Brevity Twenty

Brevity Home | Next Essay | Guidelines | Past Issues

 

 

The Water is Rising Pleas

   

By Jimmy Chen

Put a grown man on his roof, put in his hand a house painter’s brush and he’ll paint these words for the helicopters to see. His friend lays asleep next to him, a water bottle in his hand. A damp American flag, shaped like koi, curls against the wind.

Open the door and the water comes out, gushing in its quest for equanimity. A woman in sandals braces herself, holding onto the metal banister. A tattoo, above her left ankle, is half erased from the years.

A chair in the middle of the street, legs up like a beetle. A rusty boat with children in it, their fathers nipple high in the water, pushing the boat towards its goal. Without any leaves, the trees are a Japanese ink wash.

The windows are broken and the drapes are sucked outside of the buildings, flapping like sad genitalia. A small wet dog in a garbage can, eyes over the rim. A man in yellow running pants, stands on his mattress, legs braced, floating.

Man leaving his house, his clothes inside a plastic garbage bag. He makes waves that crest over the door knob, disappearing and appearing again.

Here! Mass 9:30 Bring Chair. The letters are spray-painted white. The church was leveled. The bishops, in full uniform, light candles and hold crosses. The choir behind them, wearing sunglasses, is bisected at the neck by the ocean. Their heads form a sort of mountain range, only less jagged.

Three sisters, a year apart each, pose for the camera. Their faces deformed by the rippled curling photograph that holds their frozen gaze.

Woman with her head swung back as if her spine dissolved, small eyes those crystal beads catch the light and melt down her cheeks. Palms together like she is washing her hands but she is not.

The helicopter blades are a blur, infinite moments stacked together into a fuzzy circle. Come down, come down and bring us up.


 

Jimmy Chen is a painter and writer living in San Francisco, California. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Fourteen Hills, Snow Monkey, and online journals Pindeldyboz, Wandering Army, Melic Review, Bullfight Review, Muse Apprentice Guild, Elevenbulls & Surgery of Modern Warfare.


Next Essay