[One editorial remark for readers less versed in experimental writing: the piece really starts with “but one of the…”]
but one of the shackled striplings arrests Kelja’s gaze, familiar / starts to walk then to run | boy’s name was JOEY | very close briefly height of adolescence when connections were still meaningful and left life-long impact | spending moments in silence sitting near the river’s edge middle of summer strange place transitory a camp sent there not home temporary uprooted did something wrong | they had been innately wrong right down to the way their souls were when still hot off the assembly line | how could God have fucked up their manufacture? | Rapt at nature’s effortless perfection the blue sky the restless water the birds that sang to show the rest where they ought to get lessons | sometimes Kelja looked at him significantly and Joey did the same | never when the eyes were on them | Kelja sidled closer Joey did the same right until their knees and elbows touched | back away before it’s obvious or you’ll never see each other again | connection an offense repaired with punishment | love is sin loneliness is purity | heartbeats a fusillade | neither daring to look at the other | RED SIGN OF FIRE FLASHING WORDS::::: | wicked evil an animal lust unnatural perverse demonic | Joey was nothing like that | he was kind | quiet | shy | sweet small gentle (a boy a boy a boy) thoughtful honest affectionate
soft like healing and warmth holding him between his legs making his eyes close happy a contented whimper lips half open | trust | moving toward the kindness | touching your vulnerability | skin ‘like, beyond neutrino-detector-sensitive and shit’ | make him feel good breathing harder face flushed | physical arousal is weaving a cocoon with the tether to his soul
sharing he’d give you more than he took for himself and he always shared whenever he had anything to share | but the Christian Machine would smash him on the conveyor belt when his ghost quit this world | It would sort him into the wrong line and it would drag him screaming into the incinerator | it would strip him and devour him | it would unboundedly grieve every nerve it attached to
Joey’s face meant safety | it meant you could put your weapons and armor aside | he filed the future’s fangs down | he made Kelja believe in a life in which the soul didn’t scream for nepenthe to untrammel it from the hurt | his quiet voice carried over the vicious condemnation of the righteous | mislabeling their own malleus meleficarum gratification as other’s betterment | and they separated them | two fragments of spirit that shone with light when put together | Kelja locked in a room | isolation screaming in his face, it’s hands around his neck, threatening to be the only one to never leave him I have the loyalty you sought, the same that wore your breath to shyness in its pursuit | Kelja’s cries were uncontrollable that night | astonished at the size of the pain | crushed in the giant’s palm
Everywhere he turned there was something to strike drown burn or cut him | his opponent was everyone | kindness is mythology- the blood from this scourging is made of the illusions he’s thereby drained of | apostates of faith in the world entire
Arden Adraka is just a fellow traveler of the universe trying to make sense of it all and at the same time keep his room clean.