Category Archives: Stephen Hastings-King

3 by Stephen Hastings-King

1.
2 is another.
3 is made from 1 and 2.
4 is 3 which is 2 and 1 and all their modalities
5 is the current produced by 4 which is 3 and 2 and 1 and all their modalities.
6 is 1 atop then the other atop then the other then the other then the other.
7 is transcendent.

1 is another.
2 is itself and its inverse.
3 is 1 and its inverse and a mirror.
4 is 1 and its inverse a mirror and intersections of geometries.
5 is 4 as arrayed in a cube.
6 is 5 in a series.
7 is prime real estate.
8 is endless
9 is 6 reversed.
10 is 1 and another.
3 is a fragment of 8.

1 is another. A commons as a circle is the center of town.
2. The center of the center, a hole.
3. A hole is a field of possibilities.
4. It is the custom of the inhabitants to gather periodically and try to remember.
5. Because it has long been this way the men wear derbies and overcoats, the women Victorian dresses.
6. They stand together at the edge.
7. Hands folded behind them, they wait.
8. They feel the air bristle with maybes.
9. But nothing ever happens.
10. It is strange the way momentous things disappear.

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Speed Racer by Stephen Hastings-King

This time he is a race car driver who struggles with recurrent sing-song strings of rhyming words that run through his mind disrupt his focus and interfere with his reduction to a volume in motion but then meltdown Piltdown the scene changes quick as a flip book and now he remembers race car drivers in television shows full of espionage open cockpits and aviator goggles, the whine of engines and implications of lubrication but cannot access the mythology so remains trapped within himself hurtling around a cartoon racetrack before a crowd of make-believe prehistoric men.

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The Past by Stephen Hastings-King

I remember at the top of the path from the footbridge over the multi-colored river in the basement of the house there was a collection of seashells arranged in transparent polyurethane cubes stacked with an eccentric sense of geometry into a 3-dimensional map of an imaginary sea. Aquarium paraphernalia has been placed around the map to enable a functioning ecosystem.

I remember the cavernous sense of empty gymnasium and the sense that I had interrupted something invisible and secret.

I remember being a commando wielding a plastic gun on the roof of the high school until the police came with weapons drawn. I yelled “It’s plastic” again and again, still not understanding the situation.

I remember becoming other people.

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Virus by Stephen Hastings-King

Words write themselves on my walls. They creep into paintings and photographs, erase elements from image, replace with themselves.

Words take shape in clouds of cigarette smoke. They fill up my ashtrays and pile up on tables.

Some days I trail them behind me like a smell.

When I get home in the evening, words are hanging in the air like dust. They stick to my glasses.

The cabinets in my kitchen are full of nouns. Stale verbs I never eat sit in boxes atop the refrigerator.

Words accumulate on my wardrobe like dandruff. There are fragments of stories in my sock drawer. They might be better than this.

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Garden by Stephen Hastings-King

Above the arrangements of leather belts cast iron wheels and saw blades hovers the rotting hull of a boat manned by ghosts in flannel who endlessly repeat the same slice of a long-ago winter voyage; in every photograph groups of them gather to peer at the strange electrical flash originating beneath the surface of the water between them and a section of Labrador beach littered with heaps of ice like walruses sleeping.

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The Assistant by Stephen Hastings-King

She walks quickly past the same series of four buildings again and again like there is in this place a single series of four buildings copied and pasted end to end.

A Voiceover accompanies her:

The Assistant is lost again in a grid city. Again she feels disconnected from the world. Where she is the sound has been switched off.

She walks quickly arms folded around her midsection.

She likes being an assistant. She admires her employers for their belief in continuity. She seeks direction through imitating them. To be an assistant is to be a disciple.

Q. I want to believe but I cannot believe. What should I do?
A. Act like you believe: eventually you will forget you don’t.
It is knowing that gets in the way. She wishes she had never read that.

There is in this place a single series of four buildings.

She works with a mirror on the Employer’s comportments. She reflects on her new expressions in windows. She practices acquired speech while walking The Employer’s dog. With time, they will feel natural.

But as the months pass things begin to change. She realizes that the Employer has also been adapting to the Assistant. The comportments that were to guide her are imitations of her own.
Again, she feels betrayed.

1 2 3 4

One day she came home from school to find her father hanging in the kitchen. She would not want me to tell you. But specimens cannot hear.

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Letter to the Editor by Stephen Hastings-King

To the Editor:

Some time ago, I began to write you letters with the idea of helping your newspaper become a more complete map of our little shared world. But as my work progressed doubts began to take shape.

In the beginning I made microscopic descriptions of architectural features and furniture. Then I began to include people, their personae and activities.

Then I realized that even though I am making this map I am part of it in the same way as the box scores and photographs of roller derby queens, advertisements for hardware stores and stories about distant forest fires.

Completeness is an unattainable goal.

At night when the ceilings are galaxies of shadows I think about seahorses swimming past scallops shells in shower-curtain oceans.

Somewhere there is a photograph of my father standing in a field of corn. I remember the photograph. Not the field. Not the corn. Not the father.

I am full of holes.

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