The Lamentations of Dolores Day

2.
you drop hardly heavy to the naked sky
but huge hole you make
with nothing to show for your being
but the monotony you break

5.
quiet hush do not speak
woman place be humble be meek
quiet hush do not want
woman place be servant offer cunt
quiet hush do not see
woman place be beg be plea
for small sentiment,
smooth-toothed compliment

56.
Words like blood in my mouth:
to swallow or spit out?
Bleak iron memory clamp around my tongue
clutching my heart, grieving my lung;
till no breath is left to call your name.
I bite the clamp
and catch my tongue.

49.
maybe if i’m quiet
so
very
still
i forget to breathe,
your image will fill
the space of nothingness
i leave

3.
falling hard to see the square jaw above me grin
landing so thoroughly inside my awkward skin
hand come down and hit like metal again
small mercy head gone black as foot connect with broken back

 

The Malling Mare – an excerpt

The suns were setting earlier by a few minutes every night. The elders were quiet about it, but we – being the youngest and most stubborn – were loud and challenging. It was a strangeness we could not accept. We had so little play time out in the open anyway, it felt as if the gods were punishing us. To mark our defiance, we turned the suns’ setting into a competition of courage: How long could we put off running for the safety of lights? I was always faster than Kel. But this night we had left it almost too late for either of us. The last light was waning faster than the spring Nemok moon, and there was only so much time and no more. Kel had started his dash across the red gravel before me, but I knew he was no match. I would always beat him.

Faster Kel!…ha ha ha

Our faces gleaming with sweat and adrenaline, pushing each other with the threat of nightfall. We thought it so much fun.

– Beat you there, beat you there, beat you all to the Malling Mare!…ha ha ha

Home. Our Ma scolding us, her voice rich and decorated with Dahkso heritage.

– In, in. what is wrong with you! That you run with no worries! Nomads!

 Dark, laden with passion.

Ma came from a long line of Dahkso Travellers, peoples at once revered and scorned. Muta-Ma had decided to leave the tribe when her shoulders had buckled under the strain of Ma in her belly. Not long after Ma was born, Muta-Ma challenged the path by herself. One morning, still dangerously close to night, she left her tribe with Ma swaddled against her chest, and walked.

She came upon the Land Standers without knowledge or courtesy, and had been confronted by its inhabitants in like fashion. Because she was handsome or because my Puta-Pa had an affection for the wild or sympathy for the tiny hand that clutched at her breast, Muta-Ma was finally accepted as part of his house.

But it was never forgotten that she was a Dahkso Traveller and had strength beyond theirs. That she had chosen to leave her known life testified to a power that was more than flesh and bone, a power that whispered the myth of the Malling Mare.

– T Meeson

Max

I figured Max probably had three items of clothing he wore on rotation. I had time to think about this when I got stuck in a conversation with him earlier this week. As he mumbled about his dead dog and its mange that had brought the neighbourhood’s ire down on it like blades – probably the actual cause of the sick dog’s death Max told me once – I took some time to really look at him. For one thing, his eyes are alarmingly bright. Wide, perfectly brown pools of mountain water that sparkle from under his bushy brows. And the skin around his eyes? Smooth. Far smoother than the white of his hair suggests it should be. I wonder what he would look like if I took a blade to his face and uncovered it from its fur mask. What anomaly of age hides behind this fright of hair. I wonder what his mouth looks like. Every now and then, like when he’s licking his lips between words, I get a glimpse of a pink fleshy pout. I try not to look at it too long because it’s difficult not to pull a face at the remnants of some food goop dripping off of the ends of his moustache.

Imagining writing spaces

Her favourite seat is the window bench, next to the wall. The bench is a solid slab of oak; the window, a wall of glass to watch the world outside moving on foot, on skateboards, in cars. Here, around her, the smell of food and coffee melts into the din of brunchers. Above her, a speaker offers the familiar playlist of folk music. Here, she is the eye of the storm, the centre of calm. Everyone else moves for her. Here, there are no distractions, only story cues.

***

Eric hadn’t expected to be pet-sitting a parrot the day he started his first novel.
‘It’d just be four days,’ his mom had said. ‘No big deal,’ she’d said. Her apartment was dark and cramped, the only table he could write at in the kitchen – the sticky table with cracks in the linoleum top; the kitchen that stank like piss and parrot. The feathered beast that never shut up. Ever since she’d stepped out the door, it’d starting shrieking. Gravel-throated barks,a devil’s siren of ear-piercing single notes repeated for painful minutes on end, angry squawks thrown his way with flashing eyes. He tried to cover the cage, it’d started bashing its head at the cage. He tried to work on her bed, but found his only solace was sleeping.

Max, the neighbour

Max always seems to be in his car when I arrive home. Or leave home, for that matter. It’s his bush of white hair poking over the small steering wheel I see first. Even up close it’s almost all you see. Only his bright eyes stare out from a clearing in the mop. I think he has a mouth, because I can hear his mumbles. But I feel sorry for the words that are trapped behind his beard.

In summer, his soiled shirt will be open to his chest, revealing a smooth, child-like chest. It matches his stature. His pants are always too big for him so I’ve never seen his shoes.

When he sees me arrive, Max will get out the car and try to speak something at me. I smile and nod and wonder what mysteries hide in the dark corners of his rundown house.

He had a three-legged dog once but it died of mange. He still carries a newspaper clipping of a wolf-dog that reminds him of his dead confidante and shows it to whoever will stop for him.