I don't dwell in you,
I live far off the beaches,
the sea, the oceans of brinking salts
looking at you, reaching to you
garnering your eyes from flaxen brown
to the color of gravy honey dew.
Revealing your freckles
with the kiss of melanin
on the rosy cherry cheeks.
Filling you with lights
to make you emit a rainbow
Like a visit through your soul
and scattering your beauty all across.
Yet I couldn't touch you
Or tell how much I love you.
cause if I did, you may burn;
Burn to ashes in fumes.
I wish I could come near you
But by then, you will miss your shadow
where your distress could never welcome my glow.
So in peace
I exist as a star,
Far and firm
Knowing, you love my light
And that's enough for my existence to caress your lymphocytes.
The giant bulbous globe
Glows down through whispy clouds
At its prey.
“Tonight”, says it to the stars,
“Is my only chance
For another thirty days.
I am marred by a mere sliver
Most of the month.
And I must work quickly,
While still waxing my Gibbous state.
I am marred by a mere sliver
Most of the month.
And I must work
Each of you is gifted
By sight all around.
For me, it’s a cycle of waits.
My full strength abounds
For only one night.
Oh Chance, you’ thus gift me now and then.
With beams so perfect,
Brilliant and bright.
That I burst at my seams once again.
To the ones down below,
Apologies are sent,
But tonight this shift must take place.
For if my duties are forgone
If only this once.
Most certainly, ’twould end human race.
Forgive me dear ones
Who dwell on land far below. As I merely am turning my trade.
And instead of railing at each of my cycles, Perhaps instead, just this once--- Enjoy the light show on display."
they are polar opposites
even seen as enemies to some
but do you not see
the way the shadow accompanies the light everywhere
they cannot be without each other
how others view them
cause this can’t be anything but love
the way they refuse to leave each other
and the way they are never seen apart
I can not remember a time that I wasn’t afraid of the dark. The light had always been my friend. Even now in my mid thirties I still vividly remember the night I called my dad in the middle of the night afraid of the dark. That night, a nightlight was placed by my bed. He explained it would keep me safe from the monsters. He was right.
No one said much about my fears as a child. I went about my young life, playing in the sun and no longer fearing the dark, safe with my nightlight. When I was about ten my sister started to laugh at my need for the light, but my parents told her not to and that was the end of it.
It only started becoming an issue in my pre teenage years. When sleepovers were popular and nightlights were an old memory for most children my age. When I asked my parents if I could go, my mom said I would have to go in the dark. She explained that kids my age did not need nightlights. I asked if I could bring a camping lamp, she said no. I did not want to go. My dad explained sleepovers were not safe even with a lamp or nightlight a child or parent could turn it off. I understood, they were just trying to keep me safe.
Before I started college I heard my parents arguing. My mom insisted I should live on campus. She said that I was too old for my childhood fears. How would I ever meet someone to spend the rest of my life with, if I had this silly fear. My dad told her she loved him with his fear. She was quiet after that.
Two years into college I met my love. She was perfect for me in every way. She loved ice cream sundays, fishing, and deep conversations on long walks. She did not care about my need for light.
When we moved in together, one year later; she kept a nightlight on her side of the bed too. She kept flashlights and candles in her nightstand in case of power outages. She never laughed or made fun of me, she never questioned my fear. She didn’t understand; but she still took it seriously.
When our daughter was born she put a nightlight in the room. It was sweet, she kept it in there even when she started to insist she was not afraid of the dark. I told my wife it was fine, if she did not ask for the light she didn’t need it. My wife said it was alright, she knew that more light made me feel safe. She said that as long as our daughter was young we would keep the light in her room.
Our son was born five years ago now. Our second perfect child. My wife put a nightlight in his room too. I breathed a sigh of relief. Last night he called me into his room. He had tears in his eyes and was staring at the corner. I looked where he was looking and as expected I saw glowing eyes and a tall figure watching him hungrily. My stomach dropped at the inevitable truth I already knew, he saw them too.
I sat down next to him and hugged him tight. I told my son not to worry. I explained to him that with a light close by the monster could not get to him. The light would keep him safe, as it had for me.
These Cuffs Are Light
Maea stared wide-eyed at her wrists that were now sporting thin golden cuffs.
“What the fuck?” she said. She tapped on one of the cuffs with her nail and it made a soft clink. She searched for where the cuffs ended and she began, but the golden material seemed to have meshed with her skin seamlessly. She pressed a finger to the surface. The cool metal gave way just as her skin would have, but it still seemed strong, unbreakable.
Maea stared at her wrists, eyes narrowed, mind working furiously. Eventually she sighed. “Believe it or not,” she said to herself “I have more important things to focus on then... then whatever this is,” she shook her head back and forth in frustrated disbelief at how her day was going. But her sister was in trouble. She took a deep breath then pushed the cuffs to the back of her mind.
“Alright Maea, think,” she said to herself. “Why would anyone want to kidnap your sister? She’s too lame for that really…” she commented to herself, although it did little to calm her fear like she had hoped it would.
As if activated by her voice, the cuffs began to vibrate softly and grow warm. A buzz traveled through her body making her whole being hum. She raised her hands, but held them as far from herself as possible. She looked sideways at the cuffs, grimacing with uncertainty, then gawked as the cuffs began to glow. Gold light emanated from her wrists while flecks the color of the tip of a flame formed in the air around them. These sparks of light rose in tendrils, swirling and circling her hands, illuminating them with a golden hue. The sparks gradually danced together between her hands into a cloud of shimmering light. As Maea watched mesmerized, an image started taking shape, the flecks melding into the burning image of her sister.
“Bobbi!” Maea exclaimed. The image crystallized, adding two other strangers to the scene. The various shades of shimmering gold, yellow, and orange gradually included all colors of the visible spectrum. It was remarkably life-like, giving Maea a clear image of the people that attacked her sister and her.
“What about the other girl?” one of the strangers, a male human asked. He jerked his chin toward the women sprawled on the floor, eyes closed. That’s me 20 minutes ago. What the fuck is going on? Maea thinks.
“We don’t have time for her,” his companion responded. “We can’t risk someone walking by.” Maea recognized the galgen who had knocked her out before. The soft texture of the dark green fur covering his body was easily discernable. “Besides,” the galgen continued as they carried Bobbi away, “the empress has a high reward for this one, so we’ll already be making a fortune. Selling her,” he motioned back toward Maea, “would be practically worthless in comparison.”
“You got that right,” the human smiled greedily.
The scene began to dissolve, the color fading. The light separated back into individual sparks of gold, then gradually disappeared.
The little house on the beach
My head hurt. I lied in bed buried in fluffy white blankets with my auburn colored hair spread around the pillow. My headache reflected the weather.
I had large double glass doors displaying the ocean to my room. The sad-looking weather of the early morning was suffocating the beach. The waves looked upset and the grey clouds coated the sky thickly.
Yet the light was still there.
There was something about this light, but I don’t know what it is.
I wanted to get out of bed but I didn’t move.
Its been like that recently. Its almost as if my mood has reflected the weather...
My phone ringing interrupted my thoughts, I leaned over and picked it up just as a small drum of thunder came through as if the clouds were protesting my actions.
“Hello?” I asked quietly.
“Hey, Carly.” It was my friend, the one I had feelings for since third grade.
“Hi, James...” I said as I glanced outside. The waves seemed to have calmed down a little.
“Your sister told me you haven’t been feeling well.” He said and I sat up a little. That’s right, I forgot he had my sister’s number. I slowly pushed my legs over the bed.
“Yea...” I said as I exhaled and slowly walked over to the doors. I pushed one open, immediately being hit by the colder air.
“I’m sorry... I just wanted to ask you if I could come over?” he asked as I turned and grabbed my blanket, walking out on my porch, I sat on the swinging chair on the right.
“Sure, I’m out back on the swing.” I said softly and he gave me an ‘okay’ and told me he was on his way. Did I mention he lived next door?
He was here in a matter of minutes, he sat down next to me and I handed him half of the blanket.
“Thank you,” he said. We both sat there for what seemed like forever. It wasn’t awkward though. We sat and looked at the sea.
My mind went back to the light filtering through. There were only a few beams bouncing through the angry clouds, but they were bright. I wonder... if this weather was like my mood, what would the light be?
I looked down at my hands, I don’t feel like there is much light in my life. Maybe that’s it, the little light shining in is the little happiness I have in my life.
No, I don’t feel like that’s the case. I glanced at James. He had a small but noticeable stream of light on him. I smiled, maybe its hope. The light... is hope shining through the dark clouds. That’s a nice thought.
The sun came forth through the clouds as if it were agreeing with me and before I could say anything, James turned towards me.
“Carly I like you,”
(Pt. 2 coming)
What You Have to Work For
I stamped out my cigarette in a cheap, plastic golden trophy. Slim rays of sunlight seeped through the closed blinds. I ruffled one hand through my uncombed while the other searched for a new cigarette. One of the rays hit me in my left eye. I grimaced and ducked from the light.
Reaching for a fallen cigarette on the ground, I hit my head on my unstable night stand. “Fuck!” I cursed under my breath.
I laid down on my bed. Silk sheets pooled around me. I twirled the cigarette in my fingers. My brain buzzed for a hit but my eyes begged for a nap. A cloud blocked the sun outside. The entire room went black. I closed my eyes. You could easily lose track of time like this.
I huffed. Like it had any purpose to it anyway.
A dog was barking outside. My eyes jetted open and my fist clenched closed on instinct. The cigarette crumbled. I grumbled under my breath. That was my last one. I’m gonna have to go outside and get more.
Just before I left my house, I glimpse my reaction in the mirror. There was a kind of rugged handsome to it versus my old ‘perfect’ guy look. A symmetrical chin peppered in stubble. I hadn’t shaved in a while. Not that it mattered. I stared dead into my own grey eyes. They’re the only part of me that’s stayed the same these past twelve years.
The cashier held my twenty dollar bill up to the light for a whole minute before deciding I wasn’t conning her. Yeah, lady. I scoffed. Because the first thing I would do if I had counterfeit money is buy a cheap pack of cigarettes at a gas station. Ingenious. “Come again,” she said in a squeaky voice.
I stuffed the carton in my pocket and shuffled to the front door. Stopping outside under the roof’s edge of the gas station, I pulled a stick out of the box and light it. The smoke curled into swirls as I watched it drift into a new light rain. A few drops complied on the ledge and splattered onto my nose. I didn’t flinch.
A voice popped up behind me. “Are you cold?”
I caught a glimpse of her through the corner of my eye. She was a petite platinum blonde with a shy smile. “Nah.” She moved beside me. “Are you lonely?”
She gave me a puzzled look. She opened her mouth to say what I’d thought would be another stupid question. “Do you have a lighter?”
And there it was.
I handed it over. She patted down her coat, searching for a cigarette. “Do you need a cigarette too?”
She grinned at me. “Nah,” the woman answered as she pulled out a sparkler.
My jaw dropped as she lit it and stared at its blue sparks. I heard the words from my lips before I even realized I spoke them. “Pretty.”
“I know right? I have a couple of smoker friends so I always carry a sparkler with me so I have a purpose to be with them while they smoke.”
“So, why did you light it now?”
She shrugged. “Why did you light your cigarette now?”
“I need the dopamine.”
“So did I,” she answered.
“But... you’re not smoking.”
The blonde rolled her eyes. “There are other ways to get dopamine you know.”
“Like sex,” she said at the same time.
She laughed and quickly diverted attention away from herself. “Never mind. I just got out of this long term relationship. Everything’s a little weird for me. I haven't dated in a while.” She added in a mugger. “Or flirted. I can’t even handle a long term relationship right now. Not that I’m even looking for one...”
I squashed my cigarette against the cement wall and flicked it into a nearby trash can. Before I left, I moved in close to her war. My breath tingled her neck hairs. “Neither am I.”
I walked away.
She held onto her shining sparkler.
That night, I swooshed and stared at the whiskey in my glass. The bartender glared at me for a bigger tip. Somewhere in the background was a girl on her twenty-first birthday looking at me while her friends gossip behind perfectly polished hands. They shook her shoulders, prattling on for her to make a move. I set the now-empty glass down and motioned for a refill. He moved slowly. Just another Friday night.
“Hey not-so stranger,” the blonde with an affinity for sparklers sat down next to me. Somewhere in the background, a girl on her twenty-first birthday clenched her fist and swore vengeance on the blonde beside me. Funny, that usually happens on Saturdays.
“Damn, you got a small army forming in that corner,” she said as overhead lights shone down on her like a personal spotlight. “I think they’re gunning to kill me.”
“Usually are. Better be careful, their nails are razor sharp.”
She flung her head back and laughed. The blonde ordered a bright-colored drink as I leaned in closer. “Before you turn into a gravestone, mind telling me your name?”
“Do you come here often?”
“Yeah, I’m a regular.” The bartender slid me another drink. “A regular alcoholic.”
The girl-mob slid their table a foot closer to eavesdrop. Lindsey glanced skittishly at them.“I know,” I whispered to her, “somewhere we can go that doesn’t have blood-thirsty sorority girls.”
She fluttered her eyelashes. “Oh? You trying to make a move?”
I chuckled and wrapped my right arm around her. “Of course.” I flashed a grin. “You do know the best way to get over a bad breakup, don’t you?”
Lindsey woke up the next morning tangled in my silk sheet. I was perched by the bedroom door, buckling up my pants. The blinds were partly open, but I still squirmed in the direct light.
“Well, that was…” She fought with the sheets. “Something!” She said with an oof! as she fell into the cold floor. Her head banged against my plastic trophy. “Ow.”
She picked it up. “Dennis Wedgeburn.” She read. “What’s this for? Only your name is engraved.”
I took it from her, weighing it in my hands. “My mother gave it to me.”
“Your mother?” She blinked. “Not some kind of competition?”
“Please, the only kind of competitions for child actors are auditions.”
She buttoned up her top. “Now, I’m intrigued. You were a child actor?”
I sighed. “Yeah. I was the star of a couple of shows. My mother gave me the trophy when I got my first starring role.”
“Do you still act?”
I raked my hands through my hair. “Nah. I grew tired of it.”
She was fully dressed and searching for her shoes. “So, do you have any hobbies or job?”
“No, and I don’t need any. I still have plenty of money.”
Lindsey sucked in her breath and jammed her heel into a boot. “That’s not really the point of it, you know.”
I furrowed my brow. “No, I don’t.”
Before she headed out, she placed a hand on my bare chest and gazed into my eyes. “Well, if you ever wanna find out…” She stuffed a piece of paper on my hand. “Come here.”
And just like that, she was gone.
A cloud enveloped the sun and the familiar darkness came back.
I impatiently tapped my toe against the sidewalk. My eyes darted from side to side before landing back on the middle school again and again. I reread the address in my hand. Herds of middle schoolers flocked from the doors to their freedom. After taking a deep breath, I entered their former prison.
“I’m looking for… Lindsey?” I asked the secretary at the front door. “She’s kind of short and blonde? Asked me to meet her here?” My voice felt hollow and uncertain. I doubt my good looks would do anything in this situation. More than likely I just looked like an unshaven creep. Trying to enter a middle school. That’ll be an interesting police report.
The secretary gave me a sideways glance. “You mean, Ms. Thompson?”
Sure. That could be her last name. “Yes.”
Her eyes only narrowed at me. “There isn’t a Lindsey Thompson in this building.” Her hand hovered above the landline. Her eyes screamed that she was gunning for a quick draw to call the police. A panicked sweat thickened on my palms.
“What I meant was—”
“Oh! Dennis!” I heard a voice calling out.
Spinning around, Lindsey stood before me. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe it was because the secretary wasn’t going to call the cops on me now, or maybe…
“Hey, Lindsey,” I said her name like a loud snob while I gave the secretary a side glance of my own.
Lindsey grabbed my arm and pulled it close to me. “Don’t worry, Clarice. He’s with me.”
“Yeah, I’m with her.”
Clarice motioned Lindsey closer and whispered. “Are you sure? Because I have pepper spray in my bag if you need it.”
My mouth gaped open as Lindsey waved a dismissing hand. “No, I can handle him all on my own.”
Swiftly, she tugged me away. I murmured to her. “You know, I’m pretty sure she was about to call the cops on me.”
“Yeah, your pretty looks won’t help you here.”
“Why did you ask me here?”
We stopped at the door to the art room. “Why did you come?”
I didn’t answer. With a smirk, she lured me inside.
“Are you an art teacher?” I inquired as she dug through the teacher’s desk. “Or just nosy?”
“Both!” The blonde replied as she pulled out a sketchbook. She handed me a sliver of paper. I stared at it. Rolling her eyes, she explained. “To draw, duh.”
“I—I don’t like drawing.”
“Because I’m not good at it.”
Lindsey paused and purses her lips. “That’s because it’s an acquired skill, dummy.”
I handed it back to her. “Still not interested.”
She pushed my hand back at me. “Humor me?”
With a small groan, I hunkered down at one of the tables. My pencil made a dot on the paper, but refused to move. I felt my face heat up. “This is stupid, I don’t even know what to draw.”
She sat down beside me with her sketch book. “Anything you want.”
“That’s so helpful,” I snapped.
“Isn’t it just?” With a flip, her open sketchbook stared back at me. There were doodles, sketches, half-drawn animals, and an odd amount of naked bodies. Finally, she reached a blank page. “The best way to start is imitation and tracing. Follow what I do, okay?”
“Hhmmff! I don’t need to trace! I’m an adult!”
“Really? Because from the way you’re acting you remind me of my students. And they’re ten. Just repeat what I do, okay?”
I grunted, but agreed.
By the end, Lindsey had drawn a beautiful daffodil. I had drawn a stick and a circle. My eye twitched, I crumpled the paper, and threw it in the trash. I slouched down in my chair. “This is stupid.”
“Why is it stupid?”
I gestured blankly at the table. “Because… Because...”
“It doesn’t come easily to you?” She finished.
Annoyed, I crossed my arms.
She huffed and mirrored my crossed arms. “You said you were an actor because you were good at it, right?”
“And if you weren’t?”
“Then I’d do something else. Duh.”
She sighed. “You’re playing life with what it hands you, not what you earn. No wonder you’re so goddamn miserable and do anything you can to get a kick out of life. You don’t care about anything you’re not naturally good at. God, I fear what you would have done if you hadn’t been a naturally good actor.”
I grumbled under my breath. “And what’s wrong with being naturally good at something?”
“Nothing,” she answered. “But you might want to consider actually working for a skill you genuinely like.”
Abruptly, I stood up and knocked over my chair. “What the hell do you know anyway?!” I eyed her sketch. Everything so professionally done. “How dare you lecture me if you’re just using your own natural talents?” I shouted as I walked towards the door. “Why do you even care?”
Just before I left, Lindsey called out to me. “Ask me a math problem.”
I stopped. “What?”
“Any multiplication problem. As hard as you can make it.”
“Fine. Fifty-six times twelve.”
“Six hundred and seventy-two. Try a little harder.”
I gritted my teeth. “Eighty-seven times a hundred and four!”
“Nine thousand and forty-eight. Is that really all you got?”
“Five thousand, seven hundred and thirteen times eleven thousand, nine hundred and forty-seven!” I gasped, nearly out of breath from screaming math.
She took a deep breath and screamed. “Sixty-eight million, two hundred and fifty-three thousand, two hundred and eleven!”
“What the fuck is wrong with you!” I stared at her empty hands. Not a calculator in sight.
“That’s my natural talent! Mental math! I was a prodigy, too. And I almost let something I didn’t even like take over my life. That’s why I care--because you remind me of who I used to be.” In a quiet voice, she added. “I didn’t just have smoker friends, I was a smoker.” She pointed at a crummy stick figure drawing taped to the wall. “And for the record, that was my first sketch. I told you, it’s an acquired skill. But I stuck with it because I actually liked it.”
I clenched my fist. The crumpled paper mocked me from the trash can. “Well I don’t!” Was all I said before slamming the door close and leaving Lindsey behind. The lights flickered in the hallway before a bulb blew out.
I returned to the bar late that night. A twenty-one-and-one-day old blonde girl sang terribly in the background. I inhaled my drinks, hoping the sound of rushing liquor would drown out her words. You’re playing life with what you have, not what you earn. Another drink. That’s why you’re so goddamn miserable. I locked eyes with the new blonde girl and smirked.
Who’s miserable again?
It wasn’t until late that night that Lindsey finally found her way home. Heavy grocery bags burdened her arms as she battled with her coat to find her house key.
“Dammit, where are they?” She muttered under her breath.
The milk dropped and spilled on the ground. The blonde sighed as she realized the truth.
She had left her house key at my house.
Impatient, Lindsey rang the door five times in a row. She was shivering outside and it was nearly midnight. She tried the door. Unlocked. Lindsey let herself in.
“Hello?” Her voice echoed as she flipped on the lights. “Dennis? I left my keys here.”
On the kitchen counter, Lindsey spotted her shiny key. “Found you!” She exclaimed as she snatched it from the counter.
From upstairs, Lindsey heard a loud thud. Like someone had rollen out of bed. Then, footsteps running down the stairs as Dennis appeared. “L-Lindsey!” I stammered half-naked while standing on the stairs. “What are you doing here?”
“I forgot my house key here. Kind of need it.”
A second pair of footsteps treaded downstairs. “Dennis, honey, who is it?” The blonde surveyed Lindsey with only one of my oversized shirts draped over her body.
Lindsey stared at the new blonde. At that moment, I realized how similar the two looked. And how bad I fucked up.
“Is this just what you do?” Lindsey inquired. “Being a smoker and alcoholic isn’t enough so you just gotta add sex addict to it?”
I straightened my shoulders and glared at her. “Why do you care? Are jealous or something? I thought you weren’t looking for anything serious?” I defend.
“I’m not! But, you’re a shitty actor if you think I’ll actually believe this act. That this actually makes you happy.”
“Who said I was acting?”
She bit her lip and turned towards the door. Under her breath, she told me. “Well, then I guess you aren’t a shitty actor. Just a shitty person.”
Lindsey didn’t even bother to slam the door when she left. I felt my heart sink in her absence. And I just stared into the piercing black night it left open for me.
The next morning, I sent the nameless blonde off without another word. I stared down at a blank piece of paper in front of me. Anxious, I tapped the graphite on the paper. I still couldn’t think of what to draw.
Anything you want.
Anything I want?
In a sudden outburst, the pencil ran across the page. I know what I want now.
In the middle of her first class, I burst through the door of Lindsey’s art class. Eighteen pairs of eyes shifted to me. Sunlight gleamed through the window, bathing me in its’ light. I didn’t turn from it. “Lindsey,” I breathed. “I have something else I wanted to give you.”
She glared at me. “What? Did I forget something else?”
“Just this.” I handed her my first drawing.
It was a drawing of two stick figures. One labelled Dennis and the other labelled Lindsey. Their little stick hands were joined.
“I’ll be going now,” I muttered as I headed for the door.
“Yeah, you should,” Lindsey said. “But, be sure to stop by after class. By the looks of this, you’ll be needing a lot more lessons.”
I smiled. “I don’t mind. After all, drawing is an acquired skill, isn’t it?”