The Bookkeeper

See how the shelves are lined with books of every size and shape. They have no titles here, only names. Look, that shelf just to your right, on the lower shelf, it’s a small book. Red cover. Small words. Young Thomas Mann. Please, pick it up, take a look. No? It’s not to everybody’s taste. It was only written in a few days, not much thought went into it before the author finished.

Lets keep going, shall we?

You’ll notice some books are newer than others, some far thicker, some almost too thin to be a book at all. For a time we held a section entirely composed of leaflets, but we gave up the endeavor to catalogue our books by year, rather than length. Some things, you know, are just too predictable, and others are simply too constant. There will always be brief stories. And yet, they are sometimes the brightest, most sincere. However, as you may find as you look about, the lengths have been growing steadily longer for quite some time. The curator upstairs tend to think it’s a trend that’ll be reversing soon. We shall see.

In any case, what is your preference? Would you rather the vibrant ones, rich with detail and vivacious prose? They’re thrillers, in a way, strewn with velocity but sometimes lacking any genuine conflict. There are others, mind you, with a bit more wisdom, rather, a touch more timelessness: They may have softer covers, seem bound from a time before ours, the words dense with vicarious longing, drawn out and slow, a relaxed pace fit for nightly pleasures. Oh, look, just consider these two: Courtney Brown, a bright piece that’ll surely make you feel for her, and then Malcolm Jones, that might as well be a history if you make it through.

Still not piquing your fancy? Don’t worry, though, we’ll all end up on these shelves eventually–whether you want it or not, authorship is inevitable in the library of life.

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a remembrance of things past

Sometimes I remember
what it was like to smile
to feel the sunlight on my skin
that warmth, was it your hand
on mine that made me simmer
inside, made the worms create
cocoons to emerge as butterflies

Sometimes I remember
how it felt to feel the rain
splatter on my lips, quench
the thirst of arid summers
feel the specks of sand
clump between my toes
like a second flesh, to see
rainbows cut across the sky
a tapestry of endless colors

Sometimes I remember
the echoes of your voice
and mine, that laughter
after a well-told joke
a casual smile, splashing
rain, was it your laughter
from the lungs, from the stomach
to my unbeating, broken heart

Lloviendo (Raining)

He shivered on the park bench, gripping a folded newspaper to his breast while masses of umbrellas–yellow, white, polka-dotted and rainbow–rushed past him. A little girl in a pink raincoat let go of her mother’s hand and stopped by the bench. She wasn’t scared by his unshaven face, his weathered clothes, his wrinkled hands. Instead she smiled, said, “Here, mister,” and handed him her tiny pink umbrella before her mother pulled her away.

Sirium 5

V. Gypsy Moth Fortune Cookie

I spread my arms into the wind and jump. For a moment we’re suspended in space amid the single note of someone’s scream and a roll of thunder above us. Then we’re plummeting toward the ground, the wind roaring into my ears and rain splattering across my face. I spread my fingers–the water hits them like ice and I swear I’m bleeding–and try to feel the water droplets in the air and the layers of clouds above us.

The rain’s a lot like the snow, and I feel the droplets moving toward me as I start to bend my fingers inward, but the clouds are like the river I hadn’t quite gotten hold of. I open my eyes and try to look upwards, to see them, but it’s all a blur, and we’re still falling. I shut my eyes, imagining the clouds and spread my fingers again. It’s now or never.

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Sirium 4.2

IV. Radioactive Kitten Cage

2. Lithium Ion

As I climbed in her car, Rebecca Blakewell tapped the side of my skull with her finger. I felt a sudden jolt and suddenly I couldn’t see. “It’s only temporary,” she said with a laugh and I heard the car door close.

Another door opened a moment later and she closed it before starting the car. It rumbled underneath me and I heard over its rattling the sound of sirens in the distance.

“Did you knock them all out?” I asked. She and I had been alone outside, but there were other guys still inside. The house should’ve been packed this time of night.

“They’ll wake up once we’re gone,” she said and I felt a lurch backward as she began moving. “It’s easier to win a game when there are fewer pieces in play, don’t you agree?”

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