Verse 1 – days of innocence.
Those days are still fresh, they’re all that remain of that time, like bombshells after an explosion, or the remains of a decomposed dead animal. Those days when we chased grasshoppers in the small bush in our backyard. There were basically three types: one had intricate patterns on its body: yellow and black stripes, dotted with white; another had the skin of lush grasses, and it was why we found it on rare occasions. The last appeared only during the dry seasons. It had the body of scorched grasses, dusty brown. We would watch them jump from blade grass to blade grass, leaning the thin grasses. And we would crouch whenever we came close enough to any – I would put my finger across my lips to tell you to be quiet, like they could hear our voices and flee – and cup our palms closed on them. We didn’t want them to die. We would tie ropes around their legs and watch them jump, making creepy sounds, as far as the rope could get them.
This week, I thought I’d give you all a wee bit of insight into a part of our process. It is regarding acceptance and rejection letters.
Now just like being on the hunt for an interested person of the opposite sex, it is easier to be accepted than rejected. Not many of my rejections had ever been written, normally a ‘Fuck off’ would suffice. In the same way none of my acceptances ever produced a letter, just a very grateful me and a lady that I would later judge. (OK, I may have written some poetry, but it was the eighties and I had hair.)
It’s easy to say yes to a submission but we wouldn’t be doing anyone any justice if we did this as a given. So we try to keep the site’s integrity.
Lianne skipped from her brother’s room. She was bored and left him with his trains. He was fixated with them. She really did think boys were stupid.
He often told his wife about his twenty-first birthday. He and his father had sat under a bright red canopy on a dark, starless night. They were at some nameless Chinese restaurant in one of the metropolitan corners of Atlanta, just a few blocks south of Terminal Parkway, where commercial airplanes stitched long blinking lines across the sky. A half block away, he remembered, a street cleaner inched across the asphalt, brushes spinning in a lopsided, broken rhythm.
He didn’t feel the same way about being hurt that you or I would, that’s for sure. He treated each injury as an adventure.
“See this slash running down my leg? Got that last week at the demolition derby. Sailed clean across the hood. Just got caught on the tiniest edge of twisted metal buckled down from the roof. Gonna leave a beautiful scar, isn’t it?”
Silence is the color
in a blind man’s eyes
Leo wondered if it was some kind of contest, if it smacked of more than what it seemed. He had heard the poem a hundred times, Chornby always walking around with the book in his shirt pocket or back pocket suddenly reading it to him, again and again, and Leo, the Blind Man of North Saugus, let the words sink in and become part of him, part of his sightless brain. Just like Chornby had become part of him. Chornby’s face he could not picture, nor eyes, nor beard, nor jut of chin, but settled on the imagination of Chornby’s hands and could only do so when he felt his own slim unworked hands, the thin fingers, the soft palms, the frail knuckles, how the fingers wanted to touch a piano but couldn’t, or a woman, but who wants a blind man?
He was a shit junky, a shit shoplifter and a shit human being.
Those were his words. Nobody else bothered enough to comment.