Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Three Cities: A Short, Short Story

Urs Fischer exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles, 2013

Nashville, 1988

A bed, a boat, it's all the same. She lay on the bed pushed against the wall, her back flat, sheets kicked out of the way. He lay beside her, hands folded over his chest. It was hot. The sun was high in the sky, visible from the bed. It was golden brown with fuzzy edges leaking into gray sky. The Laotians in the house behind them were cooking. I think it's dog, he said. She closed her eyes, ran a finger (she had long fingers) down, drops of sweat between her breasts. The air conditioner had fallen out of the window and lay in the dirt below. He had strained and cursed at the machine. The window didn't hold. They had laughed themselves silly, the bed a boat that rocked.

Nashville, 1990

That place was always in shadow. The bed was dark and wide, a mattress covered, no top sheet. Sometimes they started on the black couch in the front room. She was a silhouette, naked, sinuous (she had long arms and legs). He traced her. She looked over his shoulder out the window. A tree, bare of leaves, its thin branches reaching up, out of view, a tattoo on glass. Later, she lay on the bed and he smoked in the kitchen, leaning on the stove, holding the cigarette just under the fan, its cheap, electric hum.

New York City, 1992

Her bedroom was downstairs in the basement of the brownstone. It was carpeted, damp, quiet. A boy named Daniel walked through hers to get to his so she had set up a screen at the end of the bed. The sheets were expensive because she worked overtime, time and a half. He lit a candle before they started. It was winter. They were under the covers. She closed her eyes, head back. Was there a crackle? She opened her eyes, a blaze of light behind him over her. Fire! she shouted and they beat it back and out. The quilt had a hole burned through it as big as her hand (she had large hands), the edges charred.

Los Angeles, 2013

She wandered through the gallery, amused. Boxes placed here and there, drips of cement, a string of real fruit, a house made of bread, real bread, Persian carpets crumbed. Blue raindrops fell in a slant. The corner of her eye (she had large eyes) caught a bed, alone, a boat bent, black smudges on a wall. The bed was bent, alone. She closed her eyes, folded into it, on it, over and under it, the grey sludge of cement spilling.


  1. I am still wandering, transfixed, between these breathtaking lines. The writing, oh, the writing.

  2. I read this and have been pondering what in hell to say that would even begin to relate how I feel about the writing here and the emotions and visual images it evokes and honestly, Elizabeth, I can't.
    It's amazing.
    As are you.

  3. I am already worried about big trees around my house crashing down on us. This did not help, especially one of the cement on the crushed bed. Gulp.

  4. art inspiring art - beautiful, Elizabeth.

  5. i find myself consistently inspired by concrete. and, for some reason, i feel like you totally get that. amazing words here, my friend. all strung together and let loose on us.

  6. I hope there will be more.


  7. First guy: a knight.
    Second guy: a rook.
    Third guy: a bishop.
    Fourth guy: a pawn.

  8. When I go on my first book tour, you're coming with. Because you're going to have a book that blows all the rest out of the water. I'll be your opening act.

  9. Oh, this is like what they call creative writing and stuff. I get it. Actually, I'm way too dumb two get it at all, but it sure do sound purty.

  10. Bravo anonymous, Bravo!
    may I add,
    She: a queen



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