This Word Is Body

By Harmony Button

There is a certain horror to the ordinary. Every day, we force ourselves to do things that go against the messages of the body. I watch the nurse turn towards me, needle in her hand. She swabs my inner arm and I look away. Run! says the body. Bite and fight! But instead, I stare at a spot on the wall and try to count to ten.

The nurse tries to make conversation. I can’t remember what comes after three.

“So, are you married?”

I tell her the truth: I am not.

“Just having fun, then,” she says, drawing the blood.

This woman does not know me. Everything about what’s happening is wrong. I need out of this immediately, and my body pulls the ripcord.

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The Clandestine

 By Anthony Bain

I step into an apartment building entranceway deep in the heart of central Barcelona, the décor instantly grabs my attention, created when the city experienced a metamorphosis of modernism architecture; intricate multicolored murals look down at me from high ceilings, it’s an awe inspiring sight, designed to disarm any visitor.

For a second I cannot believe that I have the right place. Nothing indicates that some kind of social event is in full swing. No lights, no muffled conversations and no smell of fresh cooking odors seeping out into the stone corridor; Only silence, flickering lights and the musty humid smell of the apartment foyer.

I follow a winding staircase up to the first floor and I knock on a large paneled wooden door and hear the knocking reverberate beyond the door and into the next space, which seems vast and expansive.

I stand for moment reading from a crumpled paper in my hand, just to make sure that I haven´t stumbled across the wrong address.

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Crisco

By Christine Stark

Crisco was delicious. My mom always had a huge blue can on hand. The first few years I ate it, beginning when I was seven, I had to get up on a chair to pull it down off the second shelf. The can had greasy marks on the outside, which made it slippery on top of being big and round without handles. My hands didn’t fit around it and I had to be careful not to drop it onto the counter below, potentially scarring the counter with the metal edge of the can and splattering Crisco across the kitchen like an errant shotgun blast where inevitably some would lodge under the refrigerator or in the nook of a cupboard. I worried I wouldn’t see to clean it, and my mother would find on a later date and inquire why there was Crisco splatter.

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This Word Is Cop

By Harmony Button

I had a pretty awesome childhood. My best friend Greg lived on a hill out in the middle of farm country with corn fields and grape vines and crab apples. In the fall, the trees would drop buckets of gnarly apples that would roll down the drive and collected in a soupy bank at the side of the street. This was back in the days when disgusting things were totally entertaining, so of course we poked at them, squealing at the worms and mush. We didn’t have The SnapChap or The Twittergram, so instead of taking pictures of ourselves pretending to eat nasty worm-apples, we had to get a little devious.

I don’t remember whose idea it was, but it didn’t take very much effort to relocate the sweet heap of semi-rotten fruit into a speed-bump-ish berm that spanned both lanes of Dublin Road. Then we crouched down behind the corn stalks in the field on the far side of the road and waited, gleefully, for the next vehicle. Continue reading

If the Shoe Fits

By Joelle Berger

“Oh babe, those look phe-no-me-nal!” cooed the saleswoman at Saks.  With such great articulation, she must have been serious.

“Seriously, the sparkle is like, so special – SO special.  They will look fab-u-lous with your wedding dress – they’re SO you.  They’re you!”

After being an integral part of my life for about nine minutes, she certainly thought she had me figured out.  I wobbled toward a full-length mirror for a closer look at these Jimmy Choo four-inch silver stilts.  Rocking my gray boyfriend tee, weekend hair knot, and hole-ridden short jorts – a relic of jeans from college – I twisted and heel-toed my feet to see the sparklers in action.

“Uh, I’m sure they’d look better if I was in my dress,” I called back to my seated 78-year-old Mom-Mom.  Under grandma goggles, she usually thinks I look beautiful in everything (or hides her true feelings quite well).  But this time, even my utmost supporter looked concerned.

“Can you walk in those?” she asked, as if it mattered.

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Mount Kearsarge, 2012

By Cory Johnston

Maybe it’s because I’ve been here before. In previous years, down to the day, down to the hour. Sweat pools on our shoulder blades. A Camelback is passed around the circle, same as always. But the view from atop Mount Kearsarge is different.

We see the same things, of course: the vast green forests of western New Hampshire that stretch out under the blue afternoon sky on their way towards becoming eastern Vermont. We hear the same sounds: the wind against the steel weather tower, the conversation of fellow hikers echoing off the stone mountainside before falling into the shaded forest path.

But to hear people’s words echo, to stop once more, and once more, to examine a small film of lichen on some nearby stone, summons no deep chill from my spine. That sense of awe does not return, as I do. I accept that the scene is beautiful. I consider the fact that it must be so. But the mountaintop that once blinded me with brilliant sunlight reflecting off stone and trees—reflecting off everything—today falls in the penumbra cast by a slate grey cloud that passes through the sun’s gaze.

The others laugh and breathe deeply. They exchange the Camelback’s water for bottles of pale beer I brought in my pack. They line up cameras and take pictures, then line up cameras at different angles and take more pictures.

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A Little More Pirate Now

by Harmony Button

“A Little More Pirate Now” is part of our “This Word Is” feature.  Please see the submissions page for details, and then send us your words!

I’ve always loved a good heist story.  It starts with an underdog: usually someone clever and lovable with morals that don’t necessarily adhere to social standards.  Sometimes our hero has a dark past, but has worked hard to get back on the straight and narrow.  Sometimes this figure, heretofore innocent, has been so vastly wronged that the only avenue for justice is one of criminality.  The social system has failed, or has fallen into corruption, and Robin Hoodery is the only choice.  These are the honorable thieves, and they are cheeky, courageous and righteous in their cause. 

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