Line Breaks by Casey Fuller

They never understood you either. Demure, elegant, reserved—their power always seemed to emanate from a far field you never ventured out to. Early, before they ended it abruptly, you would show up suddenly with a six pack of Coors and a bucket of chicken, knocking at their undented door. You laughed, belching, and said see how Romantic you are, just like Shelley. You thought the vigor of your coarse spirit would make them feel like they were being swept away. You believed the appeal of your limited resources transfigured through your personal brand of threadbare magic would bridge your two perspectives. You thought they’d like the t-tops in your Trans-Am. Who knew their Latin was a good as Caesar’s? Who knew their vocabulary encompassed Greek, modern and ancient, peppering the dull potato of your enthusiasm with words like hamartia and apokoinu, words they thought you should pause and consider? Who knew they immediately understood your appreciation of them extended only to the sound of breath measured against beats of the heart, and they thought you unstudied, foolhardy, churlish. No, you would not listen. You have bad ears from all the Metallica concerts, yes, but your mind is like every American’s: filled with untouchable light, white whales, jazzy riffs, catch phrases, letters to the world. They looked across from you and only felt a cavern of symbols, deep echoes, pure void. You tried to listen but there was sauce on your face, which you wiped with a shirt sleeve, and stood there hand on your hip, like Whitman, looking at great distance. When they cleared out their dresser drawer, they displayed as much passion as your remember them ever showing, and said, just take a look at this mess. When they shut the door of your crappy apartment with a prim click, the litany lifted: burger wrappers, lotto tickets, trucker hats, condoms, empty cans, Maxim magazines, footballs, cigarette butts, weed baggies—and suddenly there was no floor, no ceiling, no walls, no boot soles to look under, nothing to distinguish one thing from the next, no poems to speak of, everything became continuous, and there was no air.

Casey Fuller
CaseyFuller pictureCasey Fuller’s work has appeared in The Portland Review, Crab Creek Review, PALABRA, Two Hawks, and others. He won the 2011 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award for his book, A Fort Made of Doors. He lives in Portland, Oregon.