Gideon Huan-Lang

Imagine: Victorian hand-me-downs, black suspenders, tweed-lined cap. And he is hollering
about the end of the world. Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Call him doomsday cult,

the way he had broken his voice already—the Titanic, the Wall Street Crash of 1929,
how a Yankee had zipped across by bike and ruined a dozen of his Thursday papers.

Late springs have been the worst. The downpours would drench his rags. But he is protecting
the headlines with his body. He has no money for a good watch, only telling time with days melting

off the mushed paper sludge. Street corners become parking lots. He is still hollering, tongue dyed
raspberry blue. An energy drink’s high-fructose corn syrup gallops into his throat. So much abundance

causing so much echo. Dead cars sprawl across the supermarket cement. While his voice is no longer
contorted by thirst, nobody hears him. The journals write afternotes—a proposed bill, an erasure,

a bathroom ban, Florida, a book ban—he is begging to be listened to—a murder, an honor
killing, a murder a murder a murder. A family passes him, heading straight to the grocery aisle

only searching for milk and steak. The plastic bag’s blood-stench is strong. But so are the papers’
odor of ink and indifference. It is starting to rain. It is already mid-August. The boy does not have

an umbrella or a roof overhang to seek refuge. The strip mall neon is bleeding in potholes and puddles.
As per ritual, the boy sacrifices his body to water, even though the words are nearly too small to read.

Gideon Huan-Lang (郎健) is aspirationally cyborg-esque. He is a digital humanities student moonlighting as a poet from the Pacific Northwest.

Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #44.
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