Dug your shoulder into mine To see if I was there Constellated candles trapped a ghost in Union Square A sea of street novenas We had names for every one That one’s Gabriel That one’s Bubblegum There’s Another One
We were children Handed fire We were someone’s only friend So protected We conspired To never be alone again
A basement floor in Annadale A Lincoln Center dorm My future spoke in fits & starts And never sounded sure 'Til it announced itself in Sunset Park On 33rd & 4th I was scared In my head: "You’re not ready yet" We were children Handed fire We were someone’s only friend So protected We conspired To never be alone again
But you waited, knowing better You just let me spin From the ashes to the altar To your door again
That one’s Gabriel That one’s Bubblegum There’s Another One
We were children Handed fire We were someone’s only friend So protected We conspired To never be alone again
But you waited, knowing better You just let me spin From the ashes to the altar Never be alone again
Malls: Fact or Fiction (a fake investigative news article I wrote in January 2012)
Year after year after year after year, millions and millions and millions and millions of our nation’s teenage boys and teenage girls go to malls. To shop. To buy clothes and posters of Mark Wahlberg and Led Zepplin and that girl from Transformers. Or so they say. What’s really going on there? I’m here to figure it out. Malls, are they fact or fiction?
At first I was stumped. Everywhere I looked, I saw shopping malls. Everywhere I looked, I saw somebody holding a bag from American Eagle or Victoria’s Secret or Auntie Anne’s. I couldn’t turn a corner without seeing some punk with braces and a shitty NoFx t-shirt holding a Hot Topic bag, thinking that made him cool or something. All pointing towards the illusion of the existence of malls. I didn’t buy into it though. I knew that there had to be more to it. Some REAL reason our younger population decides to not be home when they aren’t in school.
"Malls first started popping up around the world some time in history," explained Axel Ryder, 16, when I approached him at the Panda Inn inside the Saddlebrook Mall in New Jersey. "I don’t know, man, I’m just a snot nosed punk."
That kid was stupid, ugly and smelled like weed or bad B.O.
The evidence was stacked high and leaning towards the existence of malls. I was losing hope fast when, all of the sudden, I caught wind of something. I heard tales and rumors of a man who lived in Tallahassee. Sure, he was described to me by Florida vacationers checking out Time Square for their first time as a homeless dude with an affinity for peyote and shrooms, but I had to take any lead I could.
"Yeah, man, malls are just the government’s way of preoccupying our minds and distracting us while they fire missles at Russia and cover up alien landings and abductions," Marcus Hubble, 63, shouted at me from his handmade tin-foil tent housed on the bed of County Road 151.
I had something. It was a conspiracy that lead all the way to the top. I had credible information and I wasn’t going to be shut down or shut up. I was going to expose this. I marched* to Washington D.C. and stormed the Capitol Building.
"Sir, you can’t just barge in here," a burly security guard named Stevie T. was yelling at me. "You need to leave."
I was kicked out of Washington D.C.
I didn’t find much else on the matter, but something’s fishy. Why’d Washington shut me up so quickly if not.
For WGOS News, I’m Bucky Brennon and I just served you the truth.
*by marched, I mean that I hopped on a plane and flew there.
the following is completely unedited, unfiltered, unplanned prose. i was on break at work, had a half hour, and wanted to see what i could get written in that amount of time. enjoy.
I guess I never truly knew you. You were wearing that grey wool overcoat that nearly dragged against the ground as your size thirteen snowboots hovered over the snow covered sidewalks that lined West Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue. That’s what first caught my eye. Again, I guess I never truly knew you. You carried your weight evenly, one step at a time, as you glided over that mound of snow, into the dead streets, and hailed that taxi. I never knew you, but I knew that I had to know you. I had to have you. I had to have you. I had to have you. I never meant for what happened to happen but I guess that’s the point of these Missed Connections, isn’t it?
I followed your cab as it followed Sixth Avenue north, all the way to Central Park. I saw you get out of the taxi, tip the driver a ten dollar bill, and slowly make your way across the street, ignoring all the cars that honked at you and the drivers that yelled obscenities at you. You had this presence about you that screamed "I am me and I don’t care." I guess that’s what first attracted me to you. I’m just like you. I swear, you and I are so alike. Were so alike. Until me and my big, dumb self ruined everything. Me and my black snow coat. Me and my black fingerless gloves. Me and my cab parked a block away from you as you made your way into the park entrance, trudging through the thick, powdery snow, seemingly heading nowhere. I never really knew you but I knew I had to.
It was around four in the afternoon when I saw you buying that dirty water dog from the vender. I saw the white from your teeth flash in the steam that emanated from the cheap street food and, for a second, I was angered. I knew that you’d never be mine. Never truly be mine. Never truly be mine. Never truly be mine. Never truly be mine. I knew that no matter what I did, no matter how long I followed you, no matter what I was ever able to say to you, I’d always be just that weird girl from the park. So I kept quiet, clenched my fists in my down jacket’s pockets, and kept following you. Kept observing you.
You see, one thing that you might not know about me is that I recently found a strange number in my boyfriend’s phone. I know all his friends. I know all his coworkers and peers. This number, it was strange. You see, it just had this vibe to it. It felt evil. Ha Ha Ha, I know this sounds crazy but it’s something I should have told you. It justifies things. You see, when I followed you out of the park and across Fifth Avenue, along 66th Street, I knew you were taking me home. You were taking me to you apartment and I was so overcome with joy that, for a split second, I forgot all about the two inch pocket knife I had in the back pockets of my black Levi’s. I forgot that my boyfriend, the fucking stupid fucking lying sack of bullshit, was cheating on me with some stupid fucking idiotic fucking evil, evil, evil, evil, evil….I’m sorry, this is so unbecoming. I forgot how mad I was because of how genuinely happy you had made me, leading me up 66th Street, across Second Avenue, to your apartment. You thought you let the door close behind you, but I caught it. I slipped inside right behind you, my fists still clenched, and I watched you climb those steep stairs. Step by step, I stayed a few yards behind you. Step by step. Step by step. Step by step.
You and the way you asked if I was new to the building when you peered over your shoulder and saw me standing there, my hand in my back left pocket caressing the now-cold steel of the tiny pocket knife.
"No," I responded as I thumbed and fingered the cold steel of the knife. "I’ve been here for years, silly."
I never meant to lie to you. I hate liars. I hate liars. I hate liars. So, for that, I truly am sorry. I’m not sorry that I did exactly as you secretly wanted me to do and place my foot between your door and the frame as you said goodbye and tried to close your door. I’m not sorry that I pushed the door open so hard that it knocked you to the ground. I’m not sorry for anything because I know you wanted it. I know you wanted it. I know you wanted it. Again, I miss you. You and your puffy, quivering lips. You and your pale green eyes and long, mossy brown hair. You and the way you asked me to stop. You asked me to stop. You asked me to stop. You asked me to…
I’m getting side tracked. I miss you. We had fun and I miss you. We were perfect for one another and I miss you. You’re nothing like that lying, cheating scumbag boyfriend of mine and I’m nothing like that blonde woman in that picture that was on your bookshelf. We’re perfect for one another and, if you ever see this, I hope you can forgive me for what I did. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
the following is unedited, unfiltered, unplanned prose. i was on break at work, had a half hour, and decided i wanted to try writing a short story in that time. i got into it, but i wasn’t able to finish it. i like what is there so far, though. enjoy.
Even after a hundred paces he couldn’t tell what he was running from. He ran and he ran and, no matter how many burning breaths of oxygen he inhaled, he couldn’t comprehend why he ran. Sure, he was afraid of what was behind him; the fear of rejection and the fear that, regardless of how much he tried, he was bound to find himself a washed up old man with nothing but tales of all the times he tried to do things. So he ran.
Lets go back a couple hundred steps.
Erik Martinez was born to a Baja born Mexican father and a Swedish mother in 1988, just outside of Los Gatos, California. All his life he dreamed of being an architect. The idea of building something that people for decades, if not centuries and millenniums, would gaze up and marvel at always sounded so pleasant to him. He studied hard, worked hard, and always pushed himself to impress his teachers and please his parents. A few months after Erik turned 18, his father was killed by a drunk driver on a trip to Portland, Oregon. This, mixed with Erik’s moving away to Miami University, caused his mother to rely heavily on alcohol and antidepressants, causing her to turn into a shell of who she once was. She functioned and she was there, but she was never truly there. Still, Erik fought and worked harder than ever. He worked two jobs, on top of going to school full time, in order to afford the life he wanted for himself. During his senior year, a week before graduation, his mother died of an overdose and Erik was sent into a spiraling, bottomless pit of angst and depression. It was a miracle he still managed to graduate. This brings us a hundred and fifty paces in the past, a few months before Erik was running full speed in the middle of the night toward a cliff overlooking the rocky shores of the northern California Pacific coastline.
Erik’s girlfriend, Coral Tomlinson, had grown up to a physically abusive high school English teacher mother and a mentally abusive post office worker father in Aberdeen, Washington. At a very early age, she learned how important it was to only rely on yourself to take you away from the bad shit. She’d hideaway for hours at a time in her bedroom, reading all the books her schoolmates made fun of her for checking out of the school library in the first place. Harry Potter books and comics, she was always called a bookish nerd. No matter how bad she had it, she refused to let her temper show. She’d just take all the bullshit with a crooked smile, all teeth and dimples, and think that one day it’d all be worth it. She kept her head down, ignored the hatred of the evil school children and her unfortunate family, and kept trying to be the best her she could be. The day she turned 18 she packed her piece-of-shit 1985 Ford hatchback with everything she owned and drove as far away as her life savings of 3,000 dollars could get her. She arrived at Miami University in the late summer of 2006. This is where she met Erik. This is where Erik’s life started moving at a thousand feet per second. Still, we’re behind the pace here, lets pick it up a notch.
Coral and Erik’s relationship was one of those relationships that grows faster than it should, like a snowball rolling down a mountaintop that swiftly becomes a boulder of ice and snow. They went everywhere and did everything together. If there was a day they didn’t speak, they’d both start questioning everything and wondering if this was the end. They both loved each other wholly, understanding one another so completely, that it felt dangerous. They were afraid of being apart because being apart meant that the bad shit could find a way back into their lives. Toward the end of their sophomore year, Coral’s parents started relentlessly leaving voicemails on both Erik and Coral’s phones. They were asking for money and housing, things that neither Erik nor Coral had, because their home in Aberdeen had been foreclosed on and their banks were dry. It took everything she had, but after months of sending checks to a PO Box in Washington and rage building in her heart, Coral told her parents that she was sick and tired of being their crutch. She never wanted to hear from them again. Grow up. Still, even though they listened and never spoke to her again, the anger and the rage kept growing inside Coral. The smallest annoyance that Erik could cause would send Coral into a frantic yelling fit. She’d yell at him for, at least to Erik, what felt like hours and then she’d lock herself in her dorm for days. Then Coral’s grandmother, Celeste, died. The only beacon of hope and happiness in her family had passed away. Coral didn’t even attend the funeral.