Breadcrumb #463

PAUL SUNDBERG

The Sidewalk is impossibly narrow, walkable only by one, or two in single file, or me and a dog on a long leash, and the sort of cat that follows freely for a while just to irritate that leashed dog.

But, it’s suburbia and no one was ever supposed to walk on it really - everyone driving or being driven - the concrete ribbon meant only to lift to just the right height the wheels of lawn-mowers dutifully driven on late Saturday mornings, or to stabilize the Monday through Friday afternoon wheels of the tricycle driving toddlers (honestly, no one could wait to drive) watching for the big kids to get off the bus.

It was rolled out in the early Sixties, after all, when walking was reserved for hallways and aisles and the people who sadly, hopelessly careened through their driven lives in big cities. And even there, when late in the decade the marches came, the marchers took to the streets and highways, leaving the sidewalks to white men standing behind badges, and lenses, and the times.

As I walk the concrete ribbon now I think of it as an artifact of a world long gone, a memorial to the men who cut its course, set it forms, and poured a new world into being - this suburbia. Each embedded pebble a drop of sweat, a buck earned and penny saved in the hope of a lawn-mower of their own and a child on a tricycle.

The roots of trees have raised the sidewalk’s edge. Torn the ribbon jagged - it trips me into paying attention to the blade gouged lawns, the children in the street pedaling, dodging cars driving to and from the city, and the fractured fragments of the impossibly wide suburban dream once so neatly tied up with concrete ribbons.

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Breadcrumb #454

CRAIG KITE

A

My shoulder pops when I rotate it. Also my grandmother is dying again. Last time she almost died her house burned down. She just laughed then and described what a soul looks like. My mother always calls me when death is singing shrill and I come down to see my Noni leak a little more out of her tired body. She is still alive and tries to look beautiful with a plastic tube slid down her throat. But her eyes say something in between I love you all, now please let me leave, &, Oh god, I’m scared. What’s going to happen to me? Some days I can’t remember my name. I named her Noni before I could spell my own name. It was a mispronunciation of the Italian word Nona. She tries to smile pretty. I brush her hair from her forehead and kiss her. She used to drive a school bus for handicapped kids. I could listen to her talk to me for hours. I never even had to say a word. It felt like a real grownup conversation. Now we crowd around the hospital room trying to lift her spirit, either toward heaven or the will to live. Her throat is sore and she can’t say my name now. I can’t tell if she remembers it. They had to resuscitate her yesterday. She was probably moments away. She wakes up and winces and I wince. 

My mother is a trooper. She’s paints the cabinets cherry. She paints the cabinets white. She paints the smoke show in my mind. She makes me move the furniture. Everything is a matter of fact built on distraction from the inevitable. She is stronger than I hope to be when I watch her die one day. My older brother is more financially stable than me. I’m better at focusing. I can beat him at arm wrestling.  Except I can’t. But I’m taller than him. 

In reality, I take much longer this year to respond when my mother texts that Noni is dying again. I don’t buy a bus ticket immediately. I am hiding in New York and tell my girlfriend I’ll go for the funeral. Or I’ll call mom tomorrow. I am just like my father, wanting to believe my presence is more trouble than help. My shoulder pops when I open my internet browser. I’m already worried about arthritis. 


B

Today Brett Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court was confirmed. Also my grandmother died. I’m not sure which is stranger, life or death. I’m not pro-life. When people die we say they pass away. When I was younger my body passed over the railroad tracks that run through Queens, New York and it was an adventure. Today my body passed under them a few blocks from my apartment and it was mundane. One day my ghost will pass straight through them. I’ll walk through walls whenever I want to scare a two-year old. My grandmother’s ghost would never do that. She was the personification of a hummingbird. There were always hummingbirds sipping sugar water from the feeders she put out around her house on Hummingbird Lane. She had figurines of hummingbirds collecting dust on every piece of furniture she owned and now nobody wants these nicknacks. Tylenol was Tomynol. She said words wrong but I liked hers better. She was the most racially tolerant and progressive of all the old folks in my family. And once when my mom asked her as child what would happen if a white and a black person had a baby, grandma said it’d come come out like a zebra. She was super good at Super Mario. Now there’s a fire behind my face and my scalp is all tingly. I still can’t cry but I feel out of my body early. And that is because I’m staring at her corpse.

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Breadcrumb #444

SENECA BASOALTO

There were fourteen different sighs in my vocabulary, he said, ten times a week. Ten times fourteen is one hundred and forty, and one plus four is five – and five is one of five numbers that doesn’t make me nauseous, like dirty four. How he’d say the number arbitrarily just to watch one of my fourteen sighs gag from my throat.

Plums and arpeggio on his tongue. Plums that were a quarter size of his whole palm. Plums that could fit two at a time inside his mouth. Making me count math like a commoner, or stagger away from him with eyes rolled double on sigh number three. Two sighs for one. Elicit one sigh, get one free.

I learned the hard way to keep individual, inconspicuous, use language to skip pentagrams around dialogue so whomever is trapped on the other side of the conversation hears everything without absorbing anything.

Philip taught me that. He memorized my fourteen different sighs and directed my speech until nothing I said made sense to anyone – not even him three quarters of the time. Not because it didn’t have substance, but because the common person was prone to dragging their train of thought through the surface of every conversation. Anything that contained more than one or two layers of consideration was instinctively dismissed. Even the term “black” when used as a fall fashion trend triggered in me the urgency to remind anyone in my vicinity that before existence itself was created, there was nothingness, and nothingness was black.

I had to wear brown and call it a day.

Of course, this backfired on me later in life when I had four husbands, three friends, two enemies, and zero people who knew what I was talking about, ever. Philip had died. The cat I named after him died. And all I had left were fourteen different sighs that allocated me into maps to create the sum of division.

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Breadcrumb #330

JOANNA VALENTE

In another part of the world, the driest part, a god is on her knees. Long, long ago, when people still believed in witches, a woman with long silver hair and purple eyes taught a mother who then taught her mother who taught her mother who taught her mother how to listen to the earth. When you listen to the earth, that’s when magic can happen. She knows this. She also knows people don’t believe in witches anymore, but that doesn’t matter.

Everyone knows it’s hard to make someone who has been ignoring you for centuries pay attention to you again. It seems pointless to try, but it also seems pointless not to try, not when there has been nothing but drought for thirteen years. She is old enough to remember what it was like when it rained. When she was little, she hated the rain—it meant coldness, it meant having to stay inside, it meant not being able to walk to her father’s house because it was too muddy. But now, rain is all she wants. She dreams of rain pouring down all over her body. She dreams of hands rubbing the water down her legs, feeling the prickly hairs lay smooth against her skin.

The spirits are there. She knows this. But she also knows they don’t care about the earth anymore. Perhaps they feel abandoned, just as she does, or maybe it’s something else. Maybe all the humans and animals on earth just weren’t good enough, maybe they failed in some way. It doesn’t matter what the reason. She dug into the ground with her nails, feeling the dirt and sand get stuck underneath them. She dug and dug and dug until her body couldn’t anymore, until everything around her blurred and the horizon became a jagged, smoky edge—she stuck the vial inside the hole, the vial her mother told her to put there. It was supposed to help. She got up, dusted off her arms and heard a voice—she couldn’t tell where it came from—the sky or the ground or the dead vines around her—the voice said:

You are part of the problem.

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Breadcrumb #329

TIMOTHY CHAPMAN

Your words are footprints in the snow and it keeps a-snowing and you keep a-wandering and the fruit machine plays Beethoven’s fifth symphony beneath mirrors made of sunlight where we find comfort in the faux log fire. I run in circles and never see the same thing twice. There is nothing to be done except carve trenches in the sand and mould manic chaotic calligraphy and chant to the approaching sea. Music for life preservation; my acoustic arsenal, but my head no longer attached floats like the last petals of autumn and dreams and fears spill out in a stream of dust - are we tracing shadows on the floor as the sun sets? I walked the city for days manic routes making patterns with footsteps and now with one wing only I circle the skyscrapers and bathe in smog. Perhaps eyes are glass and water swells and love is mist in the morning? Fuck mirrors I only observe myself in rippled water or sharpened metallic blades. Qualitative servitude and happiness as delusion: help me ingest your scum. If you repent, oh lord, I will forgive you (hope for the hopeless) and mountains are tombs of past worlds. Observatories on long abandoned cliffs, a multitude of vibrations echoing in endless night need no signs. Judgment reduces reality to predetermined texts, but, are u a person with two legs living in a city on earth or a form of eternal energy floating in the ether? Life is living, survival instincts, social constructs, detours from reality. Behaviorists found that the body reacts to a representation of reality the same as it does to reality. Judge your judgments. How long can you look in the mirror? Experience as oceanic flotsam, reality washes up on perceptual shores, categorize, quantify, qualify... why build alters? Let flotsam be flotsam. Existence in a locked coffin soft velvet lined in a deep red. Let us rest and sleep. In the never ending noir we leave our memories, like winter days from the birth of the universe. City growing concrete chimera, sea sways invades recedes, wind pulls puppet trees that seed. My skin tightens, bones toughen, neural sculpture and the static 'I'. Unchangeable, ultra constant, anchor in spacetime, vital reflexive grounder. Is this so, or are we all hurricanes? Multiplicitous heterarchical plateau of existence. Where is the boundary of separation? Connected in subterranea, the windows of my old school are boarded up with cast iron sheets but early education still finds gaps to regulate my existence in society. Today we found fragments of discipline long forgotten and practiced them in new unknown ways to celebrate the difference within repetition. There are long toothed eels in the water and passive spectators observe slow destruction. Always worshiping whispers and relentless productional impurity. Territory of my memory chalked in the sidewalk: AK47 of youth. Auto-bills squeeze last breath of nana. Whale blood floods deck. Media factions knife eyes. Red wine lips grin MP (and I watch on TV). But remember, when love becomes so passionate and beautiful it forms a sacred entity that should be worshiped. Sun rises like lone siskin upon the frost perching on a horizon of cold black moss and sunlight spreads, spilling gold or fragile hope. Focus on contours where shadows swift recede, reveals hidden worms for feasts 'til eve sky bleeds. Spaces circumscribe words, gaps between each letter, blank paper between curves / dots / lines. Font ink perimeter jagged (as is the self). From swimming underwater to surfacing, walking on land: you are entering a new aquatic ambience. What does water actually feel like? My mind is an egg. Condensation on windows of the morning bus as an aquatic union of our unseen selves. We eat the strange fruit: cleansed demons smother angels and dream together in the endless embrace of tears of love and hate collecting on the mountain. Nothing is everything in the moment, forever is never in the instant. Confusion of illusions fusing protrusions. Reasons for exodus: rotary fumarolic burst, planetary myoclonic jerk, involuntary symbiotic hearse. Integrated lanes arranged degrade, mysteries disappear. In the fortress undescribed bloom spreads. Labyrinthine tunnels beneath the streets reinforce ancient relics of architecture that stand bold and uniformed in red brick. Backstreets like creases in the wrinkled face of the city. Everything is right angles and circles in the city. Pigeons chewing cigarette butts in ceremonial feasts, manic typing surrounds me like an army of hundred legged plastic spiders and I can see heaven in the fluorescent lamp. Red eyed demons cower in their shuffling buggies in endless rows and the aluminium sky births endless razor sharp tears. War cries and death screams in the morning traffic - a thousand deafening soliloquy's. They used the pen as the sword to carve doctrines of a new world into the backs of their enemies but I am reborn every morning and I dip my hands in grease before attempting the trapeze. Birthed with a crimson latex cloak we howl from a fecal fountain for the weeping teat. Trace the story of your life onto hopeful shadows and be done with story telling - a diary of translucent autopsies (my body is naked as the pond and as reflective and transparent). Throwing visceral pebbles upon abstract pools as arm / stem mutate, collaborate, mould and make for voids sake. Look no further for yourself; find all you ever need in a quick and sudden leap. That infinitesimal mirrors reflect forest gems across the parade: there, waiting, grinning, is the single raindrop amongst all. When I looked up I noticed an aeroplane had painted a beautiful motif across the sky with fuel and fumes. Attempting to locate experiential hapax legomenon fuels cardiac polyphagia; farctate and hamartithia resulting. Lir bathed my anabiosis in mesonoxian foam. She embraced me with flame and baked my ashen heart. Purport dragon wings about your glass frame and they will surely break free and fly away. The oneiromancer is cyclops and we are but gangrels; rondures of psyche. I read runes of futures unseen on the inside of my eyelids. Dive beneath subterranea and be yourself garnish to abyssal bliss, caress rhizomatic, whirling and detonate neural extravaganza. The walker and the trail, silken patterns on azure cloth. Ripples of the wind trace hieroglyphs abundant. Fresh portals abandon unseen into tentacles and other temporal discrepancies. Solemn sunset resides in argent mourning bed where I collect fragments, images and sounds. Tell me again that story of old. I collect fragments, images and sounds. Malachite trunks gleam in shadow woods among Rayleigh scattering. Dismember, rearrange and duplicate. Genetically engineer new bodies of music into sonic chimera of sweet songs with floral improvisation. I cling to the teeth of the behemoth, vigorously sharpening fangs as its mouth closes around me. Long shadows of lost memory in high noon of now, floral borders on the desert of yesterday and scintilla of tomorrow. The abstract reverie of infinite flux where dusk limns molluscs of Phoenicia and narcoleptic cormorants lure amnesiac perca fluviatilis upon the horizon of my lethargy. Let them feed (industrial genesis). I bade farewell to the womb and ate the living heads of beasts. Wander on the nighttime bloom, soothe the song beneath the moon, daybreak lost, forgotten noon, come again and maybe soon. Phantom predecessors detonate awkward rituals in murky distance where orchard cannibals lick apple stalks (they are closer to the branch). Tumultuous affectation; pulchritudinous lexica. Why do we do what we do? Because what is, is. In the silent dream with long knotted tunnels no eyes nor feet not brain be, just liquid light; moonlight wash. I am in some crazed world. insect voiced drone banter, wide eyed monsters and coughing, sneezing half dreams. Cower not, in your glove ten fingered hand of a mutants claw, stretch and fondle chaos; believe dark mist that soaks you. All be yourself!. When every point on the map offers biophonic bliss. Conditions for collisions: the impact of multiple flows moulds mutants, partial representations collected to form a new beast. Existence as waterfalls: the long plunge, then sudden, new depths. The gorge between reality and perception. Orchestra: feet drum the earth lungs blow the air heart beat a metronome ears project from external symphony an eternity. A microtonal wail. The universe: melodies realized as harmonic interconnections made multi-sensory in a dreamscape of inner consciousness where I am a whisper seeking in the mist. I am the no thing wandering the green land, sleeping in the seas sand pondering the vortex. Pierce the yolk dawn in Hypnos' nest: Oh wandering, waking dream of ganzfeld rest. Feed the unicorn on the shores of Lethe, inhale the cuneiform of somnambulist breath. Rambling prophecies that truth forgot where old workers spines were carved into great thrones. I reject the father whilst kneeling down to pray. Hundred headed stallions howl at every corner to satisfy the carnage. Eyeless, bald mannequins slow waltz to corrugated sheet symphonies. Upon the heather I lay, wrapped in a cloak of sparrow feathers making faces from passing clouds. We are vacant bubbles floating in hot mad lava, random access intruders. A lifetime in the fishbowl. Vacant obelisk of cranial deformation crowns your mutant drooling impotence. Demolish purity, transcend communication, compute divinity. Tribal scenes in luminous dreams. Perceptual jigsaw, endure perpetual realignment. Property is carnage. Collaborate with swinging nooses and daisy chains. Interconnecting glances of various strangers. Raindrops on the bus stop depict the coming of the new dichotomy and the adjacent era enters unnoticed as dew on grass blades. The gradual realization of oblivion. The wandering wisps of invention, dancers in the art. A wild and lucid vision in this subtle, endless dark. I am an infinite alien. I chose to live in this body for its lifetime. I killed a dead man to aid the rebirth, eating flowers in the morning straight from the dirt. Allow my passage through your alien scented orgy, dazzling eyes and crazy puppet arms, hypnotized by some imagined grandiose rhetoric. I enter the swamp, skin immersed, heels in silt, and sink. Dream feeders insert exotic waste and I transcribe the sunlight with pale, knife-edge wings. Life as a book of poems. Translucent figurines bathe in preparation for morning cataract of diaphanous connections. I have been summoned to rejoin the dust. Seek the wide sea that sleeps in a snowflake: a new cartography of flesh. Certainty provides comfort for the foolish (where utopia seeks to reduce perfection to the singular, existence remains unbiased. What is comfort but a numbing of the senses? Forgive everyone always. Fragments of coherence in everyday life trailing through endless virtual potential. I greet the abyss with a warm kiss (she has been waiting for me). Only when all is lost will it begin. Your touch is an ancient riddle, a slow breeze through the trees where every breath is a new world. I am naked in the moonlight, I am bathing in the flames, I am full of whispers and made from the dust: I am nothing at last. Of all the twisting heavens that sparkle and invent in darkness sparse yet thick I never knew what she meant. I see reflections of dreams in the fogged window on the top floor of the bus. I built this laden artifact for you but decided to leave it to the forest breeze. Sewer angels dry their tears on golden blankets of yesterday laughing at dreams of redemption, caressed by ergot and rams bones. The railroad is well built but still doesn’t lead anywhere. The first thing I see today I will take into my heart and cherish forever. To be still, but wandering deep in secret gardens of Gaia through petal raindrops, the fingertips of sorcery. Together as one, apart as many. Trees bury leaves on forest floors. Seeds merry breath and no less adore prisms of wisdom from before; breed, feed life forever more. From the grave I earned my life and to its return I’ll always strive.

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