David Shipko is a Los Angeles based scholar and writer.


Through the tall and narrow windows the mountains apathetically watched me sit on the bench in the marble hall, which had been, until only a moment ago, empty, but was beginning to slowly fill with others waiting for their hearings. We were seventh on the docket. I hoped she would not appear. Approaching the courthouse, I had been greeted, from high dead branches, by a singing crow. I felt as I had many years ago, when I had been an infantry officer in training, and I would be tasked with leading my platoon through a simulated mission, and all through planning, rehearsals, and deep into execution I would feel some sense of slight looming dread for whatever was to happen, but then it would happen, and my nerves would vanish, for I would then be in contact and there would be nothing left but to fight. Every heel click on the marble made my heart leap, slightly, but it was never her, and my body calmed. I stopped turning. If she appeared, I would not wish to see her, for then she would not have appeared to me. Army doctrine says the key to strong defense is to arrive early to the battlefield, so I had. Sometimes I stole sideway glances though I tried to stop myself. I could not predict if she would appear. I could not have predicted any of this. I had thought I had known her. The hall was quite cold, I could not help but shiver. Fifteen minutes to go, she had still not appeared, or so I assumed, for I had not seen her, but I had stopped looking, tried to stop listening. How absurd to be here, I thought, after all, in reality, it was she who had harassed me. A woman passed the man sitting at he other end of my bench, he said, Good morning Erin, she snapped, Good morning. Nine minutes, the bench was filling. I could not help but listen. Eyes can be shut, not ears. I would know her footsteps, they would intrude into my calm. Seven minutes, I had not heard them. Three minutes. Let me hear her, no matter, she will not know I have heard her. If I were to look, she could see me looking, but she could not see me hearing, could not hear me hearing. If she appeared, I would not want her to know she had appeared to me. To me, she, who had once been a lover, had become a non-person, has become no one. One minute. I put away the book I had been reading, Thomas Bernhard’s _Extinction_. The narrator had been waxing poetic about the power of writing to extinguish. My writing could not extinguish this. It was time. No one appeared. 

A Letter

Fuck Yeah, Let’s Fight