Category: short stuff

Had to stop reading a (the?) biography of Clarice Lispector because, no matter how much I love her art and story, the formulaically-placed quotes and source material and objectifying lack of authorial voice gave me indigestion. Perhaps I’m academic-intolerant. So, out of some odd desperation, I started reading Njal’s Saga and got about sixty pages […]

Resist, resist, resist—what about the virtues of just going along? By “virtues” I mean “benefits;” there’s no time for virtue. Maybe I’ve taken it all too literally. The books I’ve read and the stories I’ve admired and the philosophies to which I’ve been drawn—so many have resistance at their core, or so I’ve felt. Maybe […]

It’s hard to say it matters so I keep typing and breathing anyway but isn’t that tragic and sad and literary, a blood-tipped quill stuck to a dangling hand that would be better off waving goodbye to hopes of doing anything other than deleting (keeping) vague rejection notices including those two recent gems from journals […]

The perfect autumn day—by evening, when my toes are cold despite socks and slippers, I might not be so fond. So goes the erosion of goodwill. It’s fifty Fahrenheit degrees and sunny, gusting, and the trees are spreading color everywhere—rain is on the way, though, and the temperature is dropping. It’s fine to not be […]

What are these people doing? How do they have that many clicks in them each day. They just stare at their screens, furrowed, and scroll scroll scroll, click click fucking click. I’m losing my eyesight. The floor is carpeted and the carpet is a combination of thickly woven browns, dutiful and lifeless. A volley of […]

The bass was drowning out the highs, the saxophonist’s mic didn’t work, and for a minute the acoustic-electric guitar was silent till the sound man straightened that out and the performerman in a getup he said made him look like the hypothetical offspring of Johnny Cash and Elton John played his song. The outfit, he […]

At the Mexican place around the corner and the neighboring table’s food arrives and the cute stupid young couple can’t take their eyes off their phones. They haven’t spoken to each other at all, and I suddenly realize I want to do something rash, something risky and dangerous, like pull off a heist or murder […]

I reach the steel staircase of the train station without realizing I’d left my spot on the bridge and I head up with renewed consciousness, step by step, my hand on the cold railing, my breath puffing out before me in plumes, and I insert my ticket, push through the turnstile, and meander out onto […]

M is the editor of no magazines (print or online) and does not hold an academic post at Any University. He used to live in Columbus, OH, where he drove a navy blue Buick Electra which was assembled before the Berlin Wall was dismantled and was not his first car but his second, and greatly […]

This is what Oscar says, and it’ll be in the book. I sometimes wonder if the people in my life exist—if I bring them in—so as to afford me objects from which to hang my arguments and perceptions and narratives. To hang entertainments, really, and to stand around me as mirrors as I try, vainly, […]

I worked in a suburban office compound building replete with floors and elevators and front deskmen and cube farms and conference rooms and soullessness and on our floor there was a bathroom and in that bathroom there were stalls and in one of those stalls was a chipped floor tile.

Falling into a diametrical opposite, into what is diametrically opposed to that out of which you’re trying to climb and separate from, not realizing the dialectical arrangement is itself the snare. Don’t mind the grammar here, it’s inessential.

Bearded young man, late twenties, early thirties, in a dark forest kind of green Marmot jacket and clashingly green cargo pants and green-brown knit hat with a brim sitting beside a blonde woman in a black top and gray pencil skirt and I wonder which is more uniform and what their first encounter was like. […]

Four hours later my flight came in on final to runway 9R all wild wobbly and drifting from what I’d no clue at the time was probably the wake vortex of the plane ahead of us and had to abort, wheels up, throttle, climb, and a collective hush in the cabin the only sense of […]

In my lesser moments I see wonderings like glass bubbles dangling just barely hanging by frayed threads from the way up ceiling and as I walk through I worry I might brush one too brusquely and break it where it floats and a small sparkling shower of near paper-light jagged and splintered pieces will flutter […]

My second school was a school for smart kids where posted on all doors were little signs that said “pull” and we’d stand around and argue and debate and pontificate and procrastinate and obfuscate and subliminate about who should push and why and in what manner said pushing should—I mean could; no value judgments, please—commence while […]

My weekend? Great. Sure. I did nothing. Nope, nothing. Friday I left the office, went to the gymnatorium to push things and also pull them and just generally move them around. Then, satisfied with my dumb movery, I went home, bathed, and stared at the wall.

From here, I hear, from my chair in the corner, too tired, I fear, to do much more than notice. Cool air through the windows, wide open because I can still smell the food I cooked for dinner and I want to smell the storm coming instead. Lightning flashes like it’s sneaking a picture and […]

Why am I receiving Men’s Health magazine? This is now the fourth issue to arrive in my mailbox. It is terrible and I did not subscribe, but it keeps appearing and appearing (and appearing and appearing), at intervals I, in my mail-retrieving irregularities, can only see as completely irregular, as if every so often the […]

Yes yes, going to be hanging out with you this weekend, chair and desk, desk and chair. Doing big things. Big chair and desk things. These things. Us things. Me things. Wait—is that like Me Time? Because if it is, we might have to think about inviting someone over, even if they just watch, or […]

Complete indelicacy, maniacal and severe in its blandness. Brusque movements, rough and choppy, lacking nuance, manners, courtesy, decorum. Making only noise, noise of a purely, plainly noisy variety, not sound, asonorous. Reactive, deliberately inadvertent, even negligent, triumphantly so, giving impulse and instinct bad names. An atmospheric sloppiness of language which speaks to a world distilled […]

You touched me Delphic and acute and then took it right back and I wondered if it was some small retribution or peculiar rebuke because it had that kind of feel or I’m prone to that kind of thought. I was about to say my wall went right back up, thicker and taller than before, that what […]

Balance now, yes, balance by default because that’s all that’s left. Followed by…? Well, what? Answer me, boy. Collapse, perhaps. Or is it explosion I’ve chosen. Hard to say which, though, hard to tell the difference, truly, and harder still to care, but it sounds serious. Maybe one, then the other. Maybe one, maybe both—maybe […]

On my couch tonight trying to feel her through the wish for full-blooded besidedness, feverish, imagining I could sense her sleeping, or sensing I could imagine, thinking the same starry sky that’s over me is over she too, mostly. Latitudinal, longitudinal, altitudinal. And the celestial ticking toward daybreak muted, flattened out to a steady, low […]

Read books, I swear I have, real ones, quite a few, in fact. And I suspect I’ll read a few more, in part, in whole, maybe even write some. Who knows. I better. Some might say they’ve gotten me nowhere, these books, and that’s just because here is, they think. But is is just a seems […]

I’ll always be here for you, she says. When was she ever and what is this always…? Ah that’s not what this means. Silly stupid heartfeeling me. Here, for me. Always. Always here, for me. For me to what. For me to And that’s what she was ever, really. These are her terms, and this another […]

Fuck you, 2015, year, you. You and your predecessors, most of them, some of them, a few of them. Ok, just back to 2011. How’s that? Send me back there, lessons in hand, preferably in cuneiform on clay tablets, nice and incomprehensible so I can do it all again and probably do it all the same […]

I’m looking for you. Because this is terrible, and I need you to say, yes, it’s terrible, too. I’ve loved you for that and that alone. Because I’ve lost you, and I’m afraid, damn near terrified I’ve exhausted my supply of finds after I used my last left behind. Because I’m out of love, but […]

I know now. I now know. I know all about missing. I get it, after all this time, it got me, more like it, and here I am missing the hell out of you, knowing I always will because that’s what I always do. Missing you so much I could miss almost anyone who got […]