Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. His latest collection of prose/poetry is Void & Sky from Outskirt Press.
Musically Inclined in Private Spaces
You're a lonely girl nobody listens to. Or can't hear. You're a lonely girl who can't make sense of this or that world, their world. Wishing to return to childhood balloons and your grandmother's favorite ceramic cuckoos. That world. You unscrew light bulbs to test a theory of darkness.
RESULTS: It makes everything immaterial.
But that was 300 days/months/years ago. As in the exact number might save precious birds or make teachers mute in a four octave range. Salvaging your half-starved life in the attic, your ears bleed the words: Mrs. Anderson, we think your daughter needs psychological testing. There are some bizarre signs. You know it's just jealousy.
You wish you had the kind of power. To turn off the lights. To make things, people, disappear.
The psychologist is a woman with damaged feet, too rushed for the phones, who broods over you, gives you free haircuts and clothes in exchange for mushy sex in her attic. "Do you want to cuddle?" is the usual code. There can only be one answer. When you stop coming around, she phones your mother about some recent "acting out."
At school, a gang member brushes against you, says that you are so pretty in pale. His pockets always bulge with sharp objects. You keep telling him he's not your type. "You like soft boys?" he asks with a smirk. You turn, look him directly in his mud-deadened eyes and whisper, "Yes!"
It's your attic. You close your eyes, imagine plucking harp strings in a room smelling of patchouli or rose petal incense. A boy, lost in your music, a face as strong and as silent as mahogany wood, listens to the sweet melody. Urban nymphs in glissando. Glass snapdragons. But you must never fall. You love too easy and it's back to cold soup and hoping for serendipity behind closet doors.
You want a boy to fine tune you. You want to rattle underneath him while having snake-skin sex. Your mother tried classical training. Broke her thumbs on the white keys. Broke a fingernail on the flats. In the largest room of the house, you are still powerless, but here, you're your own victim. You burn your hands on a melting candelabra. Your voice breaks in the wrong key. You listen to your own silence.