the critical pass review
The music is a fog between us, warm and ripe, intimate as skin. It’s a heat generating our limbs bone to bone. Nathan’s guitar bobs hip to opposite thigh, his right foot rising to the toe then dropping on the downbeat. My eyes are closed most of the time but I know we’re facing each other, facing the roar between his guitar and my voice.
The crowd is churning; they’d been completely his for the last three songs, before he called me to the stage. The entire night has been one gradual ascending climb and now we’ve collected at the summit, appreciating the arrival as much as the destination.
There’s the blaze of the audience, their sway, and the collective stamp at every fourth beat; the subtext of their voices as they hum the melody or sing along, all a vibrant foundation for my own reach. I can feel Nathan’s band shifting around us, feel them pass close.
I blink, catching sight of the cloud of Nathan’s hair swarming over his fingerboard, Mark’s fists coming down hard on the drums. Red lights, blue shadows, a band like a single elegant thought, like a family. I close my eyes again and my voice opens to the room until it takes its own light and weight. The other voices rise around mine, the crowd a few steps away and Nathan’s close at my ear, deep and rough, a jagged rasp that somehow softens once it leaves his throat, becoming more rounded and mellow.
The Reason the Dress is Yellow
There’s a reason the dress is yellow, a reason it glows like a single candle in a darkened window, the cloth of the skirt folding in on itself then unfurling in tiny ebbs; there’s a reason but if he asks I won’t tell him.
It’s possible the dress began something, became the cause of some sequence, the sunburst instant of a new universe or history.
In the dressing room mirror, months before, I hadn’t known what the dress was for, what kind of artifact it might become. I’d only known my nakedness before the mirror and the anticipation of my skin just before I slipped it over my head, known that these things were some kind of marker.
A long clench, finally loosening. An ending, for sure, and possibly a beginning.
Ten Year Stare
as it ought to be
It was a look I seen and I seen it true. Then I forgot it til I seen it again then I remembered it. All of it. Every minute in the between and that one on each end.
Like memory comes full circle pulling a kind of noose round my neck slow, tightening from the first look to the last. For a second then I seen into his world. We were together then for a second. And it felt alright. Clear. I could see the inside of the noose where the air was. And inside the noose it’s light blue. The color of a finished sky.
Before. He’d been sitting on the floor in the living room of the trailer, his trucks and cars all around him. This was before his mom left before everything started to rust. And I was mad about somethin or I’d been drinkin or I was just a son of a bitch or he was a pain in the ass but I told him to clean that stuff up and get it out of the floor and he just kept right on and I reached down and jerked him up by the arm and slapped him hard and dropped him again right there on the floor.
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