Her own hero.
She quietly shuts the door to her room.
For a few moments she just stands there, her mind numb, blank, empty.
The work day is over, the home work is done, dinner has been made, her babies are fed and bathed. Games have been played, hugs have been given and received. A million little questions have been asked and answered. The clothes for tomorrow have all been laid out. Lunches lovingly made. Bedtime stories read, and read again. The dishes have been washed and dried and put away.
The laundry done and put away.
The bills have been gone over, and the most important ones paid, the rest will have to wait. The next days schedule has been looked at and planned out.
Now the quiet slinks in. There is nothing left to do, no one left to tend to. Nothing left to focus on. Now is the time she both longs for and hates.
Her eyes glance towards the clock on her bedside table, the red light is over bright in the dark room.
It reads 11:53 p.m.
She walks over and sits on the edge of her bed, her elbows resting on her knees.
Her shoulders start to shake as her breathing starts to spasm. Her hands ball into fists.
And she allows herself to break, as the first tear slowly makes it's way down her cheek, she can feel that mental barrier that she keeps firmly in place through her day, crumbling.
Oh, how it hurts! Not only the breaking, but her pride. Her pride hurts worst of all, that she needs to break each night. Didn't she tell herself she could do it all on her own? Hasn't she proven it? Day after day, month after month. Through all of the joys, and heartbreaks, and chaos that is the life of a single mother.
As the sobs begin to come ripping from her chest and throat, she grabs her pillow and covers her face with it.
And as she curls on her side on that lonely bed, she lets all the sadness, the fear, the anger, the helplessness, the loneliness, break free. She gives herself thirty precious minutes to wish for someone, anyone, to take over, to lean on, to rely on. Someone she can turn to when the world just seems to much to take on. Someone who will stand beside her, fight with her, love with her, laugh with her.
But after that thirty minutes, she puts the pillow back in it's place, and she again tells herself, it's ok to be afraid, it's ok to not always have the answers. She reminds herself that she is doing the best she can.
She goes into the bathroom and washes her face and readies herself for bed. Shoring up that ocean of self doubt, and fear.
For tomorrow that mental wall must be rebuilt, she must again put on a brave face, and she must as always, become her own hero.
if the door was locked
I walk in
knife in my hand
rooms are all dark
except for one
she's texting her friend
I'll wait till she's done
then it's the end
I pull out the knife
fear in her eyes
quick and precise
make sure she dies
go big or go home
I savor this time
me and her are alone
I say in her ear
right before i strike
"this is the part where you die"
then her pupils turn white
i bask in the glory
of her blood and tears
and exit out the back
before anyone hears
Cinderella Ice Queen
“Living in the shadows long enough eventually turns a woman cold, so my favorite time of the year is winter. It's unpredictable, brutal, and can be one cold-hearted bitch; All things I love about myself.”
The crackling fireplace contrasts my frozen heart, while the snow glues itself to the corner of the window like an artery slowly clogging up. I help myself to another glass of four roses bourbon, the only flowers I feel I deserve. I swirl it around the glass—eye level, fingers tense. My nostrils flare out to sip in the aroma, then I inhale a mouthful of hate while I pound one back. I relax into my brother-in-law's green velvet chair, legs crossed revealing the right amount of sex while I let Kentucky warm my throat and numb the nerves. I flirt the edges of my empty snifter along my leg. The black stockings perfectly balance my cherry red evening gown while the slit kisses my curves. My breasts look like the main course, not the appetizer they used to be. I adjust the borrowed pearls across my neck like a garnish and tuck my platinum blonde falsities behind my left ear. I only wear the glamor for special occasions, and tonight will undoubtedly be one. The platter is prepared. Now I wait for the guest of honor.
A car door indicates he’s on time—An expected occurrence for a lawyer. I inhale the beautiful stench from his drunken nights of cigars and booze and exhale the lifetime of a jealous sister's hate. It's time I finally got what I deserved—The man who loved me first.
The door opens forcefully, and my lustful eyes turn unsettled when my sister, Ruth appears in lieu of him. She grips a note with angst and slams the door with rage. I thought I had prepared for everything. I guess I was wrong.
I am stunned, but holding my composure I squeeze out,
“You’re supposed to be in Memphis. What happened?”
Her scowl burns a hole through my heart and the tone in her voice stabs it.
“Apparently, I’m right where I need to be!”
The People in the Shadows
I wander down the tree-lined dirt path
that eventually becomes a sidewalk,
sensing that stickiness of humidity so commonplace in Thailand.
It’s not long before I start to pass street vendors:
I notice an older man and woman, side by side at their food stall.
The few plastic chairs and modest outdoor tables set up
in front of them remain vacant.
Their Thai cuisine may be simple
but the recipes surely come from decades of perfecting:
a peanut-sprinkled papaya salad so wildly hot it instantly cleanses your nostrils,
Pad Kra Pao, a savory, basily minced pork dish with a fried egg and rice,
and colorful veggies from local farms the man deftly slices with a
sturdy cleaver in a whirlwind of chops; they will soon swirl in a sea of coconut milk, ginger, galangal, and shrimp paste.
The menus and signs for their shop are hand written and worn, but the food
they prepare is of highest quality.
They stand at attention in front of the woks and ingredients
swatting flies and wiping their brows, waiting for the next order to come.
Nearby, a woman with silvery hair pulled back in a bun stands
in a tiny stall, the size of a bedroom. Her shop is sardined with vibrant
dresses and skirts and shirts, many patterns of generations past
that reflect traditional culture, as well as a handful other
attire that mimics Western style. Our eyes meet fleetingly as I nod and I pass her by. She too waits for customers.
Across the street, brilliant, blinding lights shine,
flowing from the windows of a multi-story,
brand-new destination: the mall!
Folks from miles around have flocked here
Their motorbikes and cars and bikes jammed tightly into the surrounding lots.
These shoppers arrive with eager anticipation
to check out new fads and brands and to get the trendiest clothes and gear…hoping what they acquire will up their coolness factor.
The customers stroll inside, onto gleaming, snow-white tiled floors.
Glitzy, monstrous ads plaster every surface featuring
underfed, serious-faced European and American models in outrageous fashion and bold makeup entice buyers to be like them. Pop songs blare from speakers
pulsing in the hearers’ heads and bodies.
The potent smells from the food court bombard the senses:
take your pick of baked breads and pretzels
and donuts and coffee and boba and slushies and ice cream
and pizzas and burgers and fries and steaks and fried chicken…
Western brands that wow their customers
with such excessive volume of saltiness, grease, and sugar.
A flowing flurry of people stream up and down
the infinitely-moving escalator as it pushes its occupants up and down
to the next big sales.
These customers may have fond memory of local foods and vendors
but bright foreign novelties before them glitter and gleam
so much more glaringly and loudly...
I return outside to refreshing night air, the road clogged with
honking cars and motorbikes, many with plastic bags of new purchases
squeezed onto their arms and in their satchels.
As I make my journey home, I can't help but notice the local store owners once again. Tiny shop after shop, dimly lit: outdoor eating areas, small clothing and convenience stores. Though there are a handful of customers scattered about, the air feels thick and hushed.
An elderly woman in flimsy sandals strolls past me.
I’m drawn to admire her long, traditional sarong skirt of alternating golden diamonds amidst a midnight hue. We glance at one another, exchanging smiles.
She walks into the fading light. I few moments later, I look behind me;
she is already gone.
I wonder, will she and the vendors I have passed today's existence
grow dimmer amidst the flashy, seducing intrigue of Western brands
and chain restaurants and foreign fancies? Will outside companies eventually replace local peoples' businesses, foods, and generations of tradition?
Will the sense of community familiarity and connections
wane and fade as one by one, these shops close for good and are replaced by mass-produced commodities and manufactured convenience?
It’s hard to say for sure what the future holds.
I only hope that when people exit that massive mall
hopping onto their motorbikes and into their cars
they look out and remember the people in the shadows.
Photo by Egor Myznik
The kettle slowly started to whistle lightly. The pressure in the room, much like the pressure in the kettle was reaching its boiling point. He just sat there, like a lump of mud taking up space. She ignored the noise and kept rambling. She didn’t really need other participants to the argument. She never listened anyway; she had already decided the issue before even sitting at the kitchen table anyway. The argument was simply a dog and pony show which had to end with the rest of us bending to her will and doing what she expected. Her husband had long since understood this and any and had all but abdicated any vestige of manhood he might have left. After all he had pissed away the family fortunes years ago. He was simply happy to have a roof over his head and food in his belly. Since she provided everything, he need only keep her happy. Her son was the problem. The older he got, the more he had this stupid idea that he had to make his own decisions, his own way in life.
The kettle kept getting louder to the point where it was drowning out her voice, which she had raised to a shout. Tired of fighting the inevitable, she interrupted her well-rehearsed speech and decided to get up from her side of the round table. Her husband had been peeling himself an apple, he was always eating, or off to the bar to talk with his likewise useless middle-aged wash-out friends. None of them were of any use whatsoever, she resented the lot of them. She had not taken the two steps required to reach the cooker, when she heard him scream. It wasn’t his usual surprised scream, there was some fear in it. Turning quickly, she saw him on his back, on the floor, a knife handle sticking out of his right chest. His hands clutching at his chest, blood was quickly pooling around the wound, his shirt slowly turning a deep burgundy colour. He tried to open his mouth to speak or scream, but it was useless. There was nothing to do, he was as good as gone.
The scene had distracted her from what was still going on. The kettle whistled louder by the second, as if threatening to explode. Her own screams of horror were drowned out by the whistling kettle. She had fallen to her knees next to her husband in utter disbelief, shaking him by the shoulder, her hands fluttering over his dying form. Normally you couldn’t move the heavy skillet which hung on the kitchen wall without even the neighbours hearing, but with the kettle whistling, there was no way she could have heard him collect it. It was only when she looked over to her son’s empty chair that she realized what was wrong, what had happened and who was responsible. She looked up just in time to see the skillet being razed and pushed her assailant back. This was her house after all.
Stunned by the resistance, however in no way deterred, the young man was satisfied when the implement connected to a shoulder before it dropped to the floor. He stepped forward kicking it out of the way, as she retreated, knocking her own chair between them as a barrier. She might slow him down, there’s no way this will be enough to save her skin. Stumbling to her feet she came eye to eye with her child, now a grown murderer. There was no love lost between them, there had not been for years. She considered him as useless as his father, just more expensive. But she recognised in his eyes something, a burning intent, a stubbornness she had only seen in the mirror. He couldn’t possibly have planned all this, he couldn’t possibly be as resolute as her, could he?
He kicked the chair aside as she began to run for the door. As soon as she was outside, she could scream and alert the neighbours. Truthfully, she could spin this to her advantage. He’d be arrested, and her useless husband was finally out of the picture. Her heart sank as her hands reached the door handle. It was locked. He’d planned this, there’s no way she was getting out. The realisation had not quite sunk in when he grabbed her hair. She was not done yet, she twisted, accepting the pain of torn hair, scratching his face to fend him off, aiming for the eyes.
She had always been good at scratching people’s eyes, even as a child. For good measure she took careful aim and placed a kick right to his midriff. He stumbled back, stumped by the resistance he had clearly not expected, and then threw his full weight on the person who bore him. They landed together on the tiled floor, facing each other. He was quicker, his hands wrapping themselves around her neck. The pressure began, she knew it wouldn’t be long now. He would finally have his release. Her fists hit his face; her hands pressed his chin. He was just too strong. The pressure increased, the light in her eyes slowly being snuffed out.
Her mind was brought back to the present, she snatched the knife out of her husband’s hands as he stuffed a piece of apple into his face while looking at her with a confused look. She lifted the kettle off the hob, opening the flute and stopping that infernal noise. Then she turned to her son.
“We just don’t like her for you and think it would be best if you tried to find someone else, someone much more suitable to you and your station. After all the right wife can make or break a man. Why don’t you have a think about it, and we can revisit this some other time, tomorrow say.”
She did not relinquish the knife until he was out of the kitchen. That was it, she’d made the decision that the boy had to go, it was time to cut all ties.
Thank you for reading.
There’s Gold In Those Hills (This story is quite long)
I came back from Vietnam in the summer of 1970. My return wasn’t met with war protesters spitting on me, cursing my name, or calling me a baby killer. It was met with silence. The silence of a small town that continued operating as though the war in Southeast Asia never happened, and still wasn’t happening.
The men continued working their factory jobs, and selling insurance, and real estate. The women walked down the street, locking arms with their lovers or friends in tow. They laughed, smiled, flirted, and behaved the way I suppose I would have, had I not surrendered any chance of a normal life to the Army.
After a week at Motel 8 on the outskirts of town, I rented a small apartment from Reggie Anderson. The dingy old place was just above his old antique shop on Main, and right across the street from The Dollar, a dirty little hole in the wall bar, which I frequented often.
The booth in the far left corner of the bar quickly became my home. I’d sit there, jumpy and disoriented, struggling to decipher the Dollar from the Boom Boom joints in Saigon. Fear washed over me like a baptism at the sound of cars revving their engines outside or backfiring. The loud shrieks of laughter from the drunken patron saints of Annandale, and the sound of broken bottles hitting the dirty, cracked linoleum tiles, made my heart jump into my throat.
The guys laughed when they saw me, even the ones that I considered friends during my previous life. If no one was looking, a few of them nodded their heads, but afterwards they’d return to pretending that I was just a drunken fool, or that I didn’t exist at all.
Even Jenny Fitzgerald, who had loved me once, had turned into a sympathizer, and was somewhere in DC protesting the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the military. My Dear John letter had arrived six months prior, detailing her position, and how she’d be a hypocrite and a contrarian if she were to share a bed with the monsters she was speaking out against.
Most nights, I’d stumble home around 3 or 4 in the morning, whenever Al Geary, the grizzled old owner of the Dollar, threw me out, and I’d sit on the old sofa that Randy had given me from the shop. Staring at the paint peeling off the wall, the voices of my dear departed brothers often paid me visits.
Whenever the dead cries of the 103rd echoed in my brain, an episode followed closely behind like a sadistic shadow, and transported me back to Nam. I’d crawl through the tiny apartment like it was the jungle floors of Quang Tri, or lean up against the side of my window with a commie rifle that I had stolen from a dying old man in a fishermen’s village. Fearing that the deserted Annandale streets were filled with Viet Cong gearing up for an ambush.
Eventually the voices faded and were replaced by graveyard silence. Then I’d sit on the floor, holding my head, cradling back and forth, and I’d cry. Scared to death of the inevitable follow-up visit.
Much of my time was spent cursing my life, my loneliness, and the rewiring of my brain that was so fundamental to being a soldier. You need to become a machine, soldier; they told us, a gook killing machine. Only they didn’t provide an instruction manual detailing the step by step on how to program the goddamn organ back to its human setting when we walked off the plane. I just thanked the pretty flight attendant, exited, and walked across the tarmac, feeling like a stranger. Not feeling like this was home, but that THIS was the foreign land thousands of miles away from what I knew, and what I understood.
After a couple of months, I realized the evenings drinking alone at the bar, with a follow-up session in my apartment, were further poisoning my already sick mind. So, I traded the black nights in the corner booth for walks around town. There was no destination, except, hopefully, some place outside my head.
I’d cross through town, passing the old gothic churches and the working-class homes of mill workers and railroaders. The chilly breeze on my face kept me in the now and away from the jungle heat, and the monsoon rains of Southeast Asia.
Something eventually guided me to an embankment above the Annandale switching yard, and that was the destination I chose. I watched the graveyard crew kicking cars and building freight that was headed westward with the rise of the early morning sun, as the smokestacks from the paper mill billowed through the evening sky.
I suppose the embankment was chosen because it reminded me of the person I was before the war. Just a kid watching his old man do what men did. Telling himself when he grew up, he wanted to be just like him. But then the damn war started.
My father and grandfather built freight trains their entire lives, and before Nam, had urged me to do the same. “Come work with me. Don’t enlist. You got nothing to prove, son. It ain’t your war, it ain’t your goddamn war. You're a fool, son. A goddamn fool.” My father had yelled the evening before I hopped the border to New York and went against his wishes.
I didn’t say a word as a barrage of insults were hurled at me like stones on that summer’s day. Letting him unleash all of those pent-up emotions that men from his generation rarely did, felt cathartic and therapeutic for me, despite how strange that sounds. I’m sure it hurt him, like it did myself, but I hoped it allowed him to breathe, at least. And I prayed that when I left, he sat with some of the weight off of his heart, and realized I was just doing what I did, because I loved him, and wanted to be like him.
Beginning in late October, when the cool fall weather was beginning to lose the battle against the northern winds, a young Vietnamese woman, who I’d later find out was named Giang, began accompanying me on the embankment. Another lost soul, I presumed, unable to sleep away the darkness, so deciding to embrace it instead.
She was always dressed in white, which contrasted beautifully with her long black hair that flowed like a flag at full mast behind her head. We didn’t speak in the beginning. Not a single word was passed between us. We smiled and waved. That was it. But it was perfect. I thought about her all day, anxiously hoping that she would be there every evening.
I know it sounds crazy, but I truly believed that I could love her, or maybe I already did. And a small part of me thought she felt the same, though I could come to no reasonable conclusion for feeling that way. Just something in my heart and my bones. An intuition, you could call it.
With time, further comfort was reached, leading to evenings of small talk occasionally breaking up the silence. It was nothing earth moving, in depth or articulate, but any fool who’s been trapped under love’s spell will tell you it doesn’t have to be.
There was love in my heart for this silent beauty, and its power had finally pushed the war to the dark corner booth of my mind. I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. A reason for being.
The first time Giang spoke to me and offered a small window from which I could see into her soul, she said, “My grandfather helped build the continental railroad.” Then turned to me, smiling, with teeth as white as the soft snow that coloured her black hair.
“Really? Is that why you come here?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered. “He came to California in 1888. He laid down ties in the desert sun all day and put dynamite in the canyons. I remember a letter he wrote to my grandmother that my mother read to me and my sisters as a child. It said that there is gold in the hills, and the water sparkles like diamonds reflected in the sun. When she read those, I’d picture a paradise on earth where we would be safe.”
“Like diamonds reflected in the sun,” I answered. “That’s beautiful. Really beautiful.” And that was all that was said that evening.
As the days and weeks went on, we built upon that first small conversation, and the love I had felt as soon as she sat next to me on that first chance meeting blossomed into infatuation. I loved Giang, and soon I would tell her. There was just the problem of the war. And what I had done.
“I came here on a boat. I fled from Saigon with my two children.” Giang confessed in December. I remember because there were Christmas lights all around Hillside Road, just below the embankment.
She paused after ‘children’, and I felt a deep heartbreak for her, and a fear of asking what had happened, though I felt I should.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened to them?”
“They got sick. They died on a tiny island off the coast of the South China Sea, waiting for a boat that never came.”
“I’m so sorry.” I said, and I reached for her hand, that was resting gently on the snow. She pulled it away..
“You’re a soldier, no?” she asked, and I just looked at her, nodding my head. I didn’t want to lie. She always looked me in the eye when we spoke, which led me to believe that she already knew. I think Giang had been around war long enough to tell a soldier from their eyes. “You came to help, no?”
“I don’t know anymore.”
“Did you help?” This time, when she looked at me, I saw something familiar. Something haunted, like the world’s worst case of Déjà vu.
“No.” I said honestly. I wished I had a better answer. But this was the truth, and something about her demanded honesty, like I had just drunk a gallon of truth serum.
“Why did you serve?”
“I don’t know that either. I guess I felt I had to. My father, uncle, grandfather, cousins, hell, everyone I knew served. I figured it was my time. I guess I thought freedom had a price.”
“And what about our freedom?” She asked. “Did we deserve freedom?” She was still staring at me. And I felt a chill run down my spine and continue to race into my bloodstream. The voices of my brothers were building inside my mind like the crescendo of a symphony. The heat was returning.
I shifted my eyes back to the rail yard, no longer able to hold her gaze “Yes. Yes, you did.”
“Then why did you slaughter us like pigs?” I was terrified at what I’d see, now that I was putting the pieces together, but she was controlling my eyes. Giang brushed her hair away from her forehead, revealing a small dark circle crusted with dry blood like a bullseye. Oh, no. Jesus, no. I thought. This can’t be real. Not now. Please, not now.
“We, we had orders. I was just following orders, Giang,” I screamed as snot ran down my nose and on to my lips. I knew her name, though she had never told me. At least, not on this steep embankment rising above the rail yard. My hand again reached for hers, and this time she didn’t move it. It was freezing. I rubbed the back, fingering the bones, trying to warm it up, but she was so cold. Not shivering, just so goddamn cold.
“So, there was no freedom, then?” Her eyes were now like stone. I’d known this woman.
“N-n-no.” I stuttered through stifled sobs, reliving the moments of burning hooches. Screaming families, rifle fire, and blood-soaked mud. I didn’t want to go back. “Don’t take me back”, I begged. “DON’T TAKE ME BACK”
I placed my hands over my eyes and despite my pleas and efforts; I was back in Quang Tri. In the village, marching through mud and straw. Scared children and women begging for mercy in a foreign language. We were supposed to be protecting them. They weren’t supposed to scream when we arrived. I asked Reynolds, “Why are they screaming? We’re helping them, aren’t we?” He laughed and patted me on the back. “Any one of these gooks could be VC, so do the math, my brother. If we leave them, and they are VC, we’re rat fucked. If we leave them and they’re not, well, then they’re just going to sell us out when they come along. Right? So, yeah, in a way, we are helping them. We’re letting them rest.”
A young boy walked up to him moments after. He was limping, and crying, and screaming in a primal rage that I’d never seen or heard before. Reynolds just laughed and shot him in the head. The boy dropped like he’d never existed. They began burning hooches with zippo lighters, as women and elders ran out. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to leave. But I had orders. Orders, not freedom.
I held out as long as I could, praying to a God that I hadn’t believed in until that moment. But Reynolds, and Schwarmy, had a woman and her two children, on their knees as their home rose up in flames like an apocalyptic omen behind them. “You ain’t moving on without blood on your hands.” Reynolds said, as Schwarmy laughed.
The entire village was burning like Pompei. I could remember feeling my skin blistering but barely noticing the pain rising through my body because of the shock of what was happening.
This young woman. She was beautiful. There was fear in her eyes, but it was deeply hidden. I remember thinking how brave she was, and how in another time, in another life, far from the ravages of war, I could have loved her. I could have loved her children.
My pistol was unsteadily aimed at her as my hands shook from the fear and adrenaline. The heat was unbearable. Reynolds and Schwarmy were screaming at me about getting the hell out. “We need to Didi Mau, let’s go. Let’s go. Didi Mau, Didi Mau.”
For some twisted reason, a picture of this mother naked was still framed in my mind. I knew it was sick and perverted under the circumstances, but there was no replacing the image of me rubbing her soft skin, kissing her, and laughing about the war, and its foolishness. We were happy to be together. In another world. In another time. Another place.
“tên tôi là Giang,” she said. My name is Giang. A last-minute humanization of a people we were slaughtering like animals. I cried as I pulled the trigger. Dropping to my knees. The guys laughed and shot the children next. “I could have loved you.” I kept repeating, “I could have loved you.”
“I could have loved you, too.” Giang said, returning me to the embankment. I took my hands away from my eyes slowly. She was still there. Staring at me. But her eyes were soft and forgiving once again. The coldness had abandoned them.
“I-I-I’m sorry, Giang. I’m so sorry.” Tears blurred my vision. I looked at her through a gaze like she was standing behind a stained glass window. She was beautiful. The most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.
“I wish I could go back.”
“Nothing would have changed.” She said, but this time she put her other hand on top of mine. “I’ll never leave your mind. But In time it will become less painful. You’ll need help, and you’ll need genuine souls to speak with and spill your heart like you’ve done for me, but you will survive. I forgive you”
Then, out of a small rosary bush next to Giang, her children appeared, bringing with them the sweet sound of children’s laughter. They sat on her lap, staring at the trains in the freight yard. Giang told them about their grandfather.
In Vietnamese she said, “Có vàng trên những ngọn đồi đó và nước lấp lánh như kim cương dưới ánh mặt trời”
There’s gold in those hills and the water sparkles like diamonds in the sun.
I reached in my pocket and pulled out the letter that I had taken from her hands as she lay breathless in Quang Tri.
Ode to the Moths
My stomach feels, from time to time
as if you
are eating through its lining
but I find, you
quite a beautiful pest.
Your wings fade in sunlight but
color does not exist in the night time and
if someone bleached my wings I too
on a path of destruction.
Because you flock to the moon and
them to the sun
it’s such a shame for their wings to catch fire while
no one bats an eye at
your corpse in the dust.
Sunlight outshines moonlight,
Yet, light holds more allure when it shines
from the darkness.
The night sky glimmers rather than
I too, prefer the soft light of the moon
cannot be Icarus but
life in the shadows is better than none.
Palm of Gold
"Why so down?"
I perked up at the sound of his voice.
"Just thinking," I mumbled. He slid closer to me, studying my face to find what was wrong. His smile lifted my mood. The way that it was so soft that it seemed fake, yet was so real.
"I dunno, love, I guess."
"Love? What about," he asked. His eyebrows perked up in question, like a mischievous child.
"Not to sound like a faux-philosopher, but I've just been thinking about if love was real. If it is, why does it take so long to arrive for those that long for it." His giggles sent shivers of joy up my spine.
"That seems pretty philosophical to me. I think that it takes its time because it needs hope. You can't have love if you don't hope that it's there, even if you can't see it. Just because we don't see something doesn't mean it isn't there. Some of the most wonderful things in the world are invisible. Trusting in invisible things makes them more powerful and wonderous." His words were honey and sweetened my brain as I listened. It all was covered in silk from there. We showered each other in affection. His love was my fuel and mine likewise. At his touch, my world became a paradise. His palm was gold and I could relish in the small touches of my love, that showed more affection than stars in space.
Coffee ringed slips peeking out of spindly stacks. Stacks that sit precariously on stools, up turned logs and flat surfaces made tall. Some slips are deep into the words, while others barely skim the creamy pages. Sometimes these coffee ringed slips are replaced with hastily torn jagged shreds of old lovers whose overused bone and flesh foreshadows the future.
Pauses, two worn pages forward, two water stained pages back record the days. Flesh marked interludes gouge pencil indentations within parchment skin. Gentle feathers of breath register passages of laughter and sordid adventures. Time between readings is never consistent but rather insistent. A rifling of smooth tongued pages then covers banged shut.
A longing for a study of pages that would last for days or months. A slow caress of opaque pages turning buttery soft from each negotiation. Embraces diminished to a finger flick along the spine. The coffee ringed slip now a faded remembrance on a bone weary page as the placeholder fades away.
Glad I am that I found this place,
A shelter from the everyday storm
Let me first, before showing my face,
Introduce myself - this is the norm.
New to this motley crowd I am,
Although I write since the 80s.
Books I have written on paper with pen.
Amazon published some of them lately.
Royalties zero I have received,
As nobody wanted to buy.
So, after a few hours of grief
Humbly decided to give it a try.
Kindle behind, I aimed for the contests
And here I am now - joining the latest.