There's something deep in the dripping forest that's darker than anything else in this world. You'd best pray you never find it.
A beach shaped like a razor clam. A vulvar shell like a lover's wild promenade. Beads of moisture and salt.
"Don't look for it. Promise me."
"One day I'll find you. I swear."
They tellin us we gotta meet up wi' a lady named Fleur De Lis. That funny. But it what they tell us. That Cajun French or summin. Know what that mean in English? Flower of the lily.
Fingertips oxidized brass smell. Grooved smokin' abraded calluses. An undersea cable drama.
Because you're always there. Spitting lore and ill-judged bromides: "You might win some, but you just lost one." A hill you might not want to die on.
"You might not find me."
Her bland face was sexual the way a cheap motel is sexual. Dirty. Cut-rate. Worn. But you stay the night anyway. And suddenly it's no longer about sex but about adherence.
"I'm sorry, Mikey."
"I saw you up there earlier. A girl with a voice like yours should never apologize."
Cover all the deserts in geometric panels. Spin a million offshore blades. Panels, blades, desperate boats, great cedars. Components of the flag of the refugee nation.
Have you ever felt bad about something, wished you could take it back? Downtown, a hawk roosts on a ledge thirty stories up. Calm and pitiless. In its mind already sorting bones.
I am sobbing. I never sob. I haven't seen a honeybee in five years. Must I compose a requiem for all that's lost?
"Yes. Yes, you must."
"But why me?"
Haole. Cracker. It ain't about whiteness, it a human thing. You have an advantage, you take that advantage. Majority will run with it. Don't matter, though I won't. No one will notice, or if they notice they won't care. Ditch that nigga. Cowardice is the febrile line running through the arc of the human story—thin, hot red, and moist with shame.
We're blinded on the Gaza Strip. We see red. We see sand. We see night. We're just guessing. Not guessing: imagining. The daubed wheel of trillions of stars turns glacially overhead. Christmas music, choral, sweet, as warm as the brandy that ignites the fruit pudding.
"How can I sing when my teeth have been obliterated, my lips torn ragged?"
Grasp my outstretched hand, take it, feel its hot sweat. My England is like an underground brook, bubbling beneath a brittle mantle. Aching with want, ghosted by yesteryear. Its heroes and heroines, its Arthurs and Robins and Boudiccas and Guineveres. Its Sids and its Nancys. Rule Britannia my flaming asshole. I love you. I fucking adore you. A disoriented child slips from a chalk cliff, and the ripples engulf the world.
The truth? Rags become riches almost never.
Bowie's gone. Prince too. That sly old Canuck also. Starmen waiting in the sky? The crack in everything? How about earthmen and women prepare to put in a shift? Help turn this clusterfuck around? The Provos said it: First we take Mountbatten. We ourselves. The dead will always dance, the sisters dispense mercy. I can wait a long, long time before I hear another love song, comes the echo through that crack in everything.
"Stop now. Don't walk away."
"I'll do what I have to."
Rags of green fluttering in the storm's death rattle. Pulsating clouds. Black remnants, dark marvels. Come here. Yes, you. I think you're beautiful. No, don't turn your head. Walk don't walk. Sing for the bones, compose hymns for the migrants. "Be joyful—though you have considered all the facts."
A girl meets a boy in middle school. They clutch each other, astonished. Share eerily similar playlists. Someone else plays a song by Journey. They think it's corny, both secretly loving it, the part about the small town girl living in a lonely world, but they also go down to the fleet river during the snowmelt and listen to Springsteen. Laughing and crying both. Waiting to hear the inky coyote wails from the other bank. Or hoping to see the visceral curl of a sturgeon outliving us all as it wrings all liquid from the world, lustier than the river that birthed it, writhing, squeezing, scheming.
It's a midnight promise, a moment of traffic and ambition, a howling voice on the flat side of pitch, everyone arriving in their Chargers and Mustangs, primed for a conflagration, drenched spectral, emergent, let down by the truth of the world, that its best moments are almost never announced, its secret dreams rarely if ever proclaimed.