Waveform by Stephen Hastings-King

1. For the next-to-last journey he muled a stolen car from Gloucester to Florida. He brought with him a .38 and a bouquet of cheap flowers. He left the flowers at her door on the way out.

2. Their break-up raced through a nautilus shell. In the next-to-last chamber, he balanced a chef’s knife on shelving then jumped onto the blade.

3. The furthest point of the next-to-last journey was a South Florida Motel 6.

He put the .38 on the night stand. But he couldn’t do it.

He bought several bottles of pills then wrote a letter as a narrative inside a narrative, one that outlined his trajectory and its mire and his implausible rescue and the ways it became a chimera, the other chapter divisions comprised of doses and times.

4. I watch her read the letter. Despite its melodrama of forgiveness, the story becomes her fault.

5. When the telephone rings I pick up to hear the circuitry, a vast plain of chatter that expands as I listen, opening onto infrastructure then the echoes of the undersides of voices that gives way to an abstract space of drift and vibrations and spirits. He blows across it, an atomized snarl of grasses caught in a phantom wind, and then through me and beyond become a waveform that rearranges the air and everything that is in it.


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8 responses to “Waveform by Stephen Hastings-King

  1. Randal Houle

    Loved #5. The language was really beautiful there.

  2. guy

    Agree about #5, but i like the imagery of #2, too.

    #4 is from the calamities?

    Enjoyed this one quite a bit.

  3. I had some trouble following the thread, but the word choices were beautiful. :)

  4. Love the image of the break-up racing through a nautilus. Interesting micros, I interpreted them as linked, with the new love interpreting the ex through the common lover. Peace…

  5. stephen

    nice. thanks folks.

    this is something i’ve been thinking about how to write for a long time. it’s a little curious because it’s not fiction, and the woman who is involved is my mother. and i was only present for a few fragments, including the one that’s the center of this piece, no. 5, when he blew through the circuits. there’s more to the backstory at every step, but i wanted to see what would happen if i stripped all that away and presented just a sequence of prisms kinda, something that refracted the back story, so made it sort of present as a space that the projections that are reading fills in for you who read it.

    one consequence of this is that the piece does and does not feel finished.

    another one is that i’m unlikely to take on too much of the larger story because it’s one of amour fou and my mom.


    guy: 4 isn’t from the calamities. interesting that you’re reminded tho. why do you think that is? curious.

  6. Poetic language and style here. Nicely done.

  7. guy

    Back online. I think that i just lumped together everything you sent me around that time as “the calamities” but there really is no basis for that assumption.

  8. Pingback: Week #24 – Tombstones « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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