Balcony, by Sarah Marian Seltzer


As Carl readied himself for Theo’s party, he reflected on his three-day gap in communication with Maya. They were on some sort of break, triggered by a fight over her refusal to come out tonight, or any night, anymore. Carl missed Maya’s warm skin, her eyebrows arching with amusement or provocation. He even missed their arguments: over The Great Gatsby (Carl pitied Daisy Buchanan while Maya blamed her as spineless), and Impressionism (Carl preferred modern art, so much more to say about it), and about which films to see (he liked “smart” films, she would see anything playing at the local multiplex)—and really, at the bottom of it all over the fact that Maya, each day, shut him further out.

The very word “break” unmoored him, so he anchored himself to this party. Theo had invited him. Broad-shouldered, rugby-shirt-wearing Theo, whose father produced movies and owned a penthouse apartment. Who didn’t enjoy movies and penthouses? Besides, Carl wasn’t like Maya; he didn’t “know everyone” in this city. And he hadn’t gone to an Ivy League school; he had gone to a state school, which still left him with loans—no trust fund for him. So yes, he had to get to know people, because how else did you build a future. How else did you begin to fit in?

He had felt once like he belonged with Maya. Carl first saw her when someone pointed her out at another party, a less elegant shindig in someone’s grimy walkup. In a corner, she rode the arm of a couch as though it were a horse, or a man. She made faces; her friends guffawed until they spilled drinks. Dark circles ringed her eyes. She projected brash, vulnerable, hotness.

“That’s Maya Siegel, the one I told you about…”

“Oh, her…”

Carl had read about her dad’s infidelity and her parents’ high-profile divorce, regular fodder for the gossip columns he checked daily. He also already knew about Rina, Maya’s best friend killed by a subway train, an accident that had dominated the local news for days.

Carl, a transplant to New York, saw in Maya another soul isolated amidst the throng. He took her home that night and called her again, even after the postcoital brunch when she warned him of her “baggage.”  How stunning she’d been that morning, in her T-shirt with the collar cut out, her dark hair falling across her face like a pixie girl in the movies.

His friends from home had said stay away when he mentioned the divorce, the dead friend, but he’d ignored them—no, he’d defied them. Her pain opened a doorway Carl could enter. She always patted the seat beside her with nonchalance, yet it always made him feel like she had reserved the space for him.

Read More

4 April 2014 · Comments

I’ll be reading new fiction at this event on Sunday, March 30. It’s at The Jam Factory in Bangkok. Come check it out if you are in the area. Show starts at 8pm. (41/2 The Jam Factory, Charoennakorn Rd., Klongsan Bangkok, Thailand 10600) (at The Jam Factory)

I’ll be reading new fiction at this event on Sunday, March 30. It’s at The Jam Factory in Bangkok. Come check it out if you are in the area. Show starts at 8pm. (41/2 The Jam Factory, Charoennakorn Rd., Klongsan Bangkok, Thailand 10600) (at The Jam Factory)

27 March 2014 · Comments

"If-" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

27 March 2014 · Comments

Paris Review - The Art of Poetry No. 18, Archibald MacLeish

"You begin to see that what is really going to happen is not that half a dozen but two, three, four poems, or maybe lines of poems, or fragments—some things may get shelved, shored up, or left behind. But left behind not alone but in a conjunction. So that you begin to think of yourself in terms of the others who were with you in this place—your contemporaries. “Oh living men, Remember me, Receive me among you.” And you realize that’s how you are really going to end up. You’re going to be part of that, of them. And finally you begin to think, that’s the way it ought to be. You ought to make the world fruitful that way. Rot! Leaving those fragments—those few poems that will be hard to get rid of." - Archibald MacLeish

Though there are parts that bug me—further romanticism of 1920’s era writers and MacLeish’s “I’m telling you how it ought to be” tone—this interview is packed with truth.

22 March 2014 · Comments

Imperial Nostalgias by Joshua Edwards #currentlyreading #poetry #onbreakfromprose

Imperial Nostalgias by Joshua Edwards #currentlyreading #poetry #onbreakfromprose

14 March 2014 · Comments

About Me

My name is Donald Quist. I'm trying to become a better writer and human being. I have a predilection for expletives, moral dilemmas, ellipses, obscure pop-culture references and parenthetical statements. I currently live in Bangkok, Thailand. My collection of short stories is now available online and in a few independent bookstores. You can buy it on Amazon or by clicking that yellow button below.

Stuff I Like

See more stuff I like