Innocence

Beneath a sky of imaginary stars in a forest of paper trees, she sleeps
peacefully, dreaming of giraffes with long spotted necks breathing
as they slumber together, she and they, near a thundering waterfall
in a whispering breeze of softly scented flowers.
Her breath, stuttering a moment as her eyelids flicker in dreams, stays
steady and easy as her hair curls around her small head floating
on a soft cloud of feathers trapped in the form of a pillow.
A book you’ve read to her takes liberties in her mind, creating
fantastic adventures that cause her to stir with a smile as she
wraps more into her giant leaf you see only as a blanket, a content
happiness she would not have without your inspiration.

Positive Failure

Her head lay on her arm, rested on the rim of the toilet seat, eyes barely open. A spinning sensation filled the atmosphere of the room, but simultaneously a numbness controlled her senses. She knew without a doubt her thigh was on the bathroom floor and that her heartbeat was rapid, but still would believed differently if someone merely suggested it were so. Memories of walking into the room and crouching to rest on the toilet were non-existent, but somehow she knew everything pertaining to her current location.

Suddenly her head was in the air, rocking back at forth with her heartbeat. Between waking with no recollection of coming to the toilet and the time it took to realize, she had again vomited, the eighth purge since the dinner of pills. Acquaintances from school, her father, and her once friend surrounded her as she stayed crouched near the toilet.

It’s your fault your mother left me. If you weren’t such a self centered bitch with your head up your own ass, she’d still be here.

Hey slut, I hear you like it up the ass, wanna go for a ride with me? Brian tells me you rocked his world.

I can’t believe you fucked my boyfriend you bitch! You were supposed to be my friend! You fucked my Brian and won’t admit, try to tell me he’s lyin’? We’ve been together for 2 years, I can’t believe you would fucking lie to me and said you didn’t do nothin’, that it was all him. He told me how you took advantage of him when he was drunk, and you expect me to believe he’s lying you slut!

Blackness sank over her vision as the clock began to chime downstairs.

Now lying in the bathtub naked, no water, what seemed to be only a few minutes later. The clock again chiming downstairs. Unlike before, she new nothing of how she came to be here, nor why she would be naked, especially as she felt as if she were frozen inside a block of ice. Her eyes felt dry as she looked around trying to make sense of her lack of clothes, closing again but still conscious. Brian’s laugh echoed around her as phantom tears threatened.

You were so cute when passed out after all the others left. Think you’re so smart…she asked me to drive you home as it was so late and she didn’t want to be in trouble with her curfew, so trusting.That laugh once again vibrating in her ears, becoming aggressive. But you woke up too soon, i’d barely had my pants unzipped. don’t worry baby. A mocking sweet whisper while petting her head as if lovingly. We both know you wanted it, you only refused for loyalty, such a good friend. I couldn’t deny you something you wanted just for that. And it won’t hurt so much next time, now you aren’t a virgin. Shhhh, It’s OK baby.

Turning her head to the side to vomit without realizing, she fainted again.

It had been so easy to do, stealing all those pills. Her friend always left the prescription bottles lying around, and being so messy was always losing them. No, her friend would not notice their absence, would only think they had been lost again. Several occasions of taking on visits would hopefully provide enough. She’d smile and laugh and pretend she were strong, and swipe away the bottle immediately at the turn of a back. Snuggled between a nearly empty wallet and the bottom of her bag, the orange plastic bottle would wait patiently to meet the others tucked away inside a stuffed dog. Waiting for a weekend alone.

She was shaky and weak as she noticed the vomit on her arm, so she turned on the shower with her foot. Cold water drops felt like pins as the rinsed away the weekend. Standing up and clutching at the wall for support, she turned the faucet off and climbed out of the tub. the clocked ticked each second of the five minutes it took to walk next room over toward her bed, water dripping on the carpet. The mattress caught her as she fell forward.

But only a minute later she woke. Something wasn’t right. She was feeling too well. Weak, very weak, but not about to die.  She reached for her cell phone and turned it on, here eyes losing focus twice waiting for the home screen. Sunday 1:02 p.m. Last time she looked the screen had told her it was Friday evening.  A weekend of suffering gone to waste.

Her dad would be home soon, she must make herself appear as usual.

Beautiful Decay

A slow blink and a subtle glimmering hint of a smile.

Look at my beautiful wife.

She did not see the way I look at her.

Each wrinkle a moment past
I would not want her to forget.
the joyful seconds
and agonizing hours
etched gently into her ivory flesh
starting with the first glance across a smoky room.
Carved carefully and slowly
through all the smiles and laughs, shouts and tears.
My beautiful wife,
a sculpted perfection of time.

Brown hair once pulled back into a coif
now unkempt strands of delicate silver chains.
Glasses resembling magnifying lenses attempt to mask
her dark eyes more concealing than space.
The same hue of red adorning her lips
from 60 years past on our first kiss.
Only 15 then, married months later
sealed from that same kiss.
Me in my army uniform, her in a suit,
a wedding photograph engraved in my mind.

I am the only person whom she still remembers.
Our daughters, our son,
their children and spouses
are now only strangers
whom she accuses of stealing money from her on visits.
Dishes once spotless
now sit in cabinets recently washed
more filthy than before they touched water.
answering questions with rambling unrelated notions
is more expected than logical replies.
Attention quickly lost as she escapes inside herself.

A change in mind so leisurely we hardly noticed.

But when she sees me, she still knows me,
and says i love you.

A Perspective Change In Reality

I attend church every Sunday.  And I killed a person.

Never would I deny that I killed him, I confess to killing him, admit it with every fiber of being I possess.   It had to happen, I wanted it to happen.  Looking at him continuously day after day, my murderous thoughts controlled me and I wanted it to happen.  Honestly, nothing in the world could I have longed for more than to be the one singly responsible for distinguishing that bastard man’s stenchful breathing.

I attend church every Sunday, believe it is wrong to disrespect one’s parents.  And I killed a person.

Nothing is missing without him.  I enjoyed destroying him. Hovered over him as he slept I did, the children dreaming in their room.  Should’ve made him suffer, but I’m thrilled it was me who has done this.  I killed him myself.  I’ve no pain or remorseful feelings toward this man, no shame or guilt at what I have done. I was conscious of what I was doing, I took pleasure in killing him.

I attend church every Sunday, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner after.  And I killed a person.

Always so charming and giving compliments easily.  Never could manage to be on time, but who is anymore?  He was quite intelligent. Excellent at being social and maintaining friendships, but hardly sincere or close with any.  Always calm.  And I enjoyed killing him.

I attend church every Sunday with my son and daughter.  And I killed their father.

One could know this man for a lifetime and not know his true desires, so perfectly normal and charming.  Doing perfectly normal things.  Except he wasn’t normal.  His obsessions.

I’ve no empathy toward this man, he was an abusive narcissist.  We were his personal marionettes and he was our manipulator.  His little puppets temporarily used and discarded. Perhaps I was not the object of his abuse, but I felt it all the same. Just as I felt his obsessions.  His obsessions with children.

He deserved what I did, killing him.  Every time I would feel the emotions, the mental and sexual damages he’d bring back with him, his body drenched in the other’s suffering.  A married man with children of his own doing these things, what should I have done?  It is not going to happen again, no more obsessions.

Only 8 years old the last boy.  And two sons of his own.  It was a crime what I’ve done, but it was an acceptable crime.  I didn’t want him to be imprisoned, have the right to a judge.  I wanted to kill him.  His obsessions.

They’ll be happy now.  Maybe I was a coward, but I’m ready whatever will come.  It was my wrong doing, but now they are happy.  No more suffering, no more obsessions.

Close Distance

From my window, I can see the stars
doubled through their mirrored reflection on the pond’s surface.
Peeling paint on the porch and a post embraced by vines
shrink into the darkness and are now only structured shadows.
No visible moon tonight, but i still know it is present.
We share the same moon you and I, and the same sun.
Opposites they seem, as are we.
My night is your day, but the sun and moon remain the same.
Look up and think of me?

Contrast

Glittering waters trickle over jagged edged rocks resting on the creek bottom.  Sunlight breaks through the clouds, a respite from the overcast threatening to pour spring rains but refusing to drop from the darkened sky.  Graffiti randomly spoils the otherwise blank canvas of the concrete pillars supporting the simple bridge above, columns temporarily disrupting the natural flow.  The roar of a lone car driving over this bridge drowns the sound of rustling leaves in the wind.  A light clanking soon joins the disorder of sounds, produced from an aluminum soda can casually tossed from a passenger in the now unseen car.  Dents mar the can’s structure as it bounces along the pavement toward the guardrail, to which it collides and hurtles over the edge to plop in the creek below.

Carried by the lazy current, the soda can begins a slow journey of solitude past trees and shrubs, weeds and insects, flora and fauna.   No eyes to see nor ears to hear, only a senseless object devoid of life floating naturally along a country creek.  It is only a can that is incapable of thinking or awareness, yet somehow it knows it does not belong in the presence of resting frogs and brilliant orange blooms.  The shiny artificial paints covering the aluminum somehow seem lackluster and plain in this new environment.  New dents and scratches from drifting over rocks and colliding with stray branches give a sense of fragility; even the tab near the opening has been detached and lost near an abundance of soft gray clay.

Darkness descends as nighttime arrives and the soda can stops in a shallow sandy embankment.  Stars are visible briefly between clouds before the landscape is completely shadowed from the incoming storm.  Distant clashes of lightning and thunder arrive to the creek.  Strong winds assist in breaking branches and creating current.  No raindrops yet to raise the water’s depth but only moments till the first.  Vibrations pass through the ground from a great thunder-clap and the winds push a branch onto the can.

The aluminum caves from the sudden pressure and tears the length of the can.  Fresh raindrops clatter inside, increasing in amount with each passing minute until the environment is drenched in a downpour nearly as heavy as a waterfall.  The wounded soda can soon submerges beneath the large current and rapidly increasing water depth, where it is covered by sediment that is unable to surpass the fallen branch.

Buried and invisible now, one could question the existence and presence of this can.  Had it really only a day before been filled with bubbling soda?

Impossibilities

Impossibilities

A butterfly once dared to be a bird.
The others would hear this butterfly dreaming aloud and say to be content. Becoming a butterfly from a caterpillar was a difficult task itself, why would you want to be a bird?
But the butterfly would still feel as though it were only a caterpillar incapable of metamorphosis, trapped with the mind of a caterpillar in the body of a butterfly.

But how does a butterfly become a bird?

Smoke

I was once a flame.

Only smoke remains
temporarily
floating into the air
after that flame
has been suddenly extinguished,
a soft gray cloud
drifting in the air
and ceasing to exist.
One would never know
that a flame had burned brightly,
blue at the cotton wick base
and dancing
with happiness and excitement.
The pleasure faded quickly
by a simple cold breeze,
leaving no warmth behind
as a reminder of the light
that had brightened the room.
Smoke attempts to dance gracefully
and appear happy,
but the surroundings
absorb its existence
before it notices
that dancing
is no longer possible.

I was once a flame.

Rat Race

Silence takes over the worldly surroundings, leaving only a ringing of anticipation as a remembrance of functional hearing capabilities. Competitors wait at the starting line, seemingly the same in the capabilities they possess . Each trained exactly as the others, for the same duration, using the same exercises and trainer, resulting in the same achievements. All are equal in strength and hold the same record in the race they are about to begin.

But they are not equal. One eagerly awaits the signal to begin the race, unaware that a neighboring competitor tied the laces of his shoes together. Another knows not that her over excitement will cause blindness to the damaged area in the path ahead, causing her to limp the remainder of the race. Nothing is what it first appears.

Sounds rush in and cease the ringing as the race begins. Everyone rushes off, perhaps tripping or combating an obstacle, but free to roam in an attempt to succeed. You push off just as willfully as all the others and sprint forward quickly and impatient to triumph, step after step, yet the others are now distant before you. Even after falling and earning a few scrapes and a bruised ego, the man with the trick laces has remedied himself and come before you. But how? Equal opportunities were given, not a thing different! Yet here you are, back of the lot!

Sudden clarity materializes, and you realize you have been running on a treadmill- a machine that with absolute certainty you know had not been present a moment before, yet somehow here it is! You are trapped on a treadmill alone, unable to get off, an unknown force keeping you in place while everyone is soon out of sight. It matters not that all were equal in every ability and resource necessary to accomplish the common task- it is presently impossible to reach the position of the nearest person ahead.

Don’t despair! You have not reached the fore-running position by cheating the competition, take pride! You will not be disqualified!  Nor do you need to limp until the race is finished for lack of attention!

Though you do not know, not all your competitors are succeeding in the task; their quick start and praised efforts are beginning to decline in appeal. Beautiful scenery slows an artistic mind to a walk, deemed unimportant by the masses but somehow influential enough to this one person to cause resistance to the fast-paced demand. Another has stopped with no intention of starting up again, unable to evolve to the more demanding environment previously not encountered before this race. A pool of water blocks the path for yet another, who is unwilling to learn the skill of swimming to cross and cannot go around for it mysteriously follows. Varying surprises fill the path ahead to challenge each individually.

Your current situation of events seems bleak, but you will break free of your invisible restraints and escape the treadmill! There! You’ve done it! No longer you will be left behind.

But suddenly you are not in such a hurry. You don’t want to miss anything important along the way or ignore those moments that bring a smile, so you walk briskly along the path and soon pass a few competitors that once seemed to hold the advantage. You are still behind, but now it does not seem so terrible. Challenges and obstacles develop in your path and you pass them with refreshing skills you were unaware of possessing. Fewer and fewer opponents lie ahead as you pass them, choosing to help some and leaving others behind.

Victory may not be yours in this fast-paced race. Some will fall behind no matter how they try, and others will give up. You may encourage them along the way even if it may hurt your chances, or you may choose to leave them behind. But don’t forget you had been prisoner to a treadmill…and escaped.

Soulful Soles

Sunlight gleams through a dusty, frost covered window of the front porch to the once white house. Twin cement flower pots disrupt the entering light, one cracked and spilling its contents, the other as if recently new. The same soil within these pots sits on the soles of the boots just inside the house within the ray of sun, boots completely unaware of the significance of this spring morning, their light-colored leather dry from misuse. They are the kind of inexpensive shoes that are still well made, boots made for rough outdoor work with strong laces and thick soles. Only a month had passed since their owner last wore them, but their sad appearance would suggest longer.

The shoes longed to be filled again, to wander around on damp soil after a night of light rain and sink ever so slightly into the earth with each step- a feeling their owner had once relished as he walked to retrieve his morning newspaper. But the boots would never again feel that same warmth of their owner again, nor that distinct shape of foot imprinted into their fabric insides. Never again would the left boot complained to the right of the extra pressure exerted onto it from the old man’s limp which accompanied his usual shuffling steps. These shoes knew best what had brought their old man happiness, which things gave him sorrow, the places he loved most to wander, but now they lay forgotten inside the house which had once been his. Shiny black loafers were the last shoes the man would wear, though they did not know him as the boots did, as they were better suited for a well-dressed farewell.

If the boots had known they would never see the man again, they would not have changed anything.  Every peaceful morning stroll past the corn fields to cross the old stone bridge they would happily repeat, sometimes dangling off the side and reflecting back from the soft current of water below as the man would listen to the trickling water and birds singing.  Days of dirt being carelessly dropped upon them as the man tended his personal garden were priceless experiences.  Noisy restless days when the man’s family came to visit were the ones the boots missed most, with the young granddaughter standing upon them so they could help her dance.

Feeling forgotten, they laid in the sun while a small crack beneath the door allowed the refreshing breeze to visit.  They were expecting a day just like all days of reminiscing the past month, barely daring to believe when the door opened and fresh light rushed through the room.  Tiny little feet in pink sandals walked toward them and gave them a warmth greater than that from the sun.  They expected nothing; they were no longer capable of dancing with her without the man.  But they felt something strange, a pressure inside, barely noticeable and softer than what that had become used to carrying.  Uneven, small steps carried them outside, to the place they had been most, and finally they felt at peace.

No longer forgotten shoes.