Tag Archives: Nick Stokes

Adjust by Nick Stokes

Photo by Jason Ganwich

Photo by Jason Ganwich

Drink coffee. Pack food, gear, shingles, propane, feed, a mattress, rebar, a box of cookies and whiskey, mail, nails. Drink coffee. Bullshit. Wrap. Eat a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Feed. Fix tack, build ropes, bullshit. Knock a rock from a shoe. Dunk in the river. Long. Drink beer. Eat. Read. Stop.

Coffee. Run them in and catch up and oat and brush and saddle the horse and saddle the mules. Load the trucks. Truck. Drop the visor and squint through sunglasses and creep around a blind corner with young sun horizontal in your eyes. Fall back to not eat dust. Beep reverse into the morning chill. Unload the trucks. Coffee. Load the mules. Be helped. Return help down the road. Bullshit. Adjust and cinch. Zip coat, buckle chaps. Ride. Stop. Adjust and cinch. Ride. Stop. Adjust. Sweat. Strip coat, chaps. Hang them on a saddle. Ride into wilderness, through burns old and new. Eat dust. Chew. Long. Think instead of rain, of green, of shade. Think nothing. Watch the river, trees, mountains. Watch for bears. Watch the packs. Nothing to adjust or nothing worth adjusting. Watch nothing. Long. Ride and ride and ride. Stop.

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She Thinks by Nick Stokes

Photo by Jason GanwichNothing. There is nothing there. Footsteps on the porch. Her own? She is inside, within, she’s sure, at least most of her. Should she shoot? It’s a moral question. She sees darkness, which implies absence of light, which is not what she thinks she sees until she’s thought it. Can one shoot one’s footsteps if one is inside and one’s footsteps are outside? It’s a question of morality. Can she smell herself?

Yes, she thinks. She does not think the stink; the stink is free of her. Of her. Emanated, she wishes she hadn’t thought. The stink is material evidence of her presence. She can imagine she imagines the footsteps; she cannot imagine she imagines the stink. Enough with the stink. Emissions from the membrane between internal and external, from the skin, from where she sweats from anticipation, from exertion. Silence the stink, she thinks. One cannot shoot stink. She is here. Is anything there? She looks, she listens, she breathes. She thinks.

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Affair Begins by Nick Stokes

Photo by Jason Ganwichfrom the novel Affair

            She waits outside the door. Or inside the door. Not in the door. I am in the bathroom. She is in the room. I just used the bathroom. She presumably did not just use the room. Besides her, there is also a bed in the room and maybe a few odds and ends and four corners which she is not using because she used the bathroom just before me when I was in the room listening to her use the bathroom instead of seeing the room. Then we switched. Here I am.

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