Michael O'Brien

mozart on repeat

Fits of wintry showers. Filthy streets. Holmlea Park. Kings Park. Three big grit wagons spewing out salmon coloured salt. Nice. Everyone doing a good job. On the way home I find a nice red felt pen. I make a mental note of doing some sketches with it in the evening.

Around three the new mac charger arrives. The delivery driver is in a hurry. His hair is grey. I let the mac charge. The boy watches sesame street. I read Stevens.

I once read that a man in Mozart’s time listened to his fifth symphony a total of five times. At this time, obviously centuries before recorded music technology, this was seen as a great achievement. This man and his great achievement are still talked about in twenty nineteen where somebody probably right now is listening to their favourite song on repeat for three hours solid. Nice.

Before christmas I let the washing pile up. In the last week I got on top of it all. This was a great achievement. As I write this the last wash is on now. Good boy.

my dad, louth

Mushroom intrusion of cooling magma. It dreams of the future. Montana. The coast of Louth. Utah. Seeds, dirt forming - heathers and mountain plants. If you eat your vegetables youʼll grow up to be a tall mountain and the middle class will come to take pictures of you — says its Dad. Who gives birth to rocks? Dad, what happens if I erode? We all have to erode some day, son. He wants to tussle his hair. He wants to have hair. I really wish I could play baseball. Me too, son. Me too. Just think yourself lucky you werenʼt born on the moon. How bad is the moon, Dad? How should I know, Iʼm a rock. But, you know everything? No, I donʼt. And keep the noise down the humans will be here in a few millennia. Tell me about the humans again, Dad. Okay, son. And the rock told his son his favourite story and all was well with the family rock and they lived happily ever after.

the day my kidney saw a murder

Out around midday. Almost lunch time. Doing the glass recycling. Green, blue, brown, transparent. Wine, pesto, beer and god knows what else, all empty and washed. Good citizen. Cross Holmlea Road. I look left and right. An old man looks at me funny — I return the weird look and smile at him generously. Good citizens. One of the undertakers, from the funeral home, that faces our apartment, is taking a smoke break further down the road away from the mourners. Mourners arenʼt sympathetic to fag smoke or fag breaks. He is a bald man. Oldish. Rolled up white shirt sleeves show a crop of badly aged tattoos. They probably looked good one time or another. Mourners must not mind aged tattoos.

My kidney leaves my body - it couldn’t come from somewhere else. In a childʼs animation it flutters around the street for a moment. Dripping blood and other fluids on the street. Stops at a bird table - the passerines flutter and squawk off into the bushes. Two goldfinch sit on a telephone wire waiting for my kidney to leave. After resting for a moment it rises again over the man with the aged tattoos. Heʼs just finished his cigarette. He over eagerly stamps it out on the street - both his sworn enemies, I guess. He reaches, stretches and rustles reaching into his pockets for a phone.

Up up up and up. My kidney becomes the moon. Looking down on the world my kidney spies a rural scene many miles away. Sheep feeding on patches of grass between an outcrop of stone and a man made drainage ditch. Two men speak to each other — coolly, clandestine. One of them points towards the ditch where a body lies face down.

Michael O’Brien is the author of: As Adam (UP Literature), Big Nothing (Bones), The Anabasis of Man (Yavanika Press) et.al. His writing has been published widely in print and on the internet, and translated into other languages. He is the curator of Weird Laburnum. You can follow him on twitter @michaelobrien22
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