At the End of Hope

[flash creative nonfiction]

Every once in a while, I dream of the impending apocalypse. I dream that I am watching it swallow Manhattan from the shores of Brooklyn—a transmogrified landscape where the outline seems more distant but provides an uninterrupted view from a row of dilapidated brownstones and the “beach” of Kent Ave.

No fences, no condominiums—just grey skies (fire & foreboding) and the abyss of forever, rocked gently by the soft waves of the East River.

—and somehow I am on hope street but not Hope Street because I am by the water. I am surrounded by mutations of its memories: just bricks and gravel and the smell of weed and spray paint and beer and the endless cigarettes, hand rolled and unfiltered (a small circular piece of cardboard at the tip).

In my dreams, my past is now. Breeze carries his machete underneath a Confederate handkerchief and Fumiko and Nozomi make tea in the kitchen and someone somewhere in the loft is inevitably fucking some stranger no matter the time or day. When we paint an angel on the wall, Morgan’s smoking Vinny’s weed and I’m drunk and we’re surrounded by girls with foreign accents, who accessorize and apply bright lipstick for doomed parties on the other side of the L, their matte lips like B&T passports.

In their room, Someone is spending Eternity singing or painting or writing or filming or sewing or crying or memorizing lines or faces or moments in time. The models sit in awkward poses with their eyes burning holes through the lens. Joe organizes them in clean, white lines. We’re all playing like bored children, like we’re all important now.

(with distance, I’m not sure if some things are memories or dreams)

If we’re lucky, at night, we will go to some dark show in the first floor of a warehouse and we will be surrounded by art and candlelight and bodies and bodies of strangers for our beds, for our own art—to make something with our tongues and with our hands. Something “real,” a truth uncovered—all while waiting for the end to reach our island; to wash us, the memories of us, all away.

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photo: Joseph Clement

Jesi Bender

Jesi Bender is an artist from upstate New York. Her writing has appeared in Zouch Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Winter Tangerine among others. www.jesibender.com.