When Winter Strikes

Roads close and windows freeze across our street with the frost of breaths matching the bus shelter as we huddle together, the seething snow blistering onto the glass as cars thrash through losing exhaust smoke into the atmosphere mixing with our clouds leering out from the horizon where we stare and then we see the bus crawling towards us and the crowd cheers, we look at each other with softened eyes and then the bus rolls by as it was already full.

 

Describing Waves

1.

Shimmering crescendo waves bloomed as a stone dived its way in, sinking to the bottom, as they do.

2.

The tip of my finger sunk through the surface, my smoldering skin singing and the hiss seemed to follow the outpouring waves.

3.

I was pushed into the lake, with one hand outstretched from his shaded face and by the small glimmers of sun that peaked through his bangs, he smiled, and when I banged through the surface, I listened to the outpouring waves that left where my body came and I clawed forward, reaching for the surface. When I popped out, I saw him, looking at me, his hands still outstretched, where my body used to be, and I told him, “what kind of father pushes their own son into a lake?” and he looked at me, his eyes hiding behind the shadows that painted over his face, and he lowered his hand, and he stared through me.

4.

We baked pancakes by the lake. The stones we used were cold by the shore, but as the evening went on, she gave me her scarf. My first stone barely made a skip, plopping into the lake, a solid wave expanding and then dissipating. She laughed at that. But when she went, hers went straight down as well. I laughed, and then I winded my arms, and shot another stone, watching as it made two skips before plopping in. The two waves it made both collided at the apex of their travel, the interference blending their lines together. She whistled, smiled, winded, and bellowed her breath, her golden hair finding the sun, and her stone was off. Not a single skip. We laughed.

5.

We wanted to see if we could see it so we tightened the string between our cups, and we walked as far as it took us. She tugged when I tried to keep moving forward indicating that she couldn’t move backwards. Then, I pressed my ears in my cup, and waited. Soon, her words whispered within the small silence in the air. When she was done speaking, she ended her sentence in an, “all done.” Then I brought my mouth to the opening of the cup, the string taped towards the small circle pointing at me. I spoke, and told her that I heard her loud and clear. I ended my sentence in an, “all done.” She spoke back, and she told me to hold my cup as still as possible and yet also not holding it so that I could influence the string. I ended up balancing it lightly on my palms. And, without further words, I watched. After a few minutes, I brought my cup back to my ears and listened to her ask me if I could see anything move with the strings.  I said no. And she said it was a shame, that she really wanted to see if our words could be physically tracked through the string. I told her she was weird. And she said she knew.


 

A short writing exercise, where I take a subject or broad subject, in this case “waves” and really narrow it down and put it into something specific, expanding on the subject as much as possible and describing a feeling or moment.

Ebb and Flow

Ebb and Flow

You talk, I talk. You watch, I watch. You reach, I hold. You fall, I catch. You know, I know. You don’t, I do. You hum, I sing. You lose, I win. You crawl, I walk. You walk, I run. You close, I open. For we, are one. Except that’s only me my words my way of trying saying that we can be one in the same way that you don’t say a single thing in the same way that we are always going to be like a tide chasing after one another but that’s not the way we are either that’s the way I want us to be and so I’ll say that when you talk I talk and when you watch I’ll watch and when you fall I’ll catch so keep falling and I’ll always catch. That’s all I can do.

Where We Stand

Where We Stand

“I’ll always be above this line.

Here, the water is drenched in some kind of rust but,”

maybe it’ll be treated and if treated I won’t have to say

that being here drains me, but I can live here, and I can taste the water here.

Here, I’ll know where you’ll be, and you’ll always know

the sun bleeds orange onto the pavement. And

splotches of paint, end up where leaves gather on manholes, where

It’s just, sometimes, always, empty, by my side, but that’s okay since

I’ll always be above this line.


Below this line, is where I’ll be.

Here. And I know that

I can see shades of orange, bleeding into the pavement;

loose splotches of paint from the bulbs, coming together,

the stars, the moon,

Every step echoes in a crunch as leaves break. It all molds,

My eyes shut tightly to let it all find me, a soft ebb and flow.

Then I stop. The streetlights flicker, and it leaves an afterimage.

It’s empty. I can almost see you.

I stretch my arms to find you, but when I open my eyes.

Nothing.

And then I remember, where you are and I’ll say,

“Below this line, is where I’ll be.”

Hiding From a Monster

Hiding From a Monster

Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter

TAP. TAP. TAP. TAP. TAP.

Lub-dub lub-dub lub-dub

Vzzzzzt vzzzzzt

Crash, BOOM…

Shhhhhhhhhh

Shhhhhhhhhh

Shhhhhhhhhh

Sh – pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter…

KRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..Shhhhhhh

Lub-dublub-dublub-dublub-dublub-dub

….

Phew.

 

6 Word Story Practice

One night I had an urge to practice my short form, and how to get the most meaning in as few words as possible. These are the results. 

On a hill, warm, without you.

Today, tomorrow, yesterday, you and I.

Your hands are soft, let go.

Without you, I fly, then, fall.

With you, I fall, then fall.

Count with me: one, two, three.

You told me, “I love you.”

So I told you “not anymore”

The snow burns through my skin.

On the streets, the sewers snake.

At the station, warning, another knife.

Today the rain falls, yesterday too.

Tomorrow the sun rises, me too.

Tomorrow is unknown, so is today.

Dancing leaves sing with the storm.

I cannot, I know; your words.

There she is, glowing, incredible, mine.

Clear skies, dry bodies, drug money.

Clear skies, cicadas die, without warning.

I lost you, I found me.

Together with you, an endless haze.

The sun shines for no one.

Chained to myself, without a key.

Learning how to breathe, I fail.

I smile, I live, not enough.

Perfect score again, no substance, again.

She smiles my way, behind me.

Flowers bloom in the sun, radiating.

For us, I wait in rain.

Bladed against my fingers it stings.

Rusted blades singe my tongue, ow.

Bullets rain the sky, our creation.

 

In The Ground Where We Lay

In The Ground Where We Lay

None of us can say otherwise that the time we spent together was a lie….Or at least, that’s what I told myself. To fly back to where we all congregated under an open sky was…not something everyone could afford; reasonable, understandable. But…empty. It makes being the only one who stayed behind, just that, the only one who stayed behind.

Our old elementary school was shut down due to lack of attendance. And by association: population. Not many people chose to have children in this area, stained by miles of old homes, with unkempt yards and glaring stares. Every once in a while a car would slowly trudge by the streets, kicking up loose stones. They were there to keep an eye on us. On those small cliques that roamed the streets with echoing laughs. On those men in suits who were just a tad bit too wary. And on those that were just there to live. Finding my way around them was just another day.

Except, on that day in my hands was a sheet creased with the years it was tucked away in my room. Fluttering away sheets of bills and loose clothes led me to find the envelope it was sealed in. Handled by neglect, I opened the letter to find our childhood sprawled on a map.

From my house to the school, it was a few streets away. Enough time to let the sun glare off of the broken glass. Enough time to let the sun fill the space between alleys (to wake those who didn’t know better). Enough time to see that my phone was shaking with a call from a place beyond the sky.

“I didn’t think you would pick up, Tristan. It’s been…a long time, hasn’t it?” Her voice spilled into my ears with a slight reverberation.

“It’s been a long time for everyone, Lili.” Her name slowed my steps. A few bodies came down the streets with loose eyes. Ignoring them, I held the map in one hand, watching as it flapped with the chill winds. In the distance, I heard the laughs of those hanging by the remaining corner shops. Turning into the streets, those laughs flooded over my face.

“So you really are going to go back there? Knowing it’s still there might be nice but…that was a long time ago.” Her words were light as they filled my mind. Light syllables. Light breaths. Light filled the empty corner stores. They always did.  Even as children, running by those shelves of candy and snacks made those lights warm. It was a pointless pastime. But it was our time.

“I’ve made my decision. This is what I want to do. And I’m going to do it, no matter what.”

I listened to her light breath.

“No one’s asked you to. And, no one particularly wants you to. But you’ll do it anyway. I guess that’s just who you are in the end, right?” Her words stung me. Stuck in the middle of the street, I listened as she gave a small chuckle.  A couple came walking down the street, an oddity. But they smiled and laughed, glaring past me.

“That might be so. But, it’s also who you are to call like this. No surprise there. That’s just who you are in the end.” The gates to the school blew into view. They were rusted, peels of brown beginning to fall towards the clawing grass.

“In the end we haven’t changed at all.” I smiled at her words.  Bracing my feet, I steeled myself for a climb, tracing my skin to the rough edges of the iron. Scraping against my hands, I felt small taps litter my palms. Taking in a waft of the material brought my mind out of it until I flipped to the other side.

The building was left all the same; worn bricks and dusted windows faced me as the flag waved gently in its faded pole. The double doors leading to the main entrance had its paint chipped, revealing a soft grey under its blue. Nudging its handles produced a large clash. Trying anymore only puffed up more dust. Leaning towards the glass panels I squinted for a peek but found nothing. Pressing my ears towards the doors I heard a few creaks, and skitters. Must have been rats; the new students. Checking the map, I doubled around the entrance, to where the yard was used for recess.

“Do you still remember what we left in there?” I hummed at her words; five children running around town as if the world revolved around our laughs, our smiles, or our games….It was incredibly, well, childish. Those laughs, and those smiles, and those games still lingered, in those who hung in the streets, in the alleys, and in the empty stores.

“Not in the slightest,” I lied.

“I see. Well, I hope whatever it is that we did leave, makes for a wonderful reunion.”

The yard sprouted an array of dandelions overtaking: the swings, the sandbox, and the slides. In a single gust, puffs of white all swayed as if they were there to fill the missing time. Beyond this was a tiny space where the school used to keep a garden tucked away for study. Drawing the cycle of life as we grew with those flowers and trees made for…something none of us could forget, or at least that’s what I told myself.

“You must be at the garden now. It was in part an excuse to have us experience life as it was to be greener.” She gave a small chuckle. “But it was nice.”

“It really was. Do you think, those drawings might have found their way in?”

“Maybe they did. Would you be happy if they did?”

I turned her words over and forced my feet to move forward.

“I’m not sure,” I lied. The garden itself was a tidy guardian, with towering trees holding lumbering leaves and brandishing branches. Wild flowers and even small animals made their homes here. A tear in the fence might have let them in, an admission to study. The school had always taken up far too much space for its good. But it was our place, our home, when the morning came, and our time, crawling through it all.

“What do you want to be in that time capsule?” I couldn’t help but laugh with her question. In the distance, I could hear the slight drift of a car.

“Maybe a picture would be nice. A picture of our smiles or even just how it used to be before. Maybe a picture of the school, of the streets, anything of that time.” Pushing away gnawing branches and watching my steps, I listened to the small of her breath.

“If there was a picture, would you share it with the others? I’m sure it would make for a nice moment.”

“Yeah. Yeah, if there was a picture, then I think it’d be nice for all of us to see it again,” I lied.

“Do you think we’ve grown up since then?”

I laughed.

“Of course. That’s just how things are. If we’re the same then things would be –” The words that tried to complete my sentence spilled itself to the floor, lumping with the dirt. “Horrible.” Another lie.

With the overgrowth, the map quickly became minute. Just winding paths and sprouting bushes greeted my every step. However, there should have been a clearing in all of that mess. A place where we came together to bury what I came to find. It had always been like that, parted away from the flowers we studied, and even the teachers never stepped foot in that circle.

“What about you Lili? What do you want in a time capsule?”

“Candy.” Her declaration stung my body, though not enough to hold it in place. I held in my laughter.

“I see. Yeah, that might be nice.”

The vegetation began to thin. My body slowed, catching itself in the strutting rocks. I held onto a tree for support, before my legs began tapping. It was close. Edging on further I met with the sun, filtering through the leaves. Even further, the leaves stopped, and the sun met my eyes. A circle stained only by grass presented itself. Near the edges of the clearing, small petals gathered. None made it to the center, but they all grasped with every breath of wind that came. Breaking into that sunlight, I stepped over the petals.

“What do you think the others would have wished for in our time capsule?”

My body ached the more I moved forward. Holding my sweat, I gave a light breath. Landing at the center of the clearing made my arms shake. Leaning over, I let my arms rest over the soil, until they began to dig, the motions finding themselves.

“The others? Maybe…money? Though would we really have had that kind of foresight?”

She gave a slight laugh.

“In that case, maybe a favorite book?”  Every handful came with hardened breaths. The only rest I had was in my words. “I’m not sure any of us were big readers. But maybe a picture book. Though the box wasn’t that big I think. As children, did we really have anything to treasure? Maybe it really is just candy.” Soon enough my hands became numb. Thinking about the sensation halted my body.

“I think you might be right about that. But, would you really think we went through all that effort just to stow away some candy? We must have been an ambitious group then.” Repeating her words let my hands continue.

“Ambitious?”

“How would you describe us? After all these years…I wonder what you would say.”

Soon enough, a hard clank stopped my digging. Rooting it out, I was thrown back. Stained in dirt and glimmering lightly underneath its veil, I laughed.

“We were really great friends back then, at least. And now?” I let my eyes rest on the fading metal. “I’m not sure.” Another lie. We didn’t keep a key. But my hands shook as they held onto its top. An airplane above shattered the air as I closed my eyes.

“How would you describe us? With someone like me, I’m not sure my answer would be very viable.” Striding over its top, I let the rust singe my skin.

“Do you really want to know?” Trying to answer her made my words scramble across my mouth. The only thing I could do was trace the metal box, tracing the path our young fingers must have took to bring it underground. Tracing the words we must have said as we buried it together. Tracing the laughs we had…the laughs we must have had.

“I don’t.” Letting my fingers over the cover, I lifted our capsule open. She laughed.

“You’ve finally become honest.”

I strode my hand against its empty bottom.

Lilith was gone.

So was everyone else.

I stayed.

Though, surely the time we spent together had happened, and the smiles and the laughs and the games and the warmth of the light we let each other have surely had to have happened.