andante con moto

Mine meet the painting man’s eyes, “you read too much.” He says. He used to be a jazz musician. I crook a smile, embellish a nod, and refill my right ear with Mendelssohn. He stares agape for a moment–saturnine eyes droop, catch themselves, then fix upright again. He takes a thin brush from robin’s egg-colored water and continues his piece.

Violins drift in quiescence, flute-float and reach a surfeit of colorful bassoons and trumpets before they tumble back to simple notes. The blue-haired girl behind the jazz player has buttons in the back of her shirt. She reads andante con moto and flicks her wrist as she goes. She turns a page and the jazz player looks askance, first at her, then me, then back to his work.

I want to feel something, but the words of this story are so far flat. From the window, a boy wanders in circles as he takes pulls from a cigarette, and I let go a sigh. I shouldn’t be reading this much.

I should be writing.

I should be writing.
I should be writing.

A strong wind knocks the smoking boy and his smoke-line off-balance, the first of the season. The Mendelssohn piece ends. I should read to something else; something lighter. I should write. I watch the jazz player use a toothpick to dot black on his canvas. The blue-haired girl’s wrist twirls and dances to the words of her paperback. I pack my bag and leave.

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A Palliative

At this point, I don’t know what it’ll take. Do I need a new computer? Should I give the typewriter another go? Handwriting has its merits, but God knows I don’t have the patience. And then there’s this thing—a netbook. I’m staring deadpan at you right now. The words this thing conjures up are saturnine, they ain’t mine. Not to say I don’t have a certain muted punch to my offerings, just that my own irascible writings are much different from the Sturm und Drang that drip, drip, drip out in these Google documents.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Somebody needs to save me. Chuck this laptop into the river and let my hands roam other white plains for a while. There’s the rub. Self-masturbatory? Definitely. Ugh.

So here’s the deal, right. I didn’t expect what happened to happen, even if I did write about it. Eating those words, looking at empty spaces between my own. I’m my own Nostradamus, and I could kick myself for not seeing things sooner—or listening to myself, or editing even once or…or, shit I don’t know. Eat those words. It all comes full circle.

But she’s gone now. And there ain’t a word in this language, or any other, that’s gonna change a damned thing. Do I want it changed? 

How do I make love stay?

Don’t know. Or I do. Seven years is a long time. A long itch. A stretch. I’ve come out, abruptly, tabula rasa. Except there’s etching everywhere—but that’s how I feel. Empty? New? Can’t put a finger on it, they’re too busy plugging away, desperately looking for a loose word or two. Catch as catch can. Whatever comes, I’ll take it. Except, nothing. The words whiz on by.

Ah shit, I’m sorry for this. I’m working hard on things. For what? I don’t know. My stories are important to me, even if they mean little. Or worse, a whole lot. Too much to bare.

Don’t let this be it, please. I can’t let it be. I’m drunk. It’s a beautiful night. I’ve been listening to more classical music these days: Bach, Debussy, Handel, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky…I’m calling on you dudes. Help a guy out. I can be romantic, too. Read some of my earlier stuff; it’ll resonate, I swear.

More research. That’s the thing. Dive into words, into studies, and hope your own words don’t drown. Feel that pressure? Deep, man, reeeaaallll deep.

What’s happened to me? Who the hell am I? A phoenix? More like its’ ashes.

I’ll figure it out. Always do.

Until next time. Who knows when that’ll be…

Burial Writes

Pen’s out of ink, damn.  I scribble a little on top of the page, toss a quick signature, but I’m just in denial. The indents strain across the notebook invisible: cavernous lines sit dry and empty. I keep at it but my tries are beginning to tear into the page.

Where did I leave off

The pen’s done and I’m forgetting what I wrote. I turn the pen around in my hand and tap it on the edge of the page; fling the stretched metal clip with my thumb. I read from the last line I got out,
“I say nothing, but her word…”

The ink trails off at the d and ends.

Ok, that’s fine. Just one more piece of dialogue then end it.

I toss the pen onto the notebook and look to my desk first. I grab a pen out of the graveyard to give it a futile try. Nothing, not even a gasp of breath. I toss it back in the holder and take a glance around the room; maybe there’s one in my bag. Nope. Ok, alright,

Damn.

Gotta get this page done, at least. Maybe I don’t have to finish it tonight, just a hundred more words. I find one lonely in a desk drawer; a fat green click pen from a bank. I take the recently deceased and put it to the side. I reread the last line and top it off,

“…words echo through me and I can’t help thinking her thoughts as we look into the woods.”

I stop after I finish the line and read it out loud. It looks different. The ink, yeah, “words” looks like two different words, but my writing looks different. It doesn’t look like my handwriting. It doesn’t look like I mean what I’m writing. This pen sucks. I try jotting down a couple more lines but every word is wrapped in the crappiness of the pen. The lines come out forced, and like the inside of this dumb pen, hollow. I toss a line over the past few sentences and study the uncomfortable bank pen with both hands. The pen unwinds from the click and clip and reveals a still-full refill, cap nut, and spring that limps out from the back. I take it all and throw it into the trash, individually.

There’s nothing left to do but turn on the computer and type it out. Not that I mind, I just like typing finished stories. I like the feeling of writing out each letter; it’s the closest I get to creating anything visually pleasant. I like seeing the errors on the pad; they can usually make something, even a little poem. The backspace is too convenient, it’s too easy to erase the error and replace it with something new. Doesn’t give me the means to look back and try to create from the left out. I like to try and find inspiration there.

It’s my only option now though, so I turn it on without hesitation and immediately open notepad. I get down the story I had, making some minor changes to sentences as I go. I get to where I left disgusted and continue from there. Things immediately seem better, more comfortable for me. I keep going, writing whatever comes out and not bothering to really look back at it. It’s short so I can just read the whole thing when I’m done.

I finish in about the time it took me to find the diseased pen, and then scroll up. Satisfied, I save it and figure I can revise some more tomorrow. I take the K.I.A. pen and place it into the pen-holder where other emptied souls rest. The story’s over, finished without the pen. I guess I could write more on the computer; it’s quicker and cheaper. Maybe I can learn to just type without hitting backspace. I fold the notebook back, keeping the last page used on top, uncovered. Turn off the computer, close it, grab my phone, and set a reminder:

BUY MORE PENS