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Elizabeth Oct 2019
The staircase looked to be painted green or something meant to be blue but ended up green
The green was chipped with flakes of brown hardwood poking through the crevices
Of the emerald color. I stepped on the first staircase remembering the warm Augusts there but mostly the fall. His coat was still hanging on the pole connected to the railing I glanced at it and it glanced back at me. Staring into my soul but my weeping eyes as I remembered what it felt like to be in love. His coat smelled of cologne and dried rain. I put it over my shoulders, tears falling into place.
This staircase in our home belonged to us and only us, but then he left and now it is only me, It is only me with all my faults and ripped jeans too big to fit my withering waistline as I count the days gone by. I count the days on the calendar marking a tiny X in the corner hoping still he might walk through the door. I hope still, that he would greet me with the same expressions he once did before, always first asking me about my day. Now I enter my home with empty dreams and dark memories with no one to call out my name. The staircase was for us, it was the road map to our dreams. The staircase carried our first boxes all marked and packed with things that belonged to us. The staircase carried our long nights after staying up late, talking about things only we knew.
The Staircase who was once emerald green carried what I thought to be our future but ended up as a memory from the past in only a matter of seconds. I never knew why he left me sitting upon that staircase, my head buried in the palms of my hands atop that staircase . He left in a fit of rage with the idea of never coming back, I didn’t think that was so.  But now this staircase carry’s regret, for I shouldn’t have said what I said but the staircase knew I only wanted what was best. The staircase may also carry my future, I just haven’t discovered what that might be yet.
The staircase that remembers it all
Caro Sep 2018
It smells vaguely of pizza
And there’s a little white fuzz floating around in the air,
I’m rewriting memories and helping a friend through a break up.
I’m sitting on my back staircase alone at night with no substance to keep me company,
Remembering a time sitting here with my ex having wine while he smoked a cigarette feeling relative peace and romanticism.
Now I’m contemplating the roughness of the stucco walls and the wrot iron and staircase and window cages,
The exceptionally uncomfortable and bumpy stair steps, all of the tangible visual interest around me,
Maybe falling in love with it,
It doesn’t notice me or maybe

Maybe it does, maybe it feels my weight,
Knows my smell,
Oh my god maybe these walls remember that moment that I’m thinking of!
Maybe they know all of it and they support me,
Maybe the me that was then and the he that was then is sitting here too just below me,
Letting the me that is now observe the sweet, pervasive sickness that we were lying in.

The pizza smell has wafted away and so has the little fuzz,
The wrot iron staircase feels okay against my head,
The angles that I’m looking down on feel unique to me, my frame of vision, is just for me.
He lived here, he bothered me, he smoked on this staircase nearly every night.
But maybe these steps and this material around me knew it was not his,
Maybe he never saw the stairs at this angle, maybe they never showed him their magic or their comfort or their mood or their simple, simple majesty.

Falling in love with a staircase and with the shadows that it kept secret for me.
Divine, it’s all divine.
bri mylyn Jul 2014
twenty nine steps on a staircase
lavender smell on the softness of your neck
broken bonds broken bones broken bonds broken bones
I wrapped your nightshade bouquet in lace
so it would not burn your frozen fingers

I open my mouth and stained glass falls out
twenty nine steps on a staircase

they pulled your teeth out with forks
while I screamed through the satin
and fought through the stars
I reached out towards you
but my hands grabbed only thorns
and calamity dripped down my hands
twenty nine steps on a staircase

they threw grey dirt on my face
grass and blossoms in my lungs
my fingernails are blue and blue for you
twenty nine steps on a staircase
my eyes are moist with drops of dew
every morning I wake up and drown in your sweet water

29 steps on a staircase
29 steps on a staircase

I was sleeping and woke up choking
I opened my mouth
and eleven pearls came tumbling out
they sat in the palm of my hand
they were your wishes
I put them under my pillow
and forgot they were there

twenty nine steps on a staircase
I pushed you down twenty nine steps on a staircase
Isabella Rizzo Jun 2016
I am a creaking staircase;
Letting others step on me and crack my wooden boards from their heavy weight and intimidating stomps.
I am only a passing marker to their final destination,
But nevertheless, they still need me.
And I try to convince myself that my worth means something,
Because without my support they wouldn’t get anywhere.

Without my support they would be stuck,
No staircase to guide them up and away.
So they wonder if it was all worth it;
Carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.
This shows me that I am necessary and I am needed,
For without me, they wouldn’t make it to their destination.

Because they are running for a reason.
And my staircase heart provides them the nurture they need to make it.
My worth is not decided by the amount of cracks I have in my structure,
Not by the weight I carry upon my steps,
Not by the need to feel useful,
But by the amount of souls I have helped reach their destination.

I have given my support to those that have used me,
And although I should feel bitter my creaking staircase continues to give.
Proving that I have worth, even if it's as much as a penny's.
Proving that the weight on my shoulders has worn me into a comfortable state, like those stubborn shoes your mother got you for church.
Proving that they need me, like a boat needs water
in order to reach its desired destination.

I am a support system,
A staircase to the places that people need to be.
I am worth it.
The weight that I carry is for a reason.
The people who stomp on my staircase heart, at one point needed me.
And although I am not their destination, I am part of their journey.

The weight that they are carrying is supported by my steps.
#2 from my creative writing class
Kiara McNeil Jul 2011
When I took my first step, I should have fell backwards.

It would have meant failure.

But it wouldn’t mean being here.

On this neverending staircase.

I walk up and up, hoping to find a door, or a hallway, a path.

Yet, just more steps.

Each step is a milestone which in the end leads to…

Another staircase.

Scared to move forward

but scared to look down.

Looking down may cause my madness to spiral out of control.

It may cause it to continue..

to lead me beyond the staircase.

To a pinewood box.

I can’t go back.

Secretly I know what awaits me at the top.

The very top.

You.

With a grin that matches the Cheshire cat’s ten fold.

I climb the steps.

to my past.

to my past lover.

to the reason for my insanity.

My neverending staircase.
Noah Sep 2014
One little house
One little door
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Large fangs
Purple and black skin
Two beady eyes
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Tall and bony
Skeletal structure
Green scales
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Large and muscular
Yellow in color
Skin sagging
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Small and fat
Orange in color
Large yellow eyes
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Large and fat
Eyelids heavy
Silver in color
One little staircase
Down, down, down
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Eyes large and wanting
Skin red and boiling
Ram's horns upon its head
One little staircase
One little door
One little peephole
One demon within
Fangs of black
Wings like leather
Green fire breath
Piercing eyes at the door
Steps like thunder rolled
A girl laid to sleep
Under a spell not even a Prince could break
Snow Whites descent into hell as she meets the 7 deadly sins
Sadia Tuba Dec 2016
I am afraid of taking staircase when I am surrounded by people.
I afraid they will pass me, I might left alone.

I am afraid of staircase, when it is made of transparent glass.
I fear to look up at the frothy view under it.

I am afraid of staircase, its bumpy steps frightened me.
I might slipped anytime.

I am afraid of staircase, I wish I could ignore my old tread;
Just because my instinct often tells me to look back.

Yes, I am very much afraid of taking staircase,
I am too frail to hear my toxic breath.
David Nelson Aug 2011
Spiral Staircase

first you go down and then you go up
dancing inside your paper cup
your dreams of tangerines in your head
the staircase never ends so many tears are bled

you can try tearing down the walls
pacing back and forth in the halls
you can hide but you can't run
playing keep-a-way not always fun

flap your wings but not your jaws
pain of a thistle in your paws
you cry but nobody hears
they became accustomed to the tears

so what's the use of loud belching tones
when you can know deep in your bones
there is no way to win this race
not up and down the spiral staircase

Gomer LePoet...
We have created a time
where our air smiles
like a precious gem
found within a storm.  
Each spoken sentence
we find to be filled
with purpose,.....
sound and warm.

Regret does not glisten
nor is it placed in this time
dressed up as hurt
impossible to understand.  
This is a place
where one can find
the staircase of stillness,
silence at hand.

Showers of love
fall as stars in this time
along the places where we sail
on a subtle breeze.  
We can see their reflections
turned inside out......
like a smile
Copyright © 2013 Neva Flores - Changefulstorm
Prabhu Iyer Jan 2015
I walked a spiraling Stare back at the abyss: Leaping forward walking I see the rage of a Cross, four-dimensional Pebbles shattered stained To the side, spiraling back,
cut-up and found what if I walked on them giant drooling drunken mirrors obtuse staircase haunted confusing gravity,
nothing up from mushrooms woman lighted flexing looping,
at apex; a mirage? that can cry; all around; tesseracts; infinite; at quantum.






Lead kindly light, vigil
voice, enlightened
woman,  
angel face.
Surrealist poem reflecting on mortality.

'Lead kindly light' is from the famous hymn 'Pillar of Cloud' by John Newman
Ava Feb 2019
I’m
       Falling
                     Down
                                  A
                                       Staircase
                                                        With
                                                                  No
                                                    Chance
                                             Of
                            Getting  
                    Up
Everything
                     Disintegrates
                                               I
                                                   Destroy
                                                                  Anything
                                                                                    I
                                                                       Touch
Tyler Nicholas Oct 2013
I smoke every cigarette in the pack
long enough that the filters melted
and my lips blacken
like the nightsky,
when you stepped down
the granite staircase
in a burgundy bouclé dress
that radiated brighter than
the chandelier overhead.

All we ever had was enough.
Now I smoke to remember
the nights when the fog
followed us home
and the music of us
slow dancing in silence.

I pack my bags
and I leave my keys at your door.
You hold me close and you whisper:

*"What the hell are you waiting for?"
A staircase to seemingly nowhere.
I grasp the railing with my mind
And struggle upwards to somewhere.
Misshapen and misbegotten words plague me.
Keep your eyes straight ahead and upwards
Do not look back! Do not look down!
Lest I plunge again into the darkness.
God and love stand at the top and beckon.
Struggle on! Struggle on!
In your writing you will be set free.
In my writing I have indeed done so.
A staircase is only a temporary brother.
Fodder for the pen and mind.
But nothing to be feared,
It's risers raises me upwards.
Joel A Doetsch Mar 2014
I'm looking deep into her eyes

Looking into her eyes...
is like opening a door that leads...
to another door


Wait..really?  OK...I open the door.

This door leads to a long, winding path,
like the winding path of your love.  
The path leads to a third door


O...K. I open the door.

This door leads to a spiral staircase
descending down, down, down,  deep
into her soul.
At the bottom of the staircase is--


A door?

A door.

I open the door

The door is locked.  The key might be under the mat

Seriously?  I check under the mat

Nope, not there.  Maybe try under the small rock next to the door

Oh for the love of...I check the rock

There is a key

Wonderful...I unlock and open the door

Inside this door is a large atrium
the glass ceiling giving way to a
beautiful summer night, the stars
twinkling in the distance.  At the
far end of the Atrium, there is a curtain


Sigh I pull aside the curtain

There is a door

Come on!  I open the ruddy door.

You find yourself in a long hallway,
with fine art hanging along the walls.
Crimson carpet lines the floor.
At the end of the hall is a door  locked
with a combination biometric
fingerprint scanner/retinal scanner


What.

You have 10 seconds to unlock the door
before the hunter-bots de-atomize you


What!?  Ok! I try my fingerprints and eye!

The door unlocks and the hunter-bots stand down.
In the next room are three vials.  Two of them contain
terrible neuro-toxins that will lead to an excruciatingly
painful death.  The third will allow you to continue on
to the next room.  You have 30 seconds to choose before
you are terminated


What the hell is this!?

This is the path to true love hidden deep in her eyes

No, this is insanity!

15 seconds

OK!  Geez!  Umm..Vial Number 2!

You're totally dead

Oh god!

Just kidding.  None of them had poison...was just messing with you

THAT'S IT!  I'M DONE WITH THIS

Really?  There's only one more door.  I swear

...Fine.  What ridiculous thing do I need to do to open it.

It's already open.  You find yourself in a circular room
with a pedestal in the center.  On the pedestal is a hand
written note.  On that note is the key to everlasting happiness


I pick up the note

You smell sweet hints of your beloved's perfume and
notice the care that each word of the note was written.


What does the note say?

My love:

Next Tuesday Only --  Buy One-Get One Free at J.J's Pizza.  Cannot be combined with any other offers/coupons.  Must present coupon upon purchase.  Expires 1/14/14


...An expired coupon for Pizza?

Such a wonderful expression of love!

How do I get out of here...

You see a door
.
Delta Swingline Mar 2017
Don't get me wrong, I like elevators as much as the next guy. But there's always been something about stairs that just interests me in a way elevators can't.

If you've ever watched me climb a flight of stairs, I usually skip every other step. Mainly to save time because I live life too fast, climbing stairs so I could slow life down somewhere else.

I have this one staircase where all my friends hang out, less than 10 steps with a door at the top. That door wasn't opened very often, we called it the -- "Suicide Door". Only to find that it was a room where there were tons of stacked boxes willed with paper. But we still hung out on that staircase anyway.

Lately, the conversations that take place on those stairs are less than amusing, we don't laugh about how stupid people are. Rather we rant about who we want to **** in this world, and who's mad at who for thier gender or religion, I don't feel safe there anymore.

I fear if I say anything that I'll be shut down because I don't like people's use of "free speech" when it's used to put people down. And yes, I know, I'm not innocent here. There are conversations I regret saying that I have left on that staircase.

We don't talk about those conversations because we know out opinions are still changing. I may not remember any of this when it's finally over.

We don't talk about conversations we had behind closed suicide doors. But we never talk about the ones we had on the staircase below it. Sometimes that door seems like it's locked forever, and we choose to believe that our staircase leads to nowhere.

I miss the way thing used to be, when conversations weren't poisonous to those who heard the even by accident.

It makes me want to take elevators with strangers. Sure, it would be awkward, but at least nobody would want to rant about people to a bunch of strangers.

I sat by the stairs again. All my friends were there. But the school bells ring and everybody leaves. Nobody bothers with a "see you later" of a "c'mon, we gotta go, you'll be late". They just leave.

I'll stay there for a minute, gather my things, and wonder where they all went.

And whether or not they'd come back.

After all, the stairs aren't all that important right?

And these stairs, out of all staircases, just lead to nowhere...
I haven't been to that staircase in a while. Although the suicide door seems to call a little louder than it used to.
David Nelson Oct 2011
up the down staircase

running in circles chasing my tail
rerunning another episode of groundhog day
trying to skim on the water without a sail
constantly getting in my own way

reaching for the stars without any arms
singing the blues to a house of the dead
searching for the clock in a room full of alarms
should be slamming the door closed instead

out of breath climbing the staircase with no end
when the only way that it goes is down
keeping my eyes closed trying to pretend
wearing the mask and the tears of a clown

the odds of completion like Custer's last stand
trying to understand the reason of risk and reward
counting the good things with only one hand
playing solitaire with a deck missing one card

Gomer LePoet ....
if i remember accurately he puts hand between her thighs she gets wet her body tells him she wants him she puts hand between his thighs she feels hardness his body tells her he wants her a little blue pill and KY lotion don’t convey anything except maybe we’re too old for this sexuality was once the most defining intention in life but not anymore when youth perspire it smells **** when elderly sweat it’s malodorous yet in another breath old people are more appreciative know the hurt humiliation of neglect invisibility they secretly harbor passions beyond contemporary standards old age is ground zero for truly authentic perversity desires unfulfilled in youth



i don’t remember when the disenchantment began was it part of some greater change Dad’s illness death leaving Chicago my dog’s passing 9/11 or simply old age at some point my life stopped feeling like adventure all the crazy dreams aims aspirations cravings longings insatiable hungers wild experiments beautiful women everything slowly fading away leaving only ghostly empty disenchantment a profound sad knowing the world is never going to heal get better the whole brutally honest realization greed corruption poisonous toxins overpopulation think tanks planet candidates anger hatred atrocities will triumph i know i must not listen to this voice inside me these feelings of disenchantment if i can learn to heal myself and try my hardest to love forgive others than i will succeed in this harsh existence no matter what the world does



in my garden grows an abundant jalapeño patch i share it with my postman Fernando he picks ripe peppers for his wife Barbara she makes salsa with the jalapeños then Fernando shares Barbara’s salsa with me anyway Fernando served 6 years in the Marines and is of Mexican descent he recently told me a story about a holiday he shared with 2 fellow Marines at a ******* beach in southern Spain Fernando described a seashore bustling with many women exposing their ******* all of a sudden Fernando spotted this amazingly gorgeous long legged female wearing nothing but flimsy string thong she walked into a cantina the 3 Marines followed Fernando's buddy set up tripod behind amazingly gorgeous long legged woman and started shooting Fernando explained she turned enraged yelling at the Marines i commented to Fernando his Marine buddy ought to have first asked consent he replied we knew we should have but who gives a **** we’re Americans everybody knows Americans are ******* when people from other countries find out you’re American they deliberately treat you like an *******



October is pivotal April May June July August September mornings shine bright early dusk comes late then suddenly October bursts on scene changes everything mornings grow darker days end sooner October is the culprit this month 5 Fridays 5 Saturdays 5 Sundays old dog painfully arthritic legs climb stairs sound of waves crashing against shoreline distant stars in night sky cooler breezes blow whiff of death in air harvest your wheat oats barley cook your squash last of corn tomatoes eat your pumpkin pie swig your cider you know what’s next now familiar footsteps tread on path come to take you home back to place before the beginning you’ve got to pick up every stitch must be the season of the witch



Mom spoke about memory a fogginess she says comes over her she began by admitting she realizes how she camouflages so people won't notice how bad she truly is because they might not want to be with her she says it does not scare her it is just part of getting older she recognizes it in her friends Mom says she very much wants to remain independent she knows her house how to maneuver in it she feels angry she didn't sell the apartment when the market was better though she loves her home does not want to ever wind up in residence for the aged does not want anyone living with her she is used to living alone doesn't like idea of a caregiver in the house this passage is difficult for her in a new way somehow i think the difficult challenge for us all now is how to help Mom manage on her own and continue to empower her with dignity she is a brave woman turning 90 in late October woman descending a staircase
Christina Cox Dec 2015
My mom is snoring,
thirteen stairs and ten feet away.
My mom is peaceful,
thirteen stairs and ten feet away.

My dad is watching,
seven stairs and fifteen feet away.
My dad is learning,
seven stairs and fifteen feet away.

I am sitting,
on the floor against a trunk.
I am crying,
on the floor agains a trunk.
Kimberly Clemens Feb 2014
You are the wooden staircase
that I foolishly tried climbing down.
My socks were too clean for your surface;
I slipped and tumbled in a torsion of flailing limbs.
Each impact I bounced down harder
the farther I fell for you.
Antino Art Apr 2018
We wear this city on our feet
Planting our roots with each step
Our shadows

cast shapes of ancient oak trees stretching out over old squares at daybreak
We grow here

with the spirit of buildings past,
present and rising like a staircase to heaven in the distance,
the plumes of white smoke from their rooftops as burnt offerings for incense,
spires for steeples,
the bundled masses of people moving beneath as the calloused soles
of our feet pounding the pavement,
Our congregation

seated in reverant silence on the R-Line hissing to a stop
Their hushed prayers filing out from within to bring the reclaimed sidewalks of Fayetville Street back to life to join this pilgramage
They march

downtown toward Capitol
holding signs for disarmament
They bar-hop through Glenwood toasting to deliverance
They move in a blur of faces that become us,
Rush at all hours through our veins
Cross our hearts and keep us breathing,
Moving
wearing the city on our minds
like the greyest pieces of their winter sky and the way it caps the peaks of Mount PNC, BB&T and Wells Fargo like hoodies over our heads
We assume monk-like appearances
in robes color-coded by season- from blue collar sweaters to cold hard sweat
We'll wear their city until we're worn out and wet,

We'll wear their dreams at night
like streetlamps flickering on beneath wired telephone poles carrying conversations about each one as far south as Florida, fears unspoken, made visible
on iron park benches too cold to sit on at this hour
We'll keep walking

and wear this city like backpacks over our shoulders

under the watch of their heavens,
the skyline
a glowing testament
of every step taken
toward someplace higher.
Crinoline filaments
Rolling over and over
Mid-flight the ochre velvet ribbons sailed to the left
Instead of to the right
Two feet retreating
But with one shoe on

Memory returns
For a few seconds of
the calamity
At that private house in Paris
She’d tumbled down the central staircase
Sailing with legs overhead
until she stopped miraculously with her ***
at the shining leather toes of the footman.
He kept his head up.
She wore a beautiful dress.
Her hair was quite precise and she hoped that that would be a sufficient enough apology towards an empty silence.

But this isn’t that.
I shoved her.
And she went willingly. They all do.
We’re roughly a group of fifty-three.

Gathering in the last few years
Whispering over drinks
of tumors
And vascular difficulties
Of pills and appointments and forgetfulness
They never mentioned that
In those climate controlled rooms with
Blackboards covered in Latin and Trigonometry
Of the body’s failure.
Now there’s no longer any mention made of the kids
or whether or not that husband was worth the bother

Did we notice atop
The balance beam not a peep was mentioned
About the moment when you can no longer walk or stand?
That the brain asks please but the body will not comply?
How cool the marbled floor feels against your cheek while you lay for hours in your own feces?
One can rest comfortably knowing at long last that that wallpaper was the right choice.
Kept one really engaged while waiting and waiting for someone.
And that is just the beginning, right?

Perhaps some assumed that the end would come with a daily circle reviewing the contents of their chamber ***
Grimacing and worn
While they recline in white nightclothes
Something akin to what they saw on the BBC

Perhaps a startled disquiet at the rebuke of their intent and gamely stares from a premiere specialist in Switzerland
an expert in alternative therapies
for what someone dared call
terminal
Anyway, this is quicker.

So we’ve come together
As sisters
And when the time is right I get the call
We go onto the roof
There’s an elevator now because
Otherwise that wouldn’t work
And one by one
In small batches
They are dispatched
It doesn’t take as long as you would think
We are confident and have agency
We were taught that we could do anything
And they are right.

The ones with a lot of metal can be a bit tricky
They have balance issues
But are always chic and always polite
There was a time when we were forced to be together when we clearly did not want to.
We never thought as one.
Some families are better than others.
But everything is different now

One day it will be my turn and
I wonder who will deliver me?
And what shall I wear?
Will I try to see where I’m going or will I rest comfortably in my finale.

I adore the way the wind catches the cloth.
How the crystalline beads are removed around the neck and handed over
so as not to add to any distraction
Or delay
The pinky coral mouthed “Thank you” and
And the sweet eyes that once were bright and shining say their
Goodbyes
Rippling
twirling
looping
interweaving
cascading
Down.
I met Neal Cassady last night in a waking dream sitting across from me with his back turned to the noise; the bar was loud. He repeatedly leaned forward and asking if I wanted a smoke.
        He looked just like Neal, talked like him. I hated and admired him just like I would the real Neal Cassady. His mind was incredible; beyond the worries of mortality, no thoughts or pains of hubris. He had the candor that I lacked only because I hadn't the nerve to jump first. When I asked him if he truly was the great Cassady, he stared at me from across the table with a wry smile; patted his breast pocket down, leaned back and said as he turned with precision out of his chair,
        "Let's go for a smoke".
        Such practiced determination, he was already outside before I had put on my coat. Of course I had no cigarettes of my own, he had expected me to bring one for the both of us. But I for one expected him to procure an entire carton by the time I was outside; one bent cigarette from every Saintly being at the bar.
        And what a bar! Great young gone gals; dressed in short skirts and long autumn coats; wool scarves around their necks and under chins beneath cold steel eyes. Ahh, forever young the white dresses and mistresses of the college bar.
        By the time I had opened the door and exhaled my first breath of the crisp night air, Neal was playing the part of locomotive engine with a German couple who were smoking and pretending to be Parisian. The three of them were standing in formation of a triangle on the edge of a stone staircase with a railing leading down into a steep lawn with Neal’s back facing the moon. It was all arranged in a perfect geometric mandala of overlapping Platonic solids.
        As I approached the cloud, Neal was recounting the tale of a nurse he had lain in the backseat of her father's station wagon in Nebraska in the heat of the afternoon sun. The German man was stocky and ill-dressed for the weather. He told me later that his name was Heinrich, but I did not believe him even though I knew he had nothing to hide. The woman whom I believed to be only his girlfriend told me, with a thick German accent, that her name was Deline. I believed her. She was well-dressed for the weather and smoking heavily; style is everything.
        "They've graciously offered to roll us a dozen", Neal expelled between great gusts of smoke, a boyish grin smeared on his face by the thousand red lips and wet ***** of passed consequence. Even in the light of a single lamppost coming through the haze that billowed forth from the three talking chimneys, I could still see a sheen in Neal's eye. The sort of sheen that implied hooliganisms. The sort of sheen you see before a person flies off the handle. The exact sheen you see before you wake up tomorrow in the late light of the afternoon, wondering who the Hell took your hand last night and jumped into total darkness with you. That is, if there was somebody around to take your hand.
        I liked Neal.
                He had a style about him that reminded me of a dark velvet curtain. Once you had passed through that curtain in your business casual attire, you witnessed the burgundy coloured stain of truth. There was no backpedaling after that; your chains would knot up and you would fall off the ride if you tried.
        The German couple looked around at their surroundings and the both of us with a degree of boredom. I had seen them earlier in the bar, they looked bored then too. Neither had spoken to the other once and I was beginning to feel like we were exasperating them.
        “Who cares? They offered to roll us a dozen” I thought. What did it matter how Neal got them to do it, they've offered twelve cigarettes and now they belong to us.
        Deline handed Neal and I six cigarettes each; they were magnificently rolled.
        “Goodbye, then! Thank you for your business”, Neal said and slid down the railing to the lawn below, lighting his cigarette mid-slide. I had just lit mine and started after him down the staircase. I turned around and spoke clumsily with a cigarette bobbing at the corner of my mouth,                      
        “Yes… thanks”, and left without another word.

        Neal walked with sporadic intensity; arms often stabbing out into the blanket of night; legs that would walk straight and stiff but then bent and fast with sudden changes as if he was preparing to spring off into the evening of speckled lampposts and smoke. His head bobbed West to East, North to South, and all Axis’ between X, Y and Z. The more I stared at this character whom I called Neal the more I thought of him as an illusion of my own delusions. When I had finished that thought, Neal had spun around and laughed a good hearty and honest laugh; he seemed to have read my mind and proceeded to flick the space between by eyebrows with his thumb and *******. The pain was real enough. This Neal must be real, unless I had gone full mad with lunacy. We blasted off down the avenue which connected the college bar to the dormitories and the library after that.
        Beyond the avenue laid the cozy valley of goodnight downtown with all it’s lights of sodium pearls below and us upon the hill top looking down with eager intensity. Neal gave another rounded laugh and stared with mad eyes above my head and pointed straight up into the sky at Sirius.
        “Tonight, yes yes, we go out. Not just out, my dear friend, but up. Yes yes, to the great up-and-over. Beyond the next stop we absolutely must climb.”

         I don’t know what mad beast had possessed me that evening but I followed this ghost; this great memory of romantic America into the heart of the infinite night.
        “Good gal Deline”, said Neal

        “Who?” I replied
        “Nimble fingers, strong hands for the German working class” he said, “Great gone gal. Good gal. Fine gal by all standards of beauty and sleek german ingenuity”
        “Hmm”, I responded inhaling my cigarette deeply. The Germans were just fine at rolling, but the tobacco was all American. It was harder and harder for me to physically keep up with Neal. He kept speeding off sporadically twenty feet in front of me, sometimes stopping and spouting at young folks asking for cigarettes. 

        “But you’ve already got one” They would say

        “Yes yes, but it’s for when I’m not smoking one is why I want one”, Neal would answer as he trailed off further and further down the road. They thought he was mad, but they all smiled nonetheless.

        My curiosity was brimming. Who was this mad man? Who was this loon impersonator of the American night? I could not stand by my idle silence and unquestioning.
        “What’s the plan tonight?”, I asked

        “What plan? No good plan. Only great plan and great plain rising higher and higher and we will be up all night but on top of the world for we must climb up and up forever until we can climb no more, and then after we can climb no more then we must climb a little further for life itself is nothing more than an infinite climb ever higher and why not get there faster than all the rest?”

        I had stopped walking and Neal’s voice echoed and vibrated the walls of the stairs between the library and the meal hall. His voice was like that of mountain that had slid beneath the ground reborn into an endless peak above.
“Jailbird Cassidy. Great bellowing Cassidy all energy and no direction, but getting there in no time just the same Cassidy”, I thought to myself.
“I trust you Neal”, I had said out loud.
“Not yet! First great big night time breakfast for you and me, for one can not climb without a good energy and good rounded stomach digested of food and stories.”
Onoma Oct 2016
The staircase was broken
in so many parts, that
ascending or descending
them became rending.
Vertigo cranked its
subconscious music to
achieve an alien glaze on
stairs met thousands of
times.
What waits at the top or
bottom of the staircase
paints the upcast/downcast
eyes of the saint braving
them.
Jillian Jesser Nov 2015
I used to bow my head
and fold my hands
and close my eyes
the rules were very important
                 the game was to play by the rules
to watch your mouth
                       wear shorts under your dress

never lie
                never yell
                        
        in dreams
                             that bearded menace
sat on the Golden skyline
                               and wrote down
what I had done wrong
                 the rules I had broken
and screamed my sinners song
into small ears
    that night, I climbed the staircase,
        I would fly,
                         I had planned to fly.
        every cell lifted me to the top of the
       staircase with the eagerness of the adventure
I got to the top
            stood on the rail
    balanced like a swan
                          and as my young knees bent
to leap to the sky
                             above the black lit dark,
  I heard that law mans
                                    booming dissent
Jillian, don't play God
                                         and I didn't.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
In the faraway land,
trees smiling and nails
Not the escargot snails
Booming business sails
His name Rusty nails
Super rich paper shredding
Destroying fine print
paper and nails affair

Those hot leads faxing
The heart opens up than bleeds
What a mess misleads to
More hoarders
Trying so hard to get
over the U-S-A border
When you least expect it
Being searched papercut body

Like Honey Bee without
Hair like a beehive
foxy lady
No Jive rock paper scissors
Twisted sisters also drying up
All lines and spot
like a dark romance
Cheetah
Not the Samson and
Deliah race
Millionairess place
Became a swamp
Forest of racers
Super moon Gump
Lady and the *****
I am Instagram Disney Pixstar
Getting looks by far
Superwomen nailed her
With Starwars
European fellows

Soft clouds daze-like fun yellow
Emotionally their crying
Broken one scattered piece
of glass, please I see something
to smile about
Super rich why do they get
the VIP pass laughing
He's the roundabout
Someone with love handles
Can we handle all this
Getting drinks and hot lady
winks hit or miss
Racing their motorcycles
Dark glove handles
What Harley Davidson cycles
Is that your best reaction trying
Mirror my mirror on the wall
I am not buying it super
rich mechanic
The only one chosen mirror
She feels ******
Love can give you tumors
Dissect you who will direct you
You don't feel this is your time
The sunny side of the street
Sunnyside eggs over easy

The Speakeasy
Your hair of ringlets **** wavy
Did he nail your darker side beat
Bird up your nest feeders heat
Don't break me up to fall
The phone rings dingaling
Spiritual candles witch is dead
Your mind is somewhere else
instead
Just make your silk ties of the bed
Tied to your ankle I love you
How your hearts just dangle
"Having a nail full because you're single"
Were all linked into something
Yodeling, not the business
of smuggling
Knocking on heavens door
Super rich marble black and white floor
Hammering nails in the cabin
He's fishing the hooks how it fits together
hugging
Going up the staircase to heaven
What a big cliff-hanging nail diver

Zippety Zepellin*
Songs whole lotta love
How you've been nailed in
the blackout
Not a piece blackout cake
Canarsie at the pier
Out of nails, the darkness hits me
Bend over nails like the devil more rivals
Never to be resentful
Always pray to be needful
Her face value of her smile
Being poor her soul
stepped on

Too many men, not enough nails
But they got their thrills
New York City construction
worker
He's wiped out being hammered
nails hot drills
Such poorly written emails

Her heels got stuck
No stars to shine *Rusty bar
Starbucks

Her mind was a
bulletproof vest  
"Jane and *****"
"Plain Janes" movie cut
Of paper dolls
Being Nailed Bunny hunt
of tricks
But all weapons he nailed her the best*

Blood stem thorns
Italian love horns
Robin Redbreast tweet text
What holds us together
French **** nails
Fountain of golden coins

Lion heads or tails the door
Back to spam ham of emails
Super rich we may never be
But New York will always
be my kind of town
He nailed it so
many times

New Yorker super rich talker
Like a perilous time super
rich food delicious
Pygmalion how we nail our nation
Super Rich, I rather have a rich blend of my coffee and savor all the rich tones  I tune who wants to hammer the nails that not a girl wanting to have fun flavor my music all sounds. So much higher than anyone with money I love my honey on my face to the Spa Tra La La that's super rich it sticks
Amethyst Fyre Jan 2017
The spiral staircase I chose to take,
I thought I was climbing out.
But every step I go up,
The air seems to grow heavier
And instead of clear night skies,
I see an unending vacuum of darkness.

I want someone to push and pull and climb by my side
But I cannot ask that sacrifice
I cannot need that
For these stairs are a bitter place
And no one wants to talk or taste

I will sew my lips together
And whisper my thoughts only to my needle
My heart will cry silver tears
But no one will know, no one will hear

I climb my stairs alone
Gaye Apr 2016
In the end, I never really climbed-
Them, they gave me panic attacks,
Razors loped my flesh and I ran in
Circles over a reverse nightmare,
Spiral staircase, awful storeys,
They all scooted to 1999.

I want to climb down my 1999, burn
And not be smolder in an ashtray.
I hope to fall asleep, away from
The city, away from my guava trees.
I have my history of walking,
Suddenly lost without postage stamps.

Will you take me to Ferris wheel?
Push me down the spiral staircase,
And sleep next to my 1999? Will you?
Will you take me to Ferris wheel?
Push me down the spiral staircase,
And sleep next to my 1999? Will you?

“Some other day”
Susan Hunt Jul 2012
CHAPTER ONE: THE DEMISE OF A YOUNG GIRL SEPTEMBER 1975


I had not seen my father in over two years when he showed up at my mom and step dad's condo. He had a slick knack of disappearing when laws were broken and he was wanted for questioning. He had an even better ability to re-enter when the heat was off.

My father owned three nightclubs in Oklahoma City. His first was the Silver Sword, and then he opened The Red Slipper. After he met his second wife, they together, opened the Jade Club.

All were successful, but the Red Slipper had a reputation. On a rare occasion, my dad would take me with him to open up the place. At first, it scared me. It was so dark in there. But as the lights came on behind the bar, I fell in love with the atmosphere.

Bobby Orr’s hockey stick hung on the wall, along with an endearing note from F. Lee Bailey. At six years old, all I knew was that they were the objects that made my dad beam.

I learned to play pool by standing on a phone book. I watched the colorful smacking ***** bounce around the most beautiful color of green I had ever seen. Chalking the stick was a chore, but after nearly poking my eye out once, I soon caught on.

It was a struggle to climb up on a barstool, but it was worth the effort. I sat at the bar and had lunch: popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and Pepsi.

As I grew older, I saw less and less of him, until he became a stranger, drifting in every once in awhile.  Every few weeks or so, I would come home from school, and see his car in the driveway.

This always shot fear and excitement through me. The air of unpredictability always made me want to ***. Unfortunately, most of the time, we were locked out of the house for a few hours, so I would have to *** in the back yard or at the neighbors. We waited on the stairs for the front door to open. And it always did, by my mom. She usually looked satisfied and serene but other times, I saw dread and sadness on her face.

Ever since I could remember, my dad had been a string of disappointments for me with a few indescribable moments of pure enjoyment mixed in between He could be kind, funny and like a real dad sometimes, that was the dad I missed. I tried to hold onto those experiences, even though he was such a mean ******* most of the time. But mostly, I just didn't know him.

Their divorce became final around the summer of 1972, but that didn't stop my mom from loving him. I don't know why, but she chased him frequently, going out to bars with her friends, trying to get a glimpse of him, and maybe more.

The last time I’d seen my father had not been pleasant. When I was thirteen, he broke down the door to our apartment and went straight to my mother’s bedroom. The noises were terrifying. The screaming, and punching sounds were followed by my mother’s whimpering, begging, groveling.

"How dare you do this to me, Patsy!? And behind my back! You could have at least told me!"

My dad had bailed himself out of jail that night. She promised him she would never seek alimony or child support again. Her lawyer was wrong. It wasn’t worth getting killed over.  

Shortly after, he had to leave the state. It had something to do with a low-level mob deal involving an insurance fraud. Too bad, it involved burning a building with someone in it. My dad became nothing but a memory, which faded away over time.

**

Alcohol and tobacco were constants in my family, so when my older brother, Tim, started smoking at ten years old, I don't remember much protest from anyone. I was seven and when my sister Abby, turned ten the next year, she also started smoking.  All the older kids were smoking cigarettes. I wanted to be cool, so I puked and coughed as I practiced. By the time I was ten, I too, was inhaling properly.  Around that time, I was introduced to *** by my sister's boyfriend. It did help my mood, somewhat, but it wasn't enough.

By 1974, I was using drugs from my sister’s boyfriend. John was a true drugstore cowboy. At first, he committed burglaries, which were easy at the time. There were no sophisticated electronics to stop someone from cutting a hole in the roof of a pharmacy. It took only minutes to pry open the safe that contained the narcotics. Then it took maybe another minute to fill a pillowcase full of every variety of amphetamines, barbiturates, valiums, etc.

It wasn’t long before I graduated to using morphine, ******* and then overdosed on Demerol. My stepfather sent me to a treatment facility in Tulsa Oklahoma, about one hundred miles away from Oklahoma City. The Dillon treatment center didn’t accept clients under age of sixteen but made an exception with me. I was a walking-talking disastrous miracle...or a miraculously saved disaster.

They figured that since I was fourteen, the sooner the better to start my road to recovery. Apparently, they didn’t condone sneaking *** and valiums in to the facility. I was kicked out of Dillon after about a month.

I came back home and laid low. I went back to Hefner Jr. High and enrolled back into the ninth grade. I quietly picked up where I left off, going back into business with John. My job was to sell the safe stuff; valiums, seconols, white bennies, ***, etc.


Summer came; I turned fifteen and had developed a tendency to over test my wares. I overdosed and nearly died in the hospital several times, which had led to my current predicament. Nobody knew what to do with me.

In August, I entered the tenth grade...for two weeks. I was expelled, (you guessed it) for dealing drugs. I was on homebound teaching twice a week with little supervision. My mother worked, my step-dad, **** ,worked, and I was home all day. However, I was not just sitting idly around. I was into enterprise.

**

In September, I overdosed again. I was quickly killing myself and my mother didn’t know what to do to stop it. That is why what happened was not my mother’s fault. But it wasn’t my fault either.

I never figured out how he knew where we lived. My mother moved over at least fourteen times in between the time I was six and twelve years old. Yet, here he was, at our front door, with his undeniable ‘ah shucks’ charm. His modesty was convincing. His timing was incredible. My mother stood frozen, her mouth agape. **** took the lead. He placed himself between my mother and father.

“You must be Gary Don, my name is ****; I’m Patsy’s husband." **** had never met my dad, but he'd heard enough about him to surmise who was standing at the door.

"Um, yeah, I'm Gary Don, it's nice to meet you ****", he said; as he offered a friendly hand shake to ****.

"I hope I'm not interrupting you, I was just in Duncan with my parents and they suggested I stop by and talk with you before heading back west. It's about Susie....

"Yes, Patsy said you called yesterday. We weren't expecting you this soon, but it's no problem. Why don't you come in and tell us what your plans are? Patsy, honey, would you mind putting on a *** of coffee?”

This unfroze my mother and she scurried to the kitchen. I was still in shock at seeing my dad’s face. I retreated to the staircase, but poked my head around and caught him glance at me. I flew up to the landing. I could easily escape up the rest of the stairs to my bedroom.
I was small enough to remain hidden on the landing, and heard the conversation between my mother, my dad and ****. **** was the classiest, most even-tempered adult I had ever encountered. I wished I could stop hurting him and my mother.  

My mother sat down two cups of coffee on the dining room table where my dad and **** sat. As she retreated a few steps back into the kitchen, **** politely probed my dad. My dad had the right answer for every question.

He swore he was a completely different person. He had changed. He had no hard feelings, instead he was back to help. He was remorseful for being an absent father and he wanted to make things right. He was back for a reason. He had heard that I was in trouble with drugs and school and he felt guilty for that. He had the answer to my problems. He was so convincing, so….humble, almost shy.

As I listened, I began freaking out with fear and excitement. I always wanted my dad. The last time I tried to live with him, it didn’t work out; he sent me back to my mother’s after a month. Now my dad wanted me! He wanted to save me, take care of me!

He lived by himself now. He was the manager of The Palace Restaurant/Hotel in the little town of Raton, New Mexico. It was a refurbished hotel, built over a century ago The ground floor was an elegant bar and restaurant. He was making very good money, he paid no rent and he had an extra room for me.

With a population of 6000, it was not a place to continue a lucrative drug business. Also, he would enroll me into the little high school and I could get my diploma. I could work in the restaurant in the evenings where he would keep his eye on me. Then, there was the horse. He would buy me a horse. And on and on and on.

The logic and sincerity of his argument was convincing. So there it was. An hour later, my bags were packed. I was going to live with my father in New Mexico.

That’s how in September 1975, my father whisked me away from my home in Oklahoma City, under the guise of saving me from my own demise. I was stolen and held captive in Raton, New Mexico for what seemed like forever.

My dog, Baron was coming with me, I refused to go anywhere without him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, when I got back from Tulsa. To me, he was priceless. He was my best friend. He couldn’t have weighed more than ten pounds, but his heart was huge.

I talked to him about everything and he consoled me by nodding, and licking me on the cheek non-stop…or he would admonish me through his expressions and demeanor. I had lived with Dachshunds since I was seven, so understood their language pretty well. Baron understood humans better. We developed a rare communication that worked well for both of us.
Herman, our older dachshund had greeted my dad cordially. Baron couldn’t figure this out, he expressed his apprehension. He looked at me and conveyed,

“Well, if Herman isn’t worried, I guess it’ll be Okay, right? Right, Susan?”

I was sorry I didn’t have an honest answer. I did my best to settle him.

“Sure, this’ll be fun, a whole new adventure!”

As we drove West, toward the Texas panhandle, Baron kept the conversation going by his curious interest expressed by wide eyes and attentive ears. My dad amazed him with his knowledge of history, geography, geology, astronomy, world geo-politics, weather, music on the radio, literature, mechanics, religion and countless other topics. I knew he was faking his fascination with my dad. He knew he was doing me a favor.

There was not a dead moment in the air. An occasional “really?” expressed by me was enough to keep my dad’s mouth running. I was thankful for that. It kept my attention away from my jangle of emotions. As we drove through the night, I was conflicted, scared, excited, happy and worried. I didn’t know where I was going, or who was driving me there.

My dad’s jovial demeanor comforted me. He made The Palace sound like the perfect place for his little princess.

When we arrived, it was late, after 10pm., Baron was exhausted. I stood on the corner and looked up. I gulped. The three-story building was like an old gothic castle. It was a huge rectangle with the front corner cut back with a fifth wall about ten feet wide. This provided the entrance with two giant oak doors. Baron was less than enthused by its foreboding appearance. I had to agree.

Dad ignored my hesitation. “Come on, you’re going to love this place!”

He pulled open one of the oak doors, which had to weigh at least five hundred pounds. I was hesitant, but thirsty. Baron’s squirming had started to annoy me. I went forward filled with adrenalin.

The initial entrance was a small round foyer with a domed ceiling of cut glass. It was about six feet round. As I stared up at the beautiful little pieces of color, I heard my dad chuckle.

“See? I told you, there’s no place like this!”

Then I saw the true entry to the bar, a set of small bat winged doors that swung back and forth. He pulled one of the doors back, beckoning me forward. He looked down at me with a tender expression.

“Welcome home, honey, this is home now.”

As we entered the bar, I was dumbstruck. Baron was not. I stepped back in time, to 1896, into The Palace Hotel.

The bar took up half of the first floor of the hotel. It was the most captivating centerpiece of the establishment. The mirror behind the bar was the longest continuous piece of reflection glass in all the states, the brochure proclaimed. A brass foot rail extended the length of the long cherry oak bar A few feet behind was a waist high railing just like the saloons in old John Wayne movies.

The carpet was a deep royal red interlaced with black swirly patterns. Bright golden paper covered the walls. It was smooth and shiny with raised curly designs made out of felt or maybe even velour. God, I just wanted to reach over and run my fingers across it!  

The wall opposite the bar had windows that were quizzically narrow and impossibly tall. Lush maroon velvet drapes adorned them, parted in the center to provide a view of the quaint town just beyond the sidewalk.

I looked up at the ornate ceiling, which seemed a mile above me. It was covered with tiles of little angels that all looked the same, yet different. The angels danced across the entire ceiling until it curved and met the wall. I got dizzy looking at them.

“You can’t find ceiling tiles like that anywhere! My dad grinned. “They’re covered in pure gold leaf!”

I didn’t know what pure gold leaf was, but the word ‘gold’ impressed me very much.

He introduced me to the staff. I l blushed when he said; “This is Susie, my favorite little girl!” I had never heard that before. The whole crew greeted me warmly, all smiles and friendliness.  

I always paid attention when Baron got nervous but I chose to ignore him. I jostled him in my arms. My stern look at him stopped his squiggling, but his look back conveyed that I was clueless.

I, however thought, Okay, I have died and gone to Heaven! I was enchanted. My fascination with this magical setting made me feel happy; I was in the neatest place I had ever seen. I’m going to love it here!

On the first night, my dad led me around the ground floor. The restaurant was as elegant as the bar. To the rear of the restaurant, there was a large commercial kitchen. Off the rear of the kitchen, he showed, me a short hallway to the back exit. To the right, a huge staircase led to the two upper floors of dilapidated hotel rooms. A manager’s apartment had been converted from several hotel rooms connected together on the second floor, just above the entrance to the hotel.

We ended up back in the bar and sat at a table for two. Crystal, the head bartender stayed on for a little while longer after the rest of the staff were allowed to go home.

Sitting at the table, he ordered Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. I had never had Cream Sherry before, but it tasted like candy with nuts and I had no problem going through numerous rounds in a very short time. I was hungry but I was too nervous to eat.

Baron, however, was ravenous. My dad fed him little pieces filet mignon and French bread with real butter. He played cute for my dad, sitting up and begging. He jumped up, putting his paws on my dad’s leg, wagging his tail like crazy.

I was a little befuddled until I caught his sideways glance that said, “I do not like this guy, but I gotta eat, I’m starving. You’re the one falling into his into his trap, not me.”

Ouch. “Baron, sometimes I wish you would shut the hell up.”

After having his fill, he settled into a wary sleep on top of my feet. I never worried about losing Baron. Where I went, he went, period.

I wasn’t aware when the bartender left. The bottle was on the table before I knew it; he kept my glass full. I was five feet tall and weighed 106 pounds. I had a lethal level of alcohol pulsing threw my entire body…and I had my daddy.

I was in a haze. Actually, it was more of a daze than a haze. My vision was
Mitchell Duran Feb 2013
Goodbye Prague, to a city I never thought I'd know.
Goodbye Prague, to a heaven that is lined with shattered beer bottles and stamped out cigarettes the junkies and the hobo's here still manage to get a  few puffs out of.
Goodbye Prague, to a hell that was once hovering with the feelings of control, manipulation, and more control, but now is twirling top speed to a land unknown.
Goodbye Prague, you seductive ***** with your cheap liquor, beer, and cigarettes, smelling of aged mahogany mixed finely with an acidic burst of fresh *****.
Goodbye Prague, I do not know when I will see you again, but I hope that I do and that I never grow so old that I forget you.
Goodbye to your abstract animals smeared black, screaming in the exploding summer sun. Goodbye to freshly cut pigs heads and cow flesh, hanging in your storefront window, tempting every passerby like the *****'s of Amsterdam.
Goodbye to every cobblestone that shines after a fresh rain or snow, slippery to the newcomer, an annoyance to the amateur, thoughtless to the old timer.
Goodbye to the potraviny's stocked with two crown marked up ***** and space vegetables shaped and colored in a one and only kind of vernacular; without you, I would have half-drunkenly stumbled home towards dreams of menial headaches and shadowy beer or perhaps to The Oak to drink alone.
I scream so long through faint puffs of carbon nicotine clouds made illuminated by the icy orange street lamps 800 years old glow!
I scream so long to late metro's and early trams!
I scream so long to the roaring rocks who reflect the faces of aging clocks!
So long to passed out bums and unforgiving metro officers. So long to dollar fifty beers and the fear of getting deported. So long with counting silver crown to make even, seeing my math prowess has lessened. So long embedded needles and bottle caps deep within the snowy cobble. So long listless wanders all their money thrown away until the month of May comes to knock on their door. So long alleyway romance 100 crown notes and old men in their rickety fishermen boats. So long sad masked faces who in their forward march sit stunned seeing fortune picks only some. So long through the grey mist stabbed with neon signs that attract the youth and the mad. So long to the feeling everything I had to say was the wrong thing. So long to feelings of foreign familiarity whose ball and chain were slowly starting to rust away. So long in song to the player's of Riegrovy hill whose voices I just couldn't stand. So long I've come to understand everyone's got a choice to live or wish they did. So long to the wide swept hills of Petrin, where angel's of lore go to rest atop dusted fresh snow, among the dotted new born vine. So long to the sound of wet metal against metal, a scream of order carried on the blue man's shoulder. So long to a city whose architecture reminds me of old men's faces and whose color reminds me of elderly women's dresses. So long to smoking in front of children without a second thought for their health. So long to racism that is wicked, but grunted genially - the executioner smiles at the accused - the gravedigger's weep for the dead - the ant makes a break for a hill not his. So long forlorn love whose only remedy for a cure is the beer sitting in front of you. So long to wondering what's going on in the world, when all I want and got is what's right in front of me.
Farewell Prague, you shadowed street walker, a cloak of stars around you, finding all that owe you  your due.
Farewell Prague, you in the morning eyes half mast, snow crunching underneath stony white.
Farewell Prague, miss-handler of crooked time pieces stating the obvious, ignoring to blame bluntly on youthful alcohol abuse.
Farewell Prague, you took me up the hill and through the woods where ravens, black as gutter ice, crackled down at me like showers of New Year's fireworks.
Farewell Prague, you gave me peace where I once thought I was unable to have.
Farewell Prague, you befriended me, then ordered me a shot that made me cough, then ordered me a beer so we could sit and truly feel what it is to sit and wallow in our time here.
Farewell Prague, you entranced me with view after view to a city to stubborn to die.
Farewell Prague, I leave you like you would leave me.
Farewell Prague, to your fat snow flakes that drop into wide eyed children mouths, tasting of iron whiskey rye, though they do not flinch at the taste.
Farewell Prague, I leave you with a hush of a whimper, bitter as the cold, and indifferent as the server's over at Cafe Lourve.
Farewell Prague, with a thousand miles of graveyards, where ghosts barely have the strength to weep.
Farewell Prague, I admit I never knew how to love until I came to visit you.
Farewell Prague, as I stare out your cracked and smoky tram windows, my thoughts not my own, shop windows and naked, screaming men, their cigarettes bouncing in between their lips like a jack of spades on smack, where at last we see that life is only a worth a **** if lived.
Farewell Prague, I see the cards there on the table and you're winking at me while I stand at the backdoor, and what's more, there's a secret you've got to give that I refuse believe.
Farewell Prague, to your open sore catastrophe of society, KFC on every block, and Starbuck's on every other, and on the other other are the lined' wino's shaking open handed and spread for a case of cardboard vino.
Farewell Prague, to the nasty smoker's in trams that just stopped caring.
Farewell Prague, to a city rhythm generated by an ignorant originality and uniqueness, where the same has no name and the the plain jabber on about their jobs in their pretty blue jeans.
Farewell Prague, because to say goodbye would mean we don't have that friendly tone.
Farewell Prague, I see to sacrifice oneself for the comfort of the elder or the opposite fills me with agitated obligation stationed in a vessel older than I've ever lived - yet I know it, for it is me.
Farewell Prague, you are a lost lullaby caught in the wind of an elastic multi-colored pin-wheel, shining riches of the rainbow into the eyes of children, who all whistle when they snore.
Farewell Prague, a button upon the Earth, like every man.
Farewell Prague, a love song sung in the depths of a damp grey hall, rivers all around, so the sounds too much to drink were outlandish in high emotion, juvenile commotion.
Farewell Prague, we were young - not caring about the future, but of course, with worry in our hearts for worry is a sign of human being human; yet, still, we asked nothing of one another and you gave and I gave and you took and I took and we walked underneath one another's blanket's until we were no longer cold and the winter showed to be just an annoying individual at the party.
Farewell Prague, to your lack of complications, making simplicities acceptable again.
Farewell Prague, to the snow that never stops falling, all while slumbering within dream until the seam is ripped so the old can die.
Farewell Prague, I've shined every marble staircase and washed every tram window; you owe me nothing because I like you.
Farewell Prague, to the long nights bleeding away at the table alone, the lady fast asleep, lit by the dim orange glow of the twisted streetlights below.
Farewell Prague, to the long nights forgetting pains of existence and accepting every solution to ward of resistance.
Farewell Prague, our long talks and hovering walks, always forcing me to balk.
Farewell Prague, at last you got the praise you have always deserved.
Farewell Prague, to hot humid nights filled with *** and butter in the summer and cold bitten cold of ***** and juice a la winter.
Farewell Prague, to bad service but good drink and food.
Farewell Prague, you curious tale the bravest man would waver to say.
Farewell Prague, to bridges galore and more dead leaves then wrinkles on my crooked face.
Farewell Prague, at night the sheen of liquor wears off only if you let it be so.
Farewell Prague, to all the those lonely mornings bent head into book on the way to work.
Farewell Prague, how long till you grow to be young again?
Farewell Prague, how long till I admit my defeat to you?
Farewell Prague, how long until I accept I'm the last fool in this world?
Goodbye Prague, the last soldier is standing, but the war is not yet won.
Goodbye Prague, to your hazy stars glimmering and shining for an indebted audience.
Goodbye Prague, the sun breaking through ink spilled colored clouds, the birds chirping, the dogs barking, and us wondering where we started.
Goodbye Prague, your churches are empty so the sins of man run rampant and at last the prayers of men go unanswered; we now abandoned to fend for ourselves.
Goodbye Prague, the puncturing purity of your ways make me giggle in delight as I listen to the cool piano man play; his eyes on the horizon shattering like toppled china.
Goodbye Prague, at last there is a time where we both get what we want.
Goodbye Prague, the verandas are chilled with the dew of winter and the snow glitters like bitter diamonds as the fool tips his hat to shy away the sunlight.
Goodbye Prague, every rain drop that fell upon me was a gift you can never take away.
Goodbye Prague, the fool adheres to agnostic rules but the cruel here see no reason to sue.
Goodbye Prague, I think therefore the dust of escape reflects the waves of the river Vlatva.
Goodbye Prague, to your lack of vowels.
Goodbye Prague, when the night wavers hear the Beherovka weep into its own glass, love leaving her forever making no note to Kissy.
Goodbye Prague, tram driver's unforgiving in their merciless need for schedule.
Goodbye Prague, the last homage to the war standing like a shining diamond neath chipped and shattered rubble.
Goodbye Prague, a listless memory mentioned only in drifting dream.
Goodbye Prague, every loving glance smelling of freshly poured beer over newly fallen snow.
Goodbye Prague, to your hardness, your beauty, and your madness.
Goodbye Prague, your days wet with rain, stricken by sunlight, reflecting white emerald into the window panes of passing trains.
Goodbye Prague, at last you got what you deserved.
Goodbye Prague, now I can weep and say I have trampled upon your cheek and slunk through your veins and trudged through your blood and skipped through your hair and saw every line - both sought after and nought - you have acquired through time.
Goodbye Prague, there is no reason to get excited, you are free.
Goodbye Prague, I see the silhouette of the trees that line your hills and I am forsaken to see the leaves turning from jovial yellow greens to disregarded and disparaged furnaces of dim fire reds and browns.
Goodbye Prague, the people within you deserved all of the credit.
Good Prague, the people outside of you deserve what ever they believe they do.
Goodbye Prague, you family to families with common sense and love rampaging through your barley stained veins.
Goodbye Prague, perhaps there is nothing under your rubble, maybe already all is lost for everyone, everywhere, but maybe, you living the simpler life, can show all that life can be so.
Goodbye Prague, you gave me letters, words, lines, commas, apostrophes, and dashes, paragraphs, pages, and eventually, a story; I leave you marked.
Goodbye Prague, an old friend whose hand I shook but knew would one day turn my back on.
Goodbye Prague, the bite of your cold generosity and your bustling love leaves man with nothing but to bike back with no chance of triumph.
Goodbye Prague, street cleaners clean up your wear and tear from the mothers and fathers that bore you, some 800 years ago; ageless, you loom longer than they would like.
Goodbye Prague, battling sleep as the ***** raps for more and more, none that the man has.
Goodbye Prague, the night is curling in as the wave crashes to the short and I am the lost sun looking for a place to rise, trying to get to the sky.
Lauren Upadhyay Dec 2012
"It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things." -Lemony Snicket

For all its ostensible simplicity, death is complicated for those of us who have yet to experience it. And while I appreciate Snicket's sentiment, coping with loss is not always this straightforward. It is not always possible to merely readjust oneself after the painful shock of losing someone we care about, simply because some relationships transcend illusory misstep; there are some people who are more to us than just the empty space through which we navigate and which confuses us and makes us feel silly when we realize that there was never really any reason to worry in the first place, and that we are going to be just fine.

In much the same way as realizing we've tripped over a non-existent stair, it is always uncomfortably surprising when we lose someone we know. It's a feeling akin to being suddenly and aggressively shaken awake from some mildly enjoyable, but generally monotonous dream. Like we couldn't have predicted as much, as if it were some exotic and unfortunate illness that only ever happens to people in newspapers. And whenever we are made to confront the painful yet obvious reality, it forces us take a step back and reevaluate things.

It makes us think of the deceased, and how we must readjust our view of the world to accommodate their absence. And yes, many times this adjustment amounts to nothing more than a brief moment of miscalculation and confusion. But there are some times when this is not the case, when the loss of a person causes an unmistakable and lasting difference in our lives. There is a rare and special closeness with certain people that some of us are lucky enough to experience, and which at some point causes us to unconsciously realize the verity and significance of these people's existence.

There comes a moment when a person ceases to be merely an imagined phenomenon, and forever becomes an integral piece of the staircase in the multi-storied building of one's life. The people who ineffably and eternally changed us; the people who inadvertently etched themselves into our framework and forced us to recognize their inextricable realness. These are the people for whom we do not become only momentarily disoriented when they leave. When they stop existing there is one less step, a permanent gap in the staircase. And no matter how much time passes, no matter how well adjusted we become, it will never feel quite right skipping a step, making the unnatural lunge over the empty space they've left behind.
Susan Hunt Jul 2012
CHAPTER ONE: THE DEMISE OF A YOUNG GIRL SEPTEMBER 1975


I had not seen my father in over two years when he showed up at my mom and step dad's condo. He had a slick knack of disappearing when laws were broken and he was wanted for questioning. He had an even better ability to re-enter when the heat was off.

My father owned three nightclubs in Oklahoma City. His first was the Silver Sword, and then he opened The Red Slipper. After he met his second wife, they together, opened the Jade Club.

All were successful, but the Red Slipper had a reputation. On a rare occasion, my dad would take me with him to open up the place. At first, it scared me. It was so dark in there. But as the lights came on behind the bar, I fell in love with the atmosphere.

Bobby Orr’s hockey stick hung on the wall, along with an endearing note from F. Lee Bailey. At six years old, all I knew was that they were the objects that made my dad beam.

I learned to play pool by standing on a phone book. I watched the colorful smacking ***** bounce around the most beautiful color of green I had ever seen. Chalking the stick was a chore, but after nearly poking my eye out once, I soon caught on.

It was a struggle to climb up on a barstool, but it was worth the effort. I sat at the bar and had lunch: popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and Pepsi.

As I grew older, I saw less and less of him, until he became a stranger, drifting in every once in awhile.  Every few weeks or so, I would come home from school, and see his car in the driveway.

This always shot fear and excitement through me. The air of unpredictability always made me want to ***. Unfortunately, most of the time, we were locked out of the house for a few hours, so I would have to *** in the back yard or at the neighbors. We waited on the stairs for the front door to open. And it always did, by my mom. She usually looked satisfied and serene but other times, I saw dread and sadness on her face.

Ever since I could remember, my dad had been a string of disappointments for me with a few indescribable moments of pure enjoyment mixed in between He could be kind, funny and like a real dad sometimes, that was the dad I missed. I tried to hold onto those experiences, even though he was such a mean ******* most of the time. But mostly, I just didn't know him.

Their divorce became final around the summer of 1972, but that didn't stop my mom from loving him. I don't know why, but she chased him frequently, going out to bars with her friends, trying to get a glimpse of him, and maybe more.

The last time I’d seen my father had not been pleasant. When I was thirteen, he broke down the door to our apartment and went straight to my mother’s bedroom. The noises were terrifying. The screaming, and punching sounds were followed by my mother’s whimpering, begging, groveling.

"How dare you do this to me, Patsy!? And behind my back! You could have at least told me!"

My dad had bailed himself out of jail that night. She promised him she would never seek alimony or child support again. Her lawyer was wrong. It wasn’t worth getting killed over.  

Shortly after, he had to leave the state. It had something to do with a low-level mob deal involving an insurance fraud. Too bad, it involved burning a building with someone in it. My dad became nothing but a memory, which faded away over time.

**

Alcohol and tobacco were constants in my family, so when my older brother, Tim, started smoking at ten years old, I don't remember much protest from anyone. I was seven and when my sister Abby, turned ten the next year, she also started smoking.  All the older kids were smoking cigarettes. I wanted to be cool, so I puked and coughed as I practiced. By the time I was ten, I too, was inhaling properly.  Around that time, I was introduced to *** by my sister's boyfriend. It did help my mood, somewhat, but it wasn't enough.

By 1974, I was using drugs from my sister’s boyfriend. John was a true drugstore cowboy. At first, he committed burglaries, which were easy at the time. There were no sophisticated electronics to stop someone from cutting a hole in the roof of a pharmacy. It took only minutes to pry open the safe that contained the narcotics. Then it took maybe another minute to fill a pillowcase full of every variety of amphetamines, barbiturates, valiums, etc.

It wasn’t long before I graduated to using morphine, ******* and then overdosed on Demerol. My stepfather sent me to a treatment facility in Tulsa Oklahoma, about one hundred miles away from Oklahoma City. The Dillon treatment center didn’t accept clients under age of sixteen but made an exception with me. I was a walking-talking disastrous miracle...or a miraculously saved disaster.

They figured that since I was fourteen, the sooner the better to start my road to recovery. Apparently, they didn’t condone sneaking *** and valiums in to the facility. I was kicked out of Dillon after about a month.

I came back home and laid low. I went back to Hefner Jr. High and enrolled back into the ninth grade. I quietly picked up where I left off, going back into business with John. My job was to sell the safe stuff; valiums, seconols, white bennies, ***, etc.


Summer came; I turned fifteen and had developed a tendency to over test my wares. I overdosed and nearly died in the hospital several times, which had led to my current predicament. Nobody knew what to do with me.

In August, I entered the tenth grade...for two weeks. I was expelled, (you guessed it) for dealing drugs. I was on homebound teaching twice a week with little supervision. My mother worked, my step-dad, **** ,worked, and I was home all day. However, I was not just sitting idly around. I was into enterprise.

**

In September, I overdosed again. I was quickly killing myself and my mother didn’t know what to do to stop it. That is why what happened was not my mother’s fault. But it wasn’t my fault either.

I never figured out how he knew where we lived. My mother moved over at least fourteen times in between the time I was six and twelve years old. Yet, here he was, at our front door, with his undeniable ‘ah shucks’ charm. His modesty was convincing. His timing was incredible. My mother stood frozen, her mouth agape. **** took the lead. He placed himself between my mother and father.

“You must be Gary Don, my name is ****; I’m Patsy’s husband." **** had never met my dad, but he'd heard enough about him to surmise who was standing at the door.

"Um, yeah, I'm Gary Don, it's nice to meet you ****", he said; as he offered a friendly hand shake to ****.

"I hope I'm not interrupting you, I was just in Duncan with my parents and they suggested I stop by and talk with you before heading back west. It's about Susie....

"Yes, Patsy said you called yesterday. We weren't expecting you this soon, but it's no problem. Why don't you come in and tell us what your plans are? Patsy, honey, would you mind putting on a *** of coffee?”

This unfroze my mother and she scurried to the kitchen. I was still in shock at seeing my dad’s face. I retreated to the staircase, but poked my head around and caught him glance at me. I flew up to the landing. I could easily escape up the rest of the stairs to my bedroom.
I was small enough to remain hidden on the landing, and heard the conversation between my mother, my dad and ****. **** was the classiest, most even-tempered adult I had ever encountered. I wished I could stop hurting him and my mother.  

My mother sat down two cups of coffee on the dining room table where my dad and **** sat. As she retreated a few steps back into the kitchen, **** politely probed my dad. My dad had the right answer for every question.

He swore he was a completely different person. He had changed. He had no hard feelings, instead he was back to help. He was remorseful for being an absent father and he wanted to make things right. He was back for a reason. He had heard that I was in trouble with drugs and school and he felt guilty for that. He had the answer to my problems. He was so convincing, so….humble, almost shy.

As I listened, I began freaking out with fear and excitement. I always wanted my dad. The last time I tried to live with him, it didn’t work out; he sent me back to my mother’s after a month. Now my dad wanted me! He wanted to save me, take care of me!

He lived by himself now. He was the manager of The Palace Restaurant/Hotel in the little town of Raton, New Mexico. It was a refurbished hotel, built over a century ago The ground floor was an elegant bar and restaurant. He was making very good money, he paid no rent and he had an extra room for me.

With a population of 6000, it was not a place to continue a lucrative drug business. Also, he would enroll me into the little high school and I could get my diploma. I could work in the restaurant in the evenings where he would keep his eye on me. Then, there was the horse. He would buy me a horse. And on and on and on.

The logic and sincerity of his argument was convincing. So there it was. An hour later, my bags were packed. I was going to live with my father in New Mexico.

That’s how in September 1975, my father whisked me away from my home in Oklahoma City, under the guise of saving me from my own demise. I was stolen and held captive in Raton, New Mexico for what seemed like forever.

My dog, Baron was coming with me, I refused to go anywhere without him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, when I got back from Tulsa. To me, he was priceless. He was my best friend. He couldn’t have weighed more than ten pounds, but his heart was huge.

I talked to him about everything and he consoled me by nodding, and licking me on the cheek non-stop…or he would admonish me through his expressions and demeanor. I had lived with Dachshunds since I was seven, so understood their language pretty well. Baron understood humans better. We developed a rare communication that worked well for both of us.
Herman, our older dachshund had greeted my dad cordially. Baron couldn’t figure this out, he expressed his apprehension. He looked at me and conveyed,

“Well, if Herman isn’t worried, I guess it’ll be Okay, right? Right, Susan?”

I was sorry I didn’t have an honest answer. I did my best to settle him.

“Sure, this’ll be fun, a whole new adventure!”

As we drove West, toward the Texas panhandle, Baron kept the conversation going by his curious interest expressed by wide eyes and attentive ears. My dad amazed him with his knowledge of history, geography, geology, astronomy, world geo-politics, weather, music on the radio, literature, mechanics, religion and countless other topics. I knew he was faking his fascination with my dad. He knew he was doing me a favor.

There was not a dead moment in the air. An occasional “really?” expressed by me was enough to keep my dad’s mouth running. I was thankful for that. It kept my attention away from my jangle of emotions. As we drove through the night, I was conflicted, scared, excited, happy and worried. I didn’t know where I was going, or who was driving me there.

My dad’s jovial demeanor comforted me. He made The Palace sound like the perfect place for his little princess.

When we arrived, it was late, after 10pm., Baron was exhausted. I stood on the corner and looked up. I gulped. The three-story building was like an old gothic castle. It was a huge rectangle with the front corner cut back with a fifth wall about ten feet wide. This provided the entrance with two giant oak doors. Baron was less than enthused by its foreboding appearance. I had to agree.

Dad ignored my hesitation. “Come on, you’re going to love this place!”

He pulled open one of the oak doors, which had to weigh at least five hundred pounds. I was hesitant, but thirsty. Baron’s squirming had started to annoy me. I went forward filled with adrenalin.

The initial entrance was a small round foyer with a domed ceiling of cut glass. It was about six feet round. As I stared up at the beautiful little pieces of color, I heard my dad chuckle.

“See? I told you, there’s no place like this!”

Then I saw the true entry to the bar, a set of small bat winged doors that swung back and forth. He pulled one of the doors back, beckoning me forward. He looked down at me with a tender expression.

“Welcome home, honey, this is home now.”

As we entered the bar, I was dumbstruck. Baron was not. I stepped back in time, to 1896, into The Palace Hotel.

The bar took up half of the first floor of the hotel. It was the most captivating centerpiece of the establishment. The mirror behind the bar was the longest continuous piece of reflection glass in all the states, the brochure proclaimed. A brass foot rail extended the length of the long cherry oak bar A few feet behind was a waist high railing just like the saloons in old John Wayne movies.

The carpet was a deep royal red interlaced with black swirly patterns. Bright golden paper covered the walls. It was smooth and shiny with raised curly designs made out of felt or maybe even velour. God, I just wanted to reach over and run my fingers across it!  

The wall opposite the bar had windows that were quizzically narrow and impossibly tall. Lush maroon velvet drapes adorned them, parted in the center to provide a view of the quaint town just beyond the sidewalk.

I looked up at the ornate ceiling, which seemed a mile above me. It was covered with tiles of little angels that all looked the same, yet different. The angels danced across the entire ceiling until it curved and met the wall. I got dizzy looking at them.

“You can’t find ceiling tiles like that anywhere! My dad grinned. “They’re covered in pure gold leaf!”

I didn’t know what pure gold leaf was, but the word ‘gold’ impressed me very much.

He introduced me to the staff. I l blushed when he said; “This is Susie, my favorite little girl!” I had never heard that before. The whole crew greeted me warmly, all smiles and friendliness.  

I always paid attention when Baron got nervous but I chose to ignore him. I jostled him in my arms. My stern look at him stopped his squiggling, but his look back conveyed that I was clueless.

I, however thought, Okay, I have died and gone to Heaven! I was enchanted. My fascination with this magical setting made me feel happy; I was in the neatest place I had ever seen. I’m going to love it here!

On the first night, my dad led me around the ground floor. The restaurant was as elegant as the bar. To the rear of the restaurant, there was a large commercial kitchen. Off the rear of the kitchen, he showed, me a short hallway to the back exit. To the right, a huge staircase led to the two upper floors of dilapidated hotel rooms. A manager’s apartment had been converted from several hotel rooms connected together on the second floor, just above the entrance to the hotel.

We ended up back in the bar and sat at a table for two. Crystal, the head bartender stayed on for a little while longer after the rest of the staff were allowed to go home.

Sitting at the table, he ordered Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. I had never had Cream Sherry before, but it tasted like candy with nuts and I had no problem going through numerous rounds in a very short time. I was hungry but I was too nervous to eat.

Baron, however, was ravenous. My dad fed him little pieces filet mignon and French bread with real butter. He played cute for my dad, sitting up and begging. He jumped up, putting his paws on my dad’s leg, wagging his tail like crazy.

I was a little befuddled until I caught his sideways glance that said, “I do not like this guy, but I gotta eat, I’m starving. You’re the one falling into his into his trap, not me.”

Ouch. “Baron, sometimes I wish you would shut the hell up.”

After having his fill, he settled into a wary sleep on top of my feet. I never worried about losing Baron. Where I went, he went, period.

I wasn’t aware when the bartender left. The bottle was on the table before I knew it; he kept my glass full. I was five feet tall and weighed 106 pounds. I had a lethal level of alcohol pulsing threw my entire body…and I had my daddy.

I was in a haze. Actually, it was more of a daze than a haze. My vision was
T'was the night before Christmas
And with everything done
The kids were all dreaming
Of Christmas Day fun
The tree was completed
We had wrapped all the toys
When from the basement below
We heard a faint noise
I sprung from the couch
Took off down the stairs
On my way through the kitchen
I tripped on two chairs
I slid down the staircase
To the base of my house
And there with my shortbreads
Was a ****** great mouse
My wife followed close
And then she let out a shriek
She saw me and the mouse
And she started to freak
He nibbled the cookie
and he ran past my nose
right down my torso
Then he stopped at my toes
My wife was still screaming
The mouse didn't care
He continued his running
On under the stairs
I crawled to my workshop
Grabbed the first thing I found
A mallet for pounding
That mouse in the ground
I limped to the staircase
And I swung at the wall
I again lost my balance
And again, I did fall
I put two holes in the riser
Two more in the tread
I was gonna keep swinging
Till that mouse was dead
I broke the one lightbulb
That lit up the room
Now I was worried
I couldn't see...found the broom
I stepped on one end
Squared my self in the sack
I then heard a noise
The mouse had come back
I heard his slight skitter
As he went past my feet
He was off to the larder
For more stuff to eat
I went back to the workshop
Tripping at least three more times
I would finish this mouse
He would pay for his crimes
I grabbed for a lighter
And my large propane torch
I would hunt down this mouse
And his **** I would scorch
I lit up the propane
And I aimed at the stairs
It caught light on the carpet
And I burnt both those chairs
The flames went on upward
The stairs were quite dry
I laughed in hysterics
That **** mouse would fry
My wife had recovered
And decided to run
but, after seeing the flames
She phoned up 9 1 1
The mouse left the building
In fact, he never was found
The house burned in seconds
It collapsed to the ground
And through the whole scene
I just stood there and laughed
At the wreckage before me
And I thought, **** I'm daft
I had ruined our Christmas
And I burned down our house
Over a **** shortbread cookie
And one little mouse
The kids, they got out
And were wrapped up and warm
While I was creating
My own perfect storm
The gifts were all ruined
The house ...all consumed
And over my head
One large question loomed
If I had gone for the shotgun
And shot at the mouse
Would I be still having Christmas
And would I still have a house
My wife came on over
And she gave me a swat
She said "look what you've done"
"you great stupid ****"
I learned a great lesson
and folks ...it is that
Once I rebuild
I will then buy a cat!!!
Mike Bergeron Sep 2012
There was a house fire on my street last night …well… not exactly my street, but on a little, sketchy, dead-end strip of asphalt, sidewalks, weeds, and garbage that juts into my block two houses down. It was on that street. Rosewood Court, population: 12, adjusted population: 11, characterized by anonymity and boarded windows, peppered with the swift movements of fat street rats. I’ve never been that close to a real, high-energy, make-sure-to-spray-down-your-roof-with-a-hose-so-it-doesn’t-catch­ fire before. It was the least of my expectations for the evening, though I didn’t expect a crate of Peruvian bananas to fall off a cargo plane either, punching through the ceiling, littering the parking lot with damaged fruit and shingles, tearing paintings and shelves and studs from the third floor walls, and crashing into our kitchen, shattering dishes and cabinets and appliances. Since that never happened, and since neither the former nor the latter situation even crossed my mind, I’ll stick with “least of my expectations,” and bundle up with it inside that inadequate phrase whatever else may have happened that I wouldn’t have expected.



I had been reading in my living room, absently petting the long calico fur of my roommate’s cat Dory. She’s in heat, and does her best to make sure everyone knows it, parading around, *** in the air, an opera of low trilling and loud meows and deep purring. As a consequence of a steady tide of feline hormones, she’s been excessively good humored, showering me with affection, instead of her usual indifference, punctuated by occasional, self-serving shin rubs when she’s hungry. I saw the lights before I heard the trucks or the shouts of firemen or the panicked wail of sirens, spitting their warning into the night in A or A minor, but probably neither, I’m no musician. Besides, Congratulations was playing loud, flowing through the speakers in the corners of the room, connected to the record player via the receiver with the broken volume control, travelling as excited electrons down stretches of wire that are, realistically, too short, and always pull out. The song was filling the space between the speakers and the space between my ears with musings on Brian Eno, so the auditory signal that should have informed me of the trouble that was afoot was blocked out. I saw the lights, the alternating reds and whites that filled my living room, drawing shifting patterns on my walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and shelves of books, dragging me towards the door leading outside, through the cluttered bike room, past the sleeping, black lump of oblivious fur that is usually my boisterous male kitten, and out into the bedlam I  had previously been ignorant to. I could see the smoke, it was white then gray then white, all the while lending an acrid taste to the air, but I couldn’t see where it was issuing from. The wind was blowing the smoke toward my apartment, away from Empire Mills. I tried to count the firetrucks, but there were so many. I counted six on Wilmarth Ave, one of which was the awkward-looking, heavy-duty special hazards truck. In my part of the city, the post-industrial third-wave ***** river valley, you never know if the grease fire that started with homefries in a frying pan in an old woman’s kitchen will escalate into a full-blown mill fire, the century-old wood floors so saturated with oil and kerosene and ****** and manufacturing chemicals and ghosts and god knows what other flammable **** that it lights up like a fifth of July leftover sparkler, burning and melting the hand of the community that fed it for so many decades, leaving scars that are displayed on the local news for a week and are forgotten in a few years’ time.



The night was windy, and the day had been dry, so precautions were abundant, and I counted two more trucks on Fones Ave. One had the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen. It was parked on the corner of Fones and Wilmarth, directly across from the entrance into the forgotten dead-end where the forgotten house was burning, and the ladder was lifting into the air. By now my two roommates had come outside too, to stand on our rickety, wooden staircase, and Jeff said he could see flames in the windows of one of the three abandoned houses on Rosewood, through the third floor holes where windows once were, where boards of plywood were deemed unnecessary.



“Ay! Daddy!”



My neighbor John called up to us. He serves as the eyes and ears and certainly the mouth of our block, always in everyone’s business, without being too intrusive, always aware of what’s going down and who’s involved. He proceeded to tell us the lowdown on the blaze as far as he knew it, that there were two more firetrucks and an ambulance down Rosewood, that the front and back doors to the house were blocked by something from inside, that those somethings were very heavy, that someone was screaming inside, that the fire was growing.



Val had gone inside to get his jacket, because despite the floodlights from the trucks imitating sunlight, the wind and the low temperature and the thought of a person burning alive made the night chilly. Val thought we should go around the block, to see if we could get a better view, to satisfy our congenital need to witness disaster, to see the passenger car flip over the Jersey barrier, to watch the videos of Jihadist beheadings, to stand in line to look at painted corpses in velvet, underlit parlors, and sit in silence while their family members cry. We walked down the stairs, into full floodlight, and there were first responders and police and fully equipped firefighters moving in all directions. We watched two firemen attempting to open an old, rusty fire hydrant, and it could’ve been inexperience, the stress of the situation, the condition of the hydrant, or just poor luck, but rather than opening as it was supposed to the hydrant burst open, sending the cap flying into the side of a firetruck, the water crashing into the younger of the two men’s face and torso, knocking him back on his ***. While he coughed out surprised air and water and a flood of expletives, his partner got the situation under control and got the hose attached. We turned and walked away from the fire, and as we approached the turn we’d take to cut through the rundown parking lot that would bring us to the other side of the block, two firemen hurried past, one leading the other, carrying between them a stretcher full of machines for monitoring and a shitload of wires and tubing. It was the stiff board-like kind, with handles on each end, the kind of stretcher you might expect to see circus clowns carry out, when it’s time to save their fallen, pie-faced cohort. I wondered why they were using this archaic form of patient transportation, and not one of the padded, electrical ones on wheels. We pushed past the crowd that had begun forming, walked past the Laundromat, the 7Eleven, the carwash, and took a left onto the street on the other side of the parking lot, parallel to Wilmarth. There were several older men standing on the sidewalk, facing the fire, hands either in pockets or bringing a cigarette to and from a frowning mouth. They were standing in the ideal place to witness the action, with an unobstructed view of the top two floors of the burning house, its upper windows glowing orange with internal light and vomiting putrid smoke.  We could taste the burning wires, the rugs, the insulation, the asbestos, the black mold, the trash, and the smell was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my shirt, though it provided little relief. We said hello, they grunted the same, and we all stood, watching, thinking about what we were seeing, not wanting to see what we were thinking.

Two firefighters were on the roof by this point, they were yelling to each other and to the others on the ground, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the sirens from all the emergency vehicles that were arriving.  It seemed to me they sent every firetruck in the city, as well as more than a dozen police cars and a slew of ambulances, all of them arriving from every direction. I guess they expected the fire to get really out of hand, but we could already see the orange glow withdrawing into the dark of the house, steam and smoke rippling out of the stretched, wooden mouths of the rotted window frames. In a gruff, habitual smoker’s voice, we heard

                                      “Chopper called the fire depahtment

We was over at the vet’s home

                He says he saw flames in the windas

                                                                                                                                                We all thought he was shittin’ us

We couldn’t see nothin’.”

A man between fifty-five to sixty-five years old was speaking, no hair on his shiny, tanned head, old tattoos etched in bluish gray on his hands, arms, and neck, menthol smoke rising from between timeworn fingers. He brought the cigarette to his lips, drew a hearty chest full of smoke, and as he let it out he repeated

                                                “Yea, chopper called em’

Says he saw flames.”

The men on the roof were just silhouettes, backlit by the dazzling brightness of the lights on the other side.  The figure to the left of the roof pulled something large up into view, and we knew instantly by the cord pull and the sound that it was a chainsaw. He began cutting directly into the roof. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, wondered if he was scared of falling into the fire, assumed he probably was, but had at least done this before, tried to figure out if he was doing it to gain entry or release pressure or whatever. The man to the right was hacking away at the roof with an axe. It was surreal to watch, to see two men transformed from public servants into fingers of destruction, the pinkie and ring finger fighting the powerful thumb of the controlled chemical reaction eating the air below them, to watch the dark figures shrouded in ethereal light and smoke and sawdust and what must’ve been unbearable heat from below, to be viewing everything with my own home, my belongings, still visible, to know it could easily have gone up in flames as well.

I should’ve brought my jacket. I remember complaining about it, about how the wind was passing through my skin like a window screen, chilling my blood, in sharp contrast to the heat that was morphing and rippling the air above the house as it disappeared as smoke and gas up into the atmosphere from the inside out.

Ten minutes later, or maybe five, or maybe one, the men on the roof were still working diligently cutting and chopping, but we could no longer see any signs of flames, and there were figures moving around in the house, visible in the windows of the upper floors, despite the smoke. Figuring the action must be reaching its end, we decided to walk back to our apartment. We saw Ken’s brown pickup truck parked next to the Laundromat, unable to reach our parking lot due to all the emergency vehicles and people clogging our street. We came around the corner and saw the other two members of the Infamous Summers standing next to our building with the rest of the crowd that had gathered. Dosin told us the fire was out, and that they had pulled someone from inside the gutted house, but no ambulance had left yet, and his normally smiling face was flat and somber, and the beaten guitar case slung over his shoulder, and his messed up hair, and the red in his cheeks from the cold air, and the way he was moving rocks around with the toe of his shoe made him look like a lost child, chasing a dream far from home but finding a nightmare in its place, instead of the professional who never loses his cool or his direction.

The crowd all began talking at once, so I turned around, towards the dead end and the group of firefighters and EMTs that were emerging. Their faces were stoic, not a single expression on all but one of those faces, a young EMT, probably a Basic, or a Cardiac, or neither, but no older than twenty, who was silently weeping, the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his cheeks, his eyes empty of emotion, his lips drawn tight and still. Four of them were each holding a corner of the maroon stretcher that took two to carry when I first saw it, full of equipment. They did not rush, they did not appear to be tending to a person barely holding onto life, they were just carrying the weight. As they got close gasps and cries of horror or disgust or both issued from the crowd, some turned away, some expressions didn’t change, some eyes closed and others stayed fixed on what they came to see. One woman vomited, right there on the sidewalk, splashing the shoes of those near her with the partially digested remains of her EBT dinner. I felt my own stomach start to turn, but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t.

                                                                                It was like I was seven again,

                                in the alleyway running along the side of the junior high school I lived near and would eventually attend,

looking in silent horror at what three eighth graders from my neighborhood were doing.

It was about eight in the evening of a rainy,

late summer day,

and I was walking home with my older brother,

cutting through the alley like we always did.

The three older boys were standing over a small dog,

a terrier of some sort.

They had duct taped its mouth shut and its legs together,

but we could still hear its terrified whines through its clenched teeth.

One of the boys had cut off the dog’s tail.

He had it in one hand,

and was still holding the pocket knife in the other.

None of them were smiling,

or talking,

nor did they take notice of Andrew and I.

There was a garden bag standing up next to them that looked pretty full,

and there was a small pile of leaves on the ground next to it.

In slow motion I watched,

horrified,

as one of the boys,

Brian Jones-Hartlett,

picked up the shaking animal,

put it in the bag,

covered it with the leaves from the ground,

and with wide,

shining eyes,

set the bag

on fire

with a long-necked

candle

lighter.

It was too much for me then. I couldn’t control my nausea. I threw up and sat down while my head swam.

I couldn’t understand. I forgot my brother and the fact that he was older, that he should stop this,

Stop them,

There’s a dog in there,

You’re older, I’m sick,

Why can’t I stop them?

It was like
AJ Mayfield Sep 2014
Going up or coming down,
be not dizzy going ‘round
On the roof or on the staircase,
always seeking, often loving
Let our hearts be light and true,
never trapped nor earthly-bound
Meet me often in the spiral,
meet me once on hallowed ground
There our cares shall be forgotten,
there our sweet embrace be found
There our final song be spoken,
there our eulogy be sung
Let the bells toll out our courage,
let the mourners cry aloud
We won't be there, will we darling,
we won’t stay to hear the sound
They may linger in remembrance,
we'll be dancing on a cloud
A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.
The mentor
and the student
feed off each other.
Many a girl
had an old aunt
who locked her in the study
to keep the boys away.
They would play rummy
or lie on the couch
and touch and touch.
Old breast against young breast...
Let your dress fall down your shoulder,
come touch a copy of you
for I am at the mercy of rain,
for I have left the three Christs of Ypsilanti
for I have left the long naps of Ann Arbor
and the church spires have turned to stumps.
The sea bangs into my cloister
for the politicians are dying,
and dying so hold me, my young dear,
hold me...

The yellow rose will turn to cinder
and New York City will fall in
before we are done so hold me,
my young dear, hold me.
Put your pale arms around my neck.
Let me hold your heart like a flower
lest it bloom and collapse.
Give me your skin
as sheer as a cobweb,
let me open it up
and listen in and scoop out the dark.
Give me your nether lips
all puffy with their art
and I will give you angel fire in return.
We are two clouds
glistening in the bottle galss.
We are two birds
washing in the same mirror.
We were fair game
but we have kept out of the cesspool.
We are strong.
We are the good ones.
Do not discover us
for we lie together all in green
like pond weeds.
Hold me, my young dear, hold me.

They touch their delicate watches
one at a time.
They dance to the lute
two at a time.
They are as tender as bog moss.
They play mother-me-do
all day.
A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.


Once there was a witch's garden
more beautiful than Eve's
with carrots growing like little fish,
with many tomatoes rich as frogs,
onions as ingrown as hearts,
the squash singing like a dolphin
and one patch given over wholly to magic --
rampion, a kind of salad root
a kind of harebell more potent than penicillin,
growing leaf by leaf, skin by skin.
as rapt and as fluid as Isadoran Duncan.
However the witch's garden was kept locked
and each day a woman who was with child
looked upon the rampion wildly,
fancying that she would die
if she could not have it.
Her husband feared for her welfare
and thus climbed into the garden
to fetch the life-giving tubers.

Ah ha, cried the witch,
whose proper name was Mother Gothel,
you are a thief and now you will die.
However they made a trade,
typical enough in those times.
He promised his child to Mother Gothel
so of course when it was born
she took the child away with her.
She gave the child the name Rapunzel,
another name for the life-giving rampion.
Because Rapunzel was a beautiful girl
Mother Gothel treasured her beyond all things.
As she grew older Mother Gothel thought:
None but I will ever see her or touch her.
She locked her in a tow without a door
or a staircase. It had only a high window.
When the witch wanted to enter she cried"
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.
Rapunzel's hair fell to the ground like a rainbow.
It was as strong as a dandelion
and as strong as a dog leash.
Hand over hand she shinnied up
the hair like a sailor
and there in the stone-cold room,
as cold as a museum,
Mother Gothel cried:
Hold me, my young dear, hold me,
and thus they played mother-me-do.

Years later a prince came by
and heard Rapunzel singing her loneliness.
That song pierced his heart like a valentine
but he could find no way to get to her.
Like a chameleon he hid himself among the trees
and watched the witch ascend the swinging hair.
The next day he himself called out:
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
and thus they met and he declared his love.
What is this beast, she thought,
with muscles on his arms
like a bag of snakes?
What is this moss on his legs?
What prickly plant grows on his cheeks?
What is this voice as deep as a dog?
Yet he dazzled her with his answers.
Yet he dazzled her with his dancing stick.
They lay together upon the yellowy threads,
swimming through them
like minnows through kelp
and they sang out benedictions like the Pope.

Each day he brought her a skein of silk
to fashion a ladder so they could both escape.
But Mother Gothel discovered the plot
and cut off Rapunzel's hair to her ears
and took her into the forest to repent.
When the prince came the witch fastened
the hair to a hook and let it down.
When he saw Rapunzel had been banished
he flung himself out of the tower, a side of beef.
He was blinded by thorns that prickled him like tacks.
As blind as Oedipus he wandered for years
until he heard a song that pierced his heart
like that long-ago valentine.
As he kissed Rapunzel her tears fell on his eyes
and in the manner of such cure-alls
his sight was suddenly restored.

They lived happily as you might expect
proving that mother-me-do
can be outgrown,
just as the fish on Friday,
just as a tricycle.
The world, some say,
is made up of couples.
A rose must have a stem.

As for Mother Gothel,
her heart shrank to the size of a pin,
never again to say: Hold me, my young dear,
hold me,
and only as she dreamed of the yellow hair
did moonlight sift into her mouth.
I crawled into your bed
a little past 3 a.m.
and spoke into your sleeping head,
“scoot over.”
And sure enough,
the blankets scuffed
as you shifted your weight
and picked away at the rust
and told me that you wouldn’t mind
if I wanted to stay the night.

I watched a man play baseball alone
in his backyard
while a young boy watched, next to a tree,
occasionally retrieving his *****.

You told me I was obsessive,
and too nervous,
but that’s what makes me an artist,
and you stopped and stared,
and said, “Don’t you dare
turn this into a song.
This is not how it plays out in my head
as you got out of bed,
and said maybe you were wrong,
and I shouldn’t spend the night,
but by that time, I was tucked in tight,
in my marmalade cocoon
staring up at the moon
and I saw the face
of a woman whose grace
was unsurpassed by anything
and I mean ANYTHING
I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
Standing there, grinning,
I could feel the beginning
of something more than I was prepared for.
I started to talk to her,
which apparently shocked her,
and I woke to you screaming,
“SOMEONE CALL A DOCTOR!”
Tears rolled down my face
like the staircase from the attic
and you told me to get up
and stop being melodramatic.
You told me I was obsessive,
and too nervous,
but that’s what makes me an artist.
AAYARA ZAYN Jul 2018
when i get home
I realize that my father is there
holding and caressing my little sister
and not even looking at me
I feel like i am alone
i run upstairs like a athlete
not wanting to see it
but my hungry stomach does not allows it
slowly walking down
i see they haven't finished it
why ??
why does he not love me like my little sister
why??
does he hate me

TODAY
I am wild with fury and anger
today i will  hit her
my little sister and
slap her like nobody else
so, so so
i pulled her hair
slapped across her face
but then my dad slapped my face
i did not care about that
i bite her trying to beat
the crap out of her
i did not realize that
i was willing to beat my little sister
but then my dad pushed me
and
started yelling at me while caressing her
seeing this i kicked on my little sis legs
and she wailed out
crying
then taking initiative
my dad got up from his place
grabbed my arms
and then
took me upstairs
pushing me inside
he yelled at me saying
"you ! how dare you beat my daughter, your little sis like that"
"you are not welcome in my family anymore"
i spoke"I wanted you  , you to be my side
wanted you to kiss me hold me like you do to her
am I asking the inferior thing"
he said "even if that was the reason
you should not have done that"
i said "i know and i am sorry"
then
he looked at me  with fury in his face
 and then raised his hand to slap me
i knew he was gonna hit me
but  then he grabbed  and pulled me into his arm
and said "you could have asked that"
he hugged me tight
and kissed my cheek
and just slightly kissed my lips
and told me"this kiss is our secret,
so now apologize to your little sister"
i was more than happy so i asked "can I get my kisses and hugs anytime I want"
he replied me by kissing and hugging me
then suddenly i realized
the person who secretly send me birthday gift was him
the fairy who looked after me when i was sick was him
the one who held my hands during thunder was him
oh! god why did not realized it sooner
i was dumber than I thought i was
slowly walking down the spiral staircase
i asked my sister for forgiveness
and she  forgave me
then( aftermath)
i walked into kitchen finding my father
cooking dinner
i asked "do you need any help"
and he directed me what to do
we were a happy family
and we are still a happy family
BIT OF LONG  SORRY FOR THAT

— The End —