Melodramatic Stroboscopic Picture Show In Words: A Love Affair

bloody plate

She had always been unhappy. And it couldn’t be helped. He loved her. And it couldn’t be helped. She fought with him that he didn’t really love her. And it couldn’t be helped. He fought back with her that he really did. And it couldn’t be helped. For ages she told him that they needed to take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. And for ages he resisted her saying that they needed take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. To try to spice things up between them, she brought an old sex book she had owned to his bed. And it couldn’t be helped. He tried to ignore the oily stains that had been on the book’s cover. And it couldn’t be helped.

She told him all her problems she had with life the next day on the phone for half an hour. It couldn’t be helped. Unable to speak a single word himself, he listened to her problems and felt exasperated listening. It couldn’t be helped. The next day after that, she did it again, filling him with her problems. It couldn’t be helped. He felt beside himself, listening again. It couldn’t be helped. She felt that they were finally at a new beginning, that she was opening up to him again. It couldn’t be helped. He told her that they needed to take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She broke down and sobbed. It couldn’t be helped. He listened to her sobbing for an hour on the phone. It couldn’t be helped.

The next day, he sought to recant their taking a break. It couldn’t be helped. She denied his request that they not take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She skipped his birthday when it came. It couldn’t be helped. He felt pain. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages indicating that she was inclined to let the whole thing go. It couldn’t be helped. He panicked and missed her terribly. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him a picture of her wearing his locket. It couldn’t be helped. He felt love seeing her wearing the locket, the same one which he wore, too. It couldn’t be helped. She messaged him a picture of her engagement ring, now carefully placed in a little house of sticks and bark and stone he had once built for it for her. It couldn’t be helped.

He felt love for her, holding onto hope from that sweet picture. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more texts telling him she couldn’t talk. It couldn’t be helped. He felt despair. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages that she felt relieved and had discovered a new, happy social life. It couldn’t be helped. He felt deeper and deeper loneliness, missing her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him messages that said she would let him him know when she could talk to him. It couldn’t be helped. He respected her request for space. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more messages telling him to let it be. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that told her he loved and missed her. It couldn’t be helped.

She sent him messages indicating that she had no intention of returning to their relationship the way it was. It couldn’t be helped. He felt some hope, that indeed they could change the way their relationship had been. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that she wanted their relationship to be over. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that indicated he was lonely and missed her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that said she was worried about him but would not help him. It couldn’t be helped. He arranged with her to pick up his belongings at her house. It couldn’t be helped. She agreed and told him she did not want to see him and to be gone with his belongings by the afternoon. It couldn’t be helped.

He was stunned to find every stitch and scrap, from his tube of face moisturizer that had been in his drawer in the bathroom, to his running shoes in the closet, had been already neatly bagged and boxed in the little, dark room he had worked in down her basement when he got there. It couldn’t be helped. She weeks before had removed from her sight any sign and any remnant ever associated with him from her house. It couldn’t be helped. After packing all his belongings into his car, he bought and lay dozens of roses for her in her house—in hallways, in the kitchen, on the staircase, upon her bed, and wrote her short love notes telling her he would do anything to be with her again, and drove away. It couldn’t be helped.

After therapy and work, she came home and changed out of her work clothes to go out with her date for dinner. It couldn’t be helped. After he had left, he had turned back to see her in person and to beg her to speak with him. It couldn’t be helped. Having left the front and the back doors of her house flung open, she shouted down the staircase from her bedroom that she would be right there. It couldn’t be helped. He’d rapped on the back glass door, just open enough, and called out to her. It couldn’t be helped. She came downstairs and when she saw him, she screamed and screamed and screamed. It couldn’t be helped. He followed her outside where she was screaming and screaming to her car. It couldn’t be helped.

She screamed and screamed for him to leave her alone. It couldn’t be helped. He begged her on his knees, “Please! Please! Please!” It couldn’t be helped. Her date appeared behind him in the driveway and claimed the police were on their way. It couldn’t be helped. While he believed this was not true, he also didn’t care if it had been. It couldn’t be helped. She ran to her date’s car waiting for her on the street. It couldn’t be helped. Afterwards, he struggled and fought for her for weeks. It couldn’t be helped. She held her ground against him. It couldn’t be helped. He sneaked into his friend’s house nearby who had plenty of guns and put a bullet through his beautiful head. It couldn’t be helped.

Janos Kirkpatrick

benches

I can’t even stand anymore. My knees, my legs have been hobbled. Who did that, I ask? Was it the limb from the oak that fell in my sleep last night? Was it the fence that caught the thistle growing up through its wire mesh? Was it the truck’s plow waiting to push away the blowing winter, soon to come? The coffee beans I had ground and ground by hand are all wasted, too. Used, but now wasted. That is how things go, I suppose. The sodden discard seems to outweigh the use. The driftwood in the lake so much heavier than the forest from which it all came. When my own breath became short, I had to also look around. There was no lack of air, nor occlusion of space, no crushing infinity closing in on me. What was it, I had asked myself once. What is it, I must ask myself again. The well I had depended on to bring me water still worked. The roof I had counted on still kept me free from rain. The garden I trusted would bear me food, still did. I had only to swallow, once or twice, and accept that a kiss upon a man far greater than I had been, had betrayed me, exposed me as being rather soft, and rather gentle. It was especially hard because this had occurred just as my good arm had been reaching out again, and the blow came from a fallen angel, and she struck without grace and without mercy.

Some Beautiful Leftover Debris

pull tiesThe forgotten and leftover things that people do are forgotten and leftover. There are all sorts of untellings of things that nobody will have talked about. Fierce, blood-letting accusations are dropped as if they had never been. Hatreds seem to disappear. Easy betrayals, like jackals crossing the grassy lower backlands with bright yellow eyes at night, go by like northern ghosts. A cobbled together clutch of new-found friends all whispering together they make quickened decisions feel right. How mobs and rabbles work is generally like this too. Jellyfish with their huge poisonous red manes bob and flow in the sea, catching the bare limbs of this and that swimmer swimming unawares. And what later washes up as memory? What comes ashore as truths? It is raked up with seaweed and debris, carted off to a nearby garbage heap, or burned under watchful eye in the sand. As for infidelities, fits, or the other small but aggressive human cruelties? At length, his final handshake with the kind proprietor after the couple’s last meal is over is all that can be left to mind to bear, after his lips have spit out a pinch of mukhwas clearing the palate and very good for digestion on the curb.