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Eileen G'Sell



History of Charm

All Epics Are Disappointing and All My Disappoinments Tend To Be Epic


When we went to McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere and you got a Dr. Pepper. When I fed you fries as you drove your truck, the bag between my knees. When I gently placed a beautiful fry inside your open mouth, when my nephew was slowly dying in a suburb of St. Louis. There were Protestants and Queen-Anne fakes, eagles on ice who were diving for food. I was thinking about disposable income. We listened and laughed to luxury rap. “The sadness you feel is better than the sadness you can’t feel,” I told you. We were sitting and sharing nothing, sharing nothing out loud, in a truck that was made in the USA. We were singing and saying nothing, moving forward into nowhere, going somewhere with each other, getting more and more alive.


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The History of Charm

Ladies waiting with glasses ready answered simple questions.

Whose initials purpled, whose again were splashed with gold?
Alone in a crowd of sailors who were oft depicted darkly,
we could dream away the merits of a time without a place.
These were the rules of a fruitful season: rain
without even a pinch of gray.

Wales was a place where ponds were noticed.

Public baths were banned like sweets. Low-flying planes lay mist
astern as ushers stamped our forearms. They let the credits resume
their coursework, we left the waiter a hefty tip. Every message
wiped away returned in swollen letters. Call whenever
the tide is high and treat me to a tabloid.

Los Angeles had learned to pour;

its bitter oranges dropped like names. A gap in the sky made quiet leaps
from one reel to a rainstorm. The blue we knew was about to open.
The new we viewed was about to break. The river that kept us from Gion
was not uncrossable, but chilly with graves. In twenty years,
the quarter was spared. Not for ghosts would we prink in the dark.

Centuries anon, would our letterheads dissemble?

See-through citizens garnish the street? In a swallow of fortune,
you becomes useful. I becomes we in a swivel of fate.
Famous girls we’d grown to love returned in heavy glosses.
Come, buy a curry and catch a cold. Stroll the estate
in your Saturday freshest.

To be bound, an ageless geisha gushed, spill-proof

smooth on a starchy cloud. Circle the lines that side your heart,
we thought in clean erasable ink. Our sleeves were somewhat slow
to shade; our ease was not a link to the past. We had cigarettes,
ice cream. Our appetites ruined. What we missed the most
was more than likely most misleading.


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All Epics Are Disappointing and All My Disappointments Tend To Be Epic

Sometimes I like to have feelings just because they are so impractical. They are electric-green Mary Janes on a hike and they are my favorite color. Sometimes they make my calves sad, but my heart is tauter for it. I know a room of Russian balloons with only room for you. These balloons are tough—they’re Russian—but they’re still balloons in the end. You pick the best and feel its pull; your hand will not be orphaned. Everything extravagant is pulsing down your veins. Why scale the night with satin cord? Why sprint the sequin cliff? In the end, your horse will fall, your quest will fail to carry. The stars once found so helpful will start to feel so cold. And yet that yawning sea of sheen envelopes all ambition. Shiver not, ye scrappy child. Nothing solid saves.


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Eileen G'Sell's work can be found in DIAGRAM, Boston Review, Conduit, the Denver Quarterly, and Beautiful Savage, among other journals and magazines. Her chapbook Euphoria Takes One for the Team is available through dancing girl press. She is Lecturer of Writing at Washington University in St. Louis.

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