Language of Lines ~ fiction by Guy Biederman

I draw my clothes and wear them for a day.

Today a denim jacket, gardener’s pants, and a green beret. If this is my superhero power, I won’t be saving the world anytime soon, but I will be happily dressed.

Spiderman was bitten by a spider and so his new life began.
I came from a typo myself, careless fingers on a keyboard.
Some origin story.

I am not a fashionista. I’m not even an artist. But the clothes I draw,
simple as they are, come off the page.

I draw a closet for my drawn clothes but forget the key. I draw a car, but it has no gas, so I draw a bike, but alas two flats.

Okay. I draw me, stick figure with flippy hair and call myself Maine because Me is how you abbreviate it. I draw you but you can’t come out to play.

I draw fringed bell bottoms and a shirt with pockets everywhere. In one pocket I find a fortune: good news will arrive in the mail.

I draw a smile. I draw a mailbox only it looks more like a box on a stick. And guess what, there’s a kitten inside—two, an orange tabby and a velvety black and white. And I didn’t draw them. They love the box and love to play. They’re hungry and I draw some food. They take to the kibble that looks maybe like Cocoa Krispies, a weakness of mine.

I draw a ladder down from the box, but they just leap and land on the grass and I draw and draw one grass blade ahead as they tumble and rumble, crouch, and stare at gulls I draw overhead.

I think about what they need. Cats are a big responsibility. I draw a thought. I draw myself having a thought. I draw an ocean with a wide beach, a hillside with tall trees, a benevolent sun, boats at sea on the horizon. I draw a new you. I draw a new me. I draw a poem with no letters about us. I draw a word bath on a page with no lines; I draw a cup of coffee and sip while I soak.

The cats walk along the edge of the tub, rascals both. I advise against hopping in, but you can no more control a cat than a hand across a blank page with a pen, staying one stroke, one line, one dot ahead of relentless imaginings, drawings, lines and sentences, the conduits of the soul, the line, which Klee said is just a dot that went for a walk.

I draw a walking stick, a path through the trees to places I haven’t drawn yet, primitive but my drawing is getting better and so are my dreams, that is to say, they allow themselves to be remembered now, though they’re still too shy to sit for a drawing and bare all while others scrutinize, assess, and express opinions which absolutely defy drawing and how could I ever trust, believe in, or care to hang out with that which can’t be drawn, itself a conclusion.

The cats curl up together, magnificent tails at rest.

I draw myself a couch, a pillow, and float on a cloud. I can’t pretend to draw a nap, so I draw myself looking up beyond clouds to the past, listening to the crash of gravitational waves on distant shores, gazing at the future, my feet pointing up, my arms hanging down, fingers at rest. Then I draw a question mark  ?
pleased with the shape delighted by the wonder it conjures.

I see clouds drawn by others. I see light. I see dark. I see color. I draw a place to land. In a draw of course, protected from raging storms which I do not draw.

I draw cutoffs and sandals. I draw a cotton shirt.

I draw my stick arms waving hello. I draw.

Will you draw back, hello?

Guy Biederman is the author of six books including Nova Nights: poetry (Nomadic Press), Edible Grace: lyrical micro prose (KYSO FLASH) and arriving this fall, Translated From The Original, one-inch punch fiction (Nomadic Press). His work has appeared in many journals including Carve, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Bull, Flashback Fiction, great weather for Media, and Riddled with Arrows. Guy lives on a houseboat in Sausalito with his wife and tuxedo cat.


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