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Look at me, Look at me

Matt Gillick


I’m severely overrated. I’m just above a hack. – Chris Rock

For a sliver of light to fall on their faces, they follow the steps. One, two, three—twirl—one, two, three—twirl—down a consciousness causeway, an avenue of on-offing streetlights. Dancing with the void, whooping echoes in brick-laid alleys, these special few become ragged nymphs in the night. Onlookers rattle fire escapes and applaud, longing, from above. 

Their twisted horns catch laurels like a game of horseshoes, and after enough oohs and ahhs, these can-canning quill pens glut themselves on Italian airline dipping cookies. Their flamenco ankles swell and crackle. They shed their tatters, keep them framed, flanked by candles. Less talented dancers adore these exhibits while on pilgrimage, dying to pitch a dusty foxtrot. 

At the end of the hallway of mirrors and carpets and tea, behind a faraway door are these exhausted, jealous groans. Words that hover on the outer rims of dreams. Overrated, trite, precious, dated…they scratch from behind duck feather pillows, knock on headboards like evening visitors. 

Rising to dawn, tapping away long after the sand’s been swept away from the stage, the dance keeps going after these dried, molted few no longer remember which way to turn to the bedroom. Instead, they trip into a gala, and people look on, amazed at the rare sighting. A slovenly, unkempt waltzman offers his hand. Encircling the private showing—gathering up the winding red staircase—admirers and rivals alike do their best to ignore the stumbling, faltering.

They admire the measurement of each misstep because they remember when they were so young, seeing a show unlike anything they’d ever seen from a rusted city fire escape in the early marigold morning.

Matt Gillick is from Northern Virginia. He is a co-founding editor of Cult Magazine. Recent or forthcoming work in decomp journal, LEON: Literary Review, and Cardinal Sins.