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Four Foreign Films & One Canceled Series

Benjamin Niespodziany

Scissors Cut the Ribbon and Bolster the Bride

after Perpetual Grace, LTD (2019)

[1] An assassin walks into a taxi and onto a game show. Yellow teeth in a flimsy booth. An undertaker walks into a bar. He's carrying bodies he calls his jaws. A cowboy hat walks into a gun and is stunned by the nearby boots. One more strike, the hat yells, and the piano gets it.

[2] The ranger does not know when faces change. Death, he mentions, is like the end of a buzz. He prays beside the ark and later writes a letter. Jackets flap in the dust.

[3] The missing child is her missing child. She calls every child her child. Every son her son. This is original. She stops in the street. Alphabetically she organizes license plates. She blackmails the mailbox and tells the well her demands.

[4] The Ford is most important, she says. She sits in the middle of the caravan as a bird chirps in the engine. Her bandana cancels her words. The message, the style, so surprised by the silence.

[5] There’s a truth to lined pants. An oven in the sand. A hand in the oven. God calls dibs on the night shift and promptly falls asleep.

[6] The horse barrels the bull down the street. Claws sharpen the horns on screen. How one hero changes his name to New Leaf, then later Space Junk, then later Glass.

Lighting a Cigarette with a Tree

after You, the Living (2007)
[1] Every scene with you is an airplane. The city is within me. I talk to its paint. My calendar escapes the cheetah seizure. We just watch. To drag the dog, to clog the aquarium, the wife widens and then retreats. The dust, such an evening glow. This is how we know the bald man laughs. Tomorrow invents another day. The form lines. The line curbs. Everyone wants one more.

[2] With the latent breakdown comes the drum that needs a stool. A fool marching domestic. Her nose beheld by glass. A class that lasts a globe spin. The teacher can’t tape the teeth. They found a wedding ring in the ice skate. I’m sorry about the carpet. Use your ruler to tag the rats. Social postings favor straight posture when apologizing for lies. She gathers her hair in cups.

[3] There’s a hurry to this tier of respect. A snail shadowing the fog. Dreamtalking the rust. A really dreary gathering, the manager says, again and again. You continue checking the plates. This fever sequence needs a judge, a judge says, courting lawyers, feeding them pints. Everything in this court room is older than a tree.

[4] Auction the coffin before the chair. Read the manual when dismantling the priest. She needs not a helmet. Carry an extra pair of overalls and try to relax. Vivid is this clock. The fog stalks the rain. We cradlestrangle our ghosts. Your fresh lamp basks the frame.

[5] The parade of green couches where the nurse is a curtain of ice. It’s not a traditional dining poodle, you say. It's not some stand, some clink. Telephone town is one hello away. The snow, we know, is mostly here.

[6] Sad calls in the hallway promise to talk, to later search the jubilee. How we waited for lightning before fine-tuning the tuba. How we stacked the chairs before the rest. He entered with his drum. So loud we stopped to listen.

[7] The rain is a cracked window, waiting call. Our janitor cancels dinner. It’s okay to celebrate the normal. We watch not the gods thundering the thief. Rich without receipt. You keep the wheelchair even after you heal. You will keep your pink heels forever but you will never wear them again.

[8] The landline climate asks to pilot, asks for another chance. I hide my elbows. You storm your waist. He presents the sword. He compares our shoulders. Today is a suit in a spacesuit tavern. We turn to watch the rain hide the flowers. Only then does the camera dance.

[9] Rise for one more lab coat that lacks an abstract opening. We demand of backlash. We slam the thought. Every light is round, a sober potion. The dog is cautious of the rooftop of doubt. You open a box. Some kind of exhibit, you admit, coughing fits of matrimony.

[10] You shout about wine timings. Cooking blue. We ordered stew from the elevator waiter. Bank statements became the opposites of our elegant slippers. Bad luck up against a funeral. Our band asks our band to disband. This is why we practice. The house is moving. The train car is home.

[11] Love continues to snow its own language. I point through the glass. You help me to sing. Our smudge is unbecoming in the gallery of specks. Red bucket in a smogfog world. It’s okay to steer. To reset the power line timer. The audience knows you by your heels and I by my drink. Olive eel, pink scales.

The Accordionist is the Flower Eater is the Beggar is the Killed

after Holy Motors (2012)

[1] In the sewers he's the red-haired man. He performs on an accordion in a church. He's a camera. He assumes the man who looks identical to him is the man who looks identical to him. The scars match. The stars dance. His makeup stains the wine.

[2] The old man locates a secret door. The old woman begs. They keep the bed. They enter together in a snake-like scene. They talk outside the building where a giant wanders up and down the halls.

[3] The man lives in his limousine. A cemetery in an old car. A limousine inside his limousine. His limousine inside his limousine. His profession runs his limousine. She leaves him in his limousine. His limousine has an identical limousine. He assumes the limousine identical to his limousine is a limousine identical to his limousine. He enters his limousine. His limousine, filled to the brim with miniature limos.

Ludwig & Pascal

after Borgman (2013)
[1] The priest sleeps next to a nun. She eats squid. He loads his gun. The two do not touch. This is the way in which they feed each other hosts.

[2] The man without any eyes worships his five canines. He sends his dogs to search for openings in the earth. To rest beneath the world, he believes, is to be lost beneath God's watch.

[3] Deep underground, a monster speaks Dutch. His hair is long enough to be treated as its own weather. A bayonet blade stabs his eggs. He runs away.

[4] The pounding continues. The monster does not talk. He is more quiet than a sweater. He is more tree than sun. He removes his shoes. He lights candles. His gas mask is a gas mask he calls his home.

[5] In the woods the monster does not smile. The tunnel dulls the whim. A bag glued to a shoe. A suit used to sleep. He fixes his hair near an array of ashtrays and finds the mansion substantial.

[6] The fence is a benchmark. Worms in the cow. Sand in the doll. Every house is outlawed with a machine gun that hums once done.

[7] The croquet mallet is a battlefield for ballet. Medical attention prevents the monster from dance. Wisdom teeth sympathy. When she opens the door he is gone.

Game of Sound

after Happy as Lazzaro (2018)

Isolated farm hands gather cigarettes. Master the casual inhale. Offer the rest to the gesturing robbers. One worker on the farm follows the false wolf's howl. The cry of the lying wolf. The wolf awakes and thanks the robbers. The robbers are in the town and on the farm. The farm, the workers, even the children evacuate off a cliff. Swept away by a rock. The wolf awakes and consumes the robbers. A circle of crime more concerned with voice. The wolf takes off through the countryside.

Benjamin Niespodziany works nights in a library in Chicago. His writing has appeared in Fence, Salt Hill, Hobart, X-R-A-Y, Sporklet, and various others. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Microfiction, and recently released his debut chapbook, The Northerners (above/ground press).