Nick Kocz


We were not content to bronze just the booties, so we bronzed the teaspoon of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

We bronzed trivialities—the rabbit's foot that allegedly brought good luck, and the specs of eye crud that irritated our vision—making these trivialities worthy of display alongside the gilt madonnas, many-faceted jewels, and the nudes painted by Old Masters that previous generations had venerated. We bronzed pictures of ourselves that we printed out from Facebook and hammered these pictures with bronze nails onto museum walls and over the canvases that already hung. We bronzed a path to the gift shop, which is where everyone knows the real action of our museums take place, and placed bronzed busts of ourselves on all available counterspace.

Knowing that it was fleeting, we bronzed the understanding that pundits saw emerging from rivaling political parties. Then we bronzed the fierce rhetoric that the parties slung at each other. We bronzed the sound bites and talking points, the deceptive advertising and the counter-vailing allegations that none of our fact checkers were ever able to verify. We bronzed the red state/blue state divide and the cantankerous extremists at either end of the political spectrum who were so quick to draw real or metaphorical targets over their opponents' faces. They were "Mad as hell!" or so they said, and we just weren't going to take it any longer.

We bronzed our children's schools for their excellence, sealing their doors but still allowing for the possibility that weeds may blossom in their overgrown playgrounds.

We bronzed our villanelles and short stories and the anthologies in which we were able to successfully place them. We bronzed contemporary wisdom and squeezed all of it into the smallest nooks on our book shelves. We bronzed Paris Hilton, not that she contains an iota of wisdom, but it was the thought that counted, or so we told ourselves.

We bronzed the gold medals that we awarded to our athletes, who were happy that we heeded their desire not to bronze their feet. We bronzed their touchdowns and home runs and the championship games during which so many bottles of beer had been sold.

We bronzed the goose that had laid the golden eggs that allowed our economy to keep afloat these last many years. We bronzed the mine shafts through which copper and tin and other metals necessary for bronzing were extracted. We bronzed the pennies upon which portraits of Abraham Lincoln had been pressed. We bronzed our memories, freezing our understanding of the past. We bronzed the young iconoclasts who railed against the ossification of culture and the conformity so that now, they too would stand rigid in the galleries of great sculptures from the past.

We bronzed every damn thing we could lay our hands on, then cursed the sights and sounds and smells which could never be bronzed. What was to be done with the ephemeral sounds that meant so much to us—the crack of the baseball bat, say, on a well-thrown fastball? Or the smell of freshly cut grass, to say nothing of our emotions, which even though they ran the gamut from angry to self-absorbed, no amount of bronze could ever capture. We bronzed the hands on our clocks, hoping to draw our time to a close but it didn't work because the second hand moved too damn fast to let the bronze set.

We bronzed our daughter and laid her to rest in a bronze casket. We bronzed the tears streaming down our faces but alas, could not make the bronze harden due to the salinity of those tears. We bronzed our noses to spite our face. We bronzed everything we could lay our hands on with no regard to cost, knowing that our debts would be passed along to less-fortunate generations. We bronzed the grim landscape and the gray clouds that crept overhead of us no matter where we walked. Or how fast.

Nick Kocz's stories have appeared in a number of places, including Black Warrior Review, Mid-American Review, The Normal School, and Web Conjunctions. He is a regular contributor to The Nervous Breakdown. Sometimes, he also blogs at