Boys of Summer
Not all can hear the call to arms, sprung from seasons within, when fathers kiss their girls good-bye and escort their princes to battle. Canvas sacks of armour are slid from their steeds, slung over breastplates the colours of the kingdom, which is all. Sacks are cast on neutral soil, hands clasped with vying monarchs whose boroughs they would see shamed. They come to this field as a rite. They come to pit princes against other sovereigns, who may grow tall and to be rivals. It is the sire’s privilege to confer his sword, to grant weapons with which to topple mounting kingdoms, reserving spoils. Princes take up positions once held by their kings, a customary spectacle bestowed and received. Then dreams the fragile shapes of boys fly on spurs mothers will clean, until their undersides are as unsoiled as the day they were freshly knighted, yet never distressing the father’s mark, while daughters miss what is not theirs and boys ride home with their father’s favour.
A True Story
As far as I can tell, at some point I was born, though I don’t know which day of which year. When people bring up birthdays I fall reticent and my mouth flattens into a line. I say people but I mean villagers, for I live in a village. Which village? I have no idea. There is a church which the only street dead-ends into. It was ripped out of a magazine. I give rings to little children when they ask for them, I have hundreds to spare, hanging off a carabiner which I keep in my pocket and grip like a rosary. The villagers fear an invasion from the north but nobody knows which way north is. While they talk about it they look in every direction. The cloud-cover is heavy. Daytime blurs directionlessly. Well, a villager says to me, I like your outfit. I say what outfit.
One Man’s Account of Creation
Mist. A land, not a wasteland especially. Nothing is wasted. Nothing, itself, is wasted. Dear Anna, I care for one thing and it only in the incorrectly blue artery of the present moment – and that is this letter. You were kind enough to ask for it. I have known your name, and the mere utterance of it has set me to blazes since... well, can one really say ‘Since before I remember?’ By the time you read this letter I will be smirking, and burning wastebasketsful of money which were gifted to me by Prometheus, our friend. I am a vegetarian, I have gathered. I have been studying the faculty of hate, its thrilling aspect. When the horses are tired, I gallop into the hills myself, through the pink echoing corridors of evening. After that I may show signs of exhaustion such as crushing whole skeletons.
First it stopped raining. Then people stopped crying. Infertility flourished. The heat was arousing but what was there to be aroused? The public bathroom slowly became a great telephone directory. The town was seen from no one’s perspective. At this, mothers and teenagers would go to weeping, but they would just sit on their beds massaging their eyes red. An elderly quality stuck like gum along the handrails of the town. Where one would normally say, ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead,’ citizens of the town instead said, ‘I’ll cry when I’m dead,’ for that would be something to cry about, and the drought would presumably be over.
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