I. I thought you were her world;
Her paperback novel
She could ponder quotes in
And crack the spine of.
But you’ve now got police orders against you
And the pain of missing you
Seers the seams of her striped-sweater heart
And though you’re trying to get into Green and Ginsberg,
She can’t see what the big deal is.
You were the Holden Caulfield
To her Jane Gallagher
But Holden never took Phoebe
To the mattress so
I guess that makes the two of you
Sid and Nancy
II. I suppose she never believed you
When you told her that you were an alcoholic.
Because alcohol burns
And though you lit her fire,
You couldn’t keep it burning.
You told her that you didn’t read
And she should have
Backed away then.
But she didn't.
Because you played accordion
And dressed like Gatsby
And she adored that for a good while.
Until you told her that you despised the Rolling Stones
And may have committed a murder.
Even then she did not back away
Because you bought her cigarettes
And hit on other girls
While she waited for you
To give her the boot.
III. She liked your accent
But it was just a sweet, endearing cover up
For a mind as empty as a gypsy’s wallet
And a rich man’s soul.
IV. You liked to give her drags
Off your E-cigarette
Because it tasted like cherry Pez
And you wanted her to see
Or rather, taste,
Kissing you was like magic
You moved on to an older broad.
Her lips met yours
You tasted like heavy booze
And she was too desperate and twisted
To really give much of a damn.
So she accepted it
And moved on.
Because you called her pretty
And made out with her in the forest,
Denim scratching denim,
Hearts hurting hearts.
VI. She didn’t know you were homeless.
Maybe she did
But she didn’t accept it.
Like an elderly doesn’t accept death at first
And attempts to bargain.
You smelled horrible…
She believed it to be a natural thing.
But you were neglecting your hygiene and with that,
Her as well.
And the only thing you cared more for than sex
Was the Sex Pistols.
VII. You asked her to take off her glasses one day
And with one look of her freckled,
Pimple-shell ridden face,
You told her she looked like Ramona Flowers
And upon googling who that was,
She nearly crapped herself in glee.
She should have taken it as a sign
When you began to find
And tiny reason to touch her in as playful a way you could.
Through tiny nudges
She should have seen the possibility of romance blossoming.
But you were 29
And she, 17.
Twelve years, practically
Between the two of you.
But your undivided ideals
Brought you only closer together.
You were an English education major,
With a III mark after your name
And Megaman on your walls.
She took one look
At the astounding possibilities,
Drew a breath and fell in love with
Every little thing about you.
Unnoticeable thing about you,
From the scar
Stretching down your spine
To the scruff on your chin…
Deeper in love with you
Than she ever had before.
And she saw a dream,
That came in on a hot summer day
With Taco Bell
As she serves the food
the smell permeates the air
ah, food's aroma is so good
and I've of it a fair share.
I don't know what hunger is
how many on earth go unfed
I get whenever I please
I bother about the quality instead.
I talk of freedom and free will
care about health and hygiene
I have my assured meal
hunger's face I haven't seen.
I'm a man well fed
live in the fullness of good meals
I don't have to take it in my head
in this world hunger still kills.
[i like the way you face me when you talk to me]
[you even blink your eyes with just the right timing]
What’s your name?
[i’ll bet you have a good orthodontist cause i’d say your teeth are better than most]
[you must have good hygiene or a good mother cause that shirt is starched]
[how do you hold yourself so confidently? did you take public speaking courses?]
[i feel calmer in your presence than anyone else in the room]
I am ragged and
In velveteen splendour.
Assembled by a drunk,
Who couldn't remember
I'm too tall for my height.
You are pulpy and bright
Like today's magazines.
Your eyes are spotless like
And they fold and crease
in smiles at me.
You find me funny.
I am sterile and naked
And aching with
I'll bend into positions to
Get your attention.
I am fixed in the curb,
and you gather the nerve
to cope with my most
(I love you. I forget to mention.)
You've never indulged in
You wrap my arms around
like I'm a scarf.
I make you laugh.
You've never been
out on the scene.
You've never found yourself
between two strangers
in a darkened room.
Bedroom theatre's not
You've never smoked.
You've never drank so much
on hot-bodied vomit and
collapsed in the road.
You had four pints of
and I watched you explode.
From your skin I lick atoms of the sky and shampoo.
You are dripping with hygeine
You are clear, you are blue.
In mirrors you stand and watch me watching you.
The gym at Coretta Scott King High School in the last white suburb of Detroit was strewn with desk chairs pointing in all directions. Many of the desk tops, whose shape resembled the dialogue box of a cartoon, were occupied by Starbuck coffee cups, their sculpted lids used as makeshift ashtrays. A smoldering cigarette butt at once testified to a hasty departure of the previous group and the oral fixation that survived the twelve steps.
The entering students rearrange the chairs at their home team's three point line bringing an asymmetric order to the cavernous space. The surrounding darkness gives the empty arena seats a foreboding presence inviting the student's imagination to populate them with cheering werewolves and vampires. The latest release of the Twilight franchise over the weekend dominates the minds of these Gen Zers who feel that any alternate reality is preferable to the tedium of their own.
Everyone sits down except 'The Professor', who is really not a professor but a substitute English teacher. He stands tall and gaunt, a proper English country gentleman, regrettably born in the wrong country, the wrong era and to the wrong parents. He wears a clip-on bowtie, button down collar Oxford and worsted gabardine trousers. His navy blue corduroy blazer spors the de rigueur pseudo-suede elbow patches. All that's missing, in the Professor's mind, is the fox and hounds. There was some buzz on Facebook that the Professor secretly wears an undersized corduroy jock strap to complement his self-aggrandizing ensemble. Just silly stuff concocted by the students to pass the time, idle hands being The Devil's playground and Coretta Scott King High School being in an eternal state of recess.
Substitute teachers being paid less than a barista at Starbucks, the Professor was forced to teach a 'remedial' writing class in the after school program on Sundays. He had better things to do on his weekend, like write the great American novel or sort his laundry alphabetically. But we live in harsh times. The world is upside down now with the best rapper being white and the best golfer being black. One day we'll even have a black president -- if I was writing science fiction.
"I apologize for the disheveled state you've found our impromptu classroom," The Professor waves his hand in an exaggerated gesture, clearing the air of smoke that isn't there. "It seem the previous AA meeting ran over the allotted time. Well...," he stretches the word, pausing for comic effect, "what do you expect from alcoholics that will remain anonymous."
The joke didn't go over well to his radical politically correct oxymoronic students with Mustang GTs and small carbon footprints. It elicits equal amounts of grunts and cringing. Correction. Make that more cringes than grunts. The Professor attempts to regain face and authority by quoting his Lord and Savior, Shakespeare, or as his students refers to him, 'The Bard of Lard'.
"Seems, 'I am done to death by slanderous tongue'. 'What's done..." the Professor pauses, turns and sucker-slaps Winston on the back of the head, "..is done'." Winston was miming cunnilingus gestures to his brother from another mother, Brent sitting square under the basketball hoop. The moment 'slanderous tongue' was mentioned he could not resist the opportunity to shoot.
"Yo, that's illegal! Winston squeals, scratching the back of his head like a dog scraping at fleas. "I could sue your bitch ass."
"Just kicking it Old Skool," says the professor in a smug attempt to be sound au courant. "Get it, 'Old's Cool'," he spelled out for the blunter instruments in the shed. "I've got the 411 on you," he accents, pointing to Winston and then back to his eye, making the 'V' symbol. 'V' for vigilance, 'V' for vagina -- the Professor and Winston made a perfect pair of bookends that spoke volumes about their different worlds: books and bongs.
Let's not waste any more valuable time. In today's writing exercise I will ask you to 'cudgel thy brains' and experiment with a new form called the tandem story. I'll ask each of you to pair off, male and female. The female partner will then write the first paragraph of a story. The male will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph or more to continue the story. The female will then add a third paragraph or more, and so on, and so forth, until you come to what is clearly an ending to this 'tale told by a fool full of noise and fury signifying nothing'. It's important to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. Sustaining coherence and a logical flow is the main point. Be civil. Abstain from swearing and curse words. Share one notebook. Don't hog the story. Let you partner have their say like each dog their day."
"Does it have to be a story, Professor. Like, can it be, like, you know, a movie script?"
"You mean a screenplay. Sure. Anything goes as long as you maintain coherence. Just follow your imagination and 'To thine own self be true'. Choose you partners and begin."
After much musical chairs and strategic elbowing, Sidney, the nerdy yet undefeated table hockey champion maneuvers skillfully enough to sit next to Amber, a dyslexic brainiac and a bit of a hottie behind her faux-Tina Fey glasses.
Amber writes the first paragraph.
'Alexis sighed wistfully. She hadn't eaten in days. Ever since 'he' left she had become even more obsessed and enamored of him though he wasn't even her 'type'. His image lingered, following her like a long shadow before sundown. The more she tried to banish him from her thoughts, the stronger his image became. His expressive eyes. His musky smell of English Leather. She remembered his strokes, the way he ran his finger from her neck to the dimples of her lower back and up again as if he was playing Chopin's Preludes. He couldn't just be a one night stand, he was her soulmate.
But he didn't know it yet.'
Sydney reads Amber's opening and continues, aware of the Professor's insistence on flow and coherence.
'Kirk: Captain’s log. Stardate 8130.3. Starship Enterprise on training mission to Pi-Omega-Omega-Pi. Approaching Neutral Zone, systems functioning but in need of repair since our last 'rendezvous' with the Romulans.
Uhura: Captain! I’m getting an odd stream of signals hailing from a tramp steamer in Quadrant 7-11, AKA the ‘Big Gulp’. They’re icons. Cat…Teeth… Shovel... Banana…The letters 'P.S.' followed by a smiley face and party hat. The universal translator cannot decipher their meaning.
Kirk: Spock. Expla
Spock: It appears to be a code of a defunct language called ‘Hobo’ – North America, circa 1930. Hobos were itinerant beggars of the Great Depression who made a habit of hopping freight trains and living on hand outs. Captain, their perambulations are not logical.
Uhura: Captain, I have YouTube!
Alexis: I miss you 'mon capitain.' When are you coming back to see your inamorata?
Spock: Who is that?
Kirk: Oh, just some piece of tail I played hide the salami with on Halcyon 7 while on R&R. Boy, she makes a Hoover vacuum look...'
Amber's nostrils flare and she grabs the notebook from Sidney.
'...Boy, she makes a Hoover vacuum look like the elegant instrument of efficiency it was intended to be. The consummate meeting of form and function. It is amazing what Alexis had done tidying up Kirk's hopeless pig sty of a hotel room at the Halcyon 7 Motel 6, which was so filthy it could become a trysting place for noxious contagions on the verge of an intergalactic pandemic.
But it was too late. Kirk had contracted the deadly bug despite her best efforts at Feng Shui and basic hygiene like putting the toilet seat down. Kirk was overcome with feelings of guilt and regret for marginalizing the one woman in the cosmos who truly understood him, the one woman who knew that beneath his macho exterior there was...
Sydney grapples for the notebook, nearly ripping out the pages.
"...beneath his macho exterior was a Great Wall of cunning and calm under fire who could easily come up with a cure for a MERE viral assailant.'
Sydney switches back to his preferred screenplay format knowing that the only place for Amber's kind of narrative syrup is on an Aunt Jemima narrative pancake.
Spoc: Computer. Make a detailed analysis of the Captain's blood, profile its viral proteome by employing mass spectrometry and electrophoresis and determine an accurate cure for the invasive contagion.
Computer: Analyzing...Chicken soup dispensed three times a day for a duration of 10 days unless one on those days falls on Yom Kippur.'
Amber rips back the notebook with an iron grip that had not been seen since the Kaiser Franz Joseph grabbed the last dinner roll at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. She franticly writes.
'But before Kirk could imbibe the antidote a Romulan Bird of Prey uncloaks and shoots a dilithium laced missile at the Starship Enterprise vaporizing the ship...'
Sidney snatches back the notebook, and scribbles at warp speed.
'But not before Kirk sneaks into an escape shuttle and maneuvers into a wormhole going back in time to just seconds before the Romulans launch their dilithium missiles and he single-handedly destroys the clueless Bird of Prey before it uncloaks with a barrage of photon torpedoes. And then he swallows the soup, saving the Enterprise and his ass. THE END.'
"Asshole," Amber yells, standing up and throwing back her desk chair in fury that hell hath yet to bear witness to.
"Children, children." The professor intervenes.
"Wait a minute," says Sydney, stepping chivalrously between Amber and the Professor. Sydney turns and stares deeply into Ambers eyes, squinting hard to see behind the reflective glare of her glasses where once he saw -- only himself. OMG! Amber's eyes are bluer than the twin unblemished moons of Empyrean 3. Sidney's heart skips a beat and stammers, "Are you, you, a Trekkie?"
"Big time," says Amber, her heart thumping. "Let's bail this white bread bughouse!'
Sydney and Amber dash through the double exit doors, hand in hand. Their gallop echoes off the cavernous walls and the doors close behind them with a sonic boom. And then another boom.
"That's that." says the Professor. "'Much ado about nothing'. Now class, has any of you here written ANYTHING worth reading? Come on people. I've got a pile of laundry waiting for me back home."
The final sound of the door being locked from outside.
Mothers crying for children. Children crying for Mothers.
Hundreds of people shoving you into corners trying to reach loved ones.
A young boy falls to the floor, the mother watches him being trampled, unable to move, unable to breathe.
My lungs are screaming for air.
Stumbling into an unknown darkness.
The fear of falling asleep and never waking up.
Contemplating whether death is better than this.
The terrifying crack of a shotgun.
A silence howling with anxiety.
The beating of the engine counting down minutes perfectly synchronised with my heart.
The lady next to me has her eyes closed, I shake her, silently praying for her to be asleep, she doesn’t stir.
I’ve lost track of time, two days, three days, a never ending eternity?
Death surrounds me, trying to pull me in to envelop me, it’s so hard to fight, so easy to welcome.
I am surrounded by people, but have never felt so alone.
We are running on animal instincts, whatever food we have we don’t share.
On this train, good morals kill.
The heat, the stifling heat. It is dizzying, nauseating.
The air is too thick to breathe, to live.
There is an overpowering stench, caused by the heat, the absence of a toilet and death.
There is not much space, but what space there is, is filled by a suffocating heat, a choking smell and burning grief.
Pain is soaring through my veins, a toxic predator pouncing on every fibre of hope in my exhausted body.
They have reduced us to animals.
I am embarrassed, embarrassed of my hygiene, embarrassed of my inability to do anything, embarrassed of my selfishness.
Embarrassment is no worse than murder, as when a person is embarrassed they wish to be dead.
It is emotional homicide.
I am so tired.
My body is crumpled, being held up by others, some dead, some wishing to be dead.
At first I was focused on surviving, my body was fighting, but now I’m too tired to fight.
My hunger is now just a numb aching, but my thirst seems to be pounding every cell in my body, a constant beating.
I am tired of crying, tired of praying, tired of hearing other people’s cries, tired of hearing other people’s prayers.
I hear a voice, singing.
A mother to her child.
The sweet sound of her voice seems to dissolve the clouds of pain and misery hanging over us.
Another voice joins in, a man’s voice.
Two more people join in; gradually the whole carriage starts to sing, united.
I join in grasping for the shreds of energy I didn’t think I had.
We sing louder and louder, our voices drown out the protesting orders to stop.
The train slows to a stop, and the doors slide open.
I breathe, and for the first time in too long, my lungs are satisfied with the oxygen that reaches them.
As our bodies rush out of the carriage, still singing, I am filled with a new sense of hope that whatever is coming next couldn’t possibly be worse than what I’d just been through.
The beginning of a new day, I want to be positive. I don’t want to think about festering wounds that become overrun with infection due to a lack of self-care and bad hygiene.
I want to change my thoughts. I want to recognize them for what they are, fleeting and neutral before I trap them within the musty wharf of my psyche.
I want to believe in a god. I want to believe that something is somewhere that can redeem the involuntary nature of existence. Something that balances the horror of murder, starvation, and rape; or the parents of a missing child who are later asked to identify the only remains found – a decapitated body eerily preserved by the abnormally frigid temperatures lingering long after the advent of spring.
I want to know beauty as much as I know disgust. What redeems the isolated ending of someone that no one will ever remember? What justifies the lives of those who knew nothing but defeat, who weren’t heard, or who suffered the rejection of humanity in spite of the deep desire to feel accepted? Save us from existing without ever knowing the victory of achieving an intended goal with self-will and perseverance.
What about the countless numbers of lives that have been extinguished and buried in mass graves. How many people die that will never be remembered… What meaning does life have then? Were they here to be recalled as an obscure number? Their whole life of memories – hope, fear, love, hate, despair, dread, loneliness, doubt, guilt, shame, and unique personality traits - all to be remembered as one of the many who are not remembered.
Why must I fool myself to find contentment? Not everyone is able to see the silver lining. Must I only know the defeat of a man who could not overcome the prison of thoughts in his mind?
Do not mourn me because of a lost familiarity. If that is all I am then you will forget me soon enough.
Mr Duck’s Hidden Treasure
It is his pride and joy
His one and only pleasure
His favourite toy
His hidden treasure.
It is Mr Duck’s saucepan cupboard
Where he keeps his stash
Like Old Mother Hubbard
Except it’s a duck’s trash.
Little bit of this and a bit of that
Where his secrets are hid
From anything to next door’s cat
And perhaps the odd saucepan lid.
It is where he hides when he’s in trouble
When he has gone off the rails.
Not being one to burst his bubble
And I am not the one to tell tales!
Mr Pig knows he is in there
Always with a smile on his fat face
And whilst Mr Duck is sat on a chair
He sits outside his door just in case.
Ramming the odd sandwich into his beak
Made weeks ago hence difficult to digest
The sandwich positively antique
And would fail a hygiene test
But he does not care he feels okay
He is in his cupboard and that is beyond measure
Because at the end of the day
It is his pride, pleasure and treasure.
At once I was spat out into a familiar space, although still swimming in darkness. As I slowly adjusted to the dark, I realized I was sitting in my room at home. I was surrounded by large, vacant, white walls and a sturdy black bedside table. Crested on top of the sturdy black table was the same familiar dodgy lamp that never seemed to work particularly well. My whole world was spinning as I sat up in my bed, scanning the room for outlines and shapes to ensure I was in fact back home. Back home and not caught in another hellish fantasy.
My bed linen had been kicked off my bed during what I imagined was another nightmarish spasm, leaving me drenched in cold sweat and shivering. I lifted my hand to my brow to quickly swipe away some of the salted perspiration that had gathered in the corner of my eye.
I spread my hands out beside me, feeling the bed beneath me to ground myself.
I wasn't in danger, I was safe, I had to keep telling myself that it was just a dream to try and stay sane.
I picked myself off the bed until I was standing upright in the center of the room, still surveying every nook and space, places where things could hide. Nothing, there was nothing in this room but me, standing in the room sweating and spinning around like a madman. I pulled on a shirt and went to the bathroom. White tiles, a shower, toilet and sink. Everything in there was normal and safe. I was relieved, switching on the light as I entered. I stood in front of the mirror gazing into my reflection, I was older and I wasn't surprised. The events of the nightmare had actually happened, not five minutes ago but six years ago. And ever since then, this nightmare had been somewhat of a regular occurrence. Recently however, it has been getting worse, more lucid, every time, closer.
My father did in fact vanish six years ago, police found me cowering in the cabin three days afterwards, bruised, cut up and mumbling, they only came looking because dad stopped turning up to work without warning. And after the events of that night I’d struggled somewhat to maintain a normal life, having my parents stripped from me at sixteen. Growing up in foster care was hard; my foster parents were kind enough. But the system moved me around a lot, making school very hard to commit to.
Looking in the mirror I saw myself staring back, eyes slightly reddened and itchy, and my skin dry and flaky. I turned a faucet and splashed my face with some cold water, ice cold from sitting in the taps in the dead of the night. The cool was extremely grounding, it felt sharp and real. The nightmare had faded to shadows of thought, I felt human again. Quickly drying my face with a clean hand towel and moving back to my room. The room didn't feel so sinister now, probably because I was getting so used to these nightmares. I climbed back into bed, glancing the time on my alarm clock before getting under the covers. 3:25 Am. I moaned at the image, 3:25 Am means four and half hours until I had to go to work. Another disrupted sleep meant another day at work where I was in a state zombification. I turned off the dodgy lamp, instantly flooding the room with darkness once more, Only, I don't remember turning the lamp on. ‘Don't be an idiot’, I thought, before rolling over and falling into a quick, shallow sleep.
The next morning I got up, showered, brushed my teeth as usual and caught the express bus to work. I stood in front of 'Bayside Books', my place of employment. I enjoyed it there; it wasn't too demanding and paid for my rent and whatever little I ate. It was a warm little shop that stood unique amongst its surroundings, tall concrete hives of advertising and production on every side. ‘Bayside Books’ was little mahogany box on the bottom floor of some non-descript scraper.
As I entered the bookstore the greeting bell chimed, filling the shop with simple song. Just as the bell stopped a rotund man with a sky blue button down shirt almost bursting at the seams, emerged from behind a bookshelf.
“Coulter!” he called cheerfully, “Coulter! You’re late buddy, miss the bus?”
He asked harmlessly, now standing before me with an armful of old books. Assorted popular horror books like ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’ among some more obscure works I’d never seen.
“I slept through my alarm, I’m sorry Mr. Dupas.” I replied.
Mr. Dupas was a large man, although not much taller than me, he was far wider.
Dark, greasy, curly hair seemingly glued onto the top of his round head. Protruding cheeks and a chin that was almost just a button perched in front of a larger chin. He maintained an interesting standard of hygiene, fresh pressed clothes on an almost un-showered man. Perhaps he was just an extremely perspiring person, but I didn't have the courage to ask any time soon.
I did sleep through my alarm that morning. I didn't exactly have a habit of getting into work late, but it seemed that with all the sleep I had been losing and the fact I hadn't been blessed with a full nights rest for two weeks now. It was really starting to catch up to me.
“Don’t worry about it, happens to the best of us” He smiled.
Mr. Dupas moved behind the shop counter just beside the doorway, piling the stack of books into a small, neat cardboard box on the counter. I could see clearly scrawled on its side in block letters, ‘TO CLIFFORD’. I removed my thick black coat and hung it behind the desk squeezing past Mr. Dupas as I did. Dupas grabbed his coffee mug and drew it to his lips as he moved towards the back of the shop, taking a large gulp of his almost noxiously caffeinated drink.
“Put away the new arrivals then clean the shelves and when you get a chance, go take that box to Clifford!” He called from behind several bookcases. “The invoice for the box is in the second drawer!” as he followed I could hear each stride in his voice.
I spent most of the morning stacking the newly arrived books onto the ‘New Release’ shelves. The same old crime stories, successful underdog sportspersons biography and feel goods. I finished putting them in their respective places before quickly dusting the shelves. At about noon I’d finished my jobs, grabbed the cardboard box from atop the counter and hurried out the door, letting Mr. Dupas know that I’d gone.
‘Clifford’s’ was only a short walk from ‘Bayside Books’ and it was a journey to and from the store I’d have to make at least twice in any normal week. Mr. Dupas and Mr. Clifford had a little partnership, Dupas would send the odd box of all the supernatural, paranormal, grim dark stories, biographies and spell books of such to Mr. Clifford, where Clifford would pay a paltry price for these books that had been left unsold and gathering dust at ‘Bayside Books’.
As I made my way down the street towards ‘Clifford’s, I spotted a few people watching a news report as it was broadcasted through the gaps between security bars, guarding the window of a small electronics store. The images displayed across the several monitors within were of soldier, armored vehicles and unruly citizens in some nondescript middle-eastern country. American flags burning in the middle of busy streets, and giant dolls with paper heads that from a distance, looked uncannily like our American president. The only difference being, that the life-size doll on the monitor seemed as if it was created by an angry eight-year-old student as some twisted school project.
I passed the electronic store a ways down the street until I arrived in front of the familiar poorly-lit arcade. Neatly nested at entrance to the arcade was the dark and foreboding storefront. A wood paneled exterior, crowned with five large dusty windows, inside each window stood displays of everything creepy you could imagine, voodoo dolls, satanic bibles, pendants, candles, statues of vague deities, dried pelts and skulls, and indistinguishable skins and teeth. Not to mention the books, there were hundreds of books. Unlike at ‘Bayside, where our books were categorized and organized by alphabetically author. These books were stacked and scattered in no inherent order. Every now and then I'd spot a group of vampire stories in close proximity and then the order would be disturbed by the odd ‘Cooking: How to prepare human flesh. ‘ followed by the uncommon Serial killer biography. This store, this little jewel of the unnatural and the unfathomable, this was ‘Clifford’s’’
‘Clifford’s’ Collectibles; oddities and curiosities.’
Here's to the people that save arachnids from the deathly clutch of porcelain
even though their octuplet limbs send shivers and tingles across their skin
even though in the garden on a saturday afternoon at age 5
a spider sunk it's sharp stinging fangs into their fingers.
Here's to the people that don't scrutinize the boy who lacks dental hygiene
even though strings of saliva fall from his chapped lips as he speaks back
elated at the opportunity of a pleasant conversation with someone not trying to hurt him
even though "everyone hates him" and he's such a "freak".
Here's to the people that don't have striking features
the people that blush and the people that get moist marks under their arms
the people who smile at others of whom they know look down on them
the people who do not ask for anything in return.