he takes the manuscript. he paces. he paces around the room
with the manuscript. he doesn’t know what the manuscript is
anymore. it’s paper. it’s just a bunch of paper. what is paper?
what is that noise of feet against the floor? he sets down the
manuscript. he bites his nails. he paces. he bites his nails while
he paces. he daydreams. he is superman. he is superman in
some weird fetish dungeon. there are german women crawling
all over him. he daydreams. he digresses. he grabs his glass.
he fills his glass in the bathroom sink with water. he sips the
water. he looks in the mirror. he’s not there. he stares but
he is not there. he leaves the bathroom. forgets his water. he
paces some more. he bites his nails. he bites the tips of his
fingers. he eats the skin right of his fingers. he chews on the
bone like a dog. he takes the manuscript. blood on the manuscript.
he sits down sips whiskey sitting in his oversized chair and he
reads over the manuscript. what did i even write? he thinks.
what is it here that i even did? did i write this? i can’t remember
a word that i wrote. who am i? who were my parents? why am
i looking through this paper? ooh ooh that’s pretty good, he
thinks, as he looks at a line here and there. pretty good

pretty good he continues. this is not too bad. i think this
is pretty good. he rearranges the poems. he rearranges the
order of the poems. he thinks to himself what is the proper order
of the poems? in what way can i arrange the clear glass
slides of my heart to best show up on the projector? how do i trick
them into loving me? how do they do it? how did they trick them? how did
they get them to fall for them? how did they get them to fall in love?
what flowers did they buy for society? where did they take her?
how far did they drive just to be with her? what did they do? what
is it that they did? his bone dry finger drips red blood on the
manuscript and again he’s pacing. he’s pacing across the living room
barefeet sliding against the grime of the wood floors. what barking
in my skull? what incessant noise? what remainder of the division
that i was able to equate to paper. what to throw out. what to keep?
what to tuck away for after i die? did the others do it? did they tuck

away for after they die? are we just robbing the cat from the
sarcophagus? why this pacing? he takes the manuscript. he sets the
manuscript on the window sill. a slight breeze picks up. the pages
dance. he cringes. runs for the window. saves his darlings. feels the
white ash on the tips of his fingers. he falls to his knees. a bird in
the window. he says back bird! away bird! this is not your manuscript
bird! this is my manuscript bird! you can’t have it! it’s mine! i wrote
it! plagiarist! fraud! wolf in sheep’s clothing! the bird just wants to
read it. can’t i just read it? says the bird. no! back devil! back you
devil bird! the bird shits. resumes to the sky. flies the fuck off. the
man looks at the manuscript. looks at the fire. looks at the manuscript
looks at the fire. manuscript. fire. manuscript fire. he paces. he eats
the pages. he takes page one and crinkles it into his mouth. he takes
page two. eats it. page three page four. every single page now gone.
tumbling inside of his sickly stomach. he looks to the fire. he thinks
i am the fire. now i am the fire. what have i done? he vomits up the
manuscript but just scattered letters come out. o’s and k’s and x’s.
he assembles them like a puzzle. the shadow of the sun moves
across his wood floors. he finishes the puzzle. he packs the manuscript
into a manila envelope and he stumbles out the doorway down the
stairwell to the mailbox he puts the manuscript in the mailbox he closes
the door. he sits down. he sips the whiskey. he walks into the fire.
he starts to burn. a little more each minute as the flames lick his fingers.
he paces. he paces around the fire. his ankles turned to ash. his shins
turned to ash. his knees ash his hips ash his shoulders ash. dear editor,
attached is a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. thank
you for your time. sincerely me. p.s. i am a big fan of everything that
you guys do and to be a part of it would just mean the world to me.


Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

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