So This is What I’ll Do
I’m gonna turn that switch off.
Turn that valve and make sure that’s off too.
Then I’ll unscrew this thing over here. (I don’t even know what that is.)
Then I can disassemble that.
Take that thing apart piece by piece.
Just completely dismantle everything that’s around me:
Get everything down to its barest pieces until there’s nothing left to take apart.
And once that’s done I can move on to my car and the neighbor’s car and his house and the house next door and the house and car after that and so on. However long that takes it takes.
And once that’s done I’ll start on my toes— take those off one by one.
And then I’ll take out each shin bone. (They’ll make good doorstops if nothing else.)
Remove my feet and disconnect my legs from my hips.
Detach the knees and throw them in a corner somewhere. (Or somewhere where there used to be a corner.)
Twist off my torso and chest and bend away every rib like plastic branches of plastic trees.
Remove every tooth and strand of hair and pluck out each eye and tear away each ear.
And then finally…
I’ll plant whatever is left in the ground.
Cover it up with dirt packed nice and tight and hope that maybe something grows there.
Because sometimes it’s good just to start over.
Start again from absolute peaceful desolate scratch.
seminal incident #3
it was early 1981.
the change from the
had not fully
integrated into my eleven
year old consciousness and I
I still believed it was 1980. so much so
I discovered that
art class underneath our
current year I was
indisputable certitude that
document from the
had been delivered
to my hands.
I turned to my
classmate, “Jason, look at the date
on this newspaper. 1981.”
“So,” he responded derisively.
“It’s 1980,” I said in the voice of
a fraudulent scholar.
even before he could
contradict me with
words of simple fact, the
finally became realized
I shrunk up like plastic in a flame.
You Can’t Avoid That Swerve in the Road
The willow in the yard where I grew up is no longer there.
And I am no longer there.
My brothers are no longer there.
The willow was tired of us leaving and got out before anyone else did.
There’s an unopened package from a guy named Schrödinger.
That swerve in the road is there whether you continue to move or not.
It’s unavoidable— like the smell of new painted walls.
There’s a comic strip character walking the streets.
He doesn’t know he’s left his frames.
A child from China digs a hole in his yard trying to reach America.
He’s got one match in the rain.
One chance to get it right.
The devil lurks somewhere in the dark sharpening his pencils.
He’s composing a complaint letter to the cereal company that sold him a stale box.
The phone rings, caller: unknown.
Matthew is a teaching-artist, playwright and independent filmmaker from Milwaukee. His latest film is titled Neptune (www.lasthouseproductions.com). You can find his fiction and poetry at the Newer York, Paragraph Planet, Postcard Shorts, Linguistic Erosion, The Eunoia Review, Danse Macabre and Streetcake Magazine. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally by theater companies including Edmonds Driftwood Players, Pink Banana Theatre, Cupcake Lady Productions and Screaming Media Gi60. Pennster Media recently published his short play Walk, Don’t Walk. www.matthewkonkel.com