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The Blank Slate by Rich Larson | Word Riot

November 15, 2011      

The Blank Slate by Rich Larson

We didn’t want to live previously loved
So we drove to the harbor with our anatomy in cardboard boxes
The car coughed and sputtered and we talked about
Ambient barometric pressures
Weather systems
The way things can be carried so far into the ocean
That they disappear completely

We walked out on the salt-slimed jetty
With crabs shuffling around our feet
Then I took the knotted rope of my intestine
Which squeezes like a snake when her lips touch me
And put it out to sea

“It looks like chewed sausage links,” she said.
“It looks like a swollen garden hose,” I said.

Then she took her traitor’s lungs
Lungs still lined with hooks
That catch when I move her hair from her face
And they fluttered into the oil-slick water

“Gutted balloons from birthdays,” she said.
“From funerals,” I said.

Our hearts were at the very bottom
Sticky with blood and congealing decisions
We gave them a Viking burial
Watched the cardboard coracle bob and bob
And sog
And sink
By inches into the greasy saline
Then the flesh floated on
Drifting slowly equidistant on the waves

We walked back along the jetty
And sat in phosphate-soaked sand
With our hands not touching
Our faces thickening
And above us the sky grew dark
And each of us watched our own allotment of stars
Blink out

Rich Larson

About the author:

Rich Larson is a 19-year-old student living in Edmonton, Alberta. His novel Devolution was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. When not writing, he is a productive member of society. More of his work can be found on

    8 comments to The Blank Slate by Rich Larson

    • Ryan Bate

      I have never read a single piece of literature that surpassed the skilled penmanship of this young man. Bravo. That’s whats up.

    • Cody Biberdorf

      Flawless would be an understatement, the maturity , the diversity is all overwhelming Richard , Congrats man!

    • Matthew Erickson

      Proud of you Richard that truley was amazing! Great job!

    • Philip Knowlton

      I envy your wordsmith status.

    • Alice Matthews

      Richard it is great to see your work in print so proud of you – I knew you would be doing something like this someday.

    • Laurie Barton

      Please write more.

    • Erin A

      So…many…big…words. I’m going to assume that you’re a college kid–which is great if you are and way more awesome if you aren’t. 🙂
      The internal-organs-being-taken-out-of-your-bodies-and-cast-out-to-sea thing was pretty gross, but I liked the way you said that your intestines squeezed when she kissed you–that’s how I used to feel when my boyfriend kissed me. 🙂 Yay for relate-ability. But then, you burned your hearts as you sent them out to sea? What? Viking funerals are awesome, I’ll admit, but this does not compute.
      This kind of just blows my mind. Some of the imagery I just don’t get. It’s a lot of pain with a lot of love and a side of “eeeew.” And I’m not sure how I feel about the lines being so unbalanced–but you know, in a way, this is brilliant. I can see in your vocabulary that you’re quite academically advanced and the way you phrase things interests me. However, this reminds me of why I don’t read professional poetry. It’s just so out there. It makes the poetry amazing, but it’s just beyond me.
      Congratulations on becoming a professional! And thank you for giving me hope, because I’m a part of Figment, too, and I figure that if you can achieve your dream, then so can I. Thanks for that. 🙂

    • Rich Larson

      Long were the times I thought and and wished like you, to be understood and received.

      A world we are in, we exist and strive to be better, but from a time we seek, it becomes difficult but better.

      Glad to have found a younger me here, live long and love well.

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