Smoked Glass

Every time my folks went ta the beach, my Ma would bring one back. A stoopid glass figurine, ugly clowns bangin’ cymbals an’ sickly looking flamingoes who look as though their color’s run… Thanksgiving rotted pumpkin yellow an’ forest fire red. Ugly clouds billowing beyond their boundaries inside the glass. The smoke had no limits, the dark hues threatening to eat up all the figure, choking it off from the inside… while the feeble tones just got devoured in turn by the glass. Diffracting them inta nothing. Always there was some battle going on in those glass dolls. I remember starin’ at them for hours as a child.

How I hated those dumb ugly figures bursting their banks. It’s like they’re made of glass right? An’ glass comes from sand, see I know how that connects up at least. So maybe by taking that home with her, my Ma was taking home a little pieca’ beach with her? Like that’s all she had to preserve it in her mind… All I know is, I got me a pieca beach here with me now…

Well I know I got it round here someplace, just can’t lay ma hands on it right now… Got some glass blowin’ color at me I could stare at all day too, an’ hate it! Yeah, here we are… A little beach of my own. My own beach party.

You know, I always swore I’d never have me no dumb ornaments round ma apartment. With my Ma an’ her glass dogs an’ seals balancing beach balls on their snouts. Since I realised how it was her tryin’ ta keep it all alive in those dead dolls. Cos I remember now ’bout the beaches, every time we went down the coast. How my Pa’s away off down the boardwalk bars playin’ rummy cos he likes to meet people an’ have them around… While Ma, well she’s on the beach, sat on a towel, under the sun an’ the gaze of all those round her. The women tuttin’ an’ shakin’ their heads cos she’s on her own with a child. The men starin’ at her hard, cos she’s jis a woman alone… Bringin’ their City ways with them ta that beautiful beach…

Only the beach it ain’t so beautiful, cos my Pa, well he never even sees it, never touches it, up on the boardwalk sippin’ his scotch an’ ryes. While my Ma, she don’t feel nothin’ on her towel, ‘cept the heat all around. Only me, sittin’ there on the sand… lookin’ this way an’ then that, this way an’ then that way… till ma neck hurts an’ I can’t support it no more. Like now. Like I’ve got this really clear picture, only I ain’t in it. Like I’ve been burned out the middle between them.

So I’m sittin’ on the sand, but I can’t feel it either. Can’t feel nothin’. No happy memories. No memories at all. Just remember comin’ home again an’ starin’ at these grisly statues who’ve swallowed all that smoke an’ suffocatin’ silently inside. An’ now here, with a promise ta maself against ever having any a’ them of my own, here’s the glass vial an the works ta remind me. Exactly how it feels. In my glass house inhaling oily smoke, cos I gave myself up ta him! A tired old love junky with empty veins. An’ I’m right back there now, remembering how it once felt. Him filling me up so I’m glowing inside. My body dissolving nice. Molten liquid bubblin’ thru an’ I can feel every part of my body tingling. Warm. Turning me back into sand. Smooth to the touch. When he blows off an’ I feel my body turn back into glass on the spot. Only the pressure’s plenty fierce, stretching me real tight inside. So as I gotta burst… The banks of my glass body, shatter me into a thousand pieces. Like smashing all of my Ma’s figurines when she died. Throwin’ them out int’a box on the floor, hearing them tinkle. An’ throwin’ myself out with them, an’ all the things I ever had. Threw them out when I let him walk out of my life. Leaving the needle waftin’ in my arm. Ya gotta have a hobby in life an’ mine’s needlepoint.

~ by yearzerowriters on November 19, 2009.

3 Responses to “Smoked Glass”

  1. This is like watching a tennis match, Marc – all those solids turning to liquid and liquids going solid, and substances sublimating to gas. I almost feel David Bowie singing Ch-ch-ch-changes

    Beautiful, as well – the only two words out of voice:

    “who’ve swallowed”

    That “ve” didn’t sound right somehow

  2. This is so beautiful. Almost scented. I love the voice. I could hear it in my head. For me, this is one of the most important things when I read. If I can get to know the person, I’d listen to them talk about anything. This story was engaging from start to finish.

    Anne L-G

  3. Thank you both. I’m only ever interested in voice as against ‘character’ which I find reductive.


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