The Recent Future


by Frank Diamond


Space-time, space-time, space-time. This is dancing.

Spring trespasses, pushing gray shoots through winter's ceiling, forcing mud to smile. Snow settles beyond the afternoon's drifts, held by a night that's just touched down over the mountains. A chimney smokes above the snow line; the party is buried alive. Tomorrow they will ski and talk once more over hot chocolate about the ozone opening just enough to let the devil peek in. There is no need for walls or the absence of walls. Let the dead dance with the dead and the living embrace the stones. Hosts of angels. Hosts of angels. Hosts of heavenly eaters of toast.

"That's what they call near-rhyme, babes. It's sort of like kissing your sister."

"I don't have a sister. Or, I mean, my sister's dead. I never knew her. She died at birth. I was the twin who survived."

"What are your visions like?"

"I could do without them."

"But what are they like?

"I'm stalling."


There is a young virgin

Who lives for the show

When the curtain is lifted

She steps into the glow


"Men. Did you ever meet one who didn't think with his groin?"

"One, maybe."

"Nearer to brutes than to angels. Now, women...."

Pace. Either a little slow or a bit fast. Pick it up; slow it down. More of the same for a change. Pace everything. Pace me, pace you.

"Pace be with you."

"And wash your spirit."

Paste that in your pipe and launch it.

We are all made in Kasus's image. All. Together. Men and women. There. Said it. Then, of course, white black red yellow fetal cranial dogs cats cows cherubim seraphim hosts dominations trees topsoil machines. Hindu stew. Vegetation rules. The sacred assemble by the last moving plow. The last fast food joint. (Oh, hell. Just call it MacDonalds. Everyone knew that would be the one left standing.) The last bank machine. (MAC attacked.) The last cellular phone. The last regional water authority. The last cable bill. The last computer? Impossible. The final ruling by the last known functioning zoning board of approval - Gillette, Wyoming.

"The request for variance has been granted pending approval by council, counsel, EPA, outgoing authorities, incoming authorities, Jobian occupation forces, and God. Cite the site plan and the end's in sight. Adjourned."

Dogs can't keep a secret, any cat lover will tell you that. Some of the towns were taken over by hollow barks. Quiet descends like an odor and when you walked by they'd stare but never got too close unless they were hungry and then you needed a good rock. You carried these in your pockets which made you slump along like a machine but you were grateful for the stones and you wondered how Neanderthals ever survived without pockets. Cain carved his wanderings into the flesh of biker chicks.

"Cain, where is thy brother?"

"He lost it all. Everything."

"Worse. Middle-class."

"I'm not sad, Mother."

"Good. What I don't need at this point is a house full of numskulls in touch with their feelings."



Frank Diamond

has released a novel, The Pilgrim Soul, and a short story collection, Damage Control. He has had hundreds of articles and columns published in outlets including the Philadelphia InquirerPhiladelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Bulletin. His short stories have appeared in Innisfree, Kola: A Black Literary MagazineDialogual, the Zodiac Review, and the Madras Mag. He has had poetry published in Philadelphia StoriesFox Chase Review, Deltona Howl, Black Bottom Review, and Feile-Festa. He lives in Langhorne, PA.