Uniformity of Taste

by | Aimee Oct Day 2

Fingers shudder a soundless strangle, steam thick with the shake of the lens holds crooked images meek with cheap moans entombed within the skin of a hotel as old as its floating daguerreotypes. I chasten as a looter, a blackguard, a scoundrel ghosting money out of the hiss of mourning.

Frail, sucked in by abuse, addiction, they come to my rooms. Stale racks of skin bleed across my beds. Everyone curdles into perversion. A something that dances them like a rag doll, a maid, old as a weaver outskirting deserts.

Some say I bludgeon hundreds. Necks louder than a flock of plundered hens. Can’t say I map any of it. It molds towards raucous and the easy snap of the shutter. No need to ask dead bodies to still themselves. Clothes shred askew around them. Adds the mix of dollars in my pocket to the soiled beacon of the buyer’s orgasms. Slaughter, hard as acorns, is a marketplace. Sedentary remembrance of the women who scorned them.

My hotel breathes in stock of the city. Ladies temper the whiskers of war inside temperate strangers. Yawn of wives rack the brood of kids, and marriage, men leave behind. Souvenirs are just a part of the ride. Rummaging through the deck like poker cards, the men leave the hotel with their fantasy bound up in a body burdened with a peace it never knew. Branded lifeless in a sepia tone.

9 Comments

  1. Trent

    Meg,
    makes me think of H.H. Holmes, and the Chicago murder hotel.

    “Slaughter, hard as acorns, is a marketplace.”

    That should be a collage, or something like that….

  2. Aimee Parkison

    Meg,

    I love the references to historical photography and the way those references instantly take us back in time through authentic detail. Like Trent, I hear the echoes of the H.H. Holmes serial killer hotel threaded through these powerful lines.

    My favorite section is the following—

    “Some say I bludgeon hundreds. Necks louder than a flock of plundered hens. Can’t say I map any of it. It molds towards raucous and the easy snap of the shutter. No need to ask dead bodies to still themselves. Clothes shred askew around them. Adds the mix of dollars in my pocket to the soiled beacon of the buyer’s orgasms. Slaughter, hard as acorns, is a marketplace. Sedentary remembrance of the women who scorned them.”

    The confession is stunning in its voice, that complex “some say” that leaves an opening to what may or may not be true, then moving into the haunting poetry of the necks breaking, the mold, dead bodies, shredding clothes. Wow! The “slaughter, hard as acorns”—I love that!
    As always, your writing is stunning in its brilliant twists, subversions, and tonal range. I hope you send these out to journals so more readers can have the pleasure. My thoughts are Fiction International, Hotel Amerika, and Conjunctions.

    Many, many thanks for sharing your brilliance! You are an inspiration!

    Xoxo, Aimee

  3. Sara Comito

    Meg! I’m struck by the way you set up the scene, verbing the surroundings. It disorients and orients at the same time, lulling us into an abstract space before the startling entrance of the “I” of the narrator. These lines are so telling:

    Can’t say I map any of it.
    No need to ask dead bodies to still themselves.

    The language is coolly observational, which makes this creepier! And of course, you swirl, whoosh, grab, and smother with you syntactical prowess throughout. “…the soiled beacon of the buyer’s orgasms” – yikes! Big love.

  4. Emily Bertholf

    Falling, each paragraph lured me deeper to the end, the hotel, the horrid pieces and images emerging into form, so I had to go back to the beginning to piece them together and start again. Powerful, Meg. As always. Necks, such fragile stems of vulnerability and vitality pulsing against each other.

  5. David O'Connor

    Meg, what to say! So good–this line: I chasten as a looter, a blackguard, a scoundrel ghosting money out of the hiss of mourning. is perfect, a masterpiece. And the last line is a sonic zinger. Also, I love how subtle the pov creeps in and disappears. You capture it all, with such concision. I can see and feel this, thank you! so good.

  6. AJ Miller

    Meg, your writing has captivated me during this workshop. The things you do with words! Love. This line: “Some say I bludgeon hundreds. Necks louder than a flock of plundered hens,” makes me squirm, the sound I hear in my head of cracking necks, of death. I keep thinking this is a scene right out of the dark Internet. Something taboo and chilling is happening. Intense and stunning.

  7. Gloria Garfunkel

    Meg:

    The voice of the cold-hearted owner who makes money with his hotel where total losers come to die with his help at simply breaking the necks of the already weakened and addicted is so creepy and visual, “branded lifeless in a sepia tone.” But as always, it is not just the story that compels, but the unexpected and unusual wording and phrasing that hypnotizes the reader to another plain of consciousness, or rather, unconsciousness. The poetry that pervades your prose is brilliant and beautiful, no matter how horrific the material. I love this.

    Gloria

  8. Lucy Logsdon

    Meg,
    I love this piece–it seems related somewhat to the other one for this class, as they both seem to discuss or perhaps I mean use, the tropes of photography and actual historical events. I find the horror in both your pieces more scary than an imagined one. These feel to be based on very real events, very actual sordid parts of a tangible culture. It is a place of underbelly sand of the margin–the hotel(s) being a place the perverse thrives. And where cold capitalism and looter culture reigns. Your piece is rife with symbols, all of them scary and real. Your language-especially your verbs sing—in such stark contrast to the darknesses they are describing. A fantastic work.

  9. Kathryn Kulpa

    I love the language in this piece, both exquisite and brutal, and the grotesque, vividly real character you’ve created. Such an all-American killer, everything transactional. Even slaughter is part of the marketplace. I could picture him in a bowler had and herringbone suit, chomping on a cigar, grinning widely as he talks about snapping necks like “a flock of plundered hens.” The seedy turn-of-the-century atmosphere was spot on; this could be H.H. Holmes, or someone like him, a solid man of business who’s found a way to turn a profit from his deadly hobby.

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