Die Writing

About a conversation

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on August 17, 2016

What did we ever talk about?

I remember so much from that evening. I remember alighting from bar to bar. The polished dark wood of bar tops with pools of condensation left behind by the cold drinks. You scammed your way into one of the places by telling the bouncer you sweated off the stamp. He didn’t really care, so maybe it wasn’t much of a scam.

We must have talked for a couple hours, and all I remember is a discussion of Catholic vs. Protestant whiskey, which couldn’t have taken more than a couple minutes. Not a word from the rest of it.Just the glow of the yellow lights, the cool wet air outside and the hot wet air inside. The crooked cobble stones and dodging the puddles.

There was music, so much music, but that’s just the nature of the place.

I remember shapes of words and inflections of our voices, the pull and thrust of the conversation’s current, but if I try to reach into this memory and grasp at the words and sentences, they all slip away like some dark lithe fish.

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Knives in the heart

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on February 1, 2014

He sat down heavily, silently, and pushed a glass of whiskey toward the redhead, buried nose in his own. She picked up hers, sniffed, and took a quick draw. It was cheap and strong, and she didn’t flinch.

“So you’re gonna take me home, cowboy?”

“No,” he said, still without looking up.

“Your wife’d get mad, huh?”

“She would.”

She leaned back. Her clever eyes sparked.

“So what was all that stuff about then? The dancing, the drinking, the movie-lot gruff?”

He waited for the right words, waited for them to rise up out of the whiskey with the smoke. Then when he had them, he looked, and fixed his eyes on her.

“I have a great home. The wife, the kids, it’s all just as you’d want them, you know? If I’d gone back twenty years and wrote down what I had wanted, well, then today you’d walk into my house and see just that. And you,” he closed his eyes, “you make me feel the knives in my heart. Aw I miss it. Miss it, damn it. So I’d come here for this feeling. This feeling and nothing more.”

The lakeshore farewell

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on December 10, 2013

Aside

Who knows where the time goes?

Coolly

The frigid air embraced Gregory, crept up the sleeves and the pant legs. His hands were going stiff. He briefly chastised himself for forgetting the gloves, but couldn’t stay focused on the frustration. The feeling dropped away and disappeared. He looked along the empty embankment, which circled the foggy lake infinitely in both directions. Pristine white trees lined the shore. Somewhere in the phantom distance, he heard seemingly agitated voices. But he couldn’t concentrate on them either, and so he let them go. Feeling floated away from him, but something pinned him.

“I’m sorry,” he finally gave it a name. The pure white light of the sun filtered through the fog. It illuminated the park with clean brilliance, but gave no warmth.

“You don’t have to be sorry anymore, Gregory. It’s alright.” It was Virginia’s voice, he knew it, but couldn’t quite see her.

“I was so angry, Virginia, so angry, so mad.”

“I know. I know. I was angry, too. I thought we were through, and all I saw was this terrible void. I didn’t know it wasn’t the end.”

“You came back. We came back. But I just held on, I stayed angry, and I didn’t… didn’t forgive you at all. And then…”

“And then I died.”

“And then you died.” His hands were frozen stiff now, and he felt he couldn’t stand up from the bench. He let out a deep breath, and it formed a glittering cloud in the frozen air. It began to expand and thin out and then merged with the fog. “I was late, and I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, Gregory. It’s alright now.”

Gregory paused and took another look along the endless bank. Then, with ease that was both surprising and natural, he stood up and walked toward the water. Then sheer blanket of fog hovering over the water caught his weight, and Gregory continued on across the lake, weightless.

Bits and clips

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on September 24, 2013

Shump

The impact is soft, dull. The shock is sharp, yet lingering.

The sun in the cafe was unbearably bright. It glinted off the polished bar like a fire. The scorching summer day was dying, drowning the town in the last of its heat. Parched, they drank glass of champagne after glass, the only cold drink in the place. They couldn’t get drunk; they were losing their minds in each other.

Thwack thwack

Bits of steel and brick sprayed out in a hot shower.

They were on a beach, secluded by a miracle. The golden months of autumn have covered the continent, but the water on the Southern shore was still warm and welcoming. The air was perfectly still, and the sea just barely kissed the sand. They have been talking for hours, sometimes laughing, and sometimes holding back the tears. He wasn’t really a freelance writer with a travel budget that was somehow unlimited. She wasn’t really a bookstore owner who just happened to know how to bring down a man twice her size in less than a second.

Thwack shriek thwack shump

Can’t scream; can’t hear. Colors burn up. Shadows plunge.

They were in the back of the cab. It was the first frost, and the slightest silver sheen covered the naked trees. He caught himself smiling, tried to control his face, and found that he absolutely could not. She looked at him, and he knew that she had found herself in the exact same spot. He cracked open the window, letting the chill air into the car, just as they pulled through the secure gate into the embassy compound.

Shriek shump shump thwack crash shump thwack

It’s hard to breathe through the pulverized metal and concrete. He finds her hand. She finds his eyes. Her lips move, but he can’t hear any words. The only sound the blood pounding in his head.

The sun in this cafe is unbearably bright. The glint in his eyes is like a fire. The winter day is dying, and he is drowning in its heat. He looks at her, can’t ever move his eyes, but a shadow falls across her, absorbs her, absorbs everything.

The sparrow

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on September 16, 2013

Aside

My own lyrics forĀ  the wonderful Chan Chan. The original lyrics (both in Spanish and in English) can be found here. I have to admit that every time I write one of these, I feel quite blasphemous. I only do this for songs I love dearly.

Most of my effort went into trying to replicate the lilting rhythm of the original song. The words should align with the music as before. I also tried to follow arc of the original song, from a wistful remembrance to a sorrowful one.

Along

Along Orleans, I go to Bayou,
Along Dauphine, I go to Marigny.

The vivid dreams I walked awake,
In cobble stones they linger still.
A gentle kiss of night’s perfume
And I am lulled asleep again.

A silver moonray and a sparrow,
Caught in errant summer rain,
Your dance of quickened florid silks,
It drove the little sparrow mad.

Find a lonely, darkened bar,
My whiskey prayer, it’s never far.
My hastened heart, I’ll stay a while.
Oh morning’s breath, don’t wake me yet.

Along Orleans, I go to Bayou,
Along Dauphine, I go to Marigny.

Two ways

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 3, 2013

Jake floated through the door, carried by the elation. Everything was as in a bright sunny fog, unreal, electrifying. Sensations of his physical surroundings were faded. Things seemed distant and woolen from his excitedly intoxicated mind.

“The usual,” he called out to the bartender, only half-aware of the words as they came out. He pulled up to the bar, eagerly leaning forward. The bartender filled a glass of whiskey, slid it toward Jake. The ice cubes clanked with a ring, the liquid gold sloshing around the tumbler.

“What’d she say?” The bartender inquired absently but dutifully.

“She said yes,” Jake replied. He could hardly hear his own words as he palmed the napkin with a girl’s phone number.

Jake floater through the door, aimlessly, as a body floats down a stream. Everything sank into a dank fog. Sensations of his physical surrounded were faded. Things seemed distant and woolen, his mind was hollow and numb.

“The usual,” he called out to the bartender, only half-aware of the words as they came out. He pulled up to the bar, slumped forward, heads pressing against the temples. The bartender filled a glass of whiskey, slid it toward Jake. The ice cubes rocked with a dull clank, the liquid gold languished and stuck to the walls of the tumbler.

“What’d she say?” The bartender inquired absently but dutifully.

“She said yes,” Jake replied. He could hardly hear his own words as he palmed the stack of divorce papers.

Rules about being in love

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on December 4, 2012

“Are you in love with her?”
“I can’t say.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve got a rule.”
“A rule?”
“If I acknowledge being in love with someone, it has to be to that person first.”
“That’s stupid.”
“Well it’s a rule and I’m sticking to it.”
“Then tell her.”
“Well I can’t… I can’t tell her now. Look, she it talking to someone, to that… is that a guy or a girl?”
“That’s Sam.”
“… That is impressively unhelpful.”
“Sam is a guy.”
“Are you sure? Look at those hands.”
“Sam is a guy.”
“Those are mom jeans. That has to be a girl.”
“Sam is a guy.”
“And look at…”
“Would you shut up about Sam? Maybe you are in love with Sam instead. Go tell that girl you are in love with her!”
“This is awful.”
“It’s fine.”
“I can’t do this.”
“Yeah, instead, why don’t you hang here all night and awkwardly make out with this bowl of guacamole. What’s her name, anyway?”
“Chris.”
That’s impressively unhelpful.
“You know what? Shut the hell up.”
“Go tell her you love her.”
“FINE.”

“Hey Chris…”
“Oh hi! Have you met my girlfriend, Sam?”

An old guitar

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 24, 2012

He placed the guitar case on the bed and slowly wiped the dust away with his hands. The case was old and worn, its leather worn thin and smooth with the age, much like his hands. The clasps, though starting to accumulate some rust, gave with a snap and the top sprung up a bit. Here, the man paused. The lips of the case cracked, it seemed to breathe out a bit of the old air, the smell of late night tobacco and too many dawns.

The hinges creaked. The inside of the case fared better than its outer shell, but not by much. The velvet was worn in many spots. Corners were coming up, curling away from the frame. Some time long ago, a lit cigarette fell into the case and its burning ash left holes in the fabric. Tears welled up in the man’s eyes. He smiled but his lips trembled. His fingertips gingerly traced the old guitar and its taut steel strings. It was too much to actually lift the instrument. The faintest touch to its body was electrifying. He felt his muscles tense up, and heard the phantom crackle of the amplifier in his ears.

“I miss those days, too,” Helen said, smiling. She wrapped her hands around his arm and kissed him on the cheek. The sunbeams came in through the windows and lapped at her white hair.

“Yeah,” he answered. For a few moments he was still lost in the mad memories of sleepless nights and crowds. “I’m lucky to have gotten out with you, and not something worse,” he chuckled.

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The slow goodbye

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on May 26, 2012

She was slipping away. His hand on traced out the parts of her it would never touch again. The fingers slipped over the slightly moist skin, feeling the bumps of her spine, the shape of the shoulder blade, and the tiny birthmark. They reached the fold of the fabric at the edge her dress. He felt every thread, every stitch, the clasp of her bra under the gossamer silk.

She was moving away so slowly, that for brief moments he could convince himself that she wasn’t moving away at all, that she would stay right here forever, not quite his, but not quite gone, either.

He was hoping to linger somewhere along her arm – perhaps catch her shoulder or her elbow – but finding a pause proved impossible. He dreaded the inevitable moment when he would reach her finger tips, dreaded it so much he almost missed it. The moment cut him like a surgeon’s knife.

She was already growing dark, swallowed by the tide of time. He couldn’t breathe.

Lonely in a crowd

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on May 5, 2012

In a sudden moment, she found herself sitting alone while everyone else was up and dancing. The density of the crowd reinforced her sense of loneliness, as if a dark spotlight was cast upon her. Her connection to others, her very presence seemed to falter and flicker like a candle’s flame.

The heartbreak swelled up in her in an instant, came back with biting tears and choked her breath. She had been trying to drown out the sorrow with the music and the voices of her friends, tried to leave it at the bottom of a glass, but there was no use. The sorrow stayed until it was ready to leave on its own time. For now, it stayed right here. The sorrow sat down next to her and gently held her hand, stroked her hair as she sobbed. Sunk in the circle of shadows, she seemed a mile away from the people who were mere inches from her.