The somewhat saner replacement to the dropped third chapter.
Dolly had never seen the man in the moon. She saw a rabbit instead, with its ears drooping over the rest of its body and its paws limp against its chest. The Japanese called it tsuki no usagi, the rabbit pounding rice cakes in the moon. Dolly didn’t get the rice cake part. The Japanese, she decided, saw rice everywhere.
The rabbit was curled over itself, hunched against the cold pinprick gaze of the stars. It always looked so alone. So sad. On rainy days, Dolly told herself the moon rabbit was crying.
The rabbit was crying now. Fat icy drops splattered the road, the houses, Dolly’s head. Her coat was soaked through at the shoulders and her hair dripped onto her neck. She shivered. Shelter. Gotta find shelter. People died from exposure, didn't they? Gotta get inside. Read more »
“Go ‘way. Tryin’ t’sleep.”
“Dolly, wake up.”
“I am awake, okay?”
“Dolly, I am not your mother. This is important.”
Pause. “Dolly. Listen to me. Do you remember what happened?”
“Bus. Truck. Um. Wham.”
“You’re talking like a three year old.” Sigh. “Open your eyes.”
“’S too bright.”
“They’ll adjust. Come on.
“It’s all white. Hurts my eyes.”
“What? Oh. Oh. Say, do you happen to see anything of the, ah, angelic persuasion?”
“No. I don’t see anything. I’m blind. Oliver, I’ve gone blind!”
“Hear any harps? Celestial choruses?”
“Okay. Okay. Don’t panic. Dolly, listen to me. ‘kay?”
“Picture your house. “
“My house?” Read more »
I love the rain. Little pinpricks of drops landing on my skin; cold, but only emphasizing how warm I am. Running through my hair and down, dripping off my hands, off the wires of my ipod in my ears playing Astronaut. What’s Astronaut in Japanese? Asturonaut? Asutonato? Something.
The rain—it’s lovely. It’s not…real, not quite. It looks…the world looks different. The world looks like it’s just revealing its secrets, whispering them in your ear. There’s Rorschach, hiding in the shadows. There’s the ghosts of cats, playing with the raindrops, pouncing in the puddles. And my own feet splashing in the puddles and my own hands waving in the air to Amanda Palmer singing in my ears. Read more »
Must not smash cup. Brother made cup. Blew the glass himself. He’d notice if it was in fragments on the counter.
Set cup down. Slowly. There you go.
Pick up homework from the printer.
Walk. One foot in front of the other. Turn off lights. Dark. Dark is good. No one can see my face in the dark.
Walk up stairs. Don’t punch the walls. Don't punch the floor. Don’t punch the brother. He’d like that even less than if I broke his cup.
Room. Turn on light. Leave door open. Maybe I’ll read for a while. Haven’t had time to read for months. I should be sleeping. Have a test in Japanese tomorrow. Don’t care. Read more »
Outside the bus window, the world rumbled past.
Sometimes, when Dolly crossed her eyes a little and concentrated hard on thinking of nothing at all, she could trick herself into believing that everything else moved backwards and the bus was standing perfectly still, in the face of all the evidence. Evidence didn’t matter. Evidence was facts stretched and bent and crammed into theories so they made sense in peoples' minds. Facts mean nothing without theories.
Facts don’t change, but theories do. It’s all a matter of perception.
The world that trundled by the bus window was a wet one; gray and dripping with winter rain and snowmelt. Cold. A damp cold, a cold that trickled and dribbled and leaked through the walls to puddle wetly on the floor. The cold sloshed around Dolly’s ankles and made goosebumps rise on her legs. She glared defiantly out the window. Read more »
with ink-stained innocence
--I never knew before-- --
Laugh at inability.
Laugh at immmaturity.
I don’t intend to die,
but then again,
few ever do.
We aren’t born
planning to end up
six feet underneath
the soil where we played
as little kids,
racing down the paths
between the headstones
streaked with black and stained
with age and parents’ pain
where they cried and maybe prayed.
The memory of grief will fade
but bones beneath—they always stayed
under headstones splashed with soot and rust
until they crumble, dust to dust.
Memory of life is gone
and time rolls on and on and on and on.
We kill ourselves by living.
We kill ourselves with time.
We kill ourselves by breathing,
moving, being there—
we rarely mean to but
entropy doesn’t care.
I find a comfort in the bleakness
that most try to avoid,
try to hide while inside
we’re all time bombs ticking down
to when we’ll be destroyed—
I want to go out
with an explosion that makes
who I am—who I was— Read more »
Silly girl, running from the camera,
sprawling on the floor
as the shutter clicks down.
Violent girl, lashing out about her,
flailing fists and anger
at anyone around.
Drama girl, center of attention,
blushing beneath stage lights:
she's entertainment; then.
Stupid girl, escaping as the bell rings,
knowing she's already
been forgotten again.
What I would do
for control-- --
My mirror-image face
is the yellow of old paper,
its lips bruised purple
but never break the skin.
I am still. I am wax.
Not even the eyes move;
I reveal nothing
of the panic beneath.
Let out a breath, gradually.
Suck it in again.
Hold till my eyes bulge
and buzz in their sockets-- --
when I'm alone;
in empty rooms that echo back
What am I laughing at?
It's a sadistic sound, merciless
and primitive, primal
as it rips from my throat,
past bared teeth-- --
What am I laughing at?
I laugh at me.
What I would do
for balance-- --
the elusive equilibrium
between perfectionism and apathy,
academics and independence,
cage and key.
For lack of balance, I have
control. I refuse
to obey the laws of gravity.
I refuse to fall
but I know I will.
Fingernails and teeth barely
leave a mark. Read more »
It pays to be wary of a girl with a camera, especially when she's tightrope-walking the center line of a highway, taking pictures of all the pretty headlights.
Music by Trent Reznor.
Dialogue by Bee.
I’m wedged comfortably in my usual seat on the bus, blasting Nine Inch Nails into my ears to drown out the driver’s country music, the constant roar of shouting middle-school voices. But I’m somewhere else, too, somewhere deep inside the winding passageways of my head and I can’t quite remember how I got there, or how to get back. It’s the blank-walled room, blindingly white, and I’m not alone.
Her face is gaunt and surrounded by a tangled halo of black hair. She looks tired, almost sick; her skin is ashen gray. Bony fingers curl around a styrofoam cup of coffee.
I’m still sleepy; my internal voice slurs. “I remember you.”
“Do you?” Read more »
It had been such a lovely dream.
Why must I always wake
it’s in my mind
or so it seems
and once again you’re so far away.
I miss you before you’re even gone
because I know you’ll go,
I’ll be alone
as time rolls on
until some date yet unknown;
I count the days.
come in fragments:
flitting quickly past
before they’re burned, they’re lost;
they never last.
your hands on my guitar,
the low glow
of your not-ipod in the car
and the long way to go
that reminds us that we are
once again so far away
(time rolls rolls rolls rolls on)
and I wake with morning’s light;
So I wander halls of memories
of dreams, of what perhaps could be,
or were, or could’ve been. Please,
tonight, will you dream of me?
Control. Gotta keep control. Gotta keep my face from turning red and my voice from shaking and the tears from spilling outa my blurry eyes. Gotta get through this by any means possible, because if I can't...
if I can't, I can't, I can't I can't I can't
and now I'm crying again.
I dig my thumbnail into my finger and I bite my lip to keep control, keep control, and I'm imagining I'll be sitting at my desk in the exact center of the UVM classroom with blood running down my chin and I'll say Gomenasai and rush out of the classroom and I won't care because it's an excuse to get away from the test. Read more »
Possibly part of Sand. Probably not. It just kind of flowed onto the page, as stories so often do when I'm supposed to be studying for Japanese. Read more »
In the sun-bleached heart of a continent, where few men dare to go and fewer still return, there sprawls a desert. Miles of scorched white sand roll from horizon to horizon, punctuated by a half-buried shell of a car or the gnarled arms of a long-dead tree; the abandoned remnants of an age no one can remember. It is a dead land. It is a land of the dead. Those who survive, who stumble into a fringing village with peeling faces and bloodied lips, babble about ghosts, about voices, about whispers in the white blaze of noon. They are not as crazy as they seem. The desert does whisper; the dunes ebb and grate with the wind and fill the heavy space beneath the sky with a low hissing, like a nest of snakes. It is the sound of the motion of sand, of the slow roll of time. Read more »
All-consuming anger tints the world faintly red.
Something’s wrong. It’s all wrong, but it’s all in my head.
Ripped apart a snowbank. I think I’m going insane.
Scared the Bubblegeist to tears and reveled in his pain.
Punched the floor with a ringing bang. I can’t feel my hand.
Mother using her fake voice that swears I understand.
The world seems so fragile now, every surface a lie;
every floor and window-pane passively waits to die.
Anger—madness!—burning rage; and I can’t explain why.
Listen carefully in a crowded high school cafeteria or city bus, and you might just hear this:
[The Impression That I Get]
It’s called music, and it’s the newest drug among the teen community.
Music is believed to have originated somewhere in China and illegal shipments started arriving in the United States about two years ago. Only in the past few months has it really caught on.
Says one mother of her fifteen-year-old daughter, “We should have recognized the warning signs. She was spending hours on the internet, sneaking in back ways to YouTube and other such sites. She started disappearing at night. We’d check in on her to find her bed empty and her window open. When we found out she’d been going to illegal concerts, well…It was hard, but we had no choice but to turn her in.” Read more »
My brother had a group of friends over today. I happened to overhear part of their conversation.
“I just say the punishment for killing should be death, and let the world self-destruct.”
“Ha! It would only take a couple days.”
“Really? There are a lot of people on Earth.”
“But the killing would just keep building up and building momentum and increasing exponentially until everyone's gone.”
“What if people didn’t want to kill?”
“The perfect plan for all of this is to have robots kill everybody,” offered my brother.
“Who would kill the robots?”
“Or they’d self-destruct.”
“He’d have to be suicidal.”
“Suicide would be redundant,” I called from across the room.
“Hey, what would happen to the last man on earth?”
“He would kill himself out of a sense of duty.”
“But what if he was a criminal?”
“He wouldn’t obey the law!” Read more »
She’s much older than she looks and she looks like a little girl, with long yellow hair that glints orange in this light and shiny white shoes and a blue dress that ties in the back. She is Alice but she’s not in Wonderland; no, this is her Wonderland and there are forests of mushrooms growing on mushrooms and their touch makes a man’s skin bubble and turn white and the tea party has turned into a massacre and the Cheshire Cat is nowhere to be found. And she laughs. Alice laughs and skips and her blue dress is still spotless and she still looks like a little girl. Read more »
I was looking through pictures from Nagasaki and Hiroshima between exams today, finding material for a possible Usagi-Geist collaboration. It brought back memories. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, when I was eleven and too young to fully absorb it. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, when I was thirteen and better able to understand the horror of it all. Most of the images I remember from the museums are readily available online, but be warned: these are not for the faint of heart.
They did nothing wrong.
It’s an old photograph but I can see the subject clearly, a girl in a school uniform with her hands at her sides and her skin dark with ash and her face expressionless, completely blank against the blackened remains of Nagasaki. She looks as dead as the corpse at her feet, but less burned. She doesn’t seem to notice it’s even there. I don’t think she could notice anything at this point. Read more »
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.
We’re all watching, listening; I’m driving home from midterms and his voice is on the radio and there is barely a car on the road. Everyone is at home, watching history. Obama's voice crackles through the car speakers. Read more »
It was marvelous, my dear, marvelous,
the gowns, the dances, the elegance--
the masks. They sparkled, dear,
glittered in the electric light
with sequins, rhinestones so bright
they almost looked real.
I danced with a stranger, my dear, a man
I thought was my husband
beneath his mask
[a fox’s face, grinning
slyly] but his hands felt wrong
in mine, and his voice
was deeper, stronger…
You’ll know what I’m talking about
when you’re older, my dear.
He was so very
kind, shall I say, and handsome
I’m sure, beneath the mask.
He held a knife to my throat, dear, and while
the women screamed and the men shouted
Let her go, she’s just a girl, she’s not
quite right in the head
I smiled, dear, and laughed
because I knew it was just a game
and he would never hurt me;
he was too gallant, too kind.
The blade glittered in the electric light.
It looked almost real.
He slashed it across my throat, my dear, Read more »
My hair is the wind today
and I let it whip past my face
as the turbine spins madly on its perch,
two years ago.
My brother calls out numbers—
“Eleven-eight! Eleven nine!
as the sails whir ever faster.
Magnets on a paint-can lid
and wire coils taped below—
twelve inches tall
and yet it works.
A tiny turbine made by me
until my fingers go numb
and my mother calls
and the spell breaks, somehow
and the dowel jumps
off its penny
and spins to a halt.
He sounds dejected.
“We almost set a record.”
“C’mon. We gotta go.”
the winter wind still storms.
My hands are stone today
and I stumbled across them
three years ago,
soaking wet as the rain slanted down.
Lava rock. Red and black
and bare Read more »
I never died and you never watched me die, though I asked you to. I meant to hurt you. Your pain is not mine, and I don’t care.
I don’t remember anything. Nothing happened. I walked backwards through the rain shooting up from the shrinking puddles, ink erasing itself from nonsense poems in a notebook that never existed.
You were there.
I didn’t hurt you; please tell me you know that. I never clicked SEND. I never typed a thing. I regret nothing; there’s nothing to regret.
(I never cried.)
I can let go of the past. I can tell what doesn’t matter and I can rip the pages, blank, from their fictional wire binding and burn them into the nothing they were all along. I can forgive myself. I can forget.
I always tell the truth.
When I turn my eyes
I can hear them squeak
like cotton, can feel the blood
streaming just under the surface
of the silken membrane of my wrist
yellow in this light, unreal
under numb fingers; I'm sure
I have a pulse but I cannot feel it
washing across porcelain and plastic bone
in rivers, scarlet stained;
overflowing then, now
slowing to a trickle, dripping.
I've passed two people already today
with bleeding elbows; only I
seem to notice but how can anybody miss
that smear of red against yellow?
They're blind, or I am,
painting colors where there is only
black and white in negative
but nobody remembers the day
the photograph was taken
and nobody mentions
the smiling subjects are really
and dead where they pose;
look closely and catch
the metal braces on their feet
holding them upright
before a gleaming summer scene
newly printed and curling
at the corners to reveal
tumbling snow that glints
yellow and red.
My eyes can't focus &
my head is too heavy to hold up
& I'm copying & studying
& there's still more to do
always more to do
& one day I will give up &
because I don't know why
I care now &
I'm beginning to think
this has already happened.
Like all stories, it starts with Once upon a time.
Like all stories, it never ends.
Yes, there’s THE END on the last page with all the curly lettering that would take an engraver half a day to finish, but once a story begins, it never dies. There’s no such thing as happily ever after. When the child sleeps, she dreams of the story, and she remembers…
We were all children once. We all remember.
And the glass slipper always fits and the prince’s lips always wake the girl and the bluebirds fly off into the late afternoon sun as the royal couple kisses, chastely, because this is a children’s story after all. The children wouldn’t mind if we included all the dirty bits but we would. Innocence is precious, after all. Like most precious things, it is quickly stolen.
This is a story. It has bluebirds. It has princes. It has Once upon a time.
It starts with a girl named Angela, and the motherfucking bastards who kidnapped her sister.
Footprints in the snow—
Where are they going?
Why are they walking here?
Footprints in the snow—
And it’s still snowing.
Soon they will disappear.
It wouldn’t matter if I was gone.
Fall the night and rise the dawn.
The world is spinning and spinning on
and I’m so small.
What would happen if I wasn’t there?
Is there anyone who’d care?
No life to live, no mind to share—
don’t matter at all.
footprint in the snow—
Why am I walking here?
Footprint in the snow—
moments so very dear—
soon they will disappear.
The winter night is silent still.
Life and snowflakes start to spill,
snow that will so gently kill
without a sound.
There’s nowhere else for us to go.
Nothing to learn. Nothing to know
and nobody cares but the snow
still falling down.
Footprints in the snow—
Why am I walking here?
Footprints in the snow—
slowly squandering Read more »
She blinks her contacts from her eyes and rubs them clean with fingertips. Her vision dissolves; the edges of the mirror blur and melt into the wall until they’re not edges at all, but only as substantial as river-water, as clear as the wispy ends of clouds, as real as the space between dreams.
Things begin to move where they shouldn’t. Shadows crawl up the windowshades. The doorframe twists and writhes. She smiles.
This is the time of night when anything can happen, when everything is real. When the eyes trick the mind and the mind deceives the eyes and all of it, every waving wall and snaking silhouette, is really there. She knows it is, she can see it; she believes. Here the veil of reality is worn thin and threadbare. Here idle fantasy seeps through. Here it becomes real, because she’s sure it is. Read more »
I was nine years old, or ten. My third year at TDI, and the first I was allowed to board for the week in the dorms. My roommate’s name was Bailey. She had a rabbit named Tigger, and I cooed over her photos.
Bailey got homesick halfway through the stay. She’d never been away from home for more than a night before. Neither had I, but I promised myself I would stick it out. No matter what happened. Read more »