Spring things to do, by Marcus Speh

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by Botticelli

by Botticelli

This spring I will forsake all donations in the form of soft compliments. Those that I have received already I will convert into hard currency. I will be my own arrow and my own target. I will practice putting my inner princess to work. There will be frogs available for lower prices than ever in the history of fairy tales.

One spring, years ago, it rained warm water out of nowhere. I was on a date with a girl who lived with a much older man. She took off her shoes and I took off mine. Then we ran through the rain to find shelter. After a while we realised that we didn’t need protection from ourselves. We laid down on the grass and I kissed the water off her neck. It was such a sweet waste of time with all that rain coming down on us from above all the while.

Will console myself with pink hair ribbons though I don’t have much hair but I have women in my life and through these women hair inevitably falls over my eyes when a woman for example puts her head her beautiful head next to mine and shakes her mane then the hair will frame my face as if it was my own and at the end of each hair hangs a promise because that is what hair is a promise of youth.

Will localize exactly the place in the centre of my chest where the hurt and the pain sit. Talk to them quietly and patiently, without losing my breath. Talk to them in the tongue they understand. Forgive where forgiveness is appropriate, but also extract those few names to which revenge is attached like a tarred angel with a grimace instead of a smile. I will then plot my revenge and I will dig up the knives buried in the garden of my mother and thrust them into the hearts of the deserving.

This spring I will, for the first time, write every single word as if it were the first word ever written. If a word feels used in any way, I will wag my finger and force it back into my malleable mind like a spaghetti strand hanging out of the side of my half-open mouth. Like a broken string it must be removed from the instrument of my art, which is both airy and rocky, both watery and shiny as metal. It may be that, when spring is over and summer beckons, I will be down to three usable words, or down to two, or even one, and I am looking forward to finding out what word that is.

When I pass a church this spring, I will bring my paints and my brushes to color the dark aisles and turrets, the towers and transepts. When I meet a monk, a deacon, a priest or a bishop even, I will touch them with my brush. They will fall silent and look at the red, green and blue as if they had never seen colors before. I may even seek out the pope and leave a stain of hue on his white robe. Christendom, I will say to him, deserves better than black and white.

Once, I wore a uniform and the winter had been very cold. Unsure of my true powers, I flew through the air like a sad icicle, clutching my weapon. On a spring weekend, I took a girl out for pizza. I didn’t care about the food at all, I only cared about her feelings for me, but she kept talking about the dough and the right crust; she must have had a past life in Italy. I swear, she killed me there on the bench with her fascination for pizza. They could have fed me rat tails with oyster sauce. I only wanted her to look at me and lose herself in my grey blue eyes and in my words. Instead, she obsessed about tomato slices. More than anything I remember her dislike of artichokes. Life serves weird memories sometimes.

Spring, by Botticelli

Spring, by Botticelli

This spring I will befriend time and leave space to play alone. I will look up and wait for warm rain. I will take my shoes off. I will explore fruit from the inside. I will take care to be dirty. I will measure my full weight in letters, stuff myself in a padded envelope and send me off to Señor Agustin Primavera who lives with a three-legged dog in the last house on the southern most street of the world where he speaks long Spanish poems into the foam of the sea. This is the place where spring comes to anchor for the rest of the year when all is done and the people are ready for summer. Señor Primavera will open the letter thriftily, with swift hands like Santa Claus opening the letters of children from everywhere. He will take one look at my transformed self and, I hope, he will smile with appreciation at the gesture and name a condiment after me.

Marcus Speh is a German writer who lives in Berlin. His short fiction collection "Thank You For Your Sperm" is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Marcus' short fiction has been published in elimae, Mad Hatter’s Review, kill author, PANK and elsewhere. First published in 2009 at Metazen, his work has been nominated for a Micro Award, two Pushcart Prizes, two Best of the Net awards and two Million Writers Awards, and was longlisted for the Paris Literary Prize. His German stories are sometimes translated by his wife, Carlye Birkenkrahe.