Milk and Cookies

Darling,

stop

inviting hitchhikers over for milk and cookies,

their smell stays long after they are gone,

stuck on our white couches and matching cardigans.

The carpet gets soggy as the warm rain keeps us awake

underneath the bridge and crystal chandelier.

The walls blow away when the bomb explodes during prayer time.

It scares the puppies each time.

The screaming as the water rises, entering the gaping mouths…

it all gives me nightmares.

I have nothing to say to them,

Darling.

We are out of milk and cookies.

 

 

Broken T.V.

We drive 3 hours to buy a T.V.

with a broken screen, to watch cooking shows at dawn,

when the bats fly back to their caves and under bridges

that we traverse,

secretly fearing that it will crumble,

the river below

swallowing us whole, taking our bodies,

still strapped with our life-protecting seatbelts,

out to the ocean

for the sharks and octopi,

to play…

but we don’t think about this as we stop

for breakfast sandwiches and black coffee

on our way to buy a T.V.

with a broken screen

to watch cooking shows,

at dawn,

even though we don’t have electricity

in our apartment

and

I don’t even know how to toast bread

without burning it to a crisp,

yet we drive and drive and drive

listening to disco music

and thinking about the journey back.

Conceptual Poem: LOL

In class last week, we learned about conceptual poetry. I’m probably not going to do a great job at explaining but basically it is about taking text out of its context and creating something new out of it. It about using what is already written and out in the world, taking it and using it. I’m not too sold on it, and I must admit, I felt a bit like I was taken when it wasn’t mine to take, but it was a fun process. I scoured the internet for an interesting article, found one, went right towards the comments and then picked and choose which I thought would be interesting as a poem. Here’s what came from the exercise:

LOL

If laughter be thy exercise and thy exercise be thy laughter.
Then, let laughter be thy medicine and medicine be thy laughter.

Clowns raise pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization.

Back when my husband had asthma he would routinely pass out when he laughed really hard.

If you’ve had laughter that’s lasted more than four hours see your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Corporations are notorious for thinking they can get away with low wages by substituting “get happy” seminars for a living wage. Obviously, they’ve taken instruction from North Korea’s “dear leader”.

Bunch of party poopers…

My father would often say to my mother, “Don’t make me laugh!” Maybe he really meant it.

As a middle-aged female, I avoid excessive laughter due to the stomach pain and the other unfortunate side effect: you know how the pipes corrode after a few decades.

I can make my wife pee on herself by making her laugh. It’s my revenge.

When my grandmother was a child, she’d seen her favorite aunt choke to death while laughing at the dinner table.

I once read of a cult that executed erring members by tying them up and tickling the bottoms of their feet with a feather until they died. The victims literally died laughing.

I don’t give a monkey’s about the putative benefits to me when I laugh. What matters are the effects of our laughter on others.

If someone gives me the choice to die of laughter or to die of sorrow, I’d rather die of laughter.

Free Spirit

Wet kisses down the curved spine of her back,

shivers, shudders,

curled white fingers, nails biting into her skin,

it’s too late.

In the morning, she feels it,

the pull of the shrouded mountains to the east.

Front door left open, leaves blowing in,

floating into dusty teacups.

The grandfather clock tells time to the yellowing wallpaper,

ignorant of

seconds,

minutes,

hours.

The chill is piercing, her feet are bare.

She climbs a tree.

Up, up, up,

above the canopy of clouds,

audience to the retreating sun and the chasing moon.

 

Her hairs whips her stinging face.

Old and white, her husband searches are fruitless,

his calls echo against the pines, against the deaf mountain.

A bird, black as the ocean depths,

circles, round and round, above the house

abandoned by the woman that long ago

morning.

A quick flash of a wing outside the window,

a glimpse is all the husband sees,

then the shine,

beckoning him, come.

On the sill, a perfectly round gold band,

her wedding ring,

ruins of a broken marriage.

 

Into the Wild

A little girl, up and out of bed before anyone else in her house. The fog is still pressed low to the ground, frost settles on the tips of short cut grass, no smells of bacon frying, coffee brewing or toast toasting just yet. She tiptoes past her parent’s bedroom, creeps down the stairs and peeks around the corner to the living room. The room is still dark, the sun hasn’t had a chance to rise and bring light to the morning, but the girl can see the outline of the big Christmas tree to the left of the fireplace. Beneath the tree there are boxes of all different shapes and sizes, she squeals with excitement and then covers her mouth with her little hand. She pulls on the cord of a lamp on a little side table by the couch and looks at all the shiny bows on all the festively wrapped boxes, each with a surprise inside just for her. She notices the empty cup that she had filled with milk last night and the crumbs on the empty plate where sugar cookies once were. She kneels beside a rectangle box and pulls at the paper, carefully at first but then abandoning any efforts to stay quiet. Inside, is a baby doll wearing a pale yellow onesie, booties and a little cap. Her parents come up behind her and the girl runs up to them, hugging them and wishing them a Merry Christmas. Out of all her presents, her baby doll is her favorite. She feeds it, changes it’s diaper and rocks it to sleep. She makes sure to take care of her doll, guarding her from too much sun and making sure she’s warm when it’s too cold. She loves her doll very much. When the girl and her mother are out to lunch with her aunt, the baby doll beside the girl in a stroller, the aunt smiles at the girl and asks her What do you want to be when you grow up, sweetie?  And without hesitation the girl replies, A mommy.

In another part of the world…

As credits start rolling, the romantic music is the only sound in the room. The girls can see their reflections off the TV screen, one wrapped in a blanket and the other hugging a pillow. They run up to the bedroom, the movies portion of this sleepover is done. Images of the movie’s hero still plays in their heads, and they wish to know what it’s like to be in his arms, to have his love. To be the One. They giggle and dance to the song playing on the radio, they paint their nails and eat cookies and drink milk. Tired from the day and dancing, stomach content with their sweet treats and hearts longing for true love, they crawl into bed and whisper and dream of the day they get married, of the day they each have their own prince charming’s come and sweep them away, to the distant land marriage, happiness, and completeness. They wonder if their as of yet unknown loves were out there wondering about them too. With that they fell asleep, dreaming of the future.

I wasn’t any of the girls in the stories above. I didn’t cuddle with dolls and pretend they were my babies. I didn’t dream of weddings and true love’s first kiss. I dreamed of making a name for myself, I would be the one people would admire and aspire to be. I would be a big shot writer, no… I would be a big time chef, wait no! I would be a big time writer. I would travel the world and bring my familiy with me. No matter what, I always imagined I’d be happy. I still aspire to make a name for myself, even it’s just a few people that know my name, I still want to be a writer and a sceptacular chef for those I care about, and to be good role model for others. Most of all, I do long to be happy and travel and be true to myself. I’d be lying ( thank goodness I’m not Pinocchio because then my wooden nose would grow!) if I said that I don’t imagine what it’d be like to be happy in love, not because I need someone else to complete me but because that person ehances my world. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t imagine what it’d be like to rub my tummy, big with a child, a life made from me to start fresh in this quick world. What I do share with the girls in the stories above? I have life and love to give and for today that’s my stories. I give birth to them and care for them, cherishing them and scared about what other’s will think of them when they are out there in the world, alone. Will they find someone to love them as I have loved them? Being a writer is like finding the love of your life, you’ve got to care for them and love them. Being a writer is like being a parent too, if you think about it. Eventually, you have to let go, letting the story take it’s course, releasing it out into the wild.

The Following (continuation II)

 

I realized that I had stupidly left my cell phone in my bag, which was right behind me in the back seat, out of reach. “Don’t panic,” I told myself. The turn I had to make was right ahead. I put on my left turn signal. He did the same.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” I was sure that this meant I was being followed. The road we were on now is completely dark at night; the only light comes

from our headlights. It’s a curvy uphill road, carved into the forest. I pick up speed and my car’s engine grows louder. It’s pointless, he maintains right behind me. I don’t know what to do. Do I go home? Will doing that put my family at risk? If I do like my dad did

and drive down random streets but then my parents will start worrying about where I am and why I’m not home yet. I don’t know what to do.

One more street, turn to the left onto my street and then I’d be home. 20 feet, 15 feet, 10 feet, 5 feet, and I turn to the left suddenly without putting on my turn signal. I hold my breath for the next 10 seconds, until I see the headlights of the car that was behind me continue straight down the road. The relief I feel makes me laugh. I’m laughing so hard I’m shaking. Truthfully, I feel silly, jumping to conclusions.

I pull into my driveway and hurriedly go into my house, out of the cold and the dark. The warmth of the house is such a sharp contrast from the freezing cold that my glasses fog up.

“Hi!” I yell as I slip my shoes off and leave them on the mat by the door.

I walk into the living room and there are my parents, still side by side on the couch, underneath a big blanket.

“How was your day?” asks my mom.

I think about saying “Well, I felt like a ghost was watching me at school and then as I was driving home I thought that I was being followed, how was your day?” What I say instead is “Fine”.

I run up the stairs, two at a time, and go to my room and close the door behind me. The mirror behind the door shows me my reflection. “Tonight was one crazy night,” I say before turning away.

Mystery at Keyhole Bay

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“Does anyone know who this man is? Was he with anyone?” Angela asks.

A small crowd of beach tourists gathered around, everyone wondering who the mysterious man with a question mark tattooed on his forehead and wearing a navy blue wool sweater on a 90 degree summer day at the beach is.

“Eww! Mommy, look! That man’s nakie nakie!” a little girl giggled and pointed at the man’s lower parts. Indeed, he was exposed for all to see. The girl’s mother blushed as she looked at what her daughter was exclaiming about. She covered the girl’s eyes and tugged her away, looking at Angela with a stern look as if it was her idea of a good joke to have a naked guy lying about.

“Can I have a towel to …uh… cover this man up?”

“This outta do it,” a muscular man handed her his towel, it was green sea turtles on it which she recognized from the tourist trap of a gift shop on Main St. She placed it gently on the man’s lower half, slightly tucking it beneath his legs so it wouldn’t fly away.

“Can you watch him for a moment?” she asked the man that handed her the towel. He nodded once, all seriousness. Angela turned from the group and pulled a walkie-talkie from her waist.

“Todd? Come in, Todd, this is Keyhole Bay Base, Angela speaking. Todd?”

She turned back and could hear the excited high pitched voice of a little boy saying “… he’s come to observe us, I bet and this is just a human disguise! And beneath it he’s got green skin and a big head and big black eyes and his alien aircraft is hiding beneath the water and…” Another little boy started to cry at this talk of aliens.

“Jeremy, that’s enough!” said a very red looking woman.

“Todd here, roger.”

“Todd! I need your help here. There’s this guy… he was half-naked and he’s still unconscious. I’m not sure what to do, he might need medical attention. Come please!”  A few moments passed before his staticky voice came back on.

“Ang, I told you to say ‘roger’ when you’re done talking. Roger.”  Angela closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. She’d told Todd a million times not to call her Ang. She took a deep breath and controlled her anger.

“Whatever. Just get here.”

“Can’t. Some old guy’s foot fell through the rope bridge to the lighthouse; I’m taking him to the ranger’s station. Roger.”

Great, she thought. She looked back and the man was still not awake. “Just get here as soon as you can. Uh, roger.”

“You got it, roger, over and out.”

Angela tucked the walkie-talkie back into her waistband. She walked about to the small group that was still surrounding the man on the ground. She could see the gentle rise and fall of his even breathing. Maybe he was just drunk and passed out. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened.

“He was just mumbling something but it was in some language I’d never heard before. He hasn’t woken up,” a woman told her as she approached.

The sun was high overhead and sweat was pooling slightly above Angela’s lips. She couldn’t see any obvious wounds or bleeding, she decided to move the man to the shade. Two men helped move him beneath her lookout hut. Angela thanked all the onlookers, telling them that help was on the way. Angela wondered about giving the man some water, his skin was red and his curly hair was stiff with salt water and sand. She went up to the hut and pulled a water bottle from the mini fridge, taking a swig from it. The clock ticked, it was only noon. She went back out with the water bottle, hoping Todd wouldn’t be much longer.

“Oh!” she said and stopped short of reaching the man still lying on the ground. A tall, pale woman stood over him with her fingers tensed and spread apart. When she heard Angela coming she turned to face her. She was wearing a long gray t-shirt several sizes too big that had SAVE THE PLANET printed on it. Her bright green eyes were wide open as if she didn’t want to lose at a staring contest. She looked eerily like the man: thin lips, nearly white curly hair and a long nose. After a few uncomfortable seconds Angela cleared her throat.

“Do you know this man?” The women looked like she was in pain, she’d not blinked once. “We found him lying like that on the beach unconscious. I’m waiting for another ranger to come and give him medical attention.” The woman’s eyes grew wider at hearing this and Angela was sure they would pop out of her skull. She shook her head no. Angela wasn’t sure why she was doing that and even though it was hot, goose bumps rose on Angela’s skin. This was creepy. Todd, where are you?

“Um… you can wait here too, if you’d like. I’m sure it won’t be much longer…”

Again the woman shook her head and looked down at the man, cocking her head to the right. She bent down and touched his forehead with three of her fingers, sweeping them down gently to his chin, her fingers catching slightly on his parted and dry lips. To Angela’s surprise, the woman scooped the man up as if he weighed no more than a small child. She looked at Angela and opened her mouth in an “O” shape as if to say something and then spun around, running into the surrounding forest. Angela stood there, looking into the trees where the mysterious pair disappeared. Still unsure of the morning’s events, she shrieked when Todd came up behind her and tapping her on the shoulder.

“Geez!” He said, lifting up his hands to show he came in peace. “What’s wrong, where’s the guy you told me about?”

“She took him into the forest, she just took him.”

“What? What do you mean? Angela?” Todd took her shoulders in his hands and shook her a bit, trying to get her to focus her attention on him.

“I don’t know.” She looked at him. “This was supposed to be an easy summer job and so far it’s been hell! I quit!” She took the walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. She went to the hut, grabbed her stuff and left, Todd stared at her retreating figure. She didn’t look back and she never spoke of the day’s weird events to anyone.

“Seriously? I can’t get a break!” said Todd, kicking up some sand and looking off at the forest where Angela said the guy had gone. He could see a soft lump of gray; he walked towards it to get a closer look. Todd squatted besides it, picking it up with a stick. A t-shirt with SAVE THE PLANET printed on it and further ahead was a discarded towel with green sea turtles on it. In the ground he could see bare human footprints and then giant three toed footprints. A rustling noise came from ahead and Todd looked up like a deer in headlights.

“Hello?” Todd called. He stood up and before he knew it, he was snatched from behind a tree by the alien duo, never to be seen again.