Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lines I Can't Get Out of my Head

from stories I can't get out of my head:

At first I see everything so sharp. The white looks like gold. My eyes see little bits of gold shining all over the ground, and then it starts moving, like fishes swimming in and out of my head. Then the blurring begins. I'm dizzy, there's a pain behind my eyes, but I keep on staring. I'm not going to shut them until it's done.
Tania Hershman, "The White Road," THE WHITE ROAD AND OTHER STORIES

I stay in bed and watch as my android gets ready for his day.

Once the crows detect a human--once alarmed and on their way--you use the death call. It sounds like rippling of bones around them. It says, "I'm dying, right now, and will you help me?" As true as Wednesday, the crows reappear, and you get that final image, spiraling frame, buckling of wings and heart, the curvature of returning. But I never use the death call.
Sean Lovelace, "Crow Hunting," HOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THEIR EGGS

She hears deeper breathing again and speaks before he can fully fall asleep. "Are you sure I'm the raisin and not the loaf?" "I am the loaf. The oaf is the loaf." This must be his apology for earlier. She lets more of her weight ease onto his chest.
Stefanie Freele, "You Are The Raisin, I Am The Loaf," FEEDING STRAYS

You stay because you realize you never really leave, no matter where you go.
Angi Becker Stevens, "Simpler Disasters," Emprise Review, Volume 11

There is dinner to prepare. But first, dishes need to be done. The name was the name of a Hindu goddess. The name meant something to me back then. Now, it is just a word―it is my daughter, with all her wonders and quirks and teenaged layers, and it will always be her, no matter what she calls herself.
Andrew Roe, "Apology," Twelve Stories, Issue 2

I want to tell my husband there is still truth between the two of us, still lips that close a circle and share a breath. In a photograph, his arms, in my sweater, lock around my waist. I’m fatter then, but happier. I have a blue scarf in my hair and black bangs. We stand on top of a mountain, wearing each other’s clothes and posing in the wind.
Lydia Copeland, "Across The River," Twelve Stories, Issue 2

At some point during these documentaries about extraordinarily fat people, there comes a time when a surgeon has to cut away chunks of belly or upper thigh and the fat person is lying on the operating table, vulnerable and spreadeagle. The surgeon uses special tools to spread and pull and dissect. Then, the surgeon triumphantly raises the bloody, excised body parts and shouts out how much they weigh. Everyone in the room gasps frenzied-like. It’s painfully obvious that they’re all really turned on and after they’re done sewing the patient back together like they’re channeling Mary Shelley, you get the impression that one of those surgeons is going to pull one or more of those nurses into a supply closet so that they too can have Thank God We’re Not Fat Sex.
Roxane Gay, "This Program Contains Actual Surgical Procedures," Twelve Stories, Issue 2

Nobody comes to the circus anymore. Hemingway, the last elephant, trumpets a sad note as his girlfriend is packed away into a truck to be sold. All us clowns line up in front of the big top to wave goodbye. My wife, Lulu, takes it hardest. She won’t even put on her make-up anymore. Last week, she crushed her rubber nose under her heel and it squeaked apart into two pieces. “What’s the point,” she said, “if no one laughs?”
Matthew Salesses, "Cirque de Recession," Twelve Stories, Issue 2

It’s the third layer that unsettles, making sleep hard to hold. The cry is that of an angry cat. A cat with its tail caught in a meat grinder. Someone is slowly but efficiently cranking, pulling the creature in, shredding flesh and fur.
No healthy baby should ever make a sound like that.
The feral shrieks jolt Arthur awake. He blinks again, turns onto his side, disentangles his legs from the top sheet. His brain merges the child’s cry into a dream—he’s riding a ferry across a choppy sea, holding to the rail at the rear of the ship, watching the baby’s crib being tugged by a heavy rope, while above her ten or twenty sea gulls glide on arched wings.

Bob Thurber, "The Baby's Name," Rumble


  1. Thanks for the mention Ethel.

    I loved that line from White Road. So perfectly written and given the story, so damn heartbreaking. I have not been able to forget that story in the months since I first read it.

  2. Nice. Good work in The Medulla, Ethel. It's great sharing some space with you...

  3. Thanks, Ethel. Your post reminds me that I'm way behind on my reading!

  4. Roxane, ditto.

    Thanks again, Eric, and right back at you :-)

    Andrew, I know, so much reading! So many words, so little wine.