If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
Samuel: Samuel was a maudlin Jewish boy who wore colorless T-shirts with old soda slogans like, “RC Cola, the mad, mad Cola”. He also wore flip-flops in the winter and pretended to be engrossed in all aspects of Marxist literature but mostly read bland, “young adult” graphic novels with feisty, female protagonists.
His “wounded” expression was tiring at best until I discovered that the source of his pain was a permanent splinter embedded into his hip one summer at sleep away camp. His mother was over-domineering and wielded large metal spatulas whenever I spent the night.
Breaking point: Listening to him pontificate on yam farming after a sojourn at an experimental Kibbutz in Nebraska.
Anil: Anil was a graphic design student I met in an elevator in the Transamerica Pyramid. I was temping for the day, which involved serving white fish and tiny, red crackers to a dozen Russian men. They were a gregarious bunch and slipped me twenties and threw worthless rubles down my blouse for fun.
Anil chatted me up, remarking on the design of the building and I rolled my eyes and stared at his at knit cap which was an intense red, it reminded me of afterbirth or red velvet cake. We made mad love on the dining table the Russians had just eaten on and when he rolled off the table, I noticed he had a piece of white fish stuck in his coarse black, back hair. I never said anything about the hair.
Breaking Point: I saw him once more and we ate aloo pakoras at a kiosk in the meat district. He started in on Eames chairs and I drifted away, bored by him and all of modern design.
St. John: St. John was an Irish boy I met one summer while quahogging knee deep in a sandy inlet. He said his name in a slippery sort of way, like” Sinjin” as if his mother were too drunk at his birth to enunciate the letters properly. “Oh, Siiinjiiin, you will bear mee cross, ye young feller!” she sang out then vomited quickly in her whiskey soda.
He was fond of Dylan Thomas (like most good Irish boys should be) and often wore a dark, silk kerchief crisply round his throat just like Dylan but his poetry was bland and weak and stunk like the day old quahogs we often harvested. Sex with him was like the great potato famine: dry and void of any empathy.
Breaking Point: After an all night bender involving a suitcase full of clams in a dive bar called “Kelp”, I ditched him that summer and moved on to his friend, Padriac, who was glum, needy and wholly ignorant.
Andrew: Andrew was enamored by blood sausages and Angostura bitters. It was the first thing he offered me when I approached him at “The Redheaded Den” downtown. He was curled up in a red leather booth, under a red lamp; his sturdy yellow construction boots nestled under his legs like a dead golden retriever.
We got drunk on Pisco Sours and blasted “Urgent” by Foreigner on the jukebox, then dry humped each other on a bar stool during the sax solo. Eric the Red, the bartender, kicked us out after we knocked a signed photograph of Eric Stolz off the wall. Later at his house, I blew him on a plaid blanket in the garage next to an old dehumidifier. His father woke up and shined a flashlight over us and growled. I remembered his father distinctly because of his bright red hair and I thought, I should really bring that guy to the lounge.
Breaking Point: His habit of stealing my makeup to paint thin wisps of hair over his bald head.
– Shelagh Power-Chopra is interested in the merging of fiction and fact or as a friend calls it, “speculative observation”. Aside from writing, she dabbles in photography. Recent publications include Gargoyle Magazine and The Significant Objects Project. She maintains the blog: http://saidobject.com
– Kara Jansson Kovacev is an artist living in New York City. Her iPhone drawings have been featured in the Washington Post Digit-al Art Gallery, Beautiful Decay and the iCreated gallery, and will be included in an upcoming online exhibition in The Incliner and a book on iPhone art by David Scott Leibowitz. Her work can be seen at http://cloudbuilder.com