Co de Ha rm on ics

undusting the shelves



Creator of fiction, songs, personal journals, and complicated thoughts that cover a wide spectrum of useful nonsense.

A Gray and Difficult Day in Paris

On a typically gray day in Paris, as I stared at the mass of people circling Bastille during Paris’s Labor Day parade, an idea suddenly came to me: What would happen if I were to raise an American flag? 

There was, perhaps, hostility, or paranoia, behind my flag idea, considering the word for parade also translates into march, protest, and demonstration, and probably also riot if we take into account that a French manifestation often results in a riot. Raising my flag was a protest, in the sense of raising my middle finger — as if a US (“go home”) flag is some sort of protest against some sort of annual parade already set up as a protest — albeit, a protest among family.

I concluded that carrying an American flag in a French Labor Day parade would cause an uproar or worse. Life here is so complicated.

Continue reading “A Gray and Difficult Day in Paris”

Ten Years Younger

Dear Professor,

I don’t think this story will make sense to you if you didn’t have an older brother. Only a guy with an older brother would really understand my story. But maybe if you could step back and see it for what it is, a short story. Fiction. Suspension of disbelief. That sort of thing.

No, you don’t have to be in prison, or a repeat offender, to understand what’s going on.

Part of me thinks it’s general enough for any man – the boy narrator is simply recalling that sticky time of early sexual awareness. God, I hated that, didn’t you? 

Or forget gender. Think of anyone in your life who should have been a model or a mentor but failed you. Imagine being left alone in a dark and isolated part of a city at midnight at eight years old and this person never came back to get you, and your father was too busy to notice how late it was when you got home after you had walked miles to get home and he was too busy snoring off his daily offenses, and you had no idea why you were left behind nor why your dad hated you. And you were feeling inside some very confusing mixed feelings and there was no one to talk to about it – the girls and boys at school just didn’t get it. So you had to isolate yourself and hide those creepy feelings that you had inside you and were beginning to hate. You knew it had to do with “men stuff” so you couldn’t go to your mother or your sisters, and ever since then, you’ve never spoken to any man or woman about it – though I guess having become a writer, I may finally start sharing it with others. You, in this case, dear Professor. 

They say it will never go away. The shame – but who’s shame? I guess that was the question I had in mind when I tried to remember some defining incident from my childhood. But my memory failed me, so I invented a scene from my childhood. 

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Cut into five parts


Sunday night. 

Blood bubbled along the length of his arm. Nerves and muscles bulged from his shredded skin. Tightness bound his abdomen, like a cry held captive, suffocating him. He let out a wild roar, but the odor of his pending death nauseated him, stunning him. But like smelling salts, a decaying green puss seeped out of his body and shocked him back to consciousness, but he had lost his sight from the shock. More pain shot through his body. He grabbed his arm, and it felt loose, unattached. He began to pat down thousands of cuts, swatting them like flies, flinching with every brush against an open wound. “Help,” he shouted, not making a sound. Twice. Three times.

He heard a rustle. He couldn’t see anymore, and the sound only lasted an instant. But he turned in the correct direction. He held his breath and stopped moving. He was left with only one sensation, a smell, a pleasant odor, distinct from the rest — that of a woman.

“Help,” he whispered. “ I know you’re there. Surely you care. There’s no way, in a place that reeks of such death, that a smell so pretty could hide. You’re my only hope.”

Continue reading “Cut into five parts”

I Can’t Be a Father to Every Child

The screen flickers. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Hiding under a rotted, sunken bridge, a barren monument in a dry, flat, dirt-brown countryside, I can barely keep my eyes open. I see children wading or floating in pools of blood. All of them, murdered. Not a single survivor. I see the beasts growling and kicking up dust, a cloud of dust that accumulates like a darkly-somber light cast upon a fine transparent glass. The screen flickers. I try to close my eyes, but I can’t.

I see bruised women scurry around like lizards trapped in a burning glass cage, men fused against the glass bleeding tears and alcohol through every pore. I wait for the ceremony to begin. I want to see them hold up the fractured remains of their children and toss them away into oblivion. Children fractured but whole, elegantly stitched and wrapped in knotted twigs; their sweet, sweet faces framed by fine twine, their corpses preserved like dead gods; their mortal flesh submerged in the rancid pigments of dried rotted orange rind.

I drop, drop off, sink into soft bedding.

Continue reading “I Can’t Be a Father to Every Child”

a baseball kind of hero

He was a boy, a baby really, not more than a few months old, still in diapers, a pacifier dangling from his mouth.

She was wearing a baseball cap that collected a bundle of blond curls with some red highlights.

He stood at the plate, legs apart and knees slightly bent, his bare toes sinking into the drenched dirt.

The rain fell in puddles. There were no more boys left in the field, just her, in the center of the mound, ready to sink to the bottom of a river to throw him another ball. Sweat and dirt on the girl’s knuckles ate away at the beaten leather of the baseball. The ball, drenched to its core, heat-dried at the girl’s touch. Fired up but bathed in the pouring rain, her bare toes tore away at the earth beneath.

The boy, poised on his tiptoes, balanced a very large wooden bat.

Continue reading “a baseball kind of hero”

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