Everything so beautiful and dirty and absurd

Everything so beautiful and dirty and absurd

My house was at the edge of the block, on the corner of 166th and Jackson in the Crenton neighborhood of a mid-sized American city. With dusty roads where all the trees died because the city just let them. The sidewalks were cracked and crooked and many mothers died stepping on them. The lawns were dirty and made of pebbles and broken glass. Rojo ran the neighborhood and we all went to him for whatever we needed. Cigarettes or whatever. He was three years older and seventeen when he dropped from high school. He told me his stories about sex so that I would know when I was ready to have sex on my own. His girlfriend Gogo he would tell me stories about. He went down on her once and, after fifteen minutes, mad that he hadn’t yet given her an orgasm/that she hadn’t gotten off/finished yet, he bit her until she screamed. She left him after that and disappeared somewhere down south where her uncle lives by the water. This was around the same time that health-conscious, vegetarian rapper Black Choy was attacked by pro-beef activists outside of his studio. They cut him with a knife and put him in the hospital. Is there a connection? Rojo loved hamburgers and Black Choy was playing a show at the Alamo that night. The the Jackson Street venue where everybody played music at some point or another. I tried to sing there once with a death metal band called Adagio. They didn’t book us for another show after that, but they give everybody in the neighborhood at least one...
From the streets of American cities

From the streets of American cities

The girls are chain-smoking cigarettes outside waiting for someone to notice them not noticing anyone else (the paradox of youth). The air is a perfect 80 degrees. Winter is over. The people around us are musing, eternally, how much of their lives they’ve spent sitting in cars. There’s trash on the street. Everything is concrete; the city is winning its war on nature. But weeds still come up through the cracks in the sidewalk. We live in the north. We spend our time in the sun. We drink iced tea from plastic cups. We walk the streets in new sneakers dropped online at early hours from secret sites before anyone else can get them. This is what we do while the rest of the world crumbles. Beauty is still the greatest currency. Except, perhaps, the ability not to feel or care. Flippancy is gold. Time is money and it is on our side. To care is to die drowning in someone/everyone else’s problems. This is youth, and it is the only thing we have. People don’t know anything about us more than that. We’re near corner door in the alley where Bella went to get her baby cut out. There wasn’t anywhere else she could go, no one to help, a sister far away, a mother who told her she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. She wakes up early in the morning to run. She spent her paycheck on new running gear: shoes, shorts, headbands. I sleep in late and wait for her to call. We wait for something to happen. She’s sweating and smiling when...
As long as we fly

As long as we fly

That was a tough time, and it seemed to have no end. I didn’t know how to get away and I didn’t think I could. The reason why people commit suicide/why they take their own life… the reason why science hasn’t (yet) fully taken the place of religion. Science saved my life, you see, but it didn’t make me want to live. It is questions, gnawing questions like Poppy on a chicken bone that keep me awake at night and then put me into deep sleeps I try and stay in forever. Wrapped in blankets. Wrapped tight around me like a burrito. That’s how Frank would say it. Say it to me. “I’ll wrap you up like a burrito.” Can he answer these questions? Can he tell me why I feel the way I do? To the hospital We rushed downstairs. Gogo is bleeding in my arms. My roommate Mike was jerking off/on in his room. He has a car. He didn’t expect anyone to open his door at that moment. His face was red. “Don’t you…” “We have to go to the hospital. “Don’t you knock?” Gogo bleeding and her eyes going back in her head turning white. The fan spinning reflecting in the sweat on her forehead. I say and I have no time, “We need to go the hospital now right now.” The night is quiet at least. No one on the road, anywhere. One small blessing. Warm summers everyone up north at their cabins, sitting on lakes and drinking beer with fire and fire-roasted meat in front of them. No one on the street to...
A quantifiable attraction

A quantifiable attraction

The physical feeling that comes from attraction: it’s indescribable; so powerful it can’t have an official name or definition. You’re in love, and say you can’t live without the feeling. Then say what exactly it is you can’t live without. The smile. The sense of humor? Or just the feeling when they’re near, so powerful and yet, again, so hard to describe; near impossible to put into words. A quantifiable attraction to some can’t be thought of as anything else but magic. Like Charles Bukowski in Factotum, “I kiss her. She answers with her tongue. Women are magic.” The feeling you get when there are no words to describe the way you’re feeling, called alexithymia. It comes from Greek; means an inability to find words for emotions. But if they can’t be spoken, perhaps they can be written instead. I sit and daydream of pretty girls in pretty dresses, stuck surrounded by people who use pictures of their dogs for their social media profiles. All I’ve had to eat today are stale chocolate chips I found in the drawer in the library at the Burg. All I’ve had to drink is water that tasted like cement and iron. But that isn’t the reason for this feeling deep in my stomach. I lean my head on my fist because I’m bored and if I don’t it might fall chin to chest and into sleep. My eyes are tired, my eyelids are heavy. The warm air and constant drone of the TV up front like a lullaby begging me to stop fighting. Turn daydreams into real dreams. Turn off the sun and stay in...
Saturday syncopation

Saturday syncopation

Saturday syncopation A short story by Katelin Hogard   We got food dying on the pass, guys! I need fucking runners! Kyle, you got four ribeyes, 3 hanger and a cauli. Heard, chef. Billy, I got 1, 2, 3… eight poussin all day and three scallops. Heard! And boys after this pick we’re gonna start plating the party. Yes, chef! Owen! 42, 53, 64, 27, 24 and 82. Heard, chef.   It’s like every single table is full of eighth grade math teachers. Rose for days tonight. My god. Do we still have snapper or has that been 86’d? Of course, ma’am. Yes. No, the cabernet is a blend. Yes, Bordeux is the region. Poussin? That will be a young chicken. Think teenager. Let me get you a new fork, sir. No, I will not forget. Oh, I apologize. Let me get that for you right away.   Billy, poussins. Now! Plating now, chef. Owen, start running. Hands!   Ribeye, one. Hanger, two, Cauli, table. Fuck, what Susan? No we’re not splitting the scallop entree. Because that’s stupid. Bring share plates. Anna, I need hands! Scallops, three. Poussin… fuck. Billy! Poussin. Now! Just go with the scallops. Poussin follows. For fuck sakes, dude. It’s fucking chicken. Lets go! Hands! Poussin’s going to four, five and six. Cody, can you carry three plates tonight? Brandon, hands, now! Scallops, one. Ribeye, two. Snapper, three. No, fuck. Just take two. Billy! Poussin for 24! Now! I need a follow! Stay here. Don’t move. I don’t care. Do not move.   Sure. Yes. Of course. No, dessert is not free. Your birthday was...
Smile

Smile

Smile A short story by Katelin Hogard   “17 adults, six kids.” She rolled her eyes, the shriek of children pulsating into her temples without any remorse. It was Sunday, day five of a 60 hour week at the little supper club that’s been around since before her own father could walk. This meant mediocre steaks, a bar full of drunk’s and a dining room that was empty by 8pm. It was year 15 for her. 15 years of this small supper club in this small town that she always promised herself to get out of but never had. A pregnancy at 18, divorce at 22, another pregnancy at 24 and a foreclosure at 27. This place was the only consistent in her life. “Four shots of polish and a vodka press.” Before the words could come out of his mouth a chair fell over, echoing throughout the whole neighborhood. “Hello…? I’ll need those drinks today.” She looked up and just smiled, trying to suffocate him with her eyes. There was a group that had been drinking since 11am in the bar and a private party in the back. Along with that, all of four tables were full in the dining room with daughters taking their crippled fathers to dinner at the only place familiar to them. The sadness within them exaggerated her own but she understood why they always kept coming back. The steaks that were always overcooked, the carpet that turned a darker tinge of shit grey every year, the familiar faces. Everyone always wants familiar. “I’d like a riesling, Mich Golden Light and a white zin.”...