He saw Evelyn in passing, a ghost in the distance, his love and his biggest regret.
They used to sit on the tailgate of his pickup truck in front of the abandoned coal mine, drinking cheap beer and talking about all the places they would rather be. Their town(more) was too small, too boring. It had nothing to offer but meagerness, a depressed and constricting smallness that crushed all hopes to dust.
He would kiss her neck, tasting the salt of her skin in the dusty evening, and fall back with her on the blanket. He was liquid under her touch, under the stars.
She wanted to move to Santa Fe and open a pottery shop. He hated the heat, preferring Canada and the cold mountain peaks. He hated her art and the way her skillful fingers molded the clay into perfect forms. She was as hard and unforgiving as diamond, always trying to perfect things. She poked and prodded at his faults and then focused all her attention on her craft, leaving him to seethe in self-loathing.
He was coal in her hand, and for all her squeezing and pressing he had become nothing more than coal dust. Evelyn always had diamonds in her eyes. (less)
Gasping cadmium breath, arsenic eyes bloodshot and sunken staring balefully at the demanding look of greedy mindlessness congealed in lies stained with self delusion. A holy spirit so woefully defiled by ignorant fumbling could be forgiven but the wilful refusal to recognise truths gentle loving gaze lingering so patiently(more) hearkens grim reprisal never dreamt of before by human form.
Sulphuric realms drawn from within heavens depths. What tragedy deserves this applause. Profit margins and livelihoods. Courage men we march into the depths so that in this way our loved ones may be kept from the cold this winter. Perhaps we'll lose our lives to this endeavour but what of it maybe we wont and our families will be fed and we'll have our self respect at least. A warm fire and money in pocket.
Have a smoke friend and a beer. Its best not to think too much about it. Blow off some steam tonight and march into the pit in the morning with your brain fried and thoughtless. Truth wont mind and scorn will have been excorcised in the meantime.
We've got each other. Sure life aint perfect but we have a laugh and a joke. What else can we do. We've got families to think about and it'll all work out somehow wont it? Its got to. Hey life is short and there's kids on the way maybe they can make a difference somehow. Would hate too see them hurt though. They need to be protected from this hellish catastrophe. We'll figure this out somehow.
Maybe it aint so bad..maybe its all in my head. Look at that blue sky and this beautiful day. I worry too much. We'll make it through somehow just gotta keep my head down and plough on through. What can one man do.(less)
I hated the mine. I hated my parents for living in the mining town and most of all I hated my father, who loved the mine. From as long as I can remember he would be gone before dawn and return, a blackened ghoul in the evening. He would stomp about the(more) house, a cloud of coal dust in his wake talking loudly about the men, and the pullys and the yield. He loved the mine. He could not understand why I could not. I felt a wave of sorrow for my poor mother. He never stopped to think, never considered taking off his boots and hat and coat before bursting into her newly polished sitting room. My happiest days were when I was a small, small boy, too young to be expected to row in in any significant way with the household chores, and definitely too young to be considered a runner for the mine. I remember sitting cross-legged behind the couch as my mother did her daily cleaning. I would take the feather duster, flatten it's down and pretend it was another little boy like me. Sometimes I would dance about the sitting room with the duster until my older sisters started calling me "twinkle toes". As I grew up, I envied them and their dollys. They were not expected to play ball come rain, hail or shine. They could stay in doors with mother, where as I was shunted out to the street to play cops and robbers with the other boys from the terrace. They were tougher than me and had no interest in my made up stories and all they wanted to do when they turned sixteen was to work in the mines. To go down the dark hole that was slowly suffocating me.(less)
We’re all just stardust, boy, delicate as a new dawn, waiting for daylight to find us and make us glow.
But our skin’s too thick, boy, too thick to let the light through, and there’s a restless tragedy lurking below our hearts.
Your blood tastes like th(more)e ocean, your breath like ozone (sometimes I think you’re an angel fallen to earth). I tasted you and knew you, and you poured yourself into me, until I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could light each other.
You catch glimpses of yourself through someone else’s eyes, and are surprised by what you see.
We’re all just stardust, boy, held together by the barest connections between atoms.
Maybe it’s that our skin’s too thin, boy, too thin to contain the force that pulses with in us, and there’s galaxies swirling under our tongues.
Your hair smells like smoke, your skin like wet soil (sometimes I pretend you’re an earth spirit). I drank you in and wondered at our disparity, until I thought that maybe, just maybe, our differences could set us alight.
What you’ve seen of yourself through my eyes changes your own sight.
We’re all just stardust, boy, stardust and sawdust and ashes.(less)
Jane sipped her drink anxiously. The room was filling up and she could feel the sweat begin to prickle under her arms. Her friends were already beginning to mingle and chat. Sophie had her head thrown back, laughing at something that a tall black man was saying. Ruth was also dee(more)p in conversation with a guy with a leather jacket. Jane took another slug of her gin and tonic, at this rate, it would be gone in no time. It annoyed her that it was nearly finished and she still felt all stiff and sober. It's not as if the girls had said anything, but Jane felt under pressure. She had sensed from the lead up to the evening that there was a competitive edge. As they got ready and made their way to the hotel, it felt more and more like a race. A race for a man, a race not to be the proverbial "last one standing". The "mix 'n' mingle" night had been Sophie's idea, of course. She was the blonde bombshell of the trio, even as far back as college, she had her pick of the men eating out of her hand. No wonder, now that she was newly single again that she wanted to flex her flirting muscles. Jane looked over the rim of her glass, the black man had leaned in to her and she was now fiddling with her hair. Jane sensed she would win the race and not only that, she would have a strong finish. Jane's glass was now empty, save for a wedge of lime. A stocky guy with a face like a ham sidled up to her. "W...w....would you like a drink?", he asked her, his hammy face shiny with sweat. Jane sighed, it would be a long night.(less)
"It's all in the wavelength," she paraphrased, staring down at the book. "What our brain perceives as color depends completely on the condition of the phenomena that enters the eye." Her hand ran over the familiar spectral grid, pausing to scratch at a speck of mystery gunk that has(more) a tendency to dry on the interior pages of hand-me-down texts. "A simple shift can change the way you see."
"What do you see now?" her studio partner asked hesitantly. She intimidated him in every way imaginable. Her company was never comfortable, and yet he could hardly deny his curiosity the chance to satiate itself on the glut of her enigmatic tendencies.
"This." She nodded, and without looking down grasped two tubes of acrylic paint and squeezed them forcefully onto the table between them. Her gaze locked onto his widening eyes as she grabbed his right hand, pushing it into the cold, viscous puddle, sliding it vigorously over the wood grain.
He breathed in sharp shock at the sensation, and looked down to see that the black and red pigments had emulsified into a biologically alarming hue. It sloshed over his fingers, flooding into the valleys of his hand; the immediate aftermath of an invisible injury from which he tried instinctively to retract, but her grasp held firm.
"What do you see?" She mocked in a girlish tone of apparent self-amusement. She pressed his left hand to the table and slid his stiff fingers between and around each other, tittering subtly at the sucking noises of the slowly drying liquid. Suddenly, she lifted his palms toward her face, examining them for a moment.
"This is what I see," she announced seriously, turning his hands to slap them across his eyes and mouth. "Hold on, I need to get my camera."(less)
He said: Come on, now. It's morning.
(more) She told him to fuck off.
He walked over to the window and threw open the curtains. As they parted they made a rough, angry sound.
Disagreeable light flooded the room. In bed, Julie immediately felt uglier. She pulled the blanket over herself, though it smelled stale.
Light was overrated; it only revealed dirt. Dirt in the corners, every corner of the world, barely held at bay through constant effort! Grime welded into her own skin like lesions. How could anyone keep up against the dirt? Better to close the curtains.
"Let's throw some light on the subject!" Jon said.
Julie had grown to hate him and she hoped the blanket over her head shielded this information from being projected.
Jon and his well-off family. His own mother so fat and clean, always cooking and scouring. Always in full make-up. Tearfully, smilingly she finagled love and consultation on all things from her sons and husband. She was given jewelry. She got taken on holidays, fat old white-woman holidays: all-you-can-eat resorts with azure pools, the gentle facades of developing nations with barbed-wire fencing to keep out the local drift. Yet all the while smelling vaguely of gravy, and her sickening Red Door perfume. Julie had no idea how she did it.
The grey morning sun highlighted the pile of laundry overflowing from the hamper. For a while Julie had done their washes by hand in the bathtub. Wringing had caused the flesh around her thumbs to tear. Her hands were stiff and red, all for a chronic lack of a spare $4 for the Laundromat.
"Close those curtains and let me rest," she said. Monotone from under the sheet.
"Rest?" Jon said. "You don't deserve to rest."(less)
I open my mouth and from it I can feel long thin legs reach out and place themselves in a ring around my lips, as if to pull out what they come from from my throat. I can see them, blurred but long and white, they are then, almost(more) like that of a spider, but there is more flesh to them. There is no discomfort, no gagging or choking as one may expect from something strange crawling out of your throat. Instead I feel as if I am drinking a glass of water and swishing the water down, and the loss of breath that comes from taking too long of a drink. I start to gasp for air and the feeling of choking starts. I fall to the floor on my hands and knees, I can feel the thing pulling out of my throat, it's like I am perpetually vomiting, and my vision blurs from the strain. The whole thing is now in my mouth, and the choking stops. The long white legs pull it out of my mouth and it is gone from my face. I take a few exasperated breaths and my vision returns, in front of me is nothing, just something strange.(less)