Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 5
Autumn, 2011

Featured drawing Distort, by David Rosen.

Featured Excerpt

New Works

Jamie Grefe

To Damp Spit; To What Remains; To Polluted Interiors; To Renewal

To damp spit: Night crept in; night crept up. She would be in there: the shudder, the sandals, the eyeglasses, the silken hair. Yes, she...would...be...there. Static and shrieks swirled around his stagnated mouth; panic spilled into distorted delusions while he shook his fingers in front of his face. He faintly recalled buzz-saws and lab coats strewn on white sheets in beds with rails. Cement walls — dampness; syringes with gunpowder; leather-bound books. The documentation had been destroyed with razor blades and soap. He had shredded the tapes, unspooled them with his fingery small screwdrivers and recorded the sound of their thin rips. Sifting through hours of pitch shifted conversations, her voice a sludgy coo, he studied her secret, which he knew was already skewed by his splintered mind and the onset of trembles. After submerging the laptop in tap water, he disassembled it, punched at parts of it with closed fist to pull it apart, separated its pieces into different garbage bags, and disposed of them on different days in different bins.

To what remains: She wore a thin black scarf in the winter — that scent. He wanted to live in a smell, in that particular soap, sweat and skin. His fingertips tingled as did the tips of his toes. It was those fingertips that had reached through her blouse to feel her heart and caressed the space under her blouse to touch her back. He twitched and again his mouth slurped with saliva that couldn't be swallowed. His arms twisted into a million parked cars like the one she had run from as he gripped his bitten forearm. He understood nothing about divinity or destiny and never claimed he did not now; never. He had no photographs, not that he hadn't asked. He rubbed sweat into his eyebrows and smeared some onto his forehead. She said she would help him sing lullabies to his lost lovers and tasted of frustration; it puckered him pink with regret.

To polluted interiors: A painted portrait of a tear-drenched woman hung on the wall at the top of the raggedly carpeted staircase. Pieces of bone and flesh littered the stairs; fragments of statues, male and female parts strewn everywhere. Tender bones and memories of her white skin danced around his skull and pressed hard to his ears. Her upper lip was moist...his armpits were wet...his feet were sweating...a rush of fever shot through him as he recalled the way she shrank as she ran away from his car; she hid in the dark; she sunk into the crops and had left the passenger door in a dangle. The pique of a smile had slightly radiated from her moist eyes; his eye sockets were soaked; he had broken the compact discs of .wav files: screams, ticks, slaps, stutters, squeals and taped shut boxes of recording equipment. He was panting from self-separation. A divine disappearance, he mused, teeth chattering. He felt the boards bend and he moved toward a door in a hunched over lurching motion like a monster.

To renewal: Tucked in; shut-eyed; peacefully disheveled under sheets of gray — inarticulate mumbles and moans spewed from his mouth all in the name of delicacy and half-dead memories. The brown of her eyes bled him dry. Theirs had been records and records of recorded chants, meaningless mantras. He would burn the boxes, smash the records, crash the car, split the tape and saw through the walls until he met the glory that was destined him. He knew nothing of how to plug cables into mixing boards and place contact microphones inside mouths. He dreamed of amplified kisses in rooms like this, rooms where maidens awaited their monsters in beds of isolated silence. He studied her ringless fingers. So many spools of unwound tape and machinery stacked up around him. Headphones were held out to him and he used them to let her listen to herself. He listened to the explosion of secrets they shared: slowed down, warped and out-of-tune; he increased the volume to maximum until it broke. When the tape clicked, he rewound it and played it again shivering at the sound of her wet voice and his other self on this adorable night.

Jamie Grefe is from the backwoods of Northern Michigan and currently lives in Beijing, China with his wife and two dogs.