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Monday, November 27, 2006


Straight from the Truth's lips:

Seven thousand swans exploded over Stark Lake like fireworks, red light and guts splattered over our picnic blankets and parked cars. What a show. And we'll never know how else the evening could have ended. How much longer could we have choked down anecdotes and champagne, avoiding eye contact and chortling? The swans had to go; their numbers were only comparable to our hordes of children, the little bodies of entertainment only money could buy. It's fun to dress them smartly. It's fun to correct their language. It's fun to explain to them the one way arrow of time, the fact that we can't party forever, that we all must explode over Stark Lake water.
"My head is full of lemons!” little Nora exclaimed, grabbing an empty jelly jar from our picnic basket, and flinging her skirt's wasted bread crusts into our faces. Little Nora proceeded to gather select pieces of the defunct birds, a collection of the best bits in her empty jelly jar. The top half of a black beak, newly unwebbed feet, spinal bones, a slew of white messy feathers, and even a still beating heart. Joyfully the child bounds back to us, frozen under the protection of the poplar trees, ladybugs and aphids crawling over everything. She presents us with the jelly jar, beaming furiously and breathing heavily from the excursion.
We are unimpressed. We are older – in our semicircle, in this curve where we're arranged and have sat with our asses grown onto the quilt, onto the ground, unimpressed by little girls, but that dress I put her in. Buttercup and lace. Oh, tell me true, who, when the picnic blanket was rushed to the tip of her nose, snug-bugged-bitten in a rug, who told the bedtime story that said, “Nora Blue, the entire universe is waiting for you?” We didn't have the time, so we squatted in our design, centered ‘round the half-eaten roast chicken and jam cookies. Unimpressed, white birds, beams bursting through wingspans, red birds while we partook of the deviled hams. The graceful arc, skeletal, spiraling, finally spiraling down, the collapsing messy parts. Nora's in the middle, splashing in the blood like mud. Her skinned knees, their skinned bellies, Nora's in the puddle, mixing up the gush. What is she doing? It's nibble night. Nora with her socks off, that dress is stained, daffodil is pomegranate red, positively red with that ruination from the stars, who knew? She's not my responsibility? Nora's in the gobbledygook, Nora's in the soup. Someone, hurry up and extract her from that dirty mess (Seven thousand swans exploded).
It was a lonely trot back to the blood spotted Beemers, our arms empty (we left the blankets in the grass to be tossed out with the litter at dawn, or whenever). “Goodnight, Jonathan.” “Good Evening, Beatrice.” “Kisses, Harry.” Thank the good Lord for satellite radio, filling our empty retreats with international sports talk. I've never seen a game of Jai-Alai. Sounds nuts. We faked interest in the interest of ignoring potential interest in our starless sky and the giggling Nora and Norman in the back seat world. No more swan light distraction. No more thick splatter. I've never been so disgusted with the dim cleanliness of our doorstep. “Nancy, put the kids to bed.” New schedule. 7:30: Dig through garage piles for house paint. 7:45: Spread white primer in even zigzags across the lawn. 7:52: Create Jackson Pollock mimicry on stoop with dark brown muck paint. 7:55: Throw on some garden dirt for texture. 7:56: Pick best flower, sandwich it between left ear and skull. 7:59: “Put yourself to bed, Nancy.” 8:03: Roll around the garden bed, particularly mashing suit jacket into ground. 8:05: Smoke my last cigar, extinguish butt in lawn gnome's eye. That was satisfying. Upstairs, the wife and kids were probably in bed, staring at the ceiling, or maybe televisions. Bored. I went for a walk.
But, God damn it! The beauty and terror of a streetlight! The inescapable uniformity of images, the unchanging look and texture of an electrical socket. Scents float by me as I walk – trash receptacle, flower bed, dog shit, apple pie cooling on a windowsill. All of them predictable, even similar, the bullshit you can count on, and remain disgusted with for as long as you're required to put up with it, until the day your body or your brain finally says, “I've had it with this world of pills and keys and advertisements for remote controls that operate the white AND the multicolored lights!” But for now you just breathe in the unbearability and move through space with a new knowledge of devastation, the carnage of a fleet of swans and the delight it gave a child. The constant and overwhelming everything pushes in, almost crushing us as we strain to just be.
But, God damn it, that's just one more thought to fold up and put away and hide in my desk drawer like a letter from a lover, and one day Nancy will find it and say, “What's this?”, her eyes splattered bugs on glass. It didn't mean anything, honey. That was just that night. I was thinking about straining about being. Do you believe it? I love my daughter. I love my son. I love beneath me, the rugged receding sidewalk because it's like my face in the early mornin' on this late night's salacious escapade, having affairs with all the streetlights, and I feel their arms winding around my ribs, stone-cold wrapped around my waist. From here I see a pretty girl with an eager set of lips – young, the youngest – lean to the windowsill. I want to swoop in, knock the crust out of the way, grab her, let the lights grab her, and Nora, and Norman, and illuminate the atmosphere when they're lifting us up, saying “This is what the swans see.” Do you feel the bones growing, cells extending, the web between your toes, and atoms split, our bodies multiply. The stitches of Nora's buttercup of a dress have finally been severed, and I'm sorry, sweetie, but now I see your wide, white wings unfold in the cloth falling from you, down there. We're all over. We pool on the elastic surface of a cloud, making a V which is quickly ruined, shaping, reshaping, our flock, my kids, there's seven thousand of us, we got away. Watch us go.
Explode. Redistribute. Assimilate. Devolution to singular particles free of family ties. Beautiful. But, God damn it. I'd rather be light. I'd rather be sound. I'd rather be a fleeting moment with no evidence of existence beyond a one sense observation. The stoop is beautiful. A muck explosion. Let's redecorate the known universe, break apart the ordered randomness, the clinical patterns. I don't want to be inside. I don't want to be outdoors. All that's left to hope for is morning reports of the world's entire collection of birds amassing in one open field, ready to burst.

This story was written in a round by Cadets Ledet, Alanna, and Morgan Rose. Thanksgiving Day 2006

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This is beautiful. I want to write with you, please.
so many images float in my mind. i especially love morgan's contributions. her style feels like so many special spices in my brain.
bursting swans, jackson pollock, guts in jelly jars, streetlights. thanks for that.
I don't know my password or such, so I'll leave this as S, or Peter Pan, or the Writer. I especially like the last two paragraphs, it seems like anything can happen. Sorry brandon, I only wanted to be light and sound at that moment, I should have wanted the whole picture.
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