the best of 52|250's fourth quarter

Week #51 – Unintended consequences

Marr4 by Kim Pollard
Detritus by Zoe Karakikla-Mitsakou 
The house is dusty. Piles of small deaths lurking in the corners; sneering at cells that have trickled from my body and are forcibly suspended in rhythmic spasms before they land on the fragments of our lives. There are no arachnophobes among the blind. The visual representation of a spider triggers a primal part of our brains into action, an evolutionary reaction to a primordial threat; in the absence of the visual stimulus, fear is also absent.

My father’s bones were exhumed, thrown in a bone crusher and buried as dust and flakes in a mass grave with no names. I walk over the tomb in silence as my eyes flicker in horror between the priest who, after drowsily saying a prayer I know my communist father would have hated, holds his hand out in expectation of a monetary reward; and a small fleck of grime caught in the breeze, dancing its way to oblivion: is this a crumb of someone from that grave or me?

Isolation by Georgina Kamsika  
Yesterday, a stray dog had wandered through the aisle – everyone smiled. When I followed on its heels, people frowned and turned away. A little boy made a retching noise before his mother shook him to be quiet.

Today, the bodily contact was more physical contact than I’d had in weeks, months. Yet the guy leaned into the aisle as far away from me as possible, his mouth gaping in a rictus.

It’s not my fault, it’s not even communicable.

Unintended by Darryl Price  
The wash of something blue into the red of something
momentarily melting and beautiful but not for long. The promise
of a living blackness to come. Black that will darken
every doorstep, conceal but not restrict every attempt at dancing.

The movement of all living things rushing together towards another
chance to see another day through to its flashpoint. Forgotten
starfish crawling into each other’s history,making starfish history keep
with the times, with its arms, or are they all

legs? But not alone. Never alone. No. All things continue
to consume the universe and the universe continues to regenerate
itself through the daily cannIbalism like a coat of many
colors turned insideout. You can easily wear it either way

and it becomes the season you are in.Consequences happen
so fast that your reaction time seems like a joke
in comparison. You might die tonight. The notices will all
have mouths of their own, teeth stuck in your dreams.

Auto by John Riley  
Son?
Yeah.
You alone?
Yeah.
Shit.
Not my fault.
Where’s your mom?
Out.
Did you get the wallet I sent you?
The one with the cowboy on it?
I made it in the leather shop.
No one cares about cowboys.
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Bow wow.
I got out last week.
You heading our way?
That was the plan.
What stopped you?
’57 Thunderbird. Creamy white. It was cherry.
Sounds yummy.
It should have been locked up.
People are fools.
It wasn’t my fault.
There you go.
It was cherry.
She tells me I am already gone by Lou Freshwater  
The new nurse wheels me into the theatre. It isn’t easy to navigate
the small space between the stage and the front row of seats. She
turns my chair until she’s able to fit me into place at the end of the
row. Sixty-years ago I was an actor. I controlled the emotions of
rooms like this. Now I cannot even control one hour of my life. I am
trapped in this body with hunched shoulders. Rusted wire hands covered
with skin that tears like nightmare rice paper. Watery eyes, washed
out eyes. Bones that never stop humming with ache. Muscles that hang
there, dying, saying no. A mouth that is always dry, choked with dry.

Without moving anything except my eyes, I am able to see a woman. She
is perfect. Her hair, straight and blond, like light. She tucks it
behind her ear, and I see the small pearl earring she has chosen. Her
sweater scoops just below her collarbone, that most beautiful part of
a woman. She looks at the man next to her. She smiles and looks down
at her fingers and she begins to move her fingertips around her thigh,
like she is tracing letters there. She looks towards me. But she does
not look at me. Then she looks at everything around me, but not at me.
Usually I get the small smiles women give old men, like we’re stuffed
animals, no longer predatory, not really alive. But she won’t even
give me that.

Dance Revolution by Mike DiChristina  
Z was President-for-Life, but inside his plump body he was a dancer. Sporting his trademark Napoleonic bicorn and gold lamé tunic, Z went viral on YouTube whenever he danced in public.

On La Fête Nationale, Z delivered an impassioned speech from the palace balcony and then tap-danced to the roar of his minions, helping them overlook the perpetual State of Emergency and the recent disappearance of a Nobel laureate.

At the following week’s UN conference in New York, Z stole the show by slipping out of his titanium-reinforced limo to breakdance with tattooed American youths on the sidewalk. The Daily News dubbed Z the “(Mentally) Ill Duce.”

Back in the Maghreb, when the French ambassador stopped in for a sanity check, Z leapt off his throne and executed thirty-two consecutive fouettés, matching Baryshnikov’s legendary Swan Lake performance at the Ballet Russe.

M. L’Ambassadeur pronounced Z a superb dancer before departing to Paris for “les consultations.”

At Z’s last cabinet meeting, as the citizens of his emirate rattled the palace’s gold-plated gates, Z hopped onto the table and performed a grand jeté that left his ministers speechless. When the crowd surged into the compound, Z and the Royal Dance Instructor were whisked away in a helicopter from the palace roof.

Z trained for months in his Alpine redoubt. Finally, the call came from America. Z jetted to Hollywood, where, dressed as a gaucho, he stuck his nose between the breasts of a fawn-eyed goddess and tangoed on Dancing With The Stars.

Back to Wk #50 – Home sweet home

Forward to Wk #52 – Threesome
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