(not quite) a literary journal


three: number 33, by Rudy Martinez


While we embraced I wished that we had somehow missed the news alert on our phones revealing to us that nuclear war had broken out. Our timing, not that it's ever been stellar, would have been validated by the fact that a missile would’ve struck central Texas, San Marcos specifically, for reasons unbeknownst but felt by high-ranking North Korean officials, mid-embrace; at that moment, where we were transported to the weeks after Trump was elected, when we would embrace and look into each other eyes several times a day—there is no solution to the current predicament, it is love at a distance but not the love that we once felt for each other, though I do not currently find myself enamored with any other woman I know, and though curiosity for the other sex abounds, you hold a special place in my heart, I want to be with you always, selfishly, I know that entails flirting with others because they swiftly decide that I am “intelligent” and “eloquent,” qualifiers I would never give myself, you would say the same and you would actually mean it, I am selfish and want to hear it from the world because my father has never said as such, their lies would be processed as temporary truth, until I hear it from the next individual ad infinitum ad nausea I am nauseous right now because if I were to disappear, by my own doing, it is always through our own doing that one disappears, you would have to forget me eventually, reality would no longer exist for me but I am sure that you, and a handful of others, mother especially, would be saddened, temporarily, temporarily, temporarily, cowardice as a way to fix this predicament in which there is no escape from—what is it that the Eastern European gentlemen said, he who feigns interest in the apocalyptic but is such a proud member of the concealed literati, yes, he said “the world goes on,” once more, the world only goes on because we chose for it to, the sad part is that, from an early age, we accept that one day it can go on no longer, in fact, I have a theory that everyone decides the day in which they die, what do we do, shotgun, shotgun, I said “shotgun,” a long embrace that is followed by the two of us “drinking about it,” just so that it happens again, it's About Circles, and circles are imperfect and so are we but, for a minute or two, we were perfect, cursed are we that we must lament the era of perfection as the world dissolves within the flames of a pale fire, fire, fury, suicide enters the mind always, why graduate and go to grad school when suicide would mean instant fame, unpublished and unfinished works that friends have promised to not burn, I know they remember me telling them as such, I’m not Kafka, I’d rather you read the work, be temporarily impressed because the context of a writer’s death makes their entire oeuvre interesting, and then criticize later—“he only knew to write about himself”—that’s a compliment, desire to become, dare I say, for legality’s sake, a militant, I should not get in trouble because you don’t know what the word means in my personal context, the world is dangerous because of such reasons, personal realities, back to you, forgive me, you know better than most that my mind wanders, has always wandered, into the realm of what I think I am, that unreachable ideal, let's move to the city of eight million, knowing it won’t fix anything, meet up and go to the cinema when work/school isn’t so much of a burden, watch Stalker again, again, again, until we understand what it means to be one of “God’s fools,” I believe in God more than I like to admit, and I will spit on him for tearing us apart, for imparting his eternal doubt unto me, I am a good child but God is a terrible father, doesn’t work as hard as Rodolfo, father of mine in the Earthly city, your eyes do not deserve the filter of sadness I, and the world, have placed on them, forgive us for ruining the garden and subsequently constructing the Louvre, it does not keep me warm at night, and I would burn Mona’s slight, very knowing, smile, that smile one smiles because they know they do not have to suffer through the torture that is modernity, if I could, should, and I should because they would shoot me, their hands, not mine, my choice, their job, same, desired, result, the Nazi should have been brazen enough to turn me into a martyr, my mother remembering me as a difficult “postmodern platano” for the remainder of her days, combatting the souls of fascists in hell, we are eternally linked, them and I, forever to fight in the arena of dissonance, all of our friends will leave us, for comfort, and we will be mired in confusion, burning, burning, yearning, for November of 2016, kissing under the street light, strangers playfully mocking the two children kissing, unknowingly, yet defiantly, agreeing to a tragic end, the psychologist wishes she understood, I am unimpressed, Christopher Marlowe doesn’t hear me, wouldn’t want to, six-and-a-half months, championed and romanticized as it is, selfish, the millions of tragedies I am failing to acknowledge, the couples separated by war, here I am, mimicking Joyce, hunting whales, saying the author is dead though I want immortality, and then to die, or to die, and this is when God figures back into the illogical equation, and then to acquire immortality, no answer, no solution, tardy, late, always has been, yes, always will be—too late, the orange man should pull the trigger, he is more adept for such actions than I, I, I, childhood, memories that scar, they found the note, one of the “they” robbed of his brain and life, and shamed me for early attempts at humor, my parents, allowed me to sleep in their bed, my first grade teacher, I assumed, was a stripper because of HBO, parents did not know I could pretend to be asleep while they watched adult television, back to you, back to me, don’t look at me like that, I cannot shoulder such weight, I did not choose the path of self-destruction, walking contradiction, hypocrite, that I am, the funny man no longer laughs like he used to, he was there on the multiple occasions in which I died, life is no longer quantifiable, it is frightening to think that so much exists beyond me, before me, and in front of me, why, I don’t know, ask God, on those days God exists, the record has stopped spinning and Malcolm has been dead for 52 years, a prince, a shining black prince, what of us, king and queen for mere moments, I envy the Platonists, ugly as they are, that remain in love, laughing at one another’s niche comments on academia and the greats they have befriended, Israel, mother of none, a sore sight on a burnt map, if I stop I return to reality, walking, walking, walking, like the man who redefined literature, the umpteenth time, this is a test and I aim to redefine nothing, a suicide note this is not because I am a perfectionist and the perfect suicide note will never be written, one: number 31, World War II, I have dreams, a medic, on the losing side, may have been the Allies, friends, I enjoyed the weight on wider shoulders, nothing is known of my parents except that they suffer and think, think of the son that has hurt the gamine, back to you, back to us, your father I am jealous of, to find such joy in game shows, possible because of Versailles, and burgers, he is responsible for your perfection so, by proxy, because of the principle of causality, perfection lies in him, and I have lied to you, loyalty, I see women and I want to fuck but I would rather do it by myself, so that I may wake up with myself, loyalty, I crave the attention I know you will give but I am a sick man, a spiteful man, Mark David Chapman never read “Nine Stories,” I read half of them, a good day for banana—hold on, the symbolism of the banana, which you finished throughout the day, you are patient, is too prescient, Sybil, my last contact within the Earthly city, Sybil, you good girl, good listener, let me out of this elevator before I, no, words that will follow will incite concern, concern that may lead to missed classes, failed pop quizzes, Nietzsche in Turin, leave the horse alone, Nietzsche in Turin, his name is Danny, at the dining hall I charm my way into, no one listens to the deranged poet, apologizing, apologizing for missed appointments, wiping off the diabolic marks left by students, wiping off the diabolic marks of privilege, Danny, mentally-ill to those who leave marks behind, we stare at each other and I want to ask him to kill me, for he is already apologizing for said missed appointment, they will hear me cry late at night because I am clever, cleverer and as hungry as the Czech man whom would never start a fire himself yet desired it for his life’s work, the rendezvous will find her being an admired figure, artist of the “moment,” multi-faceted, I thought of sex as we embraced, it was a lack of that that hinted at our initial end, I can do it again, fleeting, fleeting, I want to know what makes the funny man cry, what about me has impressed him—one night, when I was ten, my father was away, business in Europe, and I dreamt, I dreamt of him sprawled out on a spiral, like Michelangelo’s “Vitruvian Man,” and a voice, a voice like mine though more assured, saying “your father will die in December, your father will die in December, your father will die in December…,” and he spun, my father spun, wearing a polo tucked into faded jeans which have since become stylish once more, looking helpless for the first time in his life, I had placed him there and was reminding myself, that father, no matter how many t-shirts he bought you in Europe in 2006, was going to pass the week before Christmas, strangers until the very end, knowing nothing but insults and screaming, our common trait being making mother cry, worsening her depression; I never told you about this dream, it must have slipped my mind, during our era of vulnerability, in which we excelled, the first poem I wrote to you was an ersatz of Barth, I have yet to finish the book, a floating opera that we would watch, on the riverbank, hoping Ophelia wouldn’t pass us by, we would both jump in, grab her, and make ill-destined attempts at resuscitation, the first poem, inspired by Chopin, now Rubinstein, on his fitting third, directs my funeral march, our embrace, missiles scored by Rubinstein, a missed opportunity, I would take the world with us, ridding humanity of the spectre of coercion and suffering, and us, in our embrace, my last thoughts, optimism for a future that will never be, children that would never walk, our embrace: I and the itchy queen of panels—two children accompanying each other home.

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