Free basic version of the New York City session. This session contains 14 different recordings from around NYC. And it’s all presented in 15 minutes! Be sure to purchase the high quality version of this session to maximize your experience and hear the subtle and lively details present in the background!
He picked up the phone. Dialed the smeared number on the piece of paper hiding in the back of his wallet. Jim was looking for 30 minutes. He thought he had lost it. Idiot.
He not man that had given it to him. Jim was capable of losing the most important things in his life. He had proven that on multiple occasions. He was been sitting on the silver line. Making his way to Logan international. Visiting family. That when the guy leaned over. Asked if he wanted in on the secret.
“I know a place,” said the guy. It was February in Boston, and a warm one. The guy was wearing a down blue jacket. Probably a bit warm on the bus.
“You said you were heading to Wisconsin,” Jim turned flush, he was upset, he had not told this creep anything. Then he remembered that he had been crying. The guy was tender. He told him to relax. That he had lost his father 5 years ago to that day. What a coincidence.
Jim sister is being a real bitch, said Jim.
“We all get a little weird when we get knocked down. It can be expected. I know a place for you to relax back in Wisconsin. I’ve already texted my friend and told him you are coming. He’s got a place out there. He’s out in the French Caribbean right now. I think he sells drugs, but he tells me he’s a fisherman. Real nice guy.
Jim looked down at his shoes. He hated taking them off in the airport security. This pair was too tight to just slip on and off. He’s have to retie them again and hold up the line. Possible knock someone’s computer or baby out of the bin.
“Here take the number and call.” He wants you to go. My friend. He’s never there. It’s got this huge underground bunker in the middle of the woods. He took me there one time. There’s an elevator. Spectral scans for ghosts. That kind of thing.
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
Jim didn’t know what to say. He was still hung up on the state of his tight shoes. He had stepped in a sizable puddle on the way to the bus stop, and they were sopping wet. Probably stinking, but Jim couldn’t tell. His sinuses were completely plugged from crying. What a miserable wreck. His socks were going to leave wet marks on the rubberized floor like a creep. If he he took the socks off they probably wouldn’t think he was fit for flying.
“I saw a ghost,” said Jim. There was nothing he could do about the wet socks at this point.
It was in the closet. I used to see it all the time. My dad didn’t believe me when I told him, but I swear I saw it.
“What kind of ghost? A machine type. Something that made ice or alternators for cars?”
“I don’t think so. I looked like a workman of some sort. He was always turning the valve on a pipe. He’d tip his hat and smile at me when I’d open the door.
The man in the blue jacket frowned. So no ice then.
“No I don’t think so. He told me his name was Ned. I think it was. Ned or Ted. I have a hard time distinguishing between those two.”
So the house. My friends house. Put this somewhere where you’ll find okay. I think you need some time and this is the right place.
Every button has a given lifespan – so many presses until its last, a proctored mechanical fate The train travels along a known artery, electric pressure, cellular, red, programmed with a genetic death date – served its purpose – carried the data – a mote of light shown and wicked out.
The blood has no will of its own – the chime lingers still with no wind, yet there is wind, there is a body to which the blood belongs, a hand behind the static – the string woven.
You cannot predict the behavior of the ocean by the polarity riven in a molecule – the emergent property, this, the voice turned conch shell, the wood turned flame – a tower of mercury borne in aluminum, the ability of light to simply go out, a thought in an instant to be untunneled, unraveled from its elevator, swallowed up in a dark metallic glow at the base of the shaft.
Given the shape of the galaxy, we expect to be able to draw its components, instill in our favorite illusions what we recognize, what we admit is shaky, a reduction, a jelly in the bottom of the pot after all the uncertainty is boiled away.
Where light vanishes, a gravitational rumble pushed out what we pull from it, an inverse selection newly detected, known because it was seen-heard-felt, and that was enough to make it real.
The amazing Darian Dauchan: actor, writer, musician and man behind Brobot Johnson – A Sci Fi Hip Hop Transmedia Piece joins us for this podcast episode. What better session to use than Science? We learn what inspires Darian’s work and explore the creative process. Check out www.brobotjohnson.com! It’s so good!
DARIAN DAUCHAN is an award winning solo performer, actor, and poet who has appeared on both Broadway (Twentieth Century) and Off Broadway Theatre (Jean Cocteau Rep., Classical Theatre of Harlem). TV and Film credits include Law and Order, Nickelodeon’s Bet the House as Darian the “SoundFX” Guy, and the Lionsgate feature film Things Never Said. His band The Mighty Third Rail were 2015 American Music Abroad Finalists for the U.S. State Department, and in 2014 performed at SPKRBOX, the first Hip Hop Theater Festival in Norway. He is the 2016 Loop Station Vice Champion of the American Beatbox Championships and is currently developing The Brobot Johnson Project, a Sci Fi Hip Hop transmedia piece, with the support of the All For One Theater. The web series The New Adventures of Brobot Johnson recently won for Outstanding Score, Theme Song, and Comedy Series at the 2017 LA Web Festival, BEST music at the Toronto Web Fest, and BEST soundtrack at the Escape Velocity Festival sponsored by the Museum of Science Fiction. The album Brobot Johnson: Bionic Boom Bap is now available on iTunes and the show The Brobot Johnson Experience co-produced with the All for One Theater goes into previews for it’s world premiere on Feb. 14th at the Bushwick Starr. For tickets go thebushwickstarr.org
I sit and wait in front of the terminal. Tongue buzzing, breath screeching down somewhere beneath my lungs. Preparing to jack in. As I sit, ready to leave my brain and possibly my consciousness for the duration of my existence. I think about a time when I forgot my own name, driving a car down the highway at 65.
How fragile these things can be. It took me five minutes to figure out how to open the door. I stumbled my way into a small mall, stripped paint, hanging fixtures. JC Penny or Macy’s. I rode the escalator 3 times, back and forth, before it came to me. My name that is. It took me another 15 to remember how to put the car back into gear.
I dinged a vacant minivan before departed, but after I did I was off. And here I am sitting in front of the terminal. Preparing it all away. Again. I guess I’ve tried giving it away.
My menu opens up. Old DOS terminals. Orange text on black. Big square blinking cursors. You’d think this stuff was ancient just looking at it, but that’s what they want. The creators…anyway…no room for children. Just us and the robots.
The orange begins turning to a green and a blue. Music and carousels. I think I hear a crowd behind my cheering me on. I know it can’t be true. Just a cot. Sheets that haven’t been washed in half a year. I think it was raining outside before I logged on. Can’t be certain though.
It’s light up here in the rain.
“Do you love me?” asks the voice somewhere in the grey mist. Ancient sumarian bells blowing in the wind from 5,000 years ago.
“Is it a similulation?” I ask.
I get spit out. I’m sitting in a lecture hall. Something about magnets and electricity. Ohhhh. I think I’m going to be sick. Pistons firing off in my brain somewhere. I feel hot in my seat. Like I’m going to burst into flame.
Blip. Back in front of the terminal. Orange and black.
Board the train at this particular time – the track a mobius strip heading neither forwards nor backwards – the speech of the other passengers will drift through your ears in wandering circles as the conductor waves you aboard.
Frequent the point between the cars – the clasp linking memory to the next event, the placards posted to the tunnel wall bear you witness – you pass them countlessly, or rather uncounted, but still seen – it isn’t the number they care for, but the frequency.
Hold. The same breath will ride beside you, pressing its cheek to the train car, your temple rumbling, a reed singing in the accordian stretching between the ears – its song your song, you the same tempo, held.
The sky – even – moves inside the train – all the system a contraption – the planets lined up, gravity the same dusty train as yours. It is yours, this time. Your train is bound to the track – momentum and fate alike, the simple physiology of a beast and the contents of its belly – you the shimmer it eats again and again. You its charge. The reason it comes round. Its horizon.
Join the award-winning author and health and wellness expert Dr. Kathy Gruver as we test out the new Duckpin session. Dr. Gruver has penned several books, has a new TV series coming out, and has all sorts of interesting advice to share. Oh yeah, she’s a flying trapeze artist too!
Dr. Kathy Gruver is an award-winning author, health practitioner, PhD, hip-hop dancer and trapeze artist. She is the host of the new national TV series, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. Dr Gruver studied mind-body medicine at the famed Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is a natural health practitioner with over two decades of experience. She has penned countless articles, appears regularly as an expert on radio and TV, and has written five books on natural health, massage, and managing stress.
Breaktime Bowling (Duckpin)
Frying Corn Beef Hash
More Waves Martinique
Super Mario Electric Show (Tesla Coil)
Sloshing Ceramic Animals
Peeling and Chopping Potatoes
Rain in the Field
Wind Going Through Reeds
Step up the show. The big stage. Lights 10,000 degrees. Crowd of 50,000 or so. All of them about 10 below after the opening act. Good boy Johhny. That’s how we want them isn’t it? Line them up and I’ll knock them down.
“You’re on in 10 Weller,” That’s Johnny.
5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
I run out onto the stage. I can’t see a damn thing. The the blinding glare of the stage lights in my eyes, I brief glimpse of a sea of hands thrust into the air, waving. The surge of it buzzing my calves through my shoes.
I feign not having a heart attack and take a seat in front of my date for the night. My apparatus. It’s a big counting machine. Something brought in from Japan. They didn’t let me take a look at it up until this point. Johnny sent a crew out to Japan to take a look once we got word about this gig, but the government sent them on some wild goose chase up into the mountains. Monks with shaved heads. That sort of thing.
“What if it wasn’t bullshit?” That’s what johhny asked me one night as he passed me a joint. “What if the government was trying to tell us the truth, and we were too stupid to realize it. To catch on?”
I didn’t have a response then. Now I was sitting in front of the hulking thing. There was a wind and and the copper dials spun and the levers switched. I could smell an ocean breeze. Not just something that you could scratch and sniff either. You could smell the bird shit and 10 year old boys running around with seaweed draped over their heads.
How did they do it?
Why did I sign up for this? 10 million is good, but there’s also no way for me to leave this stage without looking like a fool.
“I ended up going to Tokyo a couple weeks ago. Drinking sake like the whole thing didn’t bother me. Riding around with Johnny. Meeting with engineers. Artists. Gardeners. Fortune tellers. They all told me the same thing. You’re fucked man.
You get up there on stage against the Push. That’s we called it, they wouldn’t even tell us the name. You go against the Push and it’s going to decode you and walk off the stage. Your bones around going to be dripping out of your ears. After that thing gets a look at you or whatever it does. It’s going to tell you things you shouldn’t know. Let you taste something sweet and that 10 million is going to mean nothing. And who knows, maybe you’ll be a happier man for it. But the rest of the world won’t know or understand it. And you probably won’t either.
Roll into this moment with me sister, a surprise visit, turkey sandwiches in Ziploc in the side pocket of the diaper bag— let’s go—son at your side, daughter at your hip.
Let’s go somewhere less intent, somewhere loose—loud, thirsty, and then soft. Sift closer to me, let’s be two threads of mesh, two lines of code zipped and unzipped.
Unwind with me, sister, my root in the soil, my signal boost—my ten thousand mile sight line, the odds are that you’ll write back within the hour— and each minute be letter linked to me.
Inverse wave form, the curl in the socket, pink sand, ocean gloss like fingernail polish— grind into it—we’ll dig together— teach me to swim, to feel to give up the words too.
Back up with me sister. Bear through the static—back up my memories— all those dreams, coil. Urge. Surge. It’s imperative, this parenting.
You my second mother, a wonder, your children such strange matches, lanterns lit, you a seam of fuel in the earth.
Join Endless Beautiful and critically acclaimed jazz pianist Jeremy Siskind as they explore the Butter Knife Blues EB Session! Hear about the House Concert Movement and theories combining literature and jazz. Listen and create with us during this episode!
Pianist Jeremy Siskind is the winner of the 2012 Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition and the second-place winner of the 2011 Montreux Solo Piano Competition. A two-time finalist for the American Pianist Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship, Siskind has performed jazz and classical music at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, in Japan, Switzerland, Thailand, Cyprus, England, Lebanon, India, Tunisia, France, and China. Siskind began serving full-time on the keyboard faculty of Fullerton College in Southern California in 2017 after teaching at Western Michigan University for five years.
As a pedagogue, Siskind boasts eleven publications with Hal Leonard, including the landmark instructional book, Jazz Band Pianist. Siskind is also a leader of the house concert movement, having performed in over 100 houses in 24 different states around the U.S., and given presentations on in-home concerts at Jazz Education Network, MTNA, and Chamber Music America conferences.
A proud Yamaha Artist since 2013, Siskind holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (Jazz Performance and Music Theory) and Columbia University (English and Comparative Literature). His teachers include Tamir Hendelman, Tony Carmaia, Harold Danko, Rose Grace, Sophia Rosoff, and Fred Hersch.
Close the hatch and activate. Microwave setting to high. Bits of cheese and bacon. Smooth glass sound of chimes behind you.
Grab the plate. Too hot. This is what you’ve been waiting for.
Perfect form and transcendence. The corrugated light at the back of the microwave transfixes you and you and enter a different spectral plane.
Welcome traveler. This is the hall of Olympic fury. All gods have stood where you are seated. Let us begin. Please scan your ticket in the reader placed next to your seat. Seat number 43. You have purchased a scalped ticket. Remove yourself and enjoy an existence of constant damnation.
Let the games begin! On the screen you will find Disney’s, 1961 classic, 101 Dalmations playing.
On stage right, the almighty Zeus and Ares engaged in battle cornhole.
You there, coming in to replace number 43. Play some music! Ah yes, as you look down at you forearms you will find that they have been replaced with band saws – good for bendy notes and even better for carving trinkets. Get to work!
What is this? Revealing itself behind a curtain stage left. It is a dragon! Old as time itself. The beginning of all that is will now grace us with the sound of her beautiful flute.
Nevermind. The all-knowing dragon doesn’t have any lips and can’t play wind instruments.
Viewers, if you open your app that you downloaded for tonight’s festivities, you will find a very special tarot reading….and a code for a holographic goat to materialize at any jukebox in the continental U.S.
I’m not telling you to do anything specific, but it would be quiet funny to materialize all of your goats in one dive bar in Tennessee….Just saying. Do what you want.
The door of the microwave closes, and you are standing with a bowl of cold, soggy nachos…and the knowledge that dragons do not have lips.
The award-winning poet Megan Merchant joins us for this week’s EB workshop. Megan was the winner of the 2017 Cog Literary Award and is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee. We tee up the Golf Ball EB Session in this episode. Megan shares valuable stories about her development as a writer in this episode. Her first children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You, is now available with Penguin Random House!
Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, Arizona where she spends her days exploring, drinking too much coffee and avoiding the laundry.
Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including Rattle, Diode, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Atlanta Review, Kennesaw Review, Margie, International Poetry Review, and more. She
holds a MFA degree from UNLV and was the winner of the 2017 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, the 2016-2017 Cog Literary Award and the Las Vegas Poets Prize, She is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee.
She is an editor at the Comstock Review, and the author of four chapbooks. Her first full-length collection, Gravel Ghosts, is currently available through Glass Lyre Press and was awarded the 2016 Best Book Award. Her second full-length poetry collection, The Dark’s Humming, won the 2015 Lyrebird Award and is also available with Glass Lyre Press.
Her ﬁrst children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You, is now available with Penguin Random House.
You can find her on Twitter: @meganamerchant.
Filling the Boiler
Playing in Icy Water
Plastic Trash Can
Shelter Walk Bubble Station
Too Big to Kick
Impromptu Stream Martinique
Walking Across a Small Bridge
I am told the dream can only be interpreted by the dreamer.
But my child and I have the same one.
He is drowning. I see him lumped—a wavy tuft on the bottom.
I ask the nearest man, capable of holding his breath, to dive in after. Any air I catch is sharp with rust.
When he emerges, I press on his chest until a rib cracks
but wake before his lungs can gasp and heart rhythm.
When he wakes, he thanks me for being the falcon who broke the surface to grip him,
while also the one holding space for his return.
He remembers slipping down.
I remember that waiting is also an anticipation of grief.
An hour before the light will rise like an alarm of fur
along morning’s spine—he disappears.
Comes back into view padding down the hall,
glancing sidelong at my door, thanking me for not scratching him with my claws.
Case Study 14368: Subject has been put inside a large glass tank, much like an aquarium. Subject, who from this point forward will be referred to as Hank, was been sitting in the middle of the glass enclosure for 3 hours. After 2 hours, Hank began complaining profusely and banging on the walls of the enclosure. To placate Hank, a 12-pack of Budweisers was dropped into the enclosure. Hank seems to be in a much improved mood.
Case Study 14369: Hank Continued.
We took Hank out into the wild today. He was given winter boots, a cracked, orange plastic sled, and a bag of leaves and left in the middle of a desert. After screaming “what the *redacted* and slamming his sled around until it cracked in half, Hank began walking across the dunes.
After approximately 30 minutes of walking, Hank removed his boots and threw them in a nearby bush. This was soon followed by screams of pain due to pointy rocks and hot sand. Judging by this behavior and the quick recovery, Hank will not be making that mistake again.
Case Study 14370: Hank gets his Bubble On
Hank was released into a zero gravity chamber that *redacted* has been hiding under the sea for the past 15 years. Hank was also given a rather fat duck as a companion. Hank appeared to be frightened of the duck for the first 20 minutes, but they were able to become friends after seed was lowered into the zero gravity chamber.
Hank named the duck Big Suzy.
Case Study 14371: Hank as an airline attendant
Hank was released into the cabin of a 747 flying from New York to Phoenix Arizona today. The flight was real, but the passengers on the plane were simulated. Hank did not realize this until the plane hit some turbulence and he spilled a Sprite on the face of a passenger. There was an electrical short and the passenger began growling like a crazed wildebeest. Hank locked himself in the bathroom for the duration of the trip. We will follow up with this in the next study. Perhaps Hank has a fear of wildebeests.
The mouse scuttles under the snow grass, the ice pushed up from the warmth held in the histic soil – the mouse knows nothing of epipedoris but holds all there is to hold about dirt, seed pod, shiver, and holes –
That means less is know about feathers less than he needs to about swiveled neck bones, ears asymmetrical, false horns, talon. Then again – you wouldn’t see them either – it is altogether possible not to look up, not to notice in time – for eight ounces of air to kill one ounce of blood.
The spring bubbles underground, seasons stacked like mouse prints, the tail of the sun swiped through the layers of pollen, leaves chewed to the webbing, the veins of trees stoppered, the forest holds its breath a quarter turn.
By dead reckoning, a mouse lives a half gasp, a whisker is a mote stretched to the wind. Smelling makes a sound, even if hearing doesn’t. The pulse speaks, even when the feet are still.
Still – forage the winter, small seed eater. The grass goes the same way you do, bent crawling in the melted tunnel of its own making. Make heat as you make haste – there’s no use in staying cold – stay long enough to exhale a hidden cloud, and spring will bring you offspring.
Join us for this workshop with Stuart Rice, host of the Sketch Comedy Podcast Show! Along with trying out the Masking Tape EB Session, Stuart tells us about the beginnings of his show and how he manages to keep his audience engaged and his guests upright on the inevitably unpredictable improvised path. We also announce the winners of the Literative contest that used our Arcade session!
The jump ship came down with a long whine that stretched across the tops of the trees and the one-story flats lining the orange dusty town. It had been a long time since they’d seen a jump come in. Probably twenty years. There was no reason to come out to far reaching mining towns anymore.
The resistance had given up and causing trouble this far out. And the feds had enough biometric scanners dotting every corner of every establishment and home that it didn’t make sense to try and hide in such a far out place. There was just as much a chance of getting caught out here as it was in the big metropolis.
The drop hissed as the back hatch opened and a dozen feds came streaming out. Caleb picked up his canteen sitting next to him and took a swig of irradiated water. He was on lunch and the day was slow until now.
The feds were all wearing their black and grey armor. Nice tight assault rifles. Masks covering their faces.
A nondescript one, just like all the rest approached caleb where he was sitting in front of his shop. They took their mask off. It was a woman with a hard face. She stared down at Caleb in his rickety chair. Looked like she wanted to kick him in the chest. Caleb stopped giving a damn out in the desert wastes a long time ago.
“We’re looking for someone,” said the woman. Probably a lieutenant. Caleb would know. He had been one a while ago.
“Caleb took another drink. Haven’t seen anyone new around her in a while ma’am. Your scanners tell you something?”
Scanners haven’t reported anything. But received a message telling us to come looking anyway. Anonymous. Called themselves Bellingham on the script. You know anybody that goes by that name.
“Don’t think so. Doesn’t ring a…bell….this bellingham that is.”
The lieutenant’s head perked up when she heard the sound of a dirt bike in the distance.
“You know who that is?”
On the bike. Coming this way…..You two block the street, the rest get into defensive positions.
The sound of the bike was winding and it came down the path. Caleb took another drink of his water. The lieutenant motioned for him to stand. He resisted for a moment and then thought better of it.
The bike came into view. A rider with a facemask caked with brown dirt revved the engine 100 yards past the town. The soldiers held their weapons at the ready.
Stupid girl, thought Caleb. He hoped Sandy had a better plan than this. Then again, he didn’t know how many lonely lunch breaks he could take in the desert town anyway.
EB057 CD 1.20.18
The banner stretches, a flag unfurled to a million women’s fury, determination, each step crushing the tar, what would break or hold them back.
It’s not easy to be angry– easier to roll up into the wheelhouse, not be let down, pretend that what you want isn’t important after all. Run woman–dig in your heels, stand on your toes, and don’t let me tell you what to do.
Pack up the hardtack, we’re going out as pirates– dispelling claim to the seven seas– that’s right–nobody owns you. It’s always seven, right–seven sisters– pursued as the Plieades, bells on your shoes, tracked, traced.
Let’s be bells then–and loud, if anything we can adapt–don’t crack– it’s all symbolic. I’ll be two solid inches of brass and a tongue of iron. I last centuries.
My call is a wave over the air– quoting other women’s words– Was it Muriel Rukeyser*“not waving but drowning”? Learning other women’s words then– asking their forgiveness and their full names, making myself something to drown in.
*“Not Waving but Drowning” is a Stevie Smith poem, not Muriel Rukeyser
Hannah Carmack, author of Seven-Sided Spy joins us for this episode where we workshop using the EB Session: Salt. Hannah talks about living with an invisible illness and how that has brought challenges and opportunities for her. We also make some bold predictions about the future of entertainment and identity!
Hannah Carmack is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time working for the organization STEM Read, connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. She has a number of poetry publications, all of which regard living with ulcerative colitis. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it. Her debut novel Seven-Sided Spy just hit shelves this January with NineStar Press.
Rain Martinique Morning
Messing with Lock in Basement
Food Truck Night Music
Super Mario World
Shoveling and Salting Driveway
Listen to the episode!
He watched the grey surf pound the distant beach below the beachside balcony. Jan snapped a couple photos. The lighting wasn’t good. It was never as good as he wanted. Jan had tried to take a class on photography once, but his mother had come down with vertigo, and he had used it as an excuse to drop out. Now his pictures were always too dark in the morning.
Jan put the lense cap back on the barrel of his camera and went back into the room. Room was softly playing from the old radio that they had provided. He couldn’t tell if it was a novelty to have such an old thing or if that’s what they were dealing with. Maybe radios had ceased to evolve years ago. Perhaps they had reached their perfect form.
He flipped on the stream vision. The monitor screen below showed him in perfect contrasted definition. Even though the lights weren’t on. It combined different rays of the spectrum to construct the perfect visage, something that he had never experienced in a mirror, something that he never would, but that perfectly defined form was how the rest of the world knew him.
He put his stream finder on random and began surfing. It cut to a forested scene. The sound of the wind was soothing. The rattle of a woodpecker somewhere deep in its heart. This was good.
The channel flipped.
It was on a shipyard somewhere. Workers were using welding torches to cut off bits of a giant metal hulk – some kind of barge. It was orange with rust, and giant chains pulled off elephant sized pieces of decayed slag into the ocean. The camera switched to two men eating sandwiches and wiping their noses against the brisk polluted wind.
The stream transitioned.
It was of someone sitting on the bed gaping at the screen. A silhouette of a human, a slight shade of pink where the mouth should be, eyes too blue to be of this earth. Perhaps even the muscles of an Olympian.
It was Jan. He was the featured channel.
He watched the counter on his monitor shoot up. 10,000 viewers across the world were watching him, and he was sitting on his hotel bed looking like an all-powerful dumbass.
Should he stand on his head? Should he tell a joke?
Jan couldn’t think of anything. He had been streaming for 24 years, and this had never come up. Once in a lifetime. This was a once in a lifetime event.
He stood and raised his hand to wave.
And the stream changed.
Hills upon hills the many gates to heaven, the stone portals–passed through and missing air– the whistles of birds get lost, swallowed tongues lie dormant.
It is easier to slow down when time does not exist– to sleep in the crooks of trees where all the land is sleeping, inked into sepia stillness.
In the hollow of the tree trunk in the gulley under the hill, there is a light– a glow round as a guitar string.
The dry underneath of a curled leaf, the interstitial between termite and the standing snag, the world turning to pulp, pressed, served, stretched, illustrated.
Again it is illuminated–the bulb, a green sprout through the discarded page, ivy pulling down the frame, running over it–dicotyledon– monocotyledon, a rhythm in the garden, one and two, a waltz. A rattle.
A pattern. A stitch. A plastic bag rolling down the street into a pile of birdseed. The gutter cluttered with mud like a mouse nest. Sunflower husk and wooden bones, littler monuments to littler hills.
Grab your mug and join Vanessa Rodriguez for a stimulating conversation and creativity session using the EB Method! Vanessa was one of the winners from This is Writing’s university writing contest held in 2017! We think she has a bright future in writing ahead of her!
Vanessa Rodriguez was born in Los Angeles but raised for most of her life in San Diego. Raised to be an avid reader, she began writing poetry in middle school and has since delved into writing short stories and completing novels.
She is currently attending San Diego State University as an English student, presently completing her final semester before moving on to graduate school. She plans on becoming a professor or a professional writer – perhaps both!
Vanessa’s work can be found at:
Grinding Coffee in the Supermarket
Playing with Toys
Sweeping the Stairwell
Martinique Lazy Tide
Driving to get Chairs
Walking Around Town
There was a brush of wind as he tore up the fabric of an old sweater while periodically taking breaks in between to chew on salted cashews, surrounded by the silence of his outsider’s apartment. He was making up new rags to polish his car, a bit beat up and well-worn, flecked with mud from the night rain.
He had just finished this when he remembers the sounds of the Jamba Juice he works in, flailing about as flurries of voices came in and out of stock, coming up to his ears in a linoleum wave. The sound of the blender had always bothered him, too sharp for his ears, too much of an assault in comparison to the light tear of frayed fabric popping under his strength.
He remembers going home to his crowded house, littered with children’s toys thanks to the daycare his mother ran during the week. She greeted him offhandedly, children screaming over her as their voices burst from the backyard. She was feeding two children in the dining room when he came through and stepped on a nondescript sound toy, the squealing shrill of the machine’s voice coming through too harsh as he struggled to run through the crowded space, hide in his bathroom and take in a few breaths. He tried to remember the calming noises of the library, the old apartment his buddy lived in, the one nestled in the back, so far from the street that not even the wail of sirens came through. He couldn’t lose himself in it thanks to the intruding sounds that played outside the door, his sister sweeping, sticking the hairs of the broom right up against the walls so that he could hear her scrape across the floor.
He drowned out the noise by turning on the tub’s faucet, plugging the tub. He wasn’t one for baths, but he liked the sound of the tub filling up with water, liked when the water became a mute bubble as it drowned out all the other noises. He imagined he was far away, far away as he plunged his hands into the water, moving his arms and waving it around so that he could hear it gently splash against the walls. He tried to remember a day where he was in his car, not the one he owned but a smaller one, one that made the air compress and music sound closer than it actually was. He imagined it as a Rabbit, one from the 70s maybe. He always liked those. His hands touched the bottom of the tub, he closed his eyes and imagined that the crickets were the only things he could hear, not the sweep of his sister’s broom or the caustic shout of his mother’s voice.
He was still young, he could get out of this. He could buy a cabin in the woods somewhere, maybe buy his Rabbit, make a few friends and listen to music in the night like most people his age would. Maybe chew on some cashews, maybe clean his car, maybe listen to his own thoughts for once, drown out the hectic noise that made his head hurt. Maybe he could do that, maybe someday he would.
He crunched the peapod between his teeth, sweet, green juice and pods slid across his tongue. This was the good stuff.
Gram Gram knew the right ones to pick at the market. He had paid her three kaui to take a pail to pick something nice. She had not failed him.
She was sitting across the shop from him, next to a broken down electric bicycle. She watched seriously. He smiled and a pod slipped out of his mouth. Gram gram rolled her eyes and looked at the oil cans hanging on the walls.
“They’re good,” said Xi
“Of course they are.” Gram began fanning herself with a faded magazine advert for tires. Xi popped another pod in his mouth. Ah…it was a hot one alright. He had felt like he was going to die five minutes ago. It was a wonder what a pea pod could do.
A young man came rolling his bicycle up to the shop. Xi smiled. The man was dying of the heat. His drenched t-shirt was hiked up above his chest. He was desperate. Xi would be able to charge more to straighten his rim and sell him a new tube. He could tell by the minute wobble of the tire. He offered him a pea pod.
“This thing keeps on giving me trouble. 3 flats in just as many weeks,” said the man. Xi squatted down, feeling around the tire and the rim.
“You have a bent rim,” said Xi. Playing his part. Standing and moving to the other side of the e-bike. “I bet your tube is no good either.”
The young man slapped his forehead. I can’t be dealing with this right now. I need to buy books for school.
“Don’t worry,” said Xi. He stood up, wiped his hand with a rag hanging out of his back pocket and grabbed some more pea pods. He handed one to his new favorite customer.
The youngster furled his brow and motioned it off.
“Suit yourself. 200 hundr…” A radio began blaring on the back wall. Xi jumped and dropped his remaining pod. They both looked over to see Gram messing with an ancient radio that was around her age.
“This stupid thing,” yelled Gram.
Xi ignored her, and snapped his fingers in front of the young man. “Tell you what. I’ll give you a new rim and tube for 150. How does that sound? Enough for your books?”
The student sighed and they both looked across the street at a woman walking children sucking on popsicles in the heat.
Squeeze. Squish. In this alphabet the s and the q are little inversions of letter and tongue. In each curl is a cubby, a cave to grind down into and hibernate – the winter a mirror where mammals practice death – and frogs freeze solid – reanimate. Peer into that mirror with your tongue curled. That is if you have the gene to do it. It’s fickle, arbitrary, that long dark hole into the bottom of the throat – the mouth of the cave – the cave of the mouth.
Ignore the noise – the rustle – the ringing, the pale grumbling of the earth under ice – but don’t forget it. That mud is alive. Even the inorganic – for it is touched with the blended bacteria of the clouds. Even the technologic – its tectonic presence always an artifact – not of artifice – but of living things and the fact that they die.
Balance? Cycle? Even these are alive and lying. Count instead on disruption. On the squeezing of cricket legs and the squish of mud in the January thaw. Count on there being tracks in the snow – deer – squirrel – vole – crow, and the drips, the alphabet of tree limbs and the wind signing its name.
Look and look and look at that mirror. And then look away. The light has changed. the temperature has dropped. Your face is clouded by its warmth.