In the room where the water-logged carpet lay strewn with the rubble of yesterday’s bombing, he poked at the keys of his grandmother’s piano. Ting, tung, ting.
“I ... I can play this whole song. All of it, without ... god, my eyes. My goddamn eyes.”
He wasn’t sure why he could no longer see. Maybe it was the flash of the bombs outside, ten thousand cameras that turned the world into death instead of capturing its image. Maybe it was the stress of their incessant thump. Maybe so many things. He could no longer see.
“I can play the whole song.”
His captive didn’t care. Strung up there, tied tight, mounted to the ceiling, sitting on the piano with hood over his head and gag in his mouth and, the piano player remembered with a shudder, a plug to stop up his captive’s bowels. If his captive did care, he’d never know. He’d only hear the song, muffled pleading he had been listening to since last night when he first dragged him inside.
“Did you know that if you close your eyes during the bombings and breathe, just breathe real slow like you’re going to sleep in the summer sun, that the sound becomes almost like a symphony? I think if Mozart had been here he would have ... he would have conducted them, I guess. The bombs, I mean. I – I bet one of the generals is a musician. That must be how he made it so beautiful and terrible. He ... he conducted those bombs. Like a symphony.”
He poked at the keys, ting, ting. His feet were wet. They stank. A chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling. And then a low hum began to rise outside like the swarming of a million bees, coming from some great distance at first but soon growing louder. The planes returning.
Ting, ting, tung.
“The conductor is going to play us another song. I wish I could see it. But I can’t see anything anymore. I can only hear the music.”
Ting, tung, ting.
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I have been writing on a regular basis since I was nine years old when I rode my bicycle to the Hallmark store in Wichita Falls, Texas and purchased a Snoopy diary with my allowance. I mostly wrote about my day-to-day experiences at Jefferson Elementary...who I played with, what I ate for lunch, which boys I had crushes on. One of my entries was quite incendiary, however. I wrote about how I overheard my mother talking on the phone, telling someone that my father had neglected to send the child support check once again. "I hate my stupid non-father! I never want to see him again! NEVER!" I scrawled in agitated block letters. So early on I "found god in myself & i loved her/i loved her fiercely" (Ntozake Shange).
I credit my maternal grandmother as the person who nurtured me into a lifelong love of reading and writing because of all the fairy tales she read to me and stories she told me whenever I spent the night at her house in Bridgeport. All these years later I'm still writing, still endeavoring to turn straw into gold., and I still consider myself an amateur. In fact, Amateur is the title of a chapbook of my poetry that was published last year by a small press from India.
Poem of the Week
who have experienced
on a large
i tell raif
i think my
might be dead
haven't seen her
& her car hasn't moved
for two weeks.
you would smell it
passing me a plate
of triangular shaped bread
slathered in jam.
Story of the Week
DARLEEN SQUEELED into the empty spot as soon as the gleaming white Mercedes pulled out. "We got lucky," she told Montana. "Even on a Monday night, this lot is killer."
Montana rolled her big blue eyes. "Whatever."
The eleven year old had better things to do, like text her friends. Incessantly, as if she had a tic. The kid hadn't wanted to shop tonight, but Darleen insisted. This was their first Christmas without Paulie and the girls needed to stick together. Darleen's ex had been nasty lately and mediation had hit a cement wall. Montana wasn't aware how dangerously close they were to losing access to Paulie's vast and unreported wealth.
Montana sighed dramatically as she yanked open the door of the Porsche Cayenne and tumbled out. She didn't pause in her texting.
Darlene checked her face in the rearview mirror. The most recent fat transfer had been wildly successful. She loved her new lips. Grabbing her Gucci bag, she hopped out of the front seat.
Her daughter trailed her into the mall, thumbs flashing on her phone keypad.