4 X Micro

by | Jan 13, 2023


I had an uneven corporation. So I crawled into a version of myself that was more elastic. Even fly guys fluttered a wager for a finicky media. Secretarial assistants dipped their cigarettes into broth. More and more, I sought out Simon in the cancerous video department.


The bus didn’t come for ages. A pigeon summarized our silence.

Eventually, you said, “I’m leaving.”

“For what?” I said.


The bus arrived. The doors confessed. The driver gave us change in the form of awkward facial expressions.


We purchased two candles for our evening woman. One was the size of Andorra, the sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula. The other was an effigy of Boutros Boutros Ghali, the former secretary-general of the United Nations. You probably shouldn’t campaign for bad meat, she said. She took all her clothes off. We didn’t appreciate her political posturing.


I lost my apartment. It was in a high-rise mixed-use development. If you lived in an apartment like that you would be smiling. I lost it because I didn’t bother with the bills. I just didn’t like them.

My neighbors overlooked my labored chimpanzee. They tolerated my evenings playing surgeon. When I left, they said ‘electricity is nothing to be ashamed of.’

They clasped my hands, patted me on the shoulder.

I felt warm and handsome.

For many nights after, I thought about that apartment.

I lay in a new bed in a new city and mulled it over.

Three rooms. A balcony. A painting of a pitiful airport.

How many apartments can you absorb if you vanish without saying I love you?


  1. Benjamin Niespodziany

    Boy, oh boy, do I love a good micro sequence.


    “I had an uneven corporation” is such a great opening for a story! You’re instantly sitting sideways, looking at the world a bit differently. “Secretarial assistants dipped their cigarettes into broth.” Yes, yes, yes. For that final line, the “cancerous video department” threw me for a loop for some reason. I was thinking we could enhance the internal rhyme here with “More and more, I sought out Simon in finance. The video department was cancerous. He was handling it.”


    “The doors confessed” Is great. It works really well here. And love the nice ending. For “The bus didn’t come for ages,” I wouldn’t mind a concrete time here. “The bus didn’t come for eight days.” or “The bus didn’t come for four hours.”


    This is my favorite of the bunch. What an opening line. Two gigantic candles, a naked woman, and bad meat. So many off-kilter undertones and double meanings. It works well. I think maybe the ‘bad meat’ line and the ‘clothes off’ line could be flipped? So the final sentence connects a bit more to her statement and less to her action. Might be fun to play around and see. 


    This one reads like a heartbroken Russell Edson poem. It starts with a more grounded tone, and ends that way as well, so I’m not sure you need that second paragraph with the “labored chimpanzee” and “evenings playing surgeon.” I’d use those visuals (strange, cool, striking) for something else. Instead, maybe have it read something like “I didn’t bother with the bills. I just didn’t like them. When I left, my neighbors clasped my hands, patted me on the shoulder. It felt warm and handsome.” — Also, the second to last line, I thought it might be nice to read as “Three rooms. A balcony. A painting of an airport. Pitiful.” — All food for thought! These are great, Jonathan.

    • Jonathan Cardew


      Thank you so much! These are really great pointers. LOVE the prompts, I just want to munch my way through them (gonna take them all away and keep working after the course).


  2. Meg Tuite

    OMG! Jonathan! This is hilarious and brilliant! “I had an uneven corporation. So I crawled into a version of myself”
    “More and more, I sought out Simon in the cancerous video department. ”
    Every line is a beauty and each its own island! ‘mulled it over’ had me laughing!
    You are a magician ! Send it out! LOVE!

  3. Koss (No Last Name)

    Love this sequence, the clever banter and monologues, and the strange juxtapositions and imagery–all of it. Dipping cigarettes into broth, a great beginning. The slow and fast of it. Great work, Jonathan.

  4. Robyn Schelenz

    I feel weirdly emotional after this and I have no idea why — i think you just nailed a certain kind of loneliness. and i love rehabilitating the words and landscapes of our seemingly blandest spaces. i love the way the pigeon summarizes, and personally in “apartments” i also really love that second paragraph. i think the only thing i might suggest in “apartments” is changing “smiling” to something more neutral or less positive. bc i feel like i’m in a total dream space with it otherwise. but it’s amazing and the last line is perfect. it pairs well with meg’s “complementary depression” line; all those closed down spaces we inhabit that still vibrate with horizon like power, if you can see it.

  5. Ryan Griffith

    I love this sequence, the way each piece resonates with the others. So many great lines, especially the opening. Great stuff!

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