52|250's Third Quarter Review

Week # 31 – Missed the bus

Public Transportation, Ensenada by Bernard Heise
Legs by Susan Tepper 

Trey told me not to put on pantyhose. He said it gets in the way if he wants to get in right away. I felt dizzy after he made that speech. I was putting sugar in my tea and I never use sugar in tea. That’s how turned around he made me. The kitchen wallpaper has stripes and they were dancing. Well, wavering. Either way I left for work without my Chapstick and no pantyhose. I was cold walking to the bus. When I got to the bus shelter it was empty. I looked down the street and saw the back end of my bus, the dark smoky tail pipe emission that’s probably illegal. I sat down in the empty bus shelter. It would be twenty minutes to a half hour before the next one. My legs were freezing. I touched them and felt nothing. “This could be bad,” I said aloud to no one. “This could be the start of frostbite.” I stood up and started to move around the bus shelter, then I jumped up and down and bent in different directions. I stamped my feet on the ground. Nothing was bringing back the feeling in my legs. I could see the ER docs sawing them off then asking me if I wanted to take them home.

Token by Dorothee Lang 

A room. Shelves filled with things, trinkets, pictures, gifts, little statues. An open suitcase on the bed. I put those things inside, the pictures, the gifts, the trinkets. They are my memories, tokens of time. Then I close the suitcase, and walk down streets, past a park, until I arrive at the bridge. There’s a bench there, a waiting place for the bus that will come and carry me home.

Sitting there, I realize that I forgot the things in the drawer. So I leave the suitcase, and walk back to the room, to gather them. But I get lost on the way. Instead of the park, there is a huge hotel, alleys with stores that are filled with antiques. I follow another street, thinking it will take me to the bridge, to my suitcase, and the bus stop. But the street only leads to more shops. I walk on, disorientated, and finally enter a café. A woman offers a seat at her table, she talks of Japan, and shows me pictures of a lake, of trees covered with snow. Still she talks of summer. I can understand her, even though her language is different. Others I can’t understand, even though they talk the same language as I do.

The day moves on, but we all remain sitting there, trying to communicate, and I think, maybe we all got lost somewhere, and missed the bus that would take us home.

Maybe by Stephen Hastings-King 

Once we were in love. Then we disappeared.

Very slowly you fell through the floor of memory rooms that were brightly lit and entirely your own and dissipated into surrounding zones of detritus and decay, then in fragments drifted down through networks of seldom-visited structures comprised of corridors that connect nothing and stretch arbitrarily & spread yourself across a map of the sky that is outside of them became a constellation superimposed of diagrams of astral scatter or the relations and environments that absence creates, intimate but inaccessible.

I see you as you were. Once we were in love maybe.

Bonne Fire by Matt Potter 

The flames shot higher and hotter and flushed my face amber and orange and red. Holding my breath, I closed my eyes.

“It’s a new beginning, Madeleine,” Rob said, his breath warm on my face. “You can do it.”

Stepping forward, I opened my eyes to watch her glossy face wrinkle and crackle and curl. Magazine covers ripped from their spines, defaced articles and slashed film posters, all collected since 1983 in scrapbooks and albums and shoeboxes, when (we were both sixteen) she stole the part of Judy in BMX Bandits from me and launched her international career.

“Do it, Madeleine.”

I nodded my head. Loosening my fingers, the Nicole doll dropped from my grasp and landed just out of flames’ reach. I bent to pick it up but Rob sprang forward and kicked it into the fire.

Noxious fumes rose as flames licked around the perfect face and the plastic body and blonde hair melted. And the voodoo pins pinged as, folding and imploding, she was reduced to a petro-chemical puddle.

“Repeat after me,” he said. “Nicole Kidman did not steal my career. BMX Bandits was a shit film.”

“Nicole Kidman did not steal my career,” I chanted. “BMX Bandits was a shit film.”

Rob wiped away tears.

“Nicole Kidman did not steal my career. BMX Bandits was a shit film.”

I smiled him a recovery smile.

Back inside, Rob hummed while doing the dishes.

And sneaking on the internet, I ordered a life-size Nicole Kidman doll.

Sometimes there was no air by Doug Bond 

Downtown you felt netted like a one-eyed fish, big behind double-paned glass. Soprano sax piped from invisible outdoor speakers, stunted shrubs that weren’t shrubs at all, even though that’s what you called them. Women slender in dark skirts taunted by city wind, wrapping around, patted it all back down, and threshed a weave with closely cropped angular young men who never had hair growing where it shouldn’t.

You felt missing for cool air, crisp air. Sometimes there was no air. It was dirty air, thick air. Stainless steel and glass. The wrong change in your pocket you watched the bus roll away. Your buddy wearing Brooks said to never let them see you ride. You took a walk hopped the turnstile underground.

Peanut brittle crumbled in your pocket as you picked up the paper blue bundle at the narrow storefront uptown, took it up your three flights. The skinny old laundry man fucked it up. Lost one of your best socks. The one in your hand now worthless.

And that’s the word you used when you said it out loud to his face. Scrawny old gray stubble ripping you off for a bundle of laundry and the folds done the wrong way. When he opened up the half door counter in the back where he hid, you snapped in a circle, the reek of vodka, sweat and chlorine. You saw the dark inked letter, dashed with a four digit number embedded in his arm, looked away and never went back.

That Girl by Nicolette Wong 

I missed the bus staggering through the pages in silver ink: a jolly vehicle that rocks along the highway into the morning mist, on the lookout for gullible souls who will come on board to share a silence that will weigh heavy on the empty seats if its solitude goes on for just a little longer.

The bus is not meant to be lonely. Neither is the girl who is waiting for me at the other end of the story. She stands hopeful in a pink wool coat, against the color of mercury which has taken over the daybreak.

On a fine day she is the messenger of good tidings: fine and sunny, windy and dry. Even her voice rings with what she leaves unsaid: today is the day when you seek your pleasure out there in this world, for you are only living for the day you die.

On a stormy day there is a slight crack in her voice. In the enclosed room. Over the radio. In the air that we breathe, on disappearing streets to the limits of our memories. We lose one another in the loss of hope.

The girl does not like it, but it is her job to be neutral. She boards the bus every morning to reach her stop. Today she is waiting for me, but I cannot hold her. We are not supposed to meet.

Back to Wk #30 – Urban convert
Forward to Wk #32 – Silence

One response

  1. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s all gone « fiftytwo

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