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Thing

A canvas of color all for her own

Eyes to rest upon every

Night she kept it on

Her nightstand for she always

Appreciated how he had

Betrothed this treasure to her

But then they were shattered

One and one and not two

Now she is left

Unsure what to do

With this treasure that

Buries her

Whenever

She

Glances

At the thing that dwells.

You are a diamond in a dirty sea

Stand up straight
And act like you are a fucking queen
All that you need to do
Is see it for yourself

Your dance with the grudge is over
Clean the dirt from under your nails
And spit out the grouch in your belly
Let that shit go

Just walk like a fucking queen
And laugh and wink in the mirror
Put on your best shoes
Paint flowers on the walls
And take a bow,

You queenie darling

The Story

It’s hard to tell a story when there are so many parts. When there are so many little details, that the plot gets all tangled up inside, and soon you end up with no story at all. It’s not fair, really. When there is this story inside of you and you can never seem to get it out. Every time you begin, the details stream out, and pile up, and bury you alive.

You’re left with this struggling thing inside of you. This pulling, twisting, livid creature that wants to leave and leaks out every way that it can, but can never seem to fully escape. It clogs your dreams up, raw chunks, broken. It occupies the time you wanted to spend daydreaming, like a dull pain in the back of your eye sockets that never seems to go away.

Write! Speak! Share the story, that’s the only way to get it out! And so little fragments tumble out of you. They tumble out of your fingertips and spill out your lips, and still you know that it is not enough. All of the pieces must be sown up and quilted together; these splintered bits do you no good.

But you never seem to find the right thread. Or maybe it’s the right needle. The pen is wrong, the typewriter broken, the pen is inkless, the lips chapped, the throat raspy. You are left, alone and wanting, to bear the scraps you call your own.

Roof Thoughts

Zora stood at the edge of a roof, staring into the city below her. It’s funny, watching people from this point of view, she thought. Everyone is so focused on themselves and their worries and stresses, in these small bubbles, and they have no idea what the picture above them looks like. This is what it must be like to be God.

Zora was an average girl in a middle class home with her whole life ahead of her, and because of that she was miserable. She had everything easy. What were they calling it nowadays? Privilege. White privilege, straight privilege, married parents-only child-has a job-higher education privilege. Its not like she wanted it or wasn’t grateful or aware of what she had or anything like that. She just sort of got lost in it. And maybe, it wasn’t everything people cracked it up to be. But she knew she couldn’t say anything like that.

So Zora maintained the life she was supposed to. Study hard, straight A’s, do your best, please your folks. Take your dose of vitamins and fiber pills and fish oil, stick drugs down your throat so that you are just right. Save your money and make a budget. Burn your hair everyday with a flat iron and put on makeup and always smile. Just be thankful.

And Zora was. I mean, really, she was.

Zora stuck her toes over the roof. That’d be funny, she thought, if I lost my balance. Another privileged girl killing herself because she was depressed but never talked to anyone about it, people would say. Candlelight vigil, classmates she hadn’t talked to in years, all her best friends mourning the appropriate amount of time before moving along with their also suburban lives. Maybe always considering jumping as a way out, too. Remember Zora? No one would know that she had just lost her balance though, its not like she had really killed herself. No one would remember that she was a klutz, and sometimes forgot to brush her teeth, and was sometimes terribly moody, and really wasn’t perfect at all. She was an angel, a perfect angel they would say. She is watching us from above.

It’s not true you know, Zora thought. I wouldn’t be an angel at all, that isn’t really even how angels work. I would be the same, except maybe I would be a soul that zipped away into freedom, finally, into no expectations. And my body would rot in the ground. Rot, rot, rot. With maggots and worms and beetles. Really, they should emphasize the dust-to-dust part more in grieving, she thought. That’s the most beautiful part.

Zora watched as two women, arms loaded with shopping bags, fluttered to each of the shop windows, exclaiming over the displays. She watched many men and women in business suits face straight ahead and walk quickly and tuck their elbows tight into their sides so they wouldn’t touch. She watched yet another advocate advocating yet another cause. She watched a mother yelling at her squeamish toddlers to stay in their double stroller. She watched a homeless man wave his cup at the passersby, any spare change, God bless, God bless.

Zora’s phone alarm chimed.

Lunch break over.

And she faded back into her world.

Deer in the Headlights

Olympus stood against the wall of the Zeigeist coffee shop, waiting for his ride in the soggy Seattle streets. He looked at his watch, and realized he was going to be late for the meeting. Not again! He would just have to run, then. Maybe it would even be faster. He scrambled through an alley and then up the steep hill leading to the meeting place. He wished he could run faster, but after that damn accident he had a permanent limp. Onward he pushed, striving to make this meeting. He checked his watch again, phew! Not even a minute had passed.

Olympus suddenly stopped where he stood. Across the street from him waited Drew. “No no no!! Not again!” Olympus cursed under his breath. “What the fuck do you want, boy? I told you to never come back here!” Drew simply smiled, revealing his missing teeth, and pointed to his backpack. “Get the hell away from me!” Olympus screeched. Olympus chucked the bottle in his hand towards Drew, which missed and landed on the pavement and smashed to bits. Drew continued his unblinking stare and unfaltering smile at Olympus while reaching to unzip the backpack pocket. Drew reached into his backpack and pulled out what looked like a ball of fur. He slowly turned the thing around to reveal it was a severed deer head, the face mashed in and the eyes open in terror. The stench was overpowering even from across the street, and Olympus staggered back against a wall. When he placed his hand on the wall, it came away moist and sticky. Olympus ignored it and raised his fists to Drew. “I said get the hell away from me! Don’t you fucking look at me! Take that out of here!” Drew placed the severed deer head upside down, revealing a blood and innards stew inside. He then moved the head to its side and began rolling it toward Olympus, humming while he did so. Drew smiled again at Olympus and Olympus backed again into the wall, this time feeling a sort of sticky slime against it. Olympus turned around and screamed. The wall was dripping with deer intestines and blood, lots of it. There were patches of matted fur scattered all over, hair and blood mixed in. Drew giggled, then ran next to the wall and sat down in the blood. He hummed delightedly, pressing his fingers into deer fur and stretching and twisting the intestines around and around. “Stop it, boy! Dammit, you stop right now!” Drew screamed with delight, shaking his curly golden hair and rubbing his hands all along the wall. Drew started running towards Olympus, tripping and then beginning to crawl towards him. Olympus screamed, pressed against the wall as Drew crawled closer, his curls hanging low and covered in thick red blood, his hands and arms and legs crimson-coated. Olympus dug his fingernails into his arms, scratching and scratching them. “Wake up, wake up, wake up, no more, no more, no more!!!” He moved to sit on the ground, slipping in the blood on his way down, and he curled into a ball. Drew was upon him now, slapping Olympus’ back like a drum. Drew screeched, “Play Daddy, play!” Drew drummed on and on and on, humming and bloody and laughing. Olympus could do nothing but shut his eyes. He shut them as tight as he could, and he focused on the feeling of his fingernails scratching his arms, and he muttered over and over again, “No more, no more, no more.”

When Olympus had waited for hours until he couldn’t feel drumming on his back or hear humming or laughing or moving about, he decided to open his eyes. Drew sat staring at him, sitting against the blood-streaked walls, holding the severed deer head in his arms. “Say goodnight to Momma, Daddy! She’s tired.” Drew kissed the head, staining his lips and cheeks with dark red like a clown’s lipstick. With that, he shoved the head back into his backpack and tottered back up the hill.

 

Halfway through college and dull as a brick

Moving away to a new city, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the fact that I am already halfway through college. HALF. WAY. That’s terrible! I was thinking about how people say that their college years are the best years of their lives, and I don’t think I have achieved that yet. See, I am too worried about living up to people’s expectations of me. I “want” to be a nice looking girl with proper hair, nice looking clothes, and have the very best grades that you could ever imagine (I got straight A’s this semester!) I want to choose very nice friends and do very nice things. At least that’s what I think people want out of me, so that’s what  I have been doing.

If you think I am exaggerating, let’s face the fact that I chose to go to a convent (like with nuns) over spring break this year.

Now, I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed these things, because I have. I have learned a lot of interesting things about Catholicism  and I have learned a lot about teaching and math and technology. But I don’t really feel like I have fully experienced the youthfulness of my college years. Sure, there have been a lot of really great moments, but I haven’t been independent and free thinking. I haven’t pushed myself to the full extent of my mental capacity and I haven’t had boatloads of pure fun.

This year, I took a break from theater- I didn’t audition for any of the shows at college. I focused on getting good grades, which was silly honestly. I will always strive for good grades whether I mean to or not- it’s just something that I do. But, I ought to at least have fun while I am doing it!

I have my entire life to have proper hair with a proper job and a proper husband.

But right now, I am draining myself. And I cannot take it anymore.

I am going to do what I want while I am young. These are the days where I can take long road trips and camp for days at end and eat at diners late at night and just experience the world.

These are not days I am willing to waste any longer.

The Green Kabob Truck

Every Tuesday was date night. That meant walking by the park, a random restaurant for dinner, or some fancy cupcakery they found along the street. At night they would sit on their balcony and gaze out at the city, sipping on cappuccinos in porcelain cups. The city glowed differently on those nights. It let out a sort of pale twinkling that invited the couple to wander at their leisure. But on Wednesday mornings, the city became harsh again, a vacuum of peace and instead an institute of chaos, wanderers, and disappointments.

The lady was a receptionist. The man was a cubicle worker. They both were indentured to their desks during the week, and their conversations lulled to the mundane. Talks on the phone became recitations of that day’s agenda. Meet-ups for lunch were rushed. The waiters were never fast enough, their phones were always ringing, there was always too much to do. Dinners were spent in worry over the next day’s work.  And the cycle continued.

Soon, Tuesday date nights lost their appeal. They had been to all the restaurants, and the food was expensive and not very enjoyable. They didn’t want to walk past the same park, with the same homeless woman sitting on her bench, to see the same ducks. The sweet smell of the cupcakery made them nauseous. It was too cold out to sit on their balcony, and they didn’t have time to sip cappuccinos. On Tuesday nights, they thought about the next Wednesday morning they would have to face. They had nothing to talk about because they had said it all before. They were tired.

On Wednesday morning, the man sat in his cubicle, and began to loathe it. He hated the three light blue walls surrounding him. He hated how he could hear the typing of everyone else around him. He hated how the lady three desks away would always be doing that nasally laugh while she talked on the phone. The lights in his office made his head hurt, the air smelled like black licorice and hand soap, and his legs had that numb pinpricking feeling of falling asleep. The man heaved a sigh, grabbed his wallet, and went for his lunch break. Outside, he didn’t feel that the weather was frigid and he didn’t hear the saxophone player playing on the street corner. But what he did notice was a bright green truck headed down Main Street. That bright green truck was the kabob truck, and he was pretty sure a kabob was the thing that he most wanted in the world. The man briskly took off following the kabob truck down Main Street.

On Wednesday night, a woman sat on a bench shivering. She could see her breath in the air, and the grass was covered in frost. Her hair hung matted in knots around her face, and she had a cough that never went away. She watched all the passersby and looked at all of their faces, but none of them looked back. She looked for a face she knew, a familiar face, but it did not come. Her anticipation received nothing but disappointment. As the night settled in and enveloped the park in a thick black cloak, the park-walkers were long gone. The woman sighed.  The woman had lived on this bench for months, waiting, and in the past month she felt colder than she ever had in her entire life. She knew all the police routine check ups throughout the park. Before police rangers would ride past on their horses, she had disappeared into the trees. As soon as they were gone, she was back on her bench as if she had never left. She was always waiting in the cold. Her toes were numb, her fingers seemed stuck in their joints, her nose was running, and she couldn’t stop shivering. She sat awake until her eyes forced themselves closed and she fell asleep, quivering with cold.

The man finally reached the kabob truck, which had stopped in front of the park where he always walked with the lady. He stood in the long line and waited, the smell of beef and peppers and onions whispering to his nostrils. He tried to remember the last time he had seen this kabob truck, the last time he had eaten a kabob. A smile crept onto his face. The last time he had seen this kabob truck was after a day of shopping with his lady. They had both indulged and wiped out their credit cards on watches and jewelry and business casual clothes and patent leather shoes.

“We have to look professional to make it in this city! We look like regular old suburban bums!” the lady had exclaimed to him, throwing her head back laughing like she used to everyday. That had been months ago. Now he was wearing his broken-in patent leather shoes, standing in a line at the side of a green truck and realizing he hadn’t heard that laugh in weeks. He no longer looked like a “suburban bum.” He was quite the city man now, complete with a long wool coat and a Burberry scarf.

“Quite professional indeed,” he thought as grabbed his foil-wrapped kabob and a handful of thin napkins. The man looked around for a place to sit and saw that all the benches were taken near the kabob truck, so headed towards the benched near the park’s duck pond.

That night, the woman woke up because of a sharp pain in her stomach. It was the pain of hunger. The woman knew staying on this bench was killing her. She wasn’t getting enough to eat and a chill had entered her body that she felt would never go away. The woman scooped down to pick up her can of change and started a fit of coughing.  She coughed so hard that tears began to run down her face. When she finally stopped, she breathed heavily to catch her breath. She would have to seek out a homeless shelter soon.  The thought of leaving her bench soon made her anxious. There was something she needed to do before she left, and it could not be put off any longer. She was sure of that.

The man walked around the park with his kabob, utterly starving. It was infuriating that all the benches were taken up and he had to endure walking around with an uneaten kabob. The man hated to stand while eating food, it was one of his biggest pet peeves besides hearing people’s knuckles crack. His phone started to ring. Again. His phone was always ringing, he could never have a moment’s peace, he wanted to eat his kabob, he had a headache, his phone kept ringing- PLOP! He threw it into the pond. He smiled genuinely for the first time in months.

“That was a good throw, boy!” he heard a woman from behind him. He turned and saw it was the old homeless woman he had always passed by. Still in good spirits, he did a silly bow. She threw her head back and laughed so hard she started coughing with a terrible croaking sound. She seemed to cough for a minute straight, slapping her thigh with each croak. The man wasn’t sure what to do. He wanted to walk away, but she sounded so ill.

“Are you okay?” He walked over to her, standing awkwardly next to the bench she was sitting on. She coughed even harder. He picked up the cup of water she had next to her and put it to her lips. “Here, drink something.” As she sipped the water, he noticed how much she was shaking. He looked at everything that surrounded her. A dirty light pink comforter, a plastic tote bag, and a rusty can in front of her. He felt like a pig sitting next to her with his stupid patent leather shoes. A pig who had almost walked away. She had stopped coughing and was looking at him strangely. Her eyes became wide.

“I’m okay now,” she said quickly. She turned her back to him, still shivering.

“Nonsense. You are shaking like a leaf,” the man took her arm and turned her towards him. “Eat this.” He handed her the kabob. “You need it more than me.”

“I couldn’t-”

He cut her off. “You can and you will. I won’t leave this bench until you eat it.” So the man sat next to the woman, biting into his kabob and looking worried out of her mind. He looked in his wallet for money to give her, and saw that he didn’t have any more cash. He had spent the last of it on the kabob, and all he had were credit cards. He felt awful. He wanted to give this poor, cold lady something more than beef on a skewer. As he thought about all this, he suddenly felt the woman’s eyes watching him. He turned to her. “Is something wrong? Is the kabob okay?”

She slowly spoke. “Yes. Yes it’s wonderful, thank you. But. But. But, I need to ask you something.”

He nodded for her to continue, and she pointed to his ring. “Are you happy?” She asked him.

The man had to think for a long time. He thought about his lady, and he was happy. He thought about his job, and his light blue cubicle, and the mundane cycle that had become his life, and he was sad. He explained these things to her. And soon, the man was telling the homeless woman all about his life. He told her about the Tuesday date nights and what they had become, he told her about the balcony, he told her about the woman with the nasally laugh, he told her about his patent leather shoes. He told her he missed those cappuccinos. The woman and the man talked so long, that the man skipped the rest of his work that afternoon. His office tried calling him, but they couldn’t reach him on his phone because it was swimming with the ducks.

On Thursday morning, the lady woke up to the smell of bacon. Upon walking into the kitchen, she found her husband had laid out breakfast on the table, and a dozen red roses were sitting in a vase.

“What’s all this for, dear?” she asked her husband, who had grabbed her around the waist and started dancing around the kitchen with her.

“Why, it’s for you!” He responded. She threw her head back and laughed.

On Tuesday night, the couple went for a lovely dinner at a pub they had never attended. They laughed the whole night long, and didn’t stop telling each other stories. After dinner at the pub, the couple went for a walk to the park. They went on their usual route that always went past the homeless woman and towards the ducks. This time, the husband stopped at the bench and looked for the woman. She wasn’t there. Only her coin can was there, rusty as anything. The man looked at his lady, perplexed.

When the couple arrived home, they found a package in front of their door. “To my daughter and to her wonderful man,” the note on the package said. The lady looked up at her man, perplexed.

“I’ve never met my mother!” They opened the package, and inside was a cappuccino maker.

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