The Friends We Need

Escape to me

Oh you lonely mind in reality.

Frustrated and tired

Of trying to build and to hope

Among men

 

I’ll be your Ender Wiggin

Steve Rogers, or Dagny Taggart

I’ll destroy your injustice as Hermione

Or Aragorn would without hesitation

 

Put that ugliness on me

A disinterested buddy

Incorrect coworker or critical spouse

Let my stories erase them

And replace them

with dummies who won’t let you down.

 

You will be inspired

Not disappointed

Free to admire

 

You will fly with the full might of your wings

In the successes

Of realistic figures

 

No fears for you, reader;

Losing and bleeding are the character’s game.

Be free, little bird

To be seen and be heard

By the friendships you’ll find on each page.

Advertisements

Adventures Log Poem: June 2nd 2019

I like brisket more than chocolate, can anyone believe it?

Simple 3D letters on a desktop thrill me.

A black cloud of foam is my seat and my snuggy

It’s 78* indoors and I’m more than comfortable in my skin.

Today, I think I’ll take a swim

The white carpet is clean, the linoleum crusty; it’s an ant’s promised land.

Let’s play I-Spy for rusting, tiny tools

If we listen close, we can hear puddles in corners of countertops calling for help

In whispers to myself, I ditch the sour inside me

Scrub until I can feel that mommy-made blanket over my bare feet

We grin as we climb under the cherry wood beams

Punk rock is the tension in our friendship

I defer and you deliberately do

For me, this is an enormous learning curve but

For you, it’s flowers bursting into confetti within your heart.

Coming out of my Cave

Looking back over my shoulder today

I saw a glimpse of your face in a crowded, noisy room

And

Someone on my left was talking to himself, “Was genuinely kind at the beginning–”

I couldn’t see you clearly, I couldn’t quite turn ar–

“Misapprehended the passion for aloneness and work as impending rejection…” a doctor in a white coat explained to her colleague somewhere about two o’clock from my dizzy head.

The man talking to himself continued, “It’s the way I saw myself that entrapped me; it’s my doubt of my own intelligence, my doubt of my right of respect that built a gulf all around me.”

A condescending tone rang out alongside me, “Showed me more kindness in direct honesty than any of these pretty suitors who’ve offered belittling favors as exchange for compan–”

“Why can’t you see clearly?” A big, round, glasses-wearing man interrupted my hearing.

Someone grabbed my head and held a magnifying glass to my eye but I struggled myself free and fell to my knees just praying that on the ground I could hide.

My old cat was there on the floor, her bright blue eyes stared up into mine and their familiar shine invited me to tell her the truth. I whispered down at her, “Who am I right now, Kitty? What have I done to myself in exploring so many untested beliefs? I feel very lost. I don’t know who I want to be.”

She sat there enjoying the sounds of my voice until I had spoken my peace. Then, she got up and teased me with a flick of her tail and a familiar bend in her back; she was asking for attention. If I wanted her faithfulness to continue, I knew I had to give the attention she sought, but as I extended my hand in her direction, a wooden paddle collided with my chin.

It hurt.

22 screams burst in my head

22 inquiries popped up in my system asking whether this was a pain I could escape.

22 replied, “You’ve been a prisoner all this time, caged by your own untested mind.”

Strapped by the catch of a lie, I asked myself, “What kind of attention do I need to survive?”

“It’s not what you think you need,” My conscience’s voice spoke gently to me, “let go of what you learned to find familiar in the crowd. Tell me, what do you want to be worthy of? And can you believe that you are worthy to have it?”

“Worthy of w–?” I stammered and swayed.

“Are you willing to earn the right to be heard? And when you earn it, will you believe that the response is respect for you and not affection?” His words rang inside the suddenly empty room. “Will respect for the truth be enough?”

My head– how it aches and my vision blurs.

In the crowd, I’m still trying to turn.

Maybe after some sleep, I’ll wake up and find myself alone outside a dusty cave

With a book and a pool of sweat on the ground before me.

Haiku Afternoon, Revised:

A warm Saturday

January 5th. I wish

I could walk with you.

Sidewalk memories

You put a box around me,

Here, watch me kick it.

All the Marty and

musicals; subtle hints at

our discrepancies.

The Matrix and rain,

insecurity and pain,

yet you choose to stay.

People want to hear

soft words and easy thinking.

Not so with this one.

If a cat could talk

it would not. Isn’t that like

you, inquisitor?

Short Story in September

“No, watch me again. I think you’re putting the second one in the wrong side. Look.”

I looked his direction and did not find his body; I saw green grass, the line of an asphalt road as it met the neighbor’s cement driveway, bushes in various shades of green, and a chipped white-painted mailbox.

A breeze blew over my cheeks and I closed my eyes to breathe, when I opened them again I saw him there suddenly, his hands holding up the thin wooden strips as he modeled for me how to weave them together. “Start this way,” his eyes met mine and I saw what I’d seen my entire life: a safe place, a mind that knew mine like I did, a warm and soothing sight. He pushed a thin strip of wood through a space in the weave he’d already completed and kept moving it as I watched.

I looked down at my own project and untangled my last move. “Ok.” I said, inclining my head toward him but not meeting his gaze, “I go in here.” I moved the strip into a loop made by the finished portion of my basket, “Then, this way–”

He nodded, I felt it as sunlight in my soul; he leaned toward me, I felt it as the swing beneath us moved.

“I go that way– then, around this way?” The wood felt soft, it bent and resisted simultaneously between my fingertips as I pushed it along.

“Yeah, yes! Exactly that.” His cello-toned voice said over my shoulder.

My body relaxed. I leaned forward so that my elbows rested on my knees, I stared at the partially completed basket in my hands and saw past it. A brownish stain on the painted cement beneath my feet stood out to me and I wondered: had it been there the whole time? Was it there before? And did it now remain after?

When I turned to face him, he wasn’t there. The porch swing was empty beside me, a faded navy pillow smooshed in the corner and the free end of the swing wagging awkwardly as I anchored the other end to the ground with my feet.

Oblivious to the risk of disrupting the swing’s balance, he’d leaned back and crossed his legs. He reached over to the ledge of the balustrade and took his coffee mug off to have a sip before letting his eyes return to his work. I liked his shoulders, the way they looked under the black, long-sleeved shirt, and I liked the freckle on his left hand right above his thumb. It was peaceful just to sit beside him.

Birds chirped and sang nearby, they sounded happy to me, though they could have been arguing with one another or complaining about something: the weather, the sudden stop of the rain, the distance between sweets spots to find worms. If they were complaining, it was no better than I had done. Enjoying only casually what would eventually be erased from my choice of pleasures.

It was a colorful early September morning. In just a few hours, my childhood companion would be twenty and Mother had let us make a cake together in her precious kitchen. In typical childhood buddy fashion, one of us was better at executing detailed directions, reading and following a recipe, the other at getting the direct work done quickly. I had been the measurer and mixer, the one to wait for it to finish and cool, but he had been the pan-flour-er and the decorator, deftly piling frosting and spreading it over the circular layers of chocolate sponge as if the first try were the thousandth.

We made a perfect team.

“This is cool.” I said as we swung there together in the morning light. “It reminds me of when we make bracelets at the beach– except you’re better at this and I’m better at the tiny knots stuff.” I threw him a smile.

He swallowed another sip of coffee, “Yeah.” He said in a voice so much like my own, I knew the feeling it held without having to read his body language or his face.

I thought of all the long car rides, how we never had to look at one another – it was easy for the driver to keep an eye on the road – because of that oneness of mind. How many hours had we spent working side by side on anything and everything we could think of? Simple pleasures like this weaving business, challenges of all sorts like puzzles and reading books aloud.

I let my eyes wander back to the empty swing seat beside me. The navy pillow smooshed in the corner was severely weather damaged and neglected. I reached out and pressed it with my fingertips just enough to find it wet with dew. That sad, wet pillow sat smooshed into the seat counting each sunrise it endured without him.

I leaned over the pillow suddenly and said in hushed tones, “Understanding can either be a knife or a sheath. If I figure it out, I’m not sure I’ll tell you. It might be worse to know.”

With another glance out over the familiar yard, I saw a red bird sitting in a bush and remembered that the birds would continue to perch there and the sun would continue come touch the earth every morning. I jumped up, turned around to the door and went in that I might put my hands to the things I could change.