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Anshita Mehrotra Aug 2016
"the locks
click click clicked
smiles here
kisses there
strangers waddled
click
this ones for us,
the metal collides
starlight hidden within it I'm sure
the promise of a lifetime
and click
click clicked
"I love you,
forgive me"
click click clicked
"Goodbye"
click
the starlight bursts in fragments of pain, falling into a river of broken promises,
click click,
clicked."
Love locks, 7 months between metal, and its gone.
iamsushi Jun 2014
Your smile makes me smile,
Your laugh makes me laugh,
Your eyes are enchanting,
You make my thoughts seem daft.

Since the day I first laid eyes on you,
My feelings grew and grew.
In that first conversation my knees clicked and clacked,
And those butterflies flipped and flapped.

And as I spill these simple rhymes,
My mind goes over time and time,
Why didn't you ask me to dance,
During that slow song of endless romance?

I hope this doesn't seem to creepy.
Please don't think my thoughts have flown too freely.
Just know that what I speak is true,
And that I have fallen deeply for you.
iamsushi Jun 2014
Your smile makes me smile,
Your laugh makes me laugh,
Your eyes are enchanting,
You make my thoughts seem daft.

Since the day I first laid eyes on you,
My feelings grew and grew.
In that first conversation my knees clicked and clacked,
And those butterflies flipped and flapped.

And as I spill these simple rhymes,
My mind goes over time and time,
Why didn't you ask me to dance,
During that slow song of endless romance?

I hope this doesn't seem to creepy.
Please don't think my thoughts have flown too freely.
Just know that what I speak is true,
And that I have fallen deeply for you.
My poem is about a boy I had fallen deeply for. At a dance he came to me during a slow song, but blushed and walked away. I was mortified. But I came to the conclusion that to get him hooked I needed to tell him how I feel about him. Let us hope it worked.
Mina Dec 2017
it clicked between us
it clicked
i dont know if it was
the gun
or just us
but at least, it clicked
THE RAT AND THE PREGNANT WOMAN


A story poem

BY

Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)



Dedicated to;
My mother Neddy Nabisino Mayende Kuloba Makhakara
And her mother Maritini Nabengele Nasenya Mulemia Namugugu Ilungu wa Wenwa.
The story telling power of these two ladies is the primary source of my passion and love for humorous and peace bettling stories. I owe them all the recognitions.







OPENING SONG
How do I start telling this story that I got from my
Grandmothers when sited around the fire yard in the evening?
I don’t know how to start surely,
For to day I am very shy; all of your eyes
Are on me, looking at me like ocean of looking organs
But let me embolden my self with the belt
Of a story teller that my grand father gave me
And commanded me to preach peace
Through story telling in every place I go
So my spiritual service to humanity is telling stories
Is to soothe and heal wounds of humanity
By softly telling peaceful stories
Let me then cough to clear my voice and start;

Long time ago, but not very long time
Some where between the centuries of twelve hundred
And seventeen hundred after the death of the other Jewish
Story teller who died without a wife, who died on the cross
But others say he died on the stake, his name was Jesus,
There existed only two kingdoms in land which is known today
As Bukusu land found in the present east Africa or Indian Ocean coastal Africa,
The first occupants of this vast land is the sons and daughters of Babukusu
Or the ones who like selling ironsmith products
And hence the name the people of Bukusu; the people who sell,
The two kingdoms were the Kingdom of muntu and the kingdom of manani
The citizens in the kingdom of muntu were short men and short women
Handsome and beautiful, slender and not assertive in their physical disposition
But the citizens of the kingdom of manani were all cyclopic,
In their everything; the manner of walking, talking farting, micturating
Farming, breathing, snoring, smiling, singing, whispering
Their whisper was a noisy as the tropical thunderclap
They were tall men and tall women, very tall
Their young person was as short as the tallest
Person in the kingdom of muntu,
When one of the citizen of manani snores
All the citizens of Muntu along together with,
Their king Walumoli wa Muntu had no option
But remain awake throughout the night,
Because the cacophony of a snore from
The sleeping courts of Manani was not bearable,

On many occasions Walumoli wa Muntu
The conscientious king of the muntu kingdom
Had arranged to talk to Silinki wa Namunguba
The ostensible king of the Manani Kingdom
About the cacophonous sleep robbing
Snores of daughters and sons in neighbour kingdom of Manani
Only to cow and chicken away in a feat of prudence
Lest Silinki wa Namunguba will suspect him for being
A night runner or a thief of *** perhaps
Who roams his compound during the wee of the night
In hunt of any of Namunguba’s wife maybe
Perchance having gone out for a mid-night *******,
This is how legendary snores of the sons and daughters
Of Silinki wa Namunguba the king of Manani
Has remained unchecked for ever till today,

One time an ugly passer by happened to be seen
Traversing the kingdom of muntu
In the early afternoon some two
Hours after Walumoli the king
Had just cleared the last plate
Of the mid day meal from
His last wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
He always eats her food last in the afternoon
Because it comes on the table steaming youthfulness
He loves his Khatembete wife, the wife of his old age
The wife he married by use and show of the royal regalia
The powers and dignity of the king of muntu
He married her when he his a king, the scepter in his hand,

Going back to the ugly passer by
It was never known where he came from
Not from the east where the Indian Ocean is
Not from the west where the vastness of the land
Of black people of Baganda and Bacongo
Baigbo and Bayoruba or Bafulana of Nigeria
Or the sons of Madiokor Ngoni Diop in the Senegal,
Not from the south from shaka the Zulu and Mandella the wise one
Not from north in the land of Dinka and Nuer, Ethiopian Jewish and the Egyptians,
The passerby was ugly and from no where, in a dress and
A very ***** dress that fumed out a malodorously stenching reek
He was a man in attires of a woman; this was a taboo in the land of muntu
He was left handed and a heavy weight stammerer, with an appalling
Protuberation of   a hunched back, an enormous hunchback
Enmassing entired of his masculine shoulders,
When the wind blew his loose dress followed it
Leaving the man’s thighs and then bossom naked,
Leading bystanders to a strange discovery; he was not circumcised
He was old like any other father, he had beards
But not yet circumcised, his ***** ends in corkscrew of a sheath,
This was a taboo in the land of muntu, in the kingdom of muntu
Which Walumoli wa Muntu the son of Mukitang’a Mutukuika ruled
For the spirits, gods and ancestors as well as foremen of the kingdom
Behooved that all male offsprings of the kingdom of muntu
Whether born in marriage or out of the wedlock
Born the blood or born as a ******* must and must be
Circumcised in the early teen hood
They must be circumcised before they grow the hairs
On the face, on the chest, in the scapula and on the areas
Surrounding the testicles, the **** and the endings of the backbone,
The man again had six fingers on the legs and on the hands
He walks slowly like a porcupine, his dress was in tartars
He was violent to every one he met
Insulting old people and old women with words
Of bad manners not used in the kingdom of muntu,
He terrified and beat young children, including the royal children
And grand children of Walumoli the king of muntu
He again had to beat and chase nine young virgins
Who had come from the palace of Walumoli the king of Muntu
Away from the forest when they picking fire wood
As well as playing a game of hide and seek with other palace lads,
The ugly passer by then chased to get hold of the
Nalukosi the first born daughter of
Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikaha Nobwoya
The beloved last wife of the king of Muntu
All other virgins ran home, but Nalukosi remained behind
In the inextricable grip of the ugly passer by
She screamed with hysteria of a hypochondriac
She screamed and kicked with her wholesome mighty
The stubborn passer by never left her alone
She gnawed the ugly passer by with
Her girlish claws of her fingernails
But is like the passer by was mentally disordered
He was a ******* of some time
He derived some pleasure and instead
Enjoyed the girlish scratches of his captive,
Before the eight running virgins reached the palace
Together with their companions, the playmate lads
The shrilling scream of the captive Nalukosi
Was sharply heard at the palace, first by King Walumoli
Who called his wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
To come out of the hut, the kitchen and help to listen,
Immediately Mukisu wa Mujonji the palace keeper surfaced
His face displayed genuine askance of an adept military man
Whose martial arts have rusted for a week without usage
He confirmed to the king that the cry from the forest
Is of the one from this royal home of your majesty the king
And none other than the ****** princes Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The pride of her father, the eye of the palace,
Without hesitation the king permitted the wallabying Mukisu ,
Permission to run in a military dint and find out whatever that
Was eating Nalukosi Mukoyonjo the familial heart of the king,
Mukisu wa Mujonji who was clearly known in the kingdom of muntu,
For his swift running like a desert kite, he already twice chased
And gotten single handedly two male gazelles,
Without aid of a dog nor aid of fellow hunters
And delivered them to the king as a present to the palace
Which he achieved because of the speed of his legs,
On this royal permission he unsheathed his matchette
And went away like any arrow from the bow
His shirt trailing behind him like mare’s tail
Or like the flag on the post on a windy day,
Not a lot of time passed.
Mukisu wa Mujonji is at the spot of struggle,
Between Nalukosi and the Ugly passerby
There was no question or talking,
The first thing was Mukisu to sink the Matchette
With all of his mighty into the tummy of the ugly stranger
The bowels of the ugly stranger opened puffwiiii!
He breathed and gasped twice then succumbed to death.
His grip still strong on the leg of Nalukosi Mukoyonjo
The ugly passer by reached the rigor Mortis
When Nalukosi was still strongly gripped in his
Beastly hand, Mukisu wa Mujonji with all the skills
Used a Sharp matchette again; chopped of the hand
Of the ugly dead passer by off, from its torso
At the point of the muscular elbow,
Now Nalukosi was extricated, but not fully
From the grip of the dead ugly stranger,
The chopped off hand is still knotted at her leg
Around her leg, the dead hand also grips.
Nalukosi jumped here and there to throw away
The leg and the dead hand, but it was not easy to throw
The hand still stubbornly gripped around her angle,
*** time passed, each and every one of the kingdom came
Including the king Walumoli wa Muntu himself
And his nine wives, Khatembete Khobwibo Khakhalikha Nobwoya
Came last, as she was energyless due to rudely shocking tidings
Which the escaping virgins and lads had given her
That the ugly passer by had turned into the ogre
And had swallowed her daughter Nalukosi
That he had swallowed her piecemeal without chewing,
People of muntu came and found the ugly passerby dead
The left had chopped off its torso
But still hanging loosely on the leg of Nalukosi
Nalukosi jumping, kicking, screaming
Screaming away the dead hand from the grip of leg
But nothing had forthcame her way,
Walumoli wa Muntu could not afford to see
The hand on the leg of her beloved daughter
What could he tell his wife, is your all know
Dear reader and audience to this song;
Even the mighty and the wise ones
Generously bend when under the pressure of love,
Out of this dint, even before Mukisu wa Mujonji
Could display his next military card
Walumoli wa Muntu grapped the dead hand
That stuck of the leg of her daughter
And pulled it with another force that
No man born of woman has
Never used since the creation of the earth
By the gods and spirits of Muntu,
The hand come off, he throw it
On the cadaver of the ugly stranger,
He clicked and clicked and hissed
With anger like a wild turkey
In the African thorny forest,
He ordered the dead one to be buried
Their without haste, nor ceremony
Mukisu wa Mujonji buried the body
Quickly in a brief moment with precision
As if he was taking notes
From the lines of the poem
OF Pablo Neruda on how
To bury a dog behind the house
This time burying an ugly stranger
Behind the forts of the kingdom,
After all these women, children and men
Of muntu plus their king Walumoli
Went back to their houses hilariously
Broken into a song and a wild *** dance;
Makoe eehe! Makoe !
Nifwe Talangi Makoe !
Talangi!
Khwaula embogo sitella
Nifwe Talangi!
They sang up to midnight before
They all retired to their beds
Respective beds with panting thoraces
From heavy singing and dancing.

There is connection and disconexion between
The living and the dead, the living fear the dead
And dead loves the living,
The dead want the company of the living
For the living to accompany in the land of the dead,
When the ugly stranger was killed
And buried uncircumcised with the hunch
Not plucked out of his back
The gods and the livings dead
In the realm of the ancestors
Of the kingdom of Muntu were not happy,
They never wanted uncircumcised old man
With a hunch back to join them
And worse enough with the six fingers,
The gods and ancestors really god annoyed
That Walumoli wa Muntu has done them bad
He is only caring for the living, the pre-mortals
Especially his last wife and the daughter
But he has neglected the ancestors,
Why trash to ancestors a stark humanity,
They communed among themselves
And resolved to sent Namaroro
The god of dreams, dreams as messages
From the ancestors and dreams from the gods
Namaroro visited Namunyu Lubunda the palace
Prophet in the Kingdom of Muntu to pass
The message vesseling unhappiness of the ancestors
And gods in a blend of gloomy read to execute
A vendetta;
This is when in the wee of the night that Namunyu Lubunda
Dreamed and had a vision of a old man from
The east is warning of the coming long spell of starvation
That will befall the kingdom of Muntu for ten years
                                      That Namaroro told Namunyu Lubunda
As for ten seasons of foodlessness
Behold a begging kingdom
Behold a starving throne,
The scepter of Muntu is a disgrace
To the holder
Then Namunyu Lubunda set forth by dawn
To the Palace to meet Walumoli wa Muntu
In his, palace before any other royal chores come up,
Both good and bad luck combined
Only to have Namunyu Lubunda to get the king at the palace
He got him fresh and relaxed chewing the cup of fortune
In his full ego, all his wives had submitted to the morning dishes
To his dining hall in the palace, he moved his hands from
One plate of food to the other.
Namunyu Lubunda entered with a submissive salutation
To the royal, He bowed and declared the glory of the king
In typical standards of the ethnic composition of the house of Muntu
Walumoli wa Muntu Mukitang’a Mutukuika
Majave Kutusi Mbirira Omwene esimbo ya
Kumukasa,
Walumoli responded with a feat of dignity to Namunyu Lubunda
The palace prophet, as he roared to him; come in
Come in son of Lubunda son of our people,
He did mention the name of Namunyu Lubunda father
As he fears his words may escape with the power
Of his kingdom the scepter of Muntu
To other insignificant families in the kingdom,
Let me announce what brings me here; intoned Namunyu
Go ahead and announce my holiness
s the prophet of this kingdom; responded Walumoli,
Misfortune is awaiting the kingdom
It will eat this kingdom away
Like a ravenous hyena on the ewe’s tail
The ancestors and the spirits of this land
This kingdom of yours the son of Muntu
Are immensely offended with your recent behaviour
In which you commandeered all villages
In your kingdom; from east and west
The **** the innocent passer by
With your owner hands that handle the scepter
You killed and lay to rest the foreigner
A pure omurende to the kingdom of muntu
You buried him uncircumcised without contrite
In the cemeteries of our foremen who asleep and circumcised
Why did you lower the dignity of our forefathers
Who never share a roof with uncircumcised person
To share the ancestral realm; our emagombe
With hunchback foreigner not circumcised?
This kingdom is condemned to all spell of curse of death
Ceaseless hunger famines and starvation
Women dwindle in their reproductive capacity
Rarely will you come across a pregnant woman
Food will be difficulty to put on the table
Even the sweat of your brow will go to naught,
You will not be buried with insignia
Like a pauper you killed will you be buried
The house of your wife Khatembete Kho Bwibo
Khakhalikha no bwoya is a house of no consequences
For even your daughter Nalukosi stands cursed
She will not mature to be wedded into a marriage
She will hover the earth under heavy agonies of hunger,
My assignment is done and over
With or without your permission let me go.









THE FIRST SONG
Our song continues dear brethren
Come join me in arms we sing
Joyous singing of these songs of peace
Telling the world peaceful stories
As we enjoy sitting together around my grandmothers fire yard
Warming our selves to her lovely fire inherent in her good stories,
These songs will sing the glory and success of the king of Manani
It is an irregular Ode to Silinki wa Namunguba the son of Mwangani,
The son of Tunduli, the son of Wajala Njovu, the son of Welikhe, the son
Of manyorori, the son of Chumbe, the son of Kajo, the Son of Mabati, the son of welotia,
The son of sikele sia mulia, the son of Toywa,the son of siruju, the son of Mango, the son of Mulwoni sinyanya Bakhasi, the son of Mbakara , the son of Makhakara wa Nambuya, the son of Mukoye mulala kukhalikha w0nga, the son of Zumba the son of God.
Silinki
There it was on the calendar, Saturday May 11,2013. Big red circle around the date and written in black pen in the middle…SPELLING BEE. Plain as day, you couldn’t miss it. One of the biggest days of the school year for geeks and nerds alike.





Today was the day. In two hours, The 87th Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee, would begin.  This was a huge event in the history of Thomas Polk Elementary School. It would be one of the biggest, if not THE BIGGEST in the history of The Twin Counties.



There would be twenty-one schools represented with their best and brightest spellers. The gymnasium would be full of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and media representatives. Yes, invitations had been sent out to both of the local papers in The Twin Counties, and both had replied in the affirmative. Real media, in Thomas Polk Elementary School, with a shared photographer….the big time had come to town.



Inside the gymnasium, work had been going on all night in preparation of the big event. The Teachers Auxiliary Group had set up bunting across the stage, purple and white of course, for the school colours. The school colours were actually purple and cream, but, there was a wedding at Our Lady of The Weeping Sisters Baptist Church later, and they had emptied the sav-mart of all of the cream coloured bunting and crepe paper. So, white it would be.



It looked spectacular. There were balloons tied to the basketball net at the south end of the gym. It wouldn’t wind up after the last game, so something had to be done to hide it. Balloons fit the bill. There was three levels of benches on the stage for the competitors, a microphone dead center stage and two 120 watt white spot lights aimed at the microphone.  Down in front, was a judges table, also covered in bunting and crepe, with a smaller microphone sitting in the middle. There was a cord connecting it to the stage speaker system, taped to the gym floor with purple duct tape, just to fit in. Big time, big time.



The piece de resistance sat at the right side of the judges table. An eight foot high pole, with an electronic stop watch and two traffic lights, donated from the local public utilities commission, in red and green. The timer had been rigged up by the uncle of one of the competitors, possibly to gain an advantage, to help keep the judges honest in their timings. Besides, it looked fancy, and it had a cool looking remote control.











The gym was filled to capacity. One hundred and Seventy Five Entrants, visitors, judges and media were crammed into plastic chairs, benches, and whatever lawn chairs the Teachers Auxiliary were able to borrow, that weren’t being used for the wedding at the Baptist Church. It was time to begin….



The three judges came in from the left of the clock, and sat down. The entrants were all nervously waiting on stage on the benches. The media representatives were down front, for photo opportunities, of course.



Judge number one, in the middle of the table clicked on the microphone in front of him and turned to the crowd. In doing so, he spilled his water on his notes and pulled the duct tape loose on the floor in front.



“Greetings, and welcome to the 87th Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee.” There was some mild clapping from the family members, along with a few muffled whistles and two duck calls from the back. The weak response was due to the fact that most of the parents either had small fans (due to the heat), donated from the local Funeral Home, or hot dogs and beer (from the tailgating outside), in their hands. Needless to say, it was still a positive response.



The judge carried on…”Today’s competition brings together the top spellers in the region of the Twin Counties to do battle on our stage. All of the words used today, have been selected from a number of sources, including Webster’s Dictionary, from our own school library, Words with Friends from the inter web, keeping up with modern culture, and finally from two books of Dr. Suess that we had lying around the office. Each competitor will get one minute to answer once his or her word has been selected. We ask that you please refrain from applause until after the judges have confirmed the spelling, and please no help to the competitors. We now ask that you all turn off any electronic media, cell phones, pagers, etc. so we can begin”.



He then turned to the stage and asked all competitors to remove their cell phones and put them in the bright orange laundry basket, usually reserved for floor hockey sticks. Each student deposited their phones, all one hundred and thirty-seven of them in the basket.  We were ready to start.





“Competitor number one…please approach the microphone and state your name and your school” said Judge number two. Judge number two would be in charge of calling the students up, it seemed. She was the librarian at Thomas Polk. She had typical librarian glasses, with the silver chain attached to the arms, flaming red hair, done up in a bee hive uplift, just for the event, and was called Miss Flume. She was married, but, being the south, she was always addressed as Miss.



The first student advanced to the front of the stage. She had bright pink hair, held in place with a gold hairband, black shoes, and a yellow jumper. She looked like a walking number 2 pencil. The two duck calls came from the back of the gymnasium along with scattered applause. All three judges turned and looked to the back, and then turned to face the young girl.



“My name is Bobbie Jo Collister, I am a senior at Jackson Williams School of Fine Arts and Music”. “Thank you Bobbie Joe” said Miss Flume. Bobbie Jo, smiled nervously and put on her glasses. “Your word is horticulture” announced Judge number one, “horticulture”.  Bobbie Jo took a breath and without asking for a definition, usage, root of the word or anything, just ripped through it without fail in three point two seconds, according to the mammoth timepiece at the end of the table. After conferring, the judges clicked on the green street light and she sat down, amidst more duck calls and clapping.



Student number two went through the entire process as did students three through eight. Each one had glasses, no surprise there, and were all dressed in monochromatic themes. Together, they looked like a life sized box of crayolas ready for a halloween party. Each child spelled their words correctly and were subsequently cheered and applauded.



Student nine then approached the microphone, stopping about a good seven feet short and three feet right of it. “My name is Oliver Parnocky” squeaked the lad. “I go to George W. Bush P.S 19 and am a senior.” Miss Flume, grabbed the small mike in front of her and said “Oliver…put on your glasses and move over to the microphone.” She leaned into the other judges, and said “He goes to my school, he doesn’t like wearing them much, and he’s always outside at recess talking to the flagpole after everyone else has come inside”.



“Oliver, please spell Dichotomy” said Judge number one. Judge two started the clock and they waited….and waited…then out burst this voice….DICHOTOMY…D I C H O T O M E E, , no, wait..D I C K O….****!” The crowd erupted in laughter, Oliver was busted. The judges conferred, and after informing poor Oliver they had never heard it spelled quite that way with an O **** at the end, they triggered the red light and Oliver left the stage to sit in the audience with his folks.



The next three kids, all with glasses, like it was part of an unwritten uniform dress code for the day, all advanced and sat down. The next entrant, number thirteen, luckily enough stood from the back and struggled down to the front of the stage. There were gasps and some snickering from the crowd. She was taller than the previous competitors,  and a little more pregnant as well. “Please state your name” said Miss Flume. “My name is Betty Jo Willin and am a senior at

Buford T. Pusser Parochial School”. At this announcement there was a cheer of “Got Wood at B.T. Pusser” from the crowd. The judges turned, asked for silence and the offending nuns returned to their seats. “Miss Willin, how old are you exactly?” asked Judge number one. “Twenty Two sir”. “And you say you are a senior?” “Yes sir” came the reply. Betty Jo was shuffling a bit as the pressure on her bladder must have been building standing there in her delicate condition. After conferring, judge number one said “That sounds about right, your word is PROPHYLACTIC”. The few people in the crowd that knew the meaning of the word laughed, while the rest continued eating their hot dogs and drinking their sodas and beers. “Please give a definition sir..I don’t believe I know that word”. The judges looked at each other with a definite “I’m not surprised” look and rattled off the definition. When she asked for usage, the judges really didn’t know what to do. Should they give a sentence using the word or explain the usage of a prophylactic, which regardless would have been too late anyway.

After a modicum of control was reached, she attempted the word, getting all tongue tied and naturally messing it up. The red light was triggered and she left the stage.



More strange outfits, bowties, hair nets, jumpers, clip on ties, followed. It looked like a fashion parade from Goodwill and The Salvation Army rolled into one. Most attempted their words and were green lighted onwards to the next round, while those who failed, were red lighted back to the crowd and the tailgate party in the parking lot. As each competitor was eliminated, the betting board that was being manned outside by one father was updated with new odds and payouts.



The first round was approaching an end with only three kids left. “Number nineteen please approach and state your name” said Miss Flume. He plume of red hair was starting to sag and was sliding slowly off of her head due to the humidity in the gymnasium.



Number nineteen came forth, glasses, tape across the bridge like half of the previous spellers. He was wearing the most colourful shirt that any of the judges had ever seen. It was not from Dickies, they surmised. “I go to J.J. Washington P.S 117 and my name is Mujibar Julinoor Parkhurloonakiir”. The judges froze. He obviously was new to the district. They had never heard a name like that before, ever. Not even in Ghandi. This was a powerful name. There had been sixteen cominations of Bobby, Bobbie, Billie, Jo, Joe, Jimmy, Jeff, Johnson and Jackson prior to Mujibar. Stunned, judge one asked “Son, can you spell that please?”

Mujibar, not sure what to do, spelled his name, unsure of why he was being asked to do so. “Thank you son” said Miss Flume. The odds on the betting board in the parking lot changed right then.



“That boy is gonna win fer sure” said Jimmy Jeff Willerkers. Jimmy Jeff ran the filling station two concessions over and had fifty bucks on his nephew Bobby Jeff, who had already flamed out on “yawl”. “How was he supposed to know  it had something to do with boats?” asked Jimmy Jeff. “That Mujibar is gonna win…jeez, he’s been spelling that name for years….anything else is gonna be easy breezy.” The odds went down on Mujibar and the money was flying around that parking lot faster than the rumour that the revenue people were out looking for stills in the woods.



“Mujibar…please spell SALICIOUS”…asked the now red pancake headed Miss Flume. Doing as he was told, Mujibar, spelled the word, gave the root, a definition and a brief history of the word usage in modern literature. Judge number one was furiously scribbling down notes, and trying to figure out how he would get a bet down on this kid before round two started.



Entrant number twenty from Jefferson Davis Temple and Hebrew school advanced which brought up the final entrant from round one. “Number Twenty-One please advance to the front of the stage”. After adjusting his glasses, after all he didn’t want a repeat of what poor Oliver did, he approached. “My name is C.J. Kay from William Clinton P.S 68” Judge one, confused by the young man’s name asked him to repeat it. “C.J. Kay” said C.J. “What is your full last name boy, you can’t just have a letter as your last name….what is the K for?” “Sir, my last name is Kay”, said C.J. “It’s not a letter”. “It most certainly is son…H I J K L…rattled off judge one. “It has to stand for something, you just can’t be CJK, that sounds like a Canadian radio station or worse yet, one of them hippy hoppy d.j fellers my granddaughter listens to. What is the K for?”. C.J said sir “My name is Christopher John Kay… not K, Kay” and then spelled it out. This only confused judge one more than he already was, and the extra time figuring out his name was doing nothing to Miss Flume’s hairdo.



“Christopher John….please spell MEPHISTOPHOLES “ said Judge one, after realizing he was never going to find out what the K was for. The crowd was getting restless and wanted to get to the truck to get re-filled and change their bets. C.J. knocked it out of the park in 2.7 seconds…”faster than Lee Harvey Oswald at a target shoot in Dallas”, one man said.



After a ten minute break, to get drinks, ***, re-tape some glasses and prop up Miss Flumes ruined plumage round two was set to begin. This went faster as the words were getting tougher, although randomly selected, judge one was inserting a few new words to keep his chance of winning with Mujibar alive. PALIMONY, ARCHEOLOGY, PARSIMONIOUS, TRIPTOTHYLAMINE , and many other words were thrown at the competitors. Each time the list of successful spellers was reduced, and the amount of clapping and the duck calls were less.

The seventh round began with just Mujibar, B.J. Collister and C. J Kay left. Before the round began the judges reminded the crowd that the words were random, and to please keep the cheering until the green light had been lit. There were more duck calls at this announcement and very little applause. Jerry Jeff was still manning the betting board, the tailgate barbeque was done, and there was only about thirty people left in the gymnasium.



The balloons on the basketball net had long since lost their get up and go, and were now hanging limply like coloured rubber scrotums and were flatter that Miss Flumes hair, which incidently, was now starting to streak the right side of her face from sweat washing out the dye. She was beginning to look like an extra in a zombie film with a brilliant orange red streak across her forehead.



“C.J.” said judge one, “please spell ARYTHMOMYACIN”. C.J. gave it a valiant effort ,but unfortunately was incorrect and the red light sent him off to the showers. This left B.J. Collister and the odds on favourite, Mujibar. The crowd was down to twenty seven now, Bobbie Jo’s folks and Mujibars immediate family.



Round after round were completed with neither one missing a word. Neither one blinked. It was a gunfight where both shooters died. These two were good, and it was never going to end. Judge one leaned over and told the other judges, “we have to finish this soon….I’m due at the wedding over to the Baptist church for nine o’clock to bless the happily marrieds and drive them both to the airport. They’re off to Cuba for their honeymoon.” The others agreed…”C.J. please spell MINISCULE said Miss Flume”. She did so, without a problem. This caused judge one to yell out “Holy Christmas” just as Mujibar got to the microphone. Thinking this was his word, he started as the judges were giving him his word. Seizing the opportunity to end it…judge one woke up judge three who red lighted poor Mujibar, ending his run at spelling immortality. “Sorry son, you tried, but, today a Mujibar lost and a B.J won.”. Before he tried to correct himself, knowing what he had just said didn’t sound quite right, Miss Flume congratulated both finalists and began the award presentations.



Thankfully, next year the eighty eighth version of The Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee will be in the other county. Now the job of sorting out the cell phones in the orange basket begins. By the way, Betty Jo Willin had a boy …you can just guess what she named it!
not a poem, as you can see...it's a rough draft of a short story. I would love feedback on the content, not the spelling or grammar as it is in a rough stage still and needs editing.
Nicole Ashley Feb 2015
I am blue
I am black and white altogether
I can tell today is not my day
Not my day
Not even with you
Not my day
I feel trapped like an insect
Under and inside a glass cup
I am the insect and cup altogether
Transparent but unseen
From the inside
No one can hear me
I'd rather that so
I'd rather them not hear me
All the white noise
Clicked off from the world
I shut down
I'm under and inside the cup
Squirming yet staying still
Never moving evermore
I am blue
I am black and **white altogether
I can tell you this
Today is not my day
Even as I write these words
Not my day
The world's noise was clicked off
As I was put under and inside this cup
Not my day
I hate being in and under
Bug in a cup
Not my day....
Don't worry it's not what you think
Another tale of woe
Of Tiny Tim and all the rest
And the ending we all know
Scrooge and ghosts and la de da
They do it in one night
But, that was Charles Dickens way
It's time we got it right
Nobody works the way they did
The poorhouses done and dusted
If Scrooge was here and lived today
You know he would be busted

So, I'll bring you up to date on this
And Scrooge can come on too
It's been a couple hundred years
Let's make this carol new

Scrooge had let Bob Cratchit go
Due to labour laws and stuff
He didn't have a union
But old Scrooge had heard enough
Every year the same old thing
And every year he cries
It's only for one day each year
At least till his kid dies
So, Scrooge was sitting home alone
Checking files on his screen
Debtors owing money and
Re runs of Mister Bean
Scrooge kept his accounts on line
So he could work on them at home
He got more done here anyway
He felt more comfortable  alone
While surfing through his evict notes
A pop up screen appeared
It said "I am The Marley Virus"
And Sir Scooge, I should be feared
Scrooge cursed the interruption
He thought the virus was a joke
But, when he tried to clear the screen
A face appeared and spoke
Right there before his rheumy eyes
His partner showed his face
Ebeneezer hit delete
But Marley held his place
I'm not a ghost like olden days
I'm a virus now you see
I've moved into the future
And Scrooge you must hear me
You will not get a visit
From three ghost like stories old
We've gone hi tech, it's apps you'll get
And your story will be told
Three icons will be on your screen
Once I have told my tale
You'll click on each of them in turn
And you'll ignore all your mail
Each application will come forth
And will take you back in time
Remember Scrooge, the end result
Could be the same as mine
But, Jacob, I'll delete them
I'll run a scan and then reboot
The reason for your being here
Will then be surely moot
Marley let a piercing howl
And he left Scrooge with his screen
The were just three icons there
Where his desktop once had been
Scrooge clicked one, it opened up
It was Christmas past for sure
A video of Scrooges life
Was playing now, and more
The background everchanging
Showing Scrooge in younger days
When greed and avarice were not
The ruler of his ways
Remember now, we're modernized
No ghosts, so all went well
Scrooge remembered all the good times
As far as I can tell
The video ran on and on
It showed Scooge when he was nice
He thought you know when all is done
I might just watch this twice
The screen went black, the music stopped
And two icons took their place
He clicked on icon number two
And he opened up it's case
Donation links appeared at first
To charities galore
But Scrooge just passed on over them
In fact he showed them to the door
He saw the files of eviction notes
And of receivables and charts
He knew that he would lose one day
And the next, would need to start
To work on all this quickly
Year end would be here soon
He'd evict all of the deadbeats
And then they'd sing a different tune
He saw pictures of Bob Cratchit
Of his family and his brood
Of their meager Christmas Dinner
And the apparent lack of food
He saw how they were happy
How just together meant so much
And beside their electric fire
He saw a tiny crutch
He watched the clip and saw the pics
And in the end it warmed his heart
But there was still another icon
And this app must play it's part
You know where this is going
So, I would drag out the tale
But, in the end all his possessions
Went on line for a huge sale
He clicked upon the icon
And all his files reappeared
And then ...right before him
Each account slowly disappeared
Written off, deleted gone
No money did they owe
The ledger had been vanquished
No balance did it show
This took almost two hours
Each entry in the wind
All accounts forgotten
All eviction notes were binned
Scrooge, we know was changed then
We heard he was a better man
But, in truth he only changed one thing
A new virus protection plan
Remember, it's the future
And corporate greed is still around
And no accounts will be forgotten
Till Scrooge is six feet in the ground
I know you know the story
You want him nicer in the end
But, if that's the way you want it
Go watch the movie once again!!!
MysteryBear May 2015
I woke up one day
The end of my bed,
A jewelry box
Pink as the ribbon they used to represent her;
I traced over her disappearing fingertips
The rim of the box clicked open,
It clicked to life
The music tickling my ears;
A plastic ballerina stands as a guardian
Hands in the air
Waiting for someone to join her,
Twirling around like my eyes that follow her,
To see we are all alone
Pagan Paul Nov 2018
.
The hypotenuse stretched
as far as the eye could see,
across a vast lateral plain
an horizon mathematically perfect.
And yet …
In the main square of the hypotenuse
the town crier bellowed out tidings.
The Triangle Triumvirate was unstable,
the discovery, nay re-discovery,
of the Mystery, the most horrific of Mysteries,
the Mystery of the missing
Fourth-Side.

Dweeb was a box standard barbarian.
Quick to anger, slow of wit.
Like last night at dinner.
He had Three potatoes, his sister had Four.
He shouted and thumped the table,
his angry voice expunging his ire.
Then his sister had explained,
to calm and reassure him.
Three was more than Four
because it had Five letters in it.
And Five is more than Four.
He thought about his axe,
then about his abacus,
and then he ate his spuds.

The Fourth-Side drifted in spacial isolation.
Of course now it wasn't a Side.
Being attached to nothing, it was just a line,
but it had some tricks.
It could coil and curl itself
to form rude words in joined up writing.
It floated on reminiscing,
about the **** angles it had made
with all its previous adjacent lovers.
The memory caused spasms
and it formed into a rude word
that should never ever be written down.

Teena, Dweeb's sister, vomited.
She had kissed a puppy,
and was being sick in the morning,
was she pregnant?
But, it was never a puppy, always a stork.
He mum had told her, warned her
'never kiss an errant stalk'.
Her mum died of the pox, whatever that is.
Something clicked in her head.
Oh! Stork and stalk!
Well they do sound the same,
especially in a harsh barbarian accent.
But the puppy had sneezed
as she had kissed it goodnight.
She thought about her axe.
And then she threw up again.


Equations to be solved #7
Vlad the Impaler was a Barbarian
+
Vlad the Impaler was a Libra
=
Dracula was a Librarian?



Right Angle was worried.
Duly so.
If the Fourth-Side Mystery was solved
he'd have three other Right Angles to deal with,
instead of a sixty and a thirty.
The Triangle Triumvirate would cease.
An intense Quadrilateral Mexican stand-off
would ruffle his perfect two-seventy external.
He had to divert attention away,
far, far away, from the Fourth-Side.
By Jove he had it! Bingo!
Let them try to solve
the Mystery of
The Back-Side.

Dweeb loved winding up his sister.
So he hid her puppy in a box.
But now he was worried.
Was the puppy still alive?
Or dead? Or both?
This may sound like a ****** stupid question
but where did that last thought come from?
Yes!
Yes what?
Yes, it was a ****** stupid question!

Teena though it very strange.
When she rang the dinner Triangle
the cat sat on the mat,
Salivating!
Curiouser and curiouser.
Conditioned response or learnt behaviour?
Teena dismissed the thought line,
she didn't ask ****** stupid questions.

It had no idea
about its status as a Mystery.
The Fourth-Side has issues.
Complicated issues.
It had somehow conspired
to tie itself in a knot.
And spacial isolation had become crowded.
Missing links everywhere, the sofa of time,
excommunicated integers, 1970's wallpaper,
it all floated about in spacial isolation.
Above all Fourth-Side was intensely agitated.
Couldn't anyone quieten that yapping puppy?




© Pagan Paul (06/11/18)
.
My psychedelic washing machine mind on spin cycle!

https://hellopoetry.com/collection/29495/strange-world/
.
Bobbie Bachelor Dec 2014
She walked outside to get a breath of fresh air
She saw that there was snow on the ground
But she didn't have a jacket on
Just a skirt
With nylon leggings

The wind started to blow
And she felt the snow
Blow her around

And then it stopped

She shut the door
And went back inside

She walked over to the computer
And sat down in a wooden chair
And kind of shivered a little

As the snow was melting on her hair

She moved her head back and forth really quickly
And shaked the snow off of her hair

I don't look pretty

she giggled

She kind of smoothed out her hair
With her hands
And curled it around her fingertips

Then she felt kinda hungry
And left her chair
And started sliding a little

She got to the refrigerator door
She looked around
And there was a mountain dew

Yeah

She turned around quickly
And was spinning
And got a little dizzy

She drank her mountain dew
And burped

I'm drunk

She staggered back to the wooden chair
And set her pop by the computer
Which she's not suppose to do
But always does anyways

Hmmm
Hmmm
Hmm
Hmm
Hmmm
Hmm
Hmm
Hmm
Hmm

She clicked on a video on youtube
And clicked out really quick
And made a sour face and squinted

She typed something else in
She looked down the screen
Scrolled down
Double clicked

Waiting for it to load
Clicked out
Didn't load

She kinda got a little upset
And grabbed her mountain dew
Got up from the computer
And smashed her knees against the stupid computer thingy

Spilled a little mountain dew on her skirt

Whatever

She grabbed her mountain dew
Held it by the inner tab
And spun around slowly

Didn't cut herself

Spinned around again
Heart racing
Didn't cut herself

Slowly took her pointer finger out
And started drinking again

She walked into the living room
Going
Hmmm
Hmmm
Hmmm
Hmmm

Hmmm
Hmmm
Hmmm
Hmm

Sat down on the couch
With her kitten in the kitchen
By the computer

She turned the tv on
And watched spongebob squarepants

It was in the middle of the episode where mermaid man was saying
Evil
Eeeeevil

She just sipped her mountain dew quickly
And didn't swallow it right away

Then she rubbed her feet against the ground
And her kitten
Hopped away from the kitchen
And waited by her feet
She looked down

Made a face
And placed her foot on top of her kitty's head
And the kitten backed off and bumped into the tv

While the episode of spongebob was still playing

She changed the channel
Started kicking her feet
Back and forth
Without touching the ground

She looked outside
And the snow was blowing harder
So she got off of the coach
Opened the door
And felt the snow blow against her skin again

She shivered again
Shut the door
Shaked her head
Brushed down her hair

Ran into the kitchen
Then ran back upstairs
To her room
Turned around
And the kitten was at the bottom of the steps

She shut the door quickly
Fell to the ground
And looked under the door
And saw the kitten
She came close to the door
And pawed at it a little
Then hopped back down stairs

On the last step
Tumbled

She's left alone a lot
That's why she's so strange

She felt her stomach make a hungry noise
She was craving tacos

I wonder if there's any leftover tacos from yesterday in the fridge
She walks downstairs

Slides to the fridge
Kitten hops away
She opens the door

Nothing

She shuts the door
Slides back to the computer
Sat down

And started to feel really bored
Then got out of the chair
Walked over to the door

And felt it with her hand
Without opening it

It was cold out
Shari Forman Mar 2013
A sound better and livelier as ever startled me. Baffled and unaware of my surroundings, my eyes slowly opened, viewing my irresistible grandmother’s hand gently touching my cheek. Listening carefully, I noticed a beautiful sound coming from her voice. The warm-hearted, lovable lady warmly smiled down at me as my smile formed into the shape of a crescendo, getting larger and wider, finally to a laugh of pure joy. I knew one thing was certain to be true; I fell in love with the intriguing sounds bit by bit.
I awoke to the sight of my father playing his guitar at a medium volume. The sound of the instrument inspired me and motivated me to follow him. I lie in my crib listening intently to the various sounds coming from the guitar. It was almost morning, yet I thought it was later in the morning because my light was on its maximum strength. I watched his fingers move very quickly on the guitar, yet the sounds were beautiful.
“Good morning my love,” said my father smiling at me. “Did you have a good sleep, my love?” he said.
“Pno,” I said on my very own.
“What did you say my love?” said my father startled and impressed that I had just muttered my first word at age one. His smile was soothing in my opinion. His eyes became lively and big with complete shock and joy.
“Po neo.”
“Piano!” said my father ecstatic at the moment.
Considering music was his dream, he wanted me to take part in the wonderful career as well. He set his guitar down against my light blue-colored wall. Then my father went to my small rocking chair and sat down. He put his face in the palm of his hands. I thought he was crying and intimidated by me, but then I realized he was very proud of me and believed I would go far in life. He stood up and picked me up gently and set me down on a chair next to my piano. He smiled and embraced me with affection. I knew my father’s name by heart but I couldn’t manage to say it. It was William. He started playing simple notes on the keys with his thick, masculine hands. He played six notes, all with important meaning and full-care. He motioned for me to take part playing as well.
“No, no. You’ve done it all wrong my love. You must listen with ease and act how you feel,” said my father with concern.
I started weeping large sobs as my father talks in a loud tone with disapproval.
“What, my dear?” says William concerned.
I pressed a key on the piano and roar with laughter.
“You’ve got it my love,” said my father in a soft, mellow tone.
I then take again to the keyboard, this time with full confidence playing again. My father then sang a song while playing the piano. I didn’t know the name of the song, but he told me it was a song he had written after. That inspired me to write my own songs and play the piano and possibly the guitar.
“This is the world, I hail from.  The sorrows and pity we might feel for each other. But arised a God who’s mighty strong. Who turns our sorrows into pride and joy, and this is where I am hail from,” sang my father very emotional.
“You’ll go far my love, I promise you. One day music will save you...” said my father.
…28 years later those words stuck with me…
I was off to work going about my usual day. I was thirty one now and living with my girlfriend in our apartment. I still lived in my hometown, California. Whenever I thought of my hometown, the song “Hometown California,” came to me automatically. I’d just start singing. I wouldn’t consider myself an excellent singer, but that was just a hobby of mine. I was phenomenal at playing the piano and very good at playing the guitar in the eyes of many people.
…When the weekend finally came, I found the time on Saturday morning to fit a tennis match in with one of my good friends, Troy.  As we rally back and forth, something caught me by surprise. A grey-haired man about twice my age had an awkward looking smile that lit up his whole face. I was baffled at the bizarre stranger. He came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder.  I looked at him.
“Hello young fellow. My name is Harry Hayfold and I was wondering if you would like to train with me to become a professional tennis player.” said the man.
‘No thanks man, I’m just playing a match with my friend. Thanks anyways.” I said and I went back to rallying.
“Young fellow, please. You’ve great skill as I see,” said the older guy eager to say something more.
“I don’t think I want to train for hours for a chance at becoming a pro- tennis player. Thanks for the compliment though,” I said a little annoyed.
“It would be your loss sir.” said the man.
I just continued rallying with my friend. My friend looked baffled as well and felt bad for the guy. I didn’t care if he was still standing there; I just wanted to play. When we were finished rallying, we started a match. As I throw the ball up to serve, he shouts something right next to me.
“Would you please just listen to what I have to say?!” said the man angry.
“Oh, my god; could you leave us alone now?  I’m not doing the training classes; I have a job. I work in a music store, okay!” I said very annoyed.
My friend came over to my side of the tennis court and asked what the problem was to the man.
“I can’t stand people like you. You’re a liar and a creep.” said John.
“Which music store do you work at?” asked the man.
“It’s called Music Academy. Can you leave us alone now?” I said perturbed.
“I’m very sorry to have bothered you.” said the man.
“Yeah,” I said without any enthusiasm.
“No wait, he’ll be honored to do the classes with you sir. He needs money anyway,” said John’s friend Troy.
“What are you doing?!” I said to my friend with fury. “I will be fine financially once I get signed professionally which will happen troy. It will definitely happen. This guy… He’s out of his mind,” I said confident.
“What did you say your name was?” said the man.
“John.” I said.
“Excellent Johnathon.”“Meet me here on these same tennis courts tomorrow morning at eight o’clock. Don’t be late.” said Harry.
I smashed my racket as hard as I could on the ground with full force, releasing all of my stress and anger out on the court.
“Alright John,” said Troy with pity on him. We’ll hang out again soon.” He said and left.
“Crapola!”  I yelled in mid-air after everyone left.
The next day I don’t even consider going to the psychotic man’s tennis class. Instead, I make my way to work early.
As I’m exiting my shift at night, I noticed someone standing behind a wall. And there it was… I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Oh, no,” I whispered to myself.
“Hello Jonathon. You’re session was at eight am this morning. Have you forgotten?” he said concerned.
“Listen, I don’t think this whole business with the excessive training classes to make me into what I will never become and putting my job in jeopardy of getting fired, is going to work out,” I said with a smile.
“I’ve watched you work in the store John,” said the man concerned.
“Oh jeez, now I’ve got a personal stalker. This is gonna be interesting.” I whispered.
“How much do you make a week? I’ve come to sought you don’t look happy working there and want to become into a real musician.” said Harry.
I was just about to completely lose my mind when I took a deep breath and bit my tongue to avoid making a scene. My face turned so red.
“Once I get a record deal with the piano, then things will be even better for me. But as of now, I’m very happy, just not super happy. And you know what else, I’m so happy I began music because I couldn’t get much happier. Oh, the glory of being a musician would make me so happy. And you barging randomly into my life and ******* up everything… well I couldn’t get much happier!” I managed to scream at the end of my statement.
“Come with me John. Please let me help you find a way to forget that you’re not a musician.” said the man.
“My father was my inspiration. He’s dead now, yet I’m following in his footsteps because I want to.” I said.
“I see… I’m very sorry for your loss John,” said Harry with a fake sad expression on his face.
This man was driving me up the wall by now. I had had it with his monkey business.
There was a long pause…
“So tomorrow at eight?” I said completely unsatisfied, yet willing to experiment with what he had in mind to teach me.
“Yes, oh yes that would be just perfect John,” said Harry ecstatic.
We both started walking to our homes. He had walked rather quickly for an older guy, and me, slowly like I’d just had a pancreas failure.
When I arrived at my apartment, my girlfriend wasn’t there.
“Jenny, I’m home”… “Jenny, you there?” I said baffled at the silence. “Jennyyyyy”, I said playfully. Jennifer… Is dinner set toniiiight?” I said as I smiled at my own humor.
All of a sudden, the phone rang, which startled me and made me uninterested at this point to answer. I answered the phone anyway.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hello, this is a patient of Jennifer; is Jenny there?”
“No she isn’t at the moment,” I said unsure of my answer.
“Ok, thank you,” she said and hung up.
“You’re welcome,” I said sarcastically after she already hung up.
I walked into our bedroom to take my work clothes off and put pajamas on. The door was closed which got me a little concerned and angry. I walked in the bedroom and turned on the light.
“What the hell is going on here?! Get off my girlfriend you crazy *******!” I yelled.
“No John, please stop. He’s my fiancé John,” said Jenny annoyed with me.
“What are you talking about Jennifer?” I said raging with anger.
“Listen john, I’m sorry. Things weren’t working out between us recently and things just clicked between… well Steve and I.” she said.
“ I can’t believe what I am seeing right now,” said john through tears of disappointment and anger.
“Things weren’t working out between us John_”
“Yeah, I think you mentioned that already.” said John crying hysterically.
“Well don’t be sorry. Be sorry at yourself because I did nothing but treat you nicely. What happened to us Jenny? We were so in love with each other. I can’t believe what I am seeing.” I said.
My girlfriend my starting to cry now and as she began to speak I walked out stomping on the floor and slammed the front door as I exited my apartment.
“The next morning John arrived at the tennis courts that he visited two days ago with his friend.
“I’m here; let’s start playing tennis,” I said calmly.
“Wait, wait. I have not yet explained the concepts.” said Harry.
“Yeah, yeah, concepts. I know,” I said annoyed.
I picked up a tennis ball and hit it over the fence as hard as I could.
“Excellent work there John,” said Harry sarcastically.
“That was just a warm up professor. Now here comes glory,” I said about to ****** someone.
I slam my pre-broken racket on the floor so hard that it cracked in half. The man was outraged at the horrifying scene.
“I missed work this morning for this crapola?!” I yelled.
John, you’re crazy right now. Sit down and relax!” said Harry firmly.
“Music is all I want and you’re taking that away from me.” I said
“I apologize sir; I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” I said.
“Anymore? You haven’t even started playing yet,” said Harry with a little chuckle.
“Ok, fine; I’ll play.” I said. “I don’t have a racket now.” I said ashamed and guilty.
“That’s not my problem.” said Harry. “If you no longer have a racket, I will let you have my spare racket if you practice drills catching the ball precisely with only your hands.”
“Ha, you’re kidding right? That was a good one Harry; very good.” I said.
I tap him on the shoulder.
“See you tomorrow.” I said.
“Will you stop acting arrogant and negative for once John! I was serious about the hand drill.” said Harry.
“Ok then.” I said.
Harry got on the side opposite from my side. He took a bunch of ***** and out them in his pockets.
“Now John…I want you to catch the ball wherever I throw it okay?” said Harry.
“Yeah, I’m ready.” I said.
He fed the ball over the net and John caught the ball wherever he threw it. When he was getting exhausted from the number of ***** being fed to him, he took the ball and smashed it on the ground.
“What in heaven’s name has come over you?” asked the man terrified.
“Nothing, except the fact that my girlfriend is now getting married with her new fiancé and was having an affair in my bedroom. That is it ladies and gentleman, the show is now over,” I said sarcastically.
“Oh, haha…hahahahahahaahahaa.” Harry chuckled.
Harry burst out laughing.
“John, John, I’m sorry. The way you said it made me laugh, that’s all.” said Harry.
I run up to the old man about ready to **** him (not literally) when he started coughing. He fell down to his knees holding his chest.
“John,” he whispered trying to grasp more oxygen.
“What happened Harry? Are you alright?” I asked nervously panicking.
I ran off the court to get my cell phone in my tennis bag on one of the park benches and called an ambulance. I then run back to Harry.
“I’m calling an ambulance for you Harry. It’ll be okay,” I said about to cry from the sight of what just happened.
When the ambulance came, he was put on a stretcher by several paramedics and taken to the nearest hospital. I don’t bother calling my ex-girlfriend, knowing I was through with her insecure ways and immaturity level. I drove to the hospital following the ambulance as I drove. I arrived at the hospital minutes after him and sat in the waiting room for over two hours with his son who was about my age, if not older. The doctor came out looking down with tears in his eyes. He ripped off his glasses and fell to his knees. He stood up…
“I’m very sorry. There was nothing more I could precede on doing,” said the doctor.
The doctor walked away looking very upset and disappointed in himself and what happened. I turned to his son and saw such shock and disappointment in him.
“He was a very mysterious, outgoing person and a great father,” said his son through tears.
I nodded my head and smiled.
“My father tried to teach you basic steps of becoming a tennis player, but it wasn’t for a career. Trust me. He wanted you to learn something new. That’s all. He can be difficult at times, I know, but he is a very courageous man and loves helping others,” said his son smiling at me.
I was shocked. I was living an okay life with music. But now I realized that this man inspired me to follow chase after what you want. He taught me that things may be challenging in life, but you can overcome them if you work hard and love what you do in life. Even through financial problems, I realized that you can still achieve your dreams and it is never too late to start a record deal. His son left the hospital before me without mentioning what his name was. I believed the Harry and his family were a mystery, but a good mystery. I showed up to the music store the next morning and the manager of the store had exhilarating news for me. I had gotten signed by a famous musician! This was the best day of my whole entire life and I could not have asked for anything more in life.
“Signed by Buddy Clark, I present to you your record deal. Sign this and you have a chance to work with this talented man for a chance at achieving your dream John. Well done, we’re all very proud of you,” said the manager of the store.
All of the workers in the store started cheering me on and applauding my superb work and efforts. I was now in tears of pure joy and I felt worth something major for the first time.
“Thanks a lot Jason,” I said to the manager of the store. “This is a gift; it means the world to me,” I said as I gave him a hug.
I realized life is not all about tennis or music. It’s the important things in music that make you feel out of this world amazed. People may have a strong opinion about something they love, but never take a person for granitite.
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
"Back from vacation", the barber announces,
or the postman, or the girl at the drugstore, now tan.
They are amazed to find the workaday world
still in place, their absence having slipped no cogs,
their customers having hardly missed them, and
there being so sparse an audience to tell of the wonders,
the pyramids they have seen, the silken warm seas,
the nighttimes of marimbas, the purchases achieved
in foreign languages, the beggars, the flies,
the hotel luxury, the grandeur of marble cities.
But at Customs the humdrum pressed its claims.
Gray days clicked shut around them; the yoke still fit,
warm as if never shucked. The world is still so small,
the evidence says, though their hearts cry, "Not so!"
Mitchell Duran Jun 2012
The night rested in a humid Spring night as the cable cars
And taxi cabs lazily made their way around the
Soft and silent streets of the city. Stray cats and dogs
Picked away at half-eaten lunch meat and
three day old bread as the moon slowly began to rise.
The restaurants that lined the alley ways and
Side streets were filled with the Saturday evening crowd. The
Clinking echoes of wine glasses and dinner plates spilled
Out onto the sidewalk and into the street. The passerby's would
Occasionally turn their heads to look inside, some envious that they
Were not smiling and drinking and eating that night. Across the
Street and throughout the town, lonely men drank from half empty
Beer mugs, wondering where their passion had gone.

On the corner of Barry and 3rd stood a man alone with
A suitcase in his hand. He wore tattered brown dress
Shoes - two years too old - a black neck tie with a half
Button-up T-shirt and a pair of dark brown slacks he had
Bought from Goodwill for $3. His free hand hung open,
Letting the night breeze snake around his fingers. There
Were the stars above him that shone down onto the street
And the sidewalk and a few spotted puddles that had
Built up from an earlier rain. On the corner of Barry and 3rd
There was only one thing to do with one's time, and that
Was to stand around and think of where to go to next.

Up on 17th, there was a bar the man had heard of
From a woman who had tried to pick him up at the bus
Station, some kind of ******* that was really only looking
For a couple of free drinks and a packet of cigarettes. The man
Thought of this place, and weighed back and forth if it would
Be advantageous to wander up there and see if he couldn't
Find someone to shack up with for the night.
He decided it would be.

As he passed the busy restaurants, listening to the insides
Of the building and its occupants churn like silverware
In a blender, he remembered he had placed a half-loaf
Of bread inside of his suitcase.
He stopped on a rough concrete stoop of a Catholic
Church, where above him, stood a large wooden cross.
Around the cross were plaster sculptures of baby angels and
Gargoyles and a snaking vine made of black stone that made
Its way around the cross, tying itself around the center
Where the horizontal met the vertical, and continued
To spin around and around until it reached the top.
At first, the man thought it was some
Kind of snake signifying Adam and Eve, which was all
He really knew about religion, the basic kid stories, but
When looking closer, realized that it was only an innocent
Plant seeking a spot of sun.

The man placed his suitcase on the 3rd step of 8, where he
Then sat on the 4th. He leaned his weathered, bent back against
The hard stone concrete and listened to the faint cracks
Of his spine inside his body. He realized that he hadn't sat d
Down and relaxed since he had gotten off the train. He threw
His head back in a exaggerated and child-like yawn, and felt the warm tears
Of bashful exhaustion fill the sockets of his heavy eyes. The night was
Warm and he unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt
To let the air blow over his sweat drenched chest.

"There are certain times to be alone in life," He mused
To himself, "And I do believe that I have
Found one of them."

In a room above him the window was wide open
And the curtains danced outside with the wind. A head
Poked out from the window sill and peered down to
Look at the man musing, but did not say anything. The man
knew nothing of the stranger's eyes above him and felt
No other presence around him, other than the passing taxi
Cabs and street walker's and - if you counted the one's inside
The church - the saints and the angel's and God that lived
In holy silence enshrined behind him.

"There are things in life that are never meant to be
Solved," he philosophized, "And maybe I am
One of those things. When I think of my life, my entire
Life here on Earth, I don't think I ever found
A straight line to follow that I was ever comfortable
With...not one straight line I could follow that would
Bring me true happiness or a sense of accomplishment.
Now, am I bad in feeling this way? Am I no good
For never feeling that the good ain't ever good enough?
I do my laundry like everybody else and I walk the
Street just the same, but, there is something else that
Smells and feels and can taste the eternity in all things
That makes me restless so I can't sleep sometimes, forces
Me to stare into black infinity with only a mind I feel
That I will never truly meet. There has got to be a word
For whatever feeling this is, but I can't seem to think of it now."

The head above that had poked out before ******
A dark object out the window. It wavered for a moment
In the still warm air of the night, then, whooshing and
Splashing down, a full bucket of water cascaded down
on the man's head and suitcase. The man sat frozen, unsure
Whether it was from the Heaven's itself and paused before
He began to swear and curse at the tenant above him.

"You rat **** eating vanilla ice cream eating convict!" he
Screamed up towards the apartment complex, "I'm going
To come back with a gallon of gasoline, 10,000 tooth-picks, and
Find out your favorite magazine subscription and bring 1,000
Those by, and burn this place down - gifts and all!"

His voice
Echoed in the street
And down the darkened alley-way,
Where the bums of the city
Slumbered, not hearing a sound
Of the rant the man in the now wet
Two year old dress shoes rambled
On with; for bums sleep with
Absolute peace with their lack of
Care or fear of time.

"At last," he muttered underneath his dripping hair,
"I am released unto the Earth for what I truly am: A hung
Sheet - fresh out of the washer - meant only to be
Basking in the moonlight so to be dried by
Morning for the house-guests in the evening."

The man snapped his fingers,
Clicked his tongue, and looked up,
Once more trying to spot the culprit, until
Another bucket of water came crashing
Down upon him.

"QUIET DOWN THERE,"
The voice from above hollered,
"THERE AIN'T A SINGLE WORD ANYONE
IN THIS BUILDING WANTS TO HEAR
RIGHT NOW! CHILDREN ARE SLEEPING AND
THE OLD ONE'S ARE WATCHING THIER PROGRAMS!"

The man ran his hands through his dripping wet hair
And flicked the droplets of water out onto the street. His
Suitcase, which sat to the right of him, was soaked as well and
The man worried about the single baguette he had stored
In there in case he had gotten hungry. He knew it was ruined
Now, but was happy that there was only an extra pair
Of 50 cent socks and an undershirt he had found underneath
A bridge on the way into the city. He cocked his head up to the open window.

"You speak for everyone here in this building?" He
Asked the black and blotchy figure above him.

"I speak for everyone that doesn't have the nerve or
The cajones or the energy to holler down at you at
This Un-Godly hour, if that's what your asking."

"They vote you into that position?" He asked, prodding them.

"No vote. I'm a volunteer," they defended.

"Ha. Always going to be some kind of
Volunteer when there's power involved."

"Isn't power, it's responsibility."

"Responsibility," the man repeated, chewing the
Word in his mouth, seeing it spelled out in his mind.
"Responsibility is quite a subjective thing: some people
Take a liking to it and never want to stop being responsible and
In charge, and some just don't want none of it and
Would rather lay back in the sun and act
Like their in charge, while whoever believes
Their power works under'em and for'em; which one are you?"

"Neither. I'm just here trying to ward off some
Rambling *** with what looks like nothing but a
Suitcase and some old clothes and shoes."

"Well," he said, "You must have some pretty good
Eye-sight in this setting dark, because that's
All I got at the moment."

"Where you hail from?" the voice asked.

"Originally I hail from here, but where I was
Before I hailed from as well. To tell you the truth, I don't
Truly know - that's a good question."

The man tilted his chin up slightly and
Rolled over his response. The question had
Dropped an icy fire into the pit of his stomach and filled it
With hundreds of gnawing, fluttering butterflies; he
Hadn't thought about home in a long time and
Had forgotten why he had even chose to show-up in the first place.

"I'm here for reasons I can't seem to remember at the moment,"
The man admitted to the voice above and to himself.

"Can't remember?" the voice laughed, "How
You gonna' forget why you came home?"

"Don't know," he said, shaking his head," Just
Can't seem to recollect it."

"Scary thing."

"Yes, indeed."

They both paused as a taxi cab passed slowly by. It stopped
And honked its horn trying to signal the man to see
If he needed a ride. The man waved his hand to send the
Cabby off and looked down at his wet clothes and suitcase. The
Chill of the night had gotten its way into his skin and
He noticed that his teeth were chattering and his feet were
Beginning to shake. He worried about getting sick because he
Wouldn't be able to buy any medicine if he did. He looked up
To see the figure still looking down at him in silence. Suddenly,
An object fell, back and forth in the air like a feather,
Down towards the man and onto the stoop where he stood.
It was a blanket and wrapped inside was a tattered pillow.

"Bring it back if you want," the voice called out to him, "Don't
Even care if you sleep on the stoop, but, it's a little wet, as you know."

"There a park around here?"

"Down two blocks and a left. You'll see it."

"Thanks for your kindness," he said looking up at the window.

"Thanks for your silence," the voice said stubbornly.

The man brushed off the remaining water on his clothes
And suitcase and tried to squeeze the water out his hair.
He picked up his suitcase and wrapped the blanket around
His body and fitted the pillow underneath his arm. He walked
Two blocks up from where the figure had told him and took a
Left, illuminated by the stark orange and white street lights. He looked
Around after he took the left and spotted a small children's park
With a few benches spotted along the sidewalk that snaked through it.
He picked a bench near a water fountain, unbuckled his belt and took
Off his wet pants and laid down, wrapping the thick wool blanket
Around his body. He placed his suitcase underneath the bench and
Positioned the pillow so it fitted gently under his head. After he
Closed his eyes and rested for five minutes, he reached down to
Touch his suitcase. He felt the cool, damp leather of it, and
Quickly wrapped himself back up into the blanket,
Eagerly awaiting for dawn to rise and bring warmth back to his body.

At dawn, the sun painted the man's body with dark yellow streaks
of sunlight, heating his body up so much that when he woke, his
Clothes were close to dry again. The small patch of grass and
Weeds underneath him rustled with the wind and the sounds
Of the street a few blocks away drifted into his ear. He stirred
Inside of his blanket but did not rise. The pillow had fallen
To the ground throughout the night, but the man was too tired
To reach for it and kept his head on the hard wooden surface of the bench.
While lying there, half awake, the man thought of the figure that
Had been speaking to him from their window the night before. He
Knew he must return the blanket and pillow, but he was unsure
Whether he should bring something else. He had no money -
No money to spare at least - so he chose to bring only the
The things that were leant to him back, hoping that would suffice.

He shifted his position on the bench and saw through a crack of
The bench, that there were children already playing on the playground
Behind him, their parents leaning over their porches watching them; they
Didn't even seem to notice or care about the man sleeping on the bench.
The man felt embarrassed about this and rolled over to avoid the
Gaze of the parents and any of the children that may have spotted him. He
Laid on his back, his head atop the worn but comfortable pillow, and
Gazed up into the blue sky that was clear save a few passing milky
White clouds, that hovered above him like colossal globs of marshmallows.
He hoped in his mind that he remembered where the house the was that
Had been kind enough to give him the blanket and pillow and he wished
That he had paid more attention to the street signs and physical objects
Surrounding the building. All the man could recall were the bright neon
Orange light posts, a long line of thinly pruned circular bushes, a few
Mailboxes that stood as if attention on the sidewalk of the street, and
Numerous houses that all looked the same when he passed them in the night.
He knew he needed to find the house but was too comfortable to rise and
Too scared of the failure of ever finding the house and the thought
Of carrying around the blanket and pillow made his face flush a deep red.

The man rose cooly, as if rising from a nap spent on a couch in his
Summer cottage that rested on the bank of some far off river somewhere.
He looked over to the children and the parents up on their porches, but
Still, none of them paid him any mind. This relieved him. He was allowed
To be a shadow and embraced the idea of being anonymous rather
Than feeling the helplessness one feels when no one sees you. He folded
The blanket neatly like his mother had taught him to do ever since
He was a little boy, and instinctively fluffed the ***** pillow, even though
It was far beyond repair already. The sun was just peaking over the tops of
The ramshackle apartment buildings and he noticed that he had been
Sleeping in what looked like a very poor part of town; in the night, it
Looked like every other park corner where the elderly would to
Think about their past and the children would play with their present.

"Night and day are two different worlds," the man muttered
To himself, "Some people belong in one and some
The other; I wonder...which one am I?"

He looked up towards the sun and squinted, feeling a
Small droplet of sweat make its way down his right cheek. He
Wiped it away with his fingertip and brought it to his mouth -
He was terribly thirsty and his stomach rumbled within him. He
Had noticed the night before on the way to the park, a sign
For a bakery, but was not sure whether it was open or not because
The night was too dark to reveal any signs of it. The man had 10 dollars to
His name and knew he could buy two loaves of bread for at least 50 cents
If he haggled with whoever was running the place. They would be sure
To see his condition and help him if he showed them a little of the money he had.
There was also a childish charm to the man that he would bring out whenever
He truly was in need - he never liked abusing this gift, if one could call it that -
But in times of desperation and starvation and dehydration, he was
Forced to use it and mustered as much courage up to do so.

He walked through the path that had brought him to the park and
Made a right down the street towards the bakery and possibly the
House where he had been given the blanket and pillow. There was
No one on the street save a few alley cats and dogs and all the window
Blinds were down to block out the intense shining sun rising in the sky. There
Was a light breeze passing through the trees that cooled the man off. He
Had begun to sweat from holding the pillow and blanket so close
To his body, and wished he could have the nerve just to throw it in a
Garbage can and make his way to the neighborhood where he had been told
About the bar, but his conscious weighed him down, so he carried on.

He walked a block down the street and found the bakery on the other side
Of the street. He crossed and saw there was an old woman inside.
He checked his pockets for any spare change and opened his wallet
To make sure the 10 dollars was still there. He needed water and something
To put in his belly and he whispered a prayer before he went inside of the bakery.
When he pushed the door to enter though, it wouldn't budge - it was locked. The
Woman behind the counter turned her head and looked at the man, who
shook her head and waved him off. The man knocked gently on the glass
Door, but the old woman just kept waving and shooing him off like an animal. The
Man checked the clock inside and saw that
Ellen Joyce Jul 2013
And life came in, crowned in blood, kissed and messed,
announcing itself with a cry.  
A girl-child, missing piece, fitted to my breast
her weight absorbed with my heart's sigh
She was fear personified, so heavenly blessed,
she made my terrified simpers her lullaby.

I felt my heart's core swell to absorb her scent,
and my eyes overflowed with love's cascading cry.
She cast light into my darkened chaotic hurt -
sparked a desire to wake, to live, to try,
clasping her whole fist around my ring finger,
holding me still; the whole world passing by.

And in her absence she left her shadow nestled in my chest.
And in my absence I hid my kisses in her sigh.
She grew with eyes of blue and a sympathetic smile -
all faerie dust on the wing of a butterfly,
an almost echo of a girl I once knew.
Except she didn't know that kind of cry,
wouldn't know anything less than rainbows,
than Christmas mornings and endless blue skies.

We tripped, clicked heels through the passing years,
from little girl to little woman in the blink of an eye,
till we were both wearing her shoes instead of mine.
And like Alice, she snapped from low to high
she grew - time sculpting curvy definitions
of who I hope and fear she will be.

She is golden curls and girlish giggles
ever wondering the where or the why
ever seeking to help, to heal, to try
to pour her heart into an undeserving world.
She has legs she claims to stand her ground
to be, to free, to hold her own.

And though like me, she is not me,
since she is so much braver than I.
Her finger is wrapped around her innocence
holding strong to consent or deny.
This life will make her cry her tears
and this world will realise her fears
but she will ever have the wings to fly
and I will ever ready to sing her our lullaby.
For my god daughter.  With love.
Pauline Morris Mar 2016
One day while searching the web
The little devil on my shoulder said
Why don't we watch **** instead

The little Angel was missing that day
So what was I to say
But okay

As I sat there in the computer screen glow
I clicked some links but they were slow
I clicked and clicked, but it just wouldn't go

It had froze
Figures that's how my life flows
But then they all at one time started to roll

All I had wanted to do was watch a show
With some **'s and men with part that grow
But I had unleashed a ******* pornado
s Jan 2015
Tonight something in my brain clicked.
I am affecting others lives.
Alot.
So instead of looking sad.
Instead of sitting alone in my room.
Instead of being addicted to myself..
I need to fake happy better.
I need to fake everything more.
I do enough damage to myself.
I don't want to do that to someone else.
A gear in my head..
Just clicked.
Now I know..
I need to forget myself.
Mitchell Duran Dec 2012
She stood up against the wooden bar lit by a stale football field that shined florescent green and highlighted polyester blue like a muse of Van Gogh or Galileo. Her hair ran down the nape of her neck like a ****** waterfall and the light of the bar highlighted her sphinx like eyes as she turned and caught his eye. He stood at a small table away from the main bar with a couple of friends who were telling stories of their old college days and he, half-listening, quickly looked away, faking to scratch his eye, for he knew he had been caught looking at the back of her and she, with her women's intuition of being observed and knowing this, kept looking and he knowing the only way not to show he had been caught was to look away quickly and very obviously; like a bad actor caught dumb and silent, clueless of their next line. They blushed and shared the heat of embarrassment in their cheeks with the sounds of worn dollar bills slapping hard against the smooth wood of the bar, the bar man eyeing it angrily as cigarette smoke surrounded them and slowly drifted up like a lost soul toward the ceiling and the piano man, eyes tight shut played for everyone there when no-one cared to listen, all underneath the dim light of the bar as they strained to look away from one another, trying to find something they could put their focus upon, but, at the same time, wanting very much to look back and have their eyes meet by mistake all over again.

He focused on the design of the bathroom placards that were in the right corner of the tiny bar where you had to turn sideways and touch shoulder's with every soul inside just to get a drink. He feigned interest in the bronze design of the men's bathroom: a tiny boy looking down at his pecker as he ****** a 1/2 inch thick stream into what the man gathered to be a sunflower ***. The boy was thrusting his hips forward, both of his hands on his side, and he showed no smile, no grin of satisfaction or victory, just a stark, blank face, as if he were thinking "I am peeing in this ***. That is all." The women's bathroom sign was of a young girl with the same kind of *** the boy had been ******* in, but it was missing the sunflower and was replaced by the *** of the girl. She stared up into the sky and into the ceiling lights and was dramatically reaching for a butterfly or bird - he couldn't make out which - something with wings and made him think of a basic metaphor that this poor little girl just wants to get off the *** and be free like the birds and butterflies and clouds in the wide blue sky.

She focused on the man's shoes. She looked at the black shine and the pristine black shoe laces, all looking like everything had just been purchased that day. "There is not a single scuff on them and the way this man cuffs his pants only a single turn," she thought to herself, "Tells me he has something of a style on him". Not so run of the mill. Something special. Something of interest.* But then, she was annoyed by the cuff of the pants because she remembered that was what all the schoolboys in her prep school would do when the day was rainy or the boys rode their bikes home from school or they were nerds. The memory immediately turned her off of the man all together, but luckily, she put her gaze back on the jet-black, seemingly un-touched leather that told her success, class, and security.

The man heard a loud Cheer's!" from his table, abruptly bringing him out of his distraction. He was forced to turn and as he did, he made sure not to look up. He kept his eyes on the table and looked for the half-full beer with the worn Budweiser coaster underneath it. He could see from the his top periphery that she was still facing him but she was looking down at something toward the floor. He fumbled with his large hands for his glass and panned his eyes up slightly. The woman, seeing the movement at the table, looked up. She stared back to where she had first caught him looking at her and waited. The man felt her looking at him and in the same instant, saw the faded Budweiser coaster and reached for his beer. He picked the glass up and as the second Cheer! was yelled, he clashed his glass against all the others, all the while keeping his head not toward his friend's faces, but turned in the direction of the bar toward the girl. He smiled at her as he lowered his glass, not taking a drink. His friend slapped him on the back and told him," You gotta' drink after the cheers or its bad luck," and so he did, still staring dumbly at her as he did. She nodded at him with a self-conscious and embarrassed grin, raised her nearly gone low-ball glass of gin and tonic and tipped it toward him and turned around to face the bar.

"I"ll stand here and wait for him to come up to me," she thought, "And if he doesn't the man is a coward and a louse and not worth my time. I have looked twice now and there is some rule in some magazine that I read somewhere, that if you look twice at a man that it is sign, not a coincidence. No, it has a purpose and though I barely know what reason I want this man to look at me other then to get a drink out of him and maybe some conversation, I am certain I have looked twice, maybe even three times. Yes. I have looked at him and I have made my interest known and now I must wait for him to either come or stay with his drunken friends. They look like frat boys cheering like that. They look like drunken, silly frat boys that wouldn't know the first thing about chivalry. Hell, they probably couldn't even spell the ****** word." She laughed under her breath and smiled maliciously to herself and caught her own reflection in the mirror and, for an moment, wanted to quickly look away. Her face did not frighten her, for she was a beautiful woman, not her skin, which was milky white with the faintest and gentlest dash of rouge on each cheek, nor her chocolate colored curls that bounded like boulder's down a hillside. She turned away from a look upon her eye she had not seen or had recognized in a very long time. Her eyes were frightened.

"Frightened?" she wondered.

The man put his beer glass on the table on top of the coaster. The foam rested at the bottom of the cup like the thin layer of ice that blows over a frozen lake, barely there at all passing with the wind. He stared at her back and liked how she leaned on her right hip and put the toe of her left high-heel to the ground, rocking the nose of the shoe back and forth like she was thinking about something playfully frivolous. Behind him, the noise of his friends became a hollow echo, drowned out by the draw of this woman. She swung her left heel back and forth like a pendulum trying to hypnotize him. Someone touched his shoulder but he shrugged the hand away as in this echo chamber he could only hear the music change tracks on the juke box. The song had changed to an old Ottis Redding song and there was nothing else in the world that he wanted to listen to in that moment. As he watched her, leaning into the bar seemingly all alone, no boyfriend or girlfriend in sight, he saw her raise her glass to the barman and knew she had something by the gentle nod of the back of her head. He then saw her point with her left finger and tap the rim of the glass. Her drink was empty. She wanted another drink. He would buy her another drink.

"There is nothing in this world that a man is more responsible for than getting a woman like this a drink," he nodded, thinking to himself and trying to pick up his courage,"One that plays with my heart like a kitten would a spool of yarn, and yet also like a vulture who would peck out the eyes of a dead man in the desert. This is nothing more then that obligation. A rule passed down from man to man, from age to age, where chivalry was not for the base reason to lay with the woman, but to honor them, praise them lightly as the rain from a heavy mist and show them to the pedestal every woman, whether they wish to admit it or not, do wish for, sincerely do at least once in there life." He readjusted his belt and realigned his shirt that had gotten crooked after the celebratory cheer and thought some more,"I'm not going to do that here, this pedestal stuff. This is more like a step toward that pedestal. Yes. A step toward the shrine she wants to trust she deserves and will one day end up on. And this shrine is all cast and painted in the blurry french film noir of dream, is it not? Aren't dreams the only thing we hope to one day come true? How often - when and if they do come true - they can sometimes disappoint and eventually turn sour like a bad orange. I hope she is drinking and that wasn't just a tonic water. If this woman doesn't drink I don't think any of this will be worth anything at all."

She stood there serene and angelic, the hand that held her drink now resting on the base of the bar. Behind the man, he heard the chatter of his friends and the drone of football scores and player updates coming from the ten or more televisions that hung from the ceiling. Someone reached out to touch his shoulder but missed him as he left the table. His name then echoed behind him but soon the sound evaporated as dew does that rests on blades of grass in a summer morning to a summer afternoon. There was only her and her smell that had drifted to his table and shrouded him with the scent of white chocolate and smoke and her delicate, porcelain hand that had held up the drink shyly but not weakly, in passing demand without that demanding quality drunk people can get like at bars sometimes. He approached her, hovered behind her, but she did not turn, and then came up to the bar to lean into. He did not turn to look at her, though he wanted to very badly, but looked down at her low-ball glass with two half-melted ice cubes and a used lime. The smell of gin came from the glass and the man smiled to himself and put his hand up to signal the bartender.

"If this man orders his drink first and walks back to that table with all of his drunken friends, I am giving up men all together," the woman thought to herself," * Tonight and forever! If he can put his hand up and not even turn to look at me, as I was doing, I thought, to be very flirtatious but gentle, then I see no reason at all to keep going with men. They are barbarians that only want to eat, drink, sleep, and fornicate with women that are easy and provide no real challenge at all in their life. If he wants it easy, he can have it as easy as he wants, but not with me. No sir. Not with me ever. Not with me for a night, an hour, a minute, or even a second."

The bartender, a stout slightly overweight man that was a little over forty with streaks of grey in his thin, short-cut hair, looking very much like he should be home reading with a nice cup of tea by his side rather than in the bar serving drinks to stranger's, approached the man and asked him what he would like.

"Two gin and tonics please," the man said, "With a slice of lime and four ice-cubes in each."

"And what kind of gin, sir?"

The man turned to the woman, "What label do you drink?" he asked.

"Pardon me?" she stuttered startled, her eyebrows raised.

"Your drinking gin, aren't you?" He nodded his head toward the woman's empty glass. The tiny lines of transparent lime skin floated on top of the water that had gathered from the melting ice-cubes.

"Yes, I am. I was just about to order."

"I'll get this round and you'll get the next one."

"Any gin is fine."

The man turned to the bartender," Tanqueray, please bartender."

He nodded and went to make the drinks.

"Your very perceptive," the woman said as she turned to face him.

"I try."

"I saw you from across the bar, but was afraid to walk up to your table for fear of getting ambushed by all of your friends. Those are your friends, right?"

"Yes," he nodded as he looked over his shoulder at them, "Old college friends all with old stories of college that, truthfully, bring me little or no joy to even hear."

"Then why come at all?" she asked, "You seem smart enough to know that if you meet up with old anything, you'll be hearing about the old times all night."

"I was forced to come."

"Someone getting divorced?"

"No," he laughed, "The opposite. Married."

"Well, I hope it's not you or this would look very bad if your fiance walked in."

"And why's that?"

She clicked her tongue and turned to look at the shelves stocked with every kind of liquor. The bottles reflected the soft orange glow of the lights that circled the bar and the colors of the television screens. The man continued to look at the woman who had turned her back on him and caught their reflection in a bottle of Jack Daniel's. He waited for a response, but she stood there silent, knowing she was playing with him. Behind him, his friends were growing louder and a tray of shots had found its way to their table. The waitress who had brought the drinks, polite and with a smile, asked them to try and keep it down. They shouted "YES'S and screamed "YEAH'S" with moronic smiles on their faces, their heads nodding up and down like a dog playing fetch. The waitress giggled a thank and walked away shaking her head with disgust when she was out of sight.

"Well," she said,"You did just order two gin and tonics and I think if your fiance walked in with you chatting with me with the same drink in both of our hands, I think she would be a little upset. I know I would be."

"Perhaps we could act like we are old grammar school friends and just happened to run into one another?"

"Well, that would be a lie."

"Yes, that would be a lie."

"Which would mean we were hiding something from said wife."

"And what would that be?"

"That you approached me after I looked at you, perhaps the look from me wasn't flirtatious, maybe I thought you looked familiar, like I had seen you somewhere, and you came up to me and ordered me a drink and started a conversation with me, much like we are doing right now."

"What's wrong with conversation?" The bartender approached them and placed the two drinks in front of the man. The man took out his wallet without losing his gaze on the woman, took out a twenty and slid it toward the bartender. The bartender took the twenty, paused for a moment to see if the man wanted any change, but left when he saw he didn't want any by not moving.

"Conversation can lead to very dangerous things," the woman said playfully and wise.

"Your here by yourself and your not stupid; someone is going to come up to talk to you."

"And your that somebody?"

"I'm sure I'm not the first one tonight."

"Your sweet."

"I try," he said as he slid the drink over to here,"Your drink."

"What should we drink too?" She asked and raised her glass, the light above them reflecting in the ice-cubes and thick glass of the high-ball.

"Conversation," he said proudly and with a smile, "And the danger that it brings."

They clinked their glasses together, their eyes never leaving one another, and they both took a long drink.

"I'm not here with anybody and I'm not expecting anybody tonight either," the woman said.

"What's your name?"

"Why?"

"I want to be able to tell my friends I met a very interesting woman, but they won't believe me if I don't give them a name."

"I'm standing right here, silly. Go and tell them you met the most interesting woman in your entire life, look over at me when they ask you what my name is, then point over to me and I'll wave."

"You'll be here?"

"I'll be here."

"Promise?"

"Go, go, go," she repeated, pushing him back toward his table, "You bought me a drink, didn't you? The least I can do is wave to your drunken college friends."

The man walked back to his table, glancing quickly over his shoulder, trying to hide it, before he reached the table. He arrived to all of them drunk, beer spilt on the table and an ashtray full of punched out cigarettes and ground up cigars. Every one of them were rocking back and forth with each other, their arms sloppily hung around their neighbor's shoulders, their eyes blood shot with their mouth half-cracked open barely breathing in the smoky, beer smelling air. The man struggled to wedge his way into the circle, and when he did, he tried to get the groups attention by screaming an
Ashley Nicole Jul 2015
I was on my way to a party
Dressed in heels and a crop top
When I entered the corner store
To purchase some snacks
And on my way to the cashier
A man standing in an aisle
Browsing through peanuts
Glanced up and stopped mid-search
When I clicked past him
And proceeded to uncomfortably stare

I walked into the gas station
Wearing dark wash jeans and a v-neck
With my best friend at 2 AM
When two drunken men stumbled in
And began eyeing us up and smirking
My friend leaned in to me and whispered,
     "I'm really scared."
Overhearing her, one man elbowed the other
And with a smile on his face taunted,
          "Oh no, we're scaring them."

I was at the laundry mat one night
Wearing shorts and a baggy shirt
When a middle aged man across the room
Kept gawking at me from over the washers
Uneasy, I went outside to smoke
To which he stood at the window
And kept a close eye on me
I called a friend and stayed on the phone
Because I was afraid to go back
And get my clothes alone

I stepped out of my vehicle
In my sweatpants and flipflops
To grab some cigarettes quick
When a white bearded man
Was already at my heels
"Hey, how're you honey?"
I quickly replied, "fine".
And hurried into the store
Without looking back

It seems like every time I leave the house
It doesn't matter what I'm wearing
It could be "provocative" or a burlap sack
I always end up feeling threatened
     Heartbeat in my ears
          Cold sweat on my back
So don't blame it on my outfit
Don't blame it on my actions
Because I'm not asking for it
I just want to be left alone
It's not right that I fear for my own safety because animalistic people can't control themselves and act right.

I'm going to have to invest in pocket mace.

I wish I didn't have to.
Dorothy A Feb 2015
She yelled out her back porch and into the alley as if one calling home the hogs. “Johnny! Johnny! You get home for supper! John—nyyy! You spend all day in that godforsaken tree that you’re gonna grow branches! Johnny, get home now!”

Up in his friend’s tree house, Johnny slammed his card down from his good hand that he was planning to win from. “****! She always does that to me”, he complained. “Just when I’m right in the middle of—“

Zack laughed. “Your ma’s voice carries down the whole neighborhood—practically to China!”

Everyone laughed. Iris’s daughter, Violet, said to her mom. “Grandma and Dad always butted heads.” She loved when her mom told stories of her childhood, especially when it was amusing.  

Iris’s good friend and neighbor, Bree, asked Iris, “I bet you never thought in a million years that she’d eventually be your mother-in-law”

“No, I sure didn’t”, Iris answered. “I am just glad that she liked me!”

Everyone laughed. Telling that small tale took her back to 1961 when her and her twin brother Isaac—known as Zack to most everyone—would hang out together with his best friend, Johnny Lindstrom. Because Iris was like one of the boys, she fit perfectly in the mix. Zach and she were fifteen and were referred to in good humor by their father as “double trouble”. It was that summer that they lost their dear dad, Ray Collier, and memories of him became as precious as gold. If it wasn’t for her brother and his friend, Iris be lost. Hanging out all day—from dawn til dusk—with Zack and Johnny was her saving grace.  Her mother was glad to have them out of her hair, not enforcing their chores very much.

“I was a tomboy to the fullest”, Iris told everyone. “I had long, beautiful blonde hair that I put back in a pony tail, and the cutest bangs, but I didn’t want to be seen as girly. I wore rolled up jeans and boat shoes with bobby socks, tied the bottom of my boyish shirt in a knot—but I guess I could still get the boys to whistle at me. I think it was my blonde hair that did it.”

“Oh, Mom”, Violet said, “You were beautiful and you know it! Such a gorgeous face!” She’d seen plenty of pictures of her mother when she was younger. Both Iris and Zack were tall and blonde. Zack’s hair could almost turn white in the summertime.

“Were beautiful?” Iris asked, giving Violet a concerned look, her hands on her hips in a playful display of alarm at her daughter’s use of the past tense. She may have been an older woman now, but she didn’t think she has aged too badly.

“Are beautiful”, Violet corrected herself. She leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek. Iris was nearly seventy, and she aged pretty gracefully, and she was content with herself.  

They all sat in the living room sipping wine or tea and eating finger food. It was a celebration, after all—or just an excuse to get together and have a ladies night out. Not only had Iris had invited her daughter and friend, she had her sister-in-law—Zach’s wife, Franci—and her daughter-in-law, Rowan, married to her youngest son, Adam.

“Weren’t you going to marry someone else?” Bree asked Iris.

“Yes”, Iris responded. “We all wouldn’t be sitting here right now if I did. My life would have been very different.”

“A guy named Frank”, Violet stated. “I used to joke that he was almost my dad.”

Iris said to Violet, “Ha…ha. You know it took both your father and I to make you you. Everyone laughed at how cute that this mother-daughter duo talked. Iris went on, “I actually went on a couple of dates with your dad when I was seventeen. I was starting to get used skirts and dresses and went out of my way to look really nice for guys, but it was just high school stuff. After I graduated, I met a guy named Frank Hautmann, and we were engaged within several months.”

“What happened to him?” Rowan asked.

Iris sipped her tea and seemed a bit melancholy. “We did love each other, but it just didn’t work out. I know he eventually married and moved out of state. I ran into John about two or three years later, and everything just clicked. His family moved several miles away once we all graduated, so being best friends with Zack kind of faded away for him. But once I saw him again, we were really into each other. We took off in our dating as if no time ever lapsed. Soon we were married, and that was that.” There was an expression of “aww” going around the room in unison.  

Bree stood up and raised her wine glass. She announced, “Here’s to true love!” Everyone lifted their glass or cup in response.

Franci stood up next to have her own toast. She said, “Here’s to my husband and father of my three, handsome sons being declared officially cancer free, to Violet’s little bun in the oven soon to be born and also to my *****-in-law, Iris, for finally finding that pink pearl necklace that she thought was hopelessly gone forever! Cheers!”

“Cheers” everyone echoed and sipped on their wine or tea. “That’s some toast and makes this get together even more meaningful”, Iris complemented Franci.

Almost eight months pregnant, Violet restricted her drinking to tea. Her mother was so thrilled that she found out Violet was having a girl. It was equally wonderful that Iris’s beloved brother had recovered from his prostrate cancer, for throat cancer had taken their father’s life when they were young. So really finding the necklace that her mother gave her many years ago—that was misplaced while moving seven years ago—was just the icing on the cake to all the other news.    

Iris said, “My brother being in good health and my daughter having her baby girl is music to my ears. It trumps finding that necklace that I never thought I’d ever see again—even though it was the most precious gift my mother ever gave me.”  

At age thirty-five, Violet had suffered two miscarriages, so having a full-term baby in her womb was such a relief. It would be the first child to her and her husband, Paul, and the first granddaughter to her parents. Iris had three children altogether. Ray was named after her father, and then there was Adam and Violet. Only Adam and Rowan had any children—two sons, Adam Jr. and Jimmy. Ray and his wife, Lorene, lived abroad in London because of his job, and they had never wanted any children.  

“What name have you decided on?” Rowan asked Violet.

All eyes were on Violet who had quite a full belly. “Paul and I have agreed on a few names, but we still aren’t sure.” She turned to her mom and said, “Sorry, Mom, we won’t be keeping up the tradition.”

Iris was puzzled. “What tradition?” she asked.

Violet smiled. “I know it’s not really a tradition”, she admitted, “but didn’t you realize that your mother, you and I all have flower names?”

Everyone laughed at that observation. “That’s hysterical!” Bree noted. “Flower names?”

“That’s news to me” Iris said, not getting it.

“Me, too”, Franci agreed.

“Okay”, Violet explained to her mother “Grandma was Aster, you are Iris and I am Violet. Get my drift?”

The others started laughing, but Iris never even thought of this connection. She responded, “Well, my dad’s nickname out of Aster for my mom was Star.  I never thought of her name as something flowery but more heavenly…I guess. And I never thought of Iris as the flower—more like the colored part of the eye comes to mind. And Violet was my favorite name for a girl and also my favorite color—purple—but you can’t really name your daughter, Purple.”

The others laughed again. Everyone began to get more to eat, mingling by the food.  The gathering lasted for almost two hours, and eventually lost its momentum. Meanwhile, everyone took turns passing around the strand of beautiful, light pink pearls that Iris displayed so proudly in its rediscovery. It was a wedding gift from her mother in 1971, and Iris was painstakingly careful with it, swearing she’d never lose it again. She’d make sure of it. She prized it above anything else she owned, for she had no other special possession from her mother. Her sister got all of their mother’s items of jewelry, for Aster always felt it was the oldest girl’s right to it and this other sister gladly agreed.  Aster was never flashy or showy, and didn’t desire much. Her mother’s wedding ring, silver pendant necklace and an antique emerald ring from generations ago in England was all she wanted. Anything else was up for the grabbing by her two younger sisters.  

Iris learned the hard way to be mindful and not careless about her jewelry. An occasional earring would fall off and be lost, but any other woman could say the same thing. There was only one other incident that happened when she was a teenager that she never shared with anyone other than Zack. If she would confide in anyone, it would be him. Not even her husband knew, and she wasn’t going to tell anyone now. It was too embarrassing to share in the group, especially after tale of the pink pearl necklace that went missing.  

Bree told her, “Keep that in a safe or a safety deposit box—somewhere you know it won’t form legs and walk away.”

“Oh, ha, ha”, Iris remarked, flatly. “I don’t know how it ended up boxed up in the attic with my wedding dress. I sewed that dress myself, by the way. I guess too many hands were involved packing up things, and I am sure I did not put it in that box. Tore this house apart while it was stuck in the attic. Tore that apart, too.”
  
“And yet you didn’t find it until now”, Rowan stated. “It is as if it was hiding on you”.

“Well, I wasn’t even really looking for it when I found it, Iris said. “I was just trying to gather things for my garage sale, and thought of storing my old dress back in the closet. Luck was on my side. It’s odd that I didn’t find it earlier… but it sure did a good job of hiding on me.”

“Like it had a mind of its own”, Franci said, winking, “and didn’t want to be found.”

“Yeah”, Iris agreed. “It was just pure torture for me thinking I may never lay eyes on it ever again. All I had were a few pictures of me wearing it. I was convinced it was gone. ”

After a while, Iris’s friend, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law left one by one, but Violet remained with her mom.  They went in her bedroom to put the necklace back in its original case and in a dresser drawer —or at least that is what Violet had thought.

Iris placed the necklace into the case and handed it to her daughter. She told her, “I’m sure you’ll take good care of it.”

Violet’s jaw dropped as she sat on her parent’s king-sized bed. “Oh, Mom—no!” she exclaimed. “You can’t do that! You just found it, so why? Grandma gave it to you!”

Iris sat down beside her daughter. “I can give it to you, and I just did”, she insisted. “Anyway, it is a tradition to pass down jewelry from a mother to her firstborn daughter. And since you’re my only one, it goes to you. Someday, it can go to your daughter.”

Violet had tears in her eyes. She opened the box and smoothed her fingers over the pearls.
“Mom, you won’t lose it again. I am sure you won’t!”

“Because I’m giving it to you, dear. I know I can see it again so don’t look so guilty!” Violet gave her mom a huge hug, her growing belly pressing against her. The deed was done, for Violet knew that she couldn’t talk her mother out of things once her mind was set.

Iris shared with her, “You know that when I was born—Uncle Zack, too—my parents thought they were done with having children. My sister and brother were about the same level to each other as me and Zack were. It was like two, different families.”

Iris’s sister, Miriam, known to everyone as Mimi, was fifteen years older than the twins, and Ray Jr. was almost thirteen years older. Being nearly grown, Mimi and Ray were out on their own in a few years after the twins were born. Mimi married at nineteen and had three sons and two daughters, very much content in her role as a homemaker. Ray went into the army and remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.

“I never knew I was any different from Mimi or Ray until I overheard my Aunt Gerty talking to my mother”, she told Violet. “I mean I knew they were much older, but that was normal to me.”

“What did she say?” Violet had wondered.

“Well”, Iris explained, “I was going into the kitchen when I stopped to listen to something I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be hearing.”

Her mother was washing dishes, and Aunt Gerty was drying them with a towel and putting them away. Gerty said in her judgmental tone, “You’ve ended up just like Mother. You entered your forties and got stuck with more children to care for. How you got yourself in this mess…well…nothing you can do about it now. Those children are going to wear you down!”

Gerty was two years younger than Aster, and considered the family old maid, never walking down the aisle, herself.  She prided having her own freedom, unrestricted from a husband’s demands or the constant needs of crying or whiny children.

Aster replied to her sister, with defensive sternness, “Yes, I’ve made my bed and I’m lying in it! Do you have to be so high and mighty about it?”

“I couldn’t even move”, Iris told Violet. “I was frozen in my tracks. Probably was about eight or nine—no older than ten. I heard it loud and clear. For the first time in my life, I felt unwanted. It just never occurred to me before that my mother ever felt this way. Now I heard her admit to it. She didn’t say to my aunt that she was dead wrong.”

Iris’s mother came from a big family—the third of eight children and the oldest daughter—so she saw her mother having to bring up children well into her forties and older, and it wasn’t very appealing. Her mother never acted burdened by it, but Aster probably viewed her mother as stuck.

“That’s terrible. I don’t have to ask if that hurt.  I can see how hurt you are just in telling me”, Violet told her with sadness and compassion. “I don’t remember Aunt Gerty. I barely remember Grandma. She wasn’t ever mean to me, but she seemed like a very strict, no-nonsense woman.”  

“Oh, she was, Iris admitted. “I don’t even know how her and my father ever connected—complete opposites. Unless she changed from a young, happy lady to hard, bitter one. I don’t know. You would have loved your grandfather, though, Violet. He liked to crack jokes and was fun to be around. My mother was so stern that she never knew how to tell a joke or a funny story. Dutiful—that’s how I’d describe her. She was dutiful in her role—she did her job right—but I began to realize that she wasn’t affectionate. Except for your Aunt Mimi—their bond was there and wished I had it. Mimi was more ladylike and more like a mother’s shadow. Their personalities suited each other, I suppose.”  

Iris pulled out an old photo album out of a drawer. There was a black and white, head and shoulders portrait of her mother in her most typical look in Iris’s childhood. She had a short, stiff 1950s style bob of silvery gray hair and wore cat eye glasses. Not a hint of a smile was upon her lips—like she never knew how.

“Do you really think Grandma resented you and Uncle Zack?” Violet asked.

Iris responded, “Well, I’m sure my mother preferred having one child of each and didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’d like to have twins now’. I mean, she had a perfect set and my mom liked perfection. That’s all it was going to be—at least she thought. Nobody waits over a dozen years to have more. If my mother really resented getting pregnant again, now she had to deal with two screaming babies instead of one.  Must have come as quite a shock and she was about to turn forty.”

“It’s a shame, but woman have children past that age”, Violet pointed out.

“Sure, and some wait to start families until they have done some of the things they always wanted to do. But if I was to ask my mother if she wanted children that time in her life—which I never dared to—I think she’d have wanted to say, ‘not at all.’”

“It’s a shame”, Violet repeated. “Grandma should never have treated you two any differently.” Iris wasn’t trying to knock her mother, but Violet felt the need to be very protective for her against this grandmother that she barely remembered. Aster has been dead since Violet was six-years-old, and she had a foggy memory of her in her coffin, cold to the touch and very matriarchal in her navy blue dress.

Iris admitted, “I knew Mimi was her favorite, and I was my father’s favorite because I was the youngest girl. Zack and I we
Kite Jan 2013
With the click of a button you shut me up and shut me out.
I was explaining, telling you my side of things, the story I had been too afraid to mention to you before
and right in the middle of it, you clicked that button.

Months before, with a different "you"
I told him I loved him.
He confused me, and got scared, like they all do.
And he stopped clicking buttons that had anything to do with me.

After him but before you,
I was convinced it was time to try.
I was getting over the before you "you" ignoring me now.
I asked a new "him" and he accused me of clicking buttons that annoyed him.

But then there was you.
You didn't stop clicking buttons that had to do with me,
you didn't click buttons to accuse.
You just clicked a button that meant you never had to hear my story.
You clicked a button that removed it all, everything.
That click of that button reassured me that I would never have gotten to tell you my whole story,
because you are always too busy clicking buttons.
A Thomas Hawkins Oct 2010
Today I went to my control panel and I uninstalled Love.

Thats right, I clicked add/remove programs, I clicked Love, I clicked uninstall.

But you know how it works, it didn't all get removed. Some "user files" got left behind and I'm supposed to remove them myself but I can't find where they're kept. I can find "the day you met me at the airport" with nooooo problem whatsoever. But I can't get rid of it because I don't know where its kept. So it haunts me. Same goes for "the closet" and "the mirror". Instant recollection. That used to be huge, that used to remind me that it was real and not just some dream I'd had.

But now its torture.

I though if I uninstalled Love then it would take all that with it and it would stop hurting.

But it didn't

and it hasn't

I should have uninstalled Love years ago when it wasn't being used and it just sat there doing nothing. It wasn't taking up any resources, it wasn't interfering with anything or slowing things down.

But then you came along.

And it sprung into action. Suddenly it consumed everything, it was running all the time and sure it slowed things down a little and sure some stuff didn't get done but it felt good. It felt so good. Every day felt like the first day of Spring and every night was spent dreaming of lying in your arms and it felt great.

But then the network crashed

the connection got broken

and while Love kept running it started to cause problems, its ground everything to a halt. It became like one of those viruses that just slowly chips away at your resources over time until you got nothing left.

After a few months and numerous attempts to get the connection back I finally admitted defeat and accepted things were over. And it hurt so much, too much.

So now I have no use for Love. Sure its nice when it runs ok but it crashes, every time it crashes. And I dont need that kind of hurt again.

So its gone.

Removed.

Uninstalled.

All I gotta do now is remove the fragments left behind.

And I'm pretty sure if I install enough Johnnie Walker I can flush those right out.
Traumeria Mar 2018
I just met you,
And we clicked instantly.
We've had our conversation, our silence
And we've also had our struggles,
Happiest moments.

We talked for a long time
Trying to know each other,
Yet not as deep as the blue
-ish Pacific ocean.

We only had the view of the
Waves of under our own sun,
But all the undiscovered corals
Remain hidden in their own bed,
Teal reflection of the
Sea.

At night,
Resting hour.
We sleep under the same stars
Knowing that at least one of us has a clear view of the satellites
Hovering
Breathless in space.
Various constellations can be determined.
Even a clear outline of the crescent moon,
Without storm clouds interfering our own worlds.

I don't know if
You're more than just a friend
Or in a completely different category as a partner in the long run.

You don't share your thoughts
Like I'm starting a conversation with myself
Only.

I'm all for
Saying the first word
Heading to the second stage,
Yet I value my friendships
As another has their heart
Ready for yours.

I'm not a fighter.
I don't want to waste my efforts if I lose.
I might drag myself down
Deeper than Lucifer's hell
Deeper than the core of the Earth
While trying to climb the highest mountain
Barefoot

It's exhausting

I want
I need
A balanced effort
From my sole partner
If they want me
To love them like I did

Since day 1.
anna Mar 2019
Raindrops splattered across the squeaky window as Lily slipped into a world entirely her own. She found out that the slightly dilapidated beige sofa can provide an alarmingly pacifying dark fortress.
It was the storm in her living room which led her to this point.

Her mother was a peculiar human in the aspect of coping methods. Most would turn to alcohol, but Lily's mother turned to books.

One would think a child of such age possessed great privilege, having such a mosaic of resources on literature, words, and literacy.

Every morning, Lily's mother would slip into a world entirely her own. Some days, her face would hold the cover of a Patrick O'Brian and other sleepy days would entail a bit of nineteenth-century British novels. Whatever the cover, the woman's disposition was also affected.

"Lily, listen to this- doesn't it sound blue?" The woman hoarded phrases from each book, and soon, Lily's mother was an endless world of words. Her mother's affinity for quotes turned into a tasteful obsession. Lily was naive to the abnormalities in associating words with colors; such as ‘nebulous' with orange, and 'surreptitious' with purple. To her, language was rich in color and feeling.

One might also surmise a girl with such enlightenment would take after her progenitor. Lily did not. Though, she was above her class in reading comprehension and competency, the very thought of books sent flashes of buried grudges.

"Everyone needs a therapist. The poor girl's been through so much," they say. 'They' being the individuals at church. After service, the doors would open. Lily would do everything in her power to weave around the sea of meaty vociferous faces. She didn't need their pity. Nothing happened.

'Nothing' meaning... perhaps a little something. Her father died. This, (Lily suspected) was the cause of her mother's book addiction. It must be peculiar for the spectator witnessing the situation from above. As we've stated before: most turn to alcohol.

Years elapsed in which an occurrence she termed, "The Rebellion," began her mother’s book exodus. She was never truly present and Lily desired for her to see the world as it was now- not in a novel or in the pages of fantasy.

The piano rang throughout the room every morning and every night for about an hour. Lily often turned to classical Vivaldi, Yiruma, or a dash of Paganini piano covers. She drank music like a shriveled sponge. Of course, her hobbies would be as far away from books as possible since she believed them to be an obligatory evil.

Tunes danced across her soul like the ghost of a memory almost arising. The voice of a piano carried bursts of purples, yellows, and reds. White and black keys proved unchanging and reliable. Lily latched to the idea.

"I'm going to play her out." The mourning doves cooed in the almost-vacant neighborhood, while two girls of the same height and age were ensconced under a magnolia tree near the street, their legs crisscrossed on grass.

"Too much piano?" Haley asked, plucking a dandelion from its roots while squeezing milky sap from the stalk with her fingernails.

"No, I want to." Lily answered.

A thought crossed her mind. Each book infested mother with unique feelings. Then, Lily deduced there is no such thing as too much piano.











It was quiet in the house as Lily had no siblings and the book-trace rendered mother speechless. Tape recorder near the piano, and fingers at the keys, she began playing au fait on her version of Vivaldi's Spring Season. She kept the imagery of wedding cake and rings in her mind. She introduced the song to her hands by means of segmented versions, leading towards the final masterpiece. Her aural senses acute, listening for the best complimentary notes. Soon, her fingers had written poetry. She liked to think that her left and right hand owned different stories to perform, yet once they met on-stage, they heightened the essence of each other's tales.

Lily played verses countless times until she was out of breath. If someone told her piano was a sport, Lily would concur.












The final piece was recorded on an 'old-fashioned' tape. Heart pounding, she tiptoed upstairs to her mother's hiding place.

"...a thin place where tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual.." the woman greeted Lily. She never looked up from her book.

"Listen, it's white,” the woman voiced hazily. Lily shoved the tape in her face. The mother’s hand reached out from behind the book, feeling the air before finally resting her hand on the plastic rectangle, sliding it into the player

and the music journeyed to her ears.

"Hmmm..." she said. And then all was quiet.










"I've got her." Lily declared in the convenience store on a rainy day.

"With a cake?"

"It was her wedding song. You know- the one playing while the bride walks in."

"What'd she say?"

"Nothing."

"Why can't you just wake her up with some coffee?" Haley suggested as a golden aurora arose from behind the clouds.

Most of Lily’s playing sessions caused her to neglect her own physical well-being. So she rinsed a dusty plastic cup from the cupboard and filled it with water. M&Ms were food Lily associated with her sessions and she couldn't play without developing that deep-rooted Pavlovian response. Finally, in an attempt to be healthier, a plastic water cup was to her right, and M&Ms in a bag were to her left on the piano seat.

But first, a small kick in her belly drove her to a slight guilt. See, she believed in music the way some do religion, and thus, she did what others do when confronted with a critical moment in life.

"I'll bring her out," she began, "and I'll play for the rest of my life. If I can't, I'll give up music forever." She placed her fingers on the keys, completing the oath. And this occurred only because she was twelve and incredulously naïve in the field of religious traditions, that she didn't know that most oaths offered to a deity of higher power involved some form of great sacrifice for a desired result. This meant that her risk was greater than others, as it meant winning or losing it all.

Lily drew a deep breath, filling her nose with the memories of coffee. She began playing. An odd little tune traveling from her brain to the keys before her.










"Remember me, when we lived far away, down in the lonely lighthouse..." her mother chanted and Lily only half listening as she painted the cover of a CD containing her finished piano piece: Coffee.

"The sea air- spill in that lighthouse. The comfort we felt in that lighthouse." Her mother continued absorbing the ink on the pages, "Remember me, when I flew away with that chilling, cold sea breeze..."

Lily clicked the clear cover shut, handing it to the "Collective Works of Julie G." Once again, a wandering hand shot out from behind the cover, searching for the CD. Her mother did not look up.

"Music or an experiment?" she asked

"We'll see." Lily answered.

Her mother raised the CD to her player and inserted the disk, pressing play. Her wandering hand felt a small cup of coffee and as the music played, she sipped it slowly- quite peculiar. Her eyes looking up from the pages as though she were staring at something far away and her face, rubescent.

"Where did you learn to play that?" she said, leaning back and closing her eyes.








Haley and Lily entered a quintessential music store. Guitars lined the walls and classic vinyls were stacked on shelves. Small sleek keyboards welcomed guests as they stepped inside, synchronous to the resonance of a sharp bell.

Lily sped towards the CD section nestled near the corner in the store, while Haley flipped through the pages of violin classics.

"Lily, you're missing something." Haley noted from across the room, flippantly exasperated.

"Coffee didn't work." Lily replied in despair. "I thought I had her, but I didn’t."

Haley walked back towards her friend, new sheet music in hand, "Everyone's heart breaks a little differently and that means every cure must be unique. But there's something we all need- to feel safe. You did that for her."

"Then why is she still gone?"

"Because In order to return, she needs to remember what she lost and she needs to want it again... hold on." Haley held out a piano book in her hands. It was a neat white book with dark blue ink. Lily furrowed her brows.

"Just read it, Lily." Haley urged in the most loving way possible.









She still refused to use the book, diverging more from Haley’s instruction, cajoling her mother by use of classical music, modern music, and healing music. But nothing resolved and it seemed as though her oath to the Greater Deity would not fall in her favor.


It took a graying day for Lily to dig in her backpack and pull out the vile book. Inside revealed crisp white music sheets.

She itched to throw it away, however, something caught her eyes:

Kiss the Rain.

Lily stopped and stared out the window, inhaling to smell petrichor.

"Well, okay then." she reasoned. She pulled out  the piano bench and began finding the first few notes. The rest fell into sight reading. Just as the rain trickled down the living room window, the music trickled into the home's inhabitants' ears. Rain engulfed her soul.

The piece finished with a light touch on the last note. It resounded through the cozy expanse.









"I have something for you, mom." Lily proclaimed, placing the CD in her mother's hand, which then traveled to the player.

The woman failed to look up from her book, only staring into the distant pages as the notes tapped inside her ears. Ever so slightly, her eyes began to close and Lily could see the notes dancing behind eyelids.

"It feels like... rain." she commented. And as the last tickling touch of the last raindrop echoed through the dark room, her mother looked up, smiling at the sound, and her eyes met her daughter's.

"Why, Lily," she said, her voice laced with surprise, "look how you've grown.”
Short story!!
Jackie Mead Oct 2017
Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie lived a regal life.

Slaying dragons and battling witches by day, monsters and beasts by night.

Each day brought adventures new, trips on boats and to the zoo.

One particular day when feeling bored, Prince Simon decided to explore.

Down to the basement, he slowly sneaked, quietly to take a peek.  New adventures he did seek.

A rickety old wardrobe he did find and suddenly an adventure sprang to mind.

Prince Simon shouted excitedly, "come quickly Prince Jason, Princess Sophie the Wardrobe holds an adventure new, one for me and why don't you join me too?"

The three children didn't hesitate into the Wardrobe they climbed, "where are we going today? do you know the way? Prince Jason chimed.

"The way is West" Prince Simon declared "to the Wild Wild West in the days that were best, in the morning I have a history test."

Quickly buckle up, hold tight, the wardrobe will soon be taking flight.

No sooner had they entered the wardrobe and buckled up, then the wardrobe began to rock and shake, the wardrobe began to lift and quake.

The rocket started rising higher and higher, faster and faster , picking up speed and going faster and faster.

Higher and higher, faster and faster they rose into the sky.

Higher and higher, faster and faster until they were 30,000 feet high and heading in the direction of the Wild Wild West.  
All three children were delighted, the rocket ship made them so excited.

Prince Jason and Princess Sophie said, " what do we need to wear on this adventure?"

Prince Simon said "cowboy hat, jeans, boots, and vest, that's all that's required for the wild wild west"

"mmm said Princess Sophie what about cowgirls or squaws that is what an Indian Girl is called"

"Well," said Prince Jason "their very similar, a cowhide dress, boots and Stetson hat for cowgirl, a cowhide dress, boots and feather headdress for the Squaw, let's look around and explore what the wardrobe has hidden for us all"

The children started looking and everything they required they did find Prince Simon and Prince Jason looked very fine as Cowboys with their hats, jeans, boots and vest they would fit right in, in the Wild Wild West.

Princess Sophie decided to dress as a Squaw and donned Cowhide dress, boots and feather headdress turned to her brothers to see if she passed the test.

"Perfect" Prince Simon and Prince Jason declared "come join us  now," they both said," it won't be long" Prince Simon stated "until we land back in time of the 1870's in Deadwood Gulch, USA, the Sheriff has a campaign to rid the county of its bad name "

Prince Jason and Princess Sophie were so excited they began to laugh and squeak, Princess Sophie did declare that "her knees were feeling weak"

10 minutes later the rocket had slowed down and was starting its' descent, Princess Sophie got so excited as she spied a teepee tent.

"Look" Princess Sophie shouted "a reservation down below, where Indians are settled and warm fires are all aglow"  

"Can we please stop and speak, I would like to ride a horse and a canoe, I have read stories and I know that's what they do, in the land of the Sioux!"

Slowly the rocket did descend, landing near the reservation, all three children opened the door, their eyes grew wider at what they saw.

5,000 Indians greeted the visitors with big smiles, and their leader, name of Crazy Horse asked them to join them for a while.
“Stay a while,” Crazy Horse said we’ll make some food, teach you to ride a horse ******* and a canoe, teach you the ways of the Sioux.

Princess Sophie replied, “we can’t wait” looking at the leader’s headdress Princess Sophie sighed “how come your headdress is as tall as it is wide?”

Crazy Horse smiled and sweetly said “I am a leader of these people and I do not hide; my headdress makes me stand out from others at my side”

Crazy Horse led the children to the teepee tent and signalled them to sit on the floor in front, cross-legged.

“We hunt daily for fish and meat, the food you are going to be given is precious and prepared with care, please do not wait, dig in, enjoy, there is enough to share”

Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie dived in enthusiastically, tasting everything, they could, from rice and beans, fish and meat, everything was so tasty and cooked in a *** hung over the wood.

“when you have finished “Crazy Horse declared we have horses ready for you to ride, don’t worry someone will walk with you at your side”

The children excitedly climbed upon their horses, Lakota for Prince Simon, Kamanchee for Prince Jason and Quil for Princess Sophie, they each clicked their heels and off the horses trot.

Just as Crazy Horse promised, each of the children had an Indian by their side, walking and talking about the best way to ride.

After an hour the children did decide that as much as they enjoyed it they had to end the ride.

Prince Simon said to Crazy Horse “thank you for your hospitality but we really must leave right now, we are meeting the Sheriff man of Deadwood Gulch” he said with a bow.

Crazy Horse bid them adieu and said, “say Hi to Wild Bill for me, last time I saw him he was wagon master”

The three children said their goodbyes and walked along the White River to their destination town, Deadwood Gulch.

Suddenly wooden huts appeared and horses pulling carriages, people and cargo shared the inside and Wells Fargo in writing on the outside.

Prince Simon, Prince Jason, and Princess Sophie looked around the town, found a sign that said Sheriff’s Office, rang the bell and entered.

Wild Bill Hickock with his long hair and Stetson hat, looked just as the children remembered from their history class.

“Hi,” said Wild Bill as he rose from his seat, stretched his hand out to greet the three children.

You must be Prince Simon, Prince Jason and Princess Sophie come to learn the ways of the Wild West before your history test.

“Yes” said Prince Simon, wildly shaking Wild Bills hand “we are delighted to meet you and lend a helping hand”

Wild Bill said, “follow me, I am about to take a walk, meet the local folk and welcome visitors to the town, would you like to tag along with me as I walk around?”

The three children agreed excitedly and followed behind, “First stop” said Wild Bill is the Post Office look for the Yellow sign”
“I see it,” said Princess Sophie as she ran across the street “let’s all go inside and meet the postmistress, make sure she’s got what she needs, if she requires any stationary we may have to place an order to arrive with speed”

“Next stop,” said Wild Bill “is the Blacksmiths down the road, if you are lucky he will show you how a horse is shoed”
The children watched quietly as the Blacksmith plied his trade, treating all of the horses to pairs of shoes fit for a parade.

“Last,” said Wild Bill “off to a rodeo we go, you will see cowboys riding their horses and using their lassoes and if your very lucky they will let you try it too”

Prince Simon, Prince Jason, and Princess Sophie were so excited they hardly said a word, watching the rodeo in silence, watching every move.
Finally, Wild Bill shouted from the side, “hands up who is keen to have a ride around the ranch? Try their hand with a lasso and maybe get some lunch.

The children’s hands shot up in the air and all three children gave a very loud cheer, Wild Bill laughed and replied, “Follow me and I will hook you up with three horses for a ride”

For the second time that day the children rode horses, this time in a circle around the corral, keeping time Wild Bill always by their side, they loved the ride.

Last but least Wild Bill put on a feast of a show with rope in his hand he threw the lasso over some cans set up on a fence, pulled the rope tight and without a second glance, felled the tins to the floor, the children let out an appreciative roar.

“That is the end of your day” Wild Bill did say “I am sorry to see you go but you must run along home, you’ve been gone a long time and your mummy will be worried”

The children shook Wild Bill's hand and thanked him for his time, sadly the day had ended and they climbed back in the wardrobe, set the destination to their home a million miles below.

As they approached their home, the roof started to open wide and the rocket began to slow, the ride was nearly over and they did not have far to go.

Very soon the wardrobe landed safely on the floor, the children were exhausted and ran to open the door, out they fell full of excitement and looking for their mummy, headed straight to the kitchen.

Mummy looked at all three children and declared “there you are, I was searching for Prince Simon as he has a history test in the morning on the Wild Wild West and I was going to help him revise for it.

The children laughed and cried, Princess Sophie, sighed, “no need mummy” they all declared “we know all about it, we’ve all been there”

Prince Simon said “Can we just have some tea and go straight to bed, I promise I have all the knowledge of the Wild Wild West clearly in my head, at least enough to pass the test.”

Of course said Mummy wash your hands, tea is ready.
If you have children, you may wish to know this is now available as a book. As is the Two Princes and a Princess fly to the Moon
KittenJesus Apr 2016
The long haired kitten
sat in the comfort of dark,
while wisps of air blow
through his fingers,
he clicked away
on the mouse,
desperate to win
the fight between
him an his insanity.
Born Jul 2014
I don't want to lose my family,but am doing everything to lose them.
Glades and Creeks.

One day in a journey far far away,  the forest was speaking to a lone wanderer.
"I am quite the clean forest, am I not?." The forest whispered soothingly.
"Mmhm." Spoke the wanderer, passive by such an interjection.
"Of course. Thousands of forests have wilted and died under the hand of man. I remain lush and brimming to the birch with life."
"Where is my way out of here?" The wanderer asked, becoming quite needy at the thought of having to spend the night in that dung-infested greenhouse.

The forests name was Evergreen. Allot of forests were named Evergreen. This forest had just been sold cheaply to a large logging firm who would come and tear the ugly trees down. The proprietors of that sale was a tribe of Indians. The specific agent who devised and contracted the sale was named Nahiko. An Indian tribesmen who, like his ancestors could speak to the forest.

Indians were what Europeans called people from India and natives of America. Allot of Indians in America were killed for being Indian. When an Indian boy came of age, they would be thrown into a jungle and starve until they saw an animal spirit. This was probably prelude to eating said spirit animal while thanking it for helping him live on.

"I, Evergreen implore you to stay within my womb of plant and fauna."
"Hm." replied the wanderer. Not wanting to argue.
The wanderer took a seat beside a flowing creek on a rock. The creek lead up to waterfall, which in turn lead through a river that spanned for miles. The river did not speak as it was an extension of the forest, Evergreen. Down the creek was the old homes of the Indian tribe.
"Have you ever saved someone else?" The wanderer asked.
"My yes, of course. Everyone who is to enter without water or food is rescued by my charming animals! And luxurious streams. I am quite hospitable you see. There was a tribe who lived within me, they were by name called the Perchil tribe. But they had to leave for more. Hmph. As if anything up in that ****** town is worth more then me."

Further up the river, away from the forest was a town named "Milan". It was named after a kingdom of the same name in Italy. People in Milan spoke German. This was odd given Milan lay in south America, but not unusual given its history of being a port to German slave traders who came from a German colony called "Tanganyika" in Africa. The town was named Milan because the Germans wanted to appear more Italian. This desire was apparent in their most famous dishes "schnitzel Pizza" and "Pasta Salsiccia". Pasta Salsiccia was pasta in a sausage casing often served with tomato sauce and mashed potatoes.

Perchil was also a member of that Indian tribe. He was Nahiko's brother and had a family of his own. Perchil was born in Evergreen and educated in Milan. He had been fighting with Nahiko over the terms of sale of the forest. Nahiko had wanted to preserve the land of old tribe. Perchil was already drawing up plans to sell it to an oil foundry. Their land happened to be on top of a great oil reserve. That means allot of animals lived and died on that land millions or thousands of years ago. There body would dissolve into a black gooey liquid used to fuel heavy machinery. This machinery is used by logging firms to cut down not exclusively, forests named Evergreen.

The wanderer, feeling awkward asked. "So, you'd rather not want to be destroyed?"
"Oh, I am a forest and I do maintain a will of my own and wants. But I cannot rather things should be anything other than what they are. The world is a destructive place. It is disrespectful of its former home and ancestry. I know this. I have tried however, to ward off the workmen by scaring them with my animals. In the end I shall become a town or a shopping mall."
In 3 years time, the deed to "Evergreen plains, Milan" would be sold and used to build a shopping mall named aptly "Evergreen Mall". And the forests voice would be spoke out of loudspeakers, but in the form of either a pre-recorded message or announcement about a lost child. Nahiko and Perchil would be married in Evergreen Mall. Nahiko three times.

"Oh woe is me, I lament my lost brothers and sister forests who are no longer beaming and prideful of their enormous trees and crested riverbanks."
"Maybe they should have defended themselves better." The wanderer spoke, trying unsuccessfully to show concern.
"Well, I for one will never give up fighting the man!"
"Good for you." The wanderer then ate his lunch.

Three days from now, the forest would stop speaking to anyone who arrived within its borders and see the lone wanderer again. But this time, he would be protected by four glass windows inside a piece of machinery powered by black gooey liquid called a "harvester" which lifted up wood and cut it into easily transportable pieces.

"Do you, believe in god wanderer?" The forest asked, to strike up some conversation.
"I do believe in god. He's the reason I get up in the morning and assists me in supporting my family."
"I don't. I don't think I believe in god, wanderer. If he exists, how could he let something so beautiful as I and my brother and sister forests be turned into shopping malls and townships like Milan."
The evergreen forest had seen the name "Milan" as a city nearby on a poster which flew into the twig of its tree. The poster was now lying on smooth ground weighted down by a root, as so the forest can read it over and over again. The poster advertised Pasta Salsiccia at a local restaurant in Milan. It had appetizing pictures of Pizza with crumbed steak on it and Pasta filled Sausages.
"God once flooded the earth, destroying all forests and people for their misgivings. Maybe you misgave and people are your divine punishment."
The forest grew silent and whispered soft hymns of wind against the leaves and overgrown shrubbery.

The edge of the creek, where the wanderer sat on a rock had a hard sand that stretched out a few meters disappeared into the dirt. It was unusual to see a small bed of sand without any other visible placements of sand. The wanderer had been dumping it there, with permission from the forest so he could form a base to store his harvester. The forest did not know of the sands purpose, she thought it looked pretty.
"If I were god, the world would be nothing but forests!" Evergreen stated. The gentle words turning a harsher coarse crackling of branches.
"The world seems to be nothing but people right now. Maybe gods a man."
"Unlikely! If god was a man, he would certainly love forests enough to never cut them down."
"Hm." The wanderer was dissatisfied with this explanation, but didn't want to argue.

"Would you **** anyone who came into your forest, just to prove a point?" The wanderer asked, waiting pensively.
"Oh no, as I said. I cannot change what already is and certainly would not bloom the effort to try. Besides. I also know about those people and their weapons. When it comes to human beings, no matter how hard I fight they will always win. How they ever came to develop boom guns and ratatatat chainsaws I have no idea. If they came from my forest, people would certainly have never developed tools so cruel and menacing. But, I suppose Eden had her way for you. Even if it was, at the cost of all our kind."
"Yeah. No matter forest or person, people always win. I'll always be below some rich powerful man too." The wanderer felt melancholy for feeling unimportant. The forest felt the same melancholy for her life and the world.

Suddenly and finally, a noise came from the wanderers pants. He then picked out his phone, clicked it and took it to his ear. After two hours, the wanderer walked east and out of Evergreen forest. He visited her three days later in his noisy harvester. made to cut wood. He parked on his sand bed. The wanderer left his harvester and locked the door without a word. Evergreen forest was properly harvested of its trees in 3 years time. Never uttering a word or complaint. The painted marking on the harvester she saw everyday however, was her last thought as she disappeared. The word painted onto the door of the harvester, its operator. "Perchil."
I wrote this a while ago, it's my first short story. Tell me if you like it. And maybe, beseech me. Whatever. I dunno. BE GENTLE!!!
Kate Little Jan 2011
From the humblest of beginnings
Began a tough innings
A family deprived
His dad had died

So to work he went
To help pay the rent
From a teen to a man
In a short time span

He had many a job
Hard earned each “bob”
He was a keeper of bees
He picked beans and peas

With marbles and shanghai
He had a keen eye
So rabbits he’d stalk
Their pelts he sought

A butcher and baker
And fence post maker
A fisherman and fruiterer
And even spud picker

A shearer of great ability
Those shears he clicked with agility
From morn to night
He worked hard alright

Met a girl and made her his wife
Ten children now blessed his life
He provided as best he could
Forever working for their good

A large family and so little money
Life, of course, was not always sunny
Simply he lived, simple his dwelling
The trials he faced so very compelling

A ****** awful thing was done
A terrible tragedy stole his son
With grief immeasurable and untold
He held together; staying controlled

Children struggled to forgive their mother
As she left him and found another
Yet for her he would always stand
Always hoping to win back her hand

Another tragedy claimed a limb
We thought it would be the death of him
His work, his wife, his health now gone
Yet silently, painfully he continued on

We knew his heart was terribly broken
Yet always forgiveness he had spoken
We knew he lived with daily pain
But silent and strong he would remain

His strength and courage was beyond belief
But for him there would be no relief
His children were now all grown
He died, one night … alone
In Memory of 'Gunny'
A True Aussie Battler

Words by K A Little 2010
All Rights Reserved
Stu Harley Sep 2014
truth
caught in
a whirlwind
while destiny
clicked both her  
ruby red
heels
together and
wished to
go home
again
Michael Hoffman Sep 2012
My mind was pulsing
with endless subtly shaded descriptors
and shockwave verbs,
when a pop-up alert flashed
red and yellow and blue…

YOU HAVE ONLY 9 WORDS LEFT !
ACT NOW !!!

YOUR LIFETIME ALLOTMENT IS 20,000,000,010 WRITTEN WORDS,
AND.........YOU HAVE USED 20,000,000,001.

ACT NOW OR LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO WRITE FOREVER!

BUT WAIT !!!!!!
  
COMPLETE THE SIMPLE FORM BELOW IN THE NEXT 60 SECONDS
AND WE’LL DOUBLE YOU TO 40 BILLION MORE.
IMAGINE ALL THE SHIMMERING ADJECTIVES, THICK NOUNS,
CLEVER ADVERBS AND PITHY PRONOUNS YOU WILL HAVE!!!!!!!!!

Panicking, I clicked on the form
and furiously typed …

William Shakespeare
10 Henley Street Village South
Statford Upon . . . . . .
My life is a brilliant and vivid mosaic of failures. If depicted horizontally, it would span countless walls, each with its own tapestry. Intertwined in each image would be a visage of myself in yet another battle of me, metaphorically David, and the vastness of the woven problem, here named Goliath. The only difference however, I don't succeed. My slingshot, as it were, isn't good enough.
     "Almost" is a callous and cold word, however it is the most veril word I know. It shouldn't just be something on my body like a tattoo, but rather etched painstakingly into my hardest bones. Always. Always "Almost" is not a fulfilling way to live.
     My Father once said something along the lines of "The only way I wouldn't be proud of you or that I would be disappointed in you is if you did something or made choices that lead to your unhappiness." With that, I feel as though he couldn't have been proud of me in quite some time, and further, there is no evidence that it will change. I am unhappy all of the time. I am disappointed in myself.
     I am afraid, fearful, of the hatred inside myself at times. I try and use it to my advantage, to prove my "worth", to try and do better at the current task (whatever it may be at the time). But as it usually happens, I get so angry, even vengeful, with no explanation. I sit and think about it, come to nothing, and am scared of what I am becoming.
     I am breathing, organic garbage that, because of sentience, assumes too much of, and from, my existence. I am a ******* paradox. I am realistic but full of wishes, longing for what I know does not exist; I am pessimistic, yet full of hopes, or false hopes rather, that I know fullheartedly are hubris and lost time. Whenever I need logic, emotion takes control. Whenever I look for my heart, my mind conceals its help.
     I believe in absolutely nothing but who I think I am, but I doubt myself to my bitter, black core.
I have achieved nothing with what I have been given (everything) and therefore deserve nothing that I have.
     I Am A Fake. I Am A Lie. I pretend to understand, to know, to help, to listen, but I have no idea what the **** I'm doing, who the **** I am, or why the **** I'm even here as undeserving as I am. With that, what right have I at all to "help" anyone else when I, myself, have no idea where my words will lead them? That itself makes me worse than half of the people that have killed others because at least they know who they are and what they were doing.
     I find it hard to believe that I, personally, was crafted in the image of God because I can't imagine that I resemble (in spirit, mind or matter) anything like the Perfect Being that I love and pray to. I am handcrafted debris, trash, attempting (out of place) to be something more.
     I was once told by someone I truly loved, "How can you love someone if you don't love yourself?" It's pretty easy. You first look at them, think of all the things they do and all the things they represent that lead to them making you happy, and you fall in love with that. it isn't a choice, you just do. I do nothing that makes me happy successfully, in the end, I try and fail consistently whereas someone I love is victorious repeatedly just by being them self. Why wouldn't you love someone for making you happy, yet love yourself in spite of your inability to do so?
     I don't believe anything I've ever encountered or experienced in my, as of yet, short life has prepared me for the utmost feeling of loneliness that creeps like the most dark and shadowy oppression. No cigarette is long enough, no vat of bourbon deep enough to escape that thought. Even in upbeat company that fact lingers, and of it, I am afraid.
     Why must I settle and "stay the course"? Why hold onto a sinking ship? I don't mean in terms of living versus dying, I mean in terms of living in insufferable struggle versus changing the reality. Why is this made to seem so impossible?
     Why am I in constant debt before even being old enough, experienced enough, or brave enough to even make decisions with that debt as a possible outcome?
     Since I was old enough to formulate my own opinions of the world I live in, it's been the epitome and meter of one resounding conclusion: "I will try my best and fail, suffer, but in doing this, I will have no choice but to think one day it will get better, and I can hope in my time of struggle that when that day comes, I Might Be Able To Be Happy.
     I'm in love with someone who is half a country away. She even knows, She might even feel the same, but it is for naught. I justify this by telling myself every "writer" needs a Muse.
     I lack the natural talent required to achieve my dreams in this current world. I was born with a gift I should have kept the receipt with; something I could have traded for something more realistically useful.
     Those closest to me have no idea who I am. They are the only thing that glues my sanity, and I'm fearful if they fully knew what I am, they'd leave.
     I've condensed some of these thoughts and feelings into spoken words to those I trust the most, hoping and praying they might say this is normal, that everyone goes through this, that we are all fighting the good fight. Their deaf ears betray their silent mouths.
     The rhythm in music, the voices in plays, the words to poems, the flow of my pencil, are all I have to escape this solitary confinement. But upon realizing the only things I have to help me feel "normal" are inanimate and incapable of understanding, it only further drives me into the chasm.
     I have become everything I hate. A petulant, assuming, and undeserving child ******* about his life when it's not even fully begun, and worse, has been given everything along the way and pitifully has done nothing with ******* any of it.
     I look at my Father and my Mother, and mouth agape, am stunned at their character, their perseverance. Compared to the two people who made me, I am grovelling ****, with absolutely nothing to complain about.
     I have never made a serious decision in my life unless I fully knew the only outcome before the decision was made. This makes me a coward. Logically it might make sense, but this is real life, you shouldn't do that, and **** logic.
     I always have an excuse, I'm not a real man, I'm afraid to take a fall because it's just another piece of the prosecution's evidence pointing to the guilt I possess in relation to my long record of failures.
     I'm cast outside "normalcy" because I don't believe in society. I'm not afraid to die, death actually intrigues me, a lingering curiosity. I adore the macabre because I believe there is truth of humanity in the darkness that everyone ignores exists. We profit and capitalize on procedures that **** thousands, but because it's not us they target, and usually not until the long run, we pay no mind. I believe that more than half of our so called "society", myself included, are no better in most senses than Dahmer or Panzram. At least they were honest about the monsters they were.
     I'm obsessed with thing that don't matter; theories that wouldn't make a difference in the world if proven true, questing for a Love that I rightly don't deserve and that likely doesn't exist, searching for acceptance of anyone but at the same time and equally, in paradox, caring about none of it, especially myself.
     Most nights instead of praying to God as I intend to do, I find myself wondering if I deserve His forgiveness. I know, on some level or another, if the Holy Father, Himself, came to me at any time during those sleepless nights, I would not have an even close to decent answer arguing for His forgiveness, but rather, a full of tears and chopped up, pathetic plea for it anyway.
     I dream of someone to love romantically just for the sake of being able to love someone for exactly who they are and because doing so makes me happy. It has been so long passed of this being even close to a chance of reality, that the thought of ***, or even intimacy, without that love does not even interest me anymore.
     I'm twenty years old and every job I work wants one-hundred percent of my soul and time. Is this normal? Am I not allowed to be a responsible but stupid kid for a while before I have to settle with the reality of a mundane and mind/body numbing job that takes so much of your day that at night you can only imagine the freedom of sleep rather than having a spare few precious seconds for thinking that dying has the upside of never having to show up to that ******* place again? I have no problem with working at all, in fact, I appreciate anything that has a general task and goal that is monotonous enough to keep my mind focused just enough that anything I've written here, the things that upset me, don't leak in and ruin the day, but realistically, how can I give my soul to cutting lawn? To stocking a ******* shelf? I am part of the worst generation on Earth so far, I have potential to be better than ninety--nine percent of the drooling unfortunate vertebrae we call "society", and this is what I'm supposed to wake up for? If this is what I need to accept and I'm just going crazy, fine, I accept it, but in doing this, you need to accept that if I'm crazy, you're batshit ******* nuts.
     I find myself not ever wanting to wake up. I'm not even close to suicidal, I don't want to die yet, I just can't see a logical point, or an emotional reason for any of this nonsense to continue. Can anyone identify with that? Don't misconstrue and worry yourself with me being honest with myself, I DO wake up. I wash my face, but I look in the mirror afterwards and ask "Why?", and I get the day over with anyway so I can hurry up and get home to get ready to do everything over again exactly the same the next day the exact same way, the only difference being the date on the calender and the minutes of the one life I get slowly building themselves into hours and days that will now be an empty black void of memory in my head that could've been used for something worth remembering. Why? Why settle to sulk and squander in ***** and depression when you haven't even tried to bathe in gold and happiness?
     I hate almost everything. The way things are, have been, will be. I hate the faceless sheep that complain yet attempt nothing to change their circumstances. If there is one thing to look on with pride, it is at least I'm better than that. At least if I failed, by default it means I ******* tried.
     I lack the capacity and the capability to voice these kinds of thoughts. As well-spoken as I am, I choke the hardest when I try to speak about any of them. I have to scribble and usually type them, and further, put them in a format a possible reader might be able to understand. Alas, I have failed at that as well. I put my heart and thoughts into my poetry, but anything resonating from within me that I've pounded into the countless pages I've written is lost in a sea of meter and rule-abiding rhetoric as well as aesthetically and audibly pleasing metaphors and rhyme-schemes rather than just blunt structure. No one reads anything with nothing left to the imagination. And justly so, why would they? Why try to decipher someone's heart if it doesn't also apply to you? Why read an ending if you know you won't like it unless it has "happily ever ******* after"? Why not emulate the thoughts and endure the cramping in the thumb an forefinger if it's not something you already know or something you clicked "like" on to impress the friend with the independent mind that was the one who told you to read it in the first place? I may sound bitter, I am, and hateful, but at least I am not a liar.
     If I had one absolute thing, one pure thought, one controversial heading, one cry to all who have ever asked me and I have failed to explain it better; If I can leave you with one thing; If it were possible for me to speak one line to the empty church at my funeral when I die someday and move on to peace, it would be this:
The Words I Seek With Which I Wish To Express My True Misery Elude Me.
Jackie Dec 2015
I believe things happen for a reason
Whether it's God or the force
Some kind of cosmic power pulling strings and writing stories
I'm not sure
But I can tell you that I have somehow defied my own odds
The choices I made did not take me away
I am here
There were times when I didn't think I would make it my high school graduation and that I would not see my 18th birthday
The scars on my arms multiplied
And the demons in my head screamed louder than ever before
I lost my first love
Then I lost my second
I watched my family explode from close range
And then I watched from a far
Every insecurity swirled in my head like a blizzard
I could not see a bright future
And then something clicked
Something bigger than myself took hold of my mind
My heart was no longer heavy
And I don't know if that's God stepping in or my own power of will
But I have somehow managed to save myself
And I know there is no quick fix to this disease that has held me captive for so long
But I'm realizing that you should never stop moving when it gets dark
Never quit breathing when the air gets thin
And never back down even when your opponent is twice your size
Or even when your opponent is yourself
I know things happen for a reason
That's obviously why I'm still here
And although there is still a dark cloud over me
I can start to see the sun beams
And I know one day my sky will be clear
melise hill Apr 2010
When I called Katherine,
she talked to me with the same hollow
raspiness in her voice as when we were children.
I had seen her name on a pamphlet for
a historical exposition before finding the courage to call.
To my disappointment,
she seemed more pre-occupied
rather than pleasantly surprised to hear
my voice
after almost twenty years.  
When she said “Thomas,”
it was like a habit,
drawn from a long stream of monotony.  I listened
intently as she dictated when and where we would meet,
like it was a speech
she was reading off battered queue cards.
During the entire phone call,
I imagined her on the other line,
as I’d remembered her;
too bold for such a fragile body,
with curls the colour of burnt grass,
and a dot of sweaty reflection
on the tip of her pointed nose.  I saw her
mouth move faster than her words,
which trickled from behind her lips
like butterflies. When the phone clicked,
I was left with a sort of dead and empty silence,
mixed with a touch of mystical fantasy.  

This morning,
I ate alone adjacent to the window of a dingy, cheap café.  
I drank my coffee black and carefully.  
It vibrated atop my thin,
quivering
hands; as result in spite of itself and too much thinking.  
I got up from the table,
leaving a disputable tip and began walking towards our arranged meeting place.

Outside,
leaves fell like snowflakes in the dying season
and the frigid air
pressed against my body like tightly bound bandages.  
I blew warmth into my hands,
which have always been cold and dry
as clay when it’s left in the sun too long.  

Katherine,
she had laughed at the dryness of my fingers
throwing her head back
and emitting a sort of pleasant growl.  
We must have only been nine,
and the winter had just begun
to melt into spring,
but the air was still so utterly brisk.  
I was just bony hands,
as cold as a winter pole.  
Katherine had looked down
to where I’d had my hands laced
together like a knotted ball of yarn.  She’d told me
that they looked like sticks of chalk
and looked into my eyes with a warm,
doting gaze,
grinning with folly.  I had
simply stared back at her,
entirely expressionless and coy.  
She had reached into her bag
and held a warm stone out,
new flowing blood to hold.  
Oh, what a contrast you were.  
She had been so warm and light
against the bleakness of a winter day.  
My timid young fingers held a decent animal.


While walking in weather like this,
when the cold arrives so suddenly
that you find yourself awfully unprepared, it seems
like you’re getting nowhere.  
It’s like walking up a descending escalator;
you’re aware of the attempted movement,
but everything is so immobile,
that you seem to be in the same spot
for hours.  Each step is a static, solid crack;
the frozen atmosphere freezes bodies.  
Time has briefly paused and become a solid block,
one that I’ve found myself restrained within.  
The harsh coldness is a strong compression
and the frigidity is so stagnant
that movement seems strangely rare,
and when a gentle wind caresses the air,
it’s like a light stream of reality.  
The falling leaves dance
with the breeze,
but when it stops,
they pause in midair
before descending in harsh increments
onto the cement.


The cool of a temperate breeze,
from dark skies to wet grass, had tickled
the bare arms of Katherine and I one spring morning.  
The sun was still below the horizon,
but its illumination was visible
as an iris blue glow at the edge of the field
we had been walking along.  
Katherine had held my shoulder
as she balanced along a decomposing fallen tree.
All had been absolutely silent
except for the few crickets still awake,
and the miniscule scuffling of Katherine’s feet
on the bark.  In the distance,
we had heard a low cough,
and we looked up to see an old man,
sullen and with a stature similar to a refrigerator,
as he continued walking up the way
toward us.  Katherine had stopped
walking along the log and let go of my shoulder,
watching the old man grow nearer.  
The dark blue sky reflected
against her green eyes that induced aqua flashes,
corresponding with each dart of her eyes.  The old man
carried a branch,
using it as a walking stick.  
We had waited attentively
and still as if trying to camouflage
ourselves as part of the forest behind us.
The man had stopped abruptly and
turned his back to us,
raising one hand to his brow
as if blocking the sun
that hadn’t yet risen.  His head moved,
regarding the vast,
recently planted field.  
Following what seemed like a year,
he turned to us, noted that the sky revealed
what was going to be a beautiful day,
then continued on his walk.
The occurrence had left Katherine and I
in muffled giggles.  I gently pushed
her from the log
and we fell in the field,
the wet immature plants covering us
with bits of morning moisture.  
Water droplets had ricocheted onto us
with each frivolous movement.  
That now seems to me a thousand springs past.  


As I approached our designated place to meet,
I regarded my watch and realized
that I had arrived several minutes tardy.
It being a Sunday morning,
with the weather
not so preferable such as it was,
the park was nearly empty.  
I wasn’t able to see Katherine anywhere,
so I took a seat on a vacant bench to wait.  
In the distance,
I saw two young children
attempting to fly kites.  The kites followed them,
as if on a leash,
bounding up and down from the ground
as they ran.  
A sudden gust of wind sent the kites
high into the air, and
the children continued to run,
in hopes of creating their own wind,
once the present one ceased.  The wind
past under my nose and I inhaled,
absorbing the strong scent of dead leaves.


Katherine and I had once built kites together.  
They had been awfully unfortunate crafts,
made from thin cotton sheets,
twigs and twine.  It was one
of the last days of summer,
and there had been a great amount of wind
one particular day.  
We had taken our makeshift kites to the field,
where the open desolation
seemed the most appropriate.  
With only a few strides taken, our kites
had immediately flown.  
The two had soared side by side,
simultaneously.  
They had been like feathers
floating freely in the sky,
but we controlled the freedom.  
The sun began to set behind us,
painting the sky
like spilled oil in a lake.  Our high-pitched laughter
had echoed off clouds,
and that was all that we heard.  
Katherine and I ran in opposite directions,
then back toward each other.  
As she passed me,
I smelled the scent of her skin
and some foreign flowers.
When the kite lines first crossed, we tied them into knots.  
We again,
had run in opposite directions,
but the kites remained together.  
To finally fly apart, we had to cut them off.


Since then,
it’s been a book you read in reverse;
you understand less
as the pages turn.  I had pushed
memories of Katherine
to the back of my mind.  
I left them obscured,
tied to a brick and as sweet as a song.


I waited just under an hour
and Katherine still had yet to arrive.  
The sidewalks were empty,
no frail women headed towards the park.  
I watched as the last leaves fell
from a nearby tree, and
settled into a groove between exposed roots.  
Another soft wind
passed by me and I caught a brief scent of foreign flowers.  
Katherine’s memory was here.  
My hands were cracking
like an oil painting,
all white and dry in the cold.  
I’d like her to offer me
a warm stone and
stay warm and light on a winter’s day.
I looked up to the clouds sighing
and slowly rising from the bench.  
I saw two loose kites in the distance falling from the sky,
drawn to the ground in an end to flight.
From the song "Pink Bullets" by The Shins.
Sub Pop Records, 2003.

— The End —