Sunday, June 24, 2012

Darling Verses

I've a need to create,
To sketch, draw or paint,
To visualize, show
& let the world know

The way you make me feel,
To show something real
But that's not my way-
I don't show, I say.

The paintbrush is for you
The canvas is, too.
So these words are mine-
They're cute, 'cause they rhyme.

Let these words illustrate
That I think you're great.
A poem to say
You've made my day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When Connor Ruined Kate

The grass itself was warm. He clenched and unclenched the toes of his bare feet, as if to grasp the earth, whether to pull parts of the lawn up, or to tether himself against the wind, none could say. The sky was a deep, rich grey, the very look of it thirsty for the coming rain. His gaze was steady as he cast it out over the field and to the road. The cars, sporadic in their passing, came and went. He thought of the drivers and passengers. He thought of those heading home, and those going out. “If we could only know,” he thought, “Which way each of us was heading, if  we never had to guess…” He imagined a world, or a culture, in which such destinations were broadcast easily. He yearned for a way of knowing, upon first meeting someone, where they were headed, and how they were getting there. “but then,” he reminded himself, “We ourselves would have to know our own roads.” He waited for the lightning as the first sounds of thunder came slowly and distantly rolling in.
     ”Beauty, strength, truth, and light” he recited to himself, remembering those words, like a prayer. He thought of that day in the cafeteria, and how discussing things like philosophy and poetry and the future with her had always seemed like making a promise. He remembered those four words, and the days when it felt like they were the only ones at their school, possibly in the world, who were seeking those things. He thought of what he’d made of that creed, and if she’d ever love those words again.
     As the first bolt of lightning lit up the sky, he could see her face before him, as he’d seen it earlier that afternoon. He could make out the lines in her face as she bit her lip and furrowed her brow. He could see her eyes shining as they filled with tears. Standing in the field. he thought back to the moment earlier that day when their argument came to an abrupt end. He thought of how the deepest pain in his gut was not stemming from what he’d done. As she had stood, stunned and hurt, all he could think of was how quickly the hot anger had given way to a cold dread, how all the rage dissipated and he was left, frozen, like an empty tomb.
 ”Her head didn’t even turn” He had told himself immediately as it was done, “it wasn’t hard enough to redden her cheek or turn her chin” He had consoled himself.
     Standing in that field as the storm was building around him, he sickened himself, knowing his first concerns in that moment had not been of her, but in making excuses for himself. Another long roll of thunder, another flash. “beauty,” he thought, and in his mind’s eye again saw her. She had crumpled to the floor like a marionette with cut strings. He just stood there, over her, unable to move for long, empty minutes, before he simply turned, and silently left. He thought of his drive home, and the way he’d cursed himself for being like his father, despite many oaths and promises never to be like him, never to do to anyone what he’d seen done to his mother.
     “Strength” he thought, remembering his coward’s exit, his retreat. “Truth”, another flash, and he closed his eyes, the thunder seeming to come not from the sky, but a grumble from the earth beneath him, scolding him, knowing. his fingers of his right hand massaged the palm, as they’d unconsciously done in the hours since that same palm struck her cheek. The wind whipped at his hair and jacket. He muttered a single word, “light” and laughed, when as if on cue, another bolt struck the ground somewhere beyond the road, and the strobing light lit up the darkening skies. She was quick to laugh, once. She was all smiles and hope, hope for and hope fueled by those four words they’d shared. They were their creed, their pledge. He knew he’d changed her in that moment. He knew what he’d taken from her, what he’d broken.

“Beauty, strength, truth, and light” She said into her mirror, and nodded. Outside, a storm was raging, and she knew distantly, having read many books, and seen many films, that she should feel a similar tempest within herself. She examined, closely, her pale cheek. The sting had faded almost instantaneously.  Her fingers lightly brushed the spot where he’d hit her, and she felt her eyes well up with tears again, but quickly suppressed them.
 ”Still beautiful.” she said to her reflection. She forced a smile, let it fade. She followed it with another, and the muscles of her face seemed to respond more quickly and easily. She sighed, and nodded. “Still strong.” She looked down at the things she’d piled on the vanity in front of her: letters, a key chain, a set of earrings, a few albums. She brushed them all, quickly, in one swift motion, into an empty shoe box. Without daring to look in, and holding her breath, she put the lid on the box, tossed it to the floor, and kicked the package under her bed. “it’s was not my fault. That’s true.” she said, not quite believing it yet, but knowing it all the same. She realized the storm had passed, and walked over to open her window before returning to where she’d stood before the mirror. Her confidence wavered then, and broke. She placed her hands on the vanity, and leaned on them, her legs weak. she shook her head and fought back tears. She looked up again, first to her mirror, then outside. “I’ll be ok. I’m ok.” She told herself.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Palimpsest

     I went back to that page, the one that we'd marked. The ink wasn't faded, though the paper was yellowed. After you read those words and took to the book with your red marker, I wasn't sure what I'd think, going back. I can't read the end of the story now, you blacked it out. To be fair, I'd written a chapter open ended enough you can't be blamed. The story took a wrong turn, and it was my doing, but I'd hoped to get our characters back on track. That's all moot now, and barring a re-write, we're left with this abrupt and surprising end.
      As I thumbed through the old chapters, I found an odd sight: all the exclamation points were piled at the bottom of each page, a sad little clump of past excitement. Daring myself, I held my breath and turned to that awful page, the crux of the story. I could see my words, my plotting, clearly enough under the blood red scribbles you'd angrily cast about, and on the next page, a question mark. Past that, it was all blank. I ran my nail along your wild, frenzied lines and scrawls of red. I did the same to my seriffed, ordered regiments of black letters. I scraped and cleaned the ink and blood into my palm. I shook out the remainders of our story, and the exclamation points, with the sound of tiny bells, fell out into my palm.
 "This is it," I told myself. "This is our story, our meeting, our parting, and everything in between."I blew the collection of letters, punctuation, and and angry red flakes out of my palm, as though making a wish, though my mind was blank. The wind carried it all away, and I thumbed quickly through the now blank pages. All in all, this tiny brown leather thing wasn't as baffling as I'd once felt it to be, yet still, was it an artifact or testament? I remembered your dream about the book, and with the memory came a shudder as I tasted vinegar on my tongue. I packed the book away. We'll both tell other stories, I reminded myself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

That Which Lights The Path Is Also The Destination

He sat down at the table with a single candle at its center, casting a dim glow in the darkened room. The light danced and flickered as the candle spoke.
 ”I love you, you know. I always have.” She told him, in a voice not unlike multiple women speaking in unison.
 ”I know. And I’ve always loved you. I loved you yesterday, and I love you now, and I won’t stop. Not tomorrow, not ever.” He said gently.
 ”No, you haven’t always.” came the vaguely pouty reply. “that, before, was a different candle.” He realized, only then, that this was a single voice, subtly different than that which had begun the exchange.
 ”But it’s the same fire.” he answered, somewhat defensively.
 ”Not even.” came another voice, and he was sure it was the flame itself this time. He was getting dizzy, but was sure it was just the dim and flickering light. 
  “Wicks, candles, matches- all different, all unique. Doesn’t each deserve your full attention, and to stand separate in your mind and heart?” Came again the crowd-like voice. “The same is true of each striking, each lighting. Every flame, every fire, is again it’s own wonderful singularity.” they continued.
 ”I’m sorry, I feel as though I’m somehow on trial- am I not doing good, then, with each lighting? Am I not creating something wonderful, or at the very least, enriching life?”
“For awhile,” they conceded. “but then, you blow out the light, extinguish it, so you can move on to another lantern, another flint.”
 ”Well…when I find the right light, I’ll..I won’t have to keep on with all that.” 
 ”No, you won’t.” they said,chiding slightly.
 ”You’re lighting candles and matches and lanterns and stoves.” Came a new voice. “You’ll keep it up, too, until you light a bonfire. There you can camp, there is a light you can read and see clearly by, there you’ll be warm.”  He turned, and behind him he saw an open window from which came the voice, and beyond, the rain that had driven him inside he saw to have passed. He stood up, and turned, regarding the candle. Was the fitful sputtering of the flame a kind of fit, or was it winking at him, a playful jig to usher him away? He nodded and gave a small salute. He needed to gather sufficient firewood, dig a pit…work must be done, he knew, before he would be ready for his fire.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Twenty Eight

One day you’ll look back and you’ll know how young you were, and how stupid. You’ll know how everything you felt was no less real, but you’ll be disgusted with yourself for the way you handled it. You’ll know how you squandered the support and love that was given to you, because there was a kind of narcotic gratification in embracing the pain. You’ll look back and know the hurt was gone long before you thought to look up and realize the fact, and long before you finally let it go. You’ll open a window and see what the rest of us know: the world is no wasteland, and you're alone because you’ve insisted for so long that everyone play by your rules. The rest of us will have moved on, a jolly enough company, not without trials, but no longer consumed by them. You’ll hear the cliche “You can’t love me if you don’t love yourself” and wish you’d taken it seriously, sooner. You will discover grace. You will look back and realize your life lacks a central tragedy. You will see the violent reds and blacks that swirl in your thoughts now will settled into a mottled grey or brown in some spots, while a soft gold or lavender in others. You will find within yourself grace. You will, over time, wax and wane with longing and hate. These cycles will resolve themselves into a satisfaction that good was done, and bad, but you tried your best. You will consider the works of others and the drunken frenzy of their actions. With clarity you will see them not unlike the flailing and frenzy of your own uncalled for panicked outbursts. You will judge good was done, and bad, but they tried their best. You will extend to them grace. No outburst, years after, will still seem justified. You will learn calm, and like swimming or bicycle riding, it will become a muscle-memory you can not forget. You will take comfort in this grace.
 You will look back, one day, and you’ll realize how soon you grew up, long before you were ready. You won’t know the lines of demarcation, but you will know you had a childhood, followed by a storm, and then a life; and the borders between the three, while blurred, are impregnable. 

You wouldn’t dare go back, any way.