To some, it’s the cheap, last minute gift picked up from a distant father, idling through the display shelves of Dollar General. For Malcolm it was release. Grasped between his palms, it worked its underrated magic, trickling down the nerves of his fingers, a gentle tingle lulling the rest of his body. A waterdrop that expands into a sea, transforming the storm clouds of one’s anatomy into a horizon suspended above an ocean view. His bones cocooned into a chaise lounge of kittens, soothing the savage beast of yesterday until tomorrow is greeted with ease. His smile turned into a Kid Cudi song played on repeat. A vaporwave of smokey basement ragers and neon-gilded chambers. A time ripple of the rare moments where playing a socialite for the evening didn’t hold the same pressure as a bomb diffuser. Good vibrations no longer was a song, slowly it became a way of life. For Malcolm, the spinner was a carnival made for one, when the world has been feeding cruelty for many. To many, it was a dime-store novelty, but for him; it was therapy when his father couldn’t afford a therapist. It was a pillow to cry into when his mother went to rehab, when his brother Artie shipped off to Iraq, leaving him with nothing but a stainless steel water canteen and a Clifford the Big Red Dog book. It was a consolation prize from all of the other ways his father showed abandon, even when he was technically present. All of the missed Good Mornings and all of the faded How was your days, the absolute void of I love yous. He never owned any pets; no dogs, no cats, no goldfish, no turtles, no domesticated rats, no geckos, not even a Tamagotchi, just a shitty little trinket: but a love all the same.
J.B. Stone is a neurodivergent/autistic slam poet, writer and reviewer residing in Buffalo, NY. He is the author of A Place Between Expired Dreams And Renewed Nightmares (Ghost City Press 2018) and INHUMAN ELEGIES (Ghost City Press 2020). He is the Editor-In-Chief/Reviews Editor at Variety Pack. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in MoonPark Review, Bending Genres, Five :2: One, [PANK], Gravel, and elsewhere. You can check out more of his work at jaredbenjaminstone.com and his tweets @JB_StoneTruth.