sporklet 11

Joseph Linscott


The pair on the couch The glasses worn by the boy The glasses masking him The glasses providing a way of seeing A way of seeing how well things could be The future The present The past Doesn’t yet occupy him The father The boy on his lap The past that does occupy him The smile the boy has counteracted by the way the father The father looking off in the distance Or so it appears No smile from the father Nothing to do with the boy Right Nothing to do with the boy Yes Nothing to do with the boy Maybe Nothing to do Nothing to do Nothing to do Nothing to do when the smoke stacks become just stacks Stacking memories upon memories Stacking the boy upon the father’s leg for the taken picture The taken picture never to be seen when the boy leaves home When the boy leaves When the boy leaves When the boy leaves Nothing to do


When the boy leaves nothing to do but stack upon the memories of nothing to do

The hills in the morning reflect the glare of the rising sun off of the windows and other riggings that look nearly unnatural from a distance Distance Spanning miles Distance Spanning spatial planes unseen Distance In the afternoon all signs of life on those hills fades into brown nothingness Distance You don’t have to call me You don’t have to tell me The smoke in the distance comes from something Every morning the terror arouses the soul The smoke rising high into the air The smoke’s dissipation by lunch The smoke never coming back to the town to give it life The old man’s remnants of living and life and family and all other pains and loves fading into the sky with the memory or the old smoke The smoke that rises and fills him with fear as he sits on the phone Waiting for the old man’s response from the land of no smoke You don’t have to call me Too much distance Not if you don’t want to Distancing Not if I don’t want you to Distanced The meaning behind a word can leave irreparable damage Irreparable damage to the lungs Damage to the heart Damage to the liver Damage to the love Damage to a life Damage to lives You don’t have to damage this love You don’t have to distance this love You wait for the smoke to disappear To fade into the sky To disappear To distance itself from you Like the love Like the life Like the lives You wait for the smoke to fade before you call him So as not to leave anything left open between you Shut the flue Shut the life Shut the hell up Get out here Get out of here You don’t have to call me if you don’t want Sitting alone with the phone Sitting in the emptiness Sitting before the smoke Sitting in the faded memory of the moment


Not the name Not the same as it was before Things change Things feel different Get together Put your arms around each other Look here Say cheese Cheese Flash It’s over You wait for them to take another You wait for anything to happen You wait for this moment to end You wait to take your arm away You wait so you can wait some more Nothing else They move away Looks good they say You wait so you can disappear You turn away Embarrassed You look at the others You look at the distance You look at the others You look with the others at the distance and wonder what it would be like to be anywhere but there atop the mountain Hands together Arms bound to shoulders A picture you will never see because you can’t bare to look at it You know what lies beneath Lies Laying Lay Say cheese Cheese Flash and it goes away Flash and it never happened Flash Flash Flash and you wonder what it would be like to be in the distance You wonder what it would mean to be something other than this You wonder and wait for the next pose


You wear a bucket hat like you do not understand how embarrassing a bucket hat can look because you are too young to understand how embarrassing a bucket hat can look will look upon any and all who unwillingly or unknowingly choose to wear it and you hold your spoils of war and labor proudly Standing beside you with the only real smile you believe you’ve ever seen in one of these Framed together This pride filled moment And you wonder if there had been more like this things could have been different for you Wonder if things had been different for you how different you would be Wonder if you would like or dislike a different you Wonder how you feel about the you that has come because this pride filled frame is the only one you can recall


Wanna hear a joke Here goes How do you know when a town is dying When your father goes from drinking Bud Heavy to drink Bud Ice When your father goes from drinking Bud Ice to Miller Lite When your father goes from drinking Miller Lite to Busch When your father goes from drinking Busch to Busch Ice When your father goes from drinking Busch Ice to Milwaukee’s Best When your father sticks with Milwaukee’s Best When you drink Busch to be better than your father When you drink to be your father When you stick to drinking Drinking is not funny Too long What punchline Too long Not funny Too long Not Funny Too long not funny Too long not funny Too long not enough Not enough funny Not enough A joke Funny Should be funny Crack the can and hear it tell you Busch Bussssssch Funnier Funnier Sufferer Sufferer Suffer Not enough Not enough suffering Too much suffering Not funny Not funny Too much alcohol Too depressing Not funny Stop laughing laughing laughing suffering


A study of self Of what makes sense Of what is noise Of what is both My tendency with my fingers is to stroke Or not of I wonder if this is meaningful Could I do this without the drink Father says no Father says Who gives a shit No hands but my own Lead me to horizon Take me to the river Drop me in the water Lead me to horizon The difference between self and noise and meaning

Joseph Linscott is a teacher and writer currently living in Denver. His fiction has appeared in Ursa Literary Review and Water Soup Press. He is currently working on a project of memoiristic pieces of hybridity.