1. I have begun listening to music again, needing something sweet in a hard world. I have been pleasantly surprised going from one Tiny Desk Concert to another. It’s a kind of shock to feel certain things again, to remember how much you used to feel, to realize how long you’ve gone without feeling. There are people who listen to music all the time, and there are people who don’t listen to music at all, and there are people who listen to music but are unaffected, and all these people are supposed to exist in the world and understand each other.
2. Go back far enough and every unhappy couple is a happy couple—even your parents. Time is moving and time is stuck. Replicated endlessly, they wonder how they got here, in the kitchen (it’s always the kitchen) after a fight. In dreams, too, you appear in a place without knowing how you got there.
3. You can get so tired, sometimes, you feel like you’ve already returned to the dust, except that it’s mud. It rained last night, you see, and the earth could not drink it all. There’s a vehicle parked down the street called the Mud Truck that serves coffee. You’re made of mud, you think, so might as well put more of it in you.
4. You’ve already seen so many people for the last time. Now and then you see someone you thought you would never see again. The effect is like listening to music.
5. The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but how many lives does it take to bend it? There was a guy, Paco, who worked on the line at a bar & grill restaurant where I bartended on the weekends. He was a funny guy. His jokes helped keep the energy up during long late-night shifts. Some of the waitresses liked him. Nobody knew how old he was, but he said he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t grown. He had no father but such a large family that he never felt like he’d missed out on anything. He complained often about his gay brother, not because he was gay but because he “mooched too much.” He had worked dozens of jobs in his life, many much worse than his current one. He was acquainted with several cats, and they came to him behind the restaurant, even when he had nothing for them to eat. One night, waiting for the train home, he flicked a cigarette butt on the platform. He was a litterer, in other words. Someone saw him littering, and he got cited for it. Sometime later, he didn’t show up for work, and they had to hire another line cook.
~Bram Shay, Editor
The Maiden with the Rose on Her Forehead by Marc Frazier
The Crossing by Lynn Hoggard
Postcards to Budapest by David Koenig
Candle Making by Richard Weaver
Henri Rochemont by Joseph E. Fleckenstein