Gregg Skenton

fall quarry reflection

Half my life had been spent in the plus-que-parfait. Half in the subjunctive. Nor would I have argued that the two must be mutually exclusive. In one I had groused food, pills, and women. Always at loose ends. Somewhere beside the train tracks in Tornio or Haparanda I’d be smoking. Interviewed, interrogated, chased. It was very tough and very fun. The flip side were to have been more awakened. The one who rose long before dawn, who looked out and saw the blackness of night, and greeted each morning with a line of poetry remembered in the eye. At any rate, if what I were to have had had been an iota different, I can’t imagine ever having made my little cottage this my home. Nothing was parallel. Everything seemed to have been at odds, on a crash course with each other. But who will watch the squirrels building high nests in the empty trees with long threads of blue tarpaulin? And the bean seeds by miracle itself in their dirt garden rows first sprouting then growing to plants in the spring, bearing themselves for us to eat by summer? And the littlest of children who just on their own as high as my knees just out of their minds beginning to talk just on their own? That all these things had been normal, it had made me take a seat back the many days I had spent alone when I had wished I were with a wife, a friend, or a lover. Then, toward the end, when I had stepped into my hot air balloon to sail away, I had known at once as I was peeling towards the thin bluish heavens that anybody who looked up could see I was becoming smaller and smaller and smaller.

Anywhere Except Out Of This World

misty mountain

By now the murderers escaped from prison, whose masterful plan was lauded as extraordinary and as sophisticated from those in high office who must know a thing or two about extraordinary and sophisticated forms of subterfuge and deceit, must have been apprehended. Possibly, though, they are tucked away in some nice Canadian fishing town that packs all its tasteless fish into frozen blocks to be shipped off and sold in the United States as some sort of breaded stick or block of reconstituted, once fresh cod. And the two gentleman, one with a Heart of Mexico forever stamped upon his back, and the other with blue inkings on his right hand knuckles, will live out their days, day in and day out, working in an obscure arctic factory, taking cigarette breaks when they have them, and in between shifts, sometimes with each other, sometimes not, going over the old days in their minds or whispered back and forth in the cold frosty breath of winter.