the views are better when you sit facing the direction of the train passing through one delicious field of trees thick as marmalade after another spread over sweet and sorrow but October’s fossil infects forgotten fields untamed or made orange by sunflower blood and because you shoot through the countryside forward-facing with the train biting one stretch of track after another it’s too late to brave your head backwards and weep over Redwood’s whisper you instead devour the majestic verdure that sprawls barmecidal: ahead of you lies not a past coughing present but the future
A boy stands on his hands. His pleated pants splay like a tree split by lightning, still blazing orange in the evening. Grass-flecked mud squelches between his fingers while the stitching of his sport coat strains his armpits. Blood floods his head. Chatter of birds and relatives vanish in the drumming sound: like red-plumed legionaries marching back to General’s mercenary throne. Then a draft of smoke, a flipped steak. Violins begin. His hair flicks white, falls upward as he rights himself to cross the purple lawn and fill the gap in line they left for him between the men’s black suits. Their backs settle like sand into one shore: in a wave at night, the dark clouds of quartz swirl, then spread under the foam, surrendering to the coast that begot their grains. Above the breakers planets rise from the horizon red, black, brown, blond like men who stand turning together toward the aisle.
Summer started when the fair came to town. Bundles of spun sugar, shrieks from rides that twirled and dipped, tents with sharp points, eager faces behind booths, urging you to throw a dart, pop a balloon, win a stuffed monkey. Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re guaranteed to win!
My sister asked me why I liked the fair so much, why there were stars on my calendar for each day it was in town. Buttery, I replied. The fair felt buttery.
My sister told me that didn’t make sense. But that’s what the fair was to me: indulgent, comforting, like watching butter melt on a warm roll. That buttery feeling left when the fair packed up and moved on, when the second half of summer began.
The warmth of June began to weigh on our foreheads, suffocating and oppressive. My mom would twist my hair into a long, sweaty braid, her fingers lightly grazing my neck. Eventually, we retreated into the shadows like rats, stripping off our clothes and laying wet towels on our chests.
After living in Miramar Inn for three weeks, I realize we are not on vacation. My mother spends days in bed, never moving, even when we try to shake her. On this day, like all the others, my sister and I forage food from the continental breakfast, just in case we don’t have the money for lunch that day. We make off with our haul to the playground in the dusty field behind the hotel, which is really just a single gray merry-go-round, and we spin and spin and spin, morning light barely breaking the mountain peaks. This morning, like all the others, we try to forget what the world feels like. Our mom runs out to us screaming about running off without telling someone, but then she just keeps on spinning us, and laughs at our oblivious giggles and for a moment, she is not thinking about the hotel we can’t afford, or the food we don’t have, or money that won’t last. She forgets too.
From the artist
“amnesia” was inspired by a silly event: me accidentally swallowing a substantially sized sliver of aluminum from a salmon, barbecued beans, and broccoli plate lunch. I immediately Googled the detrimental effects ingesting aluminum has on the body: Alzheimer’s disease — which may induce amnesia — was the most popular of search results. In my multimedia, digital drawing, I attempted to create a visual description and depiction of what I visualize the experience of amnesia and Alzheimer’s fleeting thoughts to be like.
legend has it that he was a stout boy that oliver r. smoot of lambda chi stretching all 5 foot 7 inches of his oliver arms, oliver legs, oliver body above the enticing midnight water across the cold harvard bridge pridefully picked up by his brothers positioned where his head left off and his toes began ticking off the bridge as a measurement stick each line streaky and chalky and a smoot. google maps has it that i’m 1,384,776 smoots from dorm to home oliver would only have to lie down a couple hundred times hundred thousand times across neighborhood taco joints sprinting through know-every-cement-crack back-alleys by please-let-me-stay-the-night friends’ houses over no harvard bridge or water but landlocked panhandle and manmade lake he’d have to lie under, on, over that lake where the radio waves of “suburbia” and “idle town” and some senior year cry still echo slowly rippling as we blink out of red eyes and sore minds. rumor has it that it’s only 1,384,776 smoots of spilled slushies, rushed drive-thrus last-minute turn signals mowing over highway lines that oliver would have to endure interstate miles that all 5 foot 7 inches of my arms, my legs, my body the same height as oliver would have to retrace tick-mark up, recompute calculate kundera’s mathematical paradox in nostalgia: “that it is the most powerful in early youth when the volume of the life gone by is quite small.” how, i wonder, can the distance between dorm and home stretch farther than a million olivers but also be one short me one smoot.