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Sharina Saad Jun 2013
When I was little
often I watched my mom in the kitchen
working till late night
kitchen was her cocoon
kitchen was her heaven
I had to pretend to be sick
to take her out from there
Once I caught her sobbing
at the kitchen sink
as a child I asked her so innocently
"Did daddy make you cry"
No darling she said
She smiled and continued with dishes..
and left me with the question WHY?
Years later..
and today I am a mother myself
The tragedy in mom's kitchen still haunting my life
watching my mom crying in her kitchen
was not a good picture,
not a good memory as a child
not at all.....
The kitchen was her castle
In the warmth of her kitchen
she made miracles…she created magic upon magic
splendid recipes... superb dishes
feeding her loved ones... with love
but Today I realized  how my mother
released herself and that could have made her survive
By working so hard in the kitchen
By often hiding her despairs and sorrows
Her kitchen was her secret hiding place
every time she was hurt...
when the world treated her so unfairly
In the comfort of her Kitchen
She consoled herself....
How did I realize this after so many many years?
today for the very first time
I cried myself at the kitchen sink
In my very own cozy kitchen
over a pile of dinner plates ,
almost breaking a glass
so afraid to lose control...
but my kitchen is heaven that saves me...
as my tears are falling over the bubbles in the sink
How I came to understand my mother's feelings...
by standing there in the kitchen...
remisniscing... and..
breathing this life
feeling this life
experiencing with life
living with life....
as long as mothers are alive
they live their life
to share the laughter and joy
of their husband and children
to endure the pain and sorrows
but hide them once in a while....
in mom's heavenly kitchen
with love to my late mom... Rest in Peace
Charlie Chirico Feb 2013
“It’s three in the morning. Are you drunk?” Larry asked me. “No, I just had to talk to someone and couldn’t think of anyone else,” I replied with desperation. “Can’t this wait until the morning, dude?” Larry asked, “I have to get up in six hours for work.” He sounded angry, but mostly tired so I pressed on. “No, this can’t wait, seriously. I’m sorry, but this is urgent.”

“Okay, what’s wrong that you had to wake me up?” Larry asked, and I was ready to talk. I was ready to talk until I couldn’t utter another word. I was distraught and scared. Larry was my best friend, and I knew he’d listen. I wasn’t sure if he could give me the right advice, but I knew he’d listen.

“I don’t know where to start.”

“Try the beginning. Come on, man. It’s too late for this.”

“Alright, but have a little bit of patience.”

“Yeah, just start talking before I hang up.”

“Okay, I ****** up,” I replied and paused for a response, but Larry didn’t respond so I pressed on.

“I got off work at ten and had to close the store. My manager was in a tight spot and left me with the keys,” I said, took a breath, and continued,”I was kind of ******* when he asked me to do it, but he said he had no other choice. He even offered to give me an extra day off with pay.”

“So what’s the problem?” Larry asked.

“The problem is what I did before I left.”

“And that is?”

“Well, I was getting the store all shut up. I let most of the employees go, and I left one cashier with me so I didn’t have to run around like a maniac. There weren’t any problems, so I locked up and got ready to count down the last till so I could get the hell out of there.”

“Can you speed this up, man? I’m falling asleep,” Larry said impatiently.

“Sorry, so I count down the last till and leave it by the register. I let the last cashier go for the night and locked the door. I go back to the register and grab the till so I could put it in the office and start the deposit. My manager left me instructions for the closing procedures and the combo to the safe. I counted everything and wrapped the deposit so it could be taken to the bank in the morning. I followed the instructions perfectly.”

“So what’s the problem then?”

I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. I was having trouble finishing my story, and even though I paused I knew Larry wouldn’t hang up. He wasn’t the kind of guy that would let a story go unfinished. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to get to the next part of the story. I was like a comedian without a punchline. It was hard enough to make the phone call to Larry, let alone get this far into the story. But I did wake him up, so the least I could do was finish my story.

“Are you there?” Larry asked.

“Yeah, sorry. I’m just having trouble explaining this.”

“Take a breath. Just breathe and try to start again,” Larry said with a comforting tone.

“I left with it,” I said. I was being vague on purpose so Larry would ask me what I meant instead of me telling him. And that’s exactly what he did. “You left with what?” He said sounding confused.

“I left with the deposit and everything else in the safe,” I said in a hurried tone.

“You did what?” Larry said sounding confused as if he heard me wrong.

“I left with everything. I took all the money and locked up.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I robbed my store and left. It was an impulse. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. I ****** up.”

“I hope you’re joking,” Larry said.

“I’m not joking. I just up and left with everything,” I said.

“What the **** were you thinking? How much did you take?”

“I wasn’t thinking, man. I took everything, which was a little over ten grand.”

“This isn’t good. What the ****, dude. This is bad, really really bad.”

“I know, but I don’t know what to do. That’s why I called you,” I said, sounding more desperate than when Larry had first picked up the phone.

“What do you want me to say? You just called me at three in the morning to tell me you robbed your store for a **** load of money. This is beyond a **** up, man. Where are you?”

“I’m out front of your place.”

“What? How long have you been here?” Larry asked. He sounded like he was shocked to hear me say that, but deep down I knew he understood. I didn’t know what else to do, and he was the only person I could turn to. He might not of agreed with what I did, but he would help me through anything. Whether that be good or bad; he would be there for support.

“I’ve been here since I called you. I didn’t know what to do. I’m freaking out. Like beyond freaking out. I’m so ******, man. I am absolutely ******.”

“Alright, first off get the hell inside. I’m unlocking the door now,” Larry said and hung up. I closed my phone and shut the engine to my car. I still sat in my car with my head on the steering wheel. I was emotionally drained and knew the night wasn’t over. My night was only going to get worse, and facing Larry was going to drain me. Larry knew how to give that look of disappointment only a parent could give. He wouldn’t belittle me, but the look in his eyes would be enough to make me feel small. It was already past the point of no return with Larry. I had to face him now, and he was waiting for me. I lifted my head up and rubbed my eyes. The light on his front porch was on when I lifted my head. So I got out of my car, locked it, and made my way up to his house. The door was open a crack and I stepped inside and locked it behind me. Larry’s foyer led to the kitchen, and the light was on. He was in the kitchen waiting for me.

“Is that you?” Larry yelled from the kitchen.

“Yeah.”

“In the kitchen. I just put on a *** of coffee.”

The ten second walk to the kitchen felt infinite. My legs were shaky, along with the rest of my body. I was more nervous about seeing Larry than I was about the consequences that were to follow my recklessness. I turned the corner into the kitchen to find Larry sitting at his kitchen table, staring at the coffee ***.

“Hey,” I said, being at a loss for words.

“Sit down. The coffee is almost done.”

“Okay, I think I might need a cup.”

“You and me both, bud.”

Larry and I both stared at the coffee ***. He was waiting for the coffee to finish. I was hypnotized by the drip. In a weird way it was calming and gave me time to think. I’m not sure if Larry ever took the time to glance at me, as I was only fixated on the drip. I didn’t want it to end for a few reasons. Not only was it calming, but it also prolonged the inevitable: Our conversation.

“What do you want?” Larry asked.

“What?”

“What do you want in your coffee?”

“Oh, just a little cream and a little sugar.”

Larry fixed two cups of coffee and placed a cup in front of me. He took his seat and sipped his coffee. He didn’t say anything, and I wasn’t sure if he was waiting for me to speak. Before I could he cleared his throat.

“What the **** were you thinking?” He asked, as only a friend could when you make a mistake.

“I wasn’t thinking.”

“Yeah, you said that, but what could possibly make you do something like that. Really, what the **** were you thinking?”

“I don’t know. I just did it, and it didn’t cross my mind until I left and set the alarm. At that time I couldn’t do anything. I already took the money and left. I couldn’t go back in the store without sounding the alarm.”

“You set the alarm. You couldn’t just go back in and shut it off?” Larry pressed.

“No, I couldn’t. There are two different codes for closing and opening. I told you it was last minute, and my manager only gave me the code to close up.” I said in all honesty.

“You couldn’t of just put the money back and let the alarm go off? I’m sure they wouldn’t of been ****** about the alarm going off. It wasn’t your responsibility in the first place to be closing the store.” Larry said, making a valid point.

“I didn’t think about that, and I told you I was freaking. I thought I was already ****** so I left. I just got in my car and got out of there. I didn’t know where to go so I drove around for a few hours, and I didn’t want to go home so I called you.”

“Yeah, well thanks for that,” Larry said sarcastically.

“I didn’t know what to do. I’m sorry, really I am.”

“No you’re not. If you were sorry you would of turned yourself in.”

“Are you serious? The last place I want to be is in jail.”

“Well you should of thought about that before you committed grand larceny.”

“What do I do then? What can I do?” I asked

“For right now just enjoy your coffee. Go pour another cup and relax. I’m going to call my work and call out. There is no way I’m going to make it in after all of this ******* you brought me.”

“I’m sorry, Larry. Really, I am truly sorry.”

“Just relax, there’s nothing you can do now.” Larry said. He got up and left the room. I also got up and poured another cup of coffee. He was right, I needed to relax and just stay calm. There was nothing else I could do, and freaking out was not going to help. I sat back down, took a sip of my coffee, and rested my head in my hands. It was the most at ease I’ve been the whole night. This is why I turned to Larry. He knew how to calm me down and was my only true friend. He always had my best interest at hand, and I loved him for that.

Ten minutes later Larry returned and sat back down. He took a sip of his coffee and spit it back in the cup. “I hate cold coffee,” Larry said and got up to pour another cup. “What are you thinking about?” He asked. I didn’t respond. I couldn’t respond. Although I was calmer my mind was still racing. It felt like my head was going to explode. Thankfully it didn’t, but it sure felt like it.

“What do you think you’re going to do? Larry asked

“I’m not sure yet. I think I might just take off. What else can I do? I can’t go to jail.” I replied through my strained throat. Larry didn’t say anything. His back was faced to me as he poured another cup of coffee. “I can’t.”

“You can’t what?” He asked.

“I can’t go to jail.”

“Okay, so then what? You’re just going to flee? Just get up and go?”

“Yeah, that is the only thing that seems plausible right now.”

“You don’t expect me to go with you, do you?”

“No, not at all. This is my mess.”

“You’re **** right it is,” Larry said sounding angry for the first time.

“I know, I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing to me. You have no reason to say sorry to me.”

“You’re right. I think I should just go,” I said

“Where are you going to go?”

“I don’t know, but I can’t wait around. I have to do something. And I should leave before anyone gets to the store to see the safe empty. What time is it?”

“It’s quarter after six.”

“Okay, the store opens in almost two hours. I should get going soon if I’m going to be out of the state before someone gets there.”

“Okay, if that’s what you think you got to do. Have another cup and calm down before you leave.” Larry suggested.

“Okay,” I said, accepting his offer.

I got up and walked to the coffee *** to make my last cup of coffee before I left. I knew I had to get going, but I wanted to make this last cup of coffee last. This would be the last time I would see Larry. And after all, he was my best friend. I would have many regrets when I was gone, so I tried to make this last encounter last as long as I could.

As I was pouring my last cup Larry’s doorbell rang. I looked back in a hurry and Larry put his hand on my shoulder. “Relax, it’s my neighbor. He comes over early on Tuesdays. He’s an older guy that comes over for coffee. He’s lonely and his wife passed recently. It’s the least I can do.” Larry said, and made his way to his front door. I sat back down and put my head in my hands again. The two cups of coffee I drank had me jittery. I sat and waited for Larry to return with his neighbor. When he came back in I would leave and be on my way. I had no choice, and I had to be leaving as soon as possible anyway. I didn’t need to intrude while he had company. I just rested my head, and I heard footsteps. Larry was on his way back in the kitchen, and I’d be on my way out.

A hand rested on my shoulder. I still kept my head in my hands.

“Mr. Kofta?”

I looked up and nearly fell off my chair.

“I’m Officer Shandie, and I’m going to need you to come with us.”

There were three police officers in Larry’s kitchen, and Larry was standing right beside them. He looked at me in disappointment, like only a parent can look at their child. Officer Shandie pulled me up and put my hands behind my back. He cuffed me and led me to the front of the house. All of the police officers followed, along with Larry. I was being put into the back of the police cruiser when Larry stopped them and spoke up.

“I can’t keep bailing you out. You’re not running from this mistake.”

Larry stepped aside as I was put in the back of the car. The door was shut, and my fate was sealed. Officer Shandie got in the cruiser and backed out of Larry’s driveway.

The only similarity Larry and I had that night was when I leaving to be taken to the police station. We both had our heads down.
Through the years of transparent existence, a void of illusion becomes apparent and slowly becomes nothing more than a side-show. The dribbling glimpses of truth fade like the bones of old. No man can create such an indentation in the mold of space and time that the observers at the end of eternity will render their imprint upon the infinite gaian consciousness and body of universal proportions of any significance. Even the earth laughs at such ridiculousness. The ego is a strong bind - it can create maya and attachment to such fantasies easier than a bear can find it's ideal location for a winter hibernation. It's a world of craziness, where nobody knows whats going on.
The man woke up from his deep slumber. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Squinting, he looked around, studying his surroundings and taking mental notes. His thoughts are ***** scribblings on a subway wall. His heart is beating, searching for a band to play in rhythm with. His soul is aching from loneliness and desire. His feet lifelessly surrender their position up on the couch and find the floor, shrieking from the cold of the linoleum. His presence is that of a bird with a broken wing still attempting to fly. He stands up and stares at the ceiling.
The room is small. Four walls of white, one window and one door. The window looks out over the grey city. The door leads into another room - the room most would call a kitchen. In the small room before the kitchen, there is only a couch and a blanket. No lamp. No television. No electricity. No electricity in the entire apartment. The kitchen holds no refrigerator, no oven, no toaster, no pantry. It's called a kitchen because that's what it would be if somebody else was living in the apartment. There are two bananas on the floor along with a box of wheat flake cereal. No milk, no bowl, no spoon. The bananas are almost entirely rotten. The box of cereal is on its side, leaking bits of wheat flake, resembling a dying soldier on a battlefield who's losing all his blood through the wound on his neck rather than a box of the West's favorite morning go-to breakfast.
The man is observing the cracks on the ceiling, along with various stains with no known origin to him. His eyes dart from one corner of the room to another to another to another and back to the first. Spiderwebs. Dust. Decay. A perfect example of life's ability to take care of itself. Biodecomposition. When no one is around to look after a house, over time, Nature will take over it. Vines will grow and overcome the walls. Rain will fall and wear away the roof and general structure. Winds will blow, taking blindshots at the weakened building, eventually cause it to fall. Nothing lasts forever. Everything goes back to where it came from.
The man now steps into the "kitchen", where he begins to study the stains on the ceiling in this room as well. His mind is electric, with no thoughts in the usual sense, but rather just a vague presence of void to help the ceiling stains feel important. He is the space through which everything around him can exist to their fullest potential. After a measureless amount of time, the man walks over to the sad bits of food on the far side of the small room. He picks up one of he bananas and studies it. He feels where it came from. The tropical skies and smells and earth of Costa Rica. There's a little sticker on the banana that says so. Each bit of fruit in the markets nowadays are individually stickered...for prosperity, one can only assume. Though it's best to never assume anything, and instead be open to everything - afterall, anything is possible, at any time. Likelihood and probability are also important factors in the universal constitution of existence. What was the likelihood that this man, when he was a little child, figured he'd be holding a rotten banana from Costa Rica in his hand inside of a kitchenless kitchen? Who knows? The man wouldn't be able to recall his thoughts from early childhood - he barely remembers waking up and experiencing the chilling sensation of early morning linoleum. In any case, everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be, for it wouldn't be if it wasn't meant to be.
He slowly peels open the banana peel to reveal this brown, soft mush of tropical fruit. Just the way he likes it - soft enough to chew with his toothless mouth. He takes his time consuming the fruit, savoring every particle. After a good bit of time, the fruit is gone and all the man is left with is the peel. He takes another good look at the peel, once again imagining where this particular banana came from. Then, in two swift bites, he devours the entire peel - sticker included. He figures the sticker came from Costa Rica as well, and thus must carry that Costa Rican tropical vibe of health and longevity. His eyes then focus on the wheat flake cereal lying next to the other rotting banana. He bends down and picks up the box. The box is upside down when he picks it up and so the cereal spills out all over the area of the "kitchen" floor that seems to be dedicated to eating food. The remaining banana is now covered in wheat cereal.
The man drops the box back onto the floor and takes a seat alongside of it. His fingers hold his face from drooping onto his knees. His knees are keeping his torso from melting onto the floor. He screams with no sound. The pains of existence seep through his hollow eyes and into the receptors of his soul. He screams with no sound. He’s as empty as the American Dream.
The cobwebs are spreading from the corners of the room and are aimed for the human form sitting in the “kitchen” screaming silence with all his might. The cobwebs grow. The commuters of the city highway are commuting. A thousand birthday celebrations are being had. A thousand people sexually uninhibited, joyously seizing the moment in disgusting miraculous unity of mortal physical desire. Junkies are roaming the street for their morning fix. Teaching are teaching their students absolute lies. Governments are stealing the lives of billions and counting. And the cobwebs are growing, encompassing entire walls. The the ceiling. Then the floor. Then they crawl up the lifeless legs of the man who sits screaming in silence and the spiders overtake his body. They stitch his mouth shut and close his eyes with their spun proteinaceous spider silk. The man withers into the wind of time and vanishes from the world without a single soul taking notice. Leaving nothing behind except an empty apartment, overdue rent, and a number in the system of Western Society. His spirit cries sorrowfully as it flees the clutches of molecular existence into the realm of eternity and space. Heaven. He made it. He looks down at the people of the world he just left and sings a pitiful song for them. He’ll see them again. Afterall, they are Him. And He is Them. His Heart, the Sun, burns as the world he left turns. The lessons He left are slowly being learned. One by one. But still, there’s a space between the atoms, between the cells. And that space can never disappear. Without it, there would be no point to the story. All would be one, as it is, and there’s be nothing to overcome. No triumph. Just an endless loop of bizarre beautiful experience and pattern.
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2018
.a woman's place is not in the kitchen... **** right! about time someone made that observation, the times i've eaten under-cooked baby potatoes and over-cooked pasta? i'm actually ******* surprised that the kitchen was ever intended for a place for women... what the **** are women doing in kitchens? given, that their offspring don't know where milk comes from... or how peanuts grow... huh?

somewhere between eric dolphy
and frank o'hara:
    in terms of lunch...
            i have to gloat over this one...
it was... simply... pristine...

                   women do not belong
in the kitchen the more i'm supposed
to belong dangling off a ceiling of
a cavern emple for bats -
men don't want women in
the kitchen...
  i don't like the idea of a woman cooking...
women can't cook...
          well, for the majority...
   what's this? fast meals,
     junk restaurants -
i'm about to eat something that's
equivalent to me having ******* it out?
sorry... no...

not when i tell what i had for lunch...
iceberg salad,
carrot,
   pepper,
mild green chilli,
         em... ****...
    turkish goat's cheese -
a pear, a ******* FIG (skin intact),
    schwarzforst prosciutto -
chilli infused ****** olive oil,
balsamic vinegar...
        
women, do not, belong,
in, the kitchen...
              a kitchen is no harem...
where... i believe...
Sappho escaped from...
                  but fair enough:
nudge budge: bear a grudge... ha ha...
it's like this teasing contest i had
on my way back from an off-lice
at quarter to 11 one night...
a boyfriend,
    a scaffold(er) and his girlfriend,
drunk, d'uh...
  joking about her height...
this: smurf -

                       we laughed
she was evidently ******* -
but in a way that we could have cuddled
and kissed falling
      acorn leaves in autumn
to imply a next annum of revival...

  but **** me, what a trinity -
a FIG a pear, (a) goat's cheese -
   and that balsamic vinegar
transcendence medium of sweet contra
sour?
        
  oh wait... that was sexist?
             fine, enjoy the microwave
    spaghetti and cheese -
      like some diabolical version
of an electric ballerina twirling -
        
   i have the neo-**** gig covered too...
don't mind, being a *******
****** and all,
   having talked to my great-grandmother
about her experiences on the Eastern Front...
giving my grandmother opiates so
she wouldn't cry and become a beacon
for the Wehrmacht...

            don't worry... i'm supplied
in neo-**** music...
just in case...
   oh lookie look over 'ere...
that song -
   feindflug's größenwahn:
bought the album about a year ago
for £15... now? it's worth £40+...
                     never mind wumpscut:
               i like the fact that there is
such a position of interests that
confiscates a magnetism of
eclectic tastes...
        and please...
   the only reason you would have your
toddler and subsequent child
to listen to classical music is
not an I.Q. resonance -
   it won't make them smarter,
fat chance in anorexic hell -
         hell, let them listen to classical
music, but entrenching their I.Q. is
not the main byproduct...
    how many people, do you know...
who have lost interest in music?
   i know a few...
   some people really, really do lose interest
in music...
                by the time when they've been
fed classical music,
   been exposed to pop, perhaps even
rock...
   and never reached the antithesis of
classical music, namely jazz...
subsequently having the zenith of
having read a Jane Austen novel...
but not a Mary Shelley -
      and not divulged into espresso quick-step
******* jargon of
poetry contra performance, bloated vocals -
and that... annoying,
generic voice, apparent throughout
the spectrum of all vocal performers -
that asthmatic quasi-exasperation
   performance...
                    
true: i could perform...
   drinking got in the way...
the prime vice...
   secondary vice?
       cooking...
              
true though...
   women don't belong in the kitchen...
what sort of man would
allow a woman in the kitchen?
   i've tasted undercooked potatoes
and overcooked pasta...
   let's just say...
  we're not on friendly talking terms.
Lily May 2018
In Grandma’s kitchen,
There’s the old raggety rocker,
The one that always tips back too far
And my heart skips a beat as I
Secretly enjoy the thrill.
In Grandma’s kitchen,
There’s the mounds of old recipes on
The counter, yellowing with age, being
Ripped from ancient editions of
House and Home magazines.
In Grandma’s kitchen,
There’s the constant pleasant aroma of
Cookies, chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin
And snickerdoodle, the presence of cookie
Jars that are quickly ransacked by us.
In Grandma’s kitchen,
There is the collection of teapots on
The shelf, the daily weather forecast that
Grandpa writes out every day on the table,
The forest of palms and tiger lilies in the center.
In Grandma’s kitchen,
Time seems to stand still, and everything
Is perfect, familiar, right.
Even when the room itself doesn’t belong to
Her anymore, it will always be to me
Grandma’s kitchen.
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2018
.akin to a reply within the respect of Olivia Gatwood... these are not war chants... these are not war invitations... what deserves the hostile, is what bears an answer... these statements? they're only preliminaries; apparently two freedoms of the same argument, have the right / are expected to coexist: mind you, thinking, is the antithetic argument supporting talking... oh ****... right... i "sound" condescending... the clicking sound of my keyboard is condescending... at what point... did you arrive at the paradox... of hearing, before seeing? airplanes... i see, prior to the dragging "echo"... who said what who said who said what? i didn't say anything... i typed... keeping in line with: freedom of speech... what an exhausting right... esp. in a time when speaking is equated to thinking, and "speaking" is relegated to the opportunism, of writing being equated to "thinking"... talking... simply a tabloid freedom for the populace... i said ****... if this is not in the comment section... who said what who said who, who said when? when? maybe i delayed posting this... having thought it... a thinking, liberated from the cognitive schematic of a moral ought... a cognitive schematic to parody the enshrined freedom of speech, deviating from being forced to ask the moral ought? what is freedom of speech, by comparison? you are given the sort of freedom that implores you to speak... you are actually being given enforced rights to be compelled to speak... but not to think... to speak... at the exact same time... you didn't equate thinking with speaking... oh... right... this, "freedom"... was exacted when... quiet a large number of people were still deemed illiterate... and they were illiterate... but i'm literate... so... why would i need a freedom of speech... when, by writing, i have the higher right / freedom, to think?!

reworking a vindaloo recipe...
what sort of madman...
writes a recipe,
that includes 40 grams of
dried chillies?
i weighed them...
around 30 came in at 30 grams...
i had to revise...
the recipe...
a hopscotch chilli...
two fresh red chillies,
8 dried chillies,
and some Kashmir chilly
powder (much milder,
slightly sweet,
than usual)...
    it's a ******* meal...
it's not a competition as to
who can east the most spicy meal...
you play that **** while drinking
*****, not eating dinner!
mind you... vindaloo?
the most specifically scented
curry in the world...
you lift the lid off the...
baking tray? cooking utensil?
you're immediately hit by
a whiff of... sour spiciness...
can't describe it...
it feels like lime chilli...
hot & sour...
counter to the Chinese
sweet & salty...
   **** me...
     Indian cuisine...
                 it's like...
         what pepper,
salt and horseradish did to
European cuisine...
thank you England...
well... since i'm doing all
the cooking around this house...
i guess... a woman can just
sit pretty, and pretend to be
an ornament of the mantlepiece,
playing candy-crush saga...
works fine for me...
i wouldn't trust a woman
in the kitchen to begin with...
she might under-cook
the potatoes,
over-cook the pasta,
and over-salt a sauce...
so... yeah...
  women are not welcome
in the kitchen.

but, hell, they can bake, women can
do one thing right in the kitchen:
they can bake...
i hate baking, because it involves
waiting... i hate waiting...
a woman in a kitchen has
perfected the role of baking,
but that's about it...
figure this one out...
all this anti-white male rhetoric...
where are you going to
get your rhetoric...
when we die off, died out,
become the prime suspect
of the dodo project?!
    who's going to replace us...
and make the same argumentative
reprisals of your little,
tirade, symptom of
being borne by a real daddy,
and not a *****-bank
donation?!
   mother daughter relationships
must, really really work out
so well..
mind you, mind me...
i really need to ***...

when cooking, i hate waiting...
i don't like making
something, and then guessing /
waiting for the end results...
i want the whole fling...
the whole translation
of organic chemistry into
a heston blumenthal kitchen...
  i want...
the many aspect of transfiguration,
cooking no less an art,
but more a science...

women can bake,
they can also walk around pregnant...
can they cook?
you really want women
to return to the kitchen?!
seriously?!
under-cooked potatoes,
overcooked pasta,
following a vindaloo
recipe word for word?
you sure?
    in the army...
women didn't cook...
the men cooked for the men...
sure... a feminine role...
but...
   and this this is a pretty big but...

makes no fighter on an ill
stuffed gut...
           men cooking for men...
while the girls play the role
of the trophy mantlepiece...
"jogging" along to flirting
with candy-crush saga...

please, please... come into the kitchen
when you feel like
baking a banana bonanza...
otherwise... *******!
Lilly frost Oct 2015
I'm a kitchen sink
A kitchen sink that fills and spills
A kitchen sink that washes everything away
A kitchen sink that is stationary
Cannot move
A kitchen sink that is silent
Save for the whisper of water running
Save for the silent protests of agony
When dishes are thrown
When it is filled
I'm a kitchen sink tears in the form of a leaking faucet
Calm and silent
Stationary and unnoticed
Mateuš Conrad Feb 2016
.before i come to the food topics, here's a pet peeve... language... how the pakistanis might / might not be offended by the laziness of the english, shortening their denotation to a prefix: ****-... and i'm like... is that really offensive? with the -stani suffix missing? o.k. o.k., iraq: iraqi... iran: iranian... pakistani: ****- / pakistani... so what about afghanistan? afghan, or afghanistani?! i'm pretty sure it's afghan... a person is afghani and not afghanistani... so what's wrong with ****-? it must be an english-****'stani thing from the 1960s or something... ******* as sensitive as french footballers... this has to be hard-pressed... this instance... because i hardly think it's a racial slur to stick to the prefix and not include the suffix, given the example from afghanistan - just like the "problem" of calling a jew a ***-, borrowed prefix from... yiddish! now for the food:

a. would you trust a skinny chef? i know i wouldn't trust a chef who's also a healthy-eating gym bro maniac, i bet he would never cook with lard or pork trimmings, with that calorie calculator lodged up his head that represents an ******* is not much to go with when taste is prime... 6ft1 253.5pounds, that's where i stand... i would never trust a health-freak to cook for me, let alone all the proofs rattling anorexic examples...

    b. "***** take your shoes off and get into the kitchen!" what a ****** joke, chauvanism rampant... mind you... who the hell said that women belong in the kitchen? they don't... i don't want a woman in the kitchen... i've had two dinners cooked by my fwends' mothers when still in my early teens... 1. over-cooked pasta... my fwends father would pretend to eat the dinner, before driving me home while stopping off at a sikh diner and took to the take-away (cooked by men), another example beside the over-cooked pasta? under-cooked spring potatoes - after all... the men on ships and submarines that kept the other men firing did all the cooking... men can cook... or at least: that's the least they should do... think: organic chemistry experiments...

eating a raw herring
in piquant mayonnaise
of reminiscence of a
granny-smith and pickled
cucumber tickle...
slurping it up into
a workout of the oesophagus
might remind many
of oral ***: but after all...
it's only a raw herring being eaten.

p.s. well perhaps gulping down
a raw oyster does feel familiar
to performing oral *** on a woman...
but since you're not really
chewing the oyster,
or licking it... but gulping it whole...
i can only compared performing
oral *** on a ***** to
                eating a raw herring.

            and why all of this talk of food?
well... what's on the menu for tomorrow?
a bangers & mash stew,
    old recipe from the days of the british
empire... mind you: why did they
call sausages bangers back then?
well, during the war, they put a lot of
water into the sausages...
and when water mixes with warm oil?
bang! bang!

                 'i was five and he was six,
   we rode on horses made of sticks,
he wore black and i wore white,
   he would always win the fight...
   bang! bang!
  he shot me down!
  bang! bang!
                 i hit the ground...
bang! bang!
   that awful sound...
bang! bang!
   my baby... shot me down!'
              (audio bullys ft. nancy s.) -

so obviously i had to take a walk
and buy the key ingredient...
   i.p.a.:
        and when they were stationed
in the raj, and the troops were receiving
provisions...
  the standard beer wouldn't last the trip,
going off...
     and dark port was too sweet...
so indian pale ale was invented:
   more potent alcohol content and brewed
based more on hops than barley or wheat...
bitter: but my god, what a strand of beer,
like your typical irish stout...
   which is why i never figured out
  the bud to be the king of beers...
   fermentation of rice? sure... it's crisp...
but also the sort of toddler **** you'd expect
from rice fermentation:
no body, no *****, no blood,
no palette...
      easy stew:
   sausages,
      onions, garlic, celery, carrots,
                  leeks...
     a bottle of i.p.a.,
   some to degrease the pan the sausages
and veg were fried on, the rest for the jacuzzi...
some water, bay leaf, salt to taste,
   tomato purée and 2tbsp
  of muscovado sugar to bite through
   the extra hops... mash on the side...
                  and an array of veg on the side too...

i still don't know where the idea
that women belong in the kitchen came from:
perhaps when the men were coal-miners,
and when the kitchen wasn't filled
with all the current day appliances
of convenience...
   when women worked as hard in the kitchen
as the men who worked in the coal-mine...
perhaps then, in the early part of the 20th
century... when spaghetti dough was hand-made
at home...
then a woman could take pride in her
house-keeping...
   now? now i guess: the same sort of melancholic
voice bound to nancy sinatra singing...
because once upon a time it was hard
work, running the house...
                       and then "suddenly"
everything became simple...
a man could walk into a coal-mine,
come back home and...
              make himself a decent meal...
  looking at what the english woman buy
in the supermarket?
      couch potato maidens...
       ready meal after yet another ready meal...
things have become so easy
that easy isn't enough...

      let me tell you a culinary ***** of a story...
the scurge of making homemade
ravioli! believe me... once a year is enough...
sure, it tastes great...
                  but once a year is enough.
katewinslet Nov 2015
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Anonymous Freak Nov 2019
We could laugh at anything
When we were young,
Even ourselves.
We’d sit on your kitchen floor
And drink coffee
While listening to colorful music.

It was always the kitchen floor.
Your parents never understood.

We could talk about anything
While sitting
On a magical kitchen floor.

Last night
Is a blur.
I’m told that I was found
Laying there
On the kitchen floor
Covered in my own *****,
Muttering incoherently.

I thought if I drank myself to death
It would look like an accident,
But I mostly did it
Because we didn’t have enough pills
For a cocktail of medication
To put me to sleep.

I remember I was trying to open another bottle
As I slid
Slowly to the floor,
And then
I know I ended up in my bed.
With two friends,
Neither you,
Pushing water into me
While I told them over and over
I was sorry
And I love my family.

On the kitchen floor
You and I found peace of mind,
And on the kitchen floor,
Is where my first true attempt
At death
Ended.
David Walker Dec 2012
Origins
written and directed
by
David Walker

Inspired
by
the films of
Quentin Tarantino
David Lynch
&
Rob Zombie

There is method
To his madness

                                                        ­                                                                 ­                  January 2013              
                                              ­                                                                 ­                       first draft









1. EXT. Run down project apartment complex - 3:00 am

A dark, tall figure with long black hair and a trenchcoat opens the already cracked red door.

MAN:
I'm looking for love in all the wrong places.

                                                        ­                                                                 ­                                       CUT TO:
INT. Apartment 3

A typical roach infested apartment with a kitchen built into the living room. 3 GIRLS are on the kitchen floor. GIRL # 1 one has black hair with big lips and a curvy frame and she is wearing a pair of Tripp pants and a black bra barely covering her ample *****. She has a flesh colored rubber hose tied to her left arm. GIRL # 2 has dyed rainbow colored hair, a nice smile, and a skinny frame. She is wearing a pair of tore blue jeans with smiley faces and cute in jokes written on them, also not wearing a shirt with a lacy blue bra on. She has a spoon with water and black tar ****** inside it which she is heating up with a silver Zippo with the word "Skittles" engraved into it. GIRL # 3 Has long naturally red hair, glasses and an extremely voluptuous figure. She is wearing tight black pants and a black shirt with thin sleeves. She is inspecting a covered syringe with an unsure look in her eyes.

GIRL # 2:
So, do you wanna do it or not Jane?

Snatches the syringe out of JANE's hand.

JANE:
I'm not sure. How long have you been doing this ****?

Girl #2 takes the orange cap off the syringe revealing a small needle.

GIRL #2:
Since after I graduated. About 3 years. Liz you ready?

LIZ:
As ready as I am for dat sweet tang!

Girl #2 giggles. She sticks the needle into Liz's arm, blood mixes with the brown fluid inside, and she pushes the plunger down. Liz leans back into Girl #2's arms and Girl #2 gives her a kiss.

LIZ:
I love you, Julia.

JULIA:
Well, I love you too.

JANE:
You guys are so gay!

(OS):
Save that **** for the ******* customers!

                                                     ­                                                                 ­                                       CUT TO:
Other side of room. A greasy looking MAN with short faded black hair and a scar going from the corner of his mouth to the right ear is sitting in a beat up recliner cleaning his Uberti 1873 Cattleman revolver while smoking a fat blunt and watching some kind of high budget **** with Sasha Grey in it.

JULIA:
Sorry, Mike. It didn't stop you from leaving me and Liz unsatisfied and bored, did it?

LIZ and JULIA laugh. JANE has a nervous look in her eyes.

MIKE:
Very ******* funny you wore out trick! Am I gonna have to smack the sass out yo mouth?

MIKE gets up, puts out his blunt and walks over to the GIRLS gun in hand.

MIKE:
Or am I gonna have to give your little friend a scar like mine.

LIZ:
Mike don't!

MIKE SLAPS JULIA with the side of his UNLOADED revolver and grabs JANE by her hair.

MIKE:
Who the **** are you, anyways *****?

JANE:
(stuttering)
I was walking down the street earlier today and I ran into Julia and Liz. They went to school with my sister I think. Let me go!

MIKE:
So you're a young'n. Well you have some nice big *******!

MIKE RIPS off her shirt exposing her *******. He begins to squeeze the right one. JANE SLAPS MIKE HARD!

MIKE:
*****!

MIKE lets go of her hair. Jane runs to the other room grabbing her shirt. LIZ stumbles towards him and PUNCHES him in the nose.

MIKE:
That's it! You little *** dumpsters are dead!

MIKE picks up the REVOLVER, runs to the chair where the bullets are and tries to reload. JULIA wakes from her daze. We see him load 3 rounds. All of a sudden the DOOR gets broken down and the dark clad FIGURE from the scene before pulls out a BERETTA M9 with a silencer attachment. MIKE FIRES 2 shots at him haphazardly missing both. The MAN LAUGHS and FIRES one shot that MIKE's crotch catches.

                                                       ­                                                                 ­                                       CUT TO:
2. INT. Next door in Apartment 2.

A MAN and WOMAN in their early 40's are smoking a joint and seem disturbed by the gunfire.

MAN:
(coughing)
What the hell was that?

WOMAN:
Sounded like gunshots. Do you think we should call the cops?

MAN:
**** no! There is a pound of chronic in the bedroom closet! Just pray whoever it is doesn't come over here!

WOMAN:
Okay. Are you gonna pass that?

                                                          ­                                                                 ­                                     CUT TO:
3. INT. Apartment 3.

The smoke has cleared. MIKE is begging for death and BLEEDING out everywhere, JULIA is in a daze, dumbfounded by what she just witnessed, LIZ is cowering in fear, crying, and JANE just came out of the bedroom with her TORN SHIRT on and a terrified "Oh my God" expression. The unknown assailant has a devilish grin upon his face.

MIKE:
Godfuck! **** me you sunuvabitch! Godda--

The MAN obliges. He fires a single shot into his RIGHT EYE.

MAN:
Well, looks like I got here in the nick of time!

JULIA:
(blankly)
W-Who the **** are you?

MAN:
That is of little importance right now. Who are you foxy ladies?

JULIA:
M-My name's Julia. That girl over there (points to Liz) is Liz, and the ginger is Jane.

MAN:
What pretty names! Well, I have a question. Will you three lovely young ladies gather round that despicable looking chair and listen to what I have to say, or are you going to run? Keep in mind I have rope in my trenchcoat and the fact I mean you no harm. I am just a lonely man with a story to tell, and the way I see it, what with that bruise on your sweet face, you kinda owe me.

JULIA:
I think we can stay. I just wanna know your name.

MAN:
Ahh, but I am a man of many names. My christian name is Derek. You don't need the last for now.

DEREK walks to the chair and sits down. He waves the GIRLS over.

DEREK:
C'mon I just want to tell my tale. Look, I will put the gun under the chair as a sign of good faith that neither you girls or I will start shooting the place up again. Are we square ladies?

JULIA:
What do ya say guys?

They gather in the kitchen.

LIZ:
This guy has a ***** loose.

JULIA:
Yes, but he saved us from our ****. We should humor him.

JANE:
I think he is hot!

LIZ and JULIA just stare at JANE.

JANE:
Sorry, but he is.

JULIA:
So it's agreed. We will listen to his story, silently pray he doesn't **** us and leave afterwards.

The GIRLS walk to the chair. DEREK has lit the blunt.

DEREK:
Ahh, so you have decided to join me. Good. Do you guys wanna hit this?

LIZ and JULIA shake their heads no.

JANE:
I will.

DEREK:
Great. Now, where do I begin. I suppose everybody's roots stem from childhood, so lets go back, oh say, 20 years ago.

                                                           ­       FADE TO BLACK        
Against black, TITLE CARD

October 15th 1995.

                                                          ­                       CUT TO      
4. EXT. Suburbia circa 1995.

There are three boys between the ages of 6 and 9 playing in front of a grey HOUSE with a white MINIVAN in the driveway. Little DEREK is a scrawny 6 year old boy with short brown hair and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure in his hands. The 2 other BOYS ages 7 and 9 are picking on him and trying to take away DONATELLO.

DEREK:
Leave me alone or I will whoop your ****.

BOY #1:
Whatever! You are scrawny and lame. Give us your Ninja Turtle now or we will beat you up!

BOY #2 picks up a STICK and starts hitting DEREK with it.

BOY #2:
What are you going to do? Get your daddy? Oh, wait...that's right, you don't have one!

The 2 BULLIES start laughing. A look of hatred fills young DEREK's eyes. He catches the STICK and slaps BOY #2 in the face with it. He then tackles him and starts beating him mercilessly. BOY #1 runs towards the PORCH and knocks on the DOOR. DEREK'S MOM answers. She is in her mid 30's with brown hair and casual clothing on, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of "coffee."

BOY #2:
Derek's beating up Josh again!

DEREK'S MOM:
Well, good for him! Bet that little pecker snot deserved it too. Now, Brad...why don't you take you and your friend on home before I tell your dad you play with Barbies.

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
My mother was a sweet ol' broad!

BRAD:
(sighs)
Okay, Ms. Walters, but you do know you are going to have to pull him offa Josh right?

DEREK'S MOM:
(sighs like Brad)
I suppose.

DEREK'S MOM and BRAD walk to the front yard and GASP when they notice that DEREK has knocked out 2 of JOSH'S baby teeth, both in the front and broke his nose, which is bleeding profusely.

DEREK'S MOM:
Derek Charles Walters! Get the **** up offa him!

DEREK:
(crying)
He hit me with a stick!

DEREK'S MOM:
Well, now I'm about to!

She picks up the STICK and beats his *** with it several times.

DEREK:
******* *****!

DEREK'S MOM, infuriated throws the stick down and SLAPS him across the face. DEREK runs away.
He runs to a wooded area in the back yard as far as his legs can take him.

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
Do not weep, for on that day, I met God and Satan incarnate and it turns out they existed singularly in my head.
                                                           ­                                                                 ­                          CUT TO:

5. JANE:
Like a conscience?

DEREK:
Much more. These guys are in the room right now and only I can see him. Satan led me to you guys tonight! Who knows what kind of CRAZY hijinks are in store!

JULIA:
That's it I'm outta here! C'mon gu--

DEREK fires of his M9 1 time.

DEREK:
Now, listen to me you dykey, ****** *****. I have 3 more rounds in this ******* and one
of them is reserved for you if you don't sit your tight *** back down.

JULIA sits back down scared to death. DEREK regains his composure and is "all smiles" again.

DEREK:
Phew! I don't want to hurt anybody. I just want someone pretty to listen to my ******* story. ****, if you want, I will ask you guys about yourself later on, but for now I'm going to introduce you to my best friends.

JANE:
Who are they again?

DEREK:
Ah, you were trying to pay attention. I will remember that. They go by many names. One can be called "God", "Heroic Harry", "The White Knight", whatever you envision as good, this **** is it. He is the reason you guys are still alive.

LIZ:
And the other?

DEREK:
Ahh, him. He can go by "Satan", "The ******", "The Angel of Death." He's the reason ol' crusty here no longer bothers you.

LIZ:
So you're basically ape ****, right?

DEREK:
Pretty much! Now where was I? Ah...yes

                                                       ­                                                                 ­                                    CUT TO:

6. INT. Small wooded area behind the house --- Early evening.

DEREK has made himself a nice little HANGOUT in the woods! there is a trunk with tons of comics in it, an arsenal of sharpened sticks and rocks, Batman action figures, and a Game Boy Color. He is drawing a picture at the moment.

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
There I was in my element. ****** at my mother, then all of a sudden, a deep, angelic voice rang out.

VOICE #1:
(OS...of course)
You don't have to hate her, you know. She loves you.

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
And then another, this voice sounding more playful and mischievous then the other.

VOICE #2:
(OS)
But, for how long? Do you think she meant to have you?

DEREK:
Where are you guys?

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
And then they appeared.

A 13 YEAR OLD BOY with BROWN hair and a FLANNEL overshirt over a Nirvana T-SHIRT with baggy torn blue JEANS with stains on them appears.

BOY #1:
Don't hate your mom.

VOICE #2:
(OS)
But, watch her close.

DEREK turns his head. We see another BOY roughly the same age with slightly long BLACK hair and a TRENCHCOAT over a Nine Inch Nails T-SHIRT with tight black CHICK PANTS with a CHAIN leading from his pocket to his BELT. He has a lip piercing and he is smoking a cigarette.

DEREK:
Who are you guys?

BOY #1:
Just think of us as older brothers your mom can't see.

DEREK:
Wow! I should introduce you guys to my friends!

BOY #2:
No!

DEREK:
Why not?

BOY #2:
You are the only person that can see us. Don't go telling anyone and don't talk to us in front of anyone. People will think you are nuts!

BOY #1:
Think of us as two ghosts that give you advice. Don't listen to him though, he'll get you in trouble.

BOY #2:
Shut up! Or I will kick your *** again.

BOY #1:
Not in front of him. He doesn't need to see that ****. Not now

DEREK:
What are your names?

BOY #1:
That's up to you.

DEREK:
I'll call you Joe, and him Jerry.

JOE:
Works for me, for now. Call us whatever you feel like calling us whenever you like. If you wanna call me ******* and him poophead, go right ahead.

DEREK:
Okay, but for now you guys are Joe and Jerry.

JOE:
We are going to leave now. We will show up when we think the time is right. Sometimes you will see us others you won't, but we are always with you.

JERRY:
Even when you ****.

                                                          ­                                                                 ­                     CUT TO:
7. INT. Apartment 3.

LATE 20'S DEREK:
And then I went back home and they disappeared. I reconciled with my mom and for the next few weeks I didn't see them. Brad started hanging out with me again and school was good. The years go by and still no sight of them. 4 years pass by. It's 1999 and my tastes changed. Instead of Ninja Turtles and Batman it was KISS and Freddy Krueger. By this point me and Josh had made up and Brad was in middle school. And so we go to where me and the voices meet again.

8. INT. Taft Elementary
A class of roughly 25 children in your average 5th grade home room with a stout middle aged gentleman teaching. JOSH and DEREK are in the back row sitting side by side.

TEACHER:
...And that's how the metric system works.

JOSH:
(to Derek)
Dude, did you check out RAW last night? The Undertaker crucified Stone Cold!

DEREK:
**** I missed it. I was doing homework.

JOSH:
(loud)
****!!

TEACHER:
What did you say Mr. Jarvis?

JOSH:
Sorry Mr. Cannib. I forgot to do my homework.

MR. CANNIB:
Josh, Derek, outside!

LATE 20'S DEREK:
(OS)
The old man had taken kids out of the classroom before and they always came back with tears in their eyes. As we walked outside I heard a familiar voice.

JERRY:
(OS)
If he touches either of you, kick him in the nuts!

MR. CANNIB:
I told you boys too many times! None of this **** in my classroom! Josh get over here you little *****!

OL' TEACH GRABS JOSH by the NECK.

DEREK:
Hey ******* keep your hands to yourself!

CANNIB begins to throttle JOSH. DEREK pushes him off of JOSH and KICKS the TEACHER in the nuts with FURY about 3 times and jumps on top of him while JOSH watches holding his neck.

JERRY:
(OS) While we see Derek's mouth moving

Look here, *******. You think you can be called a teacher for drinking on a farm, ******* cattle and beating children so you can have Summer vacation every year? *******, you spiteful sad man.

DEREK SPITS in the *******'S face and begins to PUNCH him when JOSH pulls him off.

JOSH:
Dude, the door outta here is right there. Lets go to our lockers, get our **** and get outta here.

DEREK:
(Breathing heavily)
Did I just do that? What the ****? Let's get out of here...now!

                                                    ­                                                                 ­                                           CUT TO:
9. EXT. Taft Elementary
A bunch of playground equipment next to an alley with a fenced in field. JOSH and DEREK are walking down the alley. It is sunny outside but about to rain.

DEREK:
That wasn't me that did that.

JOSH:
If it wasn't you who was it?

DEREK:
It w...

JOSH:
(Interrupting)
It reall
GailForceWinds Feb 2015
Blackness covered the sky.  Only a small shimmer of light from the moon fell upon the city.  Martha put the key to her apartment in the door and turned it quickly and purposely.  She got an eerie feeling as soon as she walked inside.  She felt something was terribly wrong.

Martha turned on the light and looked around.  Well, everything looked ok, things were where she left them.  She was a neat freak, and if one thing was out of place, she would know it immediately!  

Was she just being paranoid again?  Living alone has been a challenge for her since her boyfriend of fifteen years left a few months ago.  She was not used to being alone.  She went from her family’s home, to college with three roommates, then on to living with Billy the last twelve years.

She remembers the day he left like it was yesterday.  Three months ago she came home and he announced that he was leaving, for good.  He was in love with someone else.  “That *****” is all Martha thought, not blaming Billy for falling in love with another woman, it had to be “the *****’s” fault.  

She begged and pleaded on her knees for another chance.  Another chance for what?  She was the perfect partner.  Neat, clean, cooked, made love on a drop of a dime.  She kept herself in good shape, nice figure, pretty face and long brown hair.  So what did she do wrong?  She couldn’t understand, and he wouldn’t explain.  His bags were already packed and he was going.  She asked who the other woman was, but he refused to say, just wished her well with a pat on the back.  “Wish me well!  Go to Hell!” Martha screamed at the top of her lungs.  Billy, looking embarrassed and uneasy, grabbed his suitcase and headed for the door.  Martha was still screaming and crying when he walked out.  She collapsed into a pile of jagged rocks when he left.  She doesn’t remember how long she sat on the floor crying.  It seemed like days, even though it was only a couple of hours.

She finally pulled herself together and got off the floor.  He was gone.  She ran to the bathroom, his toothbrush was gone.  For some reason that made it feel so final.  The picture of the two of them at her sister’s wedding was still on the bedroom dresser.  That was from five years ago.  They looked so happy, so wonderful together.  How could this be happening!!!!

Well, she should be over it by now, but she’s not.  Constant reminders of Billy are found daily.  Just little things, like his coffee cup in the cabinet, the kitchen magnet they bought together on vacation…  They are all little pins in the voodoo doll, poking away at her heart.

As she looks around the room, she feels sad.  It’s so empty now.  She walked over to the closet, took her coat off, and turned to the kitchen.  That’s when she heard it.  A crashing sound came booming from the kitchen, like all the pots and pans had fallen.  She panicked for a moment, no time to think, what does she do?   Is someone in there?  

She starts back toward the locked door when she sees him come staggering out of the kitchen.  It was Billy.  He looked drunk and could hardly walk.  “What are you doing here?” Martha asked with a frightened voice.  Billy just swayed there, holding on to the wall, and then she saw it.  Blood on his hands, blood gushing from his chest.  “Oh My God” Martha said as she ran toward him, “are you ok?”  Billy just slid down to the floor, he could not answer.  She ran for her phone to dial 911, but just then he came around a bit and stopped her.  “NO, don’t call anyone!” Billy said “I can handle this.”  But Martha didn’t seem to believe it seeing the blood still flowing on the carpet. “What should I do then?  How bad are you hurt?  What happened?”  The questions kept flying from her mouth, without her knowledge of what she was saying.  “Get me some towels,” Billy faintly said as he held the wound on his chest to keep the bleeding down.  Was it a knife wound, bullet wound?  She had to know, but he was in no shape to talk.  She kept changing the towels for the next half hour, until the bleeding finally stopped.  Applied pressure worked, but now what?  She had to clean up the wound for infection and bandage it properly.  Billy still hasn’t said a word.  Blood in the kitchen and her rug now. How could she be thinking about that, although she was upset, **** Billy!  

She made sure he was conscious and left for the pharmacy.  She grabbed large gauze bandages, tape, alcohol, and cleaning solutions for her rug.  How did she get into this?  Oh yea, he was at her apartment, but how did he get in?  She didn’t have time to think of any of those things until now, as she was paying the cashier.  Lots of answers she needed, and needed soon.

Martha returned to the apartment and Billy was resting, eyes closed, but not asleep.  He grunted a few times, not knowing she was back.  Martha went to him and said, “Billy, we need to clean up this wound and bandage it properly.”  Martha was always so level headed, knowing just what needed to be done and how to do it.  Billy murmured a soft “ok,” before closing his eyes again.  This was not going to be easy!

Martha removed the towels that were starting to stick to him with the dried blood.  She knew she had to clean the area of his chest with alcohol.  She could hardly see the wound through all the blood.  This was not going to be fun.  

She took out her latex gloves to start with, she always used them to clean.  Then started to clean the wound with the alcohol.  “This is going to sting,” she said to Billy.  He didn’t even flinch.  The cut wasn’t that deep, and luckily not near any vital organs.  After cleaning up the wound, she got the gauze and tape out and wrapped him up in it.  He was barely awake by now, but at least not screaming.  Maybe he did have more than a few drinks!

Martha walked back to the kitchen.  Let him rest now, but she needed answers.  She looked at the blood splattered kitchen and wondered where to start.  Then it occurred to her, should she be scared?  She hasn’t had time to think anything through, only react.  What if he was in trouble and someone was after him.  Obviously this happened here, by the positioning of the blood speckles.  

Maybe she should leave the crime scene as is, if she has to call the police.  She needed to know what was going on!  She hadn’t seen Billy since the day he left, nor has she heard from him. Who knows what he got himself into.  Maybe the ***** ***** did it?  

She got out a new pair of gloves and started to clean the carpet at least.  That was blood he dragged in later, so not really part of the crime scene.  She had no tolerance for dirt, no less blood stains!  Ugh, hopefully it would come out.  All the while, she’s still running different scenarios through her head on what could have happened.
ekaj revae Jan 2012
Bobo's kitchen

in the kitchen
icebergs rampage from the freezer
burying pizzas and waffles
in a glacier jungle
Bobo swings forks and knives
at the ice until the maintenance man
cusses in Polish
gallons of water
dripping downstairs
sizzling Bertalina's soul
the fiery bilingual single mom
living in fear
below his fear
of noise complaints
she sends tape recordings
to the landlord in her
cute red faced anger
loud people! and bongos!
guitars! stomping! laughter!
nightmares for her boys
who think they hear ghosts
her tight black spandex
drives Bobo mad when she runs
drifted scents of her food
sift in through his windows
knocking him out
in hungry frustration!
¿Como estás? he asks her
I speak ******* English! she barks back
back up the stairs Bobo goes
to his own kitchen where
the mice crawl out the stove tops
and potatoes grow tree roots
clear through the window
toward another life

Jake Mahaffey

Copyright (c) 2013 Jacob Mahaffey
Evan Stephens Apr 2019
She reads by candle
in the little kitchen
by the rain-licked window,
pushing against a dark
that's black as pepper,
black as the merlot bottle.

It's empty, the bottle,
neck used for candles.
As for the pepper,
it spread across the kitchen
in the quasi-dark,
when she opened the window.

No - that window
is a lie. So is the bottle,
& the rest. I tried the dark
against the candle,
in the mind's kitchen,
got stuck on pepper.

Let's try again: pepper
falls like snow in the dark
when I'm in the kitchen
making dinner, bottles
open for tasting, candles
lit against the coming dark...

Much better. Seal this dark,
speckled with salt and pepper,
with the soft wax of candles.
Open the window,
tilt the bottle,
dance in the kitchen,

the new kitchen -
feel the call of the dark -
drink from the same bottle,
Burgundy earthy as pepper,
close the windows
& touch me with the candle.

I drink from the bottle in the black kitchen,
ignoring the cold candle in the dark.
There's pepper blowing out the window.
candle, kitchen, window, dark, pepper, bottle.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
She said, ‘You are funny, the way you set yourself up the moment we arrive. You look into every room to see if it’s suitable as a place to work. Is there a table? Where are the plugs? Is there a good chair at the right height? If there isn’t, are there cushions to make it so? You are funny.’
 
He countered this, but his excuse didn’t sound very convincing. He knew exactly what she meant, but it hurt him a little that she should think it ‘funny’. There’s nothing funny about trying to compose music, he thought. It’s not ‘radio in the head’ you know – this was a favourite expression he’d once heard an American composer use. You don’t just turn a switch and the music’s playing, waiting for you to write it down. You have to find it – though he believed it was usually there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But it’s elusive. You have to work hard to detect what might be there, there in the silence of your imagination.
 
Later over their first meal in this large cottage she said, ‘How do you stop hearing all those settings of the Mass that you must have heard or sung since childhood?’ She’d been rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem recently and was full of snippets of this stirring piece. He was a) writing a Mass to celebrate a cathedral’s reordering after a year as a building site, and b) he’d been a boy chorister and the form and order of the Mass was deeply engrained in his aural memory. He only had to hear the plainsong introduction Gloria in Excelsis Deo to be back in the Queen’s chapel singing Palestrina, or Byrd or Poulenc.
 
His ‘found’ corner was in the living room. The table wasn’t a table but a long cabinet she’d kindly covered with a tablecloth. You couldn’t get your feet under the thing, but with his little portable drawing board there was space to sit properly because the board jutted out beyond the cabinet’s top. It was the right length and its depth was OK, enough space for the board and, next to it, his laptop computer. On the floor beside his chair he placed a few of his reference scores and a box of necessary ‘bits’.
 
The room had two large sofas, an equally large television, some unexplainable and instantly dismissible items of decoration, a standard lamp, and a wood burning stove. The stove was wonderful, and on their second evening in the cottage, when clear skies and a stiff breeze promised a cold night, she’d lit it and, as the evening progressed, they basked in its warmth, she filling envelopes with her cards, he struggling with sleep over a book.
 
Despite and because this was a new, though temporary, location he had got up at 5.0am. This is a usual time for composers who need their daily fix of absolute quiet. And here, in this cottage set amidst autumn fields, within sight of a river estuary, under vast, panoramic uninterrupted skies, there was the distinct possibility of silence – all day. The double-glazing made doubly sure of that.
 
He had sat with a mug of tea at 5.10 and contemplated the silence, or rather what infiltrated the stillness of the cottage as sound. In the kitchen the clock ticked, the refrigerator seemed to need a period of machine noise once its door had been opened. At 6.0am the central heating fired up for a while. Outside, the small fruit trees in the garden moved vigorously in the wind, but he couldn’t hear either the wind or a rustle of leaves.  A car droned past on the nearby road. The clear sky began to lighten promising a fine day. This would certainly do for silence.
 
His thoughts returned to her question of the previous evening, and his answer. He was about to face up to his explanation. ‘I empty myself of all musical sound’, he’d said, ‘I imagine an empty space into which I might bring a single note, a long held drone of a note, a ‘d’ above middle ‘c’ on a chamber ***** (seeing it’s a Mass I’m writing).  Harrison Birtwistle always starts on an ‘e’. A ‘d’ to me seems older and kinder. An ‘e’ is too modern and progressive, slightly brash and noisy.’
 
He can see she is quizzical with this anecdotal stuff. Is he having me on? But no, he is not having her on. Such choices are important. Without them progress would be difficult when the thinking and planning has to stop and the composing has to begin. His notebook, sitting on his drawing board with some first sketches, plays testament to that. In this book glimpses of music appear in rhythmic abstracts, though rarely any pitches, and there are pages of written description. He likes to imagine what a new work is, and what it is not. This he writes down. Composer Paul Hindemith reckoned you had first to address the ‘conditions of performance’. That meant thinking about the performers, the location, above all the context. A Mass can be, for a composer, so many things. There were certainly requirements and constraints. The commission had to fulfil a number of criteria, some imposed by circumstance, some self-imposed by desire. All this goes into the melting ***, or rather the notebook. And after the notebook, he takes a large piece of A3 paper and clarifies this thinking and planning onto (if possible) a single sheet.
 
And so, to the task in hand. His objective, he had decided, is to focus on the whole rather than the particular. Don’t think about the Kyrie on its own, but consider how it lies with the Gloria. And so with the Sanctus & Benedictus. How do they connect to the Agnus Dei. He begins on the A3 sheet of plain paper ‘making a map of connections’. Kyrie to Gloria, Gloria to Credo and so on. Then what about Agnus Dei and the Gloria? Is there going to be any commonality – in rhythm, pace and tempo (we’ll leave melody and harmony for now)? Steady, he finds himself saying, aren’t we going back over old ground? His notebook has pages of attempts at rhythmizing the text. There are just so many ways to do this. Each rhythmic solution begets a different slant of meaning.
 
This is to be a congregational Mass, but one that has a role for a 4-part choir and ***** and a ‘jazz instrument’. Impatient to see notes on paper, he composes a new introduction to a Kyrie as a rhythmic sketch, then, experimentally, adds pitches. He scores it fully, just 10 bars or so, but it is barely finished before his critical inner voice says, ‘What’s this for? Do you all need this? This is showing off.’ So the filled-out sketch drops to the floor and he examines this element of ‘beginning’ the incipit.
 
He remembers how a meditation on that word inhabits the opening chapter of George Steiner’s great book Grammars of Creation. He sees in his mind’s eye the complex, colourful and ornate letter that begins the Lindesfarne Gospels. His beginnings for each movement, he decides, might be two chords, one overlaying the other: two ‘simple’ diatonic chords when sounded separately, but complex and with a measure of mystery when played together. The Mass is often described as a mystery. It is that ritual of a meal undertaken by a community of people who in the breaking of bread and wine wish to bring God’s presence amongst them. So it is a mystery. And so, he tells himself, his music will aim to hold something of mystery. It should not be a comment on that mystery, but be a mystery itself. It should not be homely and comfortable; it should be as minimal and sparing of musical commentary as possible.
 
When, as a teenager, he first began to set words to music he quickly experienced the need (it seemed) to fashion accompaniments that were commentaries on the text the voice was singing. These accompaniments did not underpin the words so much as add a commentary upon them. What lay beneath the words was his reaction, indeed imaginative extension of the words. He eschewed then both melisma and repetition. He sought an extreme independence between word and music, even though the word became the scenario of the music. Any musical setting was derived from the composition of the vocal line.  It was all about finding the ‘key’ to a song, what unlocked the door to the room of life it occupied. The music was the room where the poem’s utterance lived.
 
With a Mass you were in trouble for the outset. There was a poetry of sorts, but poetry that, in the countless versions of the vernacular, had lost (perhaps had never had) the resonance of the Latin. He thought suddenly of the supposed words of William Byrd, ‘He who sings prays twice’. Yes, such commonplace words are intercessional, but when sung become more than they are. But he knew he had to be careful here.
 
Why do we sing the words of the Mass he asks himself? Do we need to sing these words of the Mass? Are they the words that Christ spoke as he broke bread and poured wine to his friends and disciples at his last supper? The answer is no. Certainly these words of the Mass we usually sing surround the most intimate words of that final meal, words only the priest in Christ’s name may articulate.
 
Write out the words of the Mass that represent its collective worship and what do you have? Rather non-descript poetry? A kind of formula for collective incantation during worship? Can we read these words and not hear a surrounding music? He thinks for a moment of being asked to put new music to words of The Beatles. All you need is love. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Oh bla dee oh bla da life goes on. Now, now this is silliness, his Critical Voice complains. And yet it’s not. When you compose a popular song the gap between some words scribbled on the back of an envelope and the hook of chords and melody developed in an accidental moment (that becomes a way of clothing such words) is often minimal. Apart, words and music seem like orphans in a storm. Together they are home and dry.
 
He realises, and not for the first time, that he is seeking a total musical solution to the whole of the setting of those words collectively given voice to by those participating in the Mass.
 
And so: to the task in hand. His objective: to focus on the whole rather than the particular.  Where had he heard that thought before? - when he had sat down at his drawing board an hour and half previously. He’d gone in a circle of thought, and with his sketch on the floor at his feet, nothing to show for all that effort.
 
Meanwhile the sun had risen. He could hear her moving about in the bathroom. He went to the kitchen and laid out what they would need to breakfast together. As he poured milk into a jug, primed the toaster, filled the kettle, the business of what might constitute a whole solution to this setting of the Mass followed him around the kitchen and breakfast room like a demanding child. He knew all about demanding children. How often had he come home from his studio to prepare breakfast and see small people to school? - more often than he cared to remember. And when he remembered he became sad that it was no more.  His children had so often provided a welcome buffer from sessions of intense thought and activity. He loved the walk to school, the first quarter of a mile through the park, a long avenue of chestnut trees. It was always the end of April and pink and white blossoms were appearing, or it was September and there were conkers everywhere. It was under these trees his daughter would skip and even his sons would hold hands with him; he would feel their warmth, their livingness.
 
But now, preparing breakfast, his Critical Voice was that demanding child and he realised when she appeared in the kitchen he spoke to her with a voice of an artist in conversation with his critics, not the voice of the man who had the previous night lost himself to joy in her dear embrace. And he was ashamed it was so.
 
How he loved her gentle manner as she negotiated his ‘coming too’ after those two hours of concentration and inner dialogue. Gradually, by the second cup of coffee he felt a right person, and the hours ahead did not seem too impossible.
 
When she’d gone off to her work, silence reasserted itself. He played his viola for half an hour, just scales and exercises and a few folk songs he was learning by heart. This gathering habit was, he would say if asked, to reassert his musicianship, the link between his body and making sound musically. That the viola seemed to resonate throughout his whole body gave him pleasure. He liked the ****** movement required to produce a flowing sequence of bow strokes. The trick at the end of this daily practice was to put the instrument in its case and move immediately to his desk. No pause to check email – that blight on a morning’s work. No pause to look at today’s list. Back to the work in hand: the Mass.
 
But instead his mind and intention seemed to slip sideways and almost unconsciously he found himself sketching (on the few remaining staves of a vocal experiment) what appeared to be a piano piece. The rhythmic flow of it seemed to dance across the page to be halted only when the few empty staves were filled. He knew this was one of those pieces that addressed the pianist, not the listener. He sat back in his chair and imagined a scenario of a pianist opening this music and after a few minutes’ reflection and reading through allowing her hands to move very slowly and silently a few millimetres over the keys.  Such imagining led him to hear possible harmonic simultaneities, dynamics and articulations, though he knew such things would probably be lost or reinvented on a second imagined ‘performance’. No matter. Now his make-believe pianist sounded the first bar out. It had a depth and a richness that surprised him – it was a fine piano. He was touched by its affect. He felt the possibilities of extending what he’d written. So he did. And for the next half an hour lived in the pastures of good continuation, those rich luxuriant meadows reached by a rickerty rackerty bridge and guarded by a troll who today was nowhere to be seen.
 
It was a curious piece. It came to a halt on an enigmatic, go-nowhere / go-anywhere chord after what seemed a short declamatory coda (he later added the marking deliberamente). Then, after a few minutes reflection he wrote a rising arpeggio, a broken chord in which the consonant elements gradually acquired a rising sequence of dissonance pitches until halted by a repetition. As he wrote this ending he realised that the repeated note, an ‘a’ flat, was a kind of fulcrum around which the whole of the music moved. It held an enigmatic presence in the harmony, being sometimes a g# sometimes an ‘a’ flat, and its function often different. It made the music take on a wistful quality.
 
At that point he thought of her little artists’ book series she had titled Tide Marks. Many of these were made of a concertina of folded pages revealing - as your eyes moved through its pages - something akin to the tide’s longitudinal mark. This centred on the page and spread away both upwards and downwards, just like those mirror images of coloured glass seen in a child’s kaleidoscope. No moment of view was ever quite the same, but there were commonalities born of the conditions of a certain day and time.  His ‘Tide Mark’ was just like that. He’d followed a mark made in his imagination from one point to another point a little distant. The musical working out also had a reflection mechanism: what started in one hand became mirrored in the other. He had unexpectedly supplied an ending, this arpegiated gesture of finality that wasn’t properly final but faded away. When he thought further about the role of the ending, he added a few more notes to the arpeggio, but notes that were not be sounded but ghosted, the player miming a press of the keys.
 
He looked at the clock. Nearly five o’clock. The afternoon had all but disappeared. Time had retreated into glorious silence . There had been three whole hours of it. How wonderful that was after months of battling with the incessant and draining turbulence of sound that was ever present in his city life. To be here in this quiet cottage he could now get thoroughly lost – in silence. Even when she was here he could be a few rooms apart, and find silence.
 
A week more of this, a fortnight even . . . but he knew he might only manage a few days before visitors arrived and his long day would be squeezed into the early morning hours and occasional uncertain periods when people were out and about.
 
When she returned, very soon now, she would make tea and cut cake, and they’d sit (like old people they wer
Jude kyrie Sep 2015
It was during the war in Europe.
My grandfather was posted in England.
He had  a bad limp and a crooked smile.
And he seemed to big for his uniform.
He never fought in a single battle.
He was a bit of a pacifist
Let and let live was his style.
Instead he was sent  to work
in the army kitchen.
Where he learned how to cook.
He was assigned to an English lady
who could cook.
She taught him everything in the kitchen.
He got used to the English lady
She got used to the big man
with a limp and crooked smile.
When the war ended he returned
To New York he opened up a small diner.
He returned to England on a ***** steamer.
And found the lady from the kitchen.
He asked for her hand in marriage.
She accepted and they returned to the states.
There was a note on the diner kitchen door.
It said I fell in love with you in the kitchen
So I built one for us to share forever.
My dad was born a year later
He had the crooked smile but no limp
Then I was born and can’t cook an egg.
Grandma died a few weeks ago
I cleared the stuff out of her room
In her belongings I found the note
He pinned on the diner kitchen door.
It inspired me to write this poem
So look around grandma in heaven
There’s a big man with a limp
and crooked smile.
He’s waiting for you
In a kitchen somewhere up there.
Terry Collett Nov 2016
Celia hugged Tabby to her chest the kitten sunk its small claws into Celia's white dress looked about the room and then settled down in Celia's lap and lay down purring loudly Celia smelt the soft black and brown and white fur and stroked it gently. Her parents were out some place in the country visiting relatives Masters the butler had poked his head in a while ago and asked if she needed anything and she had no she needed nothing and he had said to ring the bell if she needed anything and he would send Larch the kitchen maid who Celia knew as Lily a small girl with large dark eyes that sparkled and a soft manner of talking. Tabby closed its eyes and lay in Celia's lap satisfied where he was and Celia looked at him and wished he would stay awake so she could play with him but he seemed too tired to play so she let him sleep. Her brother Charles was away at school and wouldn't be back until the summer holidays when they could go down to the river at the bottom of the garden and fish or just lay and talk or Charles would tell her stories he made up or tales from school. Tabby purred loudly and its paws moved as if it was running in its dream and Celia wondered whether to lay him down on the rug by her bed and let him sleep and then she could do something other than be his bed. Nanny who usually looked after her and kept her out of mischief was unwell and was laid up in bed in her own room on the upper landing Celia missed having Nanny around and it was boring trying to make up her own mind what to do and it was Nanny who used to do her hair in the mornings and help her dress although Mother did talk about her having her own lady's maid  to help her and leave Nanny to do the other things but Father had said not now but when Celia was older but Celia quite liked the idea of having her own lady's maid someone she could talk to and who could help her in the mornings and evenings. She didn't like being alone she felt vulnerable especially when her father's friend's came to stay and one of them Mr Mealy stayed a plump middle-aged man who used to pull her unto his lap and would put his arms about her and hug her closed to him and his whiskers would tickled her neck and sometimes he would tickle her and she didn't like it and would squirm to get down and away but he was too strong for her and she would just stay there going red with frustration. She lifted Tabby and put him down gently on the rug by her bed and still he purred unaware he was not on her lap anymore. She went to the window and standing on a chair she peered out on the grounds below and the fields and trees beyond watching the birds in the air and down by the rose beds was Chubb the gardener sorting out the roses bending down then up again sometimes if she asked nicely Chubb would cut her a red rose to put in a vase in her room but today he looked far too busy for her to worry him about roses along the path was the tall maid with her dark hair pulled back in bun carrying a basket of washing to the line at the back of the house the maid's name was Betsy who seldom smiled and would scowl at Masters's back her dark eyebrows rising high and her thin tongue poking out at him while his back was turned and Celia had seen her do it one day while venturing along by the kitchen and Masters had been lecturing them about something or other. Having looked for a while at the grounds and fields and trees blowing a bit in the wind she climbed down from the chair and looked at Tabby asleep on the rug by her bed then thinking there was nothing to do in her bedroom she opened her door and looked both ways then closed the door behind her with a gentle click. Where to go and what to do she mused walking carefully along the landing tiptoeing past the guest's room in case anyone was there especially Mr Mealy with his hugs and tickles and touches and his breath in her ear and his stubby fingers holding her against him and she not liking it and attempting to get away but couldn't and that time he meet her on the stairs after lunch and he said about taking her for a walk by the river to show him the flowers that grew there and watch for fishes swimming along and she had said no thank you but Father insisted and she had to go and Mr Mealy held her small hand in his big hand and they walked slowly down the path to the river and he had lifted her up to smell a blossom on a cherry tree and his big hands were around her waist and she hated it and quickly smelt the blossoms to please him then he let her down again laughing. She stopped at the top of the stairs and looked down to see if anyone was coming up but no one was so she climbed down slowly one step at a time holding onto the banister with her right hand which she could just about reach the smooth wood running under her palm the smell of polish from her surroundings the bright light from the sun coming through the large windows in the hall. At the bottom she stopped and looked around the hall with the big wooden front doors facing her and windows on both sides and then to her right was the billiard room where her father went with his friends to play billiards and drink and smoke and talk to the right of that was her father's study where he spent time reading or writing or talking to friends. Just as she was gazing at the doors Masters the butler came along from the outer door which led along to the kitchens ah Miss Celia he said in his smooth baritone voice staring at her and stooping slightly can I be of any help? Or did you require anything? No she said softly looking at Masters's black shiny shoes I was just having a walk around o right yes well if you require anything ring one of the bells he said she looked up at him and smiled he smiled back and walked off hands at his sides his head slightly to one side as if he were a bird looking for a worm. She opened the door that led to the kitchen the door was heavy and it took her all her strength to open it wide enough to get through which she did and slid through the gap and walked down the stairs and along to the kitchen with its voices and pans and saucepans banging and people rushing about. When she got to the kitchen door she peered in and saw the cook Mrs Stark rolling out pastry on a big board her big arms and hands making easy work of it over the side by the sink was a kitchen maid a thin girl wearing a white cap with gingery hair poking out at the sides and back her thin red hands in water Mrs Stark saw Celia at the doorway and stopped what she was doing hello Miss Celia how can I help you? Mrs Stark said her voice firm but kindly at least with her when she spoke to the maid she bellowed like a cow in labour the kitchen maid looked around and stared at Celia the maid's name was Dolly or Darkins the cook called her if in a bad mood nothing Celia said unless you have any spare currants the cook smiled and said of course Miss Celia  come with me and Celia followed behind the cook who was big and waddled as she walked into the pantry and took down a huge glass jar and opened it up and poured currants into a container and gave Celia the container and put the glass jar back on the shelf. Can I sit by the fireplace? Celia asked looking at the cook's big red face of course you can she said so Celia walked over to the fireplace with the container of currants and sat on a wooden stool and watched the flames in the fire and gazed at the burning coals and thought maybe she would save some currants and give them when she got back to the room to her dolls.
A LITTLE GIRL IN A BIG HOUSE ONE AFTERNOON IN 1900
Curtis C Jun 2017
Ms. Minerva’s
Helpful Hints and a guide through life



Ms.Minerva…
Born September 1885….died September 1976, 91 years old.  She didn’t marry until she was 45 and had her first child that year.  Getting married at 45 was something that didn’t happen to often for women back then, especially a black woman.  Then low and behold 5 years later: what the doctor called her second tumor, she had her second and last child at 50, a baby girl and her change of life in one shot.
        But her true joy came along 17 years later at 67….only being a mother for 22 years; she was now a grandmother……that’s where I came in!  My mother’s oldest child and Ms Minerva, my grandmother’s baby boy……..Mama!!

    It is important to tell you that from here on, the stories will be in no certain order….they’re as I remember them.  As I found understanding, THE LIGHT, as she called it.
MS. MINERVA’S HELPFUL HINTS…
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[Song – Higher & Higher]
This song became her theme song for a while:  Love, knowledge taking you higher!!  Ms Minerva (Mama) the first career women I knew.  In 1967, she heard this song and realizes that this song talked about what kept her going…LOVE!  Love took her higher and higher and it was love that she shared………with me!

MM: “Boy, you might not understand what I’m telling you, but remember it remember all you hear, see, taste and feel….. because understanding come with time and when you ready for it!”
Knowledge……. Love………Understanding……Enlightenment take us higher.

How?  How did a black woman in south Louisiana go out, have a career, a family with little education but wise beyond her years.  Oh, when I say career woman I mean a cook, maid, nanny but mama said,

MM: “those jobs keep us going and I was one of the best, always be the best at what you do…greatness comes in all sizes!”


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Another thing I should say is: some of the stories that I will share have not been documented as fact.  They were hers that she shared with me…..
Like one night watching TV…….

MM: Lord, Lord, Lord…
CC:  What’s the matter Mama?
MM:  Did I ever tell you about when I worked at an all boys’ school in New (N’Orleans) Orleans.  I was the one who stayed with the boys at
night.  Well, there was one lil’ boy that was always
sneaking out of bed going outside playing his horn.
I would take it from him and beat his ****.  The day
they give it back to him, that night he would sneak outside
again.  Beating his **** didn’t help, he just kept sneaking out
no matter how long we kept the horn.
CC: What happen to him mama?
She pointed to the TV and said:
MM:  There he is……


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Louie Armstrong singing HELLO DOLLY raise in an all boys home in New (N’Orleans) Orleans….was this true……I don’t know.  Did and do I believe it….YES!
This was also one of the times I receive one of ….Ms Minerva’s Helpful Hint:

MM: You can be anything you want if you believe
and have the passion for it! Believe in
your passion because you are your passion
and you must always believe in you….yourself!  
No matter what others say or think….it’s you who
must believe!

Believing, she was a big believer. she believed in people and the good in them.


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MM:  Always see the positive in people, in everything thing.
No matter how negative someone or something is
there is always an ounce of positive…..go for the positive,
it will always carry you through and shine light

Everywhere, positive light.

I often wonder how someone so positive in my life, who taught me to look up and be strong could be so down on her daughter , my mother.  When I was sent to fly with the eagles she was told to stay on earth.  This was one of my confusions, I knew there was a lot of love there between them but so hard for them to share……Understanding comes with time.

When I was 7 years old I was sent to the kitchen to cook for a family of 5.  It wasn’t what you think.  At 72 years old Ms. Minerva wasn’t seeing things to well. So, instead of saying; Old woman you need to stop, you’re losing it.  She was told; “It’s time for Curtis to start learning how to cook, he needs to know how to take care of himself.”  So, what I thought was a prison

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sentence became some of the most wonderful and important times of my life……
I was allow to be a child and do the things children do but at 5, maybe 5:30 I went to spend my hour or two with Ms. Minerva, my best friend…..learning the secrets of the kitchen and of life.

MM:  you have got to know how to take care of yourself.
I won’t be here to take care of you but I’ll always
be watching over you, I'll always be with you!

Like a lot of things, I didn’t get it then, but I do now:

One day, I was tormenting my grandfather….Oh I haven’t and won’t say much about him because that is a whole other story, but I’ll share this much with you:
  His name was Tower Jackson Sr. better known as Bud (papa to me).  He was born in December of 1880 and died in 1969, it’s funny but I don’t remember the month or day, it just kinda went a way.  Anyway, I think he
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was married once before Ms Minerva…that’s what he said.  He had a daughter…Aunt Traci….who was old enough to be my mother’s mother.  Remember THE COLOR PURPLE he was kinda like Mister and Old Mister but not as bad.  But Ms Minerva wasn’t Ms Celia…she was more like Sophia. Papa loved me unconditionally and he was my playmate but I don’t think he realized that point but I had a great time.

Back to one of the days I was tormenting him…he was finish with me and he got up and came after me…he was between 75 or 80.  I starting running and he came after me.  We lived in a house that was once a duplex, I ran out of his room, which was in the middle of the house, took a left and headed for the kitchen and the back door, that was open to freedom.  I got to the kitchen and I could see the back door standing open and waiting for me….  But out the corner of my eye, I see Ms. Minerva washing dishes.  I turn right, then a sharp left and I’m almost to the door…..just then an arm reach out and push the door close…..I can’t stop……I hit the door and fall to the floor.  Just before papa grab me to start the whipen’ and mama looks down at me and say:      

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MM: Boy, didn’t I tell you to stop running in my house and don’t every run away!”
Well, it was all over.  I got a whipin’…one I would never forget.  Papa felt so guilty he took me for Ice Cream almost everyday for a week.
But later that day…….Ms Minerva’s helpful hint:

MM:  Baby the reason I don’t want you running, especially when
you’re scared, is because you’ll be running for the rest
of your life.  When you run out of fear you’re only
running from yourself.  No matter what people think
or what’s happening stand and face it…Don’t Run!
Believe in yourself and you can beat it.

I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but when I’m scared I hear her voice and I stand (sometime that old confusion comes in with my mother) but most time I stand, face it and deal with it.  Growing, Changing and changing and growing!  Stronger everyday.


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I remember when I was 12, it was a Sat and a beautiful day and Ms. Minerva called me into the house.  It wasn’t time for cooking and it was Sat but I went:
MM:  I need to talk to you.
CC: Mama can we talk later I’m playing.
MM:   No, I want and need to talk to you NOW!. let’s cook.

I knew that was it.  When she says: “let’s cook” the battle was over, she felt it was important.  We got to the kitchen and started pulling stuff out …
MM: You’re special
CC:  No, no don’t start this again.
MM:  No, no, no you’re special! You’re a *****, a punk, *****…

There were a few other choice colorful names…Then she said:

MM:  Now that someone that loves you, truly loves you have
called you these names they can’t hurt you.  You’re gay
and it’s not something I would chose for you but it’s

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who you are.  But it makes you more special and wonderful because you are different. You are my special, but it’s only apart of you and your life, not your whole life or the whole you.  You can chose to practice or not.  You are made up of many parts, many yous…..Be Proud of who you are! Never hang your head, You will be a great man…even greater because you know who and what you are.

That day, I knew what love was and what love is.  Unconditional Love.  I was Proud to be who and what I was and who and what I was to become.  Proud of Who I Am and What I Am.

Music was always heard in my house, all kind, mama believed in   experiencing everything in everyway.
MM:  You need to know about it all, don’t let ignorance
be your down fall.  That’s what’s wrong with most folk,
they just don’t know and don’t want to learn.  Education
is freedom; knowledge is light….don’t ever stand
in the dark, you’ll only hurt yourself.

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There were a few things I didn’t learn or just didn’t remember.  Remember I said; she didn’t like running in her house.  Well, when I was a kid I was a runner, a mover, didn’t want to get caught…so I just kept moving.   Well, one day my mother was going to whip my ****, I don’t even know why this time but she grab my arm and I just started running around her and every time I heard the belt hit…I would yell.  I think I might have gotten hit once or twice but my mother’s legs, oh boy, but she kept going and so did I.
Then I heard the voice…….
MM:  Sister, what are you doing?
Sister, that’s what everyone called my mother, even me.  she sat down in her chair
MM: Bring that boy over here and let me show you
how to do that.

The she put me on my knees and stuck my head between her knees and turn her feet in and locked her knees.  My ears were hurting but not compared to how my **** was going to feel.  Then I heard……

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MM:  Now, see you got wide-open ****!

Then the whipping began and it was one I’d never forget and the whole time she just kept talking to my mother…..I can hear her and feel the belt now..

MM:  Girl you need to get out of the way and stop making
it so hard.  Just breathe and believe, it’ll come together….
Now, go put something on your legs.

It took me awhile to start breathing but I did and I remembered what she said; “Just breathe and believe.” and when I don’t I just remember that belt on my ****.
Whenever people hear this story, they’re shocked, confuse…well, this was a different time and Ms. Minerva was a different kind of woman.  A wipen' wasn’t something that happen everyday, I never ended up in the hospital and I was shower with love….. a different day – a different time.
              


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Around that time I remember I went through my Ultra Black stage.  I had some problem at school and I hated all white people and I was very
vocal about it.  Mama, just listen and I went on and on and on….and somewhere in there she hit me and it shocked and stopped me in my tracks.  Then she looked at me and said:
MM:  Who spit on you?  Who’s bus did you sit on the back of?  
Who’s kitchen or yard did you work in?  Nothing, nothing has happen to you that bad to hate…..Don’t hate it takes to much energy.  Remember the positive.  Some white people are ignorance and you have to educate them.  You can’t be just one thing in America you have to know about all……people and things.  There will come a time in America when people will be more than just one race, we have and are mixing it up.  LEARN…we are all connected, we are all one, and we are all God!














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One other thing about my grandfather (Bud)…he had a scar over his right eye and I always asked him about it and he would say, “Go ask mama.”  But being a kid I would forget and then ask him again.  Well one day I remembered to ask Mama how he got the scar.  

MM: Who told you to ask me?

CC:  Papa……..

She started laughing and told me to sit down……

MM: One day papa came home and had decided he was going to beat me.  Someone had told him that I would take it because I should feel lucky he married an old woman.  So, he came in and hit me!  I had the broom in my hand (I had just finish sweeping) and I took that broom and started beating him with it until I broke the handle on his head.  But he kept coming and backed me up to the mantle where I had my teacups. (She collected cups and saucer) and I begin throwing them at him and when I realize I was breaking my cups…. I got mad and threw them harder and one hit him over the eye…. He stopped and went down…it was a bad cut.

cc:  What did you do?

MM:  I stepped over him and finishing cooking.  I knew he would live and I saw it didn’t hit him in the eye and it gave him something to remember this moment.  You have to leave a mark on people to remember you by….. hopefully it’s a positive mark but sometime it might have to be an ugly one.  People will treat you the way you let them and there will be time you have to show and leave them something to remember it by.  Don’t go through life getting beat up especially by yourself.

There were a few times I didn’t follow that bit of advice…...but understanding, the light came in time.


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MM:  You have to open up and let people in --- because a lot of times you see yourself through them and don’t you want them and yourself to see the truth?  THE TRUE YOU!

Early mornings were wonderful for Ms. Minerva:

MM:  Morning is my time to talk to Me and God and get us together for the day.  Some folks don’t know that they are God….your positive energy creates your world and parts of the world of others.  When you create you must be honest, positive, loving……God!  So, my quiet times in the morning is finding honest, positive, loving, creative things and feeling…..finding God in me!!!!!!!!

(Song – Amazing Grace)


One night while watching TV; we watched a lot of TV…..watching TV and cooking…anyway, it was the Mitch Miller Singers and Leslie Uggams was singing:

MM:  That’s a cute little colored girl.
CC:  Mama, we’re not colored anymore, we’re Black.

There was silent and then a sigh….

CC:  What’s the matter mama?
MM:  I’ve been *****, colored and a few other names that I don’t want to talk about and now I’m Black……I wish they would make up their minds what I am!

Then she told me:

MM:  No matter who or what people think you are…You have to know yourself, people will always try to make you into what they want you to be but the final choice is yours. You Must Know Curtis.

Her helpful hints could and would come anytime, anywhere:
MM:  life is a lesson to learn…never, never stop learning!
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Whenever I talk about Ms. Minerva I realize how much she means to me and how good it makes me feel because I see how good it makes others feel……people showing me…..Me and Ms. Minerva.

The day Ms. Minerva died I was in Shreveport/Bossier, LA in the Air Force, it was September 1976.  I was at work in the printing plant at Barksdale AFB.  My boss told me the commander wanted to see me, he was acting a little strange but at the time I didn’t think much of it.  Walking out to my car my best friend ran out after me and said he was going with me….”they call for me too.”  We got in the car laughing and talking about all the things they coul
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Darby Rose Aug 2015
Sitting at the kitchen table with my father
discussing the importance of the questions
I must ask a dying man.
He says
the answers will die with him, you know.
The answers will die soon, too.
He says,
I am the only one he'd release them to,
the only one capable of fishing out
all those repressed memories
of an only brother
who took his own life decades back.
He strains to put emphasis on a diminishing time frame
choking back tears
for the inevitable loss of his
father in law
the father he chose
whilst I'm flashing back to twenty minutes prior,
discussing his detachment from his own father by blood.
I am sitting at the kitchen table with my father
It's 1 am,
and we are now both choking back tears
discussing the questions I will ask a dying man.
She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
And to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!"

We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
And her heart was learning to lie down forever.

Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.
We found her twisted and limp but still alive.
In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried

To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.

Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there.  Good dog.
Jay Jun 2018
I'M MAKING nachos in your toaster oven. The chips fall in the pan without a problem. Beans, evenly distributed (if I do say so myself.) Salsa- good to go. Then the cheese. Generic brand shredded cheese blend. I dangle my (washed) fingers into the zip-lock bag, grab a generous pinch and rain mild cheddar down on my gourmet meal. And I feel the tears building. "No," my conscious scolds, "you will not cry over shredded cheese." I add another pinch for flavor, then another to assert dominance. I slide the pan into the tiny oven- triumphant! But the next task breaks me. I freeze when I try to adjust the heat setting. I hear your voice so clearly, like you're still calling from the next room: "you have to press the TOAST button, it cooks much faster."  The tears start to roll. I think about how excited you were when cheese bubbled perfectly- "just a little brown, ever so slightly crispy." We would joke about your persnickety preferences, likely a product of your superior taste. Of course, you would have appreciated anything I made for you, but it was always better when the dish matched the idea in your head...when I made it like you would have made it (if you were only well enough to cook for yourself again.) In the present, I poke the TOAST button and flee the kitchen as to not cry in front of the smothered chips. I sit on the sofa and break down, gasping in childish sobs. "I miss her," I wail to an empty house. Warm tears coat my cheeks in the air-conditioned room. I feel so small. I feel so foolish for crying over stupid, little things. I feel so... so... A bell dings in the kitchen. I wipe my sleeve across my face and traipse back to the toaster. Hand into oven mitt, mitt onto pan, pan onto table. I grab the plastic tubs of sour cream and guacamole from the fridge and a spoon from the drawer that sticks a little when you try to open it. I pick the non-wilted bits off the head of lettuce and rinse them under the faucet. I finish the recipe. I pull out a chair. I sit down to nachos for one.
Grief is such a strange emotion/process.

*Oh my! Thank you all so much for your support! I wrote this back in June when I needed to get it out of my head and had no idea it was chosen as a daily until I just logged back on and thought there was a glitch with my notifications number. I was slightly mortified that a piece of my mourning got exposure but after reading your comments I'm glad that I documented something many of you identified with. I've since journeyed a bit farther in my grief- slowly overcoming my initial instinct of trying to instantaneously analyze every feeling to determine whether I'm "allowed" to have it. I went to a group bereavement meeting offered by the hospital that treated the loved one in this poem and the nurse running the session made a good point- no one can fully understand another person's relationship with an individual who's passed on. Interpersonal relationships are unique and so is grieving. Being gentle with yourself (especially in times of struggle) is woefully underrated. And with that, I send love, gratitude, and positive vibes to this wonderful community
it's the same as before
or the other time
or the time before that.
here's a ****
and here's a ****
and here's trouble.

only each time
you think
well now I've learned:
I'll let her do that
and I'll do this,
I no longer want it all,
just some comfort
and some ***
and only a minor
love.

now I'm waiting again
and the years run thin.
I have my radio
and the kitchen walls
are yellow.
I keep dumping bottles
and listening
for footsteps.

I hope that death contains
less than this.
Vianna Jan 2018
Nobody thinks what I think
Nobody dreams when they blink
Think things on the brink of blasphemy
I'm my own shrink
Think things are after me, my catastrophe
I'm a kitchen sink
You don't know what that means
Because a kitchen sink to you
Is not a kitchen sink to me, okay, friend?
Are you searching for purpose?
Then write something, yeah it might be worthless
Then paint something then, it might be wordless
Pointless curses, nonsense verses
You'll see purpose start to surface
No one else is dealing with your demons
Meaning maybe defeating them
Could be the beginning of your meaning, friend
-Twenty One pilots

What they're trying to say, is that, when you feel that life has no purpose, and aren't living for anything anymore, then make something, weather it be, a poem, a song, a painting, or anything. As long as it matters to you, and you know what it means, then you have purpose, because if you die, then who else is gonna know what it means to you?
Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
A quickie in the kitchen
I’m quite a normal sort of person Ì do not steal and
only lie with passion. In the house, we lived in there
were two flats on the second floor, a lady rented a
room and we shared the kitchen with her. Yes, it was
not a place where the middle classes cared to live.
One day in the kitchen I was fifteen and kissed her
I put her face -down on the table lifted her left knee
on a chair pulled her pants down and in it went like
a knife in an over ripe melon I quickly *******,
a geyser of ***** ran down her legs she burped ale  
grabbed a kitchen towel- her own – drying her legs
We did this every afternoon till my mother caught us
in the act and hell broke loose. I fled to the communal
bath-house which also had a swimming pool and stayed
until closing time. At home mother sat reading, she
looked up said I was disgusting. Five minutes longer she
said as to herself and with that woman!
In the broken kitchen chair he sits
Running his filet knife across the grindstone
The blade mustn't be dull for what he’s about to do
Across the kitchen hangs his days catch
Dangling from one large meat hook
Dripping, warm, fresh, and glassy eyed
Running the blade across his thumb
A future scar in his one of a kind prints
With bulging biceps his prey is lifted from its loft
Tossed carelessly onto the granite counter top
A dangling arm falls into the kitchen sink
The subtle sound of a ring is heard
As it hits the stainless steel basin
This jewelry is soon removed and set aside
With a felt tipped pen he outlines his procedure
Like a world class surgeon preparing to operate
He makes each incision with great care
A soft touch and a steady hand
Experience shows this isn't his first rodeo
Every cut running long and shallow
He grins like a child as warm blood flows over his digits
Setting down the tools of his trade
He takes a moment to admire his handiwork
The body before him lies ravaged
Professionally massacred, filleted is his trophy ****
Having fully enjoyed this beautiful sight
He reaches down gripping tightly onto two ***** of skin
By either side of the shoulders his fingers burrow under flesh
He begins to peel away
Within minutes the body is bare
On the counter lies nothing but muscle and bones
Tendons, sinew, organs that will never again function
Like a cadaver to be donated for medical research
He holds the hollow man up to the light for a better look
A perfect skin suit, warm, tanned, tinged in red
Cuddling it as a toddler might carry his blankey for comfort
He walks to the room adjacent the kitchen
At the tug of a blood soaked hand
The washing machines door swings open
Gingerly he sets the skin inside
Adding just a dash of fabric softener for good measure
He shuts the door and starts the cycle
Back to the kitchen he drudges
Washing the blood from his hands, his arms
Cleaning his knife, polishing the blade until it gleams in the light
Leaving the corpse where it lies he sits patiently and waits
As the wash is finished he removes the suit from the machine
Now clean, dripping, wet, marker gone
He places it in the dryer
Turning the **** to low heat, careful not to shrink his new outfit
He sets the dial to permanent press and pushes start
Part #1; see "The Apology" for Part #2. http://hellopoetry.com/poem/the-apology-pt-2/
found so much life, in inanimate objects
how I define imagination
give me play kitchen
plastic food, small empty boxes
label pretzels, popcorn, cake mix, candy
stickers for buttons, my mouth makes the sounds
imagination heat cooked my hotdogs
while imagination water moistened my sink
every shelf and cabinet filled to the top
no one starves with imagination food
5 course meals, cook in five minutes
each dial turns with a click
turn right for high, left for low
"DON'T BURN THE EGGS, HEATHER!!"
no time to buy more, the store, is closed
In my kitchen we reuse, everything
when you finish those eggs,
put them back in the fridge
when box of popcorn is gone,
back to the cabinet it goes
they said "perpetuating gender stereotypes"
well my play kitchen,
never said "you must cook for a man"
as I served my dinosaurs and dolls,
I remembered cooking is for all
smile at you while my brother cooks beside me
my play kitchen held so much life
actually, it still does
Bobbie Bachelor Dec 2014
I stand on the scale
I look at the number

I'm fat
I way over 140lbs

What am I doing wrong?
I barely eat anything

She steps off the scale
Walks over to the counter
And opens the cupboard

Peanut butter

She untwists the twisty ties
Grabs two pieces of white bread
Places them in the toaster slots
Pulls down the lever
For ten seconds
Pulls it up
Pulls it down
Waits ten more seconds
Pulls it up
Takes it out
Spreads the peanutty butter across the crisp edges

Starts eating it
Nom nom nom

Her dog moves close to the counter
And begs

She walks away
Drops a few crumbs
And the dog eats it up

And follows her into the living room
And looks up

Nom nom nom nom

She just looks at the dog
Puts her bare foot against his nose
Which is cold

And the dog doesn't even move
Sticks his tongue outside his mouth
And breathes quickly

Stupid

She puts her foot back down
And moves it against the rug a few times

Then walks into the kitchen
And opens a bag
Of salt and vinegar chips

Starts eating them
Nom nom nom nom

Dog catches the crumbs and slides against the kitchen floor
She walks back upstairs
And the dog follows her
To her room

She shuts the door
And the dog starts scratching through the bottom
And barks

She just lays in her bed
Eating
The dog barks again

She opens the door
And pushes him
With her right foot
Down the stairs

He tumbles down the stairs and hits the kitchen floor
He races back up
Gets pushed back down
Dog runs away

She walks towards the bathroom
And uses the other scale

And she sees that it says 141 lbs

I've only been eating for a few minutes

Errrr

She closes the bag of chips
And stomps downstairs
And places the bag on the counter

Dog waits in the living room
Right next to the kitchen

His food bowl is empty
No water
Victoria Queen Oct 2013
We sat on the couch, snuggled in blankets, watching "The Iron Giant." I was only eight and realized that my older sister had let me stay up past my bedtime.; it was almost 10:30 PM and the neighborhood had settled into a sleepy silence. My parents were out to dinner and a movie, a date-night that they rarely ever indulged in, and my sister was babysitting me instead of going out with all of her pre-teen friends. It felt nice to actually hang out with Sam, and bond with her.

A little more than halfway into the movie, the snacks caught up to me and I needed a drink. "Sam, can you pause the movie? Come with me to get something to drink really quick." Such a simple request, yet I could have never imagined, in my childish state of mind, what was coming within the next five minutes.

We both walked into the dark kitchen, and to this day I wonder why neither of us turned the light on. I leaned against the doorway that lead to the kitchen and watched as my sister went to the fridge. I asked for chocolate milk - the craving for it came unexpectedly. As she opened the door to the refrigerator, the light from the inside of it spilled into the short hallway leading to our front door. I followed the small pool of light with my eyes until I was suddenly looking at the door - and also looking at Him. I saw His figure looming on the other side of the door, His shadow moving slowly and quietly. My entire body froze; I felt paralyzed and lost the ability to hear anything except for my heart pounding within my chest. My small, fragile body stood completely still, and remained still even as I watched my front door open. The way He walked towards me seemed like slow motion, and He looked like a giant in the small hallway. I felt like I couldn't move a muscle or else I would fall apart, like a game of Jenga. Finally, He stepped into a sliver of light, and I stared into His mostly hidden face; He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood covering His head and most of His face, except for His eyes. I felt shredded by the look in them - full of confusion, rage, and maybe even fear."You're never gonna believe this - but it was a giant metal man." I could hear the movie blaring from the living room. I felt the way the boy in the film did; I was staring at this Man who was a giant compared to me, and He must have been made of metal - no human, made of flesh and with a beating heart, could encounter a terrified child and still proceed to attempt to destroy her. He was a Giant Metal Man.

When my eyes met His in that moment, it shook me and tore me out of my frozen state. Finally, my muscles contracted as I took a step away and backed into the other side of the doorway. My chest opened up and drew in just enough air to let out a scream, and my eyes were darting around the room, looking at everything, because I didn't want to look at Him. Within seconds, Sam reacted. I had almost forgotten that she was in the room with me - all I could feel was His presence. I watched as she threw an entire gallon of milk at the Man; it made contact with something, but I'm not sure if it was with Him or the walls of the hallway. The carton exploded, and milk was gushing into the air like a volcanic eruption, washing over the walls and the floor and probably over Him. When the milk settled, all I could see was His dark figure running out of the same door He came in, leaving it crashing against the wall. His feet were audibly slamming down on the sidewalk outside. Then, there was darkness.

My senses shut down completely after He disappeared from my sight. I was moving, but my mind was somewhere else. My sister grabbed me and basically dragged my confused body into our bedroom; she ordered me to get on the floor and she shoved me under our bed. From the floor, I could see her feet moving frantically around the room. Things were being moved and thrown, and she was breathing heavily. Finally, she grabbed something and ran to our window that looked out onto the street. I saw a flash and heard the snap and the print; she had taken a picture with our Polaroid. The picture fell to the floor just next to the bed, and I watched as it developed slowly. I could make out nothing in the picture but a black, beaten-up Volvo. It was as if I was looking at a still-framed picture from a movie, and that everything going on in that moment was fake; but the sound of a car peeling ferociously out of my driveway outside snapped me right back into reality, and I knew that it was Him. I was angry that He was able to drive away from the nightmare that he created, and that I had to stay.

Still under the bed, my body began to recover from the state of shock it was in, and I cried out for my sister. She grabbed my hands and pulled me out from under the bed and asked me if I was okay, and if I could tell her anything that I saw. I couldn't form the words to tell her about His eyes, about His hidden face, and about how slow He was walking towards me, an innocent child. All I could do was cry and I began begging her to call our parents. She carefully lead me back into the kitchen, where the door was still swung open and the milk was flooding over the floor. She picked up the phone and first called our Aunt who lived on the floor above us, explaining in short what happened and asking her to please come downstairs. She immediately came with her son, our cousin, who is the same age as Sam, and she offered to call our parents and the police for us. I stood in the room trying to tell everyone what I saw and what happened, but I kept telling them that it happened so fast and I couldn't see His entire face. "His eyes," I said. I repeated it dozens of times. I was shaking uncontrollably, and could not calm my breathing.

The rest of the night is a blur. Police officers were coming in and out of our home, asking questions that I couldn't even understand or comprehend. My parents came home and were panicking, my mother on the verge of tears. At some point, I laid down in my mother's bed and fell asleep - when I woke up in the middle of the night, my older sister was in the bed as well. Then, I laid there and listened to the sounds of the night - the crickets, the late-night commuters that drove by once in a while, and creaks and cracks of the floor. The sun eventually came up, and I was still awake, almost waiting for a new day and new feelings. However, the shock was still there, and it hung over my head and lingered around me like a ghost.

Within the following week after that night, four different homes were burglarized on our street. Finally, we received a call that the cops had caught the Man, and my parents hoped that it would bring some relief to my sister and I, who were sleeping in our parents' room every night since our break -in. It didn't. It left me feeling nothing except more fear; I constantly thought of Him returning to our home and finishing His "job." I sat in the bedroom, where I hid under the bed that night, and watched out the window for hours on end every day, waiting for His car to appear. But the worst feeling that I had was when I finally let myself wonder why He had come that night, and what His plan was. I pictured the things He would have done to me and my sister if I hadn't screamed and triggered my sister's reaction. Would He have ***** me? Beat me? Kidnapped me? Killed me? The possibilities were endless because it was as if the story had no ending, and I had the option to write my own. I could not silence my imagination, or stop myself from thinking about what He was thinking about doing to me when He saw me in the doorway. It occurred to me that the look in His eyes was not fear, or confusion, or even rage -it was malicious intent. It haunted me for days, and then weeks, and soon enough, years.

12 years later, I have come to terms with the real-life nightmare that I experienced that night. I have accepted His presence in my life; He exists in the footsteps I hear late at night outside my house, the inexplainable noises that echo in the walls of my kitchen and living room and bedroom, and the pressure from the wind that causes my house to constantly move and settle at night. He has no name and no face in my head; the only thing that He has is eyes. His eyes watch me from the inside of my mind. He exists in my kitchen, as if a ghost in a haunted home. He exists in the disorders that He left me impaired with for the rest of my life. He exists everywhere around me. The only thing that's different about then and now is that I have learned to live with Him haunting my dreams, and my reality. I will always feel the fear - but it no longer paralyzes me. I suffered through the sleepless nights, and the nightmares when I actually did sleep; I dealt with the uncontrollable screams for help in the middle of the night when I was only dreaming. Now, all I have left to do is live; not without fear, but with fear and also understanding that there is a reason for everything. I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to separate myself from the memory or the terror that I have been subjected to living with, and to me, that is the first and biggest step that I needed to take.
This is a true account of one of the most terrifying nights of my life from my childhood. Writing this took just over 12 years; It's incredibly hard to relive the images and memories of that night. I was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Panic Disorder, all stemming from this event. It's a big bite to swallow, but I've learned to live with all of it. Part of the coping process has been telling people and allowing my experience to exist outside of my head, and it has helped the most to write about it. I live freely and I'm not stuck in a world of fear - and I believe this kind of expression of the scariest moment of my life helps me with that.
Sharina Saad Jan 2015
The soft butter melts slowly
Caressing every inch of
this white soft and fluffy...
from the top of the dough
To the center.. and it falls
gracefully to the bottom
Golden brown color it turns to
as it mixes with some brown sugar
dancing, rocking the buttery bread
attractively rise and shine....
Beautiful...
the whole kitchen of mine.....

The aroma of sweet cinnamon fills the air
My mommy's kitchen homemade bakery....
the true meaning of love is here...
The labor of  love
passionately blends
in every dough it kneads
in every bread it produces
seduces the young and old
Calling all bread lovers..
my attractive butter sugar buns
seductively smiling
waiting for you to grab
one, two, three...... and sold
In mommy's kitchen I bake
with love...........
I simply love baking..........

— The End —