Tingled by Michael A. Van Kerckhove
Once I tried to text you that I was hangin’ out but my phone auto-corrected to ninja tingling and that sounded way more fun.
So now with bare knuckles I stealthily climb up and down walls, blowing kisses into open windows. I watch men and women shiver and wonder if it’s the breeze they’re feeling, or something deeper, scratching fingers against three-day stubble or straps of old lingerie.
I crawl along the pavement and up backs of black steel bus stop benches. Where old men lay down newspapers to protect their backsides from the rain. They talk, and one manages to light a cigarette. I flip the other’s grey quilted hood to protect his bald head from stone sized drops and watch them not move when the bus arrives.
I transfigure into a five-pointed star made of steel cut song lyrics and throw myself between sparring single ladies and backyard bullies. Quarter notes and metaphors whiz by close enough to bleed humanity from their foreheads but not kill them. Peace is restored as I sink myself into the backpack of a hiker hell bent on plunging himself into the first active volcano he finds.
Segments of radio band provide footing as I climb our Wi-Fi polluted sky, showing up as an alien emoji on a tween girl’s TikTok or a hit on a politician’s secret hook-up app. I will tell them both to just own it and hope they do before the world is nothing but static, and the only sound left is the message alert you assigned to my name.
Michael A. Van Kerckhove (he/him) has words in Belt, Eclectica, Entropy, FreezeRay Poetry, and Midwestern Gothic, among other publications. He is active in Chicago's vibrant live lit community and has told stories in shows across the city. Follow him on Twitter @mvankerckhove and all the other places at linktr.ee/mavankerckhove.