EVERY TRAVELER WHO RETURNS IS LOST: by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Every time I come home I rediscover myself. And I remember why I left.

To describe my home I must describe my own body–we are ascended which
means we don’t see ourselves as separate from the city, though we can
leave, and return.

Here now, on the terrace, I remember these long years, the wake of the
years now treading its long pull at the back of my head, because…

Because because because. I know I should avoid explanations. Tell only
of the experience. I was elsewhere, I have returned.

This transmission, if it reaches you, which it will not, but if it
could, it is my diary. For history. For my mother.

Here the asphalt is cool against my legs, where I squat hunched like a
dwarf, under the leaves, carefully maintained, this terrace suspended
above Broadway five hundred feet, but so calm–things are calm here.

You know that. If I can say things are calm I can say other things,
but I would say them with my head. No judgment of mine should be
recorded–please, is this permitted? Do not let my judgments be
transferred into your awareness, only the experience, so that there
might be no separation.

I am returned, here in the pagoda, the garden for the returned, those
unmeshed from the rest, for a time (and the truth is we are not so
different, only by degree, even as lovers join their bodies, or
friends their minds in conversation)

But I am doing it again, offering explanations. Excuses.

I hate it here, you see. I should have said that at the outset. The
calmness is not right, because of the pull at the back of my head,
which is a generator. Nothing uncommon, a generator.

Perception is funny, what we tune out, the sound of a generator is not
supposed to be heard and yet I hear it. It is more there than anything
else and I know it knows me to be here, a musical note in its chorus,
choral, toroidal . . .

You are a body, Robin, you are arrived, into New Haven, into the
porthole, into the terrace, the leaves near as penitents, the
corridors of ashalt–I mean the sidewalks, they are sidewalks Robin,
they are fantastic, truly wonderful–

Well, no. No no no. All that I speak is a disease. I have killed my mother.

As I will murder you.

She made me come back!

You persist in the belief that your fair city, your fair city, your
fair city will be–not resonant, no, no, not quite, what is it that you
believe about this damned place

WE BELIEVE IT IS HEAVEN ROBIN

Yes, heaven, that’s it. What is that.

THAT EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE.

The same old story, yes. Ecclesiastes. My mother is like you. A time
for everything and everything in its time.

YES.

A shit for every pot.

YES.

A crap for every dog.

WHAT?

But we know all this. Its immanence is its horror. The railings. The
translucent memory patterns on the water. The sound of the generator.
. . thrumming its humdrum lovers (us) into action.

I am a student. I am a student of your reality.

Your reality means nothing to me. I am above it. I am defeating it!

I am–

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME, ROBIN.

You don’t know anything about last time goddamn it!

DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SEE.

My metal donkey. Blue and black. My satellite, black. My escritoire, silver.

YES ROBIN.

My blood…

YOU ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL ROBIN.

Make me not remember.

___________________

© 2014 Robin Wyatt Dunn

 

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THE TRANSPAREN​T BRIDE: By Ryan J. Torres

Will was alone in the hotel when he heard footsteps above him.

Usually, it was easy to mistake footsteps in an empty house for old boards settling under the heat from the furnace. But this was different. This was distinct. It was high heels on hard wood.

The innkeeper left his paperwork, got out his chair, and made his way from his office and to the foot of the staircase. As he glanced up into the darkness of the second floor, he called out to the noise to see if anyone, the owner, the housekeeper, a groundskeeper, anybody, had made their way into the hotel and up the steps without Will noticing.

There was no response.

Step by step, Will made his way up. His eyes were transfixed on the light switch at the top of the staircase. And as he reached the top, he flicked the switch, and the main hallway of the second floor sprang to life.

The door to room 2, the one that was right above his office, was halfway down the hall and on the left.

There was an eerie silence that tormented Will as he made his way toward the room. Even with the lights on, he hated the dreary hallways of the Colonial inn. The thin plastered walls with a solid moss-green coat and white trim mixing with the burgundy carpeting made him feel as though he was walking through a lung infection. But, loss of appetite aside, it was–after all–a steady paycheck.

Will dug his skeleton key out of his pocket and unlocked room 2. The door felt cold as he placed the palm of his left hand upon it and slowly pushed it open. His breath was stifled.

As the door was whining itself open all the way to the stopper, Will grazed the wallpaper for the light switch. But, for a moment, he hesitated flicking the switch. Harsh winter moonlight was pouring in through the two windows in the room and spilling onto the hardwood floor. Behind that light, there was an Italian leather fainting sofa. And, on that sofa, Will thought he saw the silhouette of a woman splayed across it. The outline of a head, neck, and shoulders were recognizable on the pillow of the chaise.

Will turned on the light.

No one was there.

With senses peaked, he turned off the light and closed the door. Then, while walking back down the hall, he caught his reflection in the small mirror that was hanging from the wall. As he grew nearer to his reflection and, ultimately, the staircase, his saw something else in the mirror, a silhouette of a woman, over his right shoulder.

Will spun around and examined the dimly lit hallway, but found nothing. He waited. And when the hairs on the back of his neck rested once more, he turned again.

This time, she was standing right in front of him. Her eyes were wide, black, and accusing, and she wore a long strapless wedding dress. Her dark hair wafted around her head as if she was underwater.

Will stepped back, away from the apparition, but found no footing between the top step and the landing. He then fell backwards and rolled, all the way to the bottom of the stairs.

As Will laid there broken and choking for breath at the foot of the steps, the transparent bride, who was descending the stairs after him, interrupted his last mortal moments. Her arms were outstretched. Her eyes were wide and damned. And her touch was a January eulogy as she claimed her new groom.

_______________

© 2013 Ryan J. Torres

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