Brian Eckert

Writer. Wanderer. Dreamer. Skeptic. Man.

Cumbres Pass

White Sands

Powder Day

Self-Portrait

I put the revolver to my temple, reconsider, and stick the barrel in my mouth. I sink to my knees on the floor and look at myself in a full-length mirror.

Hanging on the wall above the mirror is a Van Gogh self-portrait completed shortly before his suicide.

I think about Van Gogh’s suicide often. I think about whether he would have killed himself had he been successful in his lifetime.

Then again, perhaps he would not have become famous if he hadn’t killed himself.

Van Gogh shot himself in the abdomen, a sure sign that he was not serious about dying. A shot to the head would have done the deed straight and quick.

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Nebula

Grande

Yerba Canyon

If You Love Something

Published by Terror House Magazine

I.

The first time I saw Maya she was laying on the train tracks on a clear blue summer afternoon.

“What are you doing?” I said, bringing my bicycle to rest alongside the tracks.

“Waiting for the train,” she said.

She didn’t move or look in my direction. Dark sunglasses covered her eyes, which I imagined to be blue.

Later, I would find out that they are green.

“I didn’t know the train ran here anymore,” I said.

“Well, it does. It’ll be here in about ten minutes,” she said.

She pulled a cigarette out of a pack on her stomach, lit up, and took a long drag. The smoke hung around her in the breezeless air. I got the sense my presence irritated her, so I continued biking down the tracks.

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Arroyo Hondo

Backroad Blues

The sun in my pocket won’t go down.

How can I sleep?

I cannot live like this,

said humanity as it was borne from ash and bone and blood.

 

I want to drive the backroads,

take the shortcut past your front porch,

wave hello.

The brakes don’t work.

I cannot stop.

I cannot live like this.

 

I want to be a postcard in a country store that you send to your mother.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. I was driving the back roads,” you’ll write,

and send me off,

and finally I’ll have a destination.

I will be a reminder of the blood

that surges and swells in the

eternity of consciousness,

endless river

flowing past your front porch.

 

I want to be a sun in your pocket that won’t go down,

won’t let you sleep,

as you drive the back roads

trying to outswim the blood,

trying to find a way to live like this.

Taos Ski Valley

Lobo Peak

Wheeler Peak, New Mexico

Engineer Mountain

Missionary Ridge Trail

Microwaveable

Bjornson sat at the folding metal table on an office chair that he’d wheeled over from his desk. He smoothed his white smock, picked up the fork, and took an exploratory poke at the beef medallions.

His assistant, Kyle, stood by nervously, waiting for Bjornson to take the first bite.

The team was tasked with creating a frozen beef medallion dinner with mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and gravy that came in at under 300 calories and less than 30 net carbohydrates, but no more than 500 mg of sodium.

“It cannot be done,” said Kyle upon learning about the orders, which came from Bayersanto-Dupont-Tyson Foods Co.

But Bjornson was confident and steadfast.

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Unholy Roman Empire

I like your tattoo
It makes me look just like you.
We could be friends if we weren’t so similar;
My authenticity can’t survive you.
Actually, it can’t survive anything.
Nothing can.
Survive anything. What a strange idea: To remain.

Forever.

Don’t kid yourself, boy. You couldn’t handle it. Old things make you uncomfortable. A million of em just like you. Crippled midgets hungry for revolution. Thinkin America is just a fart on a string.

Nothing good can come of this.

 

Have you ever smelled human flesh burning? That’s the scent of Empire, boy. A tin of spearmint snuff. Makes the eyes water.

Paranoid? I prefer “thorough”. It’s what keeps a man…a family…a country…together, safe, strong. That’s the problem with people like you, boy. You expect some neat ending. A precise explanation of what it means to drag a dead, naked gook through the mud. You’re obvious—boring, even. Your want for things to change masks that.

Just wait 30 years. By then, you’ll be just like me, knowing that there’s no such thing as starting over.

Cynical? I’m just tired, is all. A cynic couldn’t think of something like this:

There is a Presence Heaven can’t touch. Deeper than Night. Softer than Silence. Closer than you ever thought possible. Never to be seen again.

Not that you noticed.

Gudy’s Rest, Colorado Trail

Walled Garden

Nagasaki Boy

Yashimoro rounded the corner of the beach and saw a massive sperm whale washed up on shore.

He approached the beast cautiously, taking a circuitous path up the beach and toward the head, which was the size of the city bus that Yashimoro took into town for the market. There was movement in the whale’s dinner-plate sized eye. The whale was alive.

He had never smelled anything like the whale’s fermented rotten fish breath, not even from the piles of rotting whale parts at the processing plant. Whale smelled as bad alive as it did dead, Yashimoro could confirm.

A living whale of this size was worth a small fortune. Soon the fishermen would find out and arrive to claim it. But Yashimoro did not want them to get the whale. He didn’t know what he could do to stop them, but he would think of something.

Yashimoro lived atop the cliff in a one-bedroom house that his father left to him. He had no children of his own. He hadn’t been able to find a wife because of his deformity. He was born with an oversized head and one eye. Doctors gave him a glass eye as a kid but he lost it and could not afford a replacement as an adult. The empty eye did not bother him. Just the others, who laughed and called him “Nagasaki Boy.”

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Pills

North Eolus (elevation 14,045 ft)

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train

Male Grooming Tips

Standing Arrow Straight

Steve woke up with a problem: he had a hard-on.

He slung his weight to the edge of the bed and put his feet on the floor. A picture of his wife on the bedside table was eye-level with his hard-on. He turned the picture around.

Steve fixed his usual breakfast of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and coffee. The hard-on faded.

Drinking a second cup of coffee he collected the paper from the front porch.

Kids walked to the bus stop, dragging their feet and wearing oversized backpacks. Cars pulled out of driveways, exhaust pouring from mufflers in the morning air. Birds were busy gleaning trees and gathering sticks for nests. Steve observed the morning bustle while his coffee grew cold.

He warmed it in the microwave. The beeping light on the phone indicated a message. Steve hoped it was one of the kids. But it was a salesperson, offering him an exclusive offer on car insurance. He called the number back. The woman on the other end had a southern accent that Steve liked. He listened to her pitch, but regretted to inform her that he currently had a better rate.

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