Whiplash

By Jeff Stewart

It’s the spine of a dog while he sleeps back to back with you.  It’s a strong cup of coffee and a beam of sun ripping across your typewriter.  It’s the first look at the inside of a beer glass during the first long drink.  It’s the spot of green grass holding a ripe plum.  It’s an unforgettable passage by Celine or Lorca or Hamsun.  It’s the blood that drips exactly on time with the music, the grips of your handlebars and the smooth turn of the pedals.  It’s the slightly overweight counter girl at 7 Eleven who looks at you like she wants to take you in the back and fuck.  It’s discovering that your favorite actor or writer or singer has a tattoo and has done time.  It’s a drive down the freeway with the beach set to the right and the sand glossed with heat.  It’s in the eyes of squirrels and deer and cats and pigeons that don’t take off at the sight of your approach.  It’s being behind the computer before noon, the light upon the glass of the room, Kill ‘Em All blasting through the speakers around you while you sip a beer and wonder and don’t wonder.  It’s where it lives, in the creation of us, the road and the heroes, the sunlight and skin, engines and rubber and the landing of flies upon your neck, the bars that reach across the night and hold us together, paused alive.

Hot Tub Demons

We were hungover when we pulled into Vegas.  It was around two in the morning.  We had been caught fucking in the bathroom at Exxon in Kingman, Arizona.  Some guy and his kid walked in.  I had my hands on her hips, her palms were pressed into the mirror over the sink. I looked into the mirror over her shoulder at the guy and his kid.  All I could think to say in the state I was in was, “I thought I locked it.”  She started laughing out of sheer awkwardness, which made me laugh.  The guy hustled his kid out of there.  We finished and took a nap in the car.  Bad idea to stop for a quick drink and a game of pool to wait off the heat.  It became an all day drunk, and it led us to the gas station.  Fast forward to Motel 6 by The Strip, we had been driving since Tucson, seeing her family there.  She was crazy and fun, I think we were maybe twenty-four or twenty-five.  We passed out long, and I woke up and walk to the am/pm for a jug of water and some food.  It was grey in Vegas.  She had never been there.  When I walked into the room she was leaned against the headboard watching TV.

“How’s Vegas in the daylight?” 

“An old whore without make-up.”

I went to the sink and brushed my teeth.

Excerpt -The Velocity of Ink

     Night in the city. Afraid of no man, he moved throughout. Stepped over killers who slept off the speed. The city that would eat them.

Blind and deaf and dumb.                                                               

The stranger. The years of him. All the years dipped in her blood. Two doors down, and he was nothing. To feel her pulsing, the heart protected. Hers. It would beat how she locked the tumblers down. Three in their beats. Of all the risen moons, one moored to his wrists. Firmament. A recess of hatred. To break free no longer possible, the way time would stop under speed.

     The stranger, his love hidden, his heart deep from the old city. The stranger, now. Dust of a hanging moon, to cry upon his hair. Obsidian pushed back below neon. The buzz. His hate recessed, firmament heart. Passed him once in the hall. What he would tell her if given the grace from a place he had never seen. Drunk, he would feel it. Sober, it blinded him.

     A jack-roller. Pimp. Another pimp that passed him there. Dead-eye to let him know: his life, without worth against the backdrop of night. Pimp. The stranger would kill him in a grip, but lose his grace forever, lost up high. The orbit for a moon fed, the flesh of Asia. A moon dead-eyed, rolled by the jack of eye that passed him in the night.

     There was Asia. Always Asia. Fed a moon lost to the firmament, flames to fan light, its dust reaching, moored recess of hatred. The wrists of the stranger, the blood of Asia, her years. The Moon. The Sun waiting. Bright slave. Hours from now it would burn for nothing more than to shroud her skin through a quilt, to feed her blood, to feed the Moon. Recess for its dust, its light moored to his wrists. Two of them under a city. Trapped.

     Only thing now was the constant of always, his heart, its excuse in neon. A word in bullets, in neon. The word rested upon her hips. The Moon allowing the Sun to enslave itself.

     He watched her through they eyelet when he heard the hall door open. The Sun on high. The neon lost, gone to the word above his wrists, to the day for them to sleep. His wrists, her middle rising and falling, the Sun shrouding her beyond the ink. His arms, her flesh. Moored. The neon word.   

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