The Barclay

While telling stories with my little brother, I began to tell one in a British accent about a mysterious character known only as The Barclay. That story was largely unintelligible. That story was completely improvised. That story is here now for your aural amusement:

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Henry’s List

urban volcanos


 

_ Henry’s son’s coffin’s wood’s grain had little knots and imperfections in it.

_ The little knots and imperfections were lowered into the ground on a Sunday.

_ Dirt hid them forever.

_ The pastor’s fingers’ sweat stuck pages from flipping chapters and verses and a fly went by.

_ The pastor had a name and everyone else there had a name.

_ Things still needed to be bought at the store.

_ The store stored people who could keep living and who needed their receipt.

_ Henry did not need his receipt or his change.

_ There was a Bible with mustard pages.

_ It had brittle pages. Paper pages.

_ Henry wrote in the margins and added footnotes and scrapped the whole thing and started a new draft.

_ The TV had a voice that synced with the birds who owned the sky outside.

_ Henry emptied his stomach onto his bed on a different Sunday.

_ There was a numbered list.

_ Laundry detergent was seventh. New bedsheets eighth.

_ Henry collected the empty cans that rashed along the train tracks next to his house and crushed the cans with his teeth and licked the rims but didn’t drink what was inside.

_ Lip balm was ninth.

_ Henry’s son’s mother’s house had an alarm system.

_ The alarm sounded like Os being called out in a storm.

_ Henry’s son’s mother’s lover had a dog that had teeth.

_ Antibacterial was tenth.

_ Is.

_ Henry is most alive in the half-awake morning seconds before memory catches up with consciousness.

_ Henry is running and watching things.

_ One of the things is a crushed brown leaf that doesn’t belong to him or anyone else and never will.

_ Henry’s son was eleventh. Henry’s son was eleven.

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Till Next Time

decay


 

There’s a place for mooring on the sunset end of my block where forgiveness can be swapped for a perfect circle. Forgiveness is a schedule I, so narcs gather on block’s periphery where the postindustrial pipe overhang hides them in shadow to make their busts.

Sometimes I dive into the waterlogged places where the concrete’s gotten through and dip and bob as the deals go down, with artificial waves lapping at pavement’s edge and erosion doing its job. There’s room for a gullfamily on one of the rock rafts, and they watch with me.

Here’s how it happens. The dealer puts forgiveness on little acid slips and little acid slips put forgiveness on little tongues and little tongues put forgiveness into little mouths and little mouths put forgiveness down little throats and then the little minds take their cut.

One lady offers everything she has to a circle scalper, but they’re going for five hundo each sans inflation and she got a family to think on and he should be ashamed of hisself for runnin that shit on this block. I kick away my shoes underwater. An unseen fish eats one and saves the other for his fishfamily.

Another guy dismantles his house and offers copper wiring, flaky mortar, withered brick. He says he’ll stack it into a palatial thing for the dealer, but dealer’s not buying. His son camps out in a tent nearby with his muddied feet and seaweed hair and starts every sentence with once upon a time like his daddy taught him to do.

I saw a human being take himself to pieces and give of them for a circle for forgiveness. He diced his ankles into bite-sized cubes and garnished them with powdered kneecap. Kept saying take my patella. His body stopped homeostating around neck level and the dealer turned down the talking head.

Now there’s a line stretching onto building-flanked fire escapes, crumbling mud rooftops, neighbors that are waiting their turn in water up to their necks beside me, baptizing tattered clothes and feeding the gulls the offerings they hope will put them on the dealer’s better side.

And here are the dogs sent in in couplets and quatrains, jaws snapping on denouement and not the type to pet on doggy beaches but here now, narclight sidling in as bodies scatter past and I’m here floating, amniotic as the flotsam gathers in wisps and draws and the dealer closes up shop till next time.

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