:: Article


By Brian Oliu.

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The garden of the permanent year has tickets dying in my hand, with godly names of statues I grew up around, dripping green with what seems to be coming from the eagle’s head, causing the marble to stain, the running stagnant color making it seem as if it is always raining there, and for all I know, it could be raining their still, place of youth and kicking things in the air, trying not to let objects and ourselves hit the ground, games played with and by strangers to this place who lived well outside the safety zone of farmland communities, and so we waited by the statue, walking on park benches and jumping on the rotted wood in hopes of breaking it with the bottom of our shoes, sending us awkwardly to the pavement. We would watch practices and only practices, the intricate placing together of notes to form an adapted jazz standard while future erotica models, future dead girls, and future regulars spun flags into the air, the metal hitting the ground from time to time with a vibrating hiss like the crackling of telephone wires or a comedic gun. This statue I remember fondly, surrounded by wet mulch, stains in schools telling me to keep the bible hidden in the couch, beeping messages from wilted salad days via the nearest rollerskate, mistaking it for the eyes of the whole. In a whale, like the whale out here that we never see on the channel to the right, the whale that I learned about from that same dead girl dropping batons (my mother twirled fire and despite the carelessness of others, the figure eights never broke in half, two ovals splintering like hoops I imagine jumping through when imagining things worse than they are; the fact that the dead girl could not handle cold metal should have been some sign, or worse), the dead girl unable to catch things falling from the air, yet keeping us all watching her, the five-dollar sequins smacking against each other as we pity the process. In a whale, the first shot of dawn in buried and holding the dead in a blue robe draped over an animal that we’ve forgotten, which is what happens when dealing with godly yards and godly yards. If there is an ominous action to be ascribed to such a thing, it would be the pressing of bellies against tigers lashing back like lions, or whichever way the current faces those days, towards me, towards the creature, towards home, towards away. The folding of whatever of itself eats at the area of something that once existed as something that once existed in frames of doors, in cars with children searching for coins wedged inbetween the button to release the metal buckle, or hands amputated when pinching fingers around dimes, drinking seawater out of boredom. The coin is so small, but worth more than the fat nickel, something someone somewhere with a mint press determined to teach sons and daughters that height and worth aren’t synonymous as some are harder to grip and pull out from the leather.

Brian Oliu
is originally from New Jersey but currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His work has been featured in New Ohio Review, Diagram, Brevity, Southeast Review, Best Creative Nonfiction Vol. 2 and others. This is an automated message.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, November 4th, 2008.