"Plunge," "Uniformity of Taste," + "Arteries Migrate Toward Extinction"




Hands behind glass, disarray in head, smell of starched grins, and blur of clocks camouflage time. Who says a castle can’t rant out a whole orgy of bible, room by room? His kids say he slit the Dahlia into a narrative. Peopled by the blue transparency of her veins, pulled up to the skin like someone’s lower lip. Slow and deranged martinis guide themselves in clear missiles toward mouths vacant with ruin. The gowned throng spend ample time on upper lids and toenails, depleting energy for the thrill of taunting the hacked starlet.

Prepubescent girls flavor rooms for Man Ray and a swirl with the surreal tracks of hollow. Remixing their angled limbs, terror manifests a floral creature in wait for bulb and burial. Powders blossom in bubbled drinks, rumble distant worlds saturated with adult tongues for hands. Doors lurk sleepy, teeming how little breath is needed to bruise, bleed.

In this castle, mornings never bleary plundered deaths. Flesh and bones zone out, fiddle with zippers and tremors. Damn if somebody isn’t leaking horrors of childhood. Men decree motion, play with their trousers and find other men. Girls climb through sabotage, bend into each other.

A table displays the supremacy of defects. Men who dread desperation load up plates with sausage and ham. Fresh in wrinkles and grimaces they rush to the basement of denial. Girls crumpled with rashed thighs and blazing rectums drink orange juice, huge with the plunge of the sea.

Someone dies. Someone sucks pipes and yells fuck off. Someone lies when police arrive. Someone cries, eats and purges for days. Someone haunts their self and the quiet sky that follows them. Someone has no desire to exist.


Uniformity of Taste

Fingers shudder a soundless strangle, steam thick with the shake of the lens holds crooked images meek with cheap moans entombed within the skin of a hotel as old as its floating daguerreotypes. I chasten as a looter, a blackguard, a scoundrel ghosting money out of the hiss of mourning.

Frail, sucked in by abuse, addiction, they come to my rooms. Stale racks of skin bleed across my beds. Everyone curdles into perversion. A something that dances them like a rag doll, a maid, old as a weaver outskirting deserts.

Some say I bludgeon hundreds. Necks louder than a flock of plundered hens. Can’t say I map any of it. It molds towards raucous and the easy snap of the shutter. No need to ask dead bodies to still themselves. Clothes shred askew around them. Adds the mix of dollars in my pocket to the soiled beacon of the buyer’s orgasms. Slaughter, hard as acorns, is a marketplace. Sedentary remembrance of the women who scorned them.

My hotel breathes in stock of the city. Ladies temper the whiskers of war inside temperate strangers. Yawn of wives rack the brood of kids, and marriage, men leave behind. Souvenirs are just a part of the ride. Rummaging through the deck like poker cards, the men leave the hotel with their fantasy bound up in a body burdened with a peace it never knew. Branded lifeless in a sepia tone.   


Arteries Migrate Toward Extinction

You have three kids, a husband, and an open-coffin vagina. Sister says it dies when you are eight. You throttle caged flesh, vaulted opinions, and the fierce potency of shadows thudding light hungry for habit over forty-two years. Do you know that your sliced throat jawed into three beaming red cherries?

*  *   *   *

When one wife named Frances can’t get up from her chair after twenty years of rising to thrash your holey, put on an apron, make meals, and fetch you from the saloon, you find a younger Frances who gutters out like a sailor, irons your brows, and dares the dark to fly you. How do you know you need a nurse? Mom says smoking deflated you into a 6’6” 90 lb. cigarette. They have to gut a 100-year-old oak to pasture your body.

*    *    *    *

Organs pump leaks through your chit-chat. Language becomes malignant with pastel nausea. Moves from the shush of nail-care to the bouche of “how thin are you?” Do they know you have braided your words to signify “your mouth is a muffle of shuffled cards.”

Liver racks over a thousand: “Babe, I’ll drink whatever shoots my way.”

CA-125: normal below 40: your number is over a thousand: “Fuck the roadtrip. I have to pee.”

Your face windmills between defending acupuncture and political pantsuits.

*    *    *   *

Can stories actually rearrange continents if they’re fondled long enough? Can one become sick of the child molding its plastic haze of saturated assault by parent into caricature? Wider, wider you sully the edges of panic bystanders barely acknowledge. Dare you to hallucinate it off my crotch. Distortion is an autobiography of diagnosis. How many strains of color try to creep through? Your face is an aperture pawing the haggard billows of oozing dignity.

Limp thwarts a captor. Landmines of growling sky shred us piece by piece. Mom surrenders her craving for finger-holds and compliments. She cascades rage that only knows a tightened throat, a word gone ghost, a carcass cough of dormant volcanoes who never find their matted leakage.

Uncle, Uncle, you wretched rot-squirrel, how does your family grow?  Boy Scout leaders and hetero-breeders who murmur the shadow of blow. Aggravated spits of conversation between awkward, patched silence when Uncle works bolts of rope into boy scout specials. Each knot its own anguished plea.

Breastables puff on gang-land rhetoric and spliffs, prison-free of Mom’s girdle, yet secondhand silence sods the guzzling beast of appetite and mowed lawns.

Bulk sits beneath its family bush, hoarding depth of exterior. No chance to burrow crazy when you dominate the cupped sun raking in your placid depravity.

Took off, big sister. “CRAZY” was the dial tone. India was your new home. Dad paid a bill he could never recompense each month. You, sister, shirked your siblings. A dot of a house on the planet of “nobody will ever know” had grazed the roiling fog of drowned violence. What a family heirloom. A riot of repressed introspection.

 A bullet in everyone’s head.

Meg Tuite is author of four story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging, and is included in Best of Small Press 2021. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine.

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