Hulking Leviathan the Sun – Brit Naylor

May 7, 2009 § 2 Comments

 

We allowed ourselves to believe no one cared where we were. We played hockey in the street. We slashed each other’s shins until we were bleeding, but no one would go back home for a band-aid, or to Mike Wheeler’s house, even though it was right there. Not one of us would even rinse his legs with the hose at the side of the house. There would be no profession of pain. When we were done, we spread out across the neighborhood, and one of us would strive to understand the nature of our Diaspora or else become delirious and slow in his wandering, fearful of how we were going to make him out to be dimwitted. We would taunt him. We would seek him out first when it was his turn to hide. It was a jocular love, a brotherly love; he was one of us, did he understand this? When we got tired of it, when even Joey Grabel had been found out on the roof of someone’s garage or, once, in a dumpster, when Mike said for the fifth time, I hate this stupid game, then we quit our stupid game and ran with bloody shins down Switcher toward the park. We played with a wilted football that arced like a comet toward the earth, a comet because more often than not we caught it, knowledgeable as we were of the shift and wobble of the sad flying object, made out above the sun like a silhouetted spacecraft or 
Armageddon right up until we caught it in our arms. Then we ran. We ran until our lungs were burning. And that fire was everywhere. 
        This was the summer, the last summer, before middle school, before girls, before drugs and social politics. The last summer where one of us didn’t want to smoke a cigarette, just to see, the last summer, in fact, before we realized that that hoarseness in our lungs some days was caused by the same force that made our sunsets beautiful, that turned them into orange leviathans crashing and turning the world to shadows. It was the last summer, for that matter, where we didn’t know what beauty was, but only how it felt, the last summer where everything was still like that, right down to our bloody shins. The last summer to be ignorant, to never guess that ignorance was what we would miss. The sun was so hot and we never really noticed it, though it baked the skin off our bodies in flakes, flakes we peeled perpetually, and with great zest, because we loved the way the husks of ourselves felt between our fingers. That summer heat rose up out of everything, hot flat rocks and sticky tar and dead grass, and Ms. Spitzer’s cats slunk about in the shadows of houses, looking tired and somehow ashamed; how could we have been unaffected? 
        We were affected, but we were guided by faith, a faith, the faith, older than Christ and written in our genes, a latent swan song stirred up by the simple act of existence. By the heat without us, within us, for it came, too, from our bones as they struggled, sprouted, and our dicks, they wanted to grow up without us. It seemed unfair. It was a conspiracy.  Our faith, our ineffable and obdurate faith led us on 
with the evening, away from the flagship of the sun which burned always whether or not we cared. 
        Our faith led us toward a holy place, a reprieve from the heat, for the rest of life would hold no such caesura until death. We were to exist in no other form, not yet, not just yet, and so we ran back from 
the park down Switcher, it was a race now, all of us becoming quick shadows of ourselves in the growing night, and we felt that we were part of some group of soldiers like from the videogames that our older 
brothers played, we couldn’t play them, it was the last summer before some of us could. The violence was sleeping in our steps, in our hands, as we fanned out, ducking between houses and through alleys, 
losing sight of one another but knowing we were all there. We passed Joey’s house, and Mike’s house, then Chris’s though they all looked the same. We were feeling our way. Sweat dripped down from our temples and between our shoulder blades, a tickle there. 
        We heard the roar of cars off ahead, that’s how close we were. The lights shimmied up from everything – the cars, the houses, the streetlights, the office buildings – and spread out like a haze, so 
there were no stars overhead, only Venus and the moon. Even in darkness we were half-lit. We could feel the blood moving just beneath our skin, believed we might be able to see it glow, even, were it not
for our modern world. We believed this somewhere deep down, in that place without cognitive thoughts, only secrets. That’s where we were going, after all. 
        We reached the rod iron gate in movements: the first of us scrambled over as the last of us emerged from between the houses, panting. We stripped down to our underwear, became fleshy apparitions in the fluorescent light from the Wal-Mart parking lot that filtered through the trees and got tangled in the pool, bounced against the blue tiles. And then we – 
        We jumped. We weren’t aware of our bodies, or each other, or the moon, or the beads of sweat that ran like strangled rivers. We weren’t aware, even, of the water, as it enveloped us. More, what it did: our condition was changed and, buoyant for a moment, we felt not what we were but what we weren’t, not anymore.
OHIO DRIVE
Geoffrey Spurgin
Inside the Dallas Police Department station, the day crew is hard at work trying to finger the guilty. 
“Hey, Wilson? You ever read the book Brave New World?” asks Peters. 
“Shoot! Been since high school.” 
“Well, what’d your teacher tell you you were suppose to get from it?” 
“You mean like, what’s the author trying to tell us? Well, I suppose it’s a cautionary tale of the potential evils when you mess with the Almighty’s work.” 
“Well, I’ll be. I didn’t get that at all. Sure, I was scared and all at first, but then I got to thinking. That Bernard fellow was a miserable son of a bitch. Everyone else round him was happy, so all he did was try to ruin the party. I kept thinkin’ Shut up man! Not everybody hates the world like you do.” 
“But Peters. Them were BRAINWASHED people. That’s the only reason they were happy.” 
“But still… they were happy.” 
Officer Jenkins jumps in. “Bernard was trying to free those people from their mental slavery. See, they was brainwashed in the beginning.” 
“Yeah, I know. But he was also freeing them from their happiness. Way I see, if you’re happy, you’re happy. No matter how you got there.  That’s the point. Happiness.” 
“But what about freedom?” asks Wilson. 
“Les ask the captain. Captain Cunningham? What’s more important, happiness or freedom?” shouts Jenkins. 

 

 

Power Lines - Geoffrey Spurgin

Power Lines - Geoffrey Spurgin

 

 

We allowed ourselves to believe no one cared where we were. We played hockey in the street. We slashed each other’s shins until we were bleeding, but no one would go back home for a band-aid, or to Mike Wheeler’s house, even though it was right there. Not one of us would even rinse his legs with the hose at the side of the house. There would be no profession of pain. When we were done, we spread out across the neighborhood, and one of us would strive to understand the nature of our Diaspora or else become delirious and slow in his wandering, fearful of how we were going to make him out to be dimwitted. We would taunt him. We would seek him out first when it was his turn to hide. It was a jocular love, a brotherly love; he was one of us, did he understand this? When we got tired of it, when even Joey Grabel had been found out on the roof of someone’s garage or, once, in a dumpster, when Mike said for the fifth time, I hate this stupid game, then we quit our stupid game and ran with bloody shins down Switcher toward the park. We played with a wilted football that arced like a comet toward the earth, a comet because more often than not we caught it, knowledgeable as we were of the shift and wobble of the sad flying object, made out above the sun like a silhouetted spacecraft or Armageddon right up until we caught it in our arms. Then we ran. We ran until our lungs were burning. And that fire was everywhere. 

        This was the summer, the last summer, before middle school, before girls, before drugs and social politics. The last summer where one of us didn’t want to smoke a cigarette, just to see, the last summer, in fact, before we realized that that hoarseness in our lungs some days was caused by the same force that made our sunsets beautiful, that turned them into orange leviathans crashing and turning the world to shadows. It was the last summer, for that matter, where we didn’t know what beauty was, but only how it felt, the last summer where everything was still like that, right down to our bloody shins. The last summer to be ignorant, to never guess that ignorance was what we would miss. The sun was so hot and we never really noticed it, though it baked the skin off our bodies in flakes, flakes we peeled perpetually, and with great zest, because we loved the way the husks of ourselves felt between our fingers. That summer heat rose up out of everything, hot flat rocks and sticky tar and dead grass, and Ms. Spitzer’s cats slunk about in the shadows of houses, looking tired and somehow ashamed; how could we have been unaffected? 

        We were affected, but we were guided by faith, a faith, the faith, older than Christ and written in our genes, a latent swan song stirred up by the simple act of existence. By the heat without us, within us, for it came, too, from our bones as they struggled, sprouted, and our dicks, they wanted to grow up without us. It seemed unfair. It was a conspiracy.  Our faith, our ineffable and obdurate faith led us on with the evening, away from the flagship of the sun which burned always whether or not we cared. 

        Our faith led us toward a holy place, a reprieve from the heat, for the rest of life would hold no such caesura until death. We were to exist in no other form, not yet, not just yet, and so we ran back from the park down Switcher, it was a race now, all of us becoming quick shadows of ourselves in the growing night, and we felt that we were part of some group of soldiers like from the videogames that our older brothers played, we couldn’t play them, it was the last summer before some of us could. The violence was sleeping in our steps, in our hands, as we fanned out, ducking between houses and through alleys, losing sight of one another but knowing we were all there. We passed Joey’s house, and Mike’s house, then Chris’s though they all looked the same. We were feeling our way. Sweat dripped down from our temples and between our shoulder blades, a tickle there. 

        We heard the roar of cars off ahead, that’s how close we were. The lights shimmied up from everything – the cars, the houses, the streetlights, the office buildings – and spread out like a haze, so there were no stars overhead, only Venus and the moon. Even in darkness we were half-lit. We could feel the blood moving just beneath our skin, believed we might be able to see it glow, even, were it not for our modern world. We believed this somewhere deep down, in that place without cognitive thoughts, only secrets. That’s where we were going, after all. 

        We reached the rod iron gate in movements: the first of us scrambled over as the last of us emerged from between the houses, panting. We stripped down to our underwear, became fleshy apparitions in the fluorescent light from the Wal-Mart parking lot that filtered through the trees and got tangled in the pool, bounced against the blue tiles. And then we – 

        We jumped. We weren’t aware of our bodies, or each other, or the moon, or the beads of sweat that ran like strangled rivers. We weren’t aware, even, of the water, as it enveloped us. More, what it did: our condition was changed and, buoyant for a moment, we felt not what we were but what we weren’t, not anymore.

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