Monday, January 22, 2007

New Beginning 196

It is transparent and it sticks to you to itself to anything you don’t want it to, but it does not hold together those things that need holding together - the gaping wound of the broken marriage, for example, or her lips when she is about to say something cutting, hurtful, or embarrassing. It does not hold together worlds or atoms or decaying societies, or rotting plywood or the canvas back to the director’s chair that Myrtle sat in that last summer that she was able to sit upright, the skin of her hands transparent, the skin of her legs gone over, turned, like curds like pot cheese like yellowed papers from her father’s desk.

Myrtle read a poem when she was in the fifth grade. It was the first poem in her poetry book, wherein the poems were arranged in chronological order, thus – this poem – this first poem in Myrtle’s memory:

Sumer is a-cumin’ in
Loudhe sing cuckoo
Sumer is a-cumin’ in . . .

She doesn’t remember the rest. She just remembers the pages, turned by the hands of a dozen students before her, reading learning growing creasing and tearing the pages held together with brittle, yellow . . . It ages like we do, we all grow old grow brittle turn yellow, it happened to Myrtle, it’ll happen to you. I can still see still imagine, that virgin spool, full of promise until eager fingers unwind it until there’s nothing left, you have to understand--

“Scotch tape? That what you want? Scotch tape?”

Yes dear, that’s it: Scotch tape. And also . . . oh, it’s thin and pointed and it can draw a line on paper or card or the journal of your life, and it carries an eraser at it’s end, but you can never erase everything no matter how hard you try, there’s always a shadow a smudge a residue of the past, remaining to . . .

Opening: Tia Nia.....Continuation: ril


Dave Fragments said...

The continuations forever amaze me. This one hits the nail on the head (to borrow an old bromide, an irrevelant saw, and a cliche)...

Opening with the word "IT" is the wrong thing to do. What is IT? (and it's not an EBAY joke).

If you had said IT is LOVE, well:
Love is transparent, sticks to you, lack of it causes divorce. It doesn't hold atoms, or canvas chairs, but it might be what keeps her happy. It might be expressed in the poem.

IT could be hate, or envy, or old age, or anything else non-corporeal. IT isn't the Maltese Falcon but IT is the stuff that dreams are made of...

I think that you should name IT, open the entire novel with IT, and revise the words accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I would at least read a little more to see if anything was going to come of the poetry angle because I like poetry.

As for "IT", I don't know.

I like the orange, EE. A little darker and you'll need a Hook 'em Horns tie pin. -V95

Anonymous said...

Ril, brilliant continuation. I thought mine had a remote chance of success this time, but of course, yours is way, way better. You've captured the voice and offer something fun.

I thought it (haha) was pretty obvious "It" referred to the tape in the title.

I liked this opening. It seemed dreamy and old and nostalgic and poetic, and like it might go somewhere interesting. Not in a hurry. Not with hair on fire. But somewhere I might like to follow.

Good luck.

Evil Editor said...

There were a couple good ones ril beat out; no reason they shouldn't be recognized. They're below.

Evil Editor said...

And she can't read it in her book. That stupid tape--turned yellow. Gone was it's transparency. When Myrtle tried to pry it from the book the page tore, just like her life.

She needed to find some better tape, for everything.

So now she puts on her heavy brown shoes, just for show. She can't walk but she can look like she has feet, so she laces them up with arthritic fingers. Tape can't hold back the pain in them. The sweater she knit in bright pinks and yellows and oranges reminds her of the sunshine she once saw through her taped-up glasses. Before the cataracts got so bad.

"Gwine get me sum tape," she says to nobody in particular as she wheels toward the front door. There's Joshua, shaking his head and muttering to himself.

"Caint remembru how it begins," he says. "Groweth seed and bloweth meed, And springth the wode now."

Daft man, Myrtle thinks. She's out the door and down the slide, that's what she calls the wheelchair ramp. On her way to the corner store.

"Sing cuckou!" Joshua says. But she doesn't hear him. Tape's what she needs.


Evil Editor said...

She does remember the words printed in chalk, not transparent but at least erasable, on the blackboard, when the teacher had her write the verse out after her mouth ran on; her hand was no trouble to her then. She remembers it being winter too, and the erasable chalk dust collecting like snow on the floors and her shoes, covering like a blanket, not a very thick one though, and one she could kick off.

Transparent tape, one side stickier than chalk and the other smooth like glass, the edge between the two surprisingly sharp wrapped between her fingers from the spool. She put the sticky side close her mouth, and with the edge, cut the corner of her upper lip, like a paper cut. Her pain was not erasable.


Tia Nia said...

I, too, am continually amazed by the continuations. I love all three of them. And I'm surprised that three individuals were able to maintain the strange tone of the original.

The piece itself is one of those gifts from the muse - it just blurted itself out during a writing exercise. I've always enjoyed those experiences, and I don't dink with them very much afterwards. Also, I don't take credit for what the muse delivered.

I've formatted this as a short story (all 450-ish words of the entire piece) and as a poem. Think I prefer it in paragraph format, although it's easier to read as a poem. But I see it as a stream of consciousness, and paragraphs work better for that.

Thank you all for the respect you showed to this admittedly quirky entry.

Anonymous said...

love love LOVE that.

McKoala said...

LOL Ril. Perfect.

I liked the description of Myrtle, but the tape part was not for me.

ril said...

Well, of course, EE helped out with this. His editing was quite subtle but made the continuation much more wistful than my submission. Y'know, for an evil one, he seems to be quite a sensitive guy...

writtenwyrdd said...

This metaphore really doesn't work for me. Tape? It's not very evocative for me. And I agree with Dave: starting with "it" isn't a good move.

Anonymous said...

I also really liked the beginning. Continuation was brilliant, too, but author, as far as I'm concerned you're onto something there.