mr. skeleton’s summer holiday

Mr. Skeleton plucked out a doleful jangle of notes on the ribs of his thoracic cage. The weather was no longer cold. It had not been cold for so long that he no longer recalled winter’s throbbing ache in his bones. Instead his bones were now bleached bright from long hours spent baking in the sun. People averted their eyes when they saw him clackity-clack-clacking toward them. This didn’t bother him. He called it his summer glow.

Mr. Skeleton’s vagabond thoughts wandered to the skull, where it was, whether she was taking good care of it. Ah, the skull, the skull, he mumbled into his clavicle. He wondered if he’d ever see it again. Well, certainly not on this beach in Majorca, he thought, chortling to himself. He took another sip of his mojito and watched the fluid dribble down his cervical vertebrae onto his sternum. Not feeling at all drunk, he wondered idly if that squirrelly bartender had stiffed him on rum once again.

He gazed out at the calm sea, absently tapping his phalanges against his right femur. The percussive nature of his jaunty body pleased him. A woman walked by, nodding her head to the quiet beat. He smiled at her, but it was as if he were invisible. Skins never see bones, he mused. Again the skull flashed across his mental plain, carrying with it an image of the one who took it away, the one whose strong arms he hoped still cradled it. Yes, she saw me, he thought. Maybe it had been her bones peering through skin to my bones beyond. He tried to imagine her, bared of all skin, his bones consorting with hers. Yet was that really what he wanted…he could not say for sure. And so he offered up his bones to the sun instead, taking its heat inside, hoping to fill his hollowness with light.

(with musical accompaniment by XTC, spun by none other than DJ SlimAlien.)

the town

The highest point of the town held a water tower and once I rode down that hill on my scooter using my new shoe as a brake and when I reached the bottom I found the scooter’s tire had burned a big gash into the heel of my shoe.

The lowest point of the town held a lake and once I stubbed my toe in its silty bottom resulting in a trip to the doctor who poked holes in my toenail to relieve the pressure.

The town took away and it gave and it took away and it gave, sometimes it left parts of itself in me, parts that had to be removed, other times the parts remained encysted and grew into hard black stones that never went away.

The town visits me now, frequently, in my dreams. It is the setting for all types of absurd scenarios, completely unrelated to actual events, only tapping memory for details of setting, and even then playing sly with the facts, bending and shaping, but always leaving things just recognizable enough.

I find this unsettling as the town means nothing to me in my present life and I have not been there in many years. There is nothing there for me now. And yet it is the skeleton of my early life. The streets are the bones. There is a house somewhere that serves as the skull, with windows like eyeholes, looking out onto a world I was seeing for the first time.

I feel a pull toward the town and I don’t know why. I think it is the aching for a home, a place I know so well it is a part of me, inseparable from who I am and what I do. A known setting for my life, however I choose to live it, with scenery grown like vines through my blood and bones. The place where it all starts and ends. Home.

mr. skeleton

I feel the skull, Mr. Skeleton, living its own life in its own skin—Anne Sexton

Mr. Skeleton stood at the window staring out at his small empire. It was the middle of the day and the street was quiet. The bare branches afforded an uninhibited view…of nothing. Mr. Skeleton sighed. He felt cold, but he always felt cold. Dead plants sagged in the yard as sparrows capered in the dry fallen leaves, deftly overturning them to search for hidden insects. Mr. Skeleton watched the dancing sparrow shadows, filled out with flesh and feathers. As he was about to turn away, he saw motion on the sidewalk. It was her. She peered up at the window, holding the skull aloft for him to see. Ah, he thought, there it is. He watched as she got in her car, carefully placing the skull on the passenger seat next to her. Before she drove off she turned back, raising her hand in a wave. His bones shook with epidermal yearning as he held fast to the window, clacking against the thin glass.

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