Conglomeration No. 7
The silence that is not a moon
or someone passing by—this dirt
burned itself out though you sift
the way the emptiness that’s left
knows what each rock was for
—you uproot one then a second
as if your lips could be warmed
by a wall falling on its side
—you can’t hold on anymore
are already weakened by kisses
from the night between two rivers
no longer moving one at a time.
Midnight sun surprises you, despite the finest preparation. So Camilo is inside the Arctic Circle at last, the place he’s dreamed of. Northern Norway; top of the world. There are Arctic skuas and magnificent sea eagles, and Camilo’s soaked through with constant sunlight—but he’s sleepless. Always on, never resetting, stuck in one endless day. How do the birds cope? If there’s no night, can there really be day? And Hedda is distant. He moved here to be with her, but this new twist started in week six, and now he feels like one of the migratory cod that visit each year, except he’s made a mistake. Can that happen? Has a cod ever regretted swimming down here from the Barents Sea to meet its mate?
He can’t even remember what they had talked about when things were good. When they were lovestruck and delirious. They’d spend hours lying skin-to-skin, marvelling at their contrasting colours, his black thigh against her white one. Fingers interlinked like piano keys. Toes dovetailing.
Perhaps she’s just stocking up on light ahead of the long dark winter. Perhaps it takes all her focus just to drink enough in, but after three solid weeks of it, Camilo has to face facts. He feels like a piece of froth floating on the edge of her life. Dark froth, sitting on top of all the whiter-than-white.
Her distance seeps into every part of every solid thing around him. It’s in the archipelagos, mountains and forests. It plays around the gulls and ribbons through the pristine waves. And it taints the salt cod salad and the salmon smørbrød and all the other damned fishes in her fridge.
It’s in the non-solid, too. It’s in the way Hedda creams her face before bed; it’s in the way her eyes look anywhere but, and it’s in the load on her shoulders, the same tonnage weighing down her out-breaths.
“I’m going back,” he tells her.
“To London.” Back to sunsets, he thinks. Back to serving drinks in dark places.
Her face is still. There’s not so much as a flicker of relief, but relief dances in the air. It slides along the endless shafts of sunlight that don’t care if it’s midnight.
“Good that we gave it a try,” he says, tasting the relief. It has a fishy edge. A lemony back note.
Another stooped encumbrance on the self-validating certitude promised by my incognito mode,
I mistitled all my content last night, shit, let’s just call it a spastic power of mine,
we’ll match bylines and headlines while I sell postcards at a peripheral gallery
where work poses as not work in a pre-socialist nightmare, one text is easy to place:
Motherwell Is Just One of Those Surnames Meant for Freudian Psychoanalysis, oh inverted
reality! I cooked breakfast this afternoon, fuel to cover new games from Uruguay
Who Did A Better Job Combining Ancient Ruins and Rock Music? There’s another title found.
Anything to exacerbate my to-do-list, there must be something I can write up on soup
for a little bit of change, who can say what the fucking point is,
the reader is dead and the author is online, but not now, I’ve got to phone-in my fundraising,
then spill wine on my black tie at an opening which I’ll cater and review,
young people will complain, and I will discipline, saying “intern be still & impressionable!”
Who cares if the moral order is confused? I tremble to sleep and fill my plebian head
with dreams, experiencing another reality that is the ass end of failed endeavors in film-making.
Lorca at the Corrida
The gate screams on its peeling hinge
white as garlic.
You are still,
planted on your knees, sun picking
at the gold of your shoulders,
It is hard work. The bull is roaring
for its way out:
you, with your toes
in the bowl of your montera,
are the only door.
Slowly, he believes you.
Like a black ship
adrift on a sable wave
pocked with blood, with shit,
and your pink stockings
darkening in the shade.
I sat behind the barrera
my hat to my lips.
He lunged for your knee;
you allowed it, stony-faced,
as the silk
fell open. It was enough for him,
that taste, but not for me.
You turned your back to the sun.
My eyes in a sea of eyes.
on the tip
of your tongue.
Look, the poet
in the corner.
His fists clenched in his pockets.
The matador washing his hands
in the sink. Low chatter of fans,
of men with their glasses of sherry
staring from the door.
You look at me in the mirror
and dry your mouth.
A tumbler of fresh juice
is waiting on a table.
I want to see your neck
stretched to drink,
some part of you
the bull did not touch. You drink.
Your knee weeps
on the carpet.
Maestro, I say, You are bleeding.
That is our hello.
I waited beneath the blanket
cold as stars
in the dark. You laid your rough hand
on my brow
And the cruelty of fondness
when one thirsts for love:
you don’t know it.
Nothing denies you.
Even the bulls come,
to your heels,
bending their horns
for the cut.
While I fold roses
they don’t die, no,
but I do, every time
I set down the coffee
and you don’t lift your head.
I didn’t see you dance
in the arena
again. I stayed with the candle,
and burned with the saints,
and fixed my hair in the mirror
with grease from your gray tin.
I undressed and lay on the couch
and practiced dying, so that I would not be surprised
when you died, and I
could follow you to heaven,
my hips warm on the chintz.
The screams in the plaza.
The sand in your black shoes.
A gaping eye in your neck;
oh, that was mine!
But you gave that to him, too,
holding up a hand to keep me
from touching the stitches.
You lie on the pillow.
I fill the glass with apples.
And the bull goes to sleep
It is midnight. Past.
The door silent, bronze in the light
from the lamps.
When it opens there is nothing
but the hall’s shadow
and the sound of your key
in the dish.
Look, I say, I have been waiting.
Even your silence is drunk.
the moon peers through the window
looking into your face.
You are not even ashamed
am a ghost
who cannot touch you.
Sombra, you say.
I left the house
in a black coat.
You wrapped the rosary
round my wrist
and helped me down the steps,
my bag a sad child
leaning against my ankles.
The car crept up the drive.
That is all?
slice themselves from my life.
You hold open the door.
You close it.
The wheels are outraged
by the stones in the wet street
and I shout at the driver
to kill us both.
He smokes in silence.
A cat glows
on the fence
of the hotel.
Drenched, yellow-eyed, so still.
And I knew you were fast asleep
while I eyed the distance to the stone
from the balcony.
I know the songs you sing
when the matador flings his blood in ribbons
over the unassuming sand.
It is silence.
But what do you say
when he is resurrected?
In his torn suit of lights
dancing backward over the lime?
It is more astonishing
than a thousand cornadas
to a single thigh
when I see your hand
tracing an X
on the chest of the young driver.
That bed is warm on both sides.
He sends you orchids
and the promise to kiss you
when he arrives
stripping the white collar
from your sacred neck.
You are waiting, now,
as I used to wait
wearing your desire like a belt
lashing your loins.
He will loosen it.
And everything you held back from me
tumbles into his arms
No, it isn’t so bad.
Through the broken dusk
the smell of orange remains,
as sweet as the white blossoms that bore it
and in the bathtub where I wept for the last time
there is nothing but blood.
And though the casket closed
each corner is starting over
with lips and empty-handed evenings
helps you remember your death
by leaning across the dirt
as the reflection embracing you
needing more light: a dead lake
deeper, enough to cover you
with your shadow and this kiss
turning itself into sun after sun
that never lets go, still darkening
to be what it was.
Paintings by Ingvar Thor Gylfason
Ingvar Thor Gylfason is an Icelandic painter. His style is expressive and looks to deconstruct the main concept of the painting and mix it with the backdrop. His subjects typically range from contemporary dancers to birds, and he has found success both domestically and internationally. His art can be found on his website, www.ingvarthorart.com, as well as on all your regular social media hangouts: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Poetry by Simon Perchik, two untitled poems: ‘The silence that is not a moon…’ and ‘And though the casket closed…’
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems, published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay ‘Magic, Illusion and Other Realities’ please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Graphic art by Petra Zehner
Petra Zehner is a graphic designer and illustrator, a Gemini, an introverted people person, a cat lover and sun worshipper, a bit of a glutton, a nomad, and a bibliophile. Born in (East) Germany, she is currently based in Paris. See more at www.petrazehner.com
Story by Clare Weze, Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun was originally shortlisted in the TSS Flash Fiction 400 competition, spring 2018.
Clare Weze’s latest work features in Best Microfiction 2019. She is represented by The Good Literary Agency and works in science editing. Her dream is to meld her day job with her fiction and move somewhere warm where she can write outside. @ClareWeze
Poem by Ben Nardolilli, Cher Sunny
Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel.
Poem by Maryse Meijer, Blood Orange or Lorca at the Corrida
Maryse is the author of Heartbreaker, Rag and Northwood. She lives in Chicago.