DYLAN LENZ

A simple method.

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Capitalist. Feminist. Writer. Musician. Photographer. Lover. Fighter. Cyclist. Chef. Land Rover Enthusiast. Petrol Head. Great Dane Owner. Conversationalist...

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The Worker

The Worker

            It was November and ice formed small circles at the base of each of the posts on the dock and the men’s breath hung heavy a moment before it disappeared. The five sat smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee from tin thermoses that warmed their hands as they stood arm-to-arm watching as the lake pitched slowly back and forth and mostly they were silent and content with the occasional nod to look out at something on the water. They had five minutes left before they had to return to work.

            “God, I wish I could live here,” said the first man.

            The others nodded.

            “What do you think a place like this costs?” asked another.

            “More than you’ll ever see,” said the first.

            The others smiled.

            “What does he do?” asked one of the men lighting a new cigarette.  

“Inherited it, probably,” said the first.

            “No, he’s big in Seattle, started at a company at twenty, owned them at twenty-five,” said another.

            “Yeah, but his parents got him the job,” said the first.

            “Nope, grew up in Ohio on a dirt farm. Moved west with two-hundred dollars, before the bus ticket.”

            “How do you know?”

            “Asked him.”

            One of the five who’s face was young and full and who’s hands were calloused and cut looked at his watch and drank the rest of his cup and began to walk back to the end of the dock.

            “You coming?” he asked.

            “Soon,” said the first. The others nodded and smoked.

            At the house an older man with thick wrists and broad shoulders threw scraps of wood into a bin on the drive. He did not stop to look at the young man who had begun to help. A few moments passed and the old man tried to drag a large beam but could not move it more than a few feet. The young man stood at one end and together they lifted the beam in and the older man nodded and the younger man said nothing and went back to finished the work he had started before he took his break. When the others returned form the dock the older man stopped and looked at his watch and shook his head and then carried on. They did not look at him.            

            At the end of the day the men packed to leave.

            “What a day,” said the first.

            “Yep,” said another.

            “You coming?” asked first to the young man who was hammering still.

            “ After this.”

            “You know he doesn’t pay overtime?”

            “I know.”

            “Suit yourself. See you Monday.”

            An hour passed and his shoulders were sore and his neck was tired and his thumb bled from a bad swing and still he hammered the wall. From the other room the old man who owned the house still hammered and it filled the lake house with sharp bursts that dulled in to echo. Another hour passed and the young man had finished his wall and began to pack to leave and still the other hammer rang.

            “Are you going to leave?” asked the young man from the doorway.

            “After this wall is up,” said the old man.

            The young man picked up his hammer and held the other end of the board straight while the old man hammered nails in single swings.

            When the wall was finished they set down their hammers and stood before it and it was straight and perfect and strong and their arms were sore and their mouths were dry. Though they ached they were finished and finally they were content and they were free.

A Chorus for Stella and 5th St. Hotel Rooms in Champaign Illinois

*** A revised poem for CRWR 260.


In Illinois I’ll get drunk

Do champaign in Champaign

With Pollyanna and assorted TV guests from my childhood

They’ll leave and she’ll stay,

Naked,

I hope,

But I know that orphans, champagne, and televisions are liars.

Bookends tie off dog-eared mid-century shit.

John Berryman remains

With Bob’s Tarantula, and while Polly undresses

I notice she’s really Stella because of the small black tattoo on her hip.

Thin,

Fog burns,

Myself now paranoid, I recall how I had made for the river:

Oh the spilt ink

On my hands.

Oh Stella still

On my mind.

Oh my dick

6.4 inches but I don’t know how big it gets when I come.

Of if I could

Just see into them as I come.

Stella is my favorite

I love her. But don’t tell her that. Please!

Champagne escorts always 

seem so Instrumental. 

Ornamental. 

Industrial, somehow.

Hardened flesh, so soft as it bows over Stella’s hips and breasts. 

And Bear-Sterns,

That short sale from $66.48 to four dollars eleven

Is still buying me nights with Stella and her conversation.

I pick her up and tell her she’s Polly,

Light,

More fog,

I undress her, finish, and fall asleep.

A Chorus for Stella and 5th St. Hotel Rooms in Champaign Illinois.

By: Dylan Lenz

In Illinois I”ll get drunk

On Champaign in Champaign

With Polyanna and assorted TV guests from my childhood

They’ll leave and she’ll stay,

Naked,

I hope,

But I know that orphans, champaigne, and television are liars.

.

.

Bookends tie off dog earred mid-century shit.

John Barryman remains

With Bob’s Tarantula and while Poly undresses

I notice she’s really Stella because of the small black tattoo on her hip.

Thin,

Fog burns,

Myself now paranoid, I recall how I had made for the river:

.

.

Oh the spilt ink

On my hands.

Oh Stella still

On my mind.

Oh my dick

6.4 inches but I don’t know how big it gets when I come.

Of if I could

See into them as I come.

.

.

Stella is my favorite

I love her. But don’t tell her that. Please!

Champaigne escorts always seem so instramental, ornamental, and industrial somehow.

Two jobs each and a degree most often.

2008,

Put them,

On the street.

.

.

And Bear-Sterns

That short sale from $66.48 to four dollars eleven

Is still buying me nights with Stella and her converstaion

I pick her up and tell her she’s Polly.

Light,

More fog,

I undress her, finish, then fall asleep.

A Summer In Prague…III

It was a week after I stopped sleeping with Paula and accepted that my writing would have to be put on hold that I saw Sara again. She was at a bodega on a side street where a small market met each Saturday until the afternoon. It was there I had been able to buy a large number of records that seemed to be unavailable in most of the music shops around town. I frequented it often and would buy my produce and assorted groceries in the mean time. Sara was there buying limes from a Romanian who had sold me bad fruit when I first arrived in Poland.

"Don’t buy from him," I said standing behind her. It took a moment for her to recognize me, I was wearing a white polo and green canvas shorts with my regular brown leather oxfords, sunglasses and a hat. She was wearing a simple floral sun dress and white canvas shoes. The left shoe had a red drop of paint on the toe and the dress was splattered slightly with assorted colors. She looked refreshing. I had thought about her often.

"And why not?" she asked, acknowledging me and turning back to the bodega to order more fruit for her bag. 

"I don’t trust him."

"And why is that?" she asked with a smile and perfect American teeth. She was gorgeous. 

"Ty zone?" asked the Romanian. Is she your wife? He recognized me. 

"Yes," I said. He began to put the fruit she ordered back into the piles. 

"Nie, nie," Sara said waving her hand. I placed my hand at her waist and led her across the street to George, the other bodega owner who was slightly more expensive but much more honest with the quality. 

"So what have you been up to?"

"Painting," she said. 

"Really? Are you any good?"

"I’d say so."

"And would others agree."

"For the most part. How about yourself? Paula has not spoke about you for some time."

"Do you see much of Paula?" I asked.

"No. We are not that close of friends. She prefers the company of men."

"And yourself?"

"Not so much."

"Why, are we so terrible?" I asked as I picked out fruit and paid for the both of us. I thanked George and began to walk through the market with Sara. 

"Some of you."

"And myself?"

"I’m not sure." She smiled at me again. I fell in love.

"Would you like to get a coffee?"

"Yes."

We spend the rest of the day in the market then in an art gallery and then at a late lunch in a square near the river. We fed the pigeons, and every time she smiled I fell for her more and more and the longer I spent with her the more she smiled. She took my hand late in the afternoon and led me to a small walkway between a barber shop and an office building. She kissed me there. She then smiled once more and took her bag of fruit and went in a red door behind the shop. 

I went back the next morning. We ate breakfast. She showed me her paintings and they were good, not just by her word. For that day I was happy and Sara was happy. I stayed with her that night. 

A Summer In Prague…cont.

At the lunch with my coleague I was able to convince Paula to accompany me to dinner that evening. I assured myself it would be the best way to get back at Sara. 

Of the chapter I was working on, I could not write that day, or any of the subsequent days and months that I spent knowing Sara. That is what she had taken. A freind of mine, or rather an acquaintance, explained this occurance to me once. When writers fall in love, particularly men, they often lose their capacity to write. The reason, he explained, was that all of the angst and loathing they had that fueled them to continue their work often evaporated with the calming that good women brought. I did not finish that novel, and even now the manuscript is piled with the starts of many others in a suitcase in Tallahasse with my mother Martha, who lives alone, and tells me from time to time that she enjoys the works that I left with her. 

At the lunch my colleague expalined the war and how he was a correspondant in the East for a Polish publication. Sara began to rethink her position. Most of the time I made small talk with Paula who had a brohter who lived Stateside and was convinced that he had gone off to war and that is why he had not written or spoken to his parents for so many years. I was grateful for the more lively discussion with Paula and very much wanted her to come back to my room at Chvoski’s and spend the weekend nude, listening to Jazz. I told her this and she agreed, but quitely and away from the ears of the others. 

Paula and Sara departed and my colleauge picked up the bill, it was his turn, and last time we had eaten together he had brought his wife and two dauthers with him knowing I would pay. He patted my back with a grin when I brought guests this time. It was the nature of our relationship to humor the other and slightly compete when it came to members of the opposite sex. He was not faithful to his wife. 

That night Paula and I made love the way that only Spanish women know how. I had never encountered an American woman with such ferocity and coupled reverance. Her breasts were small, but Paula was small and thin and so they were magnificent. Her hair was dark brown as were her eyes, and her hand seemed much older than her features let on. HEr hands had the folds and lines of someone who had seen war and peace and then war agian. The hands of a bosun or leather worker that had retired and the callouses of the profession had finally worn away to leave delicate hands that resembled the ropes and hides of their trades. In any case Paula was beautiful and we made love with passion and equal satisfaction. 

Afterwards we spoke of Sara. She had brought her up. Paula was laying naked on her back looking at me upside down as I sat in a chair by the window looking out at the street that was plain and without much activity. Paula smoked a cigarette.

"Do you love her?" she asked.

"Who?" I asked turning to her. I knew who she ment. 

"Sara." She said rolling the ‘r’ in her name and saying it slowly. 

"I don’t know her that well. Besides I’m with you."

"But this will not last, and we will tire of one another soon. Probably within the week," said Paula turning onto her breasts and setting the cigarette in a brass ashtray next to the bed. 

"It won’t?" I asked. I liked Paula all the more now and part of me knew I would be sad to see her go. 

"No."

I got up from my seat and kissed her neck and with my thumb and palm of my hand felt my way down her side until her hip. We made love until the early morning and then Paula left Chvoski’s and we did not speak any further, even at the parties we attended the rest of the summer. 

Summer in Prague

It could be argued without dispute that I lost part of mself when I found Sara. She was good and I was able to see that. With her I felt complete as men should when they find a woman they are compelled to think of, even after they part and are not able to see one another for some time. 

When I first met her it was at a party for a dear friend who I no loger can recall. In that summer I attended a number of great parties and celebrations for a number of dear friends that I had met in the spring. A great number of them were taken by me and the fact that I was American, and that I was strong and handsome, and I seemed to fill their social circles out nicley. Largley they wished to talk about America’s war and transcend into American politics. I humored them with my insights on my culture and in the meantime enjoyed the company of the many women that came to these gatehrings. Sara was not one of these women.

I am convinced that Sara took somehting from me and that thing has yet to be returned even though now I have found her agian. On that first night at the party for my dear friend, who may have been Povetkin, though I am not sure, I met Sara. She was also American, one of only a few I had encountered since I had begun to stay and study in the country. She was beautiful, and am pleased to say, was not taken my by charm, wit, or apparent connections with the burgeoisie of the city, man pf whom were present at the party. I took her for an idealist. She took me for a coward and remarked that it was strange how a man who tried to appear so noble and of such bravery was not on the front lines like so many of our fellow countrymen. I agreed and we did not talk further. 

Later that night after I had tried to ignor the comments made by Sara at the party and tried to fall asleep in the room I rented from an older man named Chovski, I found I could not push her from my mind. It was then I assured myself that I was not a coward and that there was a reason for my studies besides the cowardly endevors of putting off military enlistmenst and helping not only my country but the world in this time of great turmoil.  In reality I was not truely affectionate about the position my country had taken in the conflict. The desire to continually squash the comunisitc and socialistic ideals of the far east purturbed me and I reasoned that things had been fine until we had started to meddle in the lobor disputes workers faced. 

I got up, put on a kettle, and began to look at the small collection of books I had aquired since I came to the country. I looked at ‘In The Fabled East’ by an unergraduate professor of mine by the name of Schroeder. The first line of the novel argued that men came to what was then Siam to do one thing, ‘make their fortunes’. I agreed with that. I did not see the need to get up in arms over what hardly affected the western world, and even still as I drank instant coffee and smoked the last of a cigar that Povetkin had given me I thought of Sara. I slept lightly the rest of the night.

It was later that week that I actaully got to meet her again in a class I was teaching. Her friend Paula, a spanish woman who was rather petit asked her to attend one of my lectures. We spoke breifly after class, though I did make sure to seek her eye as often as I could. She returned my glances and when we spoke after class I invited her to a lunch with a member of my faculty who was intending to elaborate on American polotics at the time. She and Paula agreed.

The lunch was at one o’Clock and I went to my office to continue working on a chapter of my novel. I was very relieved to have seen Sara again, not becasue I was sure I was in love with her. I was not, or at least I had yet to examine that possibility. I wanted to prove her wrong. I wanted to show her I was not a coward, and part of me did want to sleep with her, or at the very least Paula. 

I made orange juice from concentrate and showed her the trick of squeezing the juice of one real orange into it. It removes the taste of being frozen. She marveled at this, and I laughed and said, Life is easy. What I meant was, Life is easy with you here, and when you leave, it will be hard again.

Miranda July

The Fruits of Our Labor (Short Story Start)

By: Dylan Lenz 

They built an empire. They bought our legs then sold them back to us. Before our eyes they took what thousands of years had given us – our right to stand and in their shadow, on our knees, we fell.

Nine years ago they called it the miracle protein; the discovery to save the world. Within five months they had run out. The protein H78-J was harvested from the muscle tissue of the legs of distance-runners; they called it Marathara. Micron Inc. a Russian based pharmaceutical had found out how to activate the protein and patented the concept giving them exclusive rights to distribution. Russia blossomed as they began to produce the only product that could rival the energy trade.

 They would remove the hamstrings and the quadriceps in surgery and then synthesized the proteins into a capsule that sold for $2500 a pill and gave those who could afford it perfection. After a week those who took the pill had white-blood cells with incomparable capacities. The cells battled cancer and eradicated tumors. Spinal cords and bones were healed. Joints and ligaments were strengthened. Skin was thicker and more illustrious. Cuts healed in hours. Cardiovascular health and circularly conditions were like that of young athletes. Joints, ligaments, muscle and organs, all cured.  As long as you took the pill each day.

When Micron ran out of flesh they sponsored races hoping for donors. They met with former athletes who had hit hard times. They convinced college athletes to trade it for full ride scholarships and cash. They offered $250,000 per kilo of lean muscle. They cured obesity in the mean time. Men and women from every country and every culture began to run to produce H78-J. The problem was that it took 10 years of cultivation before the protein was self synthesized enough for harvest, so in the mean time men began to hunt the old runners. Poachers, who would catch those they could and remove our legs in hotel rooms to be sold to Micron.

 

I don’t know how they found me. 

It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
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It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info
It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 
Zoom Info

It’s days like today, when the courses start and you are bored to death, that it seems so fitting to just leave. Then you remember your travels and are jeleous of your former self, wishing you could escape as you have previously. Then something seems to be settled and you promise yourself that four months is not that long and soon you can be free. However, when those four months are spent your still in the same place, incapable of true mobility. University sucks. 

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