Allow a man his misery, if that is what he chooses
he is justified in his pursuit of self destruction
so long as he contains it away from those around him
and is only noticed subtly by his friends and loved ones.
Allow him to drink and smoke and sleep 'till noon,
do not question why he decides to stay inside all day
give him room to kill himself the second he decides to
it's selfish, yes, but equally so if you try to stop him.
Allow him comfort in all of its demented forms
so that self imposed parasite might gnaw on his festering mind
and feed itself on energies he can no longer recognize,
he traded them for blindness too long ago to fix it anyway.
Allow a man to do as he pleases so long as it pleases him,
so long as it keeps him in line with his own worth
so long as it helps him get feel something,
so say so long to him who you thought knew you.
Allow him that at least.
School records can be wrong. So while I considered the "F" next to "Gender" in my gradebook and attendance app, I also considered the vests, the close-cut hair, the chosen nickname, and last year's work founding our rural school's first Gay-Straight Alliance.
I had never asked anyone before (never had call to, really), but I felt like I should, and after wrapping up a one-on-one discussion of writing process, I did.
"By the way, I certainly don't want to pry, and I hope you don't mind my asking. What are your preferred pronouns?"
A quiet moment. A blink or so.
"You know, no one's ever asked me that before. Thank you... I prefer 'he,'" he said.
When it rains.
I think of her. We used to be together whenever it rained. We used to cancel plans and run from where ever we were to each other when it rained. I remember we would just go anywhere, anywhere as long as we were with each other. Sometimes we would get on the subway just to see where we would go. We went to the beach, to the park, and the other park, to the art museum, and the local coffee shop a dozen times and just outside to feel the rain and hold hands.
While rain meant staying inside for most people, it meant seeing her for me.
But then as all clouds do, the rain faded. And so did her smiles and laughter. They were replaced with anger and annoyance. And that came like thunderstorms, fast and furious, and then a calm. A calm before another storm. Or the sun.
Soon, we stayed inside. Instead of braving the rain and letting ourselves feel the raindrops without an umbrella, we just avoided it. The risk of lighting and thunder was too much. We didn’t see the sun much after that. The bright rays and sunshine on our faces were far and few in between.
And that’s okay, but now the rain isn’t quite the same. It’s like a gentle reminder of her and as I think of her, I hope she thinks of me too.
Use, Quit, Repeat (The original was beautiful)
If I could take your addiction, I’d press my lips to yours and let it slither in like a hunting snake. I palmed the cigarette from your pack, palmed it, lit it, smoked it. It burnt my throat. It hurt. I didn’t ask for another. I crushed the pills from your pocket. Crushed them. You always looked so beautiful with your head down. Head down and nose against the glass of the table. I breathed in. Like you, it was euphoric. But my nose bled the next day, dripped onto my favorite pillow. Once white, once pure, now stained. Eyes red, my head is in your lap, I don't sleep in my own bed. I need you, I want you, I have to have you. Itches. My skin itches. I'm sweating but shivering, the light is off, the blinds are drawn, where did you go? You've been gone. I palmed a cigarette from my pack, I palmed it, I lit it, smoked it. It burnt my throat. It filled my lungs. I lit another, trading one addiction for another. Kissing my illness into my new lover.
Jealousy is a disease
I’m sinking to the floor
Crashing to my knees
Imagining him with you
Twists my heart
It scrapes and it bleeds
How could you be with him
When you should have been with me?
I stalk you online
Your name is all that I think
I imagine the compassion
Between you and my soul sinks
I cry when I blink
Anger runs in my veins
I feel I need a shrink
And a new love towards pain
I know I should want the best
But I’m selfish when I care
It’s my own damn fault
Because I should have been there
I watch you hold his hand
And I cant help but stare
And then I curl up and drown
In this cold pool of dispair
The Curse of Murdock
Elizabelle Thames had been betrothed to Count Murdock ever since she was twelve years old, and her father had gambled away the last of his fortunes in a spontaneous game of gin. She was the bargaining chip her cowardly father had presented to, Murdock, in order to keep his lands and titles. The supple and serene daughter of, Elias Thames, would marry the ruthless count on her eighteenth birthday.
Elizabelle presumed he was nefarious because he cheated many innocent men out of a deal and disposed of his wives when they no longer suited him. He'd been married thrice, and each had met an unlikely fate. His first wife – Alina – had been found dangling from a noose in the attic. The second wife – Suzette – was located in the streets, disemboweled and hanging in an alleyway from her entrails. The latest wife, Amelia, was discovered foaming at the mouth, lying face down in her rosemary stew.
Elizabelle inwardly loathed the idea of marrying the count, but her younger sisters made her put on a brave face. They were doe-eyed and unaware of the cruelties the world beheld. She couldn't run away and allow them to suffer a fate already put in place for her. If the count couldn't have her, then he would undoubtedly choose one of them.
On her sixteenth birthday, the count began demanding an audience with her. She was forced to have dinner with him on multiple occasions with her family, and the way he openly gaped lewdly at her overwhelmed her with the desire to retch. The count had seven sons, and they were all wed, except one. Elizabelle was familiar with the tales of how they all drank too much ale and beat their wives. She presumed it was the reason each Lady Murdock wore too much rouge – to conceal their bruises.
Elizabelle often wondered how she would react if the count ever struck her. Would she fight back or remain docile and compliant? She never managed to find out because three days before her eighteenth birthday, the count died suddenly from cardiac arrest. She was flooded with relief, believing she'd found her way out of this despicable contract. Despite all of this, she'd been carted away on her eighteenth birthday – straight to the chapel where the count's only unwed son awaited her. Ishmael Murdock was silent and reclusive, and he certainly wasn't handsome. An ugly burn scar ravaged the right side of his face, leaving him partially blind. She'd overheard the household staff gossiping one day about how his own father had mercilessly subjected him to those wounds in a heated fit of rage.
Elizabelle had met him only in passing, and he'd never spoken to her at the count's gatherings or formal balls. He remained aloof and unapproachable.
The ceremony was brief, and the gentle impression of his lips was chaste, as they sealed their vows of forever. Elizabelle hadn't desired marriage with anyone connected to the murderous count, but she supposed Ishmael Murdock was the least threatening of his father's sons. In fact, they'd parted ways on their wedding night. A maid had showed her to her chamber, readied her for bed, and left without another word. To her relief, she'd spent their wedding night in solitude. The following morning, the same maid had brought her breakfast and a change of clothes, but she hadn't acknowledged Elizabelle when she inquired about her missing husband. The woman had left her in isolation, and she had quickly discovered her chambers were locked.
All the blood drained from her face upon realizing she was her husband's prisoner. Would he creep unsuspectingly into her chambers in the middle of the night and force himself upon her!? She swallowed hard, imagining the untold torture he would subject her to. It wasn't unheard of for a man to take advantage of his wife without her consent. Elizabelle slept restlessly, expecting her husband to lunge upon her like a ravenous beast while she slumbered. Her fears were abated, because after a week, he never showed up.
Irritation replaced fear, and when the same stone-faced maid came to bring her breakfast the next morning, Elizabelle rebelliously tore out of her chambers, stealing the maid's key and locking her inside. She smirked triumphantly as a slew of curses erupted from the other side. She marched vehemently down the hall, fury rolling off her body in waves. She hadn't been allotted to speak to her family or friends since her nuptials, and she was determined to find out why.
Elizabelle stalled briefly in front of a ginormous set of doors. Enchanting violin music wafted from beyond. She curiously pushed open the doors, spying a magnificent library with towering shelves filled to the brim with tomes, which catapulted to the cathedral ceilings. Elizabelle yearned to peek beneath the pages of each one, but she restrained her hankering for knowledge and focused on the source of the violin music. She rounded several corners, astounded to find her new husband playing a flawless, melodious masterpiece. Enchantment was replaced by fury. Elizabelle stalked forward.
"YOU!" She pointed her index finger accusingly at him.
He paused, lifting his single verdant iris to meet her twin azure orbs. He poised his violin at his side. "Milady." He nodded politely.
Elizabelle glowered. "You've kept me locked in that bloody room well over a week! Explain! Am I your prisoner!? Why marry me if you never intended to converse with me!? Why-"
He held his hand up in protest. "If you'll stop yelling, then I'll explain everything."
She crossed her arms loosely under her chest. "Fine," she huffed.
He cleared his throat promptly. "A contract was drawn up many years ago, between our fathers. I was pledged to marry you if he was unable to fulfill the arrangement himself. I'm the black spot amongst my father's other sons – the light he always wished to snuff out. I never expected to acquire a wife, and he forbade me from ever procuring a match of my own."
She blinked owlishly, attempting to make sense of their predicament. "So why keep me locked up?"
"For your own protection. My brothers are all married, yet they prey upon women like salivating wolves. They're no better than my father, and I didn't want you to believe I was like them," he said, averting his gaze shamefully.
"But I'm your wife, don't you wish to consummate our marriage? It's my wifely duty to appease your carnal desires," she countered, sarcasm dripping from her lips.
He shook his head. "I've observed you for some time, the trepidation in your eyes when my father was near repulsed me. I couldn't bear for you to ever look at me that way. It's why I've been avoiding you. I didn't want to give you any reason to fear me."
Elizabelle was flummoxed by his revelation. She absentmindedly reached for his hand. "Perhaps I'm foolish or naive for believing you, but your declaration makes you infinitely more honorable than your father ever was. I would spit on that bastard's grave, ever given the chance," she fumed.
He brushed his forefinger over her knuckles, unperturbed by her speech. "Me too," he admitted without hesitation.
Great peals of laughter burst from her lips, echoing throughout the library. Momentarily startled by her uncanny reaction, he too joined in. They laughed until their sides ached, and after collapsing in a fit of giggles on the red velvet chaise, Ishmael agreed to play another piece for her.
Later, Elizabelle, was astonished to discover her new husband composed his own music. He was talented, charismatic, and brilliant, compared to his halfwit brothers. As the days passed, their bond began to deepen. It wasn't shallow or superficial, and Elizabelle began to discover her husband's physical fallacy didn't unhinge her as it did others. He was transparent with her, and she trusted him with her heart enough to dispel all of her secret longings to him. Their days were filled with reading by the hearth and her listening to him play his violin as dusk transitioned into night.
Elizabelle's chamber remained locked at night – for her safety. He'd then have the maid retrieve her the next morning and bring her to the library, however he never requested to share her bed.
As the nights became cooler, she secretly yearned for another warm body settled next to hers.
One morning as they took tea in the library, Elizabelle could no longer quell her tongue. She glanced down at the cup of steaming chamomile nestled in her palms. "Ishmael, why do you insist on still sleeping alone? We're not unacquainted anymore. You've opened your heart to me, and I've bared the very essence of my soul to you. What's keeping you away from me, my darling?"
He shuddered as she reached up to caress his ravaged cheek.
He grabbed her wrist, kissing it reverently. "Because I would never recover if any hint of disgust flashed within your beautiful gaze. You've been so kind to grant me any hint of affection, and I'm grateful for the gift of friendship you've bestowed so freely," he revealed.
Elizabelle frowned, cupping his cheeks within her palms. "The only disgusting vermin in this entire estate are your loathsome brothers. You're worth more than any of them, and you're mistaken if you believe I feel any hint of revulsion towards you. You're my husband, and I'm irrevocably in love with you, every single part, even the pieces you abhor."
Tears trekked down his cheeks from her profession. No one had ever touched him without repulsion before, yet this gorgeous woman with silken locks of chestnut and kind blue eyes longed for him in a way he nary believed he'd be desired. The moment their lips touched, the flame of passion consumed them, and they blazed with amour. Nights spent in isolation were replaced by two lovers hungry for the other's touch. A fellow, viewed as a beast by society, enticed a beauty more than she believed a man ever would.
Gossip ran rampant among the house of Murdok when, Elizabelle, had fallen ill. Had the beast poisoned his fledgling bride? Rumors quickly dissipated, only to be replaced by new ones when the couple announced they were expecting a child. Would the babe be disfigured like his father? Would he consume the child when it came spiraling out of its mother's womb? Elizabelle was disgusted by their deranged tales, desiring a life of privacy – away from his depraved family.
"Ishmael, we should leave this place. I don't want our child to be raised up, hearing this lunacy. I'm weary of others defaming your appearance," she bemoaned one rainy afternoon.
Ishmael glanced at his wife's protruding abdomen. They'd attempted to steer clear of his brothers, but once Elizabelle became pregnant, their attention had been piqued. The Murdock family was cursed, the villagers storied. Their family seed had been hexed after Count Murdock had accused a kitchen maid of stealing from him. He had her strung up in the town square and burned at the stake for her crimes. Ishmael was only a young lad at the time of the incident, but he remembered his father was furious at her for refusing to sleep with him. It was uncanny she would steal anything from him a few short days later, but his father had money and influence in their provincial town, and it didn't take much to sway the judges in his favor. Irma – the woman he'd falsely wronged, was said to be a witch.
Ishmael recounted her being kind to him as a boy, especially since his mother had died when he was merely two. She'd paid special attention to him, sneaked him an extra sweet when the cook wasn't looking. Everything good in his life, his father made sure to destroy. Being the third born didn't afford him any luxuries, but he secretly wondered if Irma hadn't included him in her curse. She'd cursed the entire Murdock family bloodline as the flames licked at her flesh. No son of Murdock's wife had ever carried a child to full term. Elizabelle was the first to without any complications. Fear crept in the back of his mind, he couldn't be filled with false hope when neither of his brother's wives had ever borne a healthy child. Their sheets were always stained with blood soon after they made the announcement, and it made each wife bitter at his Elizabelle.
"Are you sure it's even your child!?" One of them had cornered him in the parlor one morning.
"It is," he'd stated firmly, evading her accusations as he made his way back to his chambers.
Leaving would be beneficial to them both, but they would have to be discreet, or his brothers would come trailing after them, no doubt.
He cleared his throat uncouthly, answering her. "Yes, you're right, darling. We should leave immediately."
Ismael squared away their few belongings in trunks, arranged for his lawyer to hand over his small fortune, and moved himself and, Elizabelle, to a modest house in the countryside. Elizabelle gave birth to a healthy, squalling girl, and the day proceeding her birth, the entire Murdock estate burned to the ground. Six of Murdock's sons died horrendous deaths, leaving them stranded and drunk in the house after a night of drinking and gambling. Six wives were happily widowed, leaving them to remarry and bear healthy children of their own.
The groundskeeper called it Irma's revenge, and the superstitious villagers claimed a portal to hell had opened, swallowing the remaining nefarious Murdocks, save one. Ishmael Murdock thrived happily with his wife, siring three daughters and four sons during their lifetime. A beastly countenance didn't conceal his heart of gold, especially from his beauty – Elizabelle, who'd seen fit to love him despite his ravaged exterior. They lived happily ever after...
The lamest superpower is one that cannot be displayed to other people. It is also impractical, useless, possibly gimmicky, and uncool. Maybe you can turn white objects white.
What is a superpower? It's a personal power that only you have. It's something that only you can do, and it's supposed to be powerful and awe-inspiring.
What do superpowers do? They allow you to change things. Off the top of my head, every superpower I can think of changes something in a way that no one else can. Either it changes the power's weilder or the world around the weilder.
I would define superpowers as tools used to change the world. Maybe the tool is blunt, like the ability to shoot fire. It only burns things, and you can only use that ability for certain tasks, but it's a tool nonetheless. So I would say that all superpowers are tools.
So the lamest superpower is something that everyone can do, and it changes nothing.
Maybe you can take a Syndrome approach from The Incredibles. "And if everyone is super, no one will be." But no, I don't think that's an acceptable answer.
Could you just intuitively say that the lamest superpower is something dumb, like being able to fart louder than anyone else? Or make your arm hairs stand up on end at will?
Maybe. But I don't think so. I think it's good to look at it logically and seriously. I like what I said before: "The lamest superpower is something that everyone can do, and it changes nothing." I think it's a good rule of thumb for the "lamest superpower", and by using it, you might come up with a superpower that's unarguably lamer.
I have an idea for the lamest superpower, but it might actually be a little interesting.
So maybe the lamest superpower is one that gives you the physical abilities of the average man. Take me for example. If I had that power, it'd do nothing to me. It wouldn't change me, it wouldn't make me different from anyone else, and it wouldn't give me any advantages over weak people that I don't already have. If you give this power to a stronger man, it'd make him weaker. If you give it to a weaker man, he would certainly have experienced personal growth, but he would still have only risen to yet another level of mediocrity, albeit a higher one.
On second thought, you could say that the lamest superpower is one that makes you weaker than the average man. But I don't think so. It'd be like having an ability that gives you some sort of degenerative disease. It would be terrible, negative, and would simply suck, but I'm not sure if it falls under the category of "lame". If a guy had the ability to generate fire, but the fire burned him, you wouldn't say "lame". You'd say, "poor guy". You'd pity his poor lot in life. If you had the powers of an average man, no one would care about you. Imagine standing in a bar and declaring that you had those powers. What the heck? Who cares? It means nothing. It changes nothing. Having the physical powers of a weak man is pretty bad, but I wouldn't call it lame. But getting a superpower that designates you as average and easily overlooked? I think that's lame.
I think I talked too much and tried to explain too much at the end there.
Maybe instead the lamest superpower is one that you can really make fun of, and if that's the case, there's too many to list.