[Untitled: nouns and unnouns]

by on August 24, 2012 :: 0 comments

photograph by Tyler Malone

I watched a bird jump from the side of a building, rising for a moment with a gentle arc, like some fucked-up angel dust fiend; then beginning to move up and forward less and less, then downward more and more, beginning to flap its wings that angel dust fiends do not have, and flying away. And I wonder What did it carry away?

You sway minutely with a breeze, gently shuffle just half a stride away from my side.

“We used to have something,” you say, and I can’t quite grasp where this is going.

“Yes.” I speak the word quietly. “Did you see what that bird was carrying?” I half-point at the dark blot floating toward the rooftop of the old cinema on the next block that has been undergoing renovation.

“No,” you say back. “Now, we are constantly giving to each other.” You look at me. For a moment the wind blows your hair out over the edge of the roof. “We just give and give and it isn’t even to get what we want now.”

The wind has subsided and I pat the shoulder of your blue jean jacket as I step past you toward the center of the roof and toward the chairs by the table. As you turn to look at me, the heel of your left shoe grits in the dust and debris that covers the roof. You pull your closed hands up toward your sternum. The wind blows again. I sit down and consider smoking a small cigar that Juan gave to me on Thursday.

You walk to the table then pick up your cigarettes. “Do you want a blow job?” You hold the cigarette just in front of your lips picking up the lighter.

“No.” I look at your body and think of the warmth that is always found between your thighs. You light your cigarette, inhaling deeply. “I would like to go up to El Cerrito.” I cross my legs at the hips. It pushes my scrotum and penis over to the left.

You spin looking in the direction of El Cerrito. “I don’t want to today.” You blow smoke out, looking straight up into the sky.

“Okay. I’ll wait until tomorrow, but I think I’ll go with or without you.” You continue to stand there and I take a sip of Jugo Juice.

“Good. You should. I have some other things to do if I don’t want to go to El Cerrito.”


I wake up in the warmth of the small rooftop room. You are lying on my right arm. I choose not to move. The sunlight is only beginning to appear. It has not begun to warm the earth or the buildings. Your hair is draped over your shoulder, hanging in front of you. Your back is arched, pressing your buttocks against me firmly. I smile and kiss the bony wing of your shoulder-blade. I close my eyes and lay still.

“Do you still want to go to El Cerrito?”

I open my eyes. You are standing outside, speaking to me through the open window.


You grab the bars on the window, squeezing lightly.

“Then you better get up, because I’m leaving soon.” You turn, stepping away from the window.

I sit up and smell your cigarette. I look at the place in bed where you had been and think of yesterday. Then I think of Juan.

I begin to dress. I turn my head toward the window and raise my voice, “Do you think Juan might want to come?” I continue to dress.

You approach the window and grasp the bars again with two empty hands. “Yes, but I don’t want to invite him.”

I stop and look at you. Your hair has been tousled mostly to one side by the wind. My brow begins to move slightly. You smile thinly but broadly.

We enter the gate at El Cerrito, stand there listening.

“You will become a monk.”

I look at you. You begin walking again and I move alongside you. We reach the crest and look at the church, at the ruins of the pyramid.

“Why did they do that?” I point to the cement that holds rocks together lining the tiers of the pyramid. “What were they thinking?”

You begin to walk. “They weren’t thinking.” You move toward the church and I walk a step behind you. “It’s still a holy place, though.” You stop walking and look up at the tower of the church. “They built a new kinda thing for a new kinda thing.”

I stop two steps behind you and turn to look at El Cerrito.

editors note:

We want our buildings to explain us, our ideas; to capsulate our dreams in insulation. But they’re all hovels compared to what we’re really capable of, even the Heavenly glass in Abu Dhabi, all the symmetrical eloquence in Monticello, all the old charred architecture of Chicago, everything no longer in New York’s skyline. Our ideas and desires can turn everything we build into dust, but we stand in awe of it all. – Tyler Malone

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