Wednesday, September 30, 2009

something to read...

The Mailbox

“I don’t believe in writer’s block,” he told her.

They were sitting at the table in their kitchen. Sunshine slipped thru the barely parted curtains and climbed across the empty breakfast plates. He looked at her when she didn’t say anything.

“I know you think I have it, but I don’t.”

She was picking at a crust of toast drying on a napkin.

“I never said anything like that and you know it.”

“Yeah, but you don’t have to say it. It’s all over your face.” He scratched his nose. “I can finish that fucking book.”

“I know you can.”

“Bullshit. You lost faith in me a long time ago.”

“No, you lost faith in you.”

He bristled.

“What do you know about it?”

“I watch you, I listen to you, I remember how you used to be.” She stood up and carried her plate and empty glass to the sink. Dropped them in. Ran some water. “You used to smile. Now you don’t.”

He picked up her napkin and the crusts and the crumbs and the rest of it. She stepped out of the way. He finished clearing the table as she watched him.

“Well, so what? Who cares if I smile or not?”

“It’s symbolic.”

“What the fuck are you talking about? You think ‘smiling’ is my problem?”


“Well, what the fuck are you talking about then?”

“People who are happy smile. You don’t.”

“Bullshit, I smile. Watch.”

His twisted his lips into an echo of a smile. His cheeks wrinkled with effort. He showed her his teeth.

“Wow. That was terrible.”

He made a sound almost like a laugh.

“You used to really laugh,” she said. “There was a light.”

He scowled. Light, he thought. How ridiculous. He didn’t remember any light.

“Whatever. I’m going to take a shower and get dressed. We got some shit to take care of, you know.”

“I know.”

He headed down the hallway to the bathroom. She heard the door close and water pour into the tub. She parted the curtains and stared out into the yard. She listened to the sounds coming from the shower. She could hear the pattern of drops change as he moved around. She thought about the day ahead, how it was just exactly like so many other days.

After a while, the water stopped. In the silence, she could hear birds calling outside. She walked over to the front door and looked out the screen. Out by the mailbox she could see a murder of crows digging in the grass and hanging from the trees like dark jewels. They shined in the morning sun, barking at each other as they worked.

Then, one by one, they flew away.


Blogger j.b said...

so, you've been bugging my place, now, huh? great!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Poet Hound said...

Ooo I really liked that! Though I hope not to embody that scenario someday.

7:31 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

jb, I've not been personally bugging your place, but I maintain a roster of sinister contacts at both the NSA and the Mormon Mafia. I keep tabs, you can bet.

paula, thanks for the kind words. I've not writ a ton of stuff lately, so I'm kind of finding my way back to the typewriter. but the tank is almost full again and I'm expecting many nights annoying cyn with my tapping in the very near future...

12:12 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

i always figured you were in cahoots with those forces. you always struck me as the type... ha :)

hope the words flow again. we need a good burn occasionally to replenish the nutrients.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Father Luke said...

Jenifer wanted me to ask when you
and C are coming by for dinner.

The dot b's are welcome, also. We
can sit around and watch one
another not write, and enjoy it all.

Honk if you love Jesus.

- -
Still alive in Portland Oregon,
Father Luke

10:12 PM  
Blogger j.b said...

we're probably much closer...hell, we're a 12 hour drive from Portland.

i love watching myself not write. i do every's a joy.

maybe one day....

i'd say you're all invited to our house, but you're not....oh snap!

9:50 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

it's funny, I actually DON'T believe in writer's block (of course, all fiction is based in some kind of truth); I think the words are there as long as we are awake and paying attention to the world around us. we get distracted by the minutiae of our lives and maybe lose focus, misplace the THING we use to translate the everyday into poetry/prose, become consumed by the ACTUALITIES of our lives rather than the esoteric and the ethereal which often matter more than the material; i.e. paying bills, grocery shopping, picking out rugs, hiking with the dogs and so forth.

and also, for me it's all about the SETTING, the set up, the typewriter on a dark night with the wine and the music up really fucking loud and the world howling in protest...and sometimes life won't allow for a full on madman pursuit of the ARTFORM when you have to get up and get your hustle on, whatever that hustle might be, and make sure you got enough dough to cover the rent.

so now and then we pause, refill, listen quietly to the mutterings of the muse, and actively participate in the workings of our lives rather than spending that time hunched over a white hot typewriter under a blazing sixty watt while outside dogs bark at their chains and drones sleep in their hives, a brief respite from the slavery of their choices.

but the words are still there. we just have to give them a minute to be heard...

3:54 PM  

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