Carlo Matos



· They came to encircle her wagons when they saw the gash lashed crudely to her head, rigged like an albatross to a doomed vessel.

· They came like courtiers to watch the surgeons finish the job on a full-bloated king swaying the masts of his oversized four-posted bed.

· The deep sorrow was heard on the moors—what stunned ululation over the just desserts of her perverse will to take blows.

· They told her so many times that a blunderbuss or a bonefire was no way to describe loving the universe.

They were ready to be scared in that homemade ketchup blood kind of way. They were ready for scarecrow-stuffed pants and headless shirts hangnecking just faster than grain, faster than their eyes could track. They were ready for tacky masks in low light and screaming even though they saw the rubber glove claw before it reached out for a shoulder. They yelled anyway. But when it was finally time to walk through the door, it was only sewing machines and pedals whirring and their mothers seated at work 20 yards deep. They ran screaming into those not-quite-forgotten fevered dreams of coat linings, of hand-pressed suit coats numbered in the thousands on their fathers’ steam-blasted faces. · A worm sun snuck around back winking out windows, clutching the curtains into knotticed rags.
· It claims its own, grain, mouthfilled, without shoring up its right flank and without thought of withdrawal.

· A silo door mouthing night or a war widow’s slack dusks, vorticed black and sharp as grain.

· It’ll stay your hand, possibly, stay your lips too for what test can measure whether a blood bond can crack a bog or rout a friction of lightning?




· You wake at 2AM to the dead thud a body makes against hardwood to find one of Matisse’s Odalisques (or your wife) splayed out on the black living room floor.
· Decent is the word “boner.” It reminds you not of Mike Seaver rising to the occasion in Our Town but Eddie Stabone with a tape recorder in his armpit and still botching the job.

· Marriage is Winnie Cooper’s numbers filling you with the same longing you had for her when she kissed Kevin on that rock in the pilot of The Wonder Years—his green and white jacket across her shoulders.

· The apparatus is Alyssa Milano’s powder-blue headband and lemon-yellow blazer taped to your seventh-grade locker where you hid a knife just in case.

Everyone knows not to call Thomas Hart Benton tiny because he’ll throw your ass down a coal chute without thinking twice. There is precedent. But she had never tested it, so it kept at her. The work was always more like a fifteenth-century painting studio: slow competence, an occasional masterpiece and lots of passable fakes. The work was dirty in a decent way, however.“Decent,” a word to be feared but, surprisingly, not despised.We make our own noises no matter the language, anyway.She couldn’t express how much it had helped to imagine all things having asses—for kicking, of course—for fucking if that is what the experiment demanded: like, for example, how long to hold in a fart after sex when you’ve been married for 20 years. The apparatus was tricky, the margin for error high, the sample size small. · A couple of nights earlier she had awoken to the equally powerful realization that while giving herself an enema, she had become the perfect water canon.
· She should have attempted to sell this idea to the baron of bullies.

 · The work is a child’s first and best dream of belonging to a think tank.

· The human squirt gun was, after all, the ultimate poop stick, the loogie mastered, the spitball taken to its logical conclusion.

· Carrying the riddle of steel in its unworked plans: “in a Bessemer vessel, bring the iron to a boil and refine. Mix in alloying elements, achieve a molten state, and pour into ingots . . . Serves 4,000.”




· Her evenings—like her father’s—are long spent tracking the last of the time eaters, who thought they had made a daring escape from the naked hours.
· Her shoulders are flinked and finkled from the chase under a hunter’s sun, warming the familiar, fart-steeped and ion-tailed air.

· She could do without all the begging, and the bribes, and the blubbering hours she would never get back.
· Thrall is the wind-tossed end of Piggy, the true-wise.
Just because she skips class doesn’t mean she’s out back smoking cigarettes with the badboy going nowhere fast for all his big talk. You’ll find her, if you need her, in the machine shop building siege engines with her best girlfriend. They are last-year’s battle bots champions and have only recently turned their attention to the problem of drone squadrons darkening low Midwestern skies—their delicately-engineered siege trains burned before the walls they adore. Something there is that does not love a wall, alright, for what is a wall to a bird without eyes that sees all? It was a relief to return to their original theory that these children of a clutch of clever scientists were stolen at birth by these gimping savages still in thrall to a blood sun. · She’d been beaten up by dance gangs so many times even her mother wanted to leave the neighborhood.
· The “War on Dance” was, predictably, a total failure. Prisons were packed full until it was impossible to pop-and-lock, or Harlem Shake or even step-ball-change, depending on the neighborhood you came from.

· For example, Segway gangs have been ripping through town, blowing lights, running down pedestrians, and glutting street corners.
· And that’s how she found herself, clutching her hair, tearing up the American road, leaning towards providence.