Rejection and fear of rejection are universal themes that plague the lives of all. As children, we desire not to have to fulfill certain obligations; we hope and dream that something will cause a disruption, that it will give us a pass from having to participate. The following flash fiction piece, “The Doorbell,” answers the question: “What if, as an adult, I chose something different?”
In “Expanded Disco,” Britain has been fractured by ideological differences leaving cities resembling the surface of the moon and a proliferating network of tunnels to separate newly forming factions. Tunnel bureaucrats have been elevated to absolute power so long as the conflict continues. A Commander must dismantle the bureaucrats’ “conflict is freedom” ideology in order to be reunited with his family.
“The contemplation of things as they are without error, confusion, substitution, or imposture is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of inventions.” – Francis Bacon, 1605. (Dorothea Lange pinned a printout of these words on her darkroom door in 1933.) This is Hong Kong just before the protests, before people gathered in the streets to protest curtailment of their human rights. Faces in the street show regret, innocence, aggravation, anger, fitness, anonymity, acceptance, contemplation, joy, isolation — as if everyone were pausing with deep glances with the knowledge the life they lead might end soon, ennobling an idea they no longer take for granted, i.e., their own freedom.
The following poem series describes the grief after a father’s suicide. They are part of a series in which the poet looks back at his childhood, but also to recent years when the poet estranged from his father during his deepening depression and alcoholism. Losing your parent is a hallmark of life, but suicide is not a natural event. At the time, the press announced that 21 veterans died daily in the US.