Week #38 – Long distance

Welcome! Here is this week’s Flash, posted in the order received.

The theme is long distance.

Ode to Hundertwasser by Jana Heise
long(ing) . by Dorothee Lang
we spent the first half
of the evening
in an affectionate distance
of observing the other
the unspoken questions
lingered rumpled, waiting
until they finally broke through the walls
we had tried to keep up
around us silence fell
like a veil
and took us back
to where we started,
a wor(l)d ago
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what this spring . by Piet Nieuwland

a stranger in familiar country

with the birth of sight her name was seeing

in turquoize grey glances lasting hours

and that seeing is ploughing,
the eyes unfurling, unfolding,
a peeling back

nga kahu over
kowhaitotarapuriri hillslopes,
long ridgelines silent
but for the green of air

and what spring will do
to this place
this spring
will do

life will do with itself
what living will do with us

in the forest
in the forest in the forest
in in the forest the forest
in the forest as mantra
in the mandala of crowns

in the shade and possibilities of leaves
phyllodes and pointing of needles

in the question
ocean is for forest,
forest is for ocean

and the answer that skies are, for both of them

the beach is a bay surrounded by islands, the islands are bays surrounded by beaches,
the beaches are on islands carried by cliffs, the cliffs hang from ridges sweating with forest,
the forest is a jungle of vines, the vines are seeds searching for light, the light is heavy
with moisture, the water is a cloud, the cloud is a purple eye singing to drumbeats and cicada,
spiders bouncing and a silver fish spinning a weave in the throat of a tern

a moon of magnolias
flower from your eyes

your heart of baskets laden
with nectars of mango papaya and pawpaw

the morning is a cardinal honeyeater
undressing the petals of a coral tree
your crimson lips blushing

silver flower of dusk
black rose of sunset

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Full Moon, Blue Moon . by Michelle McEwen

Whenever there is a full moon, ma always gets the need to call daddy long distance down south — even though daddy isn’t thinking about her. He only calls us once in a blue moon and that’s to check up on his baby girls. Every time the moon is big and bright in the hall window, ma says, “Look at that moon” and runs to the kitchen phone to call daddy. Daddy always picks up on the second ring and ma always says, “The moon made me call. Remember how you used to get when there was a full moon?” Ma doesn’t give daddy time to remark; she just gets right to explaining to daddy how daddy used to be during a full moon. “Remember how you’d come home from work and start fussin? That was the moon in you,” she usually says, laughing — her laugh more like a howl. Then she’ll lower her voice — say, “And after all that fussin, you’d be all over me making me feel like how I looked before the babies. No man ever gon’ top your lovin!” Knowing daddy, this makes him smile; daddy is a fool for praising. And I swear I can hear his smile across the kitchen into the living room where me and my sister always sit listening to ma explaining daddy to daddy. “I swear your daddy some kin to the moon,” she sometimes says on her way through the living room to her bedroom to dream about daddy.

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Florida Ain’t Nothing . by Melissa McEwen

When Uncle Pete drove up from Florida for Aunt Barb’s wedding in April, he stayed with Ma and me in our small gray house. His long car and Florida tag seemed so big in our small-town driveway. In this town, out-of-staters are like celebrities and the neighborhood kids stared at the tag, asked if they could get in, as if getting in the car would make them Floridians.

“You from Miami? Orlando?” they asked from the backseat, leaning out the window.

Uncle Pete, leaning against the car, said, “Naw, Pensacola,” and the kids frowned.

They all wanted to know if it was hotter there than up here and Uncle Pete said, “Much!” then he told them what he used to tell me, “Gets so hot I can fry fish on the sidewalk,” and they believed him – even Tony and he never believes anything anybody tells him.

It was the same way when I was younger and Miss Dixon’s son came to visit her from California. I was one of the kids asking if he was from L.A. or Hollywood. He was a movie star to us. He told us about beaches and good weather. That night, my dreams were Californiaful and in the morning I asked Ma if we could move, but she said “California ain’t nothing but gangs and earthquakes.”

And, that April, as I watched Ma (arms folded) watching Uncle Pete, I knew what she was thinking: “Florida ain’t nothing but hurricanes and rat sized roaches.”

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Distance . by Susan Gibb

For two hours she sat silent at the far end of the couch, the cat held tightly on her lap and petted aggressively to ensure it would stay. Between them an empty cushion two miles wide. On the far end he sprawled with his feet up on the coffee table. He wished she would put her feet up on it too.

He tried to think of something to say but the game was so close between teams. She got up and went into the kitchen. He reached for the cat but it hissed at him.

In the morning she found him asleep on the couch and she smiled. The TV was silent and the cat was curled up on his chest.

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Movie Night . by Robert Vaughan

I bought us a subscription to Netflix. It was a great bonding premise, one of the rare insightful ideas my brother suggested. That way even though my lover lived on the opposite coast, Tony and I could stream movies simultaneously in our separate living rooms.

At first it was a little tough to find the time. An entire month flew by before we decided to try Wednesdays as our movie night. The first couple movies went great, well, sort of. I think he dozed during Moonstruck. Tony’s three hours ahead of me, so, I wasn’t too miffed.

Plus, Tony liked to comment during the movie. Said things like, “Why is she wearing lipstick at the gym?” or “A guy would never say that.” I tried to ignore him, but it was annoying.

Then we watched one of my favorite movies, Prince of Tides. I’d seen it gazillion times. And he wouldn’t shut up. I asked him to pause so we could talk. He just wanted to stop watching all together.

“It’s boring,” he complained.

I ignored him. “It’s like when I came to your family reunion last summer. I went, because you wanted me to.”

Tony said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s called compromising. I wanted to share one of the best movies of all time with you. The least you could do is pretend you’re enjoying it.”

There was a long pause. “This is stupid. I don’t even like movies.”

“Well, I don’t like family reunions.”

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White . by Linda Simoni-Wastila

I close my eyes, see the hair. Plastered in a swirl of thalo blue, too short and black to be mine, too long to fall from the brush. I remember tapping ash from my Camel, wondering who trespassed my studio. I reached for that hair and my arm went numb, the air zagged white, and out the window fog huddled grey over the sound. I crumpled on the paint-spattered floor, counting cigarettes and brushes rolled under the easel, the shadows passing.

Now the world is blank canvas – the shades open, the sun pours in, harsh titanium. The television murmurs too low to hear, too loud to think. Nurses turn me, rub my pale unfeeling feet and arms and backside, and swaddle me again in brilliant sheets.

My son comes. I smile but he cannot see it. No one can. He sits by the bed and cradles my hand, stroking the parchment that stitches me together the way the nurses do, but longer, with smaller, tighter circles. He talks to fill in the space, more than he ever talked to me before, and I blink fast. A single tear squeezes past, and I wish I could feel it slide hot and wet down my cheek. His hand reaches. “Oh Mom” he says, and peters out of words, my poet son. I close my eyes, see the hair.

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Two Short Views on a Long Train Ride . by Kim Hutchinson

If Wishes Were Horses

The train was late; it gave her more time to fight the tears.

Towns passed the window. People. Families. Homes. She’d left hers behind again.

Tomorrow, she would be a professional, forcing her smile to rise above her heavy heart.

She closed her eyes and wished it were the last time.

Last Date

“This is why I came here,” says the man from Montreal. He points to a Facebook photo of a woman from Missouri. “We thought the border could be our place, but…

His eyes are red. He falls asleep as soon as the train starts to move. His fingers caress the keyboard.

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Consummation . by Len Kuntz

In the dream, she runs. Miles pile up like layers, like safe things, fireplaces, quilted blankets and locked doors, a soft ballad sung by her favorite singer, while in the distance the apartment building resembles nothing frightening at all, just a sad black pimple.

When her alarm rings, she blinks away the night. The sun is so stark, so bright that it makes her eyes water.

At the window, she counts how many stories up she is. She knows, but she counts anyway.

If she squints, she can see his sedan sulking near the complex dumpster where people put their trash, their bloody blouses and scar tissue. It is a long ways down, yet not far enough for her.

He will knock any minute, so she pries open the window. She remembers as a little girl believing that she could fly. She never told anyone her secret. She hadn’t needed to then. Her favorite color was still tangerine.

She fingers the fresh bruises, their color so much like mishandled fruit.

She steps out. The wind is unsteady and cool, tousling her hair the way an enamored paramour might. She makes the air her groom, lets him lead. She pictures him carrying her over a threshold, as light as gauze, and into another room.

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Lunchtime . by Michael Webb

I looked at her, sipping her water with tiny, delicate sips. She was sitting across from me, but her gaze wouldn’t rest on me. Her eyes were constantly dancing, looking around the room, taking in the soda machines, the bulletin board, the passersby, the people sitting at other tables, the garish painted tiger on the wall. She would stop, look at me briefly, and then look around again, trying to see someone better looking or more popular or more important than me.

I was her first friend here – when her family moved into town, I shared some potato chips with her at lunch and we quickly became fast friends. I introduced her to everybody, made sure she was invited to the parties, wouldn’t let anyone poke fun at her. We brushed each other’s hair, told secrets, laughed, cried – we were inseparable, and had been since we met. Until now.

It wasn’t the boys that came between us. Well, it wasn’t entirely the boys. There was this distance between us now – I was no longer the first person to learn of her news, while I always told her mine before anyone. I was the same person, but she wasn’t – she had aims I didn’t share, wanted things I didn’t understand. She was seated so close – the tip of her shoe was right in front of my shin – but she may as well have been a million miles away.

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Frau im Mond . by Marcus Speh

It was clear to him that there was a woman on the moon, quite possibly waiting to be rescued since the Great Depression. Now that the macroeconomic cycle had come round again, as scientists all across the planet were busying themselves with explanations of why and how history seemed to repeat itself like a girl on a playground swinging back and forth and back and forth, few were thinking of space travel and he might be able to snatch a rocket from an abandoned shuttle site to visit that woman in her oracular wasteland, bring her back to Earth and find love once and for all.

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Bound . by Matt Potter

Look at the pain in her eyes.

Look at mine.

Feel the joy as she follows the yellow brick road. But watch her shortened breath as she dances over the cracks. See the tears well just behind her eyes. And hear the throb in her voice.

Then watch as I gasp, stepping off the bus. See tears flow as I tread the cement footpath to work. And hear me sob as I pass colleagues en route to my desk.

Eight hours at work, then home on the bus and only once inside can I unbind and breathe free.

But my toes disappear until morning.

The surgeon pincers a fat measurement of my breasts.

“You have an impressive pair there,” he says, hands warm as he cups them. “Shame they’re on a man though.”

He sits behind his desk as, holding the binding close with one arm, I start winding it ’round my torso with the other.

“Still,” he says, flipping through the pages of his operating diary. “They could be nice little earners on the freak show circuit.”

I fasten the binding under my armpit.

“Judy Garland was too old for the part in The Wizard of Oz,” I say. “So they bound her breasts too.”

The doctor scribbles on the page.

“But she would’ve seen her feet at night when she took the binding off,” I add.

“April 1st there’s an opening.” He smiles. “And just think, after the reduction you’ll be able to see your cock again too.”

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Long Distance . by Darryl Price

Here’s the thing. I never thought you’d
Be swept away from me forever. Some
Grains of you still seem to catch
In my eyes from time to time.
What I’m trying to say is I’m

Sorry that we are no bigger than
flesh. I’d give anything to be in
Your presence without history or seasons having
Been hammered to your heart. I understand
That oceans will continue to live and

Die in our veins, but also clouds
Will rise out of our deeds to
Drench us sooner or later. I want
You to let go of me completely
Now and know that you are loved.

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On the nature of love . by Stella Pierides

They had their meals together, relaxed together, slept together, lived together – but they seemed miles apart to me during the years I rented a room from them. Perhaps the problem was too much proximity, too much knowledge of the other, as if they were one, not two people; as if they lived off each other’s soul – you know the thick, suffocating air that requires such ‘distance’ to be created.

They misheard, misread, and had to repeat each sentence, each word coming out of the other’s mouth. They always misunderstood the intended meaning, spending their time in lengthy explanations and irritable exchanges.

On a trip to Greenwich Park, last summer, walking in step, sighing simultaneously, they got distracted by the crowd on their Sunday constitutional and incredibly, they got separated. I can tell you, because straddling the Meridian, I watched how they scanned the crowds looking for the familiar grey of their outfits, but could not see each other. I could see both of them looking lost.

I was wondering whether I should rush over and point them to their other half, when I remembered Aristophanes’ argument in the “Symposium” – that the human being originally consisted of four legs, four arms and one head with two faces – and, well, I stopped myself. Zeus was said to have separated those early humans into two, condemning them to a state of perpetually seeking their other half. I strolled away, smiling. After all, who am I to argue with Zeus.

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A Distance too Long . by Alexandra Pereira

She sits on the frail armchair as if studying the horizon. For a few seconds she wonders why the colors don’t mix and a line so perfectly straight can lead to nowhere.

She remembers the words she never spoke as he sat on that caved in couch. She recites them in her mind. Again. She knows them by heart, one by one, knowing how they will sound, how loud they will be heard and the exact intensity she will put into each one. She knows this so well as she knows that one day she will say them looking straight into his distant eyes. Maybe next year.

“You never noticed, did you? The way I stared into nothing, loose molecules drunk in a space too crammed for them. You thought I was paying attention, following the story line, trying to catch the joke, maybe.

You never noticed, did you? As your brain waves soaked up the screen. My eyes, like Monalisa’s, there, but only on a timeless painting, beyond your reach, light years away from that couch.

You never noticed, did you? As you laughed at the sitcoms and drank your warm beer, scratching unwanted dandruff into fingernails too occupied to touch me, that today, I turned 40.”

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The Last Payphone . by Al McDermid

The city’s last payphone rings as I pass it. I consider walking on but the phone is insistent. I look up and down the darkening street. I see no one so I answer it.

An operator comes on and says, “Long distance for Mr. Smith.” Her voice has a tinny quality, as if coming from out of the past, from before direct dialing.

“John Smith?” I say, confused.

“Yes, sir,” the operator says. “Are you Mr. Smith?”

“Yes,” I say, suddenly unsure if I am or not. “This is John Smith.”

“Please hold. I’ll connect you.”

The line momentarily goes dead, and then another woman comes on. “John?” she says in a voice as sweet as a forgotten dream. I struggle and fail to match a face to her voice.

“Speaking?” I say.

“Don’t bother,” she says. This time I catch a hint of an accent I can’t place.

“Don’t bother?”

“Si, don’t bother?” Si? That explains the accent, but it doesn’t help. I want her to say something else, anything. I want to ask her name but don’t. What if she’s someone I should know?

So instead I simply say, “All right.” With that, she hangs up. “Hello?” I repeat uselessly, clicking the switch hook several times, but she’s gone.

I return every night at the same time, hoping the phone will ring. After a week, I pick up the receiver. The line is as silent as a secret taken to a watery grave.

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“Unknown Caller”: Caller ID Weighs in on Love . by Martin Brick

Neil answers anyway.

“Hey, you.” It takes a moment to register, though who else would it be? Jessie calls daily.

“I’m stuck at the airport. Thought of you.”

He actually spotted the sound of her connection first. Words emerge suddenly, the first fragment of sound shaved off. When she stops there’s a moment of buzz, then perfect silence. Little gates opening and closing on each side of her utterances. He listens to this, not to her tales of clueless students, of some pompous ass at faculty senate.

He remembers old long distance, the kind with constant static, like snow underfoot. It cost 25¢ a minute. That was the long distance Dixie used 25 years ago.

Jessie describes an article she’s writing. She’s young, really energetic about scholarship. Smart, bold, applying for tenure early. She’s beautiful. The article is boring – theory driven – while Neil’s an old-time reader-response guy. They met at a conference. Amazing sex. Should she keep something or other in a footnote…? They’ve got a semi-casual long-distance relationship going.

Dixie only rarely called. Said, “I love you, I miss you, it’s cold, I’m wearing your shirt.” Three expensive minutes.

“Marry me,” he told her once through that snow-static.

“I need to do the Peace Corps.”

“I’ll wait,” he said, and tried, but the distance killed them.

“I might not have cell coverage where I’m going,” Jessie explains.

“Okay. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

Dixie would say, “Isn’t it ‘absence’.” But Jessie moved on, talking about currency exchange.

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Driving the Cloverleaf . by Doug Bond

Spinning through the ice patch he straightens out, turns left twice, and takes Bessemer northwest three miles to the broad swale where the engineers had cut the state highways’ intersection into four perfect bulbed ellipses.

She knows he’s leaving in the morning, but asks anyway.

“Flight leaves 8 am. If there’s no weather delay I’ll get home before
dark. Service is on Friday.”

“That’s a long trip.” She hesitates and then says, “So you didn’t even
know the guy?”

“Nope, didn’t know him at all.”

“Your brother’s friend, right?”

“Yeah….Well, I guess they weren’t just friends.”

“Oh.” She tries to sound surprised, “I really didn’t know.”

“Yeah, well neither did my parents. It’s pretty fucked up back there right now!”

Quiet settles in, only the sound of the turn signal and wiper blades, as they weave circles in and around the highway exchange.

“So why’d you come with me anyway you worried I’m all freaked out or something?”

“Didn’t want you to miss a turn.”

The snow starts coming down heavier but it is late and traffic is light. He heads up the northbound ramp yet another time, picks up speed a bit as they loop up again to the highway merge. Everything is banked just right with the entrances and exits sweeping wide and away from where they’ve just been. He’s beginning to feel a little dizzy, almost nervous looking out the window, how in the dark and blowing snow it’s almost impossible to see one side from the other.

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THE BROTHERS VERNE . Catherine Davis

Underneath, distance is the thing, not time. Time, only insofar as how long it sustains. On one breath.

Kid can swim. Two minutes seventeen, second turn. Length of limbs: mechanical advantage. Slenderness of frame: reduced drag. Accidents of birth, not strength of mind. “Citius, altius, fortius!”

The bottom is tinted with fine shades of ultramarine. Surely the way we were meant to move in the world. If not gills? Adaptation. A single breath – extend until it capitulates and – I’m in. Blast the barrier.

Two and forty-eight. Carbon dioxide dribbling up to the surface. Soon will be nothing left, then fire, cells screaming, and he’ll give it up.

Burbles, gurgles, whooshing of displaced water. Sunlight refracting in shards. The solar rays easily crossed this aqueous mass and dispersed its dark colors,

Hypoxia. It happens.

His shadow cuts the light as he stands by, clocking me. He will be so proud: a younger brother worth having! One league only is fifty-five laps plus one length of this pool. Imagine. It can be done, in time.

Teach the brat a lesson. He challenges my three minutes, seven?

Every cell of my skin feeling the flow – a billion individual sensations. This is… alive.

Can’t be doing three, twenty-two and still… no, not moving. It’s inaccurate data. Reset, I’m done.

I call your name, but you don’t hear. I’ll sleep now, while I wait.

So? Hypoxia, he gets a snootful, he’ll snap out of it.

Brother, how will we reach the bottom of the sea?

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Olympus to Earth . by Catherine Russell

The dark-haired beauty examined the painting of a young woman embraced by a swan; amusement and repugnance battling across her face. The museum curator noticed her interest and approached.

“Wonderful; isn’t it?” he said.

“Leda and Zeus; right?”

“Yes, the god loved her in the form of a swan,” answered the curator. “A lovely myth.”

The woman arched an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Of course,” said the curator. ‘A beautiful white bird seduced the Queen of Sparta.”

“But… she thought that was sexy?”

“Well, Hera, the wife of-”

“Oh, figures. Cheating bastard shapeshifts so he can bonk another woman.”

“But that union created legends! Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, their twin brothers -”

“Yeah, but the method! ‘Hey baby, wanna lay my eggs?’ – Worst pickup line EVER.”

“Good point, but-”

“How could a bird force Leda to do anything? He must have offered her one hell of a bribe.”

“Yeats wrote that-”

“Though I suppose Zeus was out of touch with mortals already. Olympus is a long way from Sparta – by altitude anyway.”

Hera left the curator red-faced and spluttering. The goddess of marriage looked forward to watching Zeus squirm when she mentioned her trip to the art gallery, though his infidelity was so ridiculous she could barely keep a straight face. Turning into a swan? As if her husband wasn’t already a bird brain.

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Disregarding 12 O 2 . by Martin Porter

(Sea of Tranquility, 20:17 UT, July 20, 1969)

30 seconds.

Twelve o two is crying for attention.
Overloaded, the god in the machine
Is in a state of panic
And demands that you stop.

But down below, the surface
Where you are going
Looks so interesting, so dangerous,
Grey, pored with sharp edged holes,

Tempting in the blandness,
But each block a risk of irreversible
Landing. Dust fans out
In long white streaks

And the shadow of the spider legs
Meet the spider legs.
The guys about to turn blue
Breathe again, the guys up there

Simply breathe.

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Two Separate Planets . by Meg Tuite

There was an apparition blooming in my throat when I saw him pull up in his rental car. We hadn’t spoken in over three years. Now he lived on another planet, somewhere in the Amazon. It hurt to watch those lanky legs lurch out of the Honda and that sexy bald head, wire rims and tan beneath it lean down to kiss me. I was hungry for the sound, the taste of him again. We’d been pressed together for months before he left like the lint now staring up at me from my black skirt, more loyal than he’d ever been.

“Let’s go to your apartment,” he looked over and shot me that smirk that had made him so popular in my bed. I started picking at my skirt while my mouth clicked something back.

When we got to my place he was already opening his suitcase and stripping off his clothes like no time had passed. Before I could say, “what the hell are you doing back,” he was throwing me down on the bed wearing those polka-dot pajama bottoms he used to live in. He clutched my wrists behind my head and started working me over. This was the planet we inhabited so well together.

“Baby,” he whispered. I was lost in my so-close-to-hitting-the-jackpot delirium. I waited for clichés of life has been hell without you. He dragged his lips away, grinned. “Got a new post in Africa. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”

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A Job with Flare . by Randal Houle

Summer 1987, somewhere in the hills of western Oregon, I stand on my assigned slope. Up here, there are only two measures of time: a tree’s life and the setting sun. At the bottom of the hill there’s a tree line – a far off forest of fir like a wall. When he dropped me here, the foreman said I could break for lunch when the water ran out. He adds that the water will run out if the truck doesn’t come and I pray that the truck is too busy to get back to me.

The sun is hot behind a thin layer of clouds. Not overcast, these clouds magnify the heat, and the light. The earth is scorched, black, smoldering. It soaks up the sun and flares up when I expose a hot spot to the air. That’s when I douse the spot until the cinders are cool enough to touch.

The entire hillside had been cleared and burnt. The fear that employs me is that one of these hot spots will flare up, or burrow through the live forest’s roots – it can really do that – and if it does, it burns down the whole damn forest.

If it did catch, it might’ve been a flare up, or it could have been a natural fire, part of the process. Possibly, but not likely, it was a sixteen-year-old slash burner on mop up duty trying to catch a smoke break in the shade of the tree line.

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Geographies of Decay . by Stephen Hastings-King

That morning arrived with the sound of steel pipe hitting the ground again and again. Each strike at once swallowed itself and fractured into geographies of decay that gave way differentially to aspects of the day. Some opened up as persistent cold and ice and stillness; others as momentary images of people I did not know walking through a city I had never seen. As their city disappeared they moved over the marsh in the direction of the river above which was suspended a long limp yellow line between a series of green pillars; the line continued past it’s endpoint toward the gap in the horizon through which a column of phantom tanks was arriving. These projections were soon followed by others, agents of the night committee who came in long black cars to gather names and spread rumors of harsh interrogations. The air of pallid normalcy they imposed had soon absorbed the tanks. For days thereafter, flecks of camouflage washed up on the beaches. Newspaper articles provided no explanations.

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Speed . by Guy Yasko

People ask me what i think about when i run. They want to hear ‘sex’ or something. I say ‘nothing’.

I ran cross country once. Thoughts ran me down. Everytime. Same with them. Bunch of nervous wrecks.

Now i run in circles, 400m. In school they said drugs don’t work:
problems are still there when you’re done. I know. I still want speed.

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Cans . by Susan Tepper

Carl put two soup cans together by stringing miles and miles of cord. I lay on my bed watching him, my sandals kicked off, the moths beaming around the lamp light and the smell of Ma’s fried chicken. Daddy finally woke up from his drunk. He took a shower then went to the kitchen and pinched her ass. “Mother,” he said quite severely. He calls her Mother when he’s been bad. Lately his badness is on the rise. My Aunt Star says he’s got another woman. Ma just shook a hand at Aunt Star but I believe it. So does Carl. He told me not to worry that men do that sort of thing all the time. Right now he’s got the soup cans attached and he’s grinning. The tops and bottoms are taken off with a can opener. We’re going to loop them from my bedroom window straight across the alley to his bedroom window. Carl says this way we can do pillow talk. It’s some old movie we watched on the movie station. That movie’s a hundred years old Carl told me. Then rubbed near his zipper making me feel all nervous and funny.

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Departure, Personally . by Walter Bjorkman

the images
of the days

The door of today
is now the dog
of your youth
transported away

The latest scenes
remain the longest
I was there
I am still here

My eyes
see reflections
seen alone by us

My body
feels pleasures
felt apart by us

My life your camera
to my perceptions
of the past

Closing, yet making farther,
leaving visions unclear

Whether seeing,
should be together

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Navigation and Perseverance . by John Wentworth Chapin

Gladys was looking through the peephole in her front door when the bell rang a second time. It was a beagle. She cracked the door and shouted Shoo!

The dog thumped his tail. “Please help me. I’m lost.”

“Go away.” She closed the door.

“I’ll let you put me on YouTube,” the dog whined.

“My show is on,” she said through the closed door.

“Gladys Miller!” the dog shouted. “Live a little. TiVo it.”

She shouted back. “How do you know my name?”

“I looked at your mail.”

Gladys pulled the door open and snatched her mail. “You rotten mutt! That’s a federal offense.” Ugh: the Victoria’s Secret catalog was damp with spittle.

“Please help. My family went for a hike and I stupidly took off after a collie.”

“Where do you live?”

The dog growled. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t need your help.”

“Are you one of those persevering dogs that travels a thousand miles to be reunited with his master?”

“Are you one of those lonely old ladies with too many cats? C’mon, Gladys, gimme a break.”

She frowned. “If you don’t know where you live, how can I help?”

“I’m sure they put a notice on Craigslist. B-U-D-D-Y. I’m six and part Schnauzer.” He looked ashamed.

“What’s Craigslist?”

“Seriously?” he asked. “It’s a website.”

“I don’t have a computer. But you could come in and have some water.”

“Sorry, Gladys. You’re a poor investment.” Buddy trotted off in search of modernity and his family.

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sea song . by Michelle Elvy
you’ll be gone forever
and a day
naw. just three oceans. once
around the world
you’ll meet mermaids
and sirens
yes. but my journey
ends here, with you
you’ll forget
i’ll see you in the sea
how do you know?
because your eyes are in the sun
your hips on every wave
your breath the wind
will you remember this?
this i’ll remember most of all
the space between your belly button and rib
the distance from your shoulder to wrist
the miles from knee down to toe
ok then
now shhhhh
let me dive into your southern ocean


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52|250 thanks Jana Heise for her art this week. She is a big fan of Hundertwasser. She first learned of him when she visited the Hundertwasser toilets in KawaKawa, not far from where she lives in New Zealand. She then studied him in school. Her Grade 1 class did a special segment on Hundertwasser. She treasures her Hundertwasser postcards from Vienna. She says, “Hundertwasser and I have something in common; we don’t like using straight lines. I like painting spirals and curves too. I use bright colors. This painting is of my boat and Hundertwasser buildings, side by side.”

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Filed under Wk #38 - Long distance

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