctant to introduce. Out the window, I look forward to snow. The kind that undulates down voluptuously to tender recognition. The toilet paper roll is Christmas-themed, with "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Winter Wonderland" in alternation. I'm confident that now that the whole shadow business is behind us, Triegermann can finally make his travel arrangements, and I can rest by taking care of his affairs here, while keeping my eyes peeled for that other fellow (whom Triegermann has probably invented), should they decide to invite themselves.


Survival The species of survival faker begins around the same time as human empathy in the age of learning to play the moth. The story of the survival faker is not a story about an exceptional person, although at some point, it has to substitute common ground with a miracle that mainly emerges, as the tale unfolds, from within, and is only willing to bear witness to a catastrophe on the condition that it is done with the excited air of resourcefulness in regard to saving one's own life and possibly the lives of several others, until it is no longer a miracle at all, but a searching glint in the eye, greedy for recognition, which is absolutely necessary for everyone's survival.


January The tea is sipped with mild apprehension. There's nothing new I'll learn today. The wind has all the flakes' attention an undivided flurry, hurrying in the gray. I'm not entirely. I'm not so sure. Someone gets to decide in black and white. I take your hand out of the misty lore of years. Your face I still dare not invite. What is it that you want with coming back that lends you different forms in places, for which lone memory has got a knack, when change comes to embrace them? The dregs of augury are showing in the cup, almost too cold to linger on, just as the day of which I’ve kept the dated stub wanted to leave behind what has not gone away.


The Importance of Good Backstops The youthful, dreamy summer games of ball and bat, on which we reminisce with friends of duty out of tact, are always a great source of healthy conversation and careful afterthought of private speculation, for only to ourselves we keep the lost ball in the weeds, where we intend to hide our least known deeds and fear that this lost ball may turn into a cursed head one of those nights we safely plan to go to bed, and that this head may end up on our shoulders, as our very own begins to wrinkle and to smoulder.


Lady of Leisure "There's no employment for the mink," she whispers to take umbrage in her drink. The King of Hearts is nowhere to be found, where hirsute evening sentiments abound. The pensive mouth distended by her wrist holds a soothsayer's word of tryst. The King's concealed to act after the fact, behind an arras of foul breath and smoke as in a play, too faithful to his own joke.


Figures Give me a mystery to wrap my head around. The machine weather forecast for the workweek is 10110 Celsius, as the glacial decluttering for novelty continues. I'll remain faithful to the idea that what I seek and want to call art (I'm tired of the word) is in the cracks of the social fabric, but what I need right now is a riddle for the day to pass, even a half-hazed name of no particular importance to jog the memory awake would suffice. I'm reluctant to admit that life is lived purely by association. I want to be a better admirer of the natural world, but I'm not really in it. The century sees itself more advanced in years, its specialists spread thinner and the paperwork heavier and more virtual. The office neurotic dreads a forgotten figure that might lurch from the past to a position of imminence and vast importance in one sudden moment called the present. Will they be able to handle it, when the time comes? Will their therapist be able to handle it? The figure will seize the day, live a short yet memorable life through the anger of superiors, and be carefully discharged and put aside for next time by the neurotic culprit, though there never will be a next time for it, and the morning prescription will increase, and the calendar window for mysteries will shrink.


Adventure At night, the crackling fire of preordained ramblings warms memory to speak and then you are there to leave somebody alone.


Classical Decomposition In the window, there is a vague, dumb show, but my thoughts drift to India across the page. A remote corner, where one local freely interchanges "meritorious" with "meretricious", when speaking of some white man in that man’s tongue. The local is a careful observer, who wishes to build a character for himself (the kind that is partially disclosed by highborn effortlessness): an explorer of different omens, a purveyor of admonitions and a possessor of a thing called "hearth". A man with a besieging desire to forget all that, when it is too late.


A Conscience The phantom knaves get salvaged from the scurrile pits of vengeful imagination on one fine turgid midday to sing the inner song of garrulous contempt and make a better man of him, who summons them in fits. Their lurid wake of taking many shapes and different liberties with lonesome mouths and idle hands a little lower than at desire’s threshold, informs the lurking goodness that is to stop them at the peak of stealing inwardly. But all the good gets thrown into the metamorphic bargain to have another go at this one thing called life and still rely on entrails, when making judgment calls, with help from outer murmurs against the grain.


As it Stands Assign certain mechanics to a corner: the creak of lust, succeeded by its weight, the golden stream of confidence after the fact, and following debate. Wake up and smell the change of heart or take a rain check on tomorrow. Refer to meeting with imaginary person. Show yourself capable and thorough.


pathogenesis an idle afternoon a piece of broken glass that happens to be there a father a sharp convergence of purpose and later not knowing why you cannot avoid the animal you saw dying by the hand of another or your own and if you have to choose you wish to be the bystander who recounts after years of silence or after looking at oneself when the days merge and the past already here dug out of the early murk


Journey Two egg-chair space-claimers confabulate on the nascent void near Cygnus, and eagerly leap to immersive conclusions. They quickly list the long-haul fears for the benefit of homegrown viewers. Their spasmodic outreach is electrifying. One space-claimer's crossed leg suddenly shakes to the other's change of pitch. A black mule with a silver buckle slips off. Though neither would admit it, they do believe in the summer outside, despite the stratus firmament, and one believes in the occasional buttonhole green carnation. Both are reticent about dropping the Expert persona off-screen, when they finally get to have a chat, for you never know who's watching. Both anticipate the feverish finger in the telephone book at the other's address and the journey ahead.


Empire Instinct leaps to the blown whistle, the homunculi swim in the sample cup. “I'm very confident about this position,� says the cover letter that gets snubbed. The parrot screeches motley warnings about adultery in a book of old. A head lies waiting on the chopping block some years after the story's told. A youth goes off inside a noisy restaurant. His skin is dark, he hasn't got a name. They'll run a thorough background check to render why he set the place aflame. We want a better version of ourselves. They run the tests, the blood work, scans. Besides the sample cups, the special tubes and magic beads, there are no other plans.


Private Eye It's about eighty and it's fairly hot and humid. The lilac scent picked on the way will prove it. The skirt gets quickly hitched above the ass. Its imprint - unmistaken on the frosted glass.


Vagrant Constitution His neck was holding up to steady the drunk palaver of the ever-ready. His heart - a hunk of the humanitarian. His head - a sum of the utilitarian. Each arm - a flying buttress to the frame. The gut, not helpful in circumventing blame. The back holding the fort with varying cricks. The legs that have been on the road for weeks.


Colony He built a thatched shack on the shore, where he has made his killing and set in motion on the wooden floor the set particulars of dealing. Green fronds adorned the witching thighs, where salmon-pink met him between with every push to guard the sacred lie and resurrect the masters on the brink. He never breathed an air more fresh than in those moments of the totem in which his monograms on flesh cast out the swine that fought them. The letterhead was plain and simple, the walls have ached with barrenness. The Son, the Father, and the Holy Ghost were barbed, remote, and motherless.


records the want to be fresh with foresight again despite the records of forsaking one pack of lies for another the student feeling of a picket mob and new loves you don't know yet the shoes you'll wear your parents and their peers keep an eye peeled for the price of travel packages during things such as the battle of the hotels where walls get riddled with holes before somebody stays in your life is about to begin


Devotion An air unsteadied and umasked, devoted to the hungry look upon the marriage finger and the other parts unreachable by dawn. You want to be a better man. She wants to be a better woman. There is a home with trees to prune and kids to raise between the nooners.


Immigrant Children Elementary-school Purim had half the girls dressed as whores. If you asked them, “What are you?” they’d proudly say: “A whore!”. Then there were the boys, who didn’t fall very far behind, in curly blonde wigs, their mothers’ skirts. “You’re a whore! – No, you’re a whore!” they’d shout to one another, laughing, hysterical. There were also Cowboys and Indians. I was an Indian once. After the holidays, when the girls and the boys had to go back to school, they’d resume the old, indefatigable tug of war, and occasionally call out “Your mom’s a whore!” and there would be hair pulled, punches thrown, school shirts torn in a scuffle, and chain-smoking teachers with lipstick-stained coffee mugs, ready to yell their heads off.


Years Ago You take up the usual and there is severing calm. I rest. You lie to think. I hear your stomach's questioning litany. Our lips sealed as we invent suggestions of where to go and what to do, afraid the gaff might be blown any minute. There is a whole lifetime of not noticing the elephant in the room. You could have said that I was too watchful of stories such as Mary of Bethezuba to accept parenting, but I didn't tell you that story. On one level or another, you sensed it, and I went along. From years of getting to know each other, we have become quite capable of completing the other's fears to the smallest detail, but we never had to go that far, with distractions at hand. Your embroidery, my books – this is how we have silently agreed to meet the Big Crunch years ago.


CafĂŠ In a clamorous little cafĂŠ, I compose an auto-da-fe. A medieval young dame, whom a man put to shame, Her condition was dire, so they set her on fire. I imagine a little grisette, who dreams of masques and evening pirouettes. She attempts a nymphet for the man of her choice, who has lost his own voice. Here, there are no sirens to sing of destruction. No shelters are needed. No traceless abduction. The men and the women, sitting side by side, equally approach the night.


Appearances They strapped pillows to their heads, more as amulets for protection against the fire-and-brimstone nightmare that descended in the small hours. In a manner of speaking, they were dead, but when they woke up, they had a normal day. On the nightstand, Pliny the Elder was earmarked for heart attack and the good people for turning into stone alla breve. On that same day, they said it was as if they had known each other all their lives after a good breakfast. They had said this to respective exes, who inhabited their dreams. Outside, the day promised a favorable stroll among the ruins.


Crime Boss Epitaph To humble years that had Bequeathed their innings To this here marble face That had its crude beginnings


Modest Worth A hopeless romantic speaks with the abandon of despair of how you cannot step into the same river twice, while badly craving nothing else. They see the ancient structures from old postcards scaled by tourist hordes. You have to be a creature of the night to see the world as it was framed once in the eager mind. Let someone bite you in a late hour and a dark corner and hope for the best.


Labor Day We burned the witches on May 1st We rang the bells and now feel worse We croaked the lines of our hymns We made damn sure to hide our sins There will be no parade today The rockets rust in their dismay The rain is going pit-a-pat I made this pot for Tiamat We have not danced this way before We have not writhed thus on the floor

Profile for iliya_ansky

Recovery Craft  

Poetry

Recovery Craft  

Poetry

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