eli @kampsin

there's no relief in bitterness

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News - June 30, 2015

im going to let the music speak entirely for itself, choosing one single to represent each album. note: this write-up is available as a spotify playlist for those interesting in streaming there.

in alphabetical order, music youre too late to anticipate:

best album that makes you feel like you could really get into surfing:
cayucas/dancing at the blue lagoon

best album youll want to h8 but you cant:
from first to last/dead trees

best pop album whose title references a classic hardcore punk album:
holychild/the shape of brat pop to come

best album by a disturbing moustache:
joywave/how do you feel now?

best album by a popular band whose attraction you cant quite pinpoint though it clearly exists:
the maine/american candy

best album to feature language that doesnt sound like english but actually is:
major lazer/peace is the mission

best soundtrack for a political attack ad:
muse/drones

best tech n9ne album of the year (so far):
tech n9ne/special effects

i generally base my hype for an album on a bands earlier stuff, so singles below are from previous releases.

in chronological order, music you should be excited for:

new frank ocean album, 07/15

new atlas genius album, 08/28/15

new blessthefall album, 09/18/15

new metric album, 09/18/15

new hurts album, 10/09/15
representative single selected by catherine barnhart

new drake album, 2015

new the hell album, 2015

new pierce the veil album, 2015

finally, today is a new release tuesday. heres a few ill be checking out:

fronzilla/party peoples anthem
man overboard/heavy love
refused/freedom
senses fail/pull the thorns from your heart

Blogs - May 13, 2015


Upon returning to the hotel, I lost it. The room was a mixture of Catherine's scent and the baby's clothing. The baby clothes were stacked a mile high on the dresser, threatening to fall at the drop of a pin. I tugged my wet clothes off, throwing the bulk into my stillborn's clothing. They tumbled down without a sound, making me even more frustrated. I wanted noise, I needed the battle cry of the war Mother Nature had started. I know I was angry, yet I felt nothing. I was empty inside without my Catherine.

Her body was still warm, growing colder by the second while I stood by her sullen body. Our baby was never warm, it was never even a baby. It was just a dark mass of wrinkling skin. The flesh of that baby boy would never fill the clothing my dearest Cat so carefully picked out during her last few days.

She looked beautiful from the very start; she was tired but still so very beautiful. How could they not have saved her? Catherine was in the best of hands and she was so strong. So how could she have died?

I had to escape this room we shared for so many weeks. To flee her luscious sweet scent. I pulled on dry clothes and headed out the door.

I found myself in the hotel bar. I ordered our drink, a cognac. I could have drowned myself in the many drinks I had downed within a half an hour. Taking away the pain of losing Catherine would be so easy if I just drowned.

"Mr. Henry, that's your sixth drink. Would you like a glass of water now?" the barmaid asked.

"Does it look like I need a glass of water? No! Damnit, give me another cognac!" I clashed the glass down with such force that the bottom shattered which caused the entire glass to shatter in my hand. I held my shaking hand up, watching the blood drip in pools on the smooth oak wood bar counter. Glass shards jutted out in awkward positions in the palm of my hand. The crystal was turning a dark red.

The barmaid had left, searching for the barman. "Mr. Henry, I must ask you to return to your room or leave the hotel. You're disturbing the other guests."

"Oh am I? Well you all can go to hell!" I stormed out of the hotel into the rain for the second time that day. I walked in the storm for twenty minutes before I wound up by the river.

I fell onto my knees by the river Catherine and I had once floated on, letting my head fall back feeling the sting of the rain on my face. The pain was welcomed.

My hand was throbbing; blood was being pumped out from around the shards of glass, but this pain was accepted also.

"Catherine," I screamed into the darkness of the night. "We lost our child and I've lost you, my dear." I was becoming overwhelmed with dizziness and nausea.

I toppled, face first, into the cold Switzerland water. The dark water engulfed me, clogging my mouth and nose as I sank to the bottom of the river. My heavy army boots, that I couldn't part with, dragging me down. I could feel my heart beat slow and I knew I was dying. Was this the time to ask for forgiveness from God? On my death bed? Though I'm sure my sweet Cat did not ask for salvation in her time of need. No, it wasn't time to beg for God; it was time to die. I let the current carry me away as I let out the last of the air in my lungs.

҉

A week later my body was shot at by Germans while I floated down the river. They didn't know I was already dead.

catherine barnhart wrote this while under quarantine for the writing bug.

cover art: "under the waves" by eli @kampsin.

interested in seeing /your/ work featured here? see this free call for submissions.

Blogs - May 10, 2015

/rest in pieces peace of mind./

"that bitch."

the snapchat exists just long enough to pull out one minor detail from its setting. you dont even have a spare moment to focus on her face; the clock is already ticking. this, a topless selfie of debatable legality (given that youre both well underage). this, a topless selfie taken in her personal bathroom – you recognize it instantly by the neon foam letters stuck to the wall spelling "jessica." this, a topless selfie after showers but its the precariously placed second shadow crowding her own that ignites your suspicion.

you vie for a screenshot but her timers set so quickly, you dont know if you got one. you flick to your photos app only to find youve ended up with a snap of the chat menu screen. it doesnt matter though. you know exactly what you saw. a smile that betrayed a sense of self-confidence that is, in this exceptional case, unfounded. a berry blue razor & matching luffa on the edge of the faux-porcelain bathtub. & a sickly second shadow.

"shes cheating on me…"

her house is in another spring bud suburb of town, something like 10 minutes away, but you could make it 7 by applying your customary street-racing techniques, no brakes.

though isnt it entirely possible you were just seeing things? not likely. your very own imogen poots, subtly promiscuous at just 16 would have no trouble finding a willing participant to enact an affair. jessica is absolutely gorgeous & you realized long ago youre not the only person who realizes it.

youre out the front door now, nearly accidentally leaving it ajar & knocking off your mothers 4th of july wreath & you think, "what would she think?" when she got home from work shed probably worry a little at first but something tells you shed be just as upset because "were not paying to cool the whole neighborhood!" she used to always say that, back when you liked to crack your window at night, before you ever taped trash bags up to keep the sunlight out & allow you to sleep in. the morning is for your grandparents & summer is when the fun begins.

in the car you dont take the time to unlock the glove box & get out your stereo plate, so its mostly silent aside from your wheezing mind & the wind leaking in through the window that never shuts all the way. reminds you of last christmas. your mother wrapped up a big box but clearly not big /enough/ for the car you asked for, though thats all you asked for – you made that very clear. so several bargain bin dvds of the fucking pursuit of happiness & mission impossible iii later & youre starting to get very frustrated. you unwrap your last gift with the desperation of growing disappointment & inside is just a brick but taped to the bottom of the brick is a key.

in the garage now & "are you fucking kidding me? i have to drive around in this goddamn denim tuxedo?" your mother levels with you – "its vintage!" jesus. a /smart car/ would be an upgrade from this dumb piece of hipster shit. "25 years old – its technically an antique." wow, so cool. jessicas parents had just thrown out their 25 year-old computer.

"but its all i could afford," your mother says.

god, you hope it doesnt break down now, as you hang a left onto one of her neighborhoods ways you almost hit one of her neighbors dogs, but the woman yanks its leash at the last second, surely cursing you for driving like its 1:30 in the morning & youve had more than a few keystones & a quesadilla for fourth meal again.

you might as well have, youre so amped up. nothing can stop you. the only thing in your way is time & its almost up when you hang another right & see theres no unfamiliar car in her drive.

jessicas bathroom is in the basement & so you creep down the stairs past her mothers shelf of ceramic townhouses – her mother & father still at work at this time. "money all around" by holychild, a song from one of your many mix tapes, hangs in the stagnant air down here.

the white bathroom doors shut, the white bathroom light is on, the white bathroom sink is running.

"j-jessica?" you knock. she swings open the door, clad in matching towels for her shapely body & shapely hair.

"what are you doing here?!" she says but youre at a loss for words. the room is empty except for her. you didnt see a second shadow because there was no second shadow to see.

you finally alight, "i just had to make sure you were alright."

"why wouldnt i be?" she kisses you & youre suddenly in the mood for what youre always in the mood for nowadays. but do you deserve it after convincing yourself shed betrayed you in such a way?

oh, its just so simple, a kiss in a towel. shes pulling your shirt over your head as youre assaying the buttons on your skinny jeans.

you lift her up on to the sink & constantly thank god for the little things you shouldnt yet see – 5 little fingers on each little hand. she doesnt struggle with the clasp on your bra because shes been wearing one just as long, if not longer.

you know exactly how to touch her because you know exactly how you like to be touched, know exactly what it takes to get there.

she slowly shimmies off the towel & you grab one corner of it in each hand while she grabs the other two, then you take a step back. together you fold it like one of the sleeping bags you took up north last month. her parents chauffeured but they didnt keep a close eye on you two; why should they? what kind of mischief can a pair of teenage girls brush up alone in a tent, far away from any boys? certainly not the lesbian porn sleepover scenes all the boys at school naïvely believe actually happen.

it could be just a phase; all the emo girls your age have "girlfriends." they interlock pinkies in the high school hallways & thats about the extent of that.

when youre finished folding the towel, youre pressed tightly against each other now. she tosses her head back into the mirror mounted above the sink, crying out a little bit but shes probably more worried about explaining the crack in the glass to her mother than the pain in her head, she says. your own dyed-fuchsia hair would do better to mask the little trail of blood dredging across her skin, & your vivid fingernail polish to match. her tongue follows the road map dictated by your exposed ribs. you pray super skinny /is/ just a phase. you still have plenty of time to fill out & develop; youre only 16.

shes standing now & you grab her ass & squeeze then scratch maybe too hard but theres no pain, or if there is she doesnt complain.

youre so caught up in everything, you never notice the blinking red dot, though this oversight may stem from the fact that mr. videographer, focusing on you two, has taken great care to tape over that blinking red light. the steam pours over the shower door like a hot spring fogging up the lens, but he just wipes it off & all is well again.

xx

jessica has a way with words her english teachers urge her to channel into writing creatively, but it mostly only comes out in the hallways at school when someone walks by, whispering "lesbian."

"yeah, ill fuck your girlfriend just like the rest of the soccer team has," she says.

"bitch."

"you wish, so you could put a leash on me like you do with candace," she says.

"slut."

"then how come /you/ cant have me?" she says.

a setting in terms of time is unimportant, as these conversations act out in a hundred variations on any given day.

xx

now its the middle of the night & your phones blowing up but you sleep soundly through the misleadingly soft vibrations – dont check them until morning, & by then its much too late. as if you couldve ever broken the cycle anyway.

its out there now. the first of many texts you read is from an unknown number asking if youve seen the video.

what video?

"everyones seen it," they say.

your names are trending on yik yak; all anyones talking about is the video because they can do so anonymously.

you make it to the bathroom but only to the sink. youre crying hard now & your moms outside the bathroom door, heard you running, "honey? are you alright?" because nobodys told her yet.

"yes, just sick," you lie.

you might never be alright again.

at least you dont have to worry about coming out to your mother any longer – the vice principal takes care of that. your mother doesnt say so, but you know shes heartbroken – but not for the right reasons. or at least, not for the reasons you ever imagined shed be.

"mom, im so sorry." shes holding your head as you cry in her arms – "sweetie, these things happen. its gonna be okay." she says it but it doesnt make it that way.

"i want their names – everyone whos shared the video," shes screaming at the detective. "they must be reprimanded. shes just a kid!"

"maam, please. we are going to do everything within our power to find out & punish those responsible, but i should tell you… theyre /all/ just kids. & kids, they share photos & videos, stds, everything, like crazy. if we can even trace it, its likely the only one who will be disciplined is the person who took the video. for trespassing & voyeurism."

"& child pornography," your mother adds as you bury your face in your hands.

the detective asks "do you know who might have wanted to take a video like this?" every kid in the schools name comes to mind, leaving you with nothing at all to say, no one at all to name.

you wont go back to school, not that school. maybe not any school, maybe not ever, because there will always be rumors. "did you hear why she transferred? she filmed a sex tape with her /girl/friend."

the detectives office is so warm, but only speaking in terms of mercury. makes you want to take off your plaid button-up but youre wearing just a halter-top underneath & you can already tell to which side the detective is leaning. the chair is lumpy & doesnt seat comfortably, but thats okay because this scene in the office will last less than 15 minutes. the detective cant even.

he says "look, these things happen, & when they do, youre right – the right thing would be to not share it. to delete it as soon as its been received. but thats not what kids do. im sure you understand."

more than anything, you want to be with the only person who can make this all okay, make it go away. but youve gathered by now her parents confiscated her computer & phone & whatever else, & if you were her parents, wouldnt you do the same?

you just need her opinion on everything/want to know if anythings changed.

so youre messaging her on facebook, dming her on twitter, texting her, calling her cell, her house but nothing produces anything.

her last tweet taunts you: "hot tan & a cool shower. life is good! #blessed." that was yesterday morning.

you just want to talk to her, just want to hear her voice. your mom says you need a backup plan, in case you never hear from her again. you just want to change your name, just want to move away. but this doesnt seem feasible, you just cant comprehend. you were madly in love just yesterday. all those passionate feelings, they dont just go away.

so you try & try again for 3 hours & 6 days. the detective calls your mother every afternoon to update her that thereve been no updates. & on the sixth day, when both jessicas cell & home phone ring out of service & her twitters been deleted & her facebooks been deactivated (youve taken all these measures too – the constant 2am phone calls where girls just chanted "thot" did you in), you convince your mother to accompany you to jessicas house – she agrees you two should speak, but when her father answers the door, he tells you he doesnt want to hear from you again.

"this cant be it!" you shout, your mother trying to calm you down.

"i really think they should see each other," she adds.

"i dont care what you think. my daughter is my property & youve got no say in the matter."

"property?!" you look in the door past her father, & make eye contact with jessica who slips into the shadows & you shout "jess!" but her father slams the door in your face & you lose it completely now, kneeling on their front porch. neighbors watch the spectacle from curtained windows, seemingly unembarrassed.

your mom is rubbing your back, & trying to pull you along, "weve got to go, honey," but you wont budge. you shout "jess" again & her father returns to the door, "leave now, or im going to call the police."

this is truly the end.

xx

your mother may be at some sort of crossroads as she begs you to join her for ice cream. in a way, you feel, shes then rewarding you for your terrible mistake. you know you dont deserve it, but you go just to make her happy.

you dont eat but a few spoonfuls of your snickerdoodle cookie froyo, & thats really the last solid food you have, so some days later, your mothers literally carrying you in her arms to the car, driving you to the hospital where theyll feed you through an iv. this goes on for several weeks, your mother always by your side except when shes running to barnes & noble for another new book, mostly selections from oprahs book club, reading to you until you can muster the strength to hold the book yourself, hold the spoon yourself, stand up yourself. the doctor prescribes another 3 weeks of bedrest at home & a high calorie diet, but you tell your mom you really wont make it that long. you truly wont survive. so she contacts a school district in a neighboring town.

you start at your new school on monday.

eli @kampsin's body of work is available entirely free of charge here.

opening quote from the neighbourhoods "jealou$y (feat. casey veggies & 100s)."

Blogs - April 11, 2015

/the bittersweet between my teeth,
trying to find the in-betweens,
fall back in love eventually./

the house lights seem much dimmer now than when hed first arrived, but much to elliotts dismay, he could not remember any specific moment when that had changed. he could only say that the house lights seemed much dimmer now than when hed first arrived, there was no doubt in his mind, though he may have subconsciously taken in the social cues of any other night, the patrons having had ample time now to soak in the alcohol, & the dj slowly twisting the volume knob up. eventually there would be nothing left but the light behind the bar, beckoning patrons like a sick beacon, & an array of colored spheres rolling around the walls, ceiling, & floor. it would be hard to make out any single face in the crowd beyond the 6 or so immediate sides to his human hexagon & he would move like a kaleidoscope, mixing them up to get a better sampling of the scene. he was single, & tonight, as was the prescribed responsibility of every night previously, that was to change.

the drink in her hand is bottomless, courtesy of the myriad of men failing to capture any shade of attention which might remain in the shadows of a brain raised during the a.d.d. epidemic. a shirley temple now, which she would promptly down around the time her next potential partner posed themselves. men & women alike recognize an air of innocence surrounding her, intimidating & out of place in this basement of abandoned beliefs. theres some level of monotony in the constant insanity of the club scene, & she yearns for a quiet night without quinta reminding her shell likely never meet someone through netflix. she knows it true but wishes it desperately not. just as one guy introduces himself, it is becoming of the rest of the club to do so as well.

the rooms spinning at a heartening rate - hes circled it several times in some geometric formula which some mathematician might have recognized while looking down on him from a balcony above. nothing can break these motions. he is becoming accustomed to them. he can execute them with the precision of a frogs tongue netting a fly. there is no question. but precision has a spark never lit in his unsolvable love equation, & even if it did, the sprinklers sparkling the ceiling would put it out swiftly.

this is not to say the club is not his scene. he understands it well enough to realize this dj is a good one. so good, in fact, elliott is beginning to wonder if hes not simply standing up there streaming some skrillex or diplo or skrillex /&/ diplo set on youtube – then adding his own visual magic to mimic the mixing process. all this just movement, its becoming so that the things which stand out to elliott are those /not/ moving. like theres this girl at the bar with her face in a glass case housing her twitter followers, hundreds if not thousands forever looking to slide into her dms.

& nothing. there is absolutely nothing interesting in her phone at this hour & she begins to wonder if there ever is, but she wont wonder tomorrow. so she looks up & a pair of eyes catch hers – she can really only make out their whites – tracking her every intimate move. but many eyes have done that many times in the past six months. how had she not found someone yet?

sometimes the colored plastic discs fragmenting the lights hit the man just right & she can make out someone handsome at least. not blistering hot, no flash in the pan - but a heat that might grow on you, steady enough that you hardly even realize youre boiling. some contradictory combination of sweet & edgy that just works, like bacon strips between glazed doughnuts but not at all like that physically. & his dance moves are a sight to see, quirky enough that she wants to join them, if for no other reason than to help him in solidarity.

so with a little sashay of her hips & a bobbing of her head, she finds herself back to back with this man.

shes gone. where has she gone? there are so many dancers in this place & theres been so many nights hes spent just like this. he thinks it might be just as well. he has to think that; theres been plenty of times before when hed felt a connection something like this, not this strong, but… strong enough, & then… nothing. shes left him to collect his thoughts & replace the money in his pocket. "déjà vu" is skipping in his head & to that tune, this drunk nobody cramping his place, stepping on his heels, frustratingly. unless of course, & this is speaking theoretically, it turns out to be the same woman cramping his mental space simultaneously.

"quiet night, charlie," she says to herself, but she has made it this far. back to back, stepping on his heels, charlie was never a good dancer. thats why she stays at the bar, being the little connoisseur of craft beer that she never is. on a whim she turns on her heel, but hers catches his & she goes tumbling on to the sticky concrete.

her knees look as though they took most of the beating. the man seems alright, but he is peering down at her with mystified eyes. he can hardly believe that there beneath his feet lies the very object of his fleeting affection, returned to him again. mindlessly he is helping her up, like he might have picked up a girls textbooks if shed dropped them in the high school hall, if that sort of thing ever actually happened like in the movies. but no; backpacks took away the romance of that cliché.

he grabs her elbow, just as she thinks a gentleman should, but its awkward trying to get up - in part because she knows she could get up on her own & she doesnt particularly like introducing herself as dependent.

"i can get up on my own, thank you very much," she says, her ankle immediately begging to differ. she knows these small pin-prick pinches from having rolled her ankle a time or three in softball. shed quit after that first year; clearly she wasnt for the game. "i knew i shouldnt have worn heels," she says under her breath, but he is close enough to hear.

him: "i was thinking the exact same thing."

her: "that i shouldnt have worn heels?"

him: "no, that /i/ shouldnt have worn heels."

she has to glance down to make sure, he was just kidding.

"oh, a funny guy," she says & he cant help but feel she thinks that actually.

him: "can i buy you a…"

her: "ring? please, we just met."

him: "i was gonna say 'drink,' but…"

her: "ive had plenty already?"

him: "i wasnt gonna say that."

her: "no, but my ankle agrees."

he pulls her arm around him like hed seen the football players do in high school when one of their contingent was injured. usually it took two of them to make the save but this girl was half the size of any player hed ever seen.

she knows shes a handful, quite literally. she just has to sit & remove her shoe, & then… what? hop in her car & drive away? no, not in this state, her inebriation being just one of /two/ major setbacks now.

"we should sit," he says, still trudging along trying to hold up her weight.

the 10 feet to the bar do plenty to convince charlotte she needs elliotts company - as if she really needed any more convincing.

he practically lifts her up by her waist & sits her on the stool, holds her steady while she situates herself.

"so… do you come here often?" elliott says, taking a drink.

"no, i usually do that at home," she says, elliott now choking on his drink.

"jesus, i…"

"im charlotte," she adds, filling the impressed silence.

"if they made a childrens book about you, youd be sharp charlotte."

"i havent heard that one before."

"me neither," he says, not thinking it very clever, but again she picks up his slack.

"& you are?"

"the girls call me early elliott."

"that doesnt sound like a good thing."

him: "or a true thing. explosive elliott."

her: "egocentric elliott."

him: "esoteric elliott."

her: "i dont know what that means."

him: "only a select few people do. i could teach you."

she might look up the word when she gets home, but really, will she even remember it?

she will remember elliott though, charming & /smart/.

"may i take a look at your ankle?" he offers.

"umm… yes?" she concedes, though not because she thinks he may be able to do anything to fix it. more out of curiosity re: what he thinks he may be able to do to fix it.

charlies shoes are too small for her feet & elliott slips off the one with the ease of tying a knot in a rattlesnake. its a very cinderella moment, but instead of putting on a slipper hes taking one off & the pain outweighs the fairy tale aspect.

"its sprained. youll need rice."

"excuse me, but with all due respect, how is rice going to help my ankle?"

"no, r.i.c.e. its an acronym. rest, ice, compress, & elevate."

"that makes a lot more sense than rice."

"but if you like rice, im sure having a bowl of it wouldnt hurt your ankle."

he remembers r.i.c.e. as being a pretty universal first-aid mnemonic. maybe high school health class is paying off. or maybe he couldve just googled it if he ever really needed it.

but no - it has been committed to memory & hopefully impressing to charlotte. hes beginning to think she might be worth impressing.

"what do you want to do?" he asks. he doesnt want to sound like he is trying to take charge of her; he does not want to come off that way.

"my brakes need fluid," she says.

"is that a euphemism?..."

"no. in my car. & im not sure either of us are good to drive. but i might need some assistance getting up to my apartment."

"i have some crutches in my windowless van you can use. youve just gotta come out to the dark alley ive parked in and get them."

"eh, ive never been good with crutches," she says.

"lets share a cab & ill help you inside?" he offers, much more politely.

it takes a couple of tries for elliott to hail a cab. in the backseat, he coaxes charlotte into placing her foot in his lap where he lightly strokes her leg, soft like fine, white sand. she notes how well he does keeping away from the injured ankle & cant help but smile & giggle a little too, kind of tickles. she hasnt been this intimate with a man in a long while. sure, drunk little flings that lasted just until she had to tear the ravenous men away but they had no class, no romance. there was a race to race & most nights thats all she felt like, a finish line to be crossed instead of a destination vacation to visit & dream of time & time again.

but eli seems genuine.

the cab ride could have been so much longer, she wouldnt have minded, but she also supposed their romance didnt have to end as the taxi ride did.

eli gets the door for her & helps her out. she braces herself on the door while he pays the cabbie in what seems to be looser change than she might have been expecting. he does not carry himself like a poor man.

he has to hope she doesnt notice the small bills, but with the anxious eyes shes cast his way since they first met, he knows they will be no other place. "spent it all on drinks," he thinks to say, but that might imply that there were many women before her; he doesnt think she realizes & he thinks it best to keep it that way.

she doesnt mention it as he helps her up the front staircase & into the entryway of the building, toward the one elevator which he can already see bares some sort of warning sign.

"shit," she all but whispers. "the elevator. its been out of service for a month."

"dare i ask what floor you live on?" as if it will make any difference in his decision.

"5th."

"oh boy. alright. okay," hes saying with no clear ending in sight. then suddenly hes resolved with a surety that implies there was never any question in his mind. "hop on," he says.

"what, like on your back? oh no, im… no no."

"do you have a sleeping bag up there? i could just run up & get it & we could camp out here," he says with a tone in his voice that suggests he is only trying to persuade her against that. "come on, its fine."

so she obliges. "youre a champion," she says, laughing as they race up the stairs. "you can slow down," she offers, but he just waves off the idea.

"if i slow down, ill stop. better to just ride this wave of energy all the way out to sea. is it cool if i crash on… do you have a couch?"

"yes, of course," she says as theyre nearing the 5th flight of stairs, as evidenced by the big "5" on the door at the next landing.

"i think im gonna throw up," he says in mock-exhaustion, then starts gagging.

"oh, dont! youll make me throw up. do we need to stop? let me down."

"no no, were almost there!" he says, then "alright, off! off!" playfully, outside the 5th floor door. now hes coughing in such a way she thinks he might be dying. she thinks she might tell him she loves him if this is how elliott will end. but then, all at once, he has collected himself & she determines that he has been joking mostly all of the way. hes breathing a bit heavier, but he certainly isnt dying.

"oh good. youre okay. i dont know any last rites," she says.

"that okay, im a treeist."

"is that like a theist, but w-"

"but with trees, yes."

"i dont know what that means."

"nobody knows what it means but its provocative."

"it gets the people going," she adds.

"did you just quote '… in paris'?" he says, bewildered.

"you mean blades of glory?"

"right."

"can we go inside now?" she asks.

"after you," he says, cordially.

shes digging through her coat pockets now.

her: "oh no."

him: "what no?"

her: "my keys."

him: "where are your keys?"

her: "i dont know."

him: "your keys."

her: "yes, my… i think they might have fallen out in the cab."

him: "oh no."

her: "could you… run down & get them?"

him: "you didnt. i… i didnt get any cab information. id have to call the co-"

"just kidding!" she says, turning the handle & finding it unlocked, which is good because she really has left her keys behind. "welcome to… camp charlotte," she says, hobbling into the modest apartment.

"very nice," he says, having quickly surveyed the apartment. "now, have you got any ice?" he asks, leading charlotte to the couch in the living room from which she motions to the kitchen.

"i assume you know where to look from there?" she says.

in the freezer, elliot finds 0 ice, but instead a frozen can of grape crush. "you know, this will explode," he says, peeking around the corner. he grabs a thin towel from the side of the sink & wraps the soda in it, then places the crush on his crushs ankle.

"so… you come here often?" she says.

"i could probably be persuaded to. its a very nice place youve got here. very…"

"nice, yes."

"i was going to say homey. how much bigger does a girl like you need?"

"i likeem big," she says with an indeterminate inflection which could either imply double entendre or the search for a sugar daddy.

"are those records?" elliott asks, motioning to the plastic tote under the approximately 32 inch tv.

"records? you mean like with music on them? heavens no. its 2015, honey. theyre laserdiscs."

"youre kidding."

"no, im charlotte."

"you better quit."

"or else what?"

"ill have to kiss you."

"you better quit," she says, moving to get up. "i did not bring you here to kiss," she says, wobbling towards the kitchen.

"oh yeah? what did you bring me here for then?"

"to care for me. like a doctor making a house call," she says, disappearing around the corner to the kitchen.

"im not a licensed physician." r.i.c.e. is basic first aid, but he finds it likely shes being sarcastic. while shes away, he checks to make sure the tote is not filled with laserdiscs, & instead finds what appears to be a dirty laundry hamper in her living room under the tv.

charlie returns to the couch, two smudge-less wine glasses in hand.

"but wheres the wine?" observant elliott says, in a tone mocking the disappointment he is very really feeling.

"you seem to have supplied it already," charlotte says, winking at him, hoping hell realize it is another joke. "my… friendly… guest, who carried me all the way up 5 treacherous flights of stairs. our choice beverage this evening," & the only beverage charlotte has in her little apartment currently, "grape crush!"

the can has thawed somewhat whilst resting on her ankle.

"will you do the honors, elliott?"

he pops the top & purple fizz sprays all over charlottes blouse.

"maybe we should have gotten a new can," elliott offering the obvious.

"no no, this is alright. go ahead, pour. pour!"

so he pours it & they drink - one can between the two of them offering just enough time to break the ice & serving as a breath mint of sorts. elliott leans in for a kiss, tentatively at first before being persuaded to fully commit by complementary tongues.

the tips of his fingers find a soft spot on the back of her ear that they smooth, lightly tossing her hair behind it. the space between their bodies shrinks like a glacier in the lustful heat.

her sticky, wet blouse presses against his dry button-up & she pulls away.

"i should change this."

"or you can stay here," he suggests, but shes already gotten up & walked to her bedroom door. leaning against the frame, she turns back, beckoning him with subtle movements to follow her in.

elliotts heart recognizes her cues before his brain does, forcing her to add in mock-annoyance, "well?" she wants him inexplicitly, & so any avenue she can take to effectively avoid the only subject at hand, she will, re: "boy, dont make me say it."

half her room is filled with a bed, adorned with pillows enough for a womens shelter. as she slowly backs into it, she can feel her calves grazing the lace of the bed skirt as he wraps his arms around her & lets her down easy.

she cant help but smile into a kiss she presses into him & he can feel it in the shadows of her face brushing up against his, combining to make the room darker & darker around them. she blows out the lamp on the bedside table & the window above the headboard sheds the spoils of a single streetlight into the room, but its plenty to make out every sensuous curve as she lifts her blouse above her head & tosses it to a far corner of the bed. she knows that she must be very pale - binge-watching netflix has done nothing for her complexion, but he doesnt seem to mind. shes found him in a very agreeable state.

as she works with her hands the buttons from their counterparts on his shirt, her lips are the gateway drug to her body. she is thankful for what little light they have to ease her task, then she pulls the shirt away, exposing his bare, bloodless chest.

she always wore her best bra out, in case something transpired & now she briefly thinks how sad it is that her bra couldve been for any number of men.

in reality, elliott pays no mind to which specific bra shes chosen - he wouldve been happy with any number of them, or none at all. but he appreciates having time to focus on the rest of her now, the reliefs of her skin like snowy flint hills on a bright winter day, the warmth of her body radiating making for an all-around serene scene.

he wonders if his chest is a complete turn-off re: its complete lack of hair, but she seems to be in this same state of mind - that nothing can be wrong because there is so much right.

but her heart is hurting, her breaths threatening to explode out of her chest now & he can tell, asks her, "is everything okay?" of course he can tell that it is not, but wants to see what shell say.

"yes, this is amazing."

"do you want me to stop?"

"no, this is great," she says, strained. somethings on her mind but she just wont tell. so hes lying there on top of her, brushing her bangs out of her face.

"really, what is it?"

"its, just, been a while since…" shes not here with elliott anymore, but instead focuses on the single street light outside, the one shes been with all along. the one she never wanted to leave.

"oh, thats alright. it certainly hasnt shown." he knows what to say but its not making these feelings go away. like if her and elliott go all the way, that settles it & theres no more possibility of backsliding to her old paramour, who might still come back, & what if shes not here to welcome him back in?

"i dont think i can…"

"you want to stop?"

"...keep going. im sorry. is that okay?"

"of course its okay," he says, lying down beside her now.

"are you sure youre not upset with me?"

"now now, i never said that!... but yeah, im sure," he says, trying to usher out the heavy weather that has creeped into the room through the window. they lie there in silence for a bit, but hes still holding her hand.

"should i go?" he asks.

"actually, id really like it if you didnt. can we just stay like this?" she asks, rolling over & pulling him closer so hes wrapped his arms around her, & he whispers in her ear,

"we can stay exactly this way."

eli @kampsin's body of work is available entirely free of charge here.

acute ruine is a cute ruin. this is her first published work.

opening quote from the naked & famous "young blood."

News - March 31, 2015

im going to let the music speak entirely for itself, choosing one single to represent each album. note: this write-up is available as a spotify playlist for those interesting in streaming there.

in alphabetical order, music youre too late to anticipate:

if you like grouplove, imagine dragons, & walk the moon, you might like this alternative rock album:
awolnation/run

if you like joywave, oh wonder, & phoebe ryan, you might like this electropop album:
big data/2.0

if you like architects, eskimo callboy, & hacktivist, you might like this post-hardcore album:
enter shikari/the mindsweep

if you like as artifacts, camisado, & the paramedic, you might like this metalcore album:
oceans ate alaska/lost isles

if you like crown the empire, secrets, & thats outrageous!, you might like this electronicore album:
palisades/mind games

if you like the contortionist, monuments, & tesseract, you might like this progressive metal album:
periphery/juggernaut: alpha and omega

if you like chvrches, fka twigs, & odesza, you might like this chillwave album:
purity ring/another eternity

if you like diplo, galantis, & skrillex, you might like this edm album:
skrillex & diplo present jack ü

i generally base my hype for an album on a bands earlier stuff, so singles below are from previous releases.

in chronological order, music you should be excited for:

new joywave album, 04/21/15

new passion pit album, 04/21/15

new twenty | one | pilots album, 05/19/15

new muse album, 06/05/15

new franz ferdinand + sparks (ffs) album, 2015

new kaiser chiefs album, 2015

new kanye west album, 2015

new senses fail album, 2015

finally, today is a new release tuesday. heres a few ill be checking out:
death cab for cutie/kintsugi
the maine/american candy
the prodigy/the day is my enemy

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