“The Miscarriage” and “Brian J. Ledbotter” G.P. DeSalvo

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There was a boy.  He had busy hands and nervous limbs and made messes everywhere.  Such a sensitive and wobbly soul begs to be protected from himself.  He was clumsy, awkward… and had fully sprouted hair everywhere… which, to her, signaled even greater tribulation on the horizon.  The more chest and leg hair he got, the more surveillance she installed.  She wanted to put throw pillows, rubber bumpers, soft edges and pampers all around him… after she paddled some sense into him, of course.

That’s why the cameras were always trained on him.  Better tracking and oversight lessened the need for reactive measures.  She was a proactive personality type A.

During her work day, she dutifully checked the monitors every few minutes.  It was for his own protection.  Being that she was hardly ever home– hadn’t been for years– this was her way of ‘keeping the lines of communication open.’

She was a modern mother on the go.  Today, she had a power meeting at nine.  She had lunch with upper management, CEO Bill Withers, to discuss the biennial budget at 11:17.  A career was in flux; she was roasting on both ends.  But, at age 44, she was still a stone-dead hottie with the personal pizzazz to work it to the top.

Watching her son while she was at work.

When he was at school, she couldn’t watch him.  Yet.  But she’d come to rely upon the homing device fixed to his leg, sadly, kept there on a semi-permanent basis.  This was because he couldn’t be trusted to fasten them on before he left for school.  Now, they wouldn’t be removed until she got home.  She gave him all the rope he needed and he ended up swinging every time.  Because of these ‘bracelets’, he claimed the others made fun of him, calling him Lock-Up Bitch.  She told him what any sane parent would: she told him to toughen up. She told him that he’s going to be a man soon enough facing far greater challenges than popularity contests.  He’d succeeded in slicing two of his trackers off.  That was before she had three custom designed, tamperproof (they were all supposed to be), with the small yet crucial modification of electric contacts.  To shock, of course.

Goodness, yes.

She could chart his exact latitude and longitude via satellite, if she wanted to.  When she had the time- which she didn’t today.

Watching him while she was attending her niner.  Watching him on her laptop while she was driving and talking on her cell phone.  There he’d be.  In his room, in the living room, in the den.  Kicking around with his shoulders slumped over that phone, his dark mop of hair hanging over his eyes.  She had parental controls on all of his devices, too.  She was no fool.

“Stop slouching, Brian!  My God.  Hold yourself like you’ve got some self-respect.  Do you want to have a dowager’s hump when you’re fifty?”  He drooped even more, probably to spite her.  His thumbs sparring with the phone screen.  “I wish you’d read.  Or go outside and take a walk to somewhere other than The 40 Stop or Burger Schwanz.”

She hadn’t put surveillance in the bathroom.  Yet.   So, he tried spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  But then she’d be on the intercom listening and intervening.  She could talk on the intercoms from her Bluetooth.  

“What’s going on in there, Brian?”

“Oh, god… nothing.”

“What’s taking so long?”

Silence.  Then, a series of stomps and he turned on the water.  She waited, listening to running water as she looked at the clock on her console, the hiss of the water in the sink distorted to static in her ear.

“Brian?  What’s taking so long?  Stop wasting water!”

“Nothing, mom.  Please.  I need a minute.  Can you give me a minute?”  He shouts over the faucet.

“Well… you’ve already had half an hour. And I think your hands are clean now!  My goodness!”

“Jesus Christ, I’m trying to shit.”

“Don’t talk to me that way, Brian!”

“Oh…”  He turned the water off.

“Oh what?!  I demand an apology!”

“For what?”

“For using profanity with me.  For treating me like an inconvenience.  I work too hard to be treated like this.”

“I’m sorry.”  At seventeen, his recently claimed manvoice was already fading, sinking back into him, like a the retracting head of a turtle.  “Please just…”

“I won’t tolerate that, Brian.  I won’t.”

“… can I just have a couple more minutes?  Please?”

“It’s not natural for a boy to sit there that long!  To use that much water.  It costs money, you know.  It all costs money!”

“Do you think that…”

“You’ll get hemorrhoids if you sit on a toilet seat for such a long time.”

“I’m constipated.”

“It’s how you eat, dear.”

“Maybe if you’d cook for me once in a while…”

“Oh now don’t start with that.  Please.  I am working to put good food on the table.  It’s not easy being the breadwinner and super parent too, you know!”  That was always the excuse.  “You won’t eat the dietary meals I buy for you.  Those are very nutritious.  They’re scientifically scored and engineered to cover all your recommended daily requirements.”

 

He looked down at the grey, sculpted indoor/outdoor carpeting of the bathroom.  

“They taste like paper.”

“That’s what salt and pepper is for, dear.  They’re very easy to fix…”

“So’s going to Burger Schwanz.”

“… just pop them into the micro and they’re good to go.  You’re just too lazy for your own good.  Lazy!  You won’t be skinny forever!  Trust me.  Start exercising now…”  The tiny, smart car she bought for him to drive was also outfitted with a GPS tracking device that she could monitor from her laptop.  Or her office computer.  Or her GeniusPhone.  She wasn’t able to commandeer this vehicle by remote.  Yet.  But, if he were foolish enough to drive to Burger Schwanz, she would automatically know he was headed towards Meridian Ave.  His path was always predictable.  He was smart, but not smart enough to be unpredictable.  “Where do you get all the money you’ve got to go to Burger Schwanz, anyway?”

 

Silence.

 

“I do homework for other kids.”

“You do what?”

“Homework.  For kids that’re having problems with their homework.”

“That’s cheating, Brian.”   She could tell he was lying.  About everything.

“Oh…”

 

Silence.

 

“Hello?  Brian, I said, that’s cheating.”

“No it’s not.  No it’s not.  I’m helping someone less fortunate than me.  That’s me not being selfish, like you always say.”

“Don’t try it, mister!  It most certainly IS cheating and I won’t hear of it.  No sir!  Not under those shingles!”

The first camera she installed, was a Panasonic Micro Digital Pantiltzoom camera.  ‘A NICE ALL PURPOSE CAMERA FOR GENERAL MONITORING PURPOSES’, was what the online product description said.  It got an average of four and a half stars in Consumer Reports reviews.  She bought that one when he was in first grade, back in the day.  It was a good enough camera, but it wasn’t tamper proof.  He could throw a ball cap over its simple, obtrusive design.  If he were out of range- or shrouding her frantically telescoping lenses- for too long, she’d be on the intercom shouting at him to present himself, front and center.   Currently, that piece of technology was an outdated- if still serviceable- relic in her ever-expanding and complex network of state of the art pinhole cameras, microphones and motion sensors.  She believed that Brian believed the Panasonic dinosaur no longer worked.

With all of this, she still couldn’t bring herself to take the final step in installing cameras in the bathroom.  This point was a painstaking, ongoing moral struggle for her.   After all, she wasn’t a fascist.

“I can’t see you, Brian.  I need to see you.  You’ve had enough alone time.”

“Goddamnit.”

She saw him come out of the bathroom, his pants still unfastened and then he disappeared out of frame.

“BRIAN J. LEDBOTTER!”

On her way out of downtown, with her laptop open on the passenger seat and the dash mounted screen linked to the tree cams trained on the exterior of their house, she turned the AC up full blast and took a sip of her Iced Capp.  She couldn’t afford to allow humidity to collapse her carefully crafted hair.  When she hit the I-270 acceleration ramp going 25 miles per hour, she glanced over at the laptop, the screen, split into quadrants of their home’s interior.  The shots were eerily still.  Their cat slept on the couch.  The sun played through the branches of the tree outside the living room window casting swirling phantoms and studding the room with diamonds: a series of small sunbursts followed by rainbows.  She reached over and- with a stroke of her finger- switched to a second block of cameras.

 

Still nowhere in sight.

 

What she hadn’t taken the time to realize, yet, is that her boy, often and with great intensity, traveled far in his mind.  Over walls and bridges, through space, folding time.  He blew things up below him.  One of those things was her.

 

Radio silence.

 

“Brian?  Brian?  Let’s go.  Let’s get in sight, here, buddy.”  She did her best to be patient.  That is, until nearly rear-ending a Humvee, stopped in a bottleneck, as she frantically swiped her touchpad toggling camera angles.  She barked threats and candy-coated invective into her Bluetooth.   As a driver, she convinced herself that she was being responsible because she was, basically, hands-free.  Her car was equipped with Smart Stop sensors for just these reasons.  She took her responsibilities seriously. “I swear, Brian, if I wreck this car you’ll be grounded for the rest of your natural days.   Just now, I was almost decapidated!  Don’t think that you can pull this baloney much longer… I’ll turn this car around and be back home in half an hour.   And you had better be in front of those eyes of mine well before that!” 

Somewhere, Brian was rolling his eyes and slamming his fists onto something.  He banged them against it until they were numb and swollen and the thing broke apart.

 

Radio silence.  Crackle of satellites and the big bang.

 

When she got out of range, she felt confident that when she returned home, her captures would reveal anything she needed to know.  Then there would be the fight and subsequent punishments.  It was getting harder and harder to physically lay into him the way she used to, the bigger and the more sullen he got.  But, like her job, she gave it 150%.   Spare the rod (and all those Confucius-type slogans).  It was then and there, sitting in the cool isolation of her vehicle- in that traffic jam on I-270- that she decided to push aside her squeamishness and finally install those nano-cams in the bathroom vanity (and tissue cozy).  She’d make an appointment with her favorite tech (with the full arm tattoo sleeves and nipple rings that showed through his shirt) at Alsnauer Security this week.  Her son’s health and welfare depended on it.

 

G.P. DeSalvo lives and works in Columbus, Ohio.  He is a civil servant,an artisan, a sorcerer and an amateur psychiatrist.  He has lived three or four different lives.  Now he’s getting to be an old man.  He may- one day in the near future- actually get something published.

You can visit G.P DeSalvo’s blog here: https://theblackboulder.blog
and follow him on Twitter here: @DurbanMoffer 

You can visit G.P DeSalvo’s blog here: https://theblackboulder.blog
and follow him on Twitter here: @DurbanMoffer 

‘Square Peg Ranch’ by G.P. DeSalvo

Tunnel of Rove
‘Tunnel of Rove’ by G.P. DeSalvo

The wind has the word today as we walked past holes made from digging up old souls.  We were afraid of our future footprints winding through the prairie brush.  Mid-August cicadas in a jumble with rattlers somewhere in the distance.  The verdant mountains lay before us like lush feminine bodies rolling softly, reclining restful.  The green smell of sage: the blooming lupines (pronounced loop-ins by those in the know).  The dust is listening.  Walking gingerly, taking time, attenuated to rattlers again.

I pee al fresco… so do the locals.  They pee a lot because they drink a lot, and they’re not going to stop.

Up ahead are signs of what they call charismatic megafauna.

We’re staying at The Square Peg Ranch.

Bad Rock, Columbia Falls, greenhouses.  Cowboys with huge belt buckles which are nothing more than tombstones for dead cocks.  Hungry Horse, Crooked Tree.  She said earnestly, “Some people feel that they have to live the myth of the west.”  We walked on through more sage brush.  The air smelled fake, it smelled so good.  “I do too, to some degree.  Only my myth of the west is different.”

We walk further into the scrub and clouds of gnats landing in my eyes.  Bears stand in warning.  A family of them.  Mother bear looks at us, saying so much with her eyes.  I can talk with my eyes too.

I watch the bear.  I watch her as she walks ahead of me, unafraid: the iron womb in the ore of woman.  Much like the person I’m with.  Exactly like the person I’m with.

Tempt, taste…..

sometimes it’s all I can do to handle my own body…

I feel a creeping bloat unhinge my soft center which threatens to become my totality.

At times there is invisibility falling across me,

wiping me out of

my fumigated surroundings.

Later, when the danger passes, but the blood still flowing, I give water to her dog and stay quiet.  I need her smallness within my smallness within the smallness of this cabinworld, her milky voice like opaque bubbles in liquid space.  Her lips ejaculate molasses sound into my ears and infuse my mind with dew.  I rarely think straight anyway.

Inside this humid swampskin, deep under the thickened atmosphere and rubbery flesh, is a crystal mausoleum flooded with the clear stickiness and pungency of melted candy.

I can be your camel in a dry bright room.  You will love me as a pet.

I would be your drinking fountain- sweet lemonade for you and your other friends.

We can share an apple and a beer… one in each end of you… and I’d kiss your cloven hoof then you’d make me a sandwich.

I’d wash your doggie and you’d show me your new toy.

The light would be shining on us: shining in the world we made.

In that clean, blazing room, I’d lick your wounds, introduce you to my scars, then we’d make a pact with whisky and blood and smoke some spiked cigars.

The prayers we’d say for each other would cure the rest of the world.

I’m kneeling, I’m bowing, I’m rising in the rays of the sun.

We’re having a banquet in this clean heaven.  A table, heavy with food, sits between us.  The warm feeling grows until it’s all we can be- the light shines.  A hand reaches for mine.  I am open.  You can see into me.

I’m a pearled bead on your tongue, the elixir of life, a smoky essence mingled.

Reach inside me.

Dip your fingers in this sugary bog;

I know you’ll be gone soon.

 

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‘On the Broken Backs of Others’ by G.P. DeSalvo

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‘Energy Source’ by G.P. DeSalvo

Guns became a necessity of meat, a sacrament for the running gun profiler and his racist fog creeping.  Plaster Indians shout to us from the store fronts: eradicate!  All the statues come to life; our first and last lady of liberty beckons.

‘Come to my open wound, live like a parasite

In the warmth of my intestine.’

WELCOME

You’ve got a life to kill.

Let’s just hook you up.

Assembly is easy.

‘I am white, like the living god of the new parasites.

I am white, shining from scar to scar!

I am white living in congealed maggot colonies of idiot hypnotism.’

This cockroach of a man- this mucoid individual- Mr. Whitesonofabitch, smells new burning tobacco and gasoline with his big moustache nose and downloads in his pants.  Paid props in masks of fake outrage give running mouthjobs to placate anyone worried about his viral seed.

‘My property gurgles like a tracheotomy…’

It’s television-like and history’s into reruns as sure as the disease out of control.

Running red hanging, there has to be a trophy, a swinging tribute to distended guts, to boring and increasingly lonesome whiteness.   Bland disharmonics, drip, drip, drip…

Polished skin, dense like rubber, next to more skin on top of other skin piled in a container.  This man, this monarch of the maggot pile, has them dragged out one by one and nails them to experimental crosses.  His doctors peel back their pink, fatty layers to reveal the valuable light within the blight.

He gives out dignity like sympathy letters… but it’s not dignity.  It’s not anything you can recognize.

Polished skin.  Dense like rubber: gleaming enslaved animals: swatting swatted demented aggression, stupidly sadly squirted down the line.  Costly human catalogue. Living kill.  Love killing.  Kill living.  Kill loving.

The older gentleman sits in his small quarters, his greased wire hair is damp.  He remembers the shotguns poised at his pissing child and the rat king, Mr. Whitesonofabitch, smiling up and through dead eyes- like through a thousand leagues of polluted water- eyes connected to a brain that fits a strict social order over everything like an airtight lid.  The gentleman sighs, sitting on the dirt floor, his polished skin dense and dark and tough like black rubber.  He whittles a small femur into a bone-white effigy.  Mr. Whitesonofabitch lives in a world that appears much closer than it really is.

There is no more legitimate opportunity.  Only opportunity that exists is won by gun or woven out of aether.  Scruples, economy, politics.  Peasant living: Master’s hand in Peasant’s mouth- he won’t bite; he knows better.  He’d better operate under cover of blindness.

Guns became a necessity of life to protect the isolated, the margins, to protect the running sore trouble of greedy life processes.

Living regret.

Networks now fuel what was once well-begun in a bloody field, in a chamber of torment.  Let us remember.

Leaves and sunshine kiss the church steps.  An old hymn grips the ears; now, being drowned by a rebellion of murky angels.  Living trench-warfare open fire on the citizens while Mr. Whitesonofabitch gets his hot shit transplant; a procedure that aids functioning endorsed by reputable surgeons.

The ancient war rages on the street.

You see, Mr. Whitesonofabitch, before he had his plush new insides, bought my skin off the bargain rack where I was hanging next to the copper colored flesh of an unfortunate, insignificant other.  Our empty wallets unified us.  Breath to breath to breath; we’ll be avenged.

Houses on fire dot the plantation horizon… there are no helicopters.  No nothing… but the pure, meaty smoke swirling above Mr. Whitesonofabitch’s smoldering body.  No life for the living more than running labor sores suppurating malaria dreams.  The payoff used to be tobacco money for a plateful of dirty cornbread…. cheap life, consumer index under whips, walls, fences and disease.  He’s got a corner on the market.

At least he had it, before all of this happened.

Living regret.

Streaming live.

 

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‘They Continue to Hollow-Out Mother and One Day She’ll Have No Body Left to Hold Me’ by G.P. DeSalvo

Heart of a Nation
“Heart of a Nation” by G.P. DeSalvo

This is the age of electronic blackmail.  The blackmailers go… raping everyone they can get their technopediatric hands on.

Weeping chains rattled those newsmen, nosey for seeds, poking prodding through the truffle garden lost in the world. They brought the cameras to pin us to the ground.  To place us in the center of the trap.  To shut us inside.  To place us squarely underneath the foul and torn rumps of our forefathers whose efforts through eternity have been sterilized, rendered neuter.  As efforts continue to sanitize us all… to clean up our nastiness.  The efforts of the marketers will ultimately serve to melt through our emotions with branding irons of white-hot bone cleaved from the bodies of television dead idols.  They brought microphones to pick up the sound of our fat dissolving.  Sizzling loose cells inside silky skins to pick up romper rumors and lies undetectable in casual every day speech or body language. They forced the microphones upon us to tease us with our own sounds.  We are infants crawling in dangerous streets.  Convulsing from the smog.  They are treating us with vibrations so destructive they could wipe out the songs of all religions and races that are unlike the breed of stinking canine gorilla that beats his chest atop the empire strikes back building.

The canine gorilla gods will appear to us across magnetic billboards floating in the skies above your town.  They’ll have the snail people, the snake handlers, the dirty felchers and the Mad Advertisers under their influence.

And because of the cameras and microphones… your exact height and weight down to your cellular blueprint your every like and dislike your mother’s name your father’s name any assumed names, identities or lies would all be passed and reviewed in the microworld by the machines run by androids.

There you will dissolve, slowly, like Alka Seltzer dropped in a flute of polluted water.

They ascended into town, from their lair beneath the ground, breaking up spraying dust with their camouflaged copters, catching the light of the sun as they floated overhead momentarily before touching down atop the Bank of America skyscraper.  The men inside, insane in their drowned plastic night, spilled into the city looking for raw materials.

They looked tired and hungry as they battered down my door, but all I had was beer and brown rice in the refrigerator.  So they ate it all and continued to ask me so many unreasonable questions as though I had some richly worked scheme in back of me like an idiot mirror of all that is so disgustingly complex and warped in society.  They thought they could analytically break me down with their technology… using their primitive, modern techniques on my words twisting them until they broke, bending them until they buckled, refining here, diluting there. They branded those of us they neurojacked with cabled, white-hot bone irons and our language became unintelligible (to match theirs).  But I thought I was fighting back, and I gave them my words and cast my spells like pollution and their impatience grew strong, virulent.  And their mistakes increased in frequency and severity.

Yes, the information age was packaged from the loot and filthy rags they’d plundered from our parent’s graves.  Dirty diaper mania was on the news again last night… place by place under the mounds, green and glowing.

 

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