paperbird

United States of America

Message to Readers

pretty fucking weird i don’t really know anymore but i guess you should tell me what you think

and the car exploded.

February 18, 2019

FREE WRITING

9
they say there ain’t much to intuition; it’s all of life’s problems
just jumbled together, and even the fantasies can make it through.
but i spend too much time watching the pasta boil
and the timer spins to a stop and mam rushes in with a
face full of that lacey hair, all spun into sugarcombs halfway through
sometimes she gets mad at me, she slaps my hand away from the lightning
tells me how the pot’s s’posed to be stopped so that the
noodles don’t shrivel, but that’s all i’ve ever wanted to see
and maybe if i watch long enough, the water shrivels too
maybe it’ll fall away in thick black curtains
or expand into air in fragments of smoke.
sometimes mam apologizes for my mind: to teachers, for instance
“she’s like a body.  she doesn’t do much.” and indeed, i got a body
eyes and a nose and a big wide mouth for swallowing dinner:
it’s how evolution made us.
but all of this intuition doesn’t explain how mam’s dead
’cause i still remember using all my intuition when the car sped up
it was a blue car, the color of pa’s old tuxedo, and there was a
white bumper piece with sticky black letters: GOD BLESS AMERICA
written in spindly ink, and little blue stars splashed into the plastic.
mam got mad at the tuxedo-colored car, her cheeks dark as chestnuts
the breeze had whispered through the windows, and she screamed at it to
FUCK OFF before someone got hurt, but then everything went wrong.
there was the big blue car, and then there was ours, and lastly a
flesh-colored tow truck rammed us in the back headlight
and the world tipped, it spun sideways.
i remember the windows turning to thumbtacks
and mam’s head drawing back and her tongue
flying out of her lips, red like lollipops
and she made a little noise, a squeak from her pressed jaw
but that’s all i can remember because my ears
slammed against the black seat, and i’ve been deaf since (like defying evolution)
—but i’m still pretty sure i saw the water shriveling up
on that day when the car exploded.
and the court was full of shiny lawyers and stiff snouts and computers
and i wanted to play on the computers, games like candy crush
but pa told me no, it’s not that kind of thing
(well, he told me with his hands)
and then he pushed me into the dizzy room, and i sat in
a glossy leather chair, and a man in a beard asked me:
“can you recount the incident?” and i said yes
and he asked me to elaborate
so i said i could remember it perfectly.
“tell us,” he told me impatiently, so i did, and i told them about
the tuxedo car and the tow truck and the bumper sticker and mam screaming
FUCK OFF, and the lawyers shifted and they turned and they
tweaked their mustaches so that hairs spread onto their fingers.
it was over after that, and i was made to attend a funeral
and pa cried, but just a little, because the marriage was falling apart,
and i cried a lot, my tears like diamonds in my eyes
and it was july, and the sun had cooked my face raw as a barbecue
so i sat in the shade of an oak as tears spewed from my eyes
like blossoms into a lily pond, and pa put a hand on my shoulder
but he didn’t tell me everything would be alright
he didn’t even look at me like he used to
and he was wearing his suit, just the color of the car, so i screamed
and he took off the jacket, so he wore just
a paper-colored shirt and a tabby bow tie, sweat sticking to his underarms.
and we both cried there, and it was a good thing that
it started to rain, because this time
i’m positive i saw the water shriveling up, but it didn’t expand
it just sat in the sky, and it waved to my mam.
 
i’m experimenting with narrative poetry but honestly i don’t know about this; it’s pretty fucking weird and random and i dont even know anymore.

Print

See History
2

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

5 Comments
  • Nonny21

    Wowwww!!!! This was an AWESOME read! Love this


    10 months ago
  • Oscar_Locke

    You should get this published in a magazine. This is unbelievably amazing!


    10 months ago
  • Silver Pen

    Contest results are out!


    10 months ago
  • Johanna

    Oh my god, this was beautiful and gorgeous and magnificent and I don't think I can describe how dazzling and captivating it is. I love the little details, the story you tell, the character, and really, just everything about this is... wow.


    10 months ago
  • Anha

    as weird as you think it is, i think it's quick interesting. it's like a breath of fresh air from your usually heavily metaphorical poetry (that's not to say i don't love your poetry too, i love all your stuff). the little details really stick - this childlike perspective offering a different view of events that we've heard of a lot in the media (car crashes are never uncommon), and i love the part near the end "and it was july...like blossoms into a lily pond". truly beautiful and unique, and the little characteristic tweaks, like "ain't" and "mam" really made it personal. the repetition of 'water shrivelling' was a great way to tie the story back together, and this piece read easily, i wasn't tripping over myself trying to understand any particular line, though i felt the word 'elaborate' was a little out of place in a narrative that says the child isn't particularly intelligent. excellent work once again.


    10 months ago