Jordan von Manalastas


Dusty old mem’ries and the lustful spell o’ the past.  He was seventeen again, the old bugger, freshly laid and frisk’ly lax, longingly looking at her bosom.  Dave the Little Dipper — a rechristening was in order now that he’d tipped the twat, smiled he on his prize to himself.  That was then; this is now:  white windows, drawn drapes, lazy light at seven past the seventh hour of to-day.  Roasted pot of poison, dear, fetched The Ball and Chain (harbinger of the caffeinated crutch, to his very bed no less!), from whom he’d have to hide his teenage ghosts.  Thankyou love, he lied for in his morning mind his heart was dwelling on the girl with whom he traded his First Time for hers.  How many calendars had passed since last he saw her?  More years than was their age that springtime tryst.  ‘I’m more than just a midnight snack, you poo.  I’m a dreamy girl; my dreams will reach the sky,’ crooned the once and future barista.  A warm and wondrous moment:  he filed it away somewhere between graduation and tax returns.  From the nether realm of memory stumbled Mary Ellen back into his life, reliving in his dream a half-remembered hist’ry.  It’s the feeling of a dream that lingers long after you’ve left; feels like a million bucks.

So too thought Dave the Younger, in a limbo of libido, basking clumsy in the young girl’s bed; but that was many Maryless moons ago.  What strange symmetries of hist’ry, what muses of the mind conjured so vividly the hasty blouse, the awkward breast, the bumbling stabs of a boy?  Neither rhyme nor reason dared explain her ageless sprite’s impromptu entrance, but now she’d crossed his thoughts and he’d but one word, after all those years, to say:  Stay.  ‘Stay;’ what Business Left Unfinished called her up from days forgotten?  What bathos had he fumbled (O, he knew) to warrant belated denouement?  The past doesn’t creep up on you for no reason at all, thought Old David:  many years the older now with just one extra syllable to show it.  Sighed he did so songfully and sipped from sugared mug, a rousing broth — clove! nutmeg! — for Fate he knew had always something tricky up Its sleeves.

Just then the telephone rang.  But it wasn’t her; she died five years prior from a gin and Xanax cocktail.


It is no feat of coincidence that the short, impudent life of would-be broker Paul Thomas Atkinson would end, by his own hand, that boring Tuesday morning.  But pithy Paul, not resigned to letting his sad life add up to two terse sentences punctuated by a bullet, thought to extend his tale by flattening himself a hundred storeys down his office window, in an act of bleak bravado.  Our Paul suffered no delusions of escape; he knew that troubles follow you into the Great Beyond.  “I’ll see you fuckers burn in hell with me,” divined a livid letter left unopened on his desk (for Paul would have at least the satisfaction of beating them to there).  But none would ever read it — Paul the Pancake jumped just to be joined shortly thereafter by countless, faceless souls tumbling from the flames, with molten steel and shards of glass, and like a baby seagull flapping past the panicked air, the unread letter danced in the sulfuric sky.


Wandering, wondering, a subtlety I skimmed but when I broke into this pointless sprint my word preceeded thought, now I on blistered heel do chafe past clumsy clause and colon:  clawing clamb’ring crawling to that precious comma, a frail asylum surely on this suicidal path or pact I signed three lines above; and I would run with arms outstretched to catch a train but whither track I’d trace my trail must end in time, one can’t run-on forever—these rest stops are so short—and ticketless I deign as thoughts of trains pass by but neither would I dare to face what we all stumble toward, whatever marks we’ve left, however long we last:  a period.


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