"Doesn't this random scattering... seem desperately random - like the elaborations of a bad liar?"
Mikey’s sick (again).
Out of commission for the foreseeable future.
Miss you guys.
If you are going to write an author analogue into your story, do not make them an augmented, idealized version of yourself. Make yourself the villiain. The multifaceted antagonist. Exaggerate your flaws and darkest elements. Do not make your author analogue the person you wish you were; make them the monster you fear you are.
the scent of impossible elements
lingers playfully like summer’s exit
New England flowing deep in veins
carries a bundled winter year round
autumn takes a bit of everything
an untethered atmospheric change
curling like trees ready for the cold
dreams under a tilted axis shiver
in expanding nights heavy enough
to practice the art of adding layers
shifting in a season of complication
discoveries of blooms and withers
haunt as breaths ready to levitate
in transitions lulling mother to sleep
Lewis didn’t move immediately. For five minutes, he sat in the passenger’s seat, not sure he was ready to face what lay ahead. When the driver spoke, Lewis’s reverie dispelled.
"You sure you want to do this?"
Lewis shrugged. “No, but I’m hoping I’ll get some closure.”
In the distance, someone dressed in black emerged and crossed the alley way, entering the hospital through the side entrance, just as Lewis planned to do. Suddenly he felt skeevy and wanted to back out.
"I’ll wait right here for you," said the driver.
Lewis nodded and exited the car, walking to the same side entrance used by the person he saw moments earlier. He was instantly assailed with a flood of bright fluorescent lights and sterile, white walls. He approached the front desk quietly.
"May I help you?" asked the nurse without looking up from her paperwork.
"I’m here to see McKenzie. I’m her husband."
The nurse shifted her stony gaze to Lewis. “Visitng hours are just about—”
"I know," Lewis interrupted. "I’m leaving tomorrow on a business trip and would like a few minutes with her."
A moment passed in which the nurse seemed unwilling to relent, but she sighed and waved Lewis around the desk. “No more than ten minutes, OK?”
Lewis peppered her with thank-you’s as he stepped onto the elevator, even as the doors closed. But when the car began its ascent, his face turned hard again. The doors opened on the fourteenth floor (which was really the thirteenth) and found the nurse’s station at the end of the lobby.
"The woman downstairs said—"
"She already phoned ahead," said the nurse, cutting Lewis off and waving him through. "Ten minutes."
He found the room and stepped inside, bracing himself but found he was still surprised to see his comatose wife hooked up to machines, breathing only with the assistance of an oxygen tube. He approached the bed, pausing to take in her stillness.
"I wanted to tell you in person I’m leaving you." Lewis cringed at his own words, which sounded particularly callous in the moment. "I’m getting on a plane and never coming back, which won’t matter because you’ll never wake up."
He sat on the edge of the bed and leaned in close to his wife’s face. He studied her sunken, sallow features carefully, the same, faded features he fell in love with so many years ago. Now she was nothing more than a dying bag of bones.
"You thought I never knew about you and Kendrick," he said in a malicious whisper, "but I did. Wake up, goddamn you."
He straddled her and slapped her face. When he got no response—not even from the heart monitor—he slapped her again. And again. “Wake up, you bitch! Tell me why you did it. Tell me why you couldn’t leave me first. Tell me why you didn’t love me anymore. Tell me—tell me… Just…”
Lewis broke down into sobs, still straddling his wife, blind with the rage of his impotence over the situation. He wanted closure, but it would never happen. He could slap her until his hand fell off and she still would never wake up.
"Forgive me," said a deep voice from behind Lewis that startled him off the bed, "but I couldn’t help but notice your apparent marital woes."
"Who are you?" cried Lewis with shock and embarrassment.
"I’m just passing through. Sort of like you, from the sound of it."
Suddenly Lewis rose to his feet with a newfound bravado more comical than intimidating. “How did you get in here? What is your business? Are you with Kendrick, because by God, I’ll—”
"Do nothing about it," interrupted the stranger as he stepped into the light. "And no, I’ve no affiliation with any of you. I’m just taking names, is all."
It took a moment, but Lewis recognized the man as the very same he saw in the alley before he entered. Up close, he was imposing, wearing dusty black clothes and fine dark hair to his shoulders. Upon the recognition, Lewis’s bravado dried up. The man in black continued.
"People have secrets, Lewis. Your wife saw Kendrick because you had seen another woman, although it was many years earlier. Some people break easy and some shoulder grudges to last a lifetime; and your wife was one of those people."
"Then why not end it?" spat Lewis, stealing another glance at his unresponsive wife.
"She was about to, but then her heart simply gave out on her way to tell you. Life has a funny way of working out like that, don’t you think?"
Lewis blinked. “How do you know this?”
"Take care, Lewis. Try not to bear too great a grudge over your wife. As I understand it, she loved you very much, even at the end."
The man in black said nothing more and left the room, leaving Lewis staring dumbly at his wife with a head full of unanswered questions. Then it dawned on him: he never gave the man his name!
Lewis burst from the room and jogged down the hallway in hopes of catching up. The man was nowhere to be found. The nurse stepped out from her station and approached Lewis quizzically.
"Is something wrong?"
"Did you see a man dressed in black come through here?" Lewis looked around frantically.
"Sir, visiting hours are over. No one but you has been on this floor all night."
Lewis ran his fingers through his hair. “No, someone was just here—Christ, he was in my wife’s room! Don’t tell me no one’s been through here because I just had a conversation with him!”
"Will you keep your voice down?" The nurse glanced down the hallway, half expecting the patients on her floor to have awoken at the commotion.
"The man—the man… he was here. I spoke to him—"
An alarm cut off Lewis’s train of thought. The nurse returned to the station and gasped, then darted past him while he tried to piece the encounter together. When he finally noticed the emergency, he wheeled around just in time to see the nurse disappear into his wife’s room.
There was no panic in Lewis, who let an eerie calm wash over him. He had no idea who the man in black was, but at that moment he had a pretty good guess.
Shut up and keep writing.
I reiterate: Damn I’m good.
Feeling suspicious after being told there is nothing to worry about.
I am not a
I am just a
in transit to
a place they
Stacey filled up with hatred for everything slow
we sauntered past her door while she gritted her teeth
and we felt some guilt, as if her opinion mattered.
Stacey wanted notice as she busied her hands
doing things that did not need doing, but were loud.
Stacey hated poetry and colors unless they were red
and on fire / Stacey wanted power in a powerful world
but she cried when she was alone / she talked to herself.
Stacey envied everyone who could pause to notice things
she wanted time sped up, frantic, dance floor frenzy.
Stacey will not dance for her fear / she fears us.
I saw Stacey’s hands tremble today / I saw her shudder.
Stacey called out to me today and I tried to ignore her
but caught myself and walked back with flowers.
I welcomed her trembling hands / Stacey
does not thank you / she wants no pity / I pitied her
that was disrespectful / Stacey wants no hugs
I get it now.