The Topic At Hand: Seconds


It is three in the morning
and all of the clocks are off by a tick.
My blood puddles warm as acid rain
and the ticks have banded together
to create an insomniac’s choir,
lulling me back to sleep.

I used to be good
at being alone. Every object
became a weapon in my hands.
This is how someone like me stays protected.
Empty liquor bottles quickly became
their own bloodthirsty grins,
the letter opener walked
with the moxy of a machete,
paper clips bent into acupuncture,
and pencils worked nights
as skewers. We were all living a double life.

When he wrote me a love letter
signed to The Softest Boy on Long Island,
I retired all my things. I didn’t need them.
I felt safe.

A single strand of dust now
hangs from my ceiling fan, threatening
to blemish the room’s polish.
His knuckles swarm my face,
stamping bone into baby powder.

I’m curled on the ground.
A caterpillar before
the stretch. I hear him scream
something about how I’m ruining
his favorite shirt. My favorite
books are tiled on the floor around me,
opened and wanting me to look at them.
I whisper something, but it sounds like nothing
more than bubbles, each plea
popping on my bottom lip

and the bottles faced the wall,
and the hotplate went cold,
and the crowd of pencils
merely pointed, and the stapler
watched with its mouth open.

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4 responses to “When The Ordinary Things Stay Ordinary”

  1. Rich says:

    Wow – What brilliant pieces of work. I especially love the first paragraph and the insomniac’s choir.

  2. Great sense of movement in that image. It looks so much like a frame from a film that it's hard to keep in mind the fact that it's a single static piece that is not a rendering of some other thing, but an original illustration.

  3. Tara says:

    It's interesting that whether he's alone or with his lover, he's surrounded by weapons and violence or the sceptre of it.

    I also love love love the illustration. It makes me think of Miranda Nell's essay and what might happen if the hands on the clock actually managed to take their rivalry and escape from constricting rules of the clock.

  4. Lizad says:

    I love the collaboration. The illustration–or rather, art piece–is beautiful. Haunting.

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The Author

Julie Lockwood & David Ayllon

Julie Lockwood is a creative soul born and raised in Red Bank, NJ. It's safe to say that growing up, Julie definitely fell into the 'weird art kid' category. She developed her fine art skills and began to express an interest in graphic design. After high school, Julie studied art advertising and fine art at Seton Hall and Monmouth University. Then came a big move to Orlando, FL to attend Full Sail University, where she graduated Valedictorian with a bachelor's degree in Digital Arts & Design. She currently lives in the Tampa Bay area, working as a web designer at GSL Solutions. If you'd like to see some of Julie's design and illustration work, or just learn a little more about her, you can view her portfolio. // After learning at a young age that Batman was not a practical career option, David Ayllon is now a graphic designer, poet, and righty who writes like a lefty. You can view David's work at His designs have been published for the Art Director’s Club of New Jersey and he took home a 2009 IAC award for Best Design Website. He has featured at the acclaimed LouderARTS poetry series, and is also co-curator of the OUTloud poetry series. David has participated in panel discussions and has spoken at colleges including the School of Visual Arts, and has had oil paintings and poetry published in the online magazine Acentos Review, as well as Ganymede magazine.

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