A Form of Wave Freeze

by | Oct 18, 2020 | Dean Cleaning Two | 7 comments

No idea where my father got the shortwave that sat on the kitchen counter that we huddled around waiting for Our Sacred Lady of Mount Carmel & Precious Blood to be heard in the falling list the drifts already above thighs his car tracks packed ready to be cross country skied all powder or snowmobile trails appear and he’d be gone off to midwife or coroner or more often than not a car crash so easy to cross that whited-out line in a blizzard snow-tires can’t avoid a semi-truck storming into the headlights but that radio was short and stout and black and grey the antenna could be extended to the roof like the volunteer fire truck ladder ridden if the next town is beaten in slap-shots and poke-checks put the puck on the top shelf right where the peanut butter sits god forgive the kid that turned the knobs or turned one of the three stations static would be hell to freeze over the shortwave was heavy and lasted for ever longer than eight track lazar disc DVD CD VHS I-touch pad pod bud it’s still in the garage under the canoe needing hull patches if they still make mammoth triple D batteries bet it still might bring the news better than the multi-sourced bubble of rain and sleet no need for snowshoes anymore when’s the last time chains were needed on a back-wheel drive bald as a seal pelt actually that was April in California of all places crossing from Death Valley toward Napa the cops stopped the rental and said it was law and you said I though we were from the nanny state and no one laughed what do we have here my cousin selling chains for $200 USD if you make it over the pass we’ll do a take-back at fifty snowflake landing on eyelash inner snicker those snow-days were essays in freedom straight onto the frozen Lake which only froze flat once always capped mountains and pointy bergs for slipping and sliding down into a ice wave cellar belly curled silent around by the divine maker and no one told anyone what to do except go home and stand by the fire when wiggling your fingers or toes felt impossible.

7 Comments

  1. Clementine Burnley

    Love the concreteness of the radio, the function it serves in the family, the seriousness, almost reverence with which it is treated, which elevates it to the symbolic level. This came at me in a series of surges, all the metaphors that came to mind for the rhythm were to do with force, movement, waves, torrent.
    And then this phrase stopped me:
    no one laughed

    The way you handle the pace is so satisfying.

    • Paul Beckman

      David-Love the radio, the pace forcing me to read faster and the whole sentence is so very good.

  2. Tommy Dean

    Yes, love the way the radio is so physical, the way it gathers the characters, the way they sit hushed, and everything comes urgently spewing out of the speakers! What a great way to structure this stream of consciousness from the radio! The object creating this structure is genius!

    “tires can’t avoid a semi-truck storming into the headlights but that radio was short and stout and black and grey the antenna could be extended to the roof like the volunteer fire truck ladder” Such an alchemy of images, metaphors, and concrete details you create throughout this piece! it’s a special skill to swirl all of these things together, like the snow! again structure and formating meeting in this urgency!

    but it’s still in the garage: yes, love how it still works, even after all of the reported tragedies, it’s still working, still providing news! Wow, this is great!

  3. Constance Malloy

    Whoosh! I feel like I’m in a sled going down the hill, picking up speed as I go. The pacing of this and the language are perfect for the lack of punctuation. You keep the reader moving effortlessly through this, bringing it all back around to the radio, moving out from it and coming back. Solid stuff!

  4. Roberta Beary

    This one sentence story is my kind of flash. The radio pulled me in and centred the story and the ending image of “go home and stand by the fire when wiggling your fingers or toes felt impossible” is a keeper. The cops with the cousin allows some humour at just the right spot.

    Favourite line: “it’s still in the garage under the canoe needing hull patches if they still make mammoth triple D batteries bet it still might bring the news better than the multi-sourced bubble of rain and sleet…” There’s something gorgeous there that grabs me and won’t let go.

  5. Gay Degani

    This left me breathless! We spend a lot of time in the mountains with snow and chains and all that with our car radio blasting so this feels very real to me. I did feel peril in here too. Did a lot of holding my breath with lines like this: “he drifts already above thighs his car tracks packed ready to be cross country skied all powder or snowmobile trails appear and he’d be gone off to midwife or coroner or more often than not a car crash so easy to cross that whited-out line in a blizzard snow-tires can’t avoid a semi-truck storming into the headlights…….”

  6. Chelsea Stickle

    “Those snow-days were essays in freedom.” You really capture that here in the tumble of breathless words that make up this story.

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