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Category archive for: Devin Becker

Parking Lot

I am looking for a spot that will retain no meaning, no charge. So I drive her to a dentist’s office—not my dentist, not hers—and in the parking lot I tell her it’s over, the whole thing. I tell her our relationship “is untenable.”
  We look out the windshield into the office, the rooms all fluorescent, those horrible, reclined chairs, and white, white everywhere.
  She tells me this just proves what she’s always thought, what she believes on “a very personal level,” that she’s “a character actor in her own life.”
  It’s a phrase she’s been savoring, I realize, and so accurate a description I’m surprised she hasn’t told me sooner, during a lull in one of our many restaurant dinners.
  But I would have lied and told her it wasn’t true, and she didn’t want to be unconvinced of it, her revelation.

                  (And what, asks the protagonist, is so

              bad about being a character actor?

                         Everyone steals from you.)

  Some security guy drives past us so I start the car up, relieved to have a reason.
  He’s got these scraggly whiskers that hang inches off his cheeks, and as he passes, he gives me a look.
  This is his spot, I think. We’re in his spot.

from Shame | ShameFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Self-Portrait

I have never seen

(I have never seen

a painting)

a painting I don’t like.

Even small paintings

(SMALL PAINTINGS), even

small paintings of trees I love.

Also Abstracts made

done by the hands of teenagers.

I want one day

   (one day)

to have a portrait

painted, by a painter,

a painter of no

particular particulars

who will take my face

by its squares and

even out its bits

until the whole of it (the all

of its features)

smooths out and down to

nothing, canvas, and I am

puny, and of no

import,

fascinated

as a speck of dirt

in a small painting of teenagers.

Shame | ShameFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Data

If you believe everything is data, a pulsing sphere of inputs and outputs feeding off each other—circumstance being both the mold and what is molded—an act of Terrorism (that constant), however gratuitous, must be considered a kind of natural disaster, as it is, at base, a release, from the system, of a tension built by the rubbing together of opposite and incongruous desires.
   One birthday, ever the Protestant, I decided I should remind myself the world suffered while I celebrated, so I downloaded the lead New York Times photo—an Iraqi woman crying over the charred spot where her boy had perished—and let it devastate me for a while.
    Now it’s stored with my other image files—paintings I like, photos from bars, etc.—and like them, it comes up sometimes on my screensaver.
   I’m so used to it now, I barely see it anymore—the charred spot like a brushstroke, her white teeth above the black O of her open mouth. The scene floats by without charge; the shock of it used up when? That first day?
   (My life consumed by itself, myself, my data. My dataset, my healthy dataset—)
   When the photo comes up with guests over and someone notices, I use the occasion to anecdote about my Midwestern/Protestant guilt-ethic.
   Oh and we laugh. We laugh for what seems ages.

from Shame | ShameFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.