This Great Society - Creative Writing Contents

 

Illustration: Joel Bentley

Edward Wells II: nouns and unnouns
Illustration: Joel Bentley

 

That bird that just jumped from the side of the building rising for a moment with a gentle arc like some fucked-up of angel dust fiend then beginning to move up and forward less and less, then downward more and more, beginning to flap its wings, that angel dust fiends do not have, and flying away — what did it carry away?

You sway minutely with a breeze, gently shuffle just half a stride away from my side.
"We used to have something," you say, and I can't quite grasp where this is going.

"Yes." I speak the word quietly. "Did you see what that bird was carrying?"
I half-point at the dark blot floating toward the rooftop of the old cinema on the next block that has been undergoing renovation.

"No," you say back. "Now, we are constantly giving to each other."
You look at me, for a moment the wind blows your hair out over the edge of the roof.
"We just give and give and it isn't even to get what we want now."

The wind has subsided and I pat the shoulder of your blue-jean jacket as I step past you toward the center of the roof and toward the chairs by the table.
You turn, looking at me. The heel of your left shoe grits in the dust and debris that covers the roof. You pull your closed hands up toward your sternum, the wind again. I sit down and consider smoking a small cigar that Juan gave to me on Thursday. You walk to the table and pick up your cigarettes. "Do you want a blow job?"
You hold the cigarette just in front of your lips, picking up the lighter.

"No." I look at your body and think of the warmth that is always found between your thighs.
You light your cigarette, inhaling deeply. "I would like to go up to El Cerrito."
I cross my legs at the hips. It pushes my scrotum and penis over to the left. You spin looking in the direction of El Cerrito, the hill with its pyramid.
"I don't want to today."
You blow smoke out looking straight up into the sky. "Okay. I'll wait until tomorrow, but I think I'll go with or without you."
You continue to stand there, and I take a sip of jugo.
"Good. You should. I have some other things to do if I don't want to go to El Cerrito."
"Okay."

I wake up in the warmth of the small rooftop room. You are laying on my right arm and I choose not to move. The sunlight is only beginning to appear. It has not begun to warm the earth or the buildings. Your hair is draped over your shoulder, hanging in front of you. Your back is arched, pressing your buttocks against me firmly. I smile and kiss the bony wing of your shoulder blade. I close my eyes and lay still.

"Do you still want to go to El Cerrito?"
I open my eyes and you are standing outside, speaking to me through the open window.
"Yes."
You grab the bars on the window, squeezing lightly.
"Then you better get up. I'm leaving soon." You turn, stepping away from the window. I sit up and smell your cigarette.
I look at the place in bed where you had been and think of yesterday. Then I think of Juan.

I begin to dress. I turn my head toward the window and raise my voice, "Do you think Juan might want to come?" I continue to dress.

You approach the window, grasp the bars again with two empty hands.
"Yes. But I don't want to invite him."
I stop and look at you. Your hair has been tousled mostly to one side by the wind. My brow begins to move slightly. You smile thinly, broadly.

We enter the gate at El Cerrito, stand there listening.
"You will become a monk," you say, and I look at you. You begin walking again, and I move alongside you. We reach the crest and look at the church, at the ruins of the pyramid.
"Why did they do that?" I point to the cement that holds rocks together lining the tiers of the pyramid. "What were they thinking?" You begin to walk.
"They weren't thinking." You move toward the church, and I walk a step behind you.
"It's still a holy place though," you say looking up at the tower of the church. You stop walking.
"They built a new kinda thing for a new kinda thing." I stop two steps behind you and turn to look at El Cerrito.


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