Clarity

 

Pen in hand

happiness dampens,

dissolving in rain

 

Pen in hand

the razor blade raises

to the skin again

 

Pen in hand

dig in, pour out over

and over until

 

Pen in hand

blood soaks the page and

 

you breathe.

Handmade Art

Photo by Plush Design Studio from Pexels

 

The wick burns low in the candle,

swimming in purple wax.

Lavender permeates her office.

She bends lower over her notebook.

Most people don’t have the patience to write long hand like this.

Even typing is archaic.

Why type when you can use technology

to make the words flow directly from your brain

to virtual paper?

It even works for pictures.

Anyone can be an artist now.

 

In the dim light, she finishes the next chapter of her story.

Anyone can publish now.

There is no industry, only individuals.

Yet, she doesn’t publish anymore.

 

As she lets the candle blow itself out,

she glances at the picture framed beside her desk.

It’s old paper, yellowing slightly, and

the sketch is in pencil, light strokes.

It’s of her sitting on her bed when she was young.

Her hair falls to her shoulders in squiggly waves,

and her eyes are anime style.

Anime is still popular.

But this picture isn’t like the other anime.

This picture is imperfect.

The pillows and blankets are faded,

but the bed frame is oddly dark.

The lines are messy and uncertain.

And you can still see some of the eraser marks.

Still, she’s had it framed for awhile now.

 

The frame covers most of the artist’s signature.

A common first name and a dated last name.

This woman doesn’t exist now.

She put her pencil down, walked away,

and the writer wishes she could do the same.

Monster’s Lullaby

Let the Jack O’Lanterns

light the way

as you skip past me

on Hallows Eve.

I lurk in shadows

underneath the porch

or bridge

or bed.

As your bag of candy rustles,

as you trade your favorite sweets,

remember me

or don’t forget

as I sneak into your

closet.

 

After a long night of trick-or-treating

you’re safe inside your bed.

With visions of chocolate and gummies

dancing in your head.

And as you fall asleep,

safe from witch or ghoul or ghost

the monster with you in the darkness

is the one you fear the most.

 

***

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Flying

Little Mandy dragged her parents’ plastic purple broom out of the garage.

Today was the day

she was going to fly.

She tucked a still sticky bubbles container

full of flight potion up her jacket sleeve.

She poured the potion,

dissolved bath salts and grass,

over the broom,

bristles to handle.

Crisp autumn leaves

blew down the street

as she mounted the broom.

She just had to believe and try hard enough.

No neighbors were out to witness it,

but after a few minutes of rocking onto her tip toes

and jumping around,

she could swear she actually hovered a minute.

 

Teenage Mandy loved Halloween.

She went as a witch every year,

but this year she wanted to be pretty.

She wanted to be a fairy.

She bought sparkly make-up,

blue wings,

and a short, sequined gown.

Of course, her costume wasn’t complete without a bag of pixie dust.

She sprinkled some over her blonde hair before her party,

and though it was silly, part of her believed that it would make her fly.

Enough of her believed.

At the stroke of midnight, he kissed her

and damn if her heart didn’t soar.

 

Adult Mandy bought candy.

She’d just moved out

and saved up to splurge on decorations for her favorite holiday.

After setting everything up, she laid down on her living room rug,

an ornately designed blue and gold one that she loved.

Though she didn’t think she’d be flying over the New York skyline on it,

she believed it would take her places,

that it would help her fly,

that it would make anywhere home.

And despite her fear,

she knew that she was doing the right thing.

***

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High School Reuinions

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

The corny black and gold “Class of 2014”

decorations make me angry.

It says it on the napkins,

the plates, the stupid streamers.

People I rarely talked to then

much less five years later

mingle over chips.

It’s a bragfest.

Got a good job.

Got a house.

Got a baby.

Got married.

I like my life.

That’s not the problem.

I search for one familiar face,

one that I actually want to see,

but the people I miss,

I’ll never see again.

Time stretches between us,

an impenetrable distance

without an arbitrary similarity to pull us back.

Remnants

Image courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels.

White tufts of dog hair litter the house,

from the crack between the couch cushions

to the steps

to the bedroom carpet.

These are the remnants of husky coat-blowing season.

 

The howling, high-pitched neediness of a two-year-old

dog, of course,

as she throws a tantrum

reverberates off the cheap drywall.

 

She sticks her head between the living room curtains when I come home.

And keeps looking after I pet her.

First thing when she wakes up,

she checks the empty bed.

She stops for every car that drives by,

waiting anxiously to see you again.

 

I have my own rituals.

Delete your number in the morning.

Add it again after dinner.

Drink.

Delete it again.

Take the whole bed for myself.

Wake up anxious in the middle of the night.

Consider texting you.

Fall asleep again.

Repeat.

 

When the dog isn’t crying,

chatter from the TV fills the silence.

The quiet at night fills my ears until all I hear is my heartbeat.

 

Your stuff hides in the house,

from the sock under the coffee table

to the old razor in the bathroom

to the ripped space poster hanging in your empty office.

These are the remnants of our life.

Lonely Ballerina

ballerina, ballet, lonely, dance
Photo by Ricardo Moura from Pexels.

 

Ballerina’s dance across the wallpaper that lines

Eleanor’s bedroom.

Every time she begins to close her eyes,

they move.

A pirouette,

a grande jeté,

a pas de bourree

around a stone fountain,

beneath the stars.

The dancers turn

and leap,

smiling and laughing.

Eleanor stumbles out of bed

and assumes first position.

The dancers don’t look.

She spins three times,

pushing for a fourth.

They don’t notice her stopping short.

“Hey!” She waves at them, waiting for them to watch.

But they laugh louder,

look only at each other,

and vanish.

****************************************************

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Northern Night

north, night, imagination, aurora
Image via Pixabay from Pexels

The quiet of night settles over her bedroom

as the cricket choir chirps.

The warm comforter tangles

around her feet.

As her eyes close,

green and blue lights dance in the corner of her room.

Could it be the glow from her TV

as the credits role?

No, it’s something more

reflected in her mirror.

 

In the reflection, her tall wooden desk has transformed

into a log cabin

with soft, inviting light shining through the windows.

Her white iron bed frame

is now a sled.

And her tan carpet has turned into snow.

She kicks off the covers

and now she’s skating

across a frozen lake

beneath a sky of stars and the Aurora.

 

The air is cool, but not too cold.

Light from the sky fends off the dark.

Being alone does not scare her.

And when she returns to her bed and her room and her life,

she feels safe.

Pretending was easy then.

Bitter Burn

Image via Pixabay from Pexels

 

A thin stream of smoke rises from the match,

twisting towards the ceiling.

 

Relief rushes her head.

But her stomach continues to churn,

moving too fast to calm now.

 

The harsh burning smell

covers the lavender candle scent.

 

She succeeded, she tells herself,

reminds herself.

But memory stings.

Leaving her old home did not stop the reminiscing.

 

The flame flickers.

The wick burns.

 

Images of the past invade her vision,old feelings fill her veins,she relives them,she relishes them,they

demand to be remembered.

 

It’s only when the purple candle wax pools

that the smell of lavender permeates the room,

chasing away the bitter burning.

Lovely Eyes

love, flowers, roses
Image via Burst from Pexel

Words are halting.

They come out messy,

left of their meaning.

They miss the mark.

 

Love.

An all-encompassing word that covers

family, friends, partners, pets.

It means you care and want to be around them.

Sometimes it’s flimsy cardboard.

Get it wet

and it dissolves.

It can be a word that you use because you have to.

You don’t feel it now,

but you’re supposed to.

Or it can be a word that you mean,

but you don’t know how you mean it.

“Love” without definition,

somewhere between friend and more.

 

The truth is in her face.

The lips curve;

eyes shine.

The unguarded smile,

“I love you” in the eyes.

**************************************************************************

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