Short Stories and Creative Nonfiction Essays

Friday, August 14, 2020

 I have regularly joked that as a writer, solitude is a must, so nothing much changed in my life when this pandemic came along. It took me a loooong time to become restless during 'lockdown,' but I eventually did. Wrote this on July 21st:

Parched, buckled asphalt scored with gritty fissures and whitewashed by time heaves moonward, abducted by her pull, splitting and falling away, at last surrendering to gravity. 

To remain like chapped urban lips, pursed at a buttermilk sky and taunting the tread of tires.

Of all the things lurking in hidden alleys, today’s glimpse ranks highest—fleshy and diaphanous, catching sun

He brakes, second-hand cherry-red Schwinn grinding to a halt.

The world has yielded nothing familiar, for months—nothing lifegiving—only the promise of more: More withholding, more destitution, the fleeting memory of freedom a shapeless reckoning licking a moonless night, like flames. 

The horizon hosts but looming threats—of micro-invaders and police states and orange-haired assholes breathing lies to sheep.

Brown muck has settled, clearing the once oppressive silt of sky and promising eternity.

Metal behemoths jet few and far between, assaulting the air with sputtering coughs of the brown muck that once blanketed all, horizon-to-horizon.

It’s all that’s redeeming in this silence.

Nights, absent yuppies and hipsters, coyotes have the run of streets.

No touch, no connectivity, for months—only masks and gloves and distance, suspicion and insurmountable divide.

And if the world without is inept as a prison, his own cells mutiny, render themselves as prone to invaders as a flame to the slightest breeze: a year without touch.

And now this:

Sinewy arms peeling damp cotton from a lean torso, click with sweat. All efficiency, no excess stored like toilet paper or Handi-wipes.

Only what’s essential.

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