Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

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Big Damn Beautiful World

When she finally takes off that

God-awful sweater her grandma made—

The one with the cross-eyed kittens,

Foreign fruits that might be apples,

And no sense of season or dignity—

That no one likes but she wears anyway

For Grandma’s sake—

 

When all that’s left is a thin, snowy shirt

Through which all is clear as ice-capped peaks—

Where the whisper of the river climbs unfettered

Over trembling blushes of leaves,

Cupped palms of valleys,

And undressed trees yielding to the breeze

To rest at the summit and roll back down—

sweater
“She finally takes off that god-awful sweater her grandma made.” Photo from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/91/9a/91/919a9144344e1996f967fc1cea459840.jpg

When she can dance without being whipped by knitted sleeves,

Exposing her teeth as a smile spreads—

The stars peeking through bare limbs

Where the crisp night sky cradles them,

Lays them down on the grass—

She cries out in delight

For this big damn beautiful world.

Like Nihilism, but Less Depressing

depressed
“I find a sort of comfort in the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.” Photo from: http://academyofideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/nietzsche-caspar-david-friedrich-468×375.jpg

When I was younger, it terrified me
To look at the universe as some brutal, uncaring thing.
I expected it to be organized and meaningful
Like all the little quirks
Mom expected me to grow out of.
(Neither I nor the universe
Ever lived up to expectations.)

I don’t worry over fate quite so much, anymore.
Now I find a sort of comfort
In the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.
It’s like realizing
That the prison walls are cardboard,
That the steel bars can crumble in my grasp.

Maybe there is some unseen structure to it all,
But maybe there isn’t.
Maybe it doesn’t matter—
At least, not the way I thought it did.

Radio Rust Valentine

My poems are shit.
My face ain’t much, either.
Meet me tonight
By the FM receiver?

The signals are mixed,
The liquor is steady.
Should you bring Hell,
Know my liver is ready.

We’ll put on a record
Of Coltrane or Davis,
Stare at the stars
With our heads on the pavement.

radio
“We’ll put on a record of Coltrane or Davis.” Photo from: https://grahamdunningreagarden.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/radio02.jpg

As horns fade away
To crickets and crankshafts,
I’ll read you Poe
As your lips recite Plath.

And when you walk off
Across the old levee,
I will not ask
So you can’t reject me.

Bipolar is the Game

The waiting room in the psychiatrist’s office

Is not the place to giggle.

I think about the juice head that is surely here for rage problems,

How he cut me off in the parking lot

And almost spilled his jamba juice in the process,

His face purple from screaming.

I look over at the woman

Who is seemingly always here,

Her caretaker and that permanent frown.

The woman who is in a club dress

With ugg boots in the middle of July.

And they think I’m crazy.

But the thing is,

I am.

I’m sitting in a waiting room,

Thinking about pick-up lines

Should the opportunity ever arise.

“Hey, I really like the dark circles under your eyes. It really brings out the crazy.”

They always make you fill out these progress notes,

I never take them seriously.

What is going well for you today?

I made it here in one piece.

What is not going well for you today?

Traffic.

The whole act of going to a pdoc is strange.

You sit in front of a stranger

Who is a politician with a medical degree.

Everything about you condensed into 10 pages

Of charts and medical history.

Your brain,

And how much you deeply mourn your last dog,

In a neat little packet.

The stereotype of lying down is so wrong.

That person must have stumbled into a massage parlor instead.

All I get are two chairs that are brown,

Are warm from other people’s asses,

Reek of the ghosts of long passed gas,

And sound like farts when you sit down.

psychiatrist office
“They always make you fill out these progress notes, I never take them seriously.” Photo from: https://st.hzcdn.com/fimgs/9f21d7040a942e70_6660-w496-h316-b0-p0–home-design.jpg

Doc lets out a heavy sigh.

I’m pretty sure that he hates me.

His eyes remind me of Leon Russell,

Could be stoned,

Could be indifferent.

I hold my breath

So I don’t giggle.

I have a nervous giggle,

An excited giggle,

And an avoidance of eye contact.

His scornful looks bore into me.

Yes, I’ve been taking the Lamictal.

Seroquel?

There goes my train of thought.

The image of me slumped over a desk,

Drooling over Scriabin’s greatest hits,

Reminds me why I hid those.

Honesty is his policy,

But I’m the best actress.

Putting on my Julie Andrews smile

Doesn’t rid his disappointed look from my mind.

And my brain is the only one I have,

Chemical imbalance and all.

I’m constantly pogo-sticking through a minefield.

He has to be an artist,

Chipping away at the veiny parts

Until there is nothing but smooth marble left.

The Home of the Devil’s Heart

Lucifer was keeping his distance, knowing Aria was still very confused about her life in

general. He had her set up in one of his homes with money to live out the rest of her life. It was this place on earth where they’d had their first date when they were angels. There were moments that

Lucifer saw his angel Aria shining through. Her love for reading and helping things was growing. Sadly,

he also saw the demon Aria when she would get frustrated and short tempered with the helpers

around the house.

But he would see her mortal side. This side was frail and broken before she

even figured out who she was. When he visited at night he could make out the red streaks from tears

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“I feel my heart is empty, like someone has created a hole where love is supposed to be.”

and her puffy eyes. How he wished he could help her or even understand what caused her

such pain that she cried herself to sleep each night. The next morning though, all his questions were

answered when one of the maids, Esme, had the same concern.

“My dear girl, why do you cry so much?”

“I feel my heart is empty, like someone has created a hole where love is supposed to be.”

Aria went on to speak of how she spent her days keeping her mind away from the tall, dark

haired man that haunted her mind at night. Esme knew Aria’s love for Lucifer would never be

taken away, no matter what Aria became for him. Esme knew she would have to speak with

Lucifer, and that his distance would no longer be helpful to Aria’s growth as a mortal.

The Pulpit at Izzy’s Speedy Station

In a gas station with a faded sign on the other side of

Burned Pine Avenue, across the street from

Our Father’s, Will Parish,

I shambled into the restroom where my legs collapsed.

My kneecaps cracked on the browned tiles,

Forehead nestled in narrow trenches,

Clear streams digging estuaries into the murk

Beneath the lightning of a flickering bulb.

I studied the scriptures scratched on the stall:

pulpit
“I bowed before the throne once more, Confessed in holy catharsis.” Photo from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mriEwIDY9OU/U8s7T9iAC_I/AAAAAAAAAPY/ENNC65jTpZY/s1600/pulpit.jpg

The Epistles of Kilroy, the Little Black Book of Numbers,

I bowed before the throne once more,

Confessed in holy catharsis.

Bells from the parish sidestepped the station.

Izzy placed his hand on my back,

Pulled me to my feet and smiled

As the flock left for their townhomes.

Society’s Robot – Chapter 6

mansion
“I stepped outside into the early morning, walked down the path that led to a small pond that was set in the garden among all the flowers and trees.”

I laid awake that night unable to sleep. My mind kept drifting to the kiss with Zach. How had I even allowed that to happen and why did I let it start in the first place? I looked at the clock that sat in my room and saw it was five in the morning. I sighed and got up, pulled on my bathrobe and walked out of my room. I walked quietly down the stairs and to the back door.

I stepped outside into the early morning, walked down the path that led to a small pond that was set in the garden among all the flowers and trees. In my time here, I had come to love this garden. I once got lost in it and had never felt so alive, but it wasn’t mine to love and live in. I sighed and sat on the bench near the pond and watched as the fish swam around. I rubbed my arms, not realizing it was so cold outside this early in the morning.

I suddenly felt a coat wrap around my shoulders and looked up to see Rogue with a sleepy look on his face. “I was getting ready for the day and I heard the door close. You okay, kid?”

I just shook my head and pulled my knees to my chest. “No, Rouge, I’m not okay. I don’t know how to feel about what’s going on right now.”

He sat down next to me and slid his hands into his pockets.

“You mean with the kiss?” I looked at him, sort of surprised that he knew. “Philip saw while going to clean the study, that, and Zach was mumbling to himself after you ran to your room.”

I looked down and messed with my necklace some.

“Zach’s a good guy, Cassie; your running away is worrying him.”

I shook my head. “He knows why I ran.”

I heard Rouge scoff and get up and start pacing. “Cassie, he doesn’t understand why you don’t show emotion. He thinks you were abused and that’s why.”

I looked at him, confused. How could Zach not know about servants not showing emotions? I figured Zach knew with how I snapped at him and quickly walked away. But I also remember the look of complete shock on his face as well.

I got up. “Do you know if he’s awake yet?”

“He’ll be up in another hour to go out to work this morning, why?”

I nodded my head and started back for the house. He needed to understand and I had to tell him.

I walked back inside and walked upstairs to his room. I stood outside his door, and I could hear him moving around, probably getting ready for work. I bit my lip and went to knock on the door, but I quickly pulled my hand back. What would telling him change? I thought as I stood there. Nothing, it would change nothing. I would still be a servant and he would still be my owner and I would have no free will to do as I please. But just as I was about to walk away, Zach’s door swung open to reveal him standing with his button up wide open. “Cassie? What’s wrong?”

I couldn’t say anything but I noticed the light scar that ran from his stomach to his waist. I figured it came from either missing a hit from the end of his father’s belt or from a knife fight in his youth.

“Cassandra, is there something wrong?”

I looked up at his face to see worry and shook my head. “Uh, no, I just wanted to talk with you about last night.”

He looked down and cleared his throat before looking back up at me with his piercing green eyes. “I’m sorry about that, Cassie. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I hope you wish to stay here.”

I looked at him, a little shocked, “No, that’s not it, Zach.” I sighed and rubbed my forehead. “I should be sorry though; I should not have kissed you without your…”

I quickly kissed him, my hands settling against his cheeks. I could tell he was shocked at first, but he soon started kissing me back and pulling me closer by the waist. He deepened the kiss, asking for permission, and I granted him just that. I wasn’t exactly an expert at kissing so I gave him control and I quickly picked up the tricks he used.

I pulled away, needing air, but he just started lightly kissing my neck up and down. I closed my eyes and lightly tangled my fingers in his hair.

“Zach.” I lightly pushed him away, not wanting anything more to happen.

He looked at me slightly confused. “What’s wrong?”

I smiled lightly and ran my hand over his cheek. “Let’s just leave it at kissing for right now.”

He nodded his head and hugged me close to him. I had never felt this way with someone. I felt safe and loved and cared for here; I didn’t think I ever wanted to leave the Addison house. I stepped away from him. “You should finish getting ready for work.”

He nodded his head and kissed my forehead before returning to his room and closing the door. I smiled lightly when I got back to my room to get ready for the day.

To My Aunt

One of the greatest gifts you ever gave me:
A rain-soaked afternoon
Digging through a shoebox of broken crayons
Spinning the stories in my head to their first willing ear.
(But not their last. I swear to you.)
Gentle eyes and complete conviction
as you tell me,
“I bet you’ll be a writer one day.”

rain
“My life’s greatest mystery: How to thank someone for being catalyst to some of the best parts of you.” Photo from: http://answerangels.com.au/images/doyoulikebeinginsideandwatchingtherainoutside2.jpg

A dozen more stories like that
Branded on the parts of my mind
That drag me to my early morning classes
When my comfortable bed warns against it.
There is no thank you card for that.
Prepackaged, Hallmark-branded sentimentality could never hold a candle to it.

My life’s greatest mystery:
How to thank someone
For being a catalyst to some of the best parts of you.
But I think I’ve finally figured out the answer.

Maybe I’ll tell you about it one day,
On the acknowledgments page.

Beautiful Brilliance

A beautiful thought of wisdom born,
A crack in the Great King’s head,
A beauty born with brilliance and strategy.
Even with great powers, jealousy still appears.

Athena
“An owl as her symbol, books as her comfort, A sword at her hip.” Photo from: http://orig05.deviantart.net/1086/f/2014/159/4/7/5_athena_by_sheppardarts-d7lm21r.jpg

The creator of the deadly spider, an animal made out of spite,
An owl as her symbol, books as her comfort,
A sword at her hip for war is always possible.
Intellect over rage, for with blind rage
No one truly learns.

Little White Snowflake

snowflakes
“Little white snowflakes falling on the pale white skin.” Photo from: https://writinginnorthnorfolk.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/snowflake-tears.jpg

Little white snowflake falling from the sky,
Little white sparkles falling on the curls.
White flakes hanging from the lashes,
Light blue eyes watching the gray clouds go by.
Watching the little white snowflakes falling all around,
One, Two, Three, time to fall down.
All the little white snowflakes acting as a bed,
Nice, soft, and very cold.
Little white snowflakes falling on the pale white skin.

Society’s Robot – Chapter 5

“No, follow my lead, Cassandra.”

I nodded my head and looked down at my feet. Zach was teaching me how to dance since I had forgotten how to in the last nine years. In the last hour I had stepped on his foot eight times, tripped over my own feet ten times, and caused Zach to trip three times. I knew I used to always be a klutz, especially while growing up, but I never thought it would come back to haunt me. I was counting in my head as Zach and I danced around the room, making sure not to trip or step on him. Phillip and Rogue had decided watching us was more fun than spending time outside on their day off.

“Good, Cassie.”

I looked at him, finally getting the simplest of all dance steps down.

“Okay, I’m going to spin you out, then pull you back in, okay?”

I nodded my head just as he spun me out then pulled me back in so my back was to his chest. His arms were lying over mine, and our hands were at my waist. I could hear him hum as he swayed us from side to side, turning in circles. He twirled me till I was facing him again, setting us in the beginning position.

Zach looked into my eyes while he slowly leaned in. I closed my eyes and waited for whatever he would do. I felt him move away, causing me to open my eyes to see him looking conflicted.

“Um, that’s good for today Cassie. Why don’t you go enjoy the rest of your day off?”

I nodded my head and walked out, leaving him there confused by what had just happened.
~
I sat outside on the garden swing that sat among dozens of flowers. The place made me feel like I was in another world. I kept thinking about how Zach seemed to have almost kissed me. I had been kissed before but it was because another servant was going to be requested for a night’s activity and needed help learning to kiss. I messed with my heart locket while thinking of why in the world he would want to kiss me.

I sighed and simply swung while watching the clouds. I closed my eyes as a breeze picked up, blowing my hair away from my face. I heard the click of a camera going off and looked over to see Zach holding a camera.

“Sorry, you just reminded me of…” He shook his head, throwing the thought away. “Never mind.”

I nodded my head and looked back down at my feet. I had decided to change into shorts and a loose tank top after practicing with Zach for Wednesday’s event.

I noticed Zach had also changed into something more comfortable to be outside in. “So, how did you learn so much about photography, Miss Richards?” Zach asked as he sat down next to me, looking over the photos he had taken.

“Um, at my last house, I didn’t finish school even though I was so bright, so as a gift they sent me to finish off my senior year of high school. Then they paid for me to do some classes at the community college a few miles from the house they lived in.”

He nodded his head and set his camera down on the ground carefully. “I went all the way to Virginia for my classes. My father sent me away saying it was for my own good.”

I could see the emotion flash across his face; he hadn’t wanted to leave New York to take classes that he could easily take here. From the stories John and Philip had told me, I’d learned that Mr. Addison wasn’t a kind man, even to his wife and children. Philip had told me the Addisons had five children including Zach. I took Zach’s hand to show him he should keep going on.

He looked at my hand then back at me. “He really sent me away because I was attached to my youngest sister and he was worried I would care more about her than taking over the family business. See, she was sick. She had a heart defect, and the doctors couldn’t even figure out what was wrong. For the first three years of her life, I was the one that sat with her at night to make sure everything was alright. I was the big brother.” He sighed and shook his head. “My father sent me away and the first month I was gone and no one was watching her closely enough. Her heart failed.”

I looked down, almost worried about showing the pain and sadness I felt for him. I couldn’t do that, so all I said was, “I’m sorry.”

I looked up and noticed he just shrugged. “It was five years ago and you have no reason to say sorry. You didn’t even know her.”

mansion
“I sat outside on the garden swing that sat among dozens of flowers. The place made me feel like I was in another world.”

I decided it was time I left and headed back in for the day. I got up and turned to him. “I think I’ll go back…” I could see the pain in his eyes, like no one had listened to how losing his baby sister had made him feel, as if he was forced to not feel, just like me. So I sat back down.

“Why don’t you tell me what she was like?” I smiled lightly, hoping it showed I really did want to know. In return, he smiled back and started telling me about how energetic she was, even with her condition.
*
I was curled up in Zach’s lap, by his request, while he read me Greek Myths, something I usually read to myself. But after talking with Zach about his little sister – who I found out was named Lizzie – I realized how much he missed reading to someone. It was our time in his study anyway, so I didn’t mind. In a way, it actually felt good to have him read to me.

“… So as the seasons changed, the Greeks knew Persephone was home safe away from Hades and his evil of the underworld, and so spring was given and the harvest could continue once again…”

I curled up to Zach more. Of all the myths, the ‘Rape of Persephone,’ as it was called, made me feel even more lost because I didn’t have a mother to help me out of trouble. Mine had left me on the front steps of an orphanage to fight for my life. I felt his free arm wrap around me more and hold me against his chest. I looked up at him and met his green eyes. The fire next to us lit his dark eyes only slightly but it was enough to make them seem almost as magical as the garden outside.

“Cassie…” He slowly leaned in more. I watched him before feeling his lips cover mine. I closed my eyes and slowly leaned into him more, pressing my lips against his.

I could hear the book fall as he tangled his fingers into my hair, holding me close against him. The feeling that came over me was one I’d never felt before, and it felt incredible. Till I realized something and pulled away. I looked at him as my heart began to speed up and his hands laid lightly over my cheeks. I quickly got up and went up to my room, ignoring the feeling in the pit of my stomach that what I just did was wrong. And I don’t mean the kiss, but running away from him after.

Rohypnol – Part 2

July 21st 12:40 am – I took Rocky for a walk late tonight to clear my head. He was whining at the door, so I had to take him out before it made me angry. Yesterday, all I could write about was how lonely and misanthropic I felt. What a dichotomy, huh? Hating people but feeling lonely…It’s a catch-22 if I’ve ever seen one. My luck may be turning around. I saw a girl tonight out with her friends. I couldn’t help but notice her. The way her dress sparkled, hips swaying with confidence as she walked…her poise and grace outshone every member of her group. She saw Rocky and asked to pet him. Of course I said yes. How could I deny a woman like her? I asked for her number, but I think she was playing hard to get. I followed her home, keeping my distance to make sure she got there safely. She only lives 10 minutes away from me. Maybe I’ll go check on her tomorrow night, and make sure she hasn’t changed her mind about us.

July 21st 3:00 p.m. — My psychologist told me this bullshit would help. What kind of grown man keeps a record of his every move? Whatever. Maybe if she reads what I write she can kill this monster inside my brain. I can’t stop thinking about that girl yesterday. She was so perfect. Small but not sickly, long straight blonde hair – my perfect type. I just can’t stop thinking about her. I think I’ll go visit her tonight.

July 22nd 1:00 a.m. – I tried to go to her house and knock on her door, but no one was home. I guess I’ll try tomorrow. Maybe I’ll see her around town since she is so close. I guess then it’ll be fate. I just can’t stop thinking about her. I think we’re in love.

Rohypnol tablets. Strong sedative & widely known as a 'date rape' drug.
“She started running, like she was afraid of something. I didn’t want her to get hurt so I just grabbed her and put her in my car. The rest is a blur.”

July 23rd Midnight – I saw her again tonight while I was at my favorite bar. What is she doing out on a Sunday night drinking? I’m sitting in my car outside Admiral’s Arms on Spencer Street, the usual. I’ve never seen her here before. She must have come here to see me…. I’ll follow her home to make sure she gets there safe. You never know what could happen at night in a place like this.

July 23rd 10:00 a.m. – I don’t remember a lot from last night. I remember following the pretty woman home from the bar. I was only trying to make sure she got home safe since her friends ditched her. She started running, like she was afraid of something. I didn’t want her to get hurt so I just grabbed her and put her in my car. The rest is a blur. Fuck, why can’t I remember? What if she gave me her number? What if she agreed to go on a date with me? I keep fucking up. I have a psychologist appointment at 4 today; maybe she can help me make sense of this.

July 23rd 12 p.m. – She’s downstairs. I don’t know what happened tonight, but I CAN’T go back to the hospital again. They’ll take my dog away from me.
Pros: I have my dream girl. I have my dog. I have a sound proof basement. I have friends willing to help me when I need them. I am starting to have more feelings than a few months ago.
Cons: The girl I am in love with is in my basement. I have a lot of blood to clean up.
My psychologist told me, whenever I feel myself panicking, take my medication and make a list of pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons, I have nothing to worry about. I’ll wash up before my appointment and explain everything. Hopefully they’ll understand.

Rohypnol

I woke up sweating profusely, believing I was in my own bathroom because of the recognizable smell of mold. I’m sure you know the smell: semi-sweet with undertones of the burning dust that molests your nose as you light your heater during the first frost of the winter. My first racing thought–‘Why am I naked in my bathroom?’ Second–‘How did I get home last night?’ Both thoughts happened simultaneously, more quickly than one can blink.

Realizing the unfamiliarity of the cold, rough concrete floor, I stumbled over objects lying in complete disarray on the floor, trying to gain a sense of my new environment.

“Where in the fuck am I?” I murmured, trying to gain some spatial awareness in the pitch blackness of a windowless room.

Suffocated by the lack of moonlight, sunlight, and streetlights, I frantically looked for the surrounding walls like a frightened rat lost in a maze. If I could just find a wall, I could feel along the corners to a door.

“FUCK,” I bellowed as the warm throbbing pain traveled from the heel of my foot to my brain.

My adrenaline propelled me forward. I forgot the nail in my foot, as anyone would when fighting for their life. Finally, my hand slammed against a lackluster, irregular panel of wood that felt like it’d been purchased from a discount furniture store sale, deemed unusable by any reasonable standard. I followed along the grooves and crevices, staying aware of my hand placement and doing my best to dodge the unknown objects on the floor.

Consumed by the nothingness around me, I felt dissociative. My only resolution was to get out. I found the corner of the adjacent wall and carefully turned to find a cold metal panel. I felt that I could finally breathe because I had found a door, my holy grail.

No handle.

Rohypnol tablets. Strong sedative & widely known as a 'date rape' drug.
“Consumed by the nothingness around me, I felt dissociative. My only resolution was to get out.” Photo from: http://uaefreeclassifieds.com/wp-content/themes/classifiedstheme/thumbs/62019-38724-2016-06-02354834.jpg

Nothing. No holes, no lock, only metal and small rivets to connect each panel. I started to spin uncontrollably, losing all sense of balance and clarity. I slammed my petite, bony knees too hard against the floor, but I didn’t care. I had nothing else to do but breathe. Just as I was about to collapse, I immediately heard noises in front of me—maybe, hopefully, human. The nails clicking against the floor suggested a dog overdue for a grooming, but I could not reason with myself as to where I was.

After a moment of excruciating silence, I was relieved by the jingle of an overcrowded keyring. ‘Thank God,’ my heart whispered to itself as I sighed, wiping the sweat from my neck. My hands pressed hard against the jagged floor, hoisting myself up onto the balls of my feet. As I heard the lock on the other side shake, I stumbled backward over a stool, slamming to the ground. I lay there, helpless, as a fluorescent tube light flickered, attempting to light the room. Between the strobing, I saw a six-foot-something figure appear. The figure developed into the distinct form of a man with a scraggly mountain-man beard. He shuffled the now visible sharp metal instruments with each step of his old, tattered New Balance sneakers. My eyes glanced about my prison.

I was surrounded by various-sized pliers, scalpels—some rusty and some pristine—scattered nails, three gas cans, the tipped over stool, a stained, torn mattress, Bic lighters, and other random tools unfamiliar to any average 20-year-old woman. Rattled by the horror scene unfolding before me, I crab-walked backward, unaware and uncaring of the things behind me. The man now hovered above me, and he stared down my soul, into my core. Darkness surrounded both of us as I heard the metal door slam shut, reverberating through me as if I were a ghost.

Train of Thought for the Empty Head

Clean white crescent moons dance across the starry sky of my keyboard

Coffee stains the papers on my desk

The color of your skin

Like rolling dunes,

And howling winds blowing through my empty head—

Rolling through the tomb.

A distant echo recites the song of the modern major general

Except I don’t know the kings of England

And I can’t quote the fights historical

Despite 14 years of internment,

Textbooks chained to my wrists,

Handfuls of Adderall and Vyvanse—

Medical snowballs with “frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ foreheads.”

I’d rather be watching Austin Powers

Than beating my head against the grindstone,

Capsizing the dinghy keeping me afloat.

My cup runneth over—

brain
“My train of thought has never been on schedule.” Photo from: http://gigmagfl.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/brainthink.gif

Austin Morgan

I keep tossing the contents into the bushes

To make room for the next batch of refried information and freeze-dried quotations.

My train of thought has never been on schedule,

Coming to stuttering stops and taking detours into the exotic wilds of my subconscious

I once dreamt I had magic powers,

But I had to do long division in my head to cast simple spells—

Even in my sparse moments of escape

I am trapped

In the forsaken tomb of my hollow head

Echoing thoughts ricocheting off the walls of my skull

Bouncing back and forth until the empty air vibrates with the sound of nothing.

Secondhand

Dates stamped in the inner cover

The gaps between them often spanning years at a time,

But it’s always found a way back to someone like me.

There’s history in these time-worn pages

That I can only guess at.

Underlined passages I wouldn’t have paid any mind,

Half-formed beginnings of a revelation scribbled in the yellowing margins,

old clothes
“I am a single part of something more, Something bigger, A lineage I don’t quite understand.” Photo from: http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/wp-content/uploads/002012/July_August/upcycledtatteredtrashdress1.jpg

Useless without a context I cannot have.

Their significance is not for me.

But it is there.

There is no pretense that these words belong to me alone,

The dog-eared pages and cracking spine leave no room for that.

I am a single part of something more,

Something bigger,

A lineage I don’t quite understand.

Returning this book will not be a loss,

It will be a continuance.

Waiting for the Echo

I flipped a tarnished silver dollar

Down the throat of an overgrown stone well

Amid laughter of cicadas and crows.

Three years with my ear to its mouth,

I haven’t heard shit.

Waiting, a shriveled ear hungry for

The musty twang of a frayed string

On a mildewed banjo;

A jilted lover starved for embrace,

Filling the tank of her ’94 Mercury—

Driver-side signal light and headlight

Shattered, scattered over a frozen guard rail

Thirty miles back. Gasoline fumes wander

Through the shredded metal frame

And the streams beneath her eyes and nose.

stone
“Waiting, a shriveled ear hungry for The musty twang of a frayed string.” Photo from: https://alilbirdtoldme.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/casting-stones.jpg

The pump bangs to a stop.

She crawls behind the wheel from the passenger side,

Prays the engine starts again,

Waits for that weary explosion to

Rock her shaking hands.

The frayed banjo string snaps,

Slices into the geezer’s thumb.

He winces, stares into the cut

Awaiting blood,

Proof of life.

Bent over the lip of the well,

I strain for an echo—

Eruption of an aging engine,

Bleeding of a wound—

Silver on stone.

Fairy Light

What this person was doing here, when any sane human would have taken refuge from

the pitch dark night in either their home or a bar, I couldn’t say. Maybe they were drunk and

making their way home, or maybe it was just a walk. The person stopped abruptly and stared at

a street lamp as if it had called out their name. It was an ordinary street lamp, a skinny black pole,

tall enough to keep its ethereal glowing light away from anyone who would damage it. With a

shake of their head, they turned away and continued walking. And the light from the lamp

followed.

It floated and bobbed after him, watching him with its own curiosity. The ball of light

drifted along lazily after as if it didn’t have a care in the world. It followed him until it reached

fairy lights
“With a shake of their head, they turned away and continued walking. And the light from the lamp followed.” Photo from: http://warisanlighting.com/wp-content/uploads/parser/fairy-lights-outdoor-10.jpg

the entrance to an alley and then it made a soft twinkling sound, like a giggle. The human

jumped and spun around. Without warning, the light drifted down the dark alley it had stopped in

front of, where no other light dared to reach. The human followed, enchanted by the glow of the

light. The deeper they went into the alley, the dimmer the light became and the more the

darkness crawled onto the human. Farther and farther they went until finally the light had all but

disappeared and the person that followed was all but consumed. Then the faint light darted back out

of the alley, leaving the darkness to blanket what was left of the poor soul now trapped within it.

The light giggled and laughed, bouncing up and down, delighted in its clever trick. It

settled down after a few moments and paused, almost as if to consider some great question. Then

it slowly drifted back to its empty place atop the street light, seeming a little sad that its fun was

already over. It dropped back onto the street lamp that had begun it all and continued to glow

softly as if nothing had happened.