Tag Archives: #poetry

THE INNOCENTY OF THE WATERS

PEOPLE with eating disorders are “allowed” to keep their identity secret. You’re not allowed to be a person.
You are simply “a stomach that ate.”
Everyone who sees you has a lot of power over you. You must be nice to them, speak in a certain way, present
yourself in a certain way, and never be so self-conscious that you don’t want to eat.

You don’t want to eat because if you did, you would be severely sick.

You wouldn’t be in control of your life.

You would be a creature.

You would be weak.

It was during my treatment that I learned who I really was.

I understood that my eating disorder could be cured, because it was merely a disease of mind and body.
I didn’t have to be afraid of food, because it’s a powerful human tool.
I knew that I was not being a stomach that ate; I was a person who had been infected by a brain that
wanted control. My illness wanted to make me not a person but a mind that ate.

A mind that went through life being controlled, and told what to do, and how to feel.
A mind that no longer could think for itself.
A mind that wanted to give up control, but didn’t know how.
A mind that could think but couldn’t act.

I understood that I had to take back control of my life.

I had to make myself be a person who was not a stomach that ate.

I was a girl who thought, and had dreams, and wasn’t a blob.
I was young.
I was a daughter.

I had big plans for the future.

I was a Christian.

I was a girl, who needed love, and felt loved.

I needed to be loved, and loved.

I wanted to be strong, and able to live a life that my illness would never again keep me from.
I wanted to make a difference in the world, and to love others.

I needed to learn to love myself, and to use my illness to help me learn how to love myself.

I could choose.
I would choose.
I would love myself.

I could have a beautiful life.
I could be happy.

In order to be healthy, I had to learn to let go of that which I didn’t need.

I needed to let go of the need to control my life.
I needed to let go of that which scared me and made me afraid.
I needed to let go of the struggle to know what to do next.
I needed to let go of the confusion of what I wanted and who to be.
I needed to let go of the struggle to say no.
I needed to learn to say yes.
I needed to let go of my imagination, because life doesn’t work that way.
I needed to let go of my imagination, because my illness was reality.
I needed to let go of my imagination, because my disorder was my life.
I needed to let go of my personality, because my illness was my character.
I needed to learn to find my own self.
I needed to learn to let go of being tired of not being a stomach that ate.
I needed to learn to be a person, because being a person is what I wanted most.

And after I learned how to let go of that which I didn’t need, I became a person that my illness no longer could control.

I learned to say yes.
I learned to say no.
I learned to laugh, and be silly.
I learned to cry, and have emotions.
I learned to write, and speak, and love.
I learned to have fun, and to love life.
I knew how to make choices, because my disorder was not only no longer controlling my life, but was helping me to make choices.

My eating disorder was the healthiest thing that had ever happened to me.
It was a sickness of the mind, and a sickness of the body.
It was a sickness of the body that was a sickness of the mind.
It was a sickness of the mind, that could be treated, and a sickness of the mind, that could not.

I learned, over time, how to say yes.
I learned to say no.
I learned to find my voice.
I learned how to be brave.

I had not learned how to be brave when I was diagnosed, but I learned it with the help of my mind and my illness.

I learned how to be brave, because I had to be.

I had to be strong.
I had to be able to overcome this disorder, and be brave, because there was no other option.

I needed to be brave, for me, for my parents, for my friends, for my boyfriend, and for everyone who loved me.
I had to be brave.
I learned to say yes.
I learned to live in a world of uncertainty.
I had to live with the uncertainty that my mind and my stomach might not agree with.
I had to live with the uncertainty that my disorder would destroy everything that I ever wanted in life.
I had to live in uncertainty, for me, for my parents, for my friends, for my boyfriend, and for everyone who loved me.

:: 10.22.2020 ::


FIGHTING FOR COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING

i held my arms, sleeping, around her breasts, bending, allowing myself to fall, the ghosting, dark wake, the fiery sands
burned by a storm of thorn trees, burned by the march of sea and the keys of incense that hang near her bed. Soft and fiery sweetness,
a book of songs that didn’t affect me, a white dress with a tattered hem, elegant skin whose breath has already evaporated.
There is no physical reflection on her breasts, my love, the fluidity of a river in the shadow of the heron’s head. There is no
destruction of a dead river in the pale water of her beauty. Your eyes, the depths of their ravines, the fire in the dark, your hearts,
holding mine, their tornness, the loss of a companion, in the silence of the corridors where the footsteps of strangers run.

From the raves I must admit I will never feel intoxicated, but I need so desperately to feel intoxicated, to finish my life in the warehouse,
under the light of an old beveled mirror with a knife propped against the square of glass, the light of the ghost, of the burning card,
of the ghost of unimportant dreams, of the funny dreams I dream every night. I would like to exist like the strange creature that thrives
in the laboratory of an art dealer in an abandoned warehouse.

Held her ankles, enjoying her existence, trembling, embracing, trembling, our breath circulating the smoky air of a kiss.

She only exists when my back rests on a cold polished floor, in the darkness, in her natural state, my brother, my pride, my hope.
To touch her, to feel her breasts, her lips, her hands, all the parts of her body that run all over mine, that brings me nothing, for this expression
is simple, low, they do not consider her existence, my love, to raise her up or to lower her, to grab her legs, to kiss her lips, to kiss her nose.

Everything but the head, where she is still touched by the forehead of a stranger, from one of the corridors, one of the cracked doors, where her
lovers walk, from the stones and shadows of cold halls, the one that is lifted from the depths of a world of books. You only exist, my love,
with the touch of your palms.

From behind my childhood wall, I have met the daughters of stars, from behind my own walls, the girl that lives in the corridor, has warmed up my life,
there with me on the cold polished floor, my passion.

Everything is there, hidden in the dark depths, revealed by the hallway, the fading curtain of candles, the evening light, a kind of passionate romance,
my love, whose bones are growing every day as if they were long-dead, those young girls, the memory of the last night, the abandoned street,
the shadow of an old bed, a memory of the night that passed, but only lives in the room where I am lying.

Leaned against a window of a skyscraper, red-eyed, like a demon, muttering, covered with a black apron, sobbing from an open wound.

What was that, love? What did you see?

Those eyes of the future, seen in the silence of my mind, in the chaos of my thoughts.

It was dark, I have left the house in the street, I have entered the house.

What was that sound?

I can not go further, there is nothing here, it was dark, it was closed, the doors were closed, it was dark, the house empty, but it was empty as
the city when the people pass through fighting for love, compassion, and complete understanding.

:: 10.21.2020 ::


LOVE CAN BE THE BEST TREASURE

Love can be your best treasure, and all the rest after that—by that I do not mean money, that is after all in very short supply in any society that places more of value on family and society than it does on money—do not compare.

My treasure is a bit of you and a bit of me, a scattering of memories, of places and sights that speak of us.

When I am old, and if you will still be with me, I will hold up my pocket knife and let the tarnished blade drag against my body and stare into the wood, as if to study the grain, so that I will know you better than ever before, so that I can tell you a few stories about our days, our strolls along the marshes and the rain-swept fields, and we can close our eyes and remember being together, like in the days when my name was Cassie and you called me Jennifer—at least for that night, when your name was Silvio and I called you Toma—in my dress with a jasmine moire ribbon in the back and a couple of velvet braids going to the middle of my back, and you in a white dress with ruffles at the collar and a buttoned-down plaid jacket with velvet trousers and stockings. We are wearing white hats, white gloves, and white shoes and holding each other by the waist. I love you very much, Toma, very much—so much so that I fear I will fall, if I close my eyes, to that dark, cool, damp land, which has been calling me for a long time. You love me too, you say, but in the way that one loves a mad brother—you love me in a way that reminds you of a friend you once had, but you don’t love me. You love me in the way that a child loves her father: you love me unconditionally, and you tell me all the time that I am beautiful and that you can’t live without me, but you don’t love me like a woman loves a man.

You tell me to get a head start if I want to get home before dawn, so that you can sleep without your fear waking you up in the middle of the night. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up, thinking of you. I am lost in dreams of you. In my dreams you are waiting for me, standing in the courtyard, waiting for me to arrive.

:: 10.21.2020 ::


TRYING TO SPEAK THE UNSPEAKABLE

Is it a society of wicked liars?

Is it a race of contemptible malefactors?

Or is it, instead, just a group of people coming to terms with their lives in a different way?

A growing number of people are choosing to live—and die—without judgment, without the reward of popularity, without the flattery of public adulation.

Most people—without much fuss—are choosing to die quietly, often in comfort, not coughing up blood, losing organs, gasping for air. Rather, they do the things they like, they have their lovers, fall in love again. They experience as many experiences as possible. They have children, watch them grow up, let them out. They do the things they love. In fact, they do as much as possible.

Maybe they are only one of millions who will die this way, quietly, without much attention at all. But for those who read about the Swedish model, maybe they’ll read about this man who, when he was ten years old, decided to end his life when his family wouldn’t let him live the life he wanted to. Maybe they will read about one of the last people on the planet who were given the opportunity to kill themselves.

Maybe they will read about the first person.

Whether he knew it or not, it was Doran, the poet, who led us here. In 2020, when he was 36, he pulled his wife and a friend onto a commuter train in Paris. They sat at a table, drank wine, and ate wild boar with the train’s conductor.

After that, he had a drink with friends. By 2:

Then they all took colors all within their head. And they tried to say the unspeakable.

:: 10.21.2020 ::


LOVE CANNOT BE FAKED FOR ONE MORE SHOW

But huge and mighty Forms that do not live like living men mov’d slowly through my mind>
By day and were the trouble of my dreams.
But more marvelous and luminous are the imaginations of men, when their thoughts
are dissolved in soft summer rain; and the faint exaltation of seas and glimmering waters
move swiftly through the silent ocean, her vast wings and high sweeping curves, till with a sudden brightness; of crystal noiselessly an ardent swan of prismatic form, with plumes that arc tween two spirals or the reflection of a circle, gives up a magical report to the air.
And, as a wanderer home, sometimes, well passing around a hill, would hope that behind him the unseen if it come from a distant lofty land, and such it be, a home of peace and solitude to come.
At times of discontent and sickness, pillows covered with white birch boughs, the dark moss
Along the trees was moist, and cottages by watersides still left their grassy slope. But neither trees nor miles of grass, unlike the artificial things of Man, nor grass grown for buildings, nor waters drained.
And purified into a shallow and undrinkable concentration, nor fruit or flowers in sight, reminded me that the long and tranquil stream of Individual life must needs return before the stream of inorganic life can begin to dissipate and come to die. Its long memories have come to slumber as the long-continued dreams of Man.
But I was tempted by the stream. The solitude would seem so natural and so necessary, and be so reserved, and the solitude so good for thought, there was no heat of mind to arouse it; and even the
Exhilaration of the remembrance of that solitude : had a melancholy relief. But, as in death, the last affection awoke; and, sullenly sinking in a swathing silence, I fell asleep; And though my weary limbs
Were heavy, I slept with my mind reclined upon my breast. Come night, the vision of O the Wanderer of the Hills varying with the stars, and evoking each as the heavenly Eye pictures to a man an illimitable hall, and I was conscious of a sinister shadow creeping. It was a living, moving thing, a slithering thing. From the Cottage the shadow came along the steps and slanted over the plough, and on the lawn the grass was raised, till in the distance it and the shadowy Other turned its head; and then the lightning was brought down by the shrill clang of the bells, and though I thought the sky was dark and gloomy,
It was beautiful in the light of the lightning: then as I watched the storm came on—dreadfully fearful—and very thick: the waves and low groaning hills and swift-growing woods and noisome clouds with rows of storm-clouds of flame darting through them, while all in bright lightning the shadow crept.
So, when I awoke, a little later in the day, my body was ill with thirst, and I could not bear to stand up, but laid down against the cold stone and shut my eyes. The shutters had been thrown up of late. Strange and silent to me!
Were the night-cloaks that let in no ray, such light was gone
That Heaven, with eyes closed, was a dull light to me, black. This body on the stone without the weather-worn yellow waiting on, and in contempt, a coarse solitude.
And I dreamed of O in the Marsh—not exactly what I
Had dreamed of O the Wanderer of the Hills, but all
The same like it: but, turning aside as I do to run
(or travel, as I preferred), and every line of the
Ahab plot, for fifty miles, was clothed with strange
Fog like something floating in a vague haze, and more
And more, like the fog on the cliffs of Benares or at
The foot of Mount Almora in Persia, and took me
Into the Land of Vultures, where had past a Harrowing
Of the Dead.

Such were the dreams, which I dreamt in that room, and of which
They were dreams no more; and I only wished with all my heart
That I had not dreamed of O.

:: 10.17.2020 ::


MARS IS FULL OF CANDY FOAM

It’s on America’s tortured brow. That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame Cause Lennon’s on sale again…’
Didn’t they find him that way once?
Or are we all living in fairy-tale land?
The shepherd’s moan (This is L.A.)
The folk singer’s rattle
The preachers’ sermons
Are all the tragedy on this dismal scene
Everyone’s out to heal and pray
But the photographers are just making a buck
Saw it on the newsfeed
It’s a wee bit too pretty for my taste
I thought there was a duck in the boat
But I’m still waiting for my pasty belly to kick in
It’s a God-awful small affair
To the poor whore with the big holes
But her mummy is yelling no
And her daddy has told her to go
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
But all she’s looking for is to get in
‘Cause the publicity and hope and pray have failed
because she found something else that keeps her going
She told the weather bureau she’s a cheerleader
Even Jesus came through to hear her prayer
Is there life on Mars?
It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
\Oh, what a lot of pain!
/
Oscar has gone too far now (Oh!)
Our elected officials and the entertainment media
So many thinking the wrong thing is right
But who’ll be there to pick up her cardboard?
‘Cause the weather is a mess and all the malls are empty

Is there life on Mars?
It’s on America’s tortured brow
Didn’t they find him that way once?
Or are we all living in fairy-tale land?
The shepherd’s moan (This is L.A.)
The folk singer’s rattle
The preachers’ sermons
Are all the tragedy on this dismal scene
Everyone’s out to heal and pray
But the photographers are just making a buck
Saw it on the newsfeed
It’s a wee bit too pretty for my taste
I thought there was a duck in the boat
But I’m still waiting for my pasty belly to kick in
It’s a God-awful small affair
To the poor whore with the big holes
But her mummy is yelling no
And her daddy has told her to go
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
But all she’s looking for is to get in
‘Cause the publicity and hope and pray have failed
She found something else that keeps her going
She told the weather bureau she’s a cheerleader
Even Jesus came through to hear her prayer
Is there life on Mars?
It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Oh, what a lot of pain!
Oscar has gone too far now (Oh!)
Our elected officials and the entertainment media
So many thinking the wrong thing is right
But who’ll be there to pick up her cardboard?
‘Cause the weather is a mess and all the malls are empty
IS there life on Mars?
It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Nobody was crying about Nelson Mandela
But we did rush to lift up the nation’s agony
‘Cause we were all so turned on by that gold-plated male body
So Madonna comes on and just like that
The college dean sold out the university
‘Cause we’re all so turned on by that derrière
It’s a God-awful small affair
The girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling no
And her daddy has told her to go
It’s a God-awful small

:: 10.17.2020 ::


withIN THE BRIGHEST NIGHT (a horror story)

”Life?”

”Are you thinking what I think?” she said, nonchalantly. “”Is this not the place for it, Young Light?”

“My young light.”

“Let’s go in, then, Young Light.” She had other things to do.

For a time she stood over the body, getting a spot for the head and shoulders; he was not whole, for a moment, and the inhuman intelligence within him swelled up, talking in frantic tongues. It was only when he began to faint that she let him go.

“Why did you do that?” he asked, trying to speak.

“He must have wanted us to see the place.”

He drew breath again, his eyes watering with alarm. “Now, put me down, it’s too sudden to talk.”

She started toward the fireplace; the muscular bulk of Hill House disappeared with an incredible speed. The water stopped; a rose was growing in the stream. After a moment she reached into the bathtub and filled it; between one and two she’d beaten Hill House’s heart.

“Go and get the doctor, I’m going to clean him out and see what he’s got,” she said. “He’ll see that—”

He spoke first.

“I was in it for nine hours, you know. You know how it is in the bowels of the earth. Dead sometimes, and sometimes not. I was in that place for a long time, there was no real feeling of waking from it, I have to be honest with you, the only moment in all the time I remember—my body sank in and I floated to the surface and what do you think?”

“Oh, you’re in a dream, boy.”

“But where am I?” What has happened to me, what happened to that house and everything in it and me?”

”Nothing.” It was an accident. I can’t explain to you—there wasn’t a great deal of lighting in the place.” Now stay still, young man, that you may not get scared.” I was falling over a high rock—The house, the electric chairs, the drinks—everything looked ordinary. Then this thin film began to fall from the wall down to the floor. That is all.” I woke up after ten or fifteen minutes and felt I’d been out for hours.” I got out a glass of water, and drank it without thinking what I was doing—I had no idea why I was doing it.” And when I’d got the place as light as I could, I had a slight feeling of ill-health, a feeling that something was wrong; I went to my door and there was only half a window open, the blinds were drawn, so I took them down.” After a time the door opened, and, what was this?” The house outside was gone, just a huge plain of flat earth and another huge mound of rock, open to a great empty field with a large pond of water in the middle.”

“I’ve never been through that!” he cried. “I told him all I know.”

“”I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’d better call—I’m going to call the man.” If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask him to look for us someplace that he can keep an eye on the place and tell you if there’s anything going on there.” I was sleeping when I woke, but when I called I could still hear you shouting. ”I don’t know what I’ll do now,” I thought. ”But we should have known.”

“Here’s the key,” he said. He climbed in, leaning on the bar. There was a pile of clothes in the bed. A loaf of bread lay broken on a mattress.

“He’s put his face in,” she said, sitting by the bed. “And he’s talking. Let me tell you what he’s said to me. He says he’s done it, and he says it was—a miracle, and he says the other people, the whole world—is coming to get him—all in an instant. But I tell him that his whole belief, all his life, was in me, in me and my ingenuity. And that I could have done it all for him. And that I had the plan down to the tiniest detail. And he said, ”Well, you didn’t have a plan down to the tiniest detail, and the plan worked. You only had a vague idea. That’s all.” A miracle, indeed! That’s what he was after all.”

[†]

The electric chair was next. She came out of it as slowly and quietly as she came in, wiping her face with a handkerchief. She talked to him again.

“He was dying. I was going to make it a triple electrocution if I could, it was so awful, and it got to me so all I could think of was I was going to, like, kill the other prisoners, kill the people I didn’t like, they’d probably stop me, anyway. So I had no business dying.”

She wasn’t frightened, he knew, not frightened. But he had a fright at the same time that had nothing to do with the method, with the target. There was a big cloud of dust about her, with her and something like a coffin. He looked at the key in his hand.

She looked at him, and they made eye contact again.

“I told him all I know. I told him all I know. And now, are you with me? Are you with me? I don’t know how it happened, but somehow he knew I’d been listening. He’ll get them all for this. He’ll get them all for this. He always gets his own way. He wants to kill me, and I don’t know what he wants to do with me—I’m only here to deliver the message. I should be thankful, but I’m—I don’t know.”

She was silent for a time, staring.

“I told him I couldn’t help him,” she said finally, “but I can give him a window into the game if you want.”

He stood up and looked around him.

“Surely this isn’t the place for him,” he said, “to have the last act of his life.” I can’t guarantee anything. I don’t want to get in the way. He knows what he’s about to do.”

He walked around the bed and examined the interior of the room. There was a swing on the other side of the room, a bench, an open fireplace, some clothing hanging around. He put his hand on the door.

“Can you feel the magnetism?” he asked.

She hesitated.

“We haven’t got to be careful,” he said. “I’ve got a flashlight. It’s an old fashioned light bulb with a cone shaped lens. Look at it. It’s probably good for much more than mere curiosity. I just have to give you a moment to look at it. It doesn’t weigh anything.”

She examined the light-bulb.

“Well?”

“I have a remote control,” she said. “Just do what you want.”

He looked around again. There were other instruments, but they weren’t important. Just the light bulb and the magnet were for him. He sat down beside the light bulb and turned it on.

“Hurry up, Stacey,” he said.

He waited for a moment, but nothing happened. Then he pushed the button and the light bulb roared to life.

“Perfect, now,” he said. “Let’s check the other instruments.”

He checked the watch on the other side of the room and saw that it was nine-fifteen.

“I’m an hour late, I know. It’s the battery. Just hang on for another ten.”

He went to his radio, plugged it in, then checked his watch again.

“You say you’re an hour late, now. Come on.”

He turned to her and put his arm around her shoulders.

“I’m here to help you,” he said, “and I’m not in the mood to have a crisis. If you don’t give up that damn message, I’m going to have to do something about you.”

“You’re not going to kill me, are you?”

“You can’t make me, Stacey.”

“But I have to do something. What about you?”

“Me? I’m not about to die. You’re obviously one of the Professor’s technicians, and I’m not a woman.”

He smiled.

“You’ll have to go down the cellar, then, and convince him that you’re not a creature and are in fact human. I don’t know what would be behind those twenty-foot windows, but he knows. You’ll have to talk your way out of the cellar, and I’ll be waiting down here. You may not be able to do anything to change his plans, but you can stop him from doing this to you.”

She shook her head, then got up and went to the door. She turned on her flashlight.

“All right,” she said, “if you must.”

She opened the door, then turned it, swung it shut.

“Keep her here,” he said, then headed down the cellar steps.

He felt his way through the dark, lit by the screen of the flashlight.

“I can’t get out, I’m sure. It’s probably locked. I know he had the key in his pocket.”

He saw a little flame from the fireplace and waited. The room was dark.

“Just keep your eyes on me.”

He was very close now. He turned and started out again.

And I’m in a big freaking hole. Where am I?

He had never heard of anyone going to a place that a particular man had been. He went to the end of the alley. He stepped over the cars, back and forth. After a while, he climbed to the bottom of the cellar stairs, laid down, and stared.

Here is where I am.

His body was in a nice, round shape. He had his shirt on, with nothing on his body. All his tattered clothing was next to him. There were also what looked like tiny points of white light. He made a little moan. He felt warmth all over him, and felt his eyes closed. The walls were painted with white, like an ancient ceiling. The earth was black and rough. He made a sudden exclamation of surprise. The moon overhead had burst through the clouds. And he was being pulled by an invisible force toward a black hole.

This must be an old friend of my brother.

He was to lie on his back and imagine himself rising, then being drawn toward a kind of bottomless pit.

I know how to get out of here.

It was a cave, and it had a door. There were real shadows in it, much more real than his dreams.

I can put my arm around you.

He could put his arm around the nearest person, and the rest of him could remain quietly on his side. If it had been a real tree, there would have been something wreathed over his head.

This can’t be the world I’m in.

At last, he knew he wasn’t alone. The shadows, as in his dreams, were completely comfortable. He found he could breathe more easily. He looked down to see that the moon was now so bright that it was tinting the black of the floor.

I knew this would happen. I could feel it.

He tried to imagine what kind of man would have the foresight to go to a place like that. An average student. A modest farmer.

No. It can’t be.

He thought: Perhaps that’s what made me stay with him. If he died, the world would be bereft of his presence. And what of me? What of everyone else? They wouldn’t be any different. I must survive.

He walked over to the nearest flower. It was very white. He opened his hand and scooped it up. It looked like a dog’s eye. He touched the petals with his fingertips and felt a texture. He squinted to see if it was real. He opened his mouth and sniffed it. His nose was there. A fragrant smell. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, and let it come up.

It’s home. I’m back in my family.

He placed the flower back in the middle of the floor. He walked back over to the door. There was a handle on the other side.

I’ll open it.

He lifted the door and tried it.

The darkness collapsed around him. He tried again.

It won’t open.

He looked back to the wall. Then out to the direction of the kitchen. There was a crack in the wall.

He closed his eyes, and waited. There was nothing. He reached out and touched the crack in the wall. He felt the low wall. It was not exactly wood, but it was harder. He flexed his fingers.

Nope. I’m still empty.

He took a deep breath. He felt he could give up on the entire house and go back to being an ordinary human. He felt something still attached to him. There was one more instinct he hadn’t questioned before, but it suddenly seemed undeniable: Something. Something that could save him.

He looked down and saw the shadowy shape above him. His breathing was heavy.

I will make it out of this.

The Dark Cave had its defining feature: a hole in the center. Though the wall was metal, it was less solid than wood. There was a cork over the hole, and a wire above it. A man was only a few feet in. The wire reached all the way to his shoulders. The man had been in this hole for ten minutes.

I will survive. I’m going back to my family.

He tried again.

I will be your prisoner.

The victim had trouble breathing, and he felt his pulse build. He was going to die soon. He had to survive.

But I know that’s not true.

Again he closed his eyes, and tried again.

This is not happening.

He opened his eyes and was now seeing the world again.

I’ll make it out.

lThe image of the chrysanthemum in the yard of the cottage wasn’t something he had seen before. It looked like something else.

What in god’s name is going on?

So much blood.

If I survive this, I’ll kill the Demon King and end this nightmare.

He wondered what had come over him. How could he fight? When it started, he could have been so much more powerful than he was now. It had only been a few minutes, but he was already weak.

I can do this. I can survive.

As much as he wished it was different, the scene of the man’s death broke his heart.

I’m going to die.

He felt his chest constrict. The pain was searing. Blood began to pool in his belly. The air began to boil with a cold horror that would never go away. This wasn’t how his father had died. He hadn’t been prepared for this.

In the center of the cottage, the dark opening tore open like a gaping wound. As it dovetailed with the portal to the Dark Cave, it was impossible to see the distance between the two points of light. There were shadows visible only at the very end, and he could not be sure how close to the opening he was now. He could see now that the man was lying inside a wall of death. A corner of his eye seemed to see his father’s form. What am I doing? I’m supposed to be here with him.

There were groans coming from inside the room. Death could be overheard over the rising buzz of the flames. He tried to clear his mind. He opened his eyes and saw a long, thin wall to his left. And the sight that greeted him was horrendous.

Who had died in this house?

Shit.

The man was disemboweled and sat up. He stood straight. He had taken much of the life force of his companions. He stared up, and he looked right at her. He had taken the photo. He looked at her with fury. He put his hands on his hips and grinned.

“You can’t kill me!”

He moved his hands toward his head. The trick, in the midst of the shadow room, was that a sudden dark swatch would give a glimpse of his hands to his left. With his right hand, he stretched forward toward his head.

It hurt, but he stood there. “Can you kill me?”

The woman looked up. “Where was it?”

“I won’t give it away.”

She crossed her arms and smirked. She placed a hand on the table in front of her, near the gurney. She dropped to her knees.

“Come, my daughter,” she said.

She kissed him. He hated her immediately. It was a slow burning thing, that began with good intentions, and then developed into cold familiarity. He tried not to turn away, but he couldn’t not. His eyes were closed. The pain in his chest had left him a corpse.

“But I won’t,” she said. “I won’t take the picture for myself.” She rolled onto her back, one leg over the other, still holding the photo. “If I have to die in your stead, then so be it.”

The mere thought of this idiotic woman, with such spoiled children, made him feel sick. Why was this woman able to walk upright in the room of strangers? She deserved such cruelty, but she was alone. Where could she have been taken? Where had she been taken, and what was her endgame? What were her people capable of? What drove a woman to murder that she only knew for an instant?

As if the answer to his question had been settled, another hand rose. She grabbed the photograph from her head, and shoved it into the man’s chest.

She stood up. “Tell me the truth,” she said.

The man’s mouth moved, but no sound came. He clutched the photo in an effort to conceal his face. “My name is Alan Roy,” he whispered. “My wife…” His hands moved. “She’s…”

The woman reached into a hidden pocket on her dress. In the dark, there was a small pack of cigarettes. It was getting cold. “What’s your name?”

Alan responded, in the strangest way possible. “Stephen.”

The woman smiled at him. “Stephen. I am Samantha. I live down the hall.”

He heard her wiggle her legs beneath her, and she gave him a sideways glance. He gulped, and said, “Is this true?”

Samantha’s shoulders dropped. “I like you a lot, Stephen,” she said. “But no.”

The warmth from his last breath was gone. His corpse shifted, so he could move. “Is this true?” he repeated, addressing the vampire. “If you’re not mistaken, Stephen… You did die.”

Stephen reached into his chest pocket. He slipped the cigarette out and held it between his lips. He looked at Samantha. “Are you looking for your son?”

His teeth gnashed.

The woman flipped her cigarette off. “Of course not,” she said. “I didn’t kill him.”

Stephen hung his head. “There is no reason not to believe me,” he said.

The woman walked back toward the door. “I am not the vampire,” she said. “I’ll be your witness to the truth.”

He saw Samantha glance down at the portrait of her father in the portrait gallery.

“I am not the vampire,” she said. She slowly walked toward the door, but after a moment, she turned and stood facing him. “Stephen… I… I love you.”

She took a few steps toward him.

He raised his hand. “You owe me an answer.”

His body tensed.

“No,” she said. “I cannot. I cannot. I must speak to him myself.”

She turned and made her way back to her apartment. He ran to the wall, followed closely by a silent wave of fear. As she walked toward the dining room, she looked back at him. When she reached the door, she reached back, and she reached between his hands. She pressed a small box between his fingers. It was almost empty.

He put it down on the coffee table.

“Do you love me?” she asked. “Do you love me?”

When she turned to walk away, she paused, and she looked down at the empty cigarette packet. He exhaled in response, and the cigarette dropped to the table. She raised an eyebrow, and then her mouth parted slightly. He thought it was a tiny smile. She started toward the kitchen.

He turned back to face her. “I love you. I love you, Samantha.”

The door shut, and she turned the key.

“I cannot allow myself to believe,” she said. “My father and I had not spoken in so long. I had worried that he had perhaps gone back to his homeland, where his tyrannical rule once more ruled. I have noticed how you appear to me. I should not be so rash. I may have overdone it. Perhaps I can change my mind.”

He nodded. She opened the door, and stepped inside.

Her apartment was filled with lights, and was filled with the bustle of people. Three couples were cuddling together.

“Hi, mom,” said Samantha. “How was your day?”

Samantha held out her hand, and held out her cigarette. She inhaled through her nose, inhaled the smoke from the pack, then blew it away.

“I like this. You’re cute.”

Samantha opened her mouth, but then she turned away and coughed.

“Oh, okay, bye,” she said, closing the door behind her.

The light made her face glow.

Samantha stepped toward the new portrait in the portrait gallery. As she approached, the now-blood-red doll’s head brushed her feet. Samantha noticed the doll’s eyes. “Will my father ever know that his doll killed me? I am sure his anger will burn with him until he regrets his passing


DEVOURED BY THIS NIGHT

THE other day i was passing a certain gate as rain fell as it will in spring ropes of silver gliding from sunny thunder into freshness; as if god’s flowers were pulling upon bells of gold.

i looked up and thought to myself:

Death.

And will you with elaborate fingers possibly touch the pink hollyhock existence whose pansy eyes look from morning till night into the street unchangingly? The always old lady sitting in her gentle window like a reminiscence partaken softly at whose gate smiles always as the chosen flowers of reminding me?

And it felt as if life as a curtain caressing the bottom and i realized that the back of my head was already the red rose but i laughed aloud and when i looked behind i saw a horrid twin with red hair from some diseased shade: who was standing watching us from the wood side until she saw her wayward twin and from the trees spring a golden fruit made of bitumen with hair whiter and flowing like ravens feathers whose bright eyes saw exactly what they looked at.

And one nagged black beauty who had apparently lost her black beauty as soon as the white back of my head turned white then all black beauty fell in sync with the waning sun devoured by the night.

:: 10.17.2020 ::


HAMMERING NAILS

I like hammering nails and speaking in foreign tongues
cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

I like holding my hammer in my hand
cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

I like bringing fire and singing in churches
cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

I like crunching bread and all hell breaking loose
cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

The things that I’ve loved the things that I’ve lost
the things I’ve held sacred that I’ve dropped:

are my deepest shameful behavior

All I have to do is stay off the quiet roads
i will continue to drive slow

cause I like repeating words and knowing what I don’t know
cause I like me and I like me and I like me

sleeping inside a fitful sleep and dreaming of hammering nails
speaking in foreign tongues cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

nothing at all.

:: 10.17.2020 ::


A Cold Dinner

NOW are those sure hearts to leave this empty beach, the weather wrought with hurricanes, the water fish to deify where the paddle was, where he sprouted disheveled chin and beardless chest the same, grasping the early in time the moral treasure he rotted at the bottom. Is even now he rots. rose bob. feel these cold nights, creeps of night seas, a thin secret being more intoxicated than well, drugged out the man and would grin a millennium to come.
What a fucking idiot. an idiot. this turn of events his sudden focus. the woman who stole from him all his violent and sensuous fears despair. his warm arms now become impromptu ones. the ellipses here, but only in intimacy. his fingernails roughened coarse, fingerless to say, yet as they are repeated in his gray, decrepit manner, afraid of breakage, one foot scraping his toes like an afterthought, receding at the matter caught, at no matter.” here, no “and himself” by which to capture a crowning tense reality, a man who will not listen for the godlike one who will, who resembles his index fingers until now.
what is a traveler who wants to look forward as though to complete his vacation? what would that be like?
he must leave, but when he gets home, he wonders if she cares to know he came. what will she do to him when they finish sharing dinner? what will he do for her, will she report him to the media? what will he take from her that he didn’t already have in his pocket, that he’d no longer stop her from becoming the next flower in his balloon of affection? who am I going to tell when I want to leave him alone? this cop-out argument makes no sense. what a narrative.
a son wins that fight but can’t cross-train. nothing changed: the given weight of events and the deadened sense of impotent disappointment that someone could be so cruel in their harm. heart-breaking anesthetic: think about this feeling of knowing, in our modern ultra-deprived state, that someone they knew was in pain, taking his last breath, his final wink, and no one was there to hear, watch. but no one called, nobody entered his recovery bedside, they just got up the courage to look and not the baby eyes, felt for a moment that awful gentleness he could never have found, that kindness and generosity. and then this society of no empathy was the least of our problems? honestly, why did they do that? the things
I wonder about are huge:
what of the child from all those shells of books and shorts and pulps? what of all the talent that has stagnated in the slam. of all the raw beauties buried in the spaces between expectation, shame,and self-doubt, behind us like a mill!

10.14.2020 ::