She longed for catharsis. Aristotle said that humans need tragedy because they need catharsis, and she longed for great tragedy. Not tragedy that would set her off her path but tragedy like an atomic bomb to disconnect her from the path she had taken. It was anathema, disgusting, she hated the path, resented that she was inextricably tied to it and loathed herself as a consequence of it. She would at times, manage to forget parts of herself, at times able to see clearly that it was insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but then all at once, it would hit her like a ton of bricks, and the crushing weight would bring her close to tears. She remembered how she had passed through the world unscathed for so many years, believed it to be so full of hope, and loathed the new world she now could now could not help but to see, the horrible truth of its harshness, its evil and its unfettered cruelty. She hated the world that she lived in and saw now that she could not return to the way in which she previously lived, because she now lived in another world. The blinds had been ripped from her eyes and the trauma of reality had left her incapacitated, and angry and sorely bitter.
He sat next to her, twirling the pen in his hand, pushing the tip against the skin of his left hand the way he always did when he was thinking. Little dots were left in its wake, to people that knew him, signs that Simon had been deep in thought. She looked at him, studying his face, the way his hair fell slightly below his brows when he looked down. She felt the urge to run her fingers through his hair and push the dull locks out of his eyes.
He looked up, noticing that she’d been staring. She’d been hoping that he’d notice.
“Nothing babe, just you.”
He smiled at the words, the edges of his lips curving slightly upwards before abruptly returning to the frown of concentration as he studied, once again, the haphazardly annotated pages of his well- worn textbook. She felt her heartbeat change as the smile came and went, like how wind catches in your hair when a fast car drives by. She stared at him again, studying his face for signs that he still adored her like he used to.
They fell in love fast. It was a romance right out of a storybook too, with not a thing out of place. Simon was studying an article for an English exam, “Tragedy and Its Conventions”, when he looked up and saw the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Hair tucked behind her ears, cheeks flushed from the cold, bottom lip tucked ever so slightly in the top row of her teeth as she contemplated the work before her. He knew her too, she was taking the same English exam that week. Why hadn’t he ever noticed her?
She looked up, eyes widening at the realisation that she was at a table full of strangers that knew each other.
“Can I sit here?”
“You- Of course, sure,” He replied. The words were slippery and slid out between his teeth before he had time to think about them. Look at that angel, he thought, why wouldn’t he want her to sit next to him. The girl went back to her work but he spent the rest of the hour thinking about her.
It progressed quickly and without warning, from sitting together to talking to hours- long phone conversations, long walks and knowing looks in hallways and one day, a confession. He told her, he couldn’t hold it in anymore. He couldn’t wait to tell her all the things he thought were amazing about her. He saw a future with her, he said. He told her that day, for the first time that he thought she was beautiful.
Claudia remembered the words as if they had just been spoken to her as her eyes searched his face. What was there? Nothing. What she was looking for had become scarce, in her eyes at least. The knowing smiles, him reaching over to touch her hand every few minutes. Things that she had once been embarassed by, she now longed for.
The bus ride home was quiet. They held hands and smiled at each other once in a while. They talked about their days, their plans for the weekend and some movies they thought might be interesting to watch. When she got up to leave, he pulled her close and kissed her on the cheek. The places where his lips had touched her skin felt to her like holy land and though she would never admit it to anyone, she played each memory of every kiss they shared over and over in her head until the thrill of it was gone.
She couldn’t remember when it began to feel like this. It felt like she was tired. If the first time they touched, the first time they kissed, the first time he told her he loved her were wooden beams, they felt now like ash. She knew in her mind, what they had once been, how they once felt. She knew how the grain of the wood felt against her fingertips, every crevace, every sinew, explored and re- explored so throughly she could reconstruct them effortlessly it in her mind’s eye. It was the sight and sound and taste of bright, deep, luxurious mahogany, seared into the back of her eyelids, the surface of her eardrums, the tip of her tongue. She knew it better than she knew what this ash she now held in her hands was.
As they lay in separate beds on opposite sides of town, the crackling sound of white noise filtered through each of their headphones. Their phone calls had always been filled with silence, it just depended on the day and consequently, the type of silence they would hear.
“I love you babe,” he said finally. “I love you too,” she whispered back. Silence.
“I’m afraid,” she admitted.
“Because of her?” He knew the answer to his own question.
“Because of her,” she replied.
He made a grand declaration of love. He told her, she was the only one he loved and would ever love. “I want to marry you someday,” he told her. Claudia had heard this before. She knew he meant it. Yet, when she looked down at her palms, all that was there was snowy white ash falling through the cracks between her fingers. She felt like crying.
In the darkness that night, to the sound of the quiet whirr of the celing fan, she prayed for him. “Dear God, please let it be the way it was, please make her leave him alone,” it was a cry of desperation more than a plea for help and she could feel the tears brimming in her eyes. Hot gasoline running down her cheeks, dousing more and more of it in the endless flow of liquid disappointment, liquid rage, liquid sadness. She told herself she would stop. He loves you, he loves you, he loves you, he’s told you, he’s told you, he’s told you. She repeated it like a mantra again and again, He loves you, he loves you, he loves you, he’s told you, he’s told you, he’s told you. It didn’t work though, it never has and then she began to imagine.
Imagined her talking to him, imagined her hand on his chest, her fingers in his hair, his smile in her eyes. She’d been blessed with a wild imagination. It was what made her a dreamer, a voracious reader of fiction, a writer. It was her reality but in her head, the information she already had was no different from an intriguing cover of a book or a puzzling writing prompt. From it, she spun stories and a million heartbreaking realities. Each time she began to think, she felt the tip of a match on her skin, when she let herself imagine, there was the searing heat of the match being struck against it and coming alive.
“I love you baby, don’t worry,” she read the text through her vision which was blurry with tears. He loves you, he loves you, he loves you, he’s told you, he’s told you, he’s told you. It was much too late though. Too many tears had been shed and the stories that she’d madly woven had set more and more of what she clung to ablaze.
She closed her eyes, hugging the phone to her chest, savouring the words, I love you, I love you I love you, in her head, in her ears, on her lips. But the tears continued to fall, exploding violently as they hit her skin as she thought about her, hearing those words from him and then, without a thought, set them ablaze.
Finding the words in hidden places.
"Did you ever need me?"
Thick silence hung between us like a wall. My voice sounded muffled coming out of my mouth. I felt like a prisoner, speaking through a static-y speaker to a visitor on the other side of a scratched- up, foggy Plexiglas divider.
The answer came hesitantly. I could see whatever resolution he'd had quickly melting. His eyes were darting around the room. He lifted his hand, the fingertips barely grazing the roots of his hair before he caught my eye and jammed his hands into his pockets.
"Why are you nervous?"
The question slipped out between my lips before I could stop it. I'd meant it as a question but it'd come out like an accusation.
I saw his eyelashes flutter as his eyes darted across the room again. His hands formed fists inside his pockets.
"Sorry. I didn't mean it like that. I just- "
Wistfulness bloomed in the silence between us. The unique, totally incomprehensible pattern of speech embodied in the conversation that passed between us triggered a flood of memories rushing to the front of my mind.
We spoke in fragments of sentences, half- words. Our sentences were punctuated by the beginning of each other's. To anyone else, it was gibberish. To us, it made perfect sense. No matter how stoic he attempted to be, he was an open book and I could read him like one.
"You're right, I am."
His voice was even less resolute than before. I looked down.
I opened and closed the book in my lap.
Silence. Not a rustle of fabric, not a footstep. It was me, him and the whistle tone in my brain threatening to shatter the world.
"I love you."
My heart jolted in my chest. I couldn't tell if it was frustration or fury.
"Then why is this happening?" I looked up at him. My voice caught in my throat. It felt like Air had grown a fist made of iron and clutched my throat in its wicked grip.
We both knew but I asked anyway.
He knew it from the moment he rejected a job for me, the moment he lost friends for me. I knew it from the moment I missed my mother's birthdays and my father's dinners for him, from the moment I passed up friends for him. It wasn't the union of two people, it wasn't creation born out of the combination of two elements. It was destruction born out of the collision of deadly explosives. It was just me and him and everything else had become collateral damage.
I stood up and handed him the book as his eyes swept its cover.
"Pride and Prejudice."
"Year One Literature."
"You kept it."
"It's yours. I never returned it."
I felt the varnished surface of the book slip out between my fingertips as the memory of the time he'd handed me the book nearly three years ago surfaced in my mind, bobbing up and down, replaying again and again. I remembered the moment fresh out of my eyes. I wished I didn't.
He gripped the book in his hands. A smile, almost pained, tugged at the edges of his lips,
"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope."
A laugh escaped my mouth in a quickly expelled breath of air. I breathed in and exhaled, a hot tear slid down my cheek, leaving fire in its wake.
I laughed. Even more tears seeped from my eyes, racing down my cheeks.
The poetry burned into the back of my mind an eternity ago peeled itself up off my brain and formed audible words. They were drowning in tears, saturated with memories. It was as if they'd been waiting for this moment to leave my tongue.
"I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it"
The hint of a memory broke out into a smile on his face.
"I have loved none but you."
His thumb brushed my cheek and the tears ran in rivulets down his fingers.
Long Live The King
All hail His Majesty-
See Him, walking with dignified grace
upon the tan backs of His people.
How humble He is,
How gracious, not proud.
As he walks under the shade of tattered cloth
Made from clothes ripped off backs and sheets torn from beds.
as blackholes are burned into history with the cigars of The King.
Look at the Royal Seal
Worn upon His Royal finger,
A single point, digging away at families and at nations and
pointing away, away, away
from the loaded pistol He holds behind His back.
Long Live The King.
Let Him live the long and happy days
He promised His people.
Before He put on the crown
and forgot He was human.
I can't hear the silence
over the racket of my heart jackhammering
in my eardrums.
Every beat like a punch to the gut.
I can't see the nothing that's happening
Only the mad eternity
behind my eyes.
Pleading my body
to do my bidding
taking in the gasps
in short breaths
I know it will subside.
So in my room, at my desk, in the subway
in a restaurant, on a plane,
a wedding, a funeral, about to fall asleep,
or in the first few seconds of a new day,
to hear the silence again.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
I gasp, inhaling sharply, my mouth open so wide that my cracked lips start to bleed. I taste liquid salt on my lips and can't tell if I'm tasting blood or teardrops. My chest heaves. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay. I repeat the words over and over although I know I'll never believe them. I can't undo what's been done, how the order of things has been mangled and disfigured beyond recognition.
The plastic packet, slick with sweat, clatters onto the floor when I lose control of my trembling fingers. How could someone commit so heinous a crime, bear to let their fingers do do such dirty work? Blood is on their hands. Blood spilled carelessly and without thought.
I back away slowly, my body limp and quivering. Why, why why. My mind whirls and struggles to comprehend how such simple a rule should be broken. Voices are screaming, shrieking in my head now. I press my hands over my ears but the horror of what I've just seen has made it's mark on my consciousness and embedded itself firmly onto the back of my eyelids, so that all I can see is horror and horror and horror and all I can hear is the voice of my conscience screaming, protesting, crying out against the wrongness of it all.
And I back away, away from the plastic packet on the floor and away and away until I'm jolted violently out of my reverie when I crash into the metal shelf behind me. And a million plastic packets come down like rain on me, as the metal shelf sways and sways, pouring down what must be an endless stream of plastic packets of horror.
And soon I'm covered in them. Covered in the sin of a nation, the immorality and apathy of the human race. I shriek and throw them off of me. I am hysterical. How could they do this, how could they do this to me? How could they rob me of the basic human right- to sound grammar?
The stocky blonde cashier turns the corner and sees me sitting, close to tears, in a pile of plastic packets.
"What the hell, lady!?" She's red- faced and screaming.
I stand up indignantly, a plastic packet in my trembling hands.
"THIS SHEEPS COSTUMES IS GOOD FOR ANYBODY- ONE SIZE FIT ALL BODYS" I shout as I shove the packet in the woman's face.
I was removed from the store, which was, in hindsight, reasonable.
But let it not be forgotten that what had been allowed to be printed on those plastic packets, is the true halloween horror.
Happy Halloween! >:)
- The Author of the Goriest Literature Ever Written.
Dear Dead Dahlia
I don't know you. I'd never even heard your name until policemen broke into my house in the night, grabbed me by the throat and told me I'd taken your life.
I've never seen your face without the big red slashes they say I've made or heard your voice say anything other than the words you screamed; recorded on close- circuit television and played over and over again until my mind replays them all on its own.
Yet you and I seem to have the most intimate connection of anyone in the world. Only we know I didn't do it. We know that the man in the black tracksuit wasn't me. We know it wasn't my hands on your shoulders, forcing you on the ground, taking your life. Your blood is on someone else's hands, not mine. And yet, to them, standing in the courtroom throwing stones, I am drenched in it, with the murder weapon clenched firmly in the palm of my blood- stained hand.
I've come to accept it though, I await my last day in place of a murderer and I almost wear the title, the label, as if it was mine. I take the place of the man who killed you. I wish you could speak from wherever you are now, send a multitude of letters swirling into the courtroom, on each page emblazoned the words, 'he didn't do it' and there, on the flip side, the face of the man who did. But you seem to want to remain speechless and so I await death, as you'd awaited yours.
Systematic, quick, humane. They tell me it will be over as quick as I came into the world, unlike how you went; slowly at the hands of a lunatic. The words are spoken with contempt, meant to remind me of how I took a life but I can only laugh at how little they know, of whose life they're about to take.
So, dear Dahlia, I spend my last night writing a letter to you, my newfound friend. What awaits me after the first bullet leaves its barrel, I don't know. I spend my last day wondering how things could've been different, if they could've even been different.
I hope to meet you, after it happens in a few hours. We are the same, after all; innocents whose lives were wrongly taken. I hope to sit with you in some utopia in the sky and smile perfect smiles at the day they realize what they've done and catch the man who killed us both. It will be a victory for us, I think; Having our dignities restored and relishing in an unlikely friendship between two strangers who have one too many murderers in common.
Not - your- killer, A friend
Blue blood is a myth, you see
For we all bleed the same.
Burgundy runs hot and fast in our veins
As red and as certain as a sunrise.
We all bleed the same
For the vessel says nothing about the life
that writhes, quick, quickly in it
and never ceases, 'till it is taken.
Perhaps by God or by another man,
who will not know whose blood
it is, smeared stark across his hands
For we all bleed the same.
And as we struggle to keep bloodlines pure,
to purge our perfect world
of those whose quality of thought
doesn't meet our blue- blooded standards,
remember that our blue- blood river flows from many streams
and that we all bleed the same.