Thursday, May 21, 2009

Linen Garden by Eric Suhem


Don't you like it? Don't you like us?" The anxious people continued to shove food at the visiting neighbor children, squirming in their luxurious patio chairs, as the niece of the anxious people, Nina, sat alone in her room, in the throes of anorexia. The visiting children nodded agreeably as the vegetables accumulated on their plates, while simultaneously hiding the distributed sprouts in their clandestine napkins. The spirit of the anorexic girl oozed into the thoughts of the visiting children as the obscene chocolate dripped onto their plates, mingling with the Brussels sprouts. All of the food would eventually be hidden in the yard by the visiting children, for fear of offending the hosts.

The previous evening the anxious people, Nina, and the next-door neighbors were engaged in an obligatory intellectual slideshow orgy of Mediterranean 5th century pottery, the slides intruding themselves into Nina's captive consciousness. "View another one, dear," needled the anxious aunt while smoking a Lucky Strike, grinding the spike of her high heel into the carpet. "No auntie, I'm tired and I want to go to sleep," begged Nina. "Oh come now, you'll just love it," coaxed the next-door neighbors in their spun-gold-thread matching his & hers outfits, anchored to the adjoining couch, palms sweatily clutching warm gin and tonics. Nina tried to think of some way to gain inner control, to recreate her life somehow. "But then look at that painting of the boat in the harbor," they murmured, eyes turned up in unison at the oil work above their heads. "We all must be on that boat!" the neighbors suddenly said excitedly. The aunt and uncle became more anxious, and Nina looked at her hands. She liked to hide food in the yard too.

As the years went by, sprouts began to form in the yard of the anxious people, blooming strangely beautiful plants that formed an exotic garden, born from seeds transported in linen napkins years before. A decade later, the children, now young adults, again visited the anxious people. The once anorexic niece of the anxious people, Nina, had recovered, and moved on to a career in public relations. Gorgeous plants blossomed around the patio, much to the delight of the anxious people, as the visitors sat down to another disturbing meal of indigestible foods. "I worked all day on this, just for you," said the anxious aunt, shoveling indescribable portions onto clean white plates, with an expectant gleam in her eyes. The visitors felt that they had no other choice but to revert to their childhood tendencies. They hid the servings in the napkins aggressively, burying them in the yard later that evening, as the anxious people were on the phone with Nina, who was describing the details of her latest public relations coup.

Again years went by, and the recently buried meal materials parasitically fed upon the dazzling and much-loved plants that inhabited the same garden, the more fertilizer the anxious people poured, the more things deteriorated, rendering the previously colorful yard into a wasteland of shrubs and dust. Oddly, this caused the anxious people to feel relieved.

A Postcard To Nina - Jens Lekman

Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the various qualities of his vegetable juicer. His work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, Cerebral Catalyst, why vandalism?, Abacot Journal, The Beat, and elsewhere.

Photo by Adam Lawrence.

Street art by an unknown artist.

Sweden's Jens Lekman has a style all his own. Check out Jen's new summer mixtape The Summer Never Ends.

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