19
Jun

Blue

The shout was shriek-like in a way no human voice should ever be. It plunged the longhouse into silence, everyone straining to hear what was going on. Then a very loud, very sharp and very brief sound resounded outside. Suddenly, it was madness all around. Calls turned to shouts, soft footsteps to a loud pounding of feet. In the chaos, a hand took hold of Yahto’s wrist and dragged him along. Mother shouted “RUN!” and so, he did. Inside, on the battered earth, it was easy enough. Once they left the construction for the uneven ground of the forest, things became more complicated. Roots, stones or nothingness under his foot when he had expected solid ground were traps to which he never failed to fall. Each time, the hand would tug upon his and keep him more or less upright. Around them, the forest was filled with the rustling of leaves brushing against running bodies. Behind them, more shouts, more thundering. His mind came back to it, wondering what caused that sound. The distraction meant more fumbling, more jerks of surprise when a branch hit him. Until there was both a root to trip him and no earth to help him regain his footing. He felt himself fall forward, felt the sweat slicked hand lose its grip on his wrist and, finally, felt the pain as his body landed harshly on the ground. “Up, Yahto,” said Mother’s panicked voice “Get up and run!” she ordered while pulling him to his feet. Before he could be up and running again there came another voice, shouting. A man’s voice. His words didn’t mean anything for Yahto who had never heard any such word before. But his mother stopped her tugging and abruptly pushed him back on the ground. She joined him there, her body on top of his, her voice begging, her words suddenly just as impossible to understand as the man’s had been.

20
Feb

Duet for Tenor and Transradial Orthosis

The first thing I noticed were his hands, which were stained beyond all washing by brown-black grease hiding in the creases of his knuckles and beneath what little of his fingernails hadn’t been bitten down to the quick. They were delicate, though, I could see by the way that he set his glass on the bar and ran his fingertips around the damp rim where his mouth had just been; he touched it like he’d touch a lover, I thought, long before I knew he’d never in his life touched a lover that way. The scent of new money rolled off him, not in that flashy, obnoxious way tasteless barbarians turn gilded lilies with a few extra notes in their billfolds, but like a man who’d come to enjoy all the things that wealth could get him but still didn’t feel like he fit in any of the places you had to go to get those things. He waited until the starched-collared bartender had wandered his way to the other end of the bar before inclining his head in my direction and saying to me, “I’ll buy you a drink if you let me see that arm.”

My head throbbed from a high receding too rapidly, and all I could think was, I didn’t come to London for this.