Category Archives: Walter Bjorkman

Walter Bjorkman’s Flash

Three Oceans by Walter Bjorkman

CHILD
A dream of eerie, oddly-shaped fish dominated my sleep some nights as a child. Afraid and rapt with wonderment, I could not tear myself away, awaken on will as with other frightful ones. I was slowly suffocating, descending deeper into waters that somehow remained just as clear, and although each non-breath seemed to be my last, it went on and on, intensifying in its awful fascination and constriction on my lungs, until some external factor woke me.

YOUNG MAN
I worked the waters of Miami’s gritty river for ten years, sometimes in the cramped hold of a millet-filled ship, where the grain for the hungry Haitian poor was piled everywhere. It got into my lungs, it provided slip-relief, like sawdust, from the oily floor. I also worked the gleaming docks of the shimmering Biscayne Bay where Americans came to bathe in the false hope of the Caribbean, hoping for some days of freedom.

Working in the spacious cruise ship laboratories with their white surgeon’s suits and fresh paint, I couldn’t help but wonder about the disparities — the Chief Engineer, a man of distinction, the scow captain a man of disrepute.

Then the pure joy of stopping by a Mami-Papi comedor, soaking in fresh-fried maduros where this conflict of Miami faded away into nothingness.

OLD MAN
Now I think of neither but see an azure sky casting diamonds on red coral specks in the sands, and dream of the white foam of a wave receding from your breast.

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The Fuggedaboutitkid’s Gal by Walter Bjorkman

Eddie always knew what the time of day, week, month and year it was, but never knew if it was the right time for anything. Marzy had a hard time getting past knowing the week, but she knew when the time was right for anything.

Chalky, the third wheel on this tandem bicycle, knew neither the time of day nor when the time was right, and as a result had been caught in situations like trying to smuggle in his pants two endangered snakes on a plane from the Everglades, the day after Richard Reid tried to bomb a plane with explosives he carried in his shoe.

Now they were railbirds at the Big A and as Fuggedaboutitkid rounded for home, Chalky was pounding his ass with a rolled up Racing Form as a whip, urging “getem! fuggedaboutitkid! getem! fuggedaboutitkid!” in increasing furor as the longshot whisked towards the finish line to top off an $18 thou triple that would erase all his gambling debts and set him up in the snake business for life. All with the tip that Marzy had given him and which she didn’t bet herself because Eddie liked The Dreamer, hoping to pay for the wedding he thought it was the right time for.

The nag finished dead last. Marzy smiled, for the wedding which Marzy knew it was not the right time for would have to wait.

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ain’t no such thing by Walter Bjorkman

No such thing a home when you are an afterthought the runt the grunt the stepson the one lost in the crowd because you do what you do and you never draw attention to yourself because the few times you did you were quickly smacked down into your place homes mean nothing they are just a place where you are supposed to stay to keep out of the storm and where you are supposed to do the things necessary to survive which put you in a vulnerable position to predators like cooking eating sleeping and taking a crap in safety but the predators live in that same space and shit eat and fuck while caging you into a corner then that ain’t a home no one does those things even if they say you are in a loving home the fuckers turn on you in a second if it means them losing anything michelle would poison barack’s soup if it came down to her or him it is total bullshit when anyone says they will die for anyone else we just hear people say it and they die running to save their own goddamn asses and we dress it up and make it that way after the fact because we can’t bear to face the truth so don’t give me this home sweet home because there ain’t no such thing

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numbing by Walter Bjorkman

Blue. The first memory or memory of a memory, though it must have been white. He had never seen one before, be it in pictures or real life. This was when the differences were still blurred, the lambs and bunnies all lived behind that bulbous glass wall in the tall wood box that stopped him from petting them, and he knew they were not real, but had a hard time accepting that. This photograph, fallen from a book, was the first solid memory ever, holding someone within its borders that looked curiously like a smaller self, all swathed in blue, in a baby blue tv-like box lying on its side, though it must of — had to be white. He remembers the top of the doll-like head being large and protruded, like that screen that divided realities. The cradle the baby was in, different than the one he used to have as a bed, smaller, barely held the still boy, who was a cold gray-ashy white, not blue. His mother gently took the photograph she never looks at from his clutching hand and sighed at him, knowing that if the figure in her hands were still real, the one looking puzzlingly up at her would never be there.

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The Mess by Walter Bjorkman

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

–after Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

“I don’t even know if love exists, has anyone ever had a definition that fully satisfies, or a love that does? If they say so they are liars.”

“Something doesn’t have to be defined or definable to exist.”

“Now you are pulling in existential crap that can be used to justify or destroy anything or everything. Next you’ll be saying how do we know that everything, including me, isn’t just your imagination and nothing exists but you.”

“It could be true, even if you say how come we both have the same knowledge, of the events in Europe or the color of the street lights or that my dad is screwing his secretary; I could say that is because I imagined you to think that way.”

“We could go back and forth like that forever, but I can tell you why that argument is bullshit and everthing is as real as the taste in my real mouth of that really bad meatloaf we just ate.”

“What?”

“If you, or I, are just imagining all this, why the hell are we sitting here just washing down lousy food with lousy coffee in a harshly lit diner at two am, paid for with our last two bucks, arguing about if I love you or if there even is such a thing, instead of fucking away in extended bliss in a bed of fluffed down while listening to Sarah Vaughan?”

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sightless by Walter Bjorkman

monk lips bleeding green
trees burnt to ash
of black shadow

No, you will not
suffer – my yellow
matchbox hands will

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Secret World by Walter Bjorkman

There is a fortress not made by man that holds a place where I hid the most, formed by four fallen trees still growing in a place called Bliss. The limbs arch out over a grassy hill hanging over the harbor – statues, tugboats and dogs being walked, all unaware of the space between the convergence of the trunks. I crawled in there over childhood worries whenever I needed to be alone, but never did I cry so much as that day. The thick growth of summer muffled even a nine-year-old’s most intense sobbing.

That day my swift, mad rush to my secret world started after my approach to the bed in pure but nervous joy, as my hero – his also, hit the game-winning homer to beat the cross-town rival Jints in the bottom of the ninth. I always shared the tidings at his bedside since opening day; we would rejoice or bemoan together over dem Bums’ triumphs and defeats. That day I received no reply and I realized he was sent home to die, not live. After a few hours hidden, I emerged from the wooded burrow, crawled out to perch on the outstretched limbs as the harbor lights dimmed, looking out in stony silence beside the craggy slope just to the north, known as Dead Man’s Hill.

Three months later the Dodgers fled to the west coast, leaving a young boy with no heroes at all.

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