this. this is joy
dark and early
we shuffle from our suburban front porch
balancing instant milk tea in one hand,
suitcases in the other
i chew coconut jellies on the way to the airport
and wonder if the plane will have the
little televisions i remember
five a.m. and the charleston airport
hums with the sleepy chatter of summer travelers
the stars have already dissolved into the pre-sunrise sky
so we wait patiently
our coffee breath clouding oval airplane windows
as the pink sun punctures what was left of the night
and then we are rising with it
above the hills, above the clouds
just ocean, ocean amaranthine
and i wonder what awaits me on the other side of the sea
my eyes first remember blue
a billion shades of blue rippling and pulsing
tropical swells and turquoise bays
an infinite body of aquamarine
blemished with navy shadows of cumulus clouds
and then green, so much green
a blinding viridescence of a world
so vivid my eyes nearly forget blue altogether
banana leaves and mountainsides
an island radiating green, green
when our feet finally touch the ground
we are moving again, our little American voices muffled
by the crunch of suitcase wheels on concrete
and a hundred Honduran voices above our own
all thirteen of us pile into a grey taxi
belonging to a Czechoslovakian woman with bronze skin
and big black sunglasses, called Hannah
she knows this island like the back of her hand,
and we thank her for it
my tongue first remembers
street tacos and scarlet hibiscus tea
fried plantains and strawberry jam on toast
lemon-lime fresca on the boat ride from Blue Rock
on Sunday morning on Roatan Island
we praise the God of the Bible in two languages
because He is not bound by the barriers that so clearly divide us
Díos, God of all tribes and tongues
we find this to be true also
as we walk between houses
with rice and beans in our backpacks
and prayers on our lips for the people we are to meet, the hands we are to hold
but as the burdens on our backs lighten
our hearts grow heavier with the weight
of knowing a new suffering unseen in our first-world bubble
of cradling babies with broken bones
tying beaded bracelets onto bruised arms
listening to story after story of seeking answers
in glass bottles and coming up empty
all we can do is love, and we do
a love intertwined in both laughter and tears
as we are walking, Justin
an eighteen-year-old boy of sunshine
and our translator
invites us into his home:
a little house with blue walls and a blue roof
we share banana soda and talk about our bucket list destinations
Justin’s is London, and we all agree we should go together someday
for seven days my life is building friendships,
ignoring the sweat dripping down my back
to put one more case of vitamins in the hands
of a teenage girl who is just trying to survive
in a cruel, fragmented world
for seven days i am taught that life is more than routine
i want more than some American dream
i have mistaken mere tolerance for joy;
for i have witnessed joy here in this place
in the full-face smiles of human beings who have been called Redeemed,
in testimonies of metamorphosis,
now, how could i desire anything less?
i sit on the balcony and watch ocean waves turn white against the coastline
in three hours i will be soaring over the Atlantic again
away from beautiful Roatan
back to plastic neighborhoods and facebook friends
and i whisper, over and over,
God, don’t let me fall asleep again
until next time
withering ivy crawls,
Suffocating the cracks where once it grew
Hiding in the broken walls,
Dripping down, blooming like hearts anew.
But what you don’t know,
Is that the castle you see,
Was forged from blood long ago,
and all the stones they threw at me.
So you look down on the poison,
That brew from my jade hearts,
And frown at the meadows they moisten,
Only to strip me of my parts.
The world, my god, how they cry,
About the girl locked in the vines
But through alligator tears, they lie
And leave me in a hell of my own design.
But it’s no wonder my eyes went dull,
And everything I touch, I break,
so I used the ivy from cracks in my skull,
And you used the venom of a snake.
My skeleton scrapes the stone,
Waiting for the sun to hit my eyes,
I solemnly wait and take my throne,
You were a thief in a prince’s disguise.
So you used the knife in glee,
Merely a killer disguised as a gift
But darling, the dreamer in me,
She’s here, I swear she lived
#poetry #poet #prose #fantasy #ivy
all the things that love likes
Tell me about your hands,
faded scars that look like stars,
from haunting, distant lands,
with broken getaway cars.
You whisper as tears flow,
about haunted dreams and bursting seams
with nowhere left to go,
but back to your decaying regimes.
Even amid your silence,
are tolling bells and muted yells,
a heart that screams of violence
locked inside cast-iron cells.
so I fell in love with you,
your lightning strikes and daunting spikes,
and I know it must be true;
we abandon all the fancy things Love likes.
But holy hell what you admit,
Under the guise of velvet skies.
hopeless tries and sapphire eyes.
god, I’ve never met a storm quite like you.
#poetry #poet #challenge #prose
Wanna Hear A Story?
In the beginning, there was a young girl, brought into a great big world.
Throughout the girl’s life, she tended to distance herself from others.
She did not know how to approach people, and not feel as if she was being strangled to stop the words from leaving.
The very few words she spoke were hushed and full of stutters and uncertainty.
The girl didn’t mind the solitude but it got lonely.
As the loneliness grew and grew the more she sank inside her head.
The girl began to wonder when had she ever had a smile on her face.
She wondered about the times she wasn’t always caught up in the small things.
She wondered about a time she wasn’t always overthinking her life.
She wondered if she was a likable person or somebody that nobody likes.
She wondered when did she start to question her worth.
She wondered when the last time she was happy and she wasn’t acting.
She wondered why, when she felt emotions she always masked them.
She wondered what happened to her.
All these thoughts overwhelmed her,
and slowly ever so slowly they took over.
Making a monster inside of her head.
But nobody knew because she was such a good actor.
The mask she always wore hid the monster deep within.
And I’ve tried to take it off but it’s glued to my skin.
A Soulscaper’s Misery
[Inspired by: What it Takes to Fly by Yuumei, (a super inspiring artist who I recommend checking out) I added a link in the comments.]
~ ~ ~
One chain. Two chains. Three.
“Wow, Meiyuu, how are you doing that?”
Little Avi gaped at his master and the birds swooping around her. Their colours and fragrance, their formations and feathers, her control of it all, it was enchanting. Each bird was a pearl of white with streaks of pink and green, yellow and blue, there were other colours too. All bright and refreshing, and Little Avi was mesmerized whole-heartedly.
Meiyuu stood at the centre of a glass, vast pedestal, each petal a symmetrical net of ornate designs sprouting away from her feet. The platform gave the impression of delicacy and defiance; Hubris’s peak. It was a meditation circle of sorts, atop a stained glass temple; The Temple of Dreams, hanging above the mist of the city. A place always graced by warmth and sunlight. A gentle, sparkly hue...
Meiyuu seemed to glow atop this platform, like she was a goddess flying above the rest. And like everybody else, Little Avi admired her. He sat by her feet, like a child watching a magic show. Her poise had the grace of a contemporary dancer set to slow motion. She held her hand out in the air as if picking an apple from a tree that wasn't there, and the birds—the beautiful, colourful birds—flew in sequence around.
Four, five, six chains threatening to drag her down.
She twirled with the shadow of a smile, like a sigh on her face, while her eyes held the sky's blue. Her irises carved through by immense loads of power, as though she'd trained for centuries to do what she did. And the work of a Soulscaper was taxing indeed.
She was not centuries old; not even one; not even half as young. But the expectations and formalities her days required of her; the gruelling hours took upon by a soul-guider, it gave her this appearance. It gave her this stage.
It ripped and gnawed at her back like a bird stripped down by its cage.
She had not lived centuries of life, she'd witnessed it. She'd peered into minds and spirits alike, seen the paths of souls falling apart. Her job was to build them back up, sometimes out of a broken heart, just as she'd guided birds to fly. She strung their souls, entwined them to her dreams and set them free. Uplifting, inspiring, her work begets healing.
Ten, eleven, twelve wounds, bleeding.
She really was magical. It was not just for show. To be on a pedestal is to be vulnerable, susceptible. Meiyuu behaved as though she were nothing special. That did not stop her from seeming untouchable. Navy black hair swept by the breeze, pale porcelain skin neglected by the sun's ease.
Little Avi swayed and hummed, caressed by her silent song when he perked up:
“How do you make the birds listen to you?”
'With broad brush strokes of my blood.'
Her smile was her answer. At times, words were too much. The weight placed on each syllable could feel like a strap and a buckle without touch. Her apprentice didn't mind.
"How long will I have to train to be like you?" he cried.
Painfully. Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen shackles and then you'll see.
This, she said. Dark spirits tore them out of her head. Meiyuu corrected her tone, "you will get there, it just takes time."
A sacrificial climb.
A scraped soul.
It was a path she was hesitant to teach.
The job of a soulscaper was taxing indeed.
Others saw pretty birds...
She felt the raking of their feet.
By coincidence, one of my guilty sonic pleasures came through my headphones right after I read a post to this challenge. I will never use the song’s inspired, inchoate lyrics in my own writing, but in case someone else skimming Prose likes them too, allow me to refer you to the ridiculously-titled Lady Gaga track “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love).” And before you laugh too hard, check out the opening lines:
Run, run with her top down, baby, she flies
Run, run with the fury of a saint in her eyes
Run, run, cha, cha, cha, baby, she goes
With blond hair and a gun smoking under her toes
Moving into the chorus, the lyrics include “Ride, ride pony ride ride,” and “Ride, ride pony tonight,” which seems a clear reference to a Ford Mustang. And that, dear reader, is a hell of a setup.
Whom or what did she shoot? I don’t know. Why does the song later say “She’s just an American riding a dream” and that she has “a flag in her bra”? I don’t know. What the hell does a unicorn have to do with any of it? I don’t know! It makes little sense, really, and the peak of the chorus sounds like a desperate attempt to wrench a few more soaring notes onto an album that already had “Born This Way” and “You and I.”
But in my mind’s eye, Horatio, I play the music video that never was, and an establishing shot of a desert highway at night gradually zooms in while tracking an impossibly red Mustang, its headlights blazing along the dotted lines. The driver’s blond hair whips wildly as she blows past a speed limit sign, but the camera continues zooming all the way to the pedals and a very-Tarantino shot of her sandaled and pedicured feet, the end of a shotgun’s smoking barrel visible along the floorboards.
This is probably of no use whatsoever to your project (which I’m afraid I do not have time to participate in – I’m actually shirking a stack of grading right now to type this). But to see a series of posts of people batting about ideas, just as Gaga paints the picture of that Mustang in my ears? Fate, clearly.
Have at ye, Prosers. (If anyone ever actually uses this setup, please tag me :)
art that stretches past skyscrapers,
not scraping the sky but high-fiving it, stabbing it.
the sky is a beautiful thing,
meant to bleed.
but some people are pacifists,
they preach against the stabbing,
that the sky is just like us.
when it is scraped,
a bandaid is slapped across it.
and the work is soon forgotten.
in order to be remembered,
you gotta make it bleed deep,
let rain drip from cuts in the clouds.
some people don't like the blood we produce,
calling it painful and strange.
but beauty is pain
and no pain no gain.
the sky was made to be scraped and stabbed.
it can take our abuse,
so why can't you?
Listening to People
Someone once told me to never dream too hard,
and that I should never put my faith in the stars.
They told me to keep up my guard,
and that I should never talk about my scars.
They told me that I should keep quiet,
and instead of eating so much, I should go on a diet.
Someone told me that people don't care,
and you can scream to the world that "life's not fair".
Someone taught me that things won't always go my way,
and that every once in a while I'll have a really bad day.
Someone grabbed my hand and told me life is hard,
then they raised their hand and pointed me to God.
Someone told me that people will look down on me,
and that life is cloudy sometimes we can't see.
The blessing that are right in front of us,
The fact that they're right there is kinda sus.
Someone told me not to grow up too fast,
because you can never go back in the past.
this arrow in my heart
its sweet but tart
we stand where the sidewalk ends
you say we are just friends
but I've never felt love like this dear
but if you change your mind I'll be here
we keep on drifting apart
The more I reach for your heart
I wish you would stay
but your sailing away
when you pull the arrow out
I didn't scream or shout
I just watched as you layed by my side
and you held my hand while I slowly died