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graffiti on cement


by Matt Greene

We drifted junk with a sledgehammer looking for juice. Sometimes the rage. We pissed on the frames of rusting sedans and smashed in their trunks. We split open barrel cactus and held them aloft, drinking what dribbled. One of us took off their clothes and began to arrange rocks into patterns. We pulverized boulders and batted beer cans, spinning to keep the hammer in motion until we couldn’t stand. We felt stupid and that made us angrier so we kept smashing until we didn’t have to.

We walked the twisting rows of Slab City proper, mostly abandoned, ready to be parceled for the Smithsonian, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. It was as if we’d arrived too late. An older couple with an Airstream invited us over for drinks. We sat on lawn chairs and waited for them to give us something cold. They didn’t. They had cocktails with fresh mint and they asked if we were playing the show. We weren’t quite sure what was happening. They asked if we were in town for the show but it wasn’t a question. Then one of them said, Can you help us carry this? And they were pointing at a casket only it couldn’t have been that. One of them took a sip and then one of us said, “Well,” and we were standing, in motion between the trailers and rust.

Well,” we said. “Well. Well, well, well.

Matt Greene holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University and teaches English composition in Appalachia. “Junk” and “Slabs” are part of a linked series of prose pieces, some of which have appeared in Arts & Letters, The Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Split Lip, Wigleaf, and other journals. Other work appears in or is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, and Santa Monica Review, among other journals.