Author Archives: Melissa Chandler

About Melissa Chandler

Melissa Chandler lives and writes in San Francisco where things are gettin bananas. She's on Twitter @melchandler

You Will Have to Choose

Mondays_at_Il_Forno_-_Cheesecake_with_strawberry_sauce

Everyone, you must decide: cake or pie.
Once you have made your choice,
you will receive a lifetime supply
from one Fernando Almondine. Fernando’s
banana cream will have you in throes, and long ago
he sold his soul for the secret ingredient
in his framboise chocolat.
 
The only catch is that if you choose cake,
you will lose someone very dear to you. 
The only other catch is that if you choose pie,
there will be an explosion on a bus in a country
you have never been to. Likely no one you know
will be onboard. When a father carries the bodies
of his dead children through the streets, his words
will be mixed with wailing, and therefore unintelligibly
grief-garbled (though I assume you would not possess
the conversational ease of his language
to translate them in the first place.)
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Two Suns

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I read yesterday in the news that as early
as a year from now, and just
for a couple of weeks, there could be two suns
in the sky. A star is going to explode and they
don’t know when, but it could be soon.
We could use two suns.
Imagine the things that wouldn’t happen
if there were two suns in the sky.
Weeks without dark; imagine the things people
wouldn’t say to each other under two suns.
Imagine the awe.We could use the distraction.
When I was a kid, watching from the table
that winter morning my father threw my brother
up against the glass door by his throat, I think
I had a bite of cereal in my mouth.
Did I swallow it?
I didn’t do anything.
There will be other fathers and other sons,
and if this star decides to explode
I think they might be different for a little while.
Everyone will.
People will gather outside. Work will be suspended, and men
will not have time to lay hands on their sons
or their daughters. They’ll walk with them and they’ll feel
changed. They’ll try their best to answer their children’s
feverish questions, to remember the thrilling phrasings
of the scientists, and patiently and feeling
like important harbingers of knowledge bigger than anything
they’ve known in their tired and dusty lives, they’ll try
to explain what they can about this sudden and strange
new blanket of light.



Alexander Schmalexander Jones

photo-3Everyone always said Alexander Schmalexander Jones had nine lives. Probably he had more. I don’t think he ever counted. Here are some I know: As a baby, Alexander jumped off the roof of his house and lived. As a child, he put stones in his pockets and floated. One humid summer day, Alexander and his one true junior high love took turns poisoning each other with everything they had around: insect spray stirred into chocolate milk, pills from their mothers’ purses crushed and deposited into peanut butter sandwiches. These episodes resulted in vomiting and a trip to the ER where Alexander had to drink a charcoal to hedge against kidney damage, but he didn’t die. His one true junior high love held his hand and looked at his test results hanging on the wall as if they were graven images.

In high school, Alexander wrapped his car around a tree and crawled right out through the shattered window. (He didn’t wreck because he was drunk; he wrecked because his idiot friend burned him on the back of his neck with a pipe). He carried his dead idiot friend for two miles down that road by the time a car passed by to help. Later he climbed through the window and got into the bed of his one true high school love and cried and cried for his idiot friend and for idiocy in general and death, and his one true high school love lay beside him and stroked his hair and caught his tears on her fingers. When it was time to go and Alexander crawled back out the window, he wished he was crawling back in through the window of his demolished car. He would stay there in the dark in the twisted, hot metal and he would do what it took to push and pull out his idiot friend before he started breathing the swarming black smoke that would smother him.  Continue reading