A/N: a character development piece.
I’d buy from you
what do you have Read more »
No matter how much we think we have shaken the past, every once in a while it comes rushing back to greet us. It is never, please understand, that I wanted to forget you, or that summer, or the dreams and the echoes I still think I heard in that city. Not that, no, never that. It is only that sometimes the past is best left in the past, and because I have never found a proper way to apologise I have left it there. Perhaps it was wrong of me, but I have never said I thought myself right. Sometimes we cannot outrun the past, and I sat alone with mine for 12 hours today in business class, staring out the window with could-have-beens playing out on the cinema screens of my mind. There are so many things to say, and so few. I feel as if I know you more than I ought to be allowed to, and simultaneously I think I never let you in as much as I should. I never could figure out how to apologise. I think maybe you already always knew. Sometimes I still dream, you know. You and that place are linked in my mind, and I think I shall never erase the connection and I think I wouldn't want to anyway. Sometimes the past is best left in the past but sometimes, too, you should endeavor not to forget how you feel. How you felt. Sometimes I wonder if I even knew what I felt; I thought I did. I never lied. But when we are young and stupid sometimes we place too much faith in ourselves, we jump to conclusions, we convince ourselves of absolutes and definites and– I will not pretend I never loved you. I did. In however convoluted my way, however winding the path I took– I did. Read more »
welcome to the city:
I wish I could live my life in
speeches and court cases,
in soaring highs and a lack of lows,
in adrenaline and hammering heartbeats;
I wish I could take this day
and encase it in amber,
color it in oil pastel and place it on my shelf,
hang it on my wall,
so I know that I will never forget.
I wish I could stay here forever,
in these strangely-patterned streets and
buildings of old brick,
creaking floors and trains whooshing by,
my heart on my sleeve and a smile on my lips
and a light in my eyes
that I thought I'd forgotten.
I wish I could hear the laughter
and the off-key out-of-tune just-for-fun singalongs,
wish I could record them and play them on repeat,
wish I could capture in photographic detail
the open-mouthed laughter,
the grins and reddened cheeks,
the way we pushed on against the biting cold wind
to a square adorned with flags
and cobblestones, wish I could preserve this
so I know that I will never forget
living is the strangest thing;
you don't realize that you're doing it
until you've spent some time trapped just in existence,
and when that joy, that fire, starts to course again through your veins,
a light comes on:
I will remember this
until I am old and grey and grizzled,
these people and this place
and all the reasons I have to love it
etched in perfect technicolor on the movie screens of my mind, Read more »
Note– the song referred to in this is Edwin Fissinger's "In Paradisum", a lovely and haunting contemporary setting of a Gregorian chant. We sang it as a mass choir piece at Madrigal Festival, and I sang a short solo before the most dissonant, strange part of the piece, the aleatoric chant. (I would recommend looking up the song in order to understand this piece, if you can.)
I wasn't supposed to sing it with any vibrato. It wasn't nerves, thought, that made my voice quaver the way it did when I stepped up onto the box to sing the five notes that I had been practicing all afternoon. Just before I stepped up, I thought,
this text is about heaven, about ascendance– "may angels lead you into paradise", "may you have eternal rest"– and there indeed are those ascending tonight. I was suddenly seized with a great sorrow, and I thought,
who am I to be the one to call these souls? Who am I to let my voice soar into the ceiling, into the sky, speaking of heaven and angels? Who am I to summon them and promise them peace forevermore? I am just a girl with the wrong voice part for this solo, in a high school choir in Vermont. I am just a girl who did not know you, a girl whose heart is breaking for you anyway. I do not even go to church. I do not even know if I believe in this paradise– who am I to be calling you there? I thought, Read more »
Author's note: this is a short character development piece for the characters in my NaNoWriMo novel this year (which, stunningly, was a winner); Carley, short for Carleton, is a main character in the piece, and it is his death that the plot of the novel revolved around. I'm not a hundred percent happy with this one, but thought I'd throw it out there, because it was decent-ish and I haven't been around here in far too long.
son, friend, cousin, brother, lover;
we asked for him back and
the wind did not oblige so
we hung our heads and
chased down the culprit
and tried our best not to cry (we always failed);
we screamed his name up to the sky and
asked for him back
but he was gone,
the sun rose
and we scattered ashes,
and the unforgiving wind
swept them away,
to sleep forever on the deep blue surface of the sea;
we are letting Carley go.
I loved you once
in midnights, under covers,
in words and wishes and half-asleep fantasies
spun of the stuff of dreams;
I loved you fast and feverish,
with your name haunting my thoughts
and the snowbanks beside my driveway;
the clean white snow was the perfect place
to write your name
and melt it with the warmth
of my ungloved palm.
I loved you in soft blue glows
and February-March frost and
I didn't regret it
and probably I still don't.
I loved you
as if the world might crumble
down around my ears
if I didn't.
I loved you twice
afternoons and texts and
distance; I loved you in
fantasies and secrets and
my soul sewn up and stashed away
inside the music-patterned pockets
of my still-healing heart.
I loved you quiet and far away.
I loved you in fear
that you would somehow know
and in agony that you didn't.
I loved you
as I have loved since–
silent and shy and sad and
lonely. Mostly lonely,
but I did not ever really
Now I love you
in politics and evenings
and casual contact,
knowing I will never
dance with you
the way I've always dreamed,
knowing your name will never
be etched across the papers of my future.
Now I love you
and I don't think I really know you
and maybe that's okay.
When I stand up to sing
that song, those words,
those notes that make me
want to cry
I am thinking of the transcendence of the chords
but when I think of those,
I wonder if perhaps singing and loving
have been the synonyms all along.
author's note: thank you to MP for that line. You know who you are, and you know which line. Need I say more?
I suppose it is true that nobody ever said
farewells were supposed to be easy
or free of pain
and indeed this is not
may you rest in a heaven full of Read more »
Cloudy April day,
spot the cat in the neighbor's yard and call out
he looks over and I say,
do you want to come home?
and he runs toward our house
as I follow behind,
I do not think
you will come home again
but I hope you do
I pray you do
and I have never been one for praying.
Kneel on the kitchen floor
head in hands
and I'm crying.
Come home again.
Come home again.
I suppose I should disclaim the fact
that magic cannot be filtered
like the light it produces,
through the prisms of my lips
or of my pen;
it cannot be captured in
seven-point-one megapixels like
a smile or a laugh or a
small black insect that lights itself on fire
when dusk falls.
Magic appears only when dusk falls,
in the twilight hour between
the sun and the stars;
to see it you cannot be anywhere else.
Magic is for those of us who will
brave the bloodsuckers and the
humid air to lean on fences overlooking fields and
watch its lights rise up. Magic is
eternal and it disregards the passage of time;
every summer in this merry land I see it,
same time and same place.
I cannot ever bring myself to pull myself
off the fence or out of the grass;
I cannot tear my eyes from the fairy lights
in the field.
is a little black creature
with six spindly legs and
paper-thin wings that
lands on your oustretched fingertips
in evenings. Don't you tell me
magic doesn't exist,
because if that's your claim you have never
seen the proof.
Night falls and magic retreats,
but I stay glued to the fence regardless;
my eyes still searching for the last of its traces
and though I know it has only left until tomorrow evening,
I still ache to see it go.
Goodnight, magic, Read more »
Author's note: This is part of a (much) longer piece that is still mostly in progress. I wrote this several weeks ago and was relatively happy with it-- certainly edits may be made to get it to fit more smoothly with the whole pieces, but the general concepts ought to stay the same. A quick explanation of the general premise of the piece so y'all aren't totally lost: this is a soliloquy or a monologue of sorts spoken by a narrator only designated Girl, about the beings she has in her head. the primary focus of this one is the monsters-- who sort of speak for themselves. however, the others you see referenced-- angel, ghost, and the silent god-- are also residents of her head. or something along those lines anyway. happy reading.
When I was younger, I feared the monsters under my bed; I grew up and realized that in fact they were only inside my head, but that did not stop me from placing my mattress on the floor, and it has not stopped the monsters from coming. I am letting the monsters in. I think I have no reason to keep them out any longer; they manage to creep in under my walls no matter how strong or secure I think I am building them.
I asked my angel if she could keep them out, but she just shook her head. “No,” she said, “they’re your monsters.” And I understood what she meant, but I wanted to say, you’re my angel too. And don’t angels keep away monsters? Aren’t they guardians? I hoped perhaps she would see the questions in my eyes, but she just stared off into the distance, and would not look back to me.
There are ghosts
in my heart and my home--
shadows that drift through the hallways,
souls sitting silent on the stairs.
I cannot escape their faces, their voices,
their smiles. They sing me songs,
and I hear their echoes in the night.
They ring in my ears and get caught in my throat.
I cannot ignore my ghosts.
I try to speak their names
and I cannot. My lips will not form
the syllables I need and however loudly the words are shouted
in my head, I cannot get the air in my lungs
to even whisper them to an empty room.
There are ghosts in my kitchen;
I make cookies with ghosts. They sit quietly
atop the counters and watch me
as I go on, lost within myself;
when they get caught in the sunlight through the windows,
they glitter like crystals
or diamonds, facets filtering light
into rainbows cast on the stainless-steel stove.
And a beautiful young half-Mexican woman
with chocolate eyes and copper skin
is who I see standing behind me in the mirror,
and I try to speak her name but she puts her finger to her lips
and shakes her head. She is
the ghost most real. Every once in a while
I'll want to ask her why she did it
but before I can form the words
she only shrugs. It seems to say,
I'm sorry. Read more »
fast forward to that magical moment
where I will look up and say,
hey, this is what I’m here for.
fast forward to the day I figure out
what I’m doing with my life,
where I’m going,
and why. I have a thing for
pause, rewind, capture Read more »
You give me another wish tomorrow,
November, you'll make me another
empty promise on the fading light
of a few candles. Sixteen tomorrow.
One more wish that will (never)
come true. I've stopped believing you,
November, but I do not love you any less.
November makes me promises
he cannot keep and I know he regrets it
and I know he would not stop
if he could. November wants only
to see me smile. I give him that gift.
On occasion. Read more »
Discovered this in one of my notebooks a while back. No idea where it came from or when I wrote it, but I sort of liked it.
clean out the monsters under your bed--
go on, get going,
you heard what I said.
I thought there were monsters
under my bed
but we all had it wrong,
they're just in my head.
November is sitting on my doorstep, tapping his impatient slender fingers against the cheap plastic of my flower planters. I can see him when I lean up against the window, my breath fogging up the too-cold glass, but I will not let him in. His skies have preceded him as usual; quiet gray over August's shining blue. I'm sorry, November, you can't come in yet.
November has told me in no uncertain terms that I will find no love in his domain, and I'm trying to convince myself that's okay. He likes to claim that he cannot love, but I am almost entirely certain that I don't believe him. He has made me too many false promises-- almost sixteen years of wishes made on his candle flames and none of them have come true yet. I'm sorry, November, I don't believe you anymore.
November told me to leave him once. Racked with tears he cried, Please, go. No one deserves a patron saint such as I. I threw myself down in his dying brown grass, crossed my arms over my chest, refused. I'm not going, I said, and I meant it. I'm sorry, November, but I will not leave you.
November loves me, even if he will not admit it. I cannot love, he told me, and I told him, That's bullshit. I know he loves me, even if he cannot say it aloud. He tried to let me go, and there is no greater love than that. He likes to hold his head up and hold himself away, but I can see through the act. You're not fooling me, November, I know you. Read more »
I want to tell you I love you, but I don’t have the right words and I don’t know how to find them; I don’t know where they might be and I don’t know what I’m looking for anyway. I guess my theory is that I’ll know them when I see them but honestly, I’m not convinced yet.
“Does she have a boyfriend?” My brother in the kitchen; I am adding flakes of dried oregano to the softly boiling tomato sauce as we talk.
I guess it’s just one of those things– the way you seem to be blurring the lines that I am fighting so hard to keep in place (I don’t know what sort of hell would break loose if I wasn’t); the way your eyes light up when you smile and it mirrors the way I am set alight as well. I guess it’s just one of those days, because all secrets hide well under cover of clouds and goodness knows I have a secret.
I’ll always be convinced otherwise, but I guess maybe this little ballad of you and me was never actually supposed to be written, because you’re not Juliet and I’m not Romeo and I have the wrong number of X chromosomes for you anyway so it’s a moot point. I don’t have any delusions but I can’t help harboring a little tiny hope that I know will just be crushed. If I have a box like Pandora did, I know it must be in splinters by now. I guess I hope I haven’t got a box, because housing things often-crushed in beautifully crafted containers is, as a general rule, a bad idea. I’m not sure, then, why we ended up with hearts, but there are plenty of people who aren’t complaining.
It wouldn’t be this bad if we didn’t match so nicely.
The typed sign on the translucent plastic trash can reads, "FLOWERS FOR FREE! PLEASE TAKE ONE!" followed by a smiley face of the type you would get if you typed colon, close-parentheses into Microsoft Word. I walk up to them and pluck a single, reddish-pink rose from the array, and wish you were here with me, so I could bow grandly and present it to you with a smile.
Instead, I snap off most of the stem, and my grandmother nestles it into the back of my braid.
"You'll be all right getting home on your own?"
"Yeah. It's a one and a half minute walk, if that."
Out door, down sidewalk, down driveway, back to sidewalk. Flip-flops slapping against the cement. Look up. The stars glitter quietly above, half-hidden by the glow of the streetlamps.
One and a half minutes, and home. At the top of the driveway, pause. Look back up. "Soon," I promise the stars. "Soon."
And if I could fix you,
put you back together
and sew up all your seams
I would. If I could
make this work the way it was
I would, honey,
it wasn't because I didn't
feel the same way about you. Read more »
12:05, I am sitting in the movie theatre, eyes fixed on the screen I am trying to take it in, take this all in. I don't ever want to forget. This is the end of an era, in a way. There will be no more movies, no more books– unless JKR decides to write them, but honestly, I doubt it. And I think that's okay. This is the end of an era. And yet– and yet it's not. Read more »
"Gloria," he says, "why do you leave at night?"
She stares at her little brother. He's eight now, she thirteen. He's a lot like she was. Quiet, solemn, introverted. He's a lot like she is, she corrects herself. She hasn't really changed. She wonders if he will.
"Leave at night?" she asks him.
"I hear you," he insists. "On the stairs." Read more »
Julia let him leave. Julia
waits by the telephone
every night, faithful,
for calls that come later
and sometimes don't come at all–
Julia let him leave. Julia
used to have blue
angel-eyes that were never
less than completely full of life,
but dark circles blossomed
on the fair skin beneath them– Read more »
she was cursed from birth
with daddy's eyes. green
and grey like the sea, framed
in long black lashes; mommy
could never meet them
without thinking of
her husband. cursed
with daddy's eyes, seeing
too much, preserving
too little. but Adrian,
precious little-brother Adrian,
tells her he thinks
they look like mommy's.
eyes for detail, eyes that glow
when she is happy, lose their sparkle
when she's not. mommy's
mother-eyes, seeing all
the little hurts, healing all Read more »
given to hope or given
to love, a ghost of a girl she is
now. she never did think
her poetry was very good. coffee
staining lips, white porcelain
against her fingertips, she pens letters
to people who she never knew
existed. let your tales be heard,
she tells them, and understands
that she is the one
who will have to tell them. Read more »
little girls in patriotic
dresses, holding sparklers,
circles in the air
dry grass on my ankles,
mosquitoes on my arms,
I look in vain
glowsticks on our wrists
& in our hair
& on our hats
& up our noses
the sky is rose
with sunset, cloud
cover but it all still looks
like a painting
flashlights too bright so
we embrace the dark,
no way, it is
not raining Read more »