Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm Not Here Anymore (The End of the Blog)

The time has come to end I’m Not Emilio Estevez. Thank you for following this blog, if you have, and for reading my works.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Years later, he received an envelope in the mail, the long lost picture inside with a brief handwritten note.  Yours, I believe.  No signature.  He and a woman smiling, standing on a brick sidewalk, before a lime green vintage Volkswagen Beetle, a convenient backdrop as they asked a passerby to take their picture..  She had long black hair, thick in the front, a disheveled by wind or sleep style, wearing purple shirt and jeans; he sported a five o’clock shadow and brown hair, white collared shirt, grey linen sport coat, and jeans.  Each had a hand on a soda bottle, a tandem clutch of a recently won award.  It was his picture; she was his girlfriend at the time, and even after they had broken up, gone their separate ways, he was confounded by whatever happened to that picture.  When he received it, he remembered the address: he’d sent a package to Montana years ago.  He spent a moment thinking about the woman, smiling.  Radiant, effervescent.  The person he’d mailed the picture to must’ve been enamored with her, as he once was, and held onto it until the love went flat.  There were probably similar pictures of her and discarded men scattered across the country.  She long lost, the men as ghosts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Part 16 of the Griffin series.  This follows Annus Mirabilis.

When Helena died, Griffin had to be the organizer, the stoic presence.  He hugged and shook hands, he looked into the eyes of her tearful friends and relatives.  He stood in the front, closed casket of her mere feet away, minister speaking at the front, and he knew people were focused on him, how was he feeling, what could he be feeling.  There were flowers and pictures of her and he couldn’t look.  The minister had glasses and a white beard and was dressed in white and brown and he focused on him when he was looking up.  His name, and loving husband, were how he was mentioned, fourteen times to his count.  Richard sat next to him, head tilted, still.

During the reception that followed, Griffin would sneak outside and smoke, everyone's condolences becoming too much.  He found a spot that was away from other huddled smokers so he could be alone.  One of these times, he looked up into a crystal blue sky and whispered, you’re gone, just like that.  He feels a sprinkle of rain, impossible it seemed since there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  He closed his eyes, inhaled and exhaled smoke, felt the brief spray of drops touch his skin, imagined her standing before him.


When Richard died, swarms of young people attended his funeral.  Griffin was taken aback by the presence, that his son, only 23, had amassed this number of people who would attend his funeral.  They were well behaved, respectfully mournful, some even introduced themselves to him, offered condolences.  Outside, it was blustery, rainy.  The mourners scurried in wet, hair blown wild.

Griffin sat in the front row, was angry.  My son died alone at night on a city street, the gunman still at large.  Where were all you people then?  If any one of you were there, you so-called friends, he might still be alive.  He was prepared to eulogize.  He thought he might add, thank you for attending what is the end of my family.  Thank you for making me feel even more alone.  But he didn’t.

His previous film, Abandoned, had a funeral, had a son dying.  But there were other sons, others to carry the burden, the family name.  He had become some sort of prognosticator with his films.  If he filmed something, it would happen, and none of it was good.  He caught something on television mentioning Richard’s death and they couldn’t leave Black Thursday out of it.  The next anniversary was six weeks away and would they hit for a third time.

This filmmaking—it’s a curse, he thought, just before the funeral.  It’s killing people, my own loved ones included.  But it's all I know.  It's how I interpret the world.


When Griffin died, he had no funeral.  He specifically stated that he wanted no service or funeral but that he should be cremated and his ashes interred in a simple unmarked plot.  He had a written note that he wanted released upon his death but, in the weeks before his death, he destroyed it, burning it in the kitchen sink.

In a park near the city’s center, people gathered slowly for a vigil.  They were silent, a field of candles, gathering fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and people who looked like they held any of those distinctions.  People kept gathering.  It became an unstoppable force.  Screenings of his films occurred, there and other places around the world, including his last work, which had been released only two weeks prior to his death and had confounded everyone, and now, it was said, it was time to view his work as a whole, time to discuss the canon of Griffin.

Days stretched into weeks and people still gathered, though their numbers were fewer and fewer each day.  A handful kept the flame and then, one day, when the season’s coldest wind comes through, they too dispersed, their attentions moving elsewhere, their memories holding on only so long.  No one will write, this is the true last goodbye, as late year rain sweeps the city, cleansing it once again.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I can teach you to be a superhero.  I can get you going on costumes, disguises, alter egos. I'm working on a manual with visuals so you won't have to do much reading.  I don't believe that the ability to read should be a prerequisite for the superhero life.  I know you're time constrained but want to be super.  I offer courses you can take from your own home.  You can become a superhero at your own pace.

Powers--sometimes, you're born with them; sometimes, you aren't.  I can bring out your God-given powers that only the select few possess; I can teach you to maximize your human abilities, learn to turn your basic body into an instrument of war.  I can teach you to jump.  Over cars, low-level buildings, straight up high in the air.  I can teach you to scale buildings.  Move from level to level, window to window, hang by hand from the space between bricks.  I can teach you healing.  I can teach you how to walk through fire unscathed.  I can teach you how to shoot basic earth elements from your body as projectiles.

There are things, though, I can't teach you.  You should be aware of these things before you go any further.  I can't teach you to fly.  The sobering, un-super reality of liability prevents it.  I can't explain to you the unexplainable yin and yang of how once you become a superhero, super villains will begin to appear where they didn't exist previously.  I can't save you from the inevitable tragic losses of loved ones you are sure to experience.  I can’t spare you the pain of the woman you love just being out of reach.  I can't teach you how to have a heart, show compassion for the world’s mothers and daughters.  I can’t teach how to know, now’s the time to begin.  I can't teach you how to know when it's time to say, it's over.

Friday, April 15, 2011


In the rearview mirror you see children in white dresses and miniature tuxedos dancing and twirling and laughing at a wedding reception the carefree revolutions of youth, the grownups move in slower smaller circles, closer together, holding hands, eyes more contemplative and brimming with the sadness of passage.

In a wide carpeted room there is a clock.  In rooms everywhere there are clocks.  The hands spin so you can knock off minutes hours days and lives.  There are people gathered everywhere mourning what the clocks tell them, what the clocks scream, what the clocks remember from long ago.

You stack up chairs and stand on the unstable mountaintop this top heavy construct and shout, there are books, there are philosophers, there are musicians destroying guitars and drums--don’t cry over the moving hands.

The chairs are rickety and are like a group of frail acrobats building and holding onto their loose architecture built to the heavens.  The gathered are oohing and aahing and their worried sounds  fill the room rise on high and you wave your hands motion everyone for just one second to stop.

Then you are on the tip of one foot.  Then you turn.  The chairs below you wobble like worlds built on fault lines.  But you’re turning. You spin to stop the thing that's devouring us all the thing where someone close dies you say if I just keep moving the pain doesn't have a chance. This is your revolution.

The people watching are frozen silent can't clap.  You know will cry if you stop and think. So you spin your hands in the air round and round and round, spinning, unstoppable motion, blur, light, essence.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Space Camp

They were watching the movie SpaceCamp in their sixth floor apartment when he stood, walked to the television, popped the DVD out of the player, placed it in the case, went to the window, opened the window then the screen and tossed it out. What did you do that for, she said. The sounds of the outside world—horn, distant airplane, voices—briefly heard, then gone once he shut the window.

In the vomit comet I can fly. This was my explanation in 10th grade, when I was asked about why I wanted to be an astronaut. The class chuckled, some let out vomiting sounds. My English teacher, sitting at his desk and grading as I spoke, adjusted his tie, yawned.

I have company over to watch SpaceCamp. Man, what garbage! We laughed and drank vodka.

I'm home sick from school when the Challenger exploded. Actually, I faked sick that day. When you're in tenth grade, you've got to improvise if you want days off. Mock wooziness, played up cough, invisible throat pain and I'm chilling at home, playing Commodore 64, watching The Price is Right while eating Ellio's Pizza. They're at the end, spinning the big wheel, when they cut away, show a trail of cursive smoke in the sky where there should've been a space shuttle.

You're in an aircraft, I told them, that simulates zero gravity so you can be weightless. Then you're floating about the cabin. Then you're flying.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Highway of Death

Z, alive, looked up into a grey sky, heard the searing sound of warplanes. His face felt like it had been carpeted, his right leg was in stinging pain from cuts and gashes. He sat up and saw wreckage around him, a gridlock sculpture, burning husks of cars and armored vehicles, metal debris everywhere. The air was full of smoke. Fires burned, the sounds of flame like rustling flags. Tornado-like plumes of smoke spun in place off in the distance. Dead figures slumped over in car seats and lying prone on the ground, their skins baked brown or black in color.

In the smoke a figure walked toward him. A silhouette shaded in fuzzy black, arms at sides. Z stood, waiting for the figure to emerge.

It’s all dead bodies and dust, the figure said. He stopped, the smoke lifting from him, revealing a man caked in black, small lakes of blood scattered on his head and face. He stumbled. Z wanted to grab him, prop him up. But he was afraid, looking at a ghost.

Did we win? This was all Z could say. He knew it was absurd. They were leaving Kuwait. The bombing was constant, like breathing. But victory--it was what had been beaten into him. Ever since he had been conscripted.

Of course. The man laughed. Look around you. Don’t we always win?

A series of planes swooshed overhead. It was like an alien invasion in the movies. His wife H left at home in Baghdad. A life interrupted. He hadn’t seen her in months. Was she still alive?

How do we get out of here, is what Z wanted to ask next. Or, why are we still alive. But these were impossible questions.

The man pulled a pistol from his coat, held it to his head.

For Allah, he said. For Saddam. For our eternal glory.

He pulled the trigger. The man’s head exploded. His body fell to the ground.

Z winced. The gunshot rang in his head for several seconds then abandoned him. He dropped to the ground, felt inside his jacket for the picture of H. It was slightly wrinkled, but the image was pristine. She was frozen in smile. A clear glass ball dangled at the base of her throat, the silver strand of necklace an orbit tracing her neck.

He knew he had to return home. He stood, saw tanks and vehicles approaching from the south.

He kissed H’s face, returned the picture to his jacket interior. He searched for something white amid the debris he could use as a flag. But there was nothing that wasn’t metal or fried.

Z fell to his knees, repeated his wife’s name over and over, his voice drowned out by the buzzing of invisible helicopters.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Just as Davis touched lucidity he was fed another serving of fugu and retreated to his zombie state. Forced to stand, he was pushed outside to roam the jungle terrain. He felt like he was swimming in slow motion, the sounds of birds became thunderous, the torrential rains like thousands of needles shot from the sky. Lethargic prey, waiting to be seized. At the height of poisoning the world was like a fast-flipping photo book, images unbound by time flashing before him: slicing of a knife, a shortcut he walked as a child that led to the crumbling stairs of an abandoned Victorian house, his first wife’s face peeking above a velvet red sheet, all mixed in with his present. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness all became one state. His name lost, physical identity amorphous, varying from balloon to skeleton.

In the moments before repoisoning he remembered he chose this assignment but not its outcome, planned running toward the sun the moment he could break free, thought about what he would write as a story. He saw other faces, not sure if they were other drug-induced zombies or his delusions. Please kill me, he wanted to scream, his voice water in his head. Blank eyes stared back at his, mirrors upon mirrors, reflecting infinity.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Last Postcard

Solid black.  The last postcard, kept in a secret place in the postal system, ready to be sent to the person who breaks the system.  It’s your fault, the postmaster general will write, it’s you that’s ruined everything.  Because of Seinfeld, the postmaster general must be Wilford Brimley.  I’m comfortable with that.  Postal apocalypse—it’s the right thing to do, and the tasty way to do it.  Dad, though, would want Clint Eastwood.