Demilitarized Zones + e
By Kyle Hemmings
1. Taken by Force
In naked underbelly of city, no memory of untouched jasmine or clover cloud left standing, the C. O. announces that he thinks we have made progress in the Eastern sectors. Outside the shattered glass, bombed-out buildings rise like fingers without skin. My plutonium-90 lust works nicely in tracers across the burnt offering of sky. But now. Crouching low beneath a peephole, eyes level with the glassy yellow of a hairless alley cat, THE BULLET smashes through old wood, levitating bone. ``Sarge,'' I yell, ``I'm hit. Think I'm hit.'' ``Don't move,'' he says, as he scouts for invisible snipers on rooftops or in starburst quagmires. I stay listless and a kind of orange-metallic glow suffuses throughout my body outlined in repeatable coordinates.
2. Are you Friend or Foe?
My lungs hurt whenever I breathe the green/gray frog-breath smog. There are miles of wasted railroad track and I spot him in the distance, a boy somewhat younger than myself. He's humming some tune over and over, the words drifting like toy sailboats--Is your god, my god, his god, no god? I can tell by the scars across his eyes that he once believed in the natural world. I put down my Uzi. His armband states that he has been branded a U-K8909. His parents, prisoners of Viodin`s mute army, have sacrificed a sibling, so he could go free. Now standing inches from me, I offer him half of my peanut butter sandwich. I describe how it tastes, gooey, nutty, smooth. I make an M sound with my lips. He takes the sandwich. His hunger is e-ravenous. Chew slowly, I tell him. For water, we only have the drooling of hydrochloride striate-cumulus sting.
3. A Girl Named e Cannot be Your Prisoner
I really liked having you in my bed, falling through loops, even though in my drunken state, I must have called you by a million non-refundable names. I've spent the greater part of the afternoon, collecting empty soda bottles and pressing my lips to the fluted openings and making strange whistles. From the last skyscraper, I let the bottles fall a thousand, no, a million feet, onto empty gravel. Then, I stuffed one bottle with a note, a picture of two stick figures in the shape of e's, each facing the other, their curved backs to the edges of white despair. That is to say that I think you are so totally fucking cool in your perfect 3/4 obloid state. That is how some define the essential solitude of love. Trying to think of your name, I've forgotten mine. Then I toss the bottle as far as I can. Then I know I am made of nothing.