Hands behind glass, disarray in head, smell of starched grins, and blur of clocks camouflage time. Who says a castle can’t rant out a whole orgy of bible, room by room? His kids say he slit the Dahlia into a narrative. Peopled by the blue transparency of her veins, pulled up to the skin like someone’s lower lip. Slow and deranged martinis guide themselves in clear missiles toward mouths vacant with ruin. The gowned throng spend ample time on upper lids and toenails, depleting energy for the thrill of taunting the hacked starlet.

Prepubescent girls flavor rooms for Man Ray and a swirl with the surreal tracks of hollow. Remixing their angled limbs, terror manifests a floral creature in wait for bulb and burial. Powders blossom in bubbled drinks, rumble distant worlds saturated with adult tongues for hands. Doors lurk sleepy, teeming how little breath is needed to bruise, bleed.

In this castle, mornings never bleary plundered deaths. Flesh and bones zone out, fiddle with zippers and tremors. Damn if somebody isn’t leaking horrors of childhood. Men decree motion, play with their trousers and find other men. Girls climb through sabotage, bend into each other.

A table displays the supremacy of defects. Men who dread desperation, load up plates with sausage and ham. Fresh in wrinkles and grimaces they rush to the basement of denial. Girls crumpled with rashed thighs and blazing rectums drink orange juice, huge with the plunge of the sea.

Someone dies. Someone sucks pipes and yells fuck off. Someone lies when police arrive. Someone cries, eats and purges for days. Someone haunts their self and the quiet sky that follows them. Someone has no desire to exist.

12 Comments

  1. Emily Bertholf

    Meg, this feels like a whole horror novel packed into five paragraphs. Each door, each room, opening in a suggestion of desperation, despair, the dark corners of imagination, and darker cubbies of subconscious.

    I don’t know much of Man Ray but a little of his work. The portrait you evoke here reminds me of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death and I wish that ending, that death, for all who have used and abused the vitality, youth, and innocence of people to feed their power and passions. Though you mention Man Ray, I personally, envision Epstein and so many others and want to scream enough at something so timely and so ancient.

    Your writing is stark, sharp, as always and flies off the page. What else can I say? But thank you. So glad to be here with you all.

    • Jennifer Fliss

      Word. Choices. I know this about you in other stories I’ve read that you’ve written. I know this is your thing. But to see it come out so fully fledged is kind of incredible. This is slam poetry horror flash writing. I could 100% hear Tom Waits reading this. And/or it’s like a bacchanalian painting. Also, here for the cadence in this. I’d be interested to know if you end up leaving this almost as is as kind of a prose poetry or fleshing it out more to mix it with some “traditional” prose writing, like scenes or dialogue.

  2. Kathryn Kulpa

    I second what Emily said about this feeling like a horror novel packed into one incredibly compressed narrative, surreal nightmare after surreal nightmare. The Black Dahlia reference sets the tone, a kind of noir mood edged with ugliness and despair. I could get lost in this forest of creepy, menacing images.

  3. Len Kuntz

    Meg!!

    This was really chilling, through and through. The choppy pacing at the beginning really set the tone, making it come across as frantic, manic with layers of desperation. Also the food allusions had a gory, gluttony effect.
    The whole piece is ripe with fright, panic and a sense of slaughter without remorse. I especially like the sonic repetitions in the last paragraph. It really helps to land things.
    Reading through all of yesterday’s materials, I kept thinking, This is right up Meg’s alley. Yep. You nailed it.

    Len

  4. Sara Comito

    Meg! This is spectacularly nightmarish and compelling. You wield syntax like a weapon. So many stunning images and phrases. And the compression feels just right.

    …slit the Dahlia into a narrative
    Powders blossom in bubbled drinks
    Men decree motion, play with their trousers (is it bad I laughed out loud at that second phrase?)

    The whole thing is bulging, ready to burst. “Girls crumpled with rashed thighs and blazing rectums drink orange juice, huge with the plunge of the sea.” – Damn and damn again!

    And the last paragraph with all the someones. Most everyone will find their self among them. This blazes!

  5. AJ Miller

    Meg, wow, I’m in awe of this style and what you’ve done here in these five paragraphs. There is one helluva creepy castle vibe going on. It’s so dark, hopeless, filled with violence and death. I love your take on Man Ray and the surreal flavor here. It’s like I’ve been transported into some scenescape where nothing seems normal, where everything is upside down creepy. I like what you did here. It’s fast and there’s impending doom. The mood is spot on. The piece doesn’t let me take a breath or give me room to think as the terror unfolds.

  6. David O'Connor

    Meg, what a litany of wild images, symphonic. I love, as always, how each word grips the curve of the road at high speed. Fearless, felt like I was watching a really good Godard/Todd Browning/dogma film–never stop! So good, thank you.

  7. Aimee Parkison

    Meg,

    Damn! Your lines are amazing! I’m such a fan of your work. It was so good to read this new story. It’s one of my favorites that I’ve read of yours. The voice echoes with haunted surrealism and the chic murderous history of “plundered deaths.” Wow, just wow!

    You should send this out right away. I’m thinking Cincinnati Review, Splitlip, and/or New Flash Fiction Review.

    My favorite lines are—

    “Who says a castle can’t rant out a whole orgy of bible, room by room?”

    and

    “His kids say he slit the Dahlia into a narrative. Peopled by the blue transparency of her veins, pulled up to the skin like someone’s lower lip.”

    and

    “Slow and deranged martinis guide themselves in clear missiles toward mouths vacant with ruin.

    and

    “Prepubescent girls flavor rooms for Man Ray and a swirl with the surreal tracks of hollow. Remixing their angled limbs, terror manifests a floral creature in wait for bulb and burial.”

    and

    “In this castle, mornings never bleary plundered deaths.”

    Hot damn, those are killer lines!

    Best, Aimee

  8. Trent

    Meg-
    never fails, you always have some combinations of words!

    Here, my favorite: blur of clocks camouflage time –

    I think that calls for something to try to illustrate it!
    Collage, etc.

  9. Jennifer Fliss

    Word. Choices. I know this about you in other stories I’ve read that you’ve written. I know this is your thing. But to see it come out so fully fledged is kind of incredible. This is slam poetry horror flash writing. I could 100% hear Tom Waits reading this. And/or it’s like a bacchanalian painting. Also, here for the cadence in this. I’d be interested to know if you end up leaving this almost as is as kind of a prose poetry or fleshing it out more to mix it with some “traditional” prose writing, like scenes or dialogue.

  10. Lucy Logsdon

    Meg–Hi! So good to see you here. I love the beautiful way you yield language here –especially the way you explore decay and deprivation (and degradation), yet elevate it to something else by using such amazing descriptors. You invoke the shadowy eerie effect of ManRay’s work and I love that–I’ve always had . an ambivalent relationship to his work, and you capture that ambivalence one might have very well. The language is beautiful, but what we are talking about is not. When the orange juice the wrecked girls drink arrives-I long too for its plume of relief. That brief respite from horror. You sum it all up so beautifully with your last line –someone has no desire to exist///for that seems to be one of the underlying “themes” of the piece–the desires that exist in spite of our not wanting them to, and most especially what desires of that type almost always add up or strip down to: the desire to not exist. An absolutely amazing piece. Thank you,

  11. Gloria Garfunkel

    I love the way you constantly surprise in each sentence an unexpected linkage of words, creating a silky barrage of disturbing imagery. It’s like wandering through a castle of horror and despair, peeking into each room and seeing some piece of misery or horror that escalates in the end with someone who simply has no longer a desire to exist. Haunting, beautiful, can be read over and over with deepening imagery each time. Amazing, magical piece of writing. You are so gifted.

Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest