Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Breaking Bad



Skylar grips Walt’s hand under the table as he reaches up her thigh, then lets go. She fucks him in the car and asks, where did this come from, and why was it so damn good? Walt says, because it’s illegal.


The twenty-something man with a lazy eye that I have forgiven as cute is tugging at my shirt. I never called my parents. I say, we can’t do this, he says, the cops aren’t going to knock down the door. The law is not what I’m thinking of, seventeen and half naked in a strangers bed.


Stretch marking womanhood: the thigh, the breasts, the claw marked hips. Seventeen and hungry, palming cocoa butter and serums, how angry the animated body can make you, how expensive its upkeep. How glamorous young death seems when you are young and unknowing that violence is not innate.



The depiction of hospitals never prepares you for the reality. A camera tracks forward and pans and still my mom on a bed with wheels consumes the frame.


Ongoing for how long? Walt asks the psychiatrist. I haven’t made an appointment yet. Walt is getting the hang of acting. He admits that he didn’t have a fugue state. I’ve been having trouble remembering what each day is like. It takes a while when asked how was your weekend? and it may have always been this way.

Walt watches from the shadows as his wife and son bond in trauma. They don’t know he’s there. Sound travels suspiciously well up the stairs when I hear my parents discussing what they’ll do with me.



There is a specific way to spend your money. There is a specific way to earn it. Walt and his desire to choose. A lack of power propelling overdrive, how most eating disorders instigated by loss of control. And punishment. A moral code like knotted yarn: there is a definitive pattern. Walt plunging his own vomit when a pack of cigarettes surfaces. I thought starving was glamorous. Everyone yells cut! at some point. Two elevator doors as slate board for a panic attack and an apparent recovering. My mother’s affectionate, you look thinner, did you lose weight? A lexicon of measurement of change. Shark gilled. Cactus skinned. Moving forward. Progressing.



Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers mentioned as the shot looms between Jane’s legs. I twist myself in the bedframe. The man is snoring. The key in the ignition ignites the battery and the battery dies. A slow tapping. A quiet repeating. Sharpened shadows in a stranger’s bed to mute the whispers from the kitchen table. The camera tracks forward in a wind tunnel.


The cop releases a statement: here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.


An invisible cathedral with you shaped doors. This street, not that one. Not that dress. This time of day. Not that man.Not that man in the uniform either. Not any.



There is no close in science. There are right and wrong answers. Jesse gets high a lot after the murder. Witness unbearable. I haven’t spent a day sober. The beautiful woman charms her way into the job, what a slutty move, Skyler. Review the tapes. Walt is cunning, Skyler’s a cunt. I feel guilty about everything. Falling in love. Eating a meal. Dreaming about someone dying. The body prepares itself by tensing up muscles during a fall. The body is wrong. Hank in the desert with the binoculars and the informant’s severed head on a turtle. The bomb goes off. Another in a series and still going, over and over. Nothing even needs rewound anymore. Like forgetting. Like survival. The bong or bandage evidence enough.



You never expect relief. When it comes you always expect it to leave you. But there are no expectations with mysterious white masses. An unexplained demeanor change: the world keeps going, etc. How many tragedies can the body maintain? Daddy issues or a patriarchal wound in the hand? Scab pickers. Scar peelers. A week’s worth of knee weakness and tear gas. Here, not there. This street, not that. Walt asks himself, Why me? after both diagnosis and remission. The invisible cathedral dilates and retracts its periscope windows. Police. Father. Sickness. Television. The things you look at without seeing your reflection.


Melissa Dias-Mandoly is a poet living in Pittsburgh with her cat, Catrick Bateman. She studied poetry, film, and gender studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was twice awarded the undergraduate poetry award. Her work has previously appeared in PANK, Storm Cellar, Bone Bouquet, and more. She currently works for the University of Pittsburgh Press.