Brother Efrim

Ah, brother Efrim. He never told his story well. Everything about him was submerged. He wore both masks, the comic and the tragic. When he drank, he was the best goddamn drunk he could be. Sober, his heart was larger than anyone she knew. Elani loved him and she understood the depths, the wear-and-tear of pride, the oscillating moods. She tried to rescue him, and still hoped she could. He was stubborn.

She often drew him in her sketch book, always from memory. He had little patience for sitting still or staying in the moment. His face was angular and whiskered, pliant skin over bone. The portraits were always in charcoal and pencil, because that was him, practically a Dickensian character, bare meat on his bones, unwashed hair, seared lips.

She found him once, on one of her rescue missions, slumped on the sidewalk. The street lights dredged the pavement like flour, and he was a shapeless drift of luminance. He was waiting for the better angels to show up. Or his sister.

She cupped the back of his head. No more, he mouthed, but the words were a malt liquor vapor.

***Excerpt from a work-in-progress, The Stone Age***


I am man, not real or imagined, a slumbering beast erupted from dirt. My name is unimportant, though it might have some bearing on my fate. If I knew it, I might not claim it.

I see the sun, not as I remember, but as a dim light with dim warmth, cascading onto my limbs, into my eyes, upon my gulping throat. Such simple nourishment for the starving darkness.

Bruises from sternum to groin, dank grey flesh, partially consumed by heedless worms, I am unaware of pain. Emerged from the wet soil, I am renewed. For what purpose, I do not know. To breathe again, nostrils engorged with sweet air. I will journey, but to where? Who are my foes? Who planted their spade upon my bed and walked away, satisfied? I do not know. My renewed breath and this resurrection of mind will answer what needs answering. Vengeance or beginning, I do not know. But purpose, yes. I will find it when it comes due.

Superman’s lamentation

He traded in the suit and cape for a K-Mart tee and Levi 601’s. Tired of soaring, he took the subway downtown. He could still hear their cries and peek into their failing bones. He wept molten tears as he lay beneath burlap, and he wished for sleep. He waited for the yellow sun to give him back his faith.


Listen, please listen. You cannot hear my voice; I have none beyond the squelch and repetition that serve as memory. But think back: remember my eyes, my irregular climates, oh, how daring, and oh, how timid, so full of fear and fuck-it, by the drink and the contradictions. You will hear my voice if you listen, if you disregard the inconsequential noise that chokes your ears. If you truly knew, you would tell apart my voice by my pulse points and the wash of gray light upon my lips.

Listen, please listen, and I will be all that you hear.