Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 9
Winter, 2012
Featured painting, ©2011 by David Ho : where it hurts, oils on giclee canvas.

Featured Excerpt

New Works

Jamie Grefe

Obscurities of the Doom Horizon
A Series of Forty Eight Interconnected Stories


Doom Horizon

The city in peril: a gurgling heap collapsed. Teeth chatter in the clench of a most beautiful violence. A heap of skin-ooze. People melt, wilt blood. Bodies drip green; filth flows from sleeves, skirts, button slits, torn mouths, fingered wounds of the half-dead.
Revolting city.
Ragged, I limp hungry, consume vomit, lick curd like hope and how it drips to death; the pleasures of chewing skin are immeasurable. Streets are full of pests. Warm piss. Cloud fire. The neon haze. Grey hangs and stutters. The sky is tiled in black splotches. On nights when the ceiling rips to particles, an unseen power guides the city toward doom: wriggling fawns, squirming and tentacled blobs as large as small Midwestern towns float black, and spew forth hot seed. We're drenched.
A sprawling maze of rusted-out traffic lights. Night clubs are electric violence. Restaurants pillaged by the homeless vagabonds, the psychotics keel. Those who stay in the city stay lost, having found the rot, fall, tumble to the gutter, unable to find their way back out of the hole.
Saxophone, bass, drums, and trumpet blasts have mutated into a soundscape of manipulated static or feedback loops, aural violence and crust metal. The whiskey is fake, tastes like love. Romance is televised in a crudely-lit pornography of gestures and grunts, limb-salivation and slurping lips. She says the night is eternal until you die. The rain falls forever until you die.
My skin stretches over the buildings, encompasses all I see. I shove this city down my throat and let the muck boil in sliced veins, hope to heaven I don't choke too soon.


A Drowned Precipice or Tear Box Serenade

There is a creak, the sound of a key fitting into place, the clicking of a lock. A door opens, shuts. Someone is here, someone comes close. A bell. There are smells: beaver, apricot hide, pepper skin. I back up, look into the living room. The black and orange suffuse, melt into a salty gold smear. It covers the walls and the windows, blurred bile rising.
Fires throughout the city project sputtering film shots of wax on glass walls, on the streets, how they twist or spiral in on themselves. Everything ends here. Rain is light. A whitish glow reminds me of snow, ruins eyes until they water pus, leak mud. I stare down through the crack. Four of them run, smash cars: nubby fists, screaming in gurgled rasps, bashing, twitching in fits until a mass of flesh leaps from the shadows of an alley and burrows its teeth into face, rakes the face, slurps flesh-juice into mouth. I watch saliva spurt in an arc fountaining up to the window, to the crack from where I peek.
Heaps of it spray and flow into the street as if buckets were being poured from each blurred stroke and jab. Some slip in slime and most run to the horizon for the illusion of home. The sound of smacking, lips grinding, is a groaning echo at the window. I shut the curtains once more, walk to the bathroom, turn off the light and sit weary.
Smell of musk: the figure in the black trench coat moves from the corner toward me. From the fire-light of the outside world I see hair, a black surgeon's mask and eyes stripped of mercy, obscured in an aura. The slender stick or pole or ruler or bat or club whips at me, whips in slow motion, yet too fast to avoid. Each lash is a pink sting. The world is a blur.
Opening eyes, I see a body in the bathroom, hear running water. The floor creaks, head turns. Yes, it is those eyes I remember. Grey eyes. Black particles under this non-light. I blink and with each blink, the world recedes in sharpness like a glitch-ridden tracking mechanism. A boot slams into my world. There is a mashed flower hidden somewhere in its grooves.
Stand in front of the mirror. Steady myself. I push away from the sink and float backward through the air to the kitchen where I kick at the foggy air and float across the room to a table, grip it, and shake out a cigarette from an almost empty pack. Touch, flick blue lighter. Hold flame to cigarette tip and breathe in smoke, watch the ceiling vibrate in shifting patterns of cities. The ceiling is a story book. I can't read the story anymore. I am left watching a blank screen of looped endings.
There are stains on the bedspread. From outside the bedroom window, I hear simmers and pops. A woman screams. A child is singing. I cannot hear what is said. Someone is knocking at the door. I walk back into the kitchen and move to the door, pressing my ear against it, but hear only the wood move like tar in a sludgy swirl. I open the door a crack and it slams open.


Tracking Deer

Images of eyes and toes cascade vision, then pass: the film of a fading ghost. The tentacle slides across frontal lobe, retreats against the image of a boot.
She is lying on her side, legs curled close to her body, one arm outstretched, the other wrapped in a self-hug, olive skin fading to white. Her mouth hangs open, lips damp, lipstick smeared around the rim. She wears stockings, that cling to her legs, up to thighs. A flower crushed. There is a row of fluorescent lights projecting a glow down the hallway. It forms a spotlight around her body.
We had deer where I lived when I was a little child. My mother would bake pies, brush snow from my coat and the house was always warm when I was a little girl.
The room before me is an incomplete room, a room unfinished or a room in shambles. It looks as if a projectile or crane or claw has struck into the far wall for the wall facing the outside world is gone. Rubble and space and wet. Rain pours into the room. I look at the battered, wet fragments of furniture. Rust stains in thick streaks, splotches. She is about to speak, but I hush her, place hand over mouth.


We Frolic Up Trees to Innards and Angels

Maybelle: cloak of desire, dove, how I remember you emerging from the bathroom on our final day of light. You comb hair. It is summer and you have your checkered shirt tied in a knot, jeans low with hands tucked into pockets. Your stomach, a field, and those eyes, a gaze. I believe your lips were were about to speak. Don't speak words. Whisper tragedies in the moonlight. Our kiss in the hallway. It is on that day the men, those floppy men, come to you. I vomit in a tangled mess of broken furniture and emptiness, alone without a note, without a bell to ring. No one finds the bodies, Maybelle, no one.


A Sea of Pink in My Pocket

I am soaked, but in the heat, rain buffers chaos, gives a shower over the misery of this confusion. Yes, it is a dry rain, falls in red bricks. There are bodies in the glaze, bodies ripped to meaty shreds. It is a city of skeletons. Green sticks to everything, clings to the pavement in strands.
I walk the sidewalk, hands in pocket, trembling, but smiling, proud in fear, rejoicing at the thought of moving toward something pure. I dream the woman: black goggles, black boots, who is sitting at the kitchen table.
There are no tanks out tonight in this part of the city. Everything is stained. Up ahead, I notice a kiosk overturned. I walk, sticking to the uninhabited, which is not difficult if one knows how to stalk. I smell herring and marigolds from a nearby building . . .
Buildings topple. Thick fields of slime seep from the ground. Sea creatures are materializing on the streets.


Lineaments Spread Folds to the Smoke Horizon

She enters the room. My body shakes, shivers. She wears a suit coat, sleeves rolled to elbow and beneath it a dress shirt, azaleas and daffodils. A jade necklace drapes, snake pendants hang from her neck and black hair cascades in waves past bony shoulders. Her face is painted in black swirling stripes, which bleed down to her neck; it is hard to tell if it is paint or a scar. The black is prominent, lines etch around the contours of her lineament turning her face into a vortex culminating at the mouth. I watch her suck a slim cigarette. Through deep black lips, she speaks to me.
Her hand rubs my chest and her breath, the smell of cloves through my body. I slump into her river, pull hand to mouth, take a drag from her kiss. I spiral away.


Clamps

Locks of hair fall toward me, dangle and dance above. Yes, I am tied to a slab, arms at my sides, a patient of the voided vixens. Their voices flow from a bubble of water in my brain to words I understand: information, treatment, flab, serum, distill, loge, process, electrocution, animate, carp, and feverish pump. It is then I notice they are discussing about what to do with me.
Laughter. A voice shoots through the other voices with verve untouchable. I raise, turn my head to peek. It is all over, dripping from me. The doctor, my tempter: a thin figure donning a smock, sun extending out from behind a leather mask. The mask is tied to the back of the head and the mouth area extends forward in a beak.
My lips peel apart. The needle is inserted into my gums, liquid fleshy insides. I feel sour and flashes of yellow and blue, purples and goo shoot the core. My heart beat, a drum solo, erratic, popping snare hits fizzing and cymbal crashes that whoosh up and down in waves. I want to exit the shell, leap up and drift out into the bowels of the city. I want to sleep outside of time.
I swim into, over, and past the red, over and beyond octopus-infested buildings of death, back to the rundown apartment that Maybelle and I share. It looks like that room, although I can't be sure. There she is in the bathroom. The sky weeps streaks. My eyes focus on the sink behind her, with its porcelain gleam and silver faucet. And she, poised under the door frame, hands in her jeans, is posing for me like a glamour spread. She wants to speak. I am there at the desk, staring at blueprints of an old house.
A building on fire, the fire of blood, a suburban house, a hallway. Run hands hard over the red bricks, scrape mud. It begins here. Wait for me. Pick up newspaper to check headlines. Fold newspaper in half and there is someone watching. Walk down a long hallway. Smells of trout. It is raining. Something squishes. It has always been raining, I hear a voice scream. Call out to Maybelle and enter a room of glass soldiers. The burning mirror drenched in blood. A bed in the center of the room. A jacket dangles from a hanger in the closet behind pillows and outside of the window is Maybelle, watching me, shaking her head back and forth in a steady left to right motion. Stand in front of a television on carpeted floor and there is Maybelle in a studio. I am at home in the living room. She is working two men, bald men, shaved clean, long strips of hair. There is no music, but blips on the surface of the moon. There is the sound of the body, of heat expanding in drips.
I sink into my body, into the serum, into the guts. I am speaking a language I have never heard, covered in rot. In the video with Maybelle, on the television where she plays, there is another television in the background. Tiny pixels blur vision, spark-goats in helmets start fires. The television in the background is projecting alien news and my picture is there, too: a sketch of a horse. A reporter with crisp teeth, a concerned looking young man cries, speaks in stutters of the gruesome and grizzly, mad and dangerous happenings in this quiet suburban neighborhood. Things vile, things serene. Voices drenched. Maybelle's bouncing body and the women huddled above me rake my chest, nails raking, pushing buttons and chanting, pausing, recording, pausing, until the black comes from beyond and washes me away from me. Scrub, I say.
There is a knock at the door. There is no door. The door is a pit, only a winter field and I see her curled up, peachy and naked in garters over white thighs. Maybelle. Angel. Her warmth is melting the snow. Black birds fly around and around her. Their tart is a room where children play hide and seek, red rover, and a bell rings. Someone shoves a needle into my pupil. It pops. I scream, gurgle, shriek, but the sounds of me are coming from somewhere else, the other room over there in the hall with all of those doors that never stay shut.


Dipping Fingers in Neon

The camera zooms, clicks and whines with a whir. It captures skin. She twists and bares her bosom until the end of the shoot. Sweat clings to pits. A blue bikini stretches tight around the horizons of her hips, breasts. After a shower and make-up, it is time for a jar of blueberries.
Evening: neon lights buzz and stutter above and the streets. She strides to the complex, enters the courtyard when she has the sense someone is watching her. She knows the feeling very well.


Cups of Hands Paint Names on Your Hips

She squeezes a blob of paint into the palm of her hand, smears it over breasts, encircling her nipples, tugging on them gently. She hears the night drizzle beat down upon the city. She walks around her apartment in silence. There is a hard drive, she thinks. Videos. Private footage she wants to see. She walks to the bedroom, turns on the interface panel. She sits in the black office chair and runs her hand toward bone and past it she moans. Toes curl.


Escape is a Twisted Vine

Maybelle sobs, runs down the hallway to the first body she sees, a man with a mutilated face. She pulls off his trousers, his shirt, takes his jacket and runs screaming up the stairs, away from the carnage. She smells stew. Steam pours from the burning building. "Thank you," she says to herself.


Bare Skin on Hot Juice

A horn bleeds into ears, looping in a destined pitch. I stand on the floor, careful not to step on the body. Yes, it is Maybelle running over snowy hills, past landscapes of desert wind and red dust. I pinch a single drop of filthy rain, a drop to coat my tongue with salt.
I have no clothes on my body. I touch myself and tighten my skull. I inhale smoke from the console across the room, think of cigarette smoke in back alley bars. Something awful is happening in this room. A black surgeon's mask lies on the floor beside a holographic copy of Maybelle. I stoop down, pick up the mask, hold it in my trembling grip. It is warm. I smell the inside. It is the smell of lime or pepper. I put it on, walk slow around the room, cautious, waiting for a comet to sail through the air and land on my face. I'm waiting for this all to end.


An Arc of Fire in the Ash

Maybelle shatters the glass door with an ashtray, watches the ashtray bounce, tumble into the street. A kid grabs it, runs. She runs out into the rain, her face and clothes dirty, torn, too big for her tiny frame. People rush both ways and from all angles.
She dashes into the night, crosses street after street and looks back at the building, the heap of shattering and fiery glass. She watches steam pour. Looking closer, she sees flames dance and twinkle; inside of her, she laughs.
A hand grips her shoulder, the hand of a creature reaching out, mouth full of jagged fangs. It wheezes and coughs, luring her into its dripping mouth.
The rain drenches her. A whisper in her ear, "We should get out of here. I know a place."


Syrup Tumbles from Fawns of Thunder

It takes hours, but I find the building, head down through the drops, push past faceless others.
I walk the hall toward the room, the room I have awoken in. Perhaps, my hallucinations of another apartment in another city were wrong. This has become my home. It is the only home I know. This has always been my home. Maybelle and I live here. The door is open. I listen for static.
I don't notice the trench coat draped over the kitchen chair. Nude and booted, she steps closer to me, brushes hair past shoulders. I feel tremors hit my body. The red light from the chamber experiments, sharp shivers pulsing and thumping wildly.


Snuff Cuts to Drill Patterns in the Sand

An octopus corpse is draped over the highway. Military crews hack at the beast, trying to drag its body by way of a crane. They hoist up the lump, but the crane, unable to hold the beast, topples over, sending the beast and the crane crashing down, off the ramp, smothering crowds of people gathered below. The sky belches ink.


Meanwhile, at the Venus Lounge

Maybelle smiles. She fires into his stomach. The shot blasts guts open, spraying gore everywhere and his face twists with dead shock. She stands and fires directly into his face, blowing his head clean off of his body. Red sprays in jets from his stub of a neck.


My Palm is the Blackening Ocean

Parts of them end up grafted onto human heads, certain unlucky ones burrow their way into families and the reaction, unexpected, is a mutation of the human form. A perpetual state of hunger and restlessness.
I look up into the sky and see a radiant pulsing circle of light. I think about the heavens and the unknown, about the octopus of the desert. The light burns. Dying alone would not be so bad. It would be something to stifle the burden of light and life. I shut the door, enter the room.


A Door Opens, Shuts, the Clouds are Stained in Spit

A lake in the country and the sky, a faint blue of endless depth. She rises from water, naked, and holds her body, covering her breasts, golden hair in waves; I lick, smell the fresh water of the lake in the air and the grass, cool and soft beneath my body. I sit on the shore. I am close to her. We are closer than before.
Her body is covered in messages: black rose, a burning sun, letters on fingers, landscapes, horizons, universes of jellyfish and when she falls into me, I drink skin, sink teeth, caress legs and back. The rain responds with a dull beat like a snare roll drumming against the ocean.


They Give You a Desert

The rain creates a bubble of mist around my body. I hear a din of screams and gurgles, threats and shouts. I dash into traffic, am almost struck down by a tank. My brain burps.
Men in radiation suits patrol the streets, firing liquid at people, sending them into epileptic fits, melting bodies to goo. A piece of slime sticks to my boot. I grind it into the pavement. A girl grasps a teddy bear.


Bind the Maiden, I'm the Maiden Bound

Maybelle is in a bedroom, stripped naked and bound from behind, flesh pulled taut. White fingers sweating. Ankles bound to hands and hands to ankles. She wears a mask that she hates reflected through the mirror on the wall. It is a rabbit mask. It covers eyes and nose. Bunny ears point up like antlers. Her mouth is free, trembling. She clears her throat, squirms, licks her lips.


Mashed Fist

A tank winds, speeds through the streets, twists to the alley where I punch the ground. My fist is a bloody stub of mashed fingers. Face white, livid with hate. When the tank arrives, I look up from the pavement. I reach into pocket and hand over a stub.


In Which a Star Slices Gold

She slips out of her pink panties, unstraps her bra and steps back into the shower. Behind the closed door, steam pours into the room. She moves to the bedroom: clothes being sorted, thrown about the room. Her head is wrapped in a towel and she slowly unwrapped the towel and tosses it backward on top of the toilet seat.
Her hair is a brown, blondish swirl. She wears a blue shirt with an over-sized neck, left shoulder exposed. She raises a pair of jean shorts, just longer than her panties underneath: tight, light blue.
From a small bag near the sink, she pulls out a tube of lipstick and paints her face.
Later, she strips out of her clothes. Instead of throwing them to the laundry hamper, she lays them neatly near the bed. Lying on top of the covers, she touches herself, feels body in the dark room and lets the rain bring thoughts to her mind where the tentacles squirm. It has been a long day for her and tomorrow will be the start of her last.


Venus in Stitches, Painted Smears

The camera shakes, breathes as if human. The creature is on hind legs. A soupy liquid drips from its body, city rain. Storm clouds overhead, the wind, the camera, a rumble mixed with the cinematographer's own breath. The sun vanishes.
The projector cuts off. A blue screen lights up the room. The man's body lands on shards of broken glass. Maybelle moves off the bed quick with caution, careful not to step on the shards, careful not to cut herself open. She has always wanted to slice his throat.
She stands above him, picks up a shard and rams it into his ear for good measure, breaking it in the same place as the first gash. The gash is like two open lips.


The Dream Blasted Corpse

I am sitting by her bedside, reading, and on the verge of slipping off to sleep. She rises and walks to the living room. I follow her out there. She sits on the sofa with a notebook and pen, writing. I let her write and watch her from afar. I smoke in the shadows. It is especially dark and the constant stream of rain is yet to come to the city. She writes and writes. After some time, watching her fill page upon page, I move close to her and look at what she was writing, but she won't let me see.


Our Strewn Mansion Barks Anonymous

I inhale the odor and enter the house. I walk blind through the house, feeling walls and stumbling down halls. I find the bathroom, two bedrooms, and the dining room. I walk back down the hall to the living room. I feel a night breeze from outside and realize I have left the front door open: a shuffle from down the hallway.
The door behind me, the front door, slams shut from the wind. The shuffling noise continues, now from the room to the right of the hallway.
I take one step closer when I hear voices from outside the house, the laughter of a child. The laughter is coming from the front porch. I open the door. The porch is empty.


The Volcano of Loneliness

Swirls in the desert sky, swirls dip, dive, float and hover: stars, meteors, asteroids, and aliens. From the distant sinking sky the desert house is a dot, a volcano of loneliness and contemplation.
On the inside of that domed structure, things happen. Countless and secret, staged and improvised. I have tapes of it, files on disks, compact discs, and glossy photographs.


Gliding In

A phone rings and the receiver smells of rotten skin. Smears of blood, splats on the inside of the booth. A voice I haven't heard for a long time answers in a curious, yet firm hello. This is just like her, curious and firm.


We Traverse the Castle, Bury the Demon in Salt

A child's laughter transforms into a child's weeping from the front porch. Her flesh tingles the cold gust of fear. The son, she thinks, has come back home. And then it happens.


How Friends Meet Friends

The gore splatters friends, leaves them stunned, dumb and about to die. She is close now, has her pistol aimed squarely at the one who was doing the ass slapping. Again. She silences another conversation in progress. "You," is all the man says before a hole is made in his chest. The howl is glorious. The third one backs up slow, puts his arms out in front of him in a kind of "wait, wait," gesture, but Maybelle has waited, will wait no longer.


Octopus Invasion

Dark matter in the palm of his hand. I wipe it against my coat, suddenly weak, drugged: lagging and convulsing, a disconnect between body and thought. The left side of my body aches. The pulsing drum strikes. I find my way to the speaker where I sit, slump, sleep, and dream of syrup drenched in a sea of eels.


Glass Dolls Bleed Silk

I am close to her and I imagine her breathing in the same air that I am. This is not the air of the city, but a different sort of air. A man yells at me from inside a tank. "Come on," he says.
We pull back onto the highway. The darkness bleeds ash over us once again. Out in the country it is a serene dark, empty, and futile. I used to paint. I touch the pistol in my coat pocket, my talisman. When I touch the pistol, I am sad for everything that I have left behind, destroyed by everything to come.


City of My Diseased Glut

What I see reflected in the mirror is a face pulsing, bubbling pink dots, lips shifting to a bluish tint. The bags under my eyes are dripping. Hair falling out in clumps. Wrinkling skin.
Two women walk and laugh, point. The rain pours over bubbling skin and into the gash on my forehead. Open up the gash and let the world enter my body. The night fails to respond.


Skulls on Heels

Corpses pool in the streets. Punks and perverts, wanderers and drug addicts in the chaos, reinventing it moment by moment. Men and women fuck in public.
I have devoured the man in the suit's brains and left the rest for another who has ambled up, crouched down, and has begun to dig in. The creature stares at me and we eat.


Charades of Murder

He was a son of a bitch. I often caught him fucking some new girl in the back room or even just off camera. He always wore suits and showed up in the dressing rooms while us girls were getting ready. What the men were doing on that production was something I've erased from my mind. When I went in on that day, I heard the most disturbing screams. I looked into the studio and I saw some guy in there with an ax. He was chopping up one of the producers. There was a bag of money, which I took. I stole it. I'm such an awful girl. Suddenly, I felt a twist in the scene that I had just witnessed with my two eyes.


Epidemic or Epidermal Rip

The streets bursting with flames, tiny bits of people scattered throughout, gutters alight in limbs and brains. He climbs a high-rise. He uses police cars as battering rams. He pisses on people and stomps the streets. The rain drenches flesh, pours on everyone. A battalion of globular creatures are in the sky, descending around the perimeter, where the military builds some sort of cage to trap the people. Creatures crush the military forces, suck them into the folds of alien flesh and spit out chunks of bone and uniform. The world is growing a static noise fuzziness. A man's right leg is removed. The creature chews and chomps, swallows and erupts an unearthly burp. Cowering beyond a flaming ambulance is a young girl who has seen the whole incident. She clutches a teddy bear. The creature rambles over and began to vomit out chunks of men. The young girl stares transfixed at the pile before her and faints from the unbearable stench.


Bonds Torn in Ribbons of Rasp

Maybelle shivers in the darkness and moves her hand into her pocket. She buttons up her trench coat and gazes up into the house, into the emptiness, wonders if anyone is watching her. Her eyes adjust to the blackness and the house and its features begin to take on some form of clarity.
Her black boots creak the front porch steps. Nothing at all moves inside the house. There is the sound of rasping breath. Her hand moves down to the handle and that is when she notices the door is ajar by an inch or so. Yes, he was either here or he is here. She will have to find out.


Knife Dream

She struggles. The chemical softens her muscles into orgasmic jelly. One hand covers her mouth. Even in her helplessness, now with the chemical coursing through her system, she feels bliss.
The man waits for her to stop twitching. The only sound is the pumping sound of the blood leaving her body. He shut her eyes. He stands in the woods. He hears nothing move. He walks out into the forest, out and further, deeper into the black night.


I Awake Covered in Rain

We wind down the dirt road, through night and forest on both sides of us like mutated beasts of black tendrils. I keep thinking of the slime-green drip and the city dwellers, their limp and sway, blood and lust. I have to shut it out and focus on Maybelle.
I awake covered in slime. The slime streams from my forehead, drips into my lap. It pours from my eyes in thick clumps. The interior of the tank, too, is filling with slime. Maybelle is sinking in the slime and I realize the slime was coming from me, but is not my slime.


Make-Up Artist

She showers, stands in the hallway, towel wrapped around her body. He passes by and smiles. It is his smile that holds so much. She decides to follow him more closely.
Two days later, the massacre happens. She hears about it. Everyone hears about it.
The room grows closer. She stands outside the door, ready to confront him, ready to execute her plan, the plan to transcend him, break him into tiny shards.


Drone the City

They drive to her part of town barreling through the rain and the people. People raise their hands to the tank, look to them for help. The young stand sopping wet. The elderly are trying to return home.


In Which a Dream is Wet

I stare at her beautiful hair and slim figure. I have seen her before. She doesn't see me, even though I am standing in plain sight leaning up against the side of the house. That house. That house of deception. People will do anything they can to ruin joy.


Juggling Knives Like Blood

I take a few steps closer to the trees, a black wall of tangled nature. A breeze runs clean. I look into the blackness of those trees, the feeling stronger and stronger. It feels as if Maybelle is standing right there, but I can't see her. I listen for the breaking of branches, for the snapping of twigs or the stirring of leaves. The woods hide whatever secret they are concealing.


A Reversal of Fortune

"Come with me." She takes me by the hand. We walk around the side of the house to the backyard, a grass clearing where a picnic table and a small garden sit abandoned. There is a door in the back of the house. Maybelle points to it. "You can go in there, but I can't go with you. I'll wait for you out here. I need to lie down. Don't ask me to come in. I'll be here when you get back. I'll give you something." The kiss flows. I feel her move.


Black Mistakes in the Mind

Maybelle has eyes crawling over her body. Is someone watching her? Is he watching her right now? She bends down, stares hard into opaque eyes, trying to capture that final feeling, hoping that his reflection will become stuck to the surface of her eyelids. Instead, all she feels is the emptiness of a body.
She steps back out into the hall, lets eyes readjust to the darkness and walks back toward the stairs that lead to the first floor. With tiny steps, she is alert.


Knife Dream of Doom

I say goodbye to Maybelle. She runs to the edge of the woods, disappears into the dark. Her warmth is within me, carries me to the back porch, to the door leading to the kitchen. I hear conversation, the mirth of laughter from the living room. I hold a knife in my hand.
I sink, swim to the bottom of the murk. Someone is walking up the stairs and I hide in the living room.
The ceiling drips slime. My feet shiver with thunder. Maybelle is at the end of the hall. She slams the door when she sees my shape rise from the stairwell. I am laughing, filled with joy.


A Sickle for Waking

Maybelle stands in the living room, the feeling of being watched overtakes her and she shivers. He is closer now than ever, she thinks, walks back out to the front porch and calls to the dark. There is no answer. She calls again and again, but still, no answer. She curses, looked back into the house with the feeling that someone is standing behind her.


The Limits of Pain

It is dusk. A bell chimes. I pull a switchblade out of my pocket and walk outside.
When I am finished, I wipe blood in the grass. I can't stop. I wipe the blood on my face. The wind calls. The night is alive.


Rolling Tides to Kisses

"I want to give you a new start," she says. "I want to give you a new life." She cries, head hung low to the ground. It is as if she is praying, lost somewhere within herself. The knife remains clutched in her hand. She is worried I won't use it. She has hope, though.
I put face on her shoulder and let the slime dry.


Night Spasm

Maybelle disappears. First, her feet and then her legs. The open darkness behind her slowly slides up and covers her body. She floats out the door, back out into the night. She smells of cinnamon in the living room of this house, wherever this house is.
A twinge of guilt, joy, regret courses through my blood and I taste my hand. It moves to the floor and picks up the knife. Or, was it Maybelle who is leaving it there for me? Maybelle hugs me, is crying and her tears are a rain, but not the rain of the city. These tears are hot tears and they wash away the muck that has dried on my body. Enough of these tears and I will be clean. I bet she is filled with tears. I'll be that if I open her up, I'll find a pond of the purest and most beautiful tears ever to be seen by human eyes.
I should find out. I must.



Jamie Grefe lives in Beijing, China, despite the air. He continues to grow grey panda eyes. Here is the room: http://shreddedmaps.tumblr.com