My Father told me
I stood over their broken form. Their tortured limbs pulsated with pain, struggling wet maggots covered in thick bloody goo. I had done that. Here, nearing the End of Days, I had killed them.
The sky burned, and all the water had boiled away. I walked, and I walked. It was true that the tallest mountains had been hidden deep down the oceans. Rotten trees fell, my skin broke, and my blood dried.
Love was long gone. Sculpted stone had turned to dust. I wasn't thirsty. I wasn't hungry. Sadness had died in the wee morning. Ideas and feelings had to go because there was nothing else to annihilate. I remembered that I used to sleep sometimes. I had to carry on because I wasn't finished erasing.
Let's go back.
I stood over their broken form. I witnessed Hate's last breath. I had done that. Compassion had been the first to explode in anguish. It was fitting to end with them, then. All the skulls had eroded. I opened wide and ate Space.
It crumbled on itself and tugged its corners inside me.
My Father told me He was done playing. My work was all but finished. He needed a clean slate; I had ended Life.
Time glared at me. Time was easy. I closed my eyes.
I often daydream when I’m alone. Today is no different…
It’s the same every time. I find myself floating above the ground, not too high where if I’d fall it’d be an instant death, but just high enough where I acquire a new perspective on life. I hide among the trees to observe the silence found within the woods. The bluebirds share a morning bath while gossiping, Creekside. A few of them shiver off the excess water in a beautiful display—the mist catches the sunrise glow. A scurry of squirrels darts out from their home for a brisk jog deeper into the forest eventually disappearing behind the hemlocks. A wandering doe with her fawn pass beneath me forging for acorns under fresh oak leaves—their favorite autumn snack. I’m at peace, not alone, but in a land where nothing matters besides natural instincts and survival, and I’m without her—A fresh breath that I can learn to live with.
This cigarette isn’t going to light itself. I strike a match. The new tobacco hisses like a meddling serpent offering me an indescribable bliss I haven’t felt in twenty-two years. I slump against the boulder I just wrestled into place deserving a moment for myself, but I take three instead ignoring the dull thuds heard from below. The backward curiosity of your playful tone turning to agonizing pleas after you’ve realized I closed the doors on you for good, is priceless. Your voice reverberates utter fear within the tomb I built just for you—a melody so perfect, I think of scales lifting off the pages and the notes reoccurring forever in the most elegant loop pirouetting across the undertaker's dream; my dream. This wasn’t the trip you thought it was, I suppose you know that now. We’ve been nearing the end of days for some time and you were oblivious, never taking the hints I was unhappy or needing to talk. When you expel hate’s last breath out from your dried-up lips, I’ll sip it down like an aged bourbon on the rocks, savoring every cubic foot until all that is useful is absorbed, then provide myself a toast to many years to come, while you gasp and choke trying to count the minutes till darkness.
Only then will I carry on telling an alternate truth to the ones I know will miss you. I’ll say, you died “naturally” in the woods on a hike somewhere in the Alaskan bush, and a large brown predator pulled you away from me forever. Oh, what a shame I shall express with salted sobs. She was my only love. It was a heartbreaking, unexpected loss that I’ll never recover from. My distraught wrist bends toward a sorrowed brow in a telling attempt to sell it.
Oh, and sell it I will because I have unnatural motives you’ll never live to see and while I wait at your doorstep for you to finally quiet down, I ponder where I will travel next in my new life's journey after of course the "mourning period" as any hint of suspicion would be detrimental. I guess it's goodbye my darling, and if I forgot to say it earlier, Happy Anniversary.
I often daydream when I’m alone. Today is no different, except today my dream comes true, and in roughly thirty minutes, I’ll finally be at peace.
In the Rocking Chair
Sodden man, whiskey drunk and worthless
Atop the rocking chair.
Shirt collar splayed.
White whiskers abundant.
Remember when mother held your hand?
Now you are long forgotten
and mother is dead.
He comes for you
Sodden, whiskey man
Your sins are not an alternate truth
Like the rats around your rotting feet,
Sins aplenty, the rot spreads in you.
Do you know your granddaughters birthday?
Do you know what you made her do?
What a backwards curiosity you rotting old man
No wonder He comes for you
Hate's last breath will seep out your door
Once you open it, you'll open doors no more
Time echoes at your doorstep
You're nearing the end of days
But you know this old man,
You in your obnoxious slumber, breath raspy, lungs burnt black
Do you remember how the grass felt on your feet?
You ugly, soulless, sodden man.
Do you remember your sins?
Unnatural motives all of them, most of them
No matter, He will judge you
I think of the scales, tipping out of your favor
Will you groan and cry, old sodden man?
No one will watch you cry, no one will carry you on
The undertaker's dream, you will kiss cold hard earth
Six feet under and six feet down again.
He will be your witness
He will watch as you pass by
Carry on old man, slumber on in peace
Not much longer until He takes your keys
to life, and lust and all else in between.
Forever in a rigid motion, Die as you might old man.
Don't fall off the rocking chair though, that'd make it all complete,
The sinister malice filled screeching of hell transcends time old man
There's rats waiting at your feet.
waiting to feed
yearning to feast
on a woeful,
whiskey drunk, worthless old man
in a rocking chair.
There’s a dead crow at your doorstep
Some disemboweled rats by the stairs
They’re gifts from the Undertaker
And signed by the Reaper
I don’t think of gifts
I think of scales
She gifts you with Death
And you always accept
She has unnatural motives
You still carry on
Under her spell
Caught in her claws
Paralyzed and victimized
She cruelly seduced you
You look like a fool
Addicted to lies
Disguised as her gifts
There’s blood in your mouth
It crimson and black
The Undertaker’s dream is your early death
Torturing you forever with Hate’s last breath
You’re nearing the End of Times
So if you don't want to die
You need to skin that cat alive
You’ll need to do it at least nine times
The Alternate Truth
I'd never lied.
I didn't lie to my brother.
Maybe it looked bad. When the gavel came down. And I could only gaze downward to the floor, completely ashamed, completely placid. Not reacting in any satisfying fashion.
"One year in Meadow Shade Youth Corrections."
An officer came by, gently taking me by the arm.
I'd pleaded guilty. To all of it.
Forever in a guilty sentence. Forever a puppet's unfeeling, playful master. Pulling him along to make him dance and make him twirl.
Jimmy. Poor Jimmy was crying.
"Can't you be a little mad at me? Just a bit?"
"Carry on, ma'am," the officer murmured heavily. "I am sorry."
A disconcerting buzz welcomed me to the center.
Since then I was given only one dark blue jumper. A number replacing a name tag.
Each and every person saw differently, went through the world with different privileges and advantages.
In any given situation there are certain traits that are just indistinguishably favorable to have.
And seemed to be, the vote swung toward words and diction. The sly shift in a person's eye or the ability to negotiate. No matter what was used. Whatever was at my disposal. Including my twelve year old brother's cute face and tiny, pre-pubescent sprout lanky figure.
There was no lying. One, because it was such a distasteful thing to do, especially toward earnest little Crickets who just want the best for everyone and do their best. And two, since no two stories were the same. There was always subtext and distorted perspective.
Alternate truth. Not lying. Not corrupting.
What a joke.
I had to be more honest.
I deserved to be here among aggressive bullies, weaselly thieves and vandals. The ones who were just sick up there.
Group therapy was either before morning courses or after class at 4:30.
The classroom wasn't any different than the one at an actual school.
Apparently, some Google Maps would say Meadow Shade is a school. It wasn't a lie was it?
Is it a lie or bratty presumption that school teaches much less useful material?
Come to think, it may just be sheer lucky chance, but the kids aren't that mean. The fear abated.
One muggy Thursday at the lunch line, when one of the other boys coiled their arm round my throat.
Sure I was going to be strangled... 'Nearing the End of Days.'
Good Lord I was going to die!!
"Come sit with us Emo."
Besides the length he had the whole look of a sandy blonde valley girl.
Surely there had to be some type of motive.
Yard time had been cancelled with the inkling it could rain and drench our sole clothes. Besides a singular dress shirt for pajamas.
Though more than likely the girls got something modest. I hoped so. Some were way hot. Starting to develop with curves and boobs.
"So whaddya do?"
"Break the windows? Try to get back in after your parents kicked you out?"
Wayhem Taylor was trans and had been kicked out.
Technically, he had committed a robbery.
"No, no nothing like that," I replied softly. Shyly.
"Yeah he looks way too nice. Bullied right?" Valley boy asked with sympathy. Henry.
And I flinched, eyes alert toward him.
"Woah hey, hey what did I say?"
I felt nauseous.
I was dizzy.
I didn't want to eat anymore.
Five months, two weeks.
I was 'depressed,' they were saying. Arranged for some intervening sessions. Just me and cheeky Mrs. Braum.
"oh sorry," I apologized. "I mean I think of scales, of the good and the bad I've done, that those around me do. The buyers on the street had a lot of bad. Jimmy had way less, still way too much. And me? I-- I've never been 'good.' Not good like Jimmy or the way an older brother should be."
And it was funny. In a bitterly dark, sad, pitiful way.
"I hadn't noticed he wasn't eating. That he hardly ate at all and I didn't think that was because of stress. I assumed the thrill I got and the pride of making so much money would wash over him with time. It's-- it's what I've heard on TV and on the streets. Once you start your brain dumps all this serotonin and adrenaline that make it worthwhile, so you get the taste and it tastes great."
Peck laughed. Wet and fractured. God. What a messed up perspective.
*I hate myself.*
"I'm-- I'm so screwed up. I'm twisted!"
"No, no you're not Peck," Mrs. Braum insisted. Lying. I was a liar.
I hated that. Why was she lying? How or who would it help to lie to me?
"...to lie to me."
"What you described is a real phenomenon," she cut in, not sharply, not with force. Rather she remained gentle and steady. "It's true that misbehavior is rewarded with adrenaline, the body is stressed, your mind is running quickly to make sure you don't get caught. It tries to justify what it is-- what you-- are doing. Those are all normal, human reactions. And, when it happens repeatedly it is like an addiction. As humans, we can ward off pain, we fear it and so we flinch away from it. From whatever is unpleasant or bad, in the physical and emotional sense, since it provokes physical responses, however, we were not made to resist pleasure. So, when we experience the "high" of a risky behavior and "survive," we want more of it. It doesn't make sense and often people are aware of the consequences. Yet even then," she thoughtfully refrained, prompting my attention, silently saying I was allowed to speak, "you weren't primarily motivated by a thrill. Not a normal emotional and physiological thrill or of other desires such as attention, purpose, acceptance, or anger."
"Wasn't I? I tricked adults. Rich adults with their stupid baby strollers and dumb little sundresses that their precious princesses were going to soil full of mud and grass stains anyway. And their plastic sunglasses with some shiny finish and rhinestones that cost over a hundred dollars. That made me angry! It made me angry that when we had to do everything in our power, go without so many simple treats or Mom's time... when they choose to stay away from their kids. Or find the most colorful distraction to sit them at."
"Okay, this is good. This is good Peck."
"So, it made it okay. Obviously, because those Moms were so stupid and obscenely rich. If they or their husbands ever got sick some stupid pair of sunglasses wasn't going to matter or the coin bags in their big purses!"
"And that is quite typical as well, finding acceptable targets. However, what I truly want to get at, you were in a situation where primary concerns were about money. Yes, you had your needs met, your Mother could pay the bills most of the time, but that said, there was no small amount of uncertainty and responsibility placed on both of you."
Mrs. Braum put down the notepad, turned her gaze so they were eye-level. "Among a child's most necessary needs is for stability and security. Unfortunately and by no one's fault I must stress, you had neither."
"AND! And so what?"
"Scientific, psychological, and political or child development studies: when it comes to theft, all these fields agree that economic need and poverty is a primary motivator for many to turn to not only theft but... escalate all on their own to other criminal activity the way your brother sought to do. Which, if I remember, you insist doesn't make him a bad person."
"Of course not," I refuted hotly. "He wouldn't have had such an idea if I, I hadn't been whispering in his ear like a-- like a messed up snake or demon thing!"
Having his brother involved, who had wanted nothing but the best for his Mom, his Aunt, his Dad(especially their Dad), and for some reason his horrible, unsympathetic older brother, was my own dream. Me, the undertaker's and mastermind's dream.
Calming down in one hateful and dourly critical breath I admitted it. Dared say it. "It's called corruption of a minor for a reason."
And it was the first honest thing to come out of my disgraceful mouth for a very good reason.
__Including that when in police custody-- his brother had grown lanky, wary, and a tinge wild. So he danced around with an interrogation room's metal chair. Ready to hurl it at a social worker's head for being too tall and too darkly handsome like that Rat.__
Mrs. Braum sighed. "I'm sorry, it just, I've mentioned I have kids of my own."
"A niece, two nephews, and one has a puppy," I corrected. No kids of her own, no concept of what it was to actually be the distraught parent. Rather, just trade rumors and sharp intakes of the kid who may have been spoiled by too many gifts.
Some Aunts and Uncles did bring their siblings' children amenities and pleasures. Ones that turned into a black market trade for such simple luxuries.
Candy, playing cards, comics, manga, figurines, music. The whole lot.
A decent cache my friends had been kind enough to let me scrounge from for sweets.
If the day would ever come that I did face Jimmy again...
But, then again, this candy was just as illicit.
"I know you won't believe me," she began slowly, cautiously. As if they'd not been in this backward curiosity for two months now. "It's terrible and... sad. To hear you talk about yourself like that. This "disgraceful mouth" of yours, being "a bad, unsympathetic older brother," "twisted beyond belief," these "unnatural motives." No, I'm quite sorry-- or that is a lie-- I don't believe any of that. And Peck, though I can't tell him or your Mother, what will Jimmy think if you ever said something like that about yourself?"
__When the family attorney and station's regular warden stormed in to restrain his brother, Peck had never wanted more to just escape to some other place in his mind. Far, far away from a dead Father and his brother reduced to his knees, crying, begging for Dad. To forgive him, to hold him.__
I couldn't have been completely certain if Jimmy could have managed a wooden chair pre-waif days much less a metal one.
I stood from my wooden chair.
And, to Jimmy's credit, it really is the first thing you think of.
I wanted to throw it.
In an abusive, violent fit of rage.
__"Nothing in this world is free,"__
__"H-- h--he was going to. He would have skinned me I think."___ And that was it for Saturday.
Some of his friends pointed the finger to his other hidey holes.
"Don't, he went too far simple as that."
The hate's last breath wound out of me through my lips. And with it, any semblance of energy or desire.
I just sat there.
"I don't wanna be sick."
All I was going to give my Mom in a year was trouble and more bills.
So when his Mother insists her eldest son must hate her, despises her for not seeing, not doing, obsessed with her husband to forget his-- their-- beautiful sons it must be the truth.
He loves Jimmy.
Loves him so much, which is why he looked up the words to say. So the police and Miss Livianna of that small kingdom would punish him instead.
Analogous with different perspectives.
The truth was a matter of what one did with those other perspectives.
Jimmy clenched his Mother's hand as another Friday afternoon slipped away into evening.
It'd be exactly the kind of thing Peck would come up with.
To excuse the hurt.
Although that wasn't completely fair he supposed.
He hoped so. He hoped Peck-- he was afraid-- Peck would come back and wound him round and round again in circles.
"I hope I have better news next I see ya, madam," he said, tipping his hat just a slight bit.
And Jimmy could pick out the corner of an expensive looking leather wallet, fat with probably cash. And for a thirty-ish man nearing forty looked too young and too free of fatigue from crying kids or moody older ones like Peck. So no pictures or the like.
then that could mean the stylish, compact Safari was his.
"You are a crazy son of a bitch you know that?" my roommate crowed.
Making me snatch my pillow firm onto my face.
Having come back from visiting day.
He was one of the many shifty-eyed, too casual types in this place. Still, not a bully.
"Come. On. If I said the little one came by again, another sweet little card for you too."
At least, I'd never been on the receiving end despite easy access, opportunity, and well, the jabs or pantsing, wedgies, would practically do themselves. I frankly wasn't too keen on the idea of 'kicking a fit.'
Though Shade was of the few which strictly enforced a no contact policy between its alumn. Not cons, not delinquents, brats, but students. Just students.
"I never get any cards."
That's because he'd pulled his half-sister's ponytails and used her dollies as golf balls and therapy fodder.
"Yeah no shit," I mumbled, turning to face their door.
Then again, at this angle I had to look him in the face.
And he was sneering. "I swear you are a drama queen. A practical fruit, what do you imagine will happen at your doorstep in what now, four months' time?"
"Six! Damn what have you been doing without me."
"Be a killjoy I guess."
"Huh! I mean you're annoying as all hell but that deep de-espresso YouTube shit isn't a crime!"
"I guess it sorta is when you've been labelled clinically. Who knew right?"
"Seriously. What are you? Cuz no offense but you could not make it as an artist and they don't give us sharpies in here so not sure if that street stuff you were so on back then will fly either."
*I hate myself*
I hate the damage I'd done, all the ways I acted as the worst influence in the life of a little person who was already losing his Dad. And to Dad, who would surely be ashamed.
Would ask me what had been running through my mind then...
When I peeled the weasel pest off his bunk and rolled him round like a spicy sushi roll to twist his arm.
Okay the arm bit, was to not get waterboarded in the showers.
In those showers, in that moment, the rules just didn't seem to apply anymore.
If, by chance, there are those little dents in all the 'don't steal,' 'don't kill' sermon, then is it just a bad kid when those rules get broken? Even when the adults did it first? When they do it worse and there are actual, acknowledgeable consequences? Scorn the other adults who try to be good, be what they'd been taught and teach too?
the honest truth. Dad.
Your son's a bad person.
I think of scales,
Constant in motion.
Wins and fails
Adrift in an Ocean.
I am a brass-weight tipping
Sometimes I slide, sometimes I’m slipping.
Forever in a tug-of-war
with Backward curiosity.
Thought I’d breathed hate’s last breath
But ever-building animosity:
Loathing my unnatural motives
Learning an alternate truth to
Water an ever-hungry seed of hate.
Reckoning at your doorstep
My seed did grow so tall
Ulterior motives in lockstep
I think I’d like to fall
In hate’s abyss.
Entrench you into rotten bliss.
We carry on. We slide. We slip.
I tear and rip: You claw.
Near end of days upon this trip.
Toxic dance in devil's maw.
Our love is nothing more
Than the undertaker's dream.
Both us dead and keeping score.
We hurt, we maim, we scheme.
In our battle for control,
Ever tipping, on we roll.
And the undertaker chuckles
When we both lie dead.
The scale is not in motion
It's all inside your head.
The Undertaker’s Dream
Daylight faded, slumber called him into the night,
The undertaker rested, his work now out of sight.
His dreams took morbid turns, as they always would,
Of caskets, graves, and teary eyes— things he understood.
Along a dreamscape's road he walked, tombstones stood for miles,
Shovel clutched, he chose a plot, began to dig a while.
This grave is for himself, he dreamily realized in surprise,
Hate's last breath at your doorstep, in his "Here Lies" eyes.
All and through the evening, his digging did not cease,
Carry on, carve out the hole for tomorrow's new release.
No escape or help, only, I think of scales of truth—
That his life would end right here, not any fountain of youth.
As alternate truth vied, forever in a rush towards his finale,
Nearing the End of Days awaited without dally.
Not just the undertaker's dream—
But unnatural motives there to guide him,
Backward curiosity the reason,
His role a corpse to be would bind him.
On waking he was caught, with his hand in his own till,
The grave before him, really, his own coffin soon to fill.
The week dragged on. The only thing in my mind was just "carry on until Saturday."
Eventually, the week closed off. I sprawled on the bed and scrolled through my phone. Barely five minutes later, I looked back towards the window. It was still there. I stood at that window, staring at that car, forever in a stalemate with it.
A loud ping came from my phone. Picking it up, I noticed a message from Wade.
"Clara, Amelia & I are here at your doorstep," it said. I typed a quick reply, pulled out my backpack, put it on, and walked toward the door. I briefly stopped at the kitchen.
"Mama! I'm going to hang out with some friends," I called.
"Okay! Text me and don't come home late!"
I met up with my friends outside. We chatted for a bit, and everything was mundane for an outsider looking in. No unnatural motives, no ideas about searching for alternate truths.
The vague chatter ended as quickly as it started.
"So, how are we going to do this," I asked, shifting uncomfortably. Clara shrugged and walked across the street. She stepped toward the car. The rest of us followed like ducklings. A small pit began forming in my stomach. I felt as if we were nearing the end of days.
We stood around the car expectedly. Our eyes were watchful for anything that could happen. Still, nothing. I think of scales when I look at the car. Unbalanced and unfixable scales. This backward curiosity could cost us our lives, a voice in my head, deepening the pit. We're vulnerable here, and we shouldn't be here, and we shouldn't be snooping around a stranger's car. Out risks are the undertaker's dream.
"What's that?" I sampled out of my fear. Amelia sprinted over to the hood of the car. By one of the wheels, a neat burgundy envelope was neatly sat on the gravel. Amelia opened it gently. We all huddled around it. She froze as she read it. A sense of panic filled us. The tension was so thin you could cut a knife.
"What does it say," I whispered. Amelia passed it to me, her face going pale.
"I know your curiosity. I have seen everything. This world is not as you think it is. So, stay far away. I swear on Hate's last breath if your naiveté doesn't kill you, I will."
"At least they were direct?" The head shaking and shoves drove the point home for Wade's untimely jokes.
For a while, no one spoke. The fear silenced out voices.
Eventually, we decided to leavem we didn't even cross the street when Clara gasped, making us freeze again.
"Look!" Clara grabbed my arm as we all watched in shocked awe.
Navy blue smoke oozed slowly from the key hole of the house in front of us.
It surrounded it as the door creaked open.
Forever in a Memory
The end at your doorstep
staring you down
she still laid on her bed, sick but alive
I watched Hate's last breath
she closed her eyes,
accepting her fate as tears ran down her cheek
though she left the earth
her spirit will carry on through you
An alternate truth
she still laughed through your mind
that was an undertaker's dream
as you laid on the now empty bed with backward curiosity
wishing you were nearing the End of Days
It was an unnatural motive
the frail woman was kind
she was sweet and smelled of peppermint
to end her hopefully left a black stain on their soul
I think of scales when I imagine her death
forever in a memory she lives
Voices Outside my Head
This morning, I wake up to hear that Tik Tok is yet again, informing us that we are nearing the End of Days. Chaos is abundant and tomorrow it may be at your doorstep.
Hate's last breath has extended its warranty on Life, and will carry on forever in a quest for an alternate truth in an attempt to avoid the death that the wicked are so terrified of, because they know their power and money are cheap party tricks that only the earthlings are ignorant and docile enough to succumb to.
Tik Tok should be dubbed Tik Talk because it never shuts up, and relies on humans and their backward curiosity.
Get ready, because the bodies are piling up and the undertaker's dream is shaking him awake to a nightmare.