im not sure what this says about me, that im selfish maybe? but i saw you today, happy your feet seemed to spring back up the moment they hit the ground and a smile cut your face into two uneven halves and suddenly i wasnt happy anymore
Something about us echoes Subtle tremors tracing the arches us of our backs
And I do believe That we share something In this fragile existence.
Stop, don’t let those petty lies slither off your tongue- I know you can hear these foreign whispers that settle into the air Like dust.
Your hands and my hands have been dipped Into blood red seas, And have been stained with the lipstick kisses Of lost souls, Our eyes gazing into dull night skies Lit with slow-burning curling flames That expel the spiraling smoke of dwindling screams And the plastic shiny cold corneas Of unrecognition
Look- Our bodies have these cords, Spider-wisp-thin Spun in tenacious invisibility Wrip-wrapping round our feet And tangling our souls And tying the knots.
The same subtle emotion ebbing and flowing- our feet cool on metal roofs Watching the kites that float in the ever-blue that Shift like the tide Foaming and spitting The unexpected- As our hands Carefully catch silver fish Of opportunity Bathed in moonlight.
You and me- We are the same. Breaths mingling in star-spilt seas Our bodies carved by the same blade Swaying in the condescending winds of change.
There is art in my throat. It has clogged my airways and stolen my words. It continues to float on up, promising me beauty, but as I open my mouth or extend my hands to create, they expand.
The ideas in my brain run rampant and I debate whether or not the art or the artist is in control. Gripping me by the hair, my music jerks my head around like an impatient child pulling at the reins of a horse.
Words and music build in my mind the more I inhale. Every hot breath I draw causes the notes to pound and ring out with a newfound power I wish I could capture. More often than not, I find they gather too quickly, and I am left with balled up papers and frustrated ink trails running down my cheeks because there is so much to create that I cannot.
The gray days are the worst days. Among the gloom and the fog and the clouds, I crave color and the art sits in the driver's seat. My feet walk without knowing why, leading me to blank papers waiting to be spread across a beaten desk, waiting to be covered in hasty graphite, waiting to be crumpled, and waiting to be burned.
The gray days are hesitant days. The gray days are composing days. The gray days are writing days. The gray days are painting days. The gray days are frustration days.
I saw a man once getting out of bed, pulling back his rumpled covers and dragging himself into the bathroom, stepping into the shower of his one bedroom apartment imagine his childhood tub with water beaded on its yellow-stained sides He showers quickly, lathering his balding hair with watermelon shampoo Turning the water off, he dodges the last ice-cold drips and wraps a towel around his middle Wiping the fog off of the mirror he flexes at it whispers I am God Then rubs away the droplets running down his legs with his towel blue terrycloth pulls on a fresh pair of boxers then his old suit He grabs a cup of coffee on his way out the door and boards the New York subway. Every seat is taken so he stands and holds the yellow-painted rail the million other jostling riders seethe around him - - Pushing into him - elbowing the soft parts of him not knowing he is god Because he isn't.
Could you play that one song? You know the one I’m talking about. You know, The one we blared from the car stereo, With all the windows rolled down so all could hear. The song we would play picking blueberries; In that all natural, Weed choked, Berry farm. I want to be reminded of the times I would pick four flats to your two. I want to remember the day Where I traversed the fields, To see where you were, And to my horror and great amusement Found that you were laying on your back Eating a spilled flat of berries In all your sun kissed glory. I want to envision our last day on the job, You and I sitting on a picnic table Gulping water and complaining about the smell of skunk. Could you please play that song? The one that reminds me of a summer well spent.
I looked at you with a smile It was a crooked kind of smile I waited... And waited... Waited some more.... But there was no crooked smile back Not even a tiny one So I just awkwardly walked away And I'm assuming you did too
Remember that hike? Where the three of us stood at the bottom Of a beaten path That was nicely laid out With stones and markers? Remember how we all laughed At the prospect of taking the easy way out, And took a path invisible to all others? A path hidden by Plants, Jagged rock faces, And lack of markers. If you fell, You’d have a bed of Vermont green to cradle you. Remember how when we screamed? We screamed loud enough To put Peter Pan and his lost boys to shame. Then we finally got to the top of that mountain, Where we saw a bird's eye view of a sea of trees - That, I do not need to ask if you remember. Remember that hike? We should do that again.
Staring her in the face seemed to be the truth, The belated and undeniable truth. Now don’t get me wrong, I love it I do The instant burn and flash in a loop. Though it can get old and tired and bored, The same thing over and over, the same old chord. Though when she stares me right in the face, I don't even flinch, no, I don't even pace. And she says ‘you needn't have fear’ I believe her, and invite her just a little bit near. And when she pricks me with her little needle It melts away, the chapel, the steeple. ‘The laughter’ she says, ‘Is it music to your ears?’ I just shake my head and say ‘no, not for years’ She takes my hand and says ‘I know where you fit!’ So she takes me there, im not scared, not one little bit. ‘The singing,’ she says, ‘Does it make you love spring.’ I blink my eyes and say ‘not a bit, not when it rings.’ She says ‘Yes, you’ll do well, you’ll fit in nice.’ So climb into her clutches and her touch feels precise As if she's done this before, and she does it again And this is where I go into the dark, my friend.
It wasn't much more than a quarter mile, so we decided not to drive, instead we raced like children. She slapped me on the shoulder and took off running. The words "tag you're it" rang through the air. So I chased after her across the meadow that lay between our current position and our grandmother's old house. As the game of tag progressed, we ran in loops and circles in order to catch and avoid eachother, making the trip to the cottage much longer than if we had just walked. But it was worth it, to be a child with my sister again.
We have walked along the same path our entire life. Its always been straight with no twists or turns. Never once have we had to choose which way to go, there was never another way. Then the day came. A fork in the road. One veers left into the forest, while the other bears right leading to a city. We look at each other, unsure of what to do. Thinking we always knew how to stay together we nod and begin to walk. I walk towards the right and my hand is yanked back. I look over my shoulder and realise that my compainon is pulling towards the woods, not the city. There is a sudden lurch in my heart. We do not want to walk the same path. I yearn to go to the bright lights and bustle of the city, while my friend wants to stay in the calmness and security of the forest. We debate for hours, but to avail. Our original wants have not shifted. Woefully we begin to walk towards our opposite paths. I look back, considering turning back, but a force pushes me forward. I walk along untill I come to a metal bridge. I cross and begin my new life. It is one with cocktail parties and skyscrapers. I am utterly happy, the memories of the past have faded from my mind. Then, one day as I drive across the bridge I walked on when I first entered the city, I see the forest. Thoughts of regrets come to the surface. I begin to wonder and ask myself,
(Illustration credit: Ava Kendrick, Waitsfield, VT)
The front porch, where Aunt June would greet us as we tumbled out of the old Subaru into the dry dust of her winding, country driveway. She would be sitting in her Adirondack chair drinking an iced tea and wearing her pink straw hat. It was always summer when we visited, always that squinty, humid kind of hot that only a popsicle and a kiddie pool could cure. Aunt June had both.
The kitchen, painted the same shade of blue as Cinderella's ball gown. Aunt June would tell me to fetch her some ice cubes for her tea and I would stand in front of the freezer with the door open, letting the cold air roll over my scrawny frame. There was no air conditioning in that old house. Aunt June always said the heat kept her joints from getting too rusty. Eventually I'd hear her call from the porch, "Anita, what's taking so long?" and I'd yell back, "Coming!" as I'd scramble to fill a glass with ice cubes. I'd pop one in my own mouth and crunch down, making my teeth ache, a price I was willing to pay to briefly escape the heat.
Apocalypses don't come smashing down from the heavens, destryoing civilization in one easy wave of fire and sending everybody into a frantic scramble to survive twisted political ideals and stay alive. They don't steamroll over people's lives, destroying political and social concepts all at once. They don't dry the Earth up all in one giant cloud of dusty red smoke, leaving us on a Martian desert land full of prehistoric beasts. Apocalypses don't scream their intentions as they slam down onto our heads, and they don't wipe out live as we knew it, not noticeably, anyway.
No, I think that in real life apocalypses arrive so subtly that people don't always realize they're there. One simple, reasonable step after another until it's too late. We go on and continue our regular lives, reading and writing, running and swimming and gardening because apocalypses arrive quietly. When hey do arrive, who's to say that they're really here? This looked like a perfectly natural progression of events, one step in front of another, and apocalypses aren't like that. But how do you know? Have you seen one?
The ruin of civilization doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't really ruin civilization anyways, instead changing it in tiny little irrevocable ways