The air is thick and warm, and the sand is impossible to look at; so white, it reflects the sun, blinding you. Keep your eyes closed to a slit. Don’t let the whole world inside. Look up into the sky and watch the birds just glide. I don’t know about time, but, man, Florida is on your side.
Florida ain’t gonna judge you. We grow ‘em weird, and we know it. We’re not concerned about your old life, let it go. You’re in Florida now, which means your life has finally started. Or ended. Really, it’s irrelevant.
The humidity will straight murder you. You will question your life choices. You will cower in the shade, but the shade don’t love you. The shade is a mirage. Humidity don’t care nothing about shade.
Your skin will burn, and your feet will become calloused. You will turn into a sea creature, an abandoned seashell. The sun will baste you and prepare you for your final sleep. But don’t worry; Florida don’t care which promises you keep.
He pulls another tissue from the box, crumples it, sends it to the corner of the room where the trashcan lives. He is not using the tissues anymore. He’s just pulling ‘em. Like he’s at a carnival, and if you pull enough tissue, you win a prize. He’s working on his jump shot. He’s killing time dead. He’s got all kinds of thoughts in his used-up head.
The tissue hits the trashcan and BOUNCE. It’s gone, man. That tissue is a memory. It fell into the cracks of the physical world. Right now, a Leprechaun is using that tissue as a pillow. Sure as shooting.
The voices are audible, but the boy does not listen. Out in the living room, it is all crying and casket. It is black cloth and bad coffee. It is too big for the boy to wrap his mind around, so he doesn’t. He pulls another tissue from the box, crumples it, and throws it to oblivion.
The light is in flux, and the room is dark one second, light the next. The passing cars strobe across the walls and explode in the corners. There is life and death in this room. There is steady breathing. There are twitching eyelashes that scrape the soot from off the night.
There is peace in this room. Gentle silence. Softer than the absence of sound. Sit down and soak it in. Let it pour through you. Open yourself, drink it through your skin. Let the calm become you. Or you become the calm.
This is what happiness sounds like. This feels like tranquility and hope. This is a brief and blinking moment of optimism. Grab it. Appreciate it. Feel it in your chest when you close your eyes. Surrender to it because it is truth and beauty. It is art, not made by man. It is honest.
Beneath the wavering boughs, under the robin egg sky, twisted in the sounds of the trickling water, a girl sits, reading. She is covered in shade, and she is smiling softly to herself. There is a breeze that licks the treetops back and forth against the sky. This girl closes her eyes sometimes. She likes to picture the world of words. She is stepping through the closet to Narnia, to France, to history. To the future.
The sun is warm on her skin, and the shadows dance through the high limbs, shifting with the coming night. She hears birdsong and smells the pine trees, sap softening in the summer afternoon.
The trees will watch over her, as they did her grandmother and her mother. As they did countless generations of birds and snakes and bugs and lizards. The tree is a sturdy Mother. No one is going to chop this tree down. No saw. No industrial logging machinery.
When the world explodes, the tree will smile, watching its legacy in the rear view. Sated.
These are lovely. The tissue and the tree are my favorites. Flash with feeling.ReplyDelete
The sky is gunmetal gray, appropriate as she listens to gunfire less than a mile away. In her hand, she holds one of the dog tags of her husband. She left the other on its chain around his neck on the battlefield.ReplyDelete
She kisses the tag and vows not to cry. She shoves the little bit of metal into her pocket.
It is unsettling that she is in an amusement park. The painted clown faces, the you-must-be-this-tall signs at rusting rides, the smell of cotton candy from happier times.
A balloon vendor’s cart blocks her way. The tank of helium made a clanking sound as she hits it with her fist. She wonders. She turns the valve at the top, and there is a satisfying hiss. She turns it off.
Madly, she searches the cart for a balloon. The last drawer reveals an unopened packet of red latex. She tears it open.
The gunfire ceases for a moment. She wonders if it’s over. No matter.
She places the balloon on the tank’s nozzle, and slowly opens the valve. Not slowly enough. The balloon turns translucent and enlarges quickly. Before she turns the valve off, the balloon explodes.
Her heart races. Her eyes scan the area, wondering if the noise will attract the attention of the soldiers in black. She holds her breath.
No one comes. She tries with another balloon. She is quicker this time, and the balloon does not pop. She remembers blowing balloons up for birthday parties when she was a girl. Some centuries have passed since then. She ties a knot in the latex.
The balloon tugs, tries to rise, but she holds it firmly.
She remembers the first time she saw him. His shirt was open and the dog tags shined brightly on his chest. They were young. He was heroic and she was in love.
The dog tag burns hot in her pocket as she draws it out. She takes a string from another drawer in the cart and ties it to the balloon and the tag.
She whispers a prayer, holds tightly to the string, and then lets go. The balloon rises, straight up at first, then the wind catches it and it floats toward the battlefield.
She’d hoped the wind would blow it farther away. But he was never one to shy away from a fight.
There is a single gunshot. She thinks she can see a bullet arcing toward the balloon. She knows the physics of this is impossible, but her soul does not. The balloon explodes, and shreds of red latex are victims of gravity.
There is a second gunshot. Her chest explodes and her last question is how the balloon found its way to her heart.
The sky is gunmetal gray and shreds of red latex and splatters of blood rest on dirty concrete.
Sad but great. I love it. The red balloon motif is strong in the grey. Love like bloodDelete
There are memories of him everywhere. The picture of him and his horse. His boots in the closet. The laundry she doesn’t want to do because she’s afraid she will be washing his last molecules down the drain.ReplyDelete
And there is his dog. The dog who looks for him everywhere. The dog who has pulled one of his socks from the pile of laundry and won’t let go.
It’s been a week. She has cried every day and every night. She holds his pillow in the bed they shared for so many years. She pretends it is him. She has dreams; they are both young, they dance, and they kiss.
Her lips are cold, lonely. Her hand is empty. She pictures his hands as they were in the coffin, folded. She tried touching them, but he was not there. She tried kissing him, but it was only a cold body with immovable lips.
She fears sleep this night and every night. She does not fear the dreams. She fears their ending when she must wake up.
She pours hot water into her cup, over the teabag. She imagines his face in the steam that rises. She closes her eyes against the tears.
She imagines his voice, telling her it will be okay, telling her that she will make it through this, that he’ll never be far away.
And she hopes it’s true. The tea is cold when it touches her lips, but she doesn’t notice. The dog whimpers and drops the sock in her lap. She opens her eyes, and the dog licks her tears away.
He is not far. The two of them know it, and eventually they sleep, and both of them dream.
A true-felt tale of grief. You can feel it. And I love the dog as the sharer and comfort in her grief. I can’t imagine how hard it would be.Delete
Love the robin egg sky :) really emotive piecesReplyDelete
Just read Florida. Love the trippy choppy beat and that no one will look crazy - who wants to be normal. Love the tree too; hope it lives to tell. And love as a calming comfort, bringing stillness.Delete
Gonna post some pieces I wrote since before Xmas, but couldn’t post :)ReplyDelete
An audience of lightReplyDelete
Institutions of quiet, of days dipped,
A camaraderie of stars struck still
In myriad aloneness, fled and scattered;
Of tribulations hung like tinsel, the sun
A lava lamp of trivial dreams spun out,
Turned off as the evening enters night.
And so we stand, this assembled audience,
An ensemble of meagre might disconsolate,
For we imagine and reimagine and forget,
Preferring to disguise our courage in normalcy.
And so we digress. The dark mirrors our own,
The blue sky dug into a labyrinth of wishes.
In this way we shelve semblance, shake it off,
Walking naked in this disguise that is our skin.
Xmas eve, 2019
beautiful, and you had me at lava lamp!Delete
Stasi (in this time of listening)ReplyDelete
In this time of listening
Do not utter a true word
Do not think a phrase aloud
Unless it be heard and recorded
In this time of silence
Pretend to have no opinion at all
Invent a lie to explain who you are
Locking your true self inside
In this time of fear
Be careful with whom you speak
Be wary of those who loiter too near
And fear the thoughts that wander free.
Dec 25 2019
This makes me ache, and the last line is killer.Delete
Thank you. Have u read Anna Dundee’s book, Stasiland? It’s amazing. Your whole life was readDelete
The resting timeReplyDelete
It’s the resting time of the world stretched out
In between steps and lines and crossed curves,
Passing this life as it grows and begins to burn or
Breathe. We search ourselves for clues
To life, the happenings, the restrictions.
The wind blows hard as these boughs break.
In time. Between time. It runs amock this day
In blue. I see the rise, the flow and setting,
And bony hands spread out in between.
Are you ready? These days grow thin, impatient,
For the signs point to something already gone.
Every figure waits by the door, every face
You’ve ever known. They no longer see you.
This window hangs open and the world has not
A care. Footsteps absorb into the vanishing.
This heart is made of paper, folded in design
And where we walk is only known unto ourselves.
Jan 11 2020
It is but a speck, a jam, a murmur in the line. It waits for you, but you will never see it coming; you will never hear it ring the bell for you. So rest. Lie down. Be conscious that you dream in colours wrung ragged. In your existence you can only be humane. You can run with the wolves only if you feel the wolf inside. Your eyes are open in your blindness. We feel it rather than know it. We are it instead of being. Show time another truth, another design of waiting, of desiring to be still. And in this absence of movement we may seek to learn something. And in this semblance we are kings.
Dec 25 2019