"The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection."
When I was six I was frightened of thunderstorms. I used to curl myself in my bed, wrapping my fingers around the edge of my doona as I pulled it tight over me. My mum used to come in and when she'd see me there she'd smile. Not in a condescending way, like most adults look at kids nowadays, but a kind, warm, loving, fatherly way. She'd say to me,
"Takao, the earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal," I don't know why she told me that. We weren't really religious. I wasn't crying out in bitter remorse. I was just a six-year-old who was afraid of thunder.
Now my mother's words ring louder than ever.
Death must come with honour. Death must come with honour. Death must come with honour.
This has been drilled into my head at military training before the war even began. Now I am surrounded by foreigners, the enemy. I grasp the handle of my sword, ready. I hold the blade out, cupped in both my hands and kneel on one knee as if making an offering at the altar. I then rise, twist the sword so the tip of the blade is against my abdomen. Ready. Set. Go. Now!
But I can't. Because just like when I was six, I am scared. Scared to die.
The enemy is closing in, if I don't commit seppuku now, I will be captured. And if I live, and go home, I will be rejected. Prisoners of war don't receive the warmest welcome in Japan because we are taught to die as a samurai, so that we are not captured. Even if I am captured and killed without needing to face the overwhelming sense of rejection, I will not have died with honour. I must do it now. Now!
The sound of gunfire engulfs me...
When I was a child, I was afraid of thunderstorms. Now I am afraid of rejection. But I am also afraid of death. Which do I choose? Do I die with honour, or to live and be rejected by not just my friends and my family, but my country as well? To be a disgrace, an outsider, a discard?
The coarse voices of men, sobered by battle, surround me...
Now. Now! Now!
They will find me soon...
Surrender or die? Rejection or death?
Death must come with honour.
The earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. I am ready now. I am a coward, wounded by the scarring images of life and death, but terrified of rejection. More so than death.
My death has come with honour.
Family on a Page
Within all families, there is some form of destruction,
Threatening to steal you away; abduction.
Secrets threatening to rip your family apart.
Uncovering those secrets is a form of art,
And can be done in many a form
Despite not being quite the 'norm'.
"Mother, please pass the creamy mustard,
And the cold jelly with custard,"
"Of course, dear, have as much as you like,
And let me know if there's anything you dislike,"
"Sister, I think we should go 'round
And mention one thing we've found
To be thankful for in this time
Me; I'm thankful for rhyme,"
"I'm grateful for the birds in the trees,
The autumn, the winter and cool summer breeze,"
"I'm happy I've been given this life,
For families, especially my dear wife,"
"Me? Well I've lots to say
I'm thankful for my Father, to whom I can pray,
I'm grateful for my home, keeping me warm,
Loved and safe, through any storm.
But most of all, I'm thankful for today,
In which we can arise from nothing and meet in this way,"
"Arise from nothing? Surely you didn't mean it in that sense,
For the days in which we've been here are no less than immense,"
"Darling, I think it's time you knew,
We're just words on a page, us all and you,"
O, self-indulgent woman, your body is a sin. Raven locks of discord, wipe the red stain from your grin. That dress you wear, the fabric sheer, go put on something plain. It draws too much attention when you're dancing in the rain. Sad song you sing, 'bout all your pain, stop singing it so loud. Shoulders back, gaze toward the Sun, beautiful and proud.
Copyright 2016 Angela Skaggs
Viola Plum has a sweet mum, or mommy may be how you say it. Viola's mum, gave her a guitar; hoping that she'd like to play it. She strummed and she strummed. She sang and she hummed. She danced, her music quite loud. Her mother, she smiled at her wild child, feeling particularly proud.
Copyright 2016 Angela Skaggs
The Prose Charter
It's a new year and we have big plans for Prose. We want to share greater transparency with you all, and share a list of promises, or guarantees, that you should expect from us. Cue the Prose Charter. This is a formal document that tells you, the user, what you should expect from us. We pride ourselves on being available to communicate with you and these are the standards we have always tried to stick to behind-the-scenes. With transparency being one of our key focuses this year, we thought it only fair to share these with you.
What Our Prosers Should Expect From Us:
1) Emails coming into us will be answered within 24 business hours.
2) Messages received in the direct message inbox within the app under the Prose account will be answered within 24 business hours.
3) Social Media direct messages will be dealt with within 24 hours.
Content and Contests:
1) Users should expect 3 blog pieces from Prose per week either on the Prose app or blog.theprose.com on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
2) Users should expect a new Friday Feature each week, unless this isn’t possible due to public holidays or unforeseen circumstances.
3) Users should expect a Prose Challenge of the Week to be posted every Monday morning (GMT).
4) Users should expect a bi-monthly newsletter that showcases user posts along with what’s going on around theprose.com
5) Unless otherwise stated, winners of “premium challenges” (read: challenges with a prize) will be announced and notified within 48 hours of the challenge expiring.
6) Users should expect Prose to like their Prose posts on Twitter so long as they tag @theproseapp, within one working day. (We will also RT at our own discretion.)
1) Users should expect the Prose team to forward all bugs to the tech team within 1 working day or less.
2) Once those bugs are logged users will be updated as soon as possible re the status of the bug fix request. (Due to the nature of bugs, we cannot give an exact turnaround time for the resolution of these bugs.)
3) Users should expect any feature suggestions to be considered by the team, and implemented where financially and developmentally viable.
What can Prosers do for us?
Prose has big plans for the future shape of your words. For us to continue building a social network for writers like no other, there are certain things you can do for us to ensure that Prose grows as big and beautiful as intended.
1) More engagement (bookmarking, sharing, commenting).
2) More thoughtful comments, to further help the community grow and succeed as writers.
3) More social sharing. (The more you share your Prose on social media, the more readers you will find).
4) More time spent reading and enjoying others’ work.
5) More words - We’d love to see longer posts, poetry or prose.
6) More reviews - We crave reviews for the app in Google Play and iTunes. The more reviews we get, the more new writers and readers will interact with and follow you.
7) More boundary pushing by trying out new genres and different portals to usual. Explore!
8) More promoting your own book in the Indie Portal. We don’t limit what you do, so do it.
Into the Darkness
The land was barren, the sky was black, she knew this day would come. Her heart was filled with great animosity at the thought of being left behind. Anger always had a controlling power over her. Her emotional entrapment began to overcome her physically. Her rage seemed to cause a chemical reaction that heated her skin and set her eyes ablaze. She struggled her whole life to feel love and belonging and being left proved she never did. She had been forgotten, forsaken. Had she not repented for her sins as she was told she should? Why was she left in this Godless place? She felt as if she might spontaneously combust if she didn't calm her nerves. Her anger quickly shifted to fear as she realized she could hardly see in front of her when piercing eyes glowing in the distance locked with hers. Her fear grew as this creature came closer. She was trembling beyond control, almost as if she were convulsing. She felt the beastly man's arms wrap around her fragile frame. The warmth of his body and tenderness of his embrace changed her fear to comfort, safety. Comfort then turned to desire as his pheromones were so potent she felt intoxicated. Next came a gentle caress and a tender kiss, followed by their bodies intertwining. How could she feel desire more than fear in this moment? It seemed illogical to feel this way, almost as if her emotions were being controlled. Just then, a strike of lightning lit up the sky and she caught a glimpse of her lover. She fell to her knees and sobbed in shock as she remembered her mother's words, "Beware of Satan, the charming serpent. He'll come disguised as everything your heart desires."
Crusty ass words
taking my notebook
off my dusty shelf
and putting pen to paper.
everything is a fuckin cliche
I'm a sorry excuse for a writer
my words used to be
fluid and shape shifting.
they are jagged edged
They aren't easy to swallow
not because they're raw
and filled with truth.
mislaid and scattered
cockroaches of emotions
the spotlight is on me.
I need a release.
Should I swallow Drano
and unclog my
reserve for words?
It's the only thing
that can save me now.