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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

In the Park | Matthew Wollin

What a little scene I find myself in. What a delightful little painting of lossless anxiety, what a happy hour of the soul is now dipping its way across the sweet sky’s canvas as we speak. I’m sorry; though why I apologize to myself, I don’t know; why I talk to you as though you are me, I know even less. Every thought I ever have is for publication, is the thing I try to admit all the time, but no one believes me.


I am sorry again, because such contextless meandering deserves a context: here I am on the meadow, my friend having left, two cans of wine in and the day slowly dying around me like a wilting blue flower. All around, there are small clusters of people floating on their blankets against this grassy swelling riotous ocean. Never such a thing as too many adjectives, I’ve always said to anyone who would listen. At least I’ve always said to my boyfriend, who has learned to not listen, or otherwise heard it long ago and has never forgotten the lesson. 


I careen so quickly from ecstasy to ecstasy it astonishes me sometimes. Long ago I made decisions about who I was that I can never unmake. They were as good as any others I suppose. But sometimes find myself wistful now that I am not faggier.


Really, this sky, those trees deserve some attention. There have never been more ordinary or beautiful leaves, I think, plucked hard and pressed in dark mascara against the deepening dusk. The lawyer in me struggles to order this world too; or no, that is just me, I fall so easily for that most American of fallacies, that I am what I do, that I do what I am — but I am proud to do so, which makes it forgivable, I think.


I have always wondered how to handle the space in between taking control and not being able to control the world around you. That does not mean what you think it means, so allow me to try again: I mean that none of us gets to control the hand we are dealt; but we are encouraged to think that if you teach yourself to want the elements of hand, then you have mastered the world and turned it into something you wanted; but the truth is still that you never chose that hand. The truer truth is in between I suppose — the hand and the holder each a little altered by the other — always the dreariest answer.


This scene should be a metaphor, no? Then the only sad thing about it is that it has to end eventually. Metaphors always have some element of sadness to them, some implicit feeling that neither thing is sufficient on its own. Grammar has a mood; nothing is without an emotion. People don’t talk enough about the way syntax can yearn: perhaps that is what this scene is a metaphor for.


This is a painting in a museum, really; a Manet maybe, hard outlines vibrating hard color. That wry shading. Something humorous about the void creeping in; why is it that I have always liked dark things? It is only strange because only when I am happy can I write — but learning leaning into one’s own kinks is the voyage of a lifetime, I think.


Now there is a photoshoot. A full-bodied woman with long hair showing off a bikini. She must be cold. I wonder how the pictures look; if they were worth whatever effort they took to take.


Once in a long while it strikes me that I do not have solid ground to be as judgmental as I am. Most of my accomplishments are hypothetical; but strangely that does not lessen their value in my esteem. One of the large minor battles of my life is convincing everyone else that I am that thing that other people say they are. If only people believed me, I would get there much faster. As it is, I am maybe twenty percent of the way there. But persistence is the key to everything, unfortunately.


That boy is looking at me. I am looking at him. Hello, boy. If I turn my head and let my hair fall, does that attract you? Oh yes it does, I can see; do my strong, long leg thrusting erotically from my shorts as well? Have shorts ever before been so erotic? Does my dark and heroic face draw you — oh no he was looking at someone behind me walking toward him. Well I am beautiful anyway, especially in this shadowy air, all alone, socially naked.


The sun has hid now. Why do people prevent themselves from pleasure? It remains a mystery to me how self-laceration performed for other lacerators helps anyone or anything. Perhaps this is what has come of the fall of religion, this irritating need to perform goodness in every conversation. Chivalry always was the meanest form of valor. Cleverness the thinnest scrim for pain.





Matthew Wollin is a writer of speculative fiction and a filmmaker. His fiction can be found most recently in Andromeda Spaceways, Mythaxis, and Dark Horses, and an excerpt from his novel-in-progress was published in Del Sol SFF Review. His debut feature as writer/director, The Skin of the Teeth, was described by critics as "Get Out meets Grindr" and earned him the title of “a talent to watch” from The Hollywood Reporter. More of his work is available at matthewwollin.com.

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