Thursday, April 22, 2010


The double glass doors sit closed on the front left corner of the building, they face a deserted sidewalk and a few tall pines. On the left wall, just beyond the door, is a long piece of rectangular black fabric hanging from the place where wall and ceiling meet. The fabric is four feet wide and hangs without a wrinkle, attempting to cover the dirty white walls underneath. The left wall is over fifty feet long and besides the one piece of fabric, it is streaked with light brown fingerprints, tiny dots of paint and grease that shine at certain angles. Like the pock-marked traces from a gopher, the walls are covered with black holes from nails used long ago. Surrounding them like tiny moons are the smaller pin pricks from plastic push pins. The ceiling above towers in a plain of darkness, without lamps or dangling bulbs. It is just the long rows of track lights that shine on each wall, pointing to them like spotlights on 2 dimensional actors.
On the back wall, just beside the right corner, is another long rectangular piece of black fabric. It is slightly wrinkled and has accumulated dust at the hem. To the left of it, tacked to a dirty wall, are a series of paper plates that have been taped together, forming a row three feet long. On the center circle of each white plate are colorful drawings in children’s colors: bright green, yellow and red, all etched in long thick strokes with crayons and colored pencil.
The centermost paper plate holds the image of an abstract woman. She sits on the ground, reclining back slightly, the weight of her torso supported by her arms and hands. Her large legs and thick thighs are spread, revealing her femininity in bright color. In black block letters, on the right side of her head, is the word: “PUSSY.”
Besides the fabric, the paper plates are the only things on the long, dirty walls. Along the right side of the room, there is a huge wall of black velvet curtains that hang from the ceiling, cutting the room in two. There is the gentle murmuring of voices coming from just beyond the curtain. A female’s voice punctuates the murmur, using the words: “oil”, “naked”, and “clothes.” The deep bass of a man responds, using the words: “trust” and “issues.”

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Discount Store

A large warehouse space is dimly lit. The overall space is submerged in a grayish hue, though sparse yellow bulbs hang from single black wires clinging to the ceiling every fifteen feet. They hang like the stars, thirty feet from the ground, their light flickering like distant voices from eons past. Gray comes from the high cinderblock walls without windows and the cement floor that breaths a cold, unrelenting truth.
The space is divided into thirty long aisles by twelve-foot tall metal shelves. They shelves are heavy and solid, built for industry and the test of time. Each shelving unit has ten individual shelves packed with old cans of vegetables and beans, fruit cocktail, and dusty sacks of rice and dried lentils. Thirty rows fill the warehouse space, each one thirty feet long.
The discount store is empty of people, though full of old dented goods that await use, to have just one more moment of life. A refrigerated section hums in the far left corner, it alone emitting bright white florescent light, like the opening of a tunnel to another plane of reality. The cold section is stocked with several varieties of packaged tofu, still within their expiration date. There are cartons of milk and large chunks of yellow cheese packaged in cellophane. The light radiates out a few dozen steps from the cold section, illuminating a few hand-made ceramic sinks that sit on the ground beside a tall metal shelf propped against the wall.
In the first aisle from the wall, a magical knife rests on the floor below the first shelf of the unit. It stands out like a giant phallus in the store of mass production, one of only two things made with human hands and careful attention. It is large and mostly flat, curved like a bow, with a long dragon-like head at one point. It is made of silvery-black clay and a small careful sigil is carved into the forehead of the creature. It sits without a speck of dust in the shadow of the tall shelves piled high with cans of black garbanzo beans and peas.
A lone worker stands in the front of the store, behind a row of elevated cash registers, like silent players on a stage. The young man stands ready for a store of empty customers. His black hair manages to shine in the dim yellow light, somehow coming alive despite the gray of the walls and floor and absence of fresh new life. His tan skin pops out of his thin, tight white t-shirt, a testament to sun and melanin and vigor. He is comfortable here in his place, a king in this square castle of old goods and their hidden treasures.