Anymore

The call of the mourning dove pierces her deeply. She hears it as she lays in bed, the sweet sad notes plucking at the wounds, slicing through the skin of silence she’s wrapped around herself. It takes her back beneath the tall trees, with bees buzzing around blossoms, and borrowed words being read aloud, and a chest to rest her head on. It pries her open and sings its song into her veins, pumping into her heart, threatening to explode.

She drives so she doesn’t have to hear the doves. She goes and she goes but she can’t get away because there are too many green jeeps. Ghosts on wheels, they haunt her on the streets, taunt her as they bounce along, tops down, their license plates a scramble that she’s afraid to recognize. Unable to resist, she speeds up and slides alongside them, peering inside twice, three times, just to make sure.

They aren’t you. She hopes and she fears that they never will be. You can’t exist in her world, on her streets. She killed what you were to her and now you’re dead and all these green jeeps are only filled with phantoms, whispering words she doesn’t want to hear.

She pulls the silence closer and wraps it around her mind, blocking out the whispers and all the words inside, drowning them before they can surface. Like this she continues to drive along, endlessly, slowly suffocating in her coffin of silence.

I watch the dove perched on the wire, tail dipping and bobbing against the clear sky. The notes of its song swim through waves of words, cresting in my mind, reminding me just how lucky I am not to be her.

 

Bare

They weave their silk through skin and bone
Hushed, aching murmurs in the night dancing
Throughout my body, warm and tight
They wrap me up.

Up, they lay around me loosely
Sunlight having stripped away
They shimmer where they’ve fallen
But no longer do they flame.

I hear their dying voices as they fade into your pillowcase
I wish I wanted them enough to draw them back
To make them stay.

But they’ve seeped out from beneath our skin
Hovering in the fading warmth
Only an echo of an ache,
I can barely make them out
And I know you’re not listening.

I tuck myself against you still
The threads undone, they leave me bare
These secrets
I can feel their pulse
Hear their echo in my bones
And in the silky silence
I will keep them.

Reasons

For once I didn’t want to drive fast. I wasn’t perched on the tip of my seat, pulling in and out of lanes, around cars, paving my way through the obstacle course. I didn’t marvel at the exhilarating power I had in my palms, at my discretion, under my control. I didn’t fantasize about swerving, going off course, hitting something. I didn’t feel powerful, I didn’t feel free. I was numb. I wanted to get home safely, and soon.
Cars came fast, I let them pass me. The road curved right and I stared at the lane lines shining in my headlights, hypnotized by the bright yellow flashes and even breaks between, light and then dark and then light and then dark. Jack Johnson whispered from my speakers and air rushed in through the cracked window, enough to keep me alert but not enough to make me cold.

I had to get out of there.
I felt trapped in that little room, fully surrounded by all sorts of worthless things, closing in, threatening to suffocate me. The whole room, filled with things. Big things, small things. Every sort of thing you can imagine. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling.
I need to escape the things. They mean nothing to me. They can’t help me. They can’t help anyone. All they do is sit there and stare at you.
Here, I can think. I can feel, more clearly. Everything makes more sense.

 

Regret

Maybe there was a good reason. If I had stayed, maybe he would have convinced me of this, and maybe I would have forgiven him.
Maybe it would have been me, instead of her.
Maybe not.
Maybe he would have made me happy, and maybe I would be happy now.
Maybe instead of coming up with all the past possibilities, I would have known.

Things start to get complicated when you replace what didn’t happen with what could’ve. Lines start to blur. Doubt becomes certainty.
Maybe he would have told me becomes he would have told me, if only I had stayed.
The questions start accusing.
Why didn’t I stay?

Maybe things would have been different.
Maybe they would have been exactly the same, and maybe I’d be right where I am now, but with nothing to write about.
Maybe I would go back, had I not promised myself I wouldn’t.

Maybe there was a good reason.

Maybe he would have seen me.
He might have caught my eye.
And if he did, maybe he would have known.
He might have taken me by the hand.
He might have loved me.

Maybe he would have looked away and maybe nothing would be different.
Maybe everything would be.

There are a lot of things that might have happened, had I stayed.
But I didn’t.

 
Safe in the confines of my dotted lines, I grip the wheel tighter.

 


May 12, 2011

Puzzling

The shapes lie abandoned, splayed out across two tabletops.

Five hundred lonely pieces staring up at me, silently pleading.

But I don’t move, don’t reach, don’t touch. I’ve grown tired.

Tired of trying to make things work, to make things fit, to make things right when they aren’t.

And if I were to match up all the pieces, to find their homes, to fit the haves into the lacks, what then?

The trees will never shed their leaves and the grass will never grow. The snow will never melt from the mountain tops. No one will ever go into the cabin and no one will ever come out. Everything will stay just as it is, the unchanging scene and its unmoving reflection. No movement, no air, no breath, no life.

It would sit there on my table top and stare up at me until I took it all apart again.

Until it became what it was at the start.

Five hundred lonely pieces.

The True Light

There is a darkness in which everything you look at is visible. You see the houses lining the streets you drive on the way to work, the people crossing the streets with their dogs tugging on leashes and their children sleeping in strollers and their sun hats flopping around their heads as they peak out from beneath the brims. You see the line ahead of you at the post office, see the package tucked under your right arm, see your own foot tapping out an impatient rhythm on the speckled floor. You see the food you put in your cart, frozen and fresh and shining in the fluorescent lights of the grocery store. You see only what you need to see and no more. This is the darkness that masquerades as light.

But there is a type of light that isn’t lit by sun or light bulbs or LED screens. The true light, that is born in your blood and shines through your veins and penetrates the darkness of the mind that only sees with its eyes. It’s curiosity and wonder and endless imagination and it radiates out from you in every direction, piercing the things around you and lighting it all up with a glow that no one else can see. This light is characterized by a talent for observation, a penchant for feeling, and a thirst for creating. It lights up the darkness that everyone thinks is already light and shows you things you can’t see with your eyes. This is the light that I see by, and these are the things that I share.

 

 


The comprehensive story of how and why my blog began can be found here: https://asweetbrightthing.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/another-beginning/

Outspread Wings

The skin of the sky is pastel blue with white fingers of clouds reaching across it. Malibu cuts into it from the north, a gouge of blue and purple, solid and unmoving. The ocean is a few feet from my own, dark blue-green and churning, moving with the kind of wild, uncontained energy that only the ocean knows. Dried seaweed covers the sand in heaps and mounds and shredded bits. There’s sand between my fingers; I pick it up in handfuls, let it slip through and then pick it up again.

The sand and the seaweed and the ocean and the sky, these are the things that are real. I drink them in, cover myself with them, hold on to them. These tiny grains of sand are infinitely older than I am and there’s more of them than there are of me and they don’t care. They don’t care that I don’t eat enough and I don’t have time to sleep and I’m working more than ever and getting paid less. They don’t care that I hardly ever see my friends, or my family, or anyone who matters to me. All I see are strangers, more every day, strangers I know and strangers I don’t and I talk and I talk until nothing I say means anything and not a single one of these grains of sand cares.

Neither do the pelicans, flying in arcs above my head. A group of thirty-three, I count them as they cartwheel up and around, riding the air currents, their outspread wings motionless. They don’t care about my exhaustion, my fatigue and my exasperation at not being listened to, over and over again.

Two men walk by, talking to each other in English accents. I look up as they pass and they smile and say hullo. One has tar on his foot; I see him stop and look at it and then keep going. There’s a man in red shorts playing a trumpet a little ways from me. Standing on the beach in the hot sand, playing a shiny silver trumpet that I can’t hear over the crash of the waves. He surely doesn’t care about my problems. The pelicans circle back over the water and begin to dive. They don’t care about anything that happens to me or the red shorts playing the trumpet or the Englishman with tar on his foot.

The sand and the ocean and the men on the beach and the birds and the sky and the seaweed and all the tiny white seashells don’t care that I have to get up and leave the only place that makes me happy. To go back to work and back to life and back to all of the things I can’t justify dealing with anymore, and then wake up tomorrow and deal with them all over again. I lay here for another moment, skin on sand, arms outspread, trying not to care.

Still Sand

It was cold the day we went to the playground. A bright gray sky shone down on us, the sun coming from no direction in particular. We shielded our eyes against the brightness and crossed the sidewalk and into the sand. My feet sunk in with each step but I walked with abandon, letting the grains fling up around me and wash in waves against my legs and down into my boots. Aside from the two of us, the playground was empty; the colorless light cast an eerie stillness over everything and the sounds of our quiet words were swallowed up by the silence as soon as we spoke them.

Maybe it was the fact that there was still sand in this playground. It hadn’t been replaced with the wood chips or artificial turf that had taken over my beloved playgrounds a decade and a half ago, before I was even halfway through elementary school. Or maybe it was the stillness and silence that gave this place the feeling of being untouched, somehow removed from the rest of the world. The long metal bars and shafts and spirals were covered in bright yellow paint that seemed stuck on the verge of chipping, and they breathed with the unhurried rhythm of something that will never die.

I climbed to the top of the spiral ladder, my skirt and tights and boots doing their best to adapt to the impetuous movement. I perched on the highest point and looked out at the large grassy expanse separating the playground from the faraway street. The trees were black silhouettes against the bright sky, and I knew that’s how I must have looked to my friend standing below me, ready to act as a completely useless, though well intended, safety net. But this was my element. I found comfort up there, sitting at the top of this quiet little world, my legs wrapped around cold metal; the kind of comfort you don’t know you’re craving until you taste it.

A couple breaths later I came down and we made our way over to the swing set. We held on tightly to the rusted chain links and began to pump our legs, awkwardly at first, angling our feet so they wouldn’t hit the ground. Our muscles began to remember the movement and we picked up speed, flying through the air, the wind we created whipping through our hair and against our cheeks. My scarf was warm around my neck and I nuzzled my chin into it, tears streaming from my eyes back toward my ears. My stomach dropped dizzyingly every time I swung down and I closed my eyes and squealed in fear and delight. I started to laugh, and it was contagious. We twisted and spun in diagonal lines, giggling like the children we were pretending to be. The cold air was full of a sense of absolute completeness, of exhilaration and carefree joy, and nothing else existed except that playground and us, laughing like lunatics, swinging back and forth, kicking up endless sprays of sand.

 

 


http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/prompt-turn-back-time/