Monday, December 17, 2012

The Homefront

I wrote this one after seeing soldiers on campus being greeted by some students. What stays behind their eyes?


“The Homefront”

“He stares at the red, cracked earth while he thinks.
He hears the call; it’s time to go to war.
His feet march a cadence of fatigue,
His red, cracked hands grip the stock of his gun.
His rifle is almost too heavy now,
Weighed down by the death he claims with hollow pride.
Dead weight is the worst to carry they say.
At his side a brother erupts in red,
Fountains blasting forth, unstoppable, as
The rat-tat of the guns blisters the air.
He tries to piece his man back together
But he can’t, there‘s no man left to save.”

This is what his eyes say as we shake hands:
No “thank you” can bring a brother back home.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A play, a play!


So I wrote this a while ago and just found it, thought you might enjoy it. Makes me seem witty eh?

The Importance of Speaking about Ernest

Setting:
            Up-scale wedding reception at a fancy hotel ballroom
Characters:
Johnny- mid-twenties, tall, deliberately unkempt brown hair, dark clothes, classic handsome
            Sarah- mid-twenties, beautiful, short, modern hairstyle
            Cathy- Early twenties, short, long hair, slightly inebriated
            The scene opens on the ballroom, there is a dance floor not far from the bar but it is not very crowded. Near the bar are two girls, Cathy and Sarah. As they are chatting Johnny enters the room and mills about until he approaches her.
Cathy
            (Hoisting her drink about as she scolds Sarah)
Come on Sarah, stop being a bore! Lighten up, have a drink!
Sarah
I am not a bore! I’m having plenty of fun.
Cathy
Fun? You call sitting here by yourself, staring at everyone else fun? Live a little!
Sarah
I’m just taking in the scene, is that really so wrong? Besides, aren’t there some guys you should be concerning yourself with?
Cathy
            (With her nose upturned, feigning superiority)
Well duh, you should appreciate the fact that I’m over here talking to you! If that’s the way you want it, fine! There are plenty of other people here who want to talk to me.
As she leaves, Sarah orders a drink
Johnny
Hey, what’s your name pretty lady?
Sarah
Not one you’ll need to remember
Johnny
Aww come on, don’t be like that. You’re just gonna crush a man’s dreams that quickly?
Sarah
Crush a man’s dreams? Not so much. Now a boy’s dreams, that’s another story.
Johnny
Whoa whoa, no need to get snippy like that! I just wanted to make some conversation; I don’t know anyone at this wedding.
Sarah
If you don’t know anyone why did you come? Sounds to me like you may not belong here.
Johnny
I know the bride Stacy, and I’ve seen the groom before. So are you going to tell me your name anytime soon?
Sarah
Well you are kind of cute, for a teenager. But that’s not enough for me to give you a name yet. I’m not the typical female to swoon at the “I’m too good for grooming” persona. Although I must say that is an impressive choice of jacket. I wasn’t aware they had such an expansive selection at GAP kids.
Johnny
            (Laughs)
Peace, peace! You don’t make it easy on a guy. Let me try this again: hello miss, my name is Johnny. And you are?
Sarah
            (Smiles)
It should never be too easy. Nice to meet you Johnny, my name is Sarah. So what do you do?
Johnny
Oh this and that, right now I’m a temp at a law firm, but in my spare time I like to fancy myself a writer.
Sarah
Is that so? I never would have guessed. Your attempts at conversation were all so filled of impressive verbage.
Johnny
            (Sarcastically)
Ah but madam you wound me! Did you not realize the truth of my loquacious nature upon first glance? My moody, introspective posture, dark clothes and haunted visage did nothing to portray the lugubrious inner anguish that begs to leap forth through my literature?
Sarah
(Laughs)
Well I couldn’t have seen all that past the drool forming around your feet while you were ogling me. But despite myself I’d have to say you’re somewhat charming.
Johnny
            (Smiles disarmingly)
Ah that’s better; I had hoped you might warm up to me at some point!
Sarah
So what is it you write Shakespeare? Is the next big play your doing? Or maybe you wrote the latest teen vampire craze? I’d love to say I know someone famous.
Johnny
Even better to say that you made a famous man tremendously insecure though right? Sadly though, the most I’ve had published are some editorials in the local paper. No teen paranormal romance dramas here, I apologize.
Sarah
I called you charming, that’s enough right? Editorials, that’s how Ernest Hemingway got his start yes?
Johnny
Close, he was a journalist. I’m impressed.
Sarah
            (Smiles)
These good looks aren’t all I have Johnny Boy, there are some brains behind these curls.
Johnny
That’s why I took the time to talk to you. Tell me about you, what do you do?
Sarah
Sadly I never picked up the literature thing, I’m a psychology teacher at Ridgewood High School.
Johnny
A teacher! I never would have guessed.
Sarah
And why is that? Do I not look smart enough?
Johnny
No no, that’s not it at all! You’re just far prettier than all the social studies teachers I’ve come into contact with.
Sarah
Something tells me that silver tongue of yours has you coming in contact with a lot of pretty women.
Johnny
None as pretty as you, that I can assure you.
Sarah
            (With a smile)
You mean none as smart as me; they can’t tell when you’re full of shit.
Johnny
            (With mock indignation)
Again, you wound me! I can’t bear to hear you say such indecencies about me madam.
Sarah
I suppose you were hoping for other indecencies then?
Johnny
Such a clever tongue should be used in other ways I think.
            (Winks)
Sarah
(Laughs)
And to think I believed you were still a boy, such audacity!
Johnny
I am not known for timidity Miss..?
Sarah
Oh no, you don’t get the last name yet Johnny Boy. Most guys try to buy me a drink before they talk about committing indecencies with me.
Johnny
Well I can assure you I am not most guys; however, speaking of drinks would you like one?
Sarah
            (Smiles)
In fact I would, bring me an Old Fashioned if you’d please.
Johnny
            (Laughs)
Oh is that so! I’ll be right back then madam.
Cathy
            (Walks up to Sarah as Johnny leaves to get a drink)
Well he lasted longer than most, I’m impressed he didn’t leave crying.
Sarah
Oh he’s coming back, he’s just getting me a drink.
Cathy
            (Incredulous)
He’s what!?
Sarah
            (Laughs)
You heard me right, he’s coming back. This one’s different, he can actually keep up with me.
Cathy
But Sarah, you embarrass guys! You make them run crying to their mommies. This is unreal!
Sarah
Oh come on, I’m not that bad. I just have high standards is all.
Cathy
Sarah, I’ve seen you talk to guys at bars. They crumble when you talk to them. You even insult the hot ones.
Sarah
I am not that bad! Besides, then those hot ones go and talk to you, what are you complaining about?
Cathy
I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that you don’t ever talk to guys for more than a few insults. Besides, this one isn’t even that cute.
Sarah
Oh you’re just saying that because he’s not big muscled and slow. He’s charming, and he likes Hemingway.
Cathy
Of course, one of THOSE.
            (Rolls her eyes)
You know all those writers have issues right?
Sarah
Like I said this one’s different. But we’ll see, he hasn’t made it too far yet.

Cathy
Farther than any other guys I’ve seen that’s for su-
Sarah
He’s coming back! Leave!
            (Pushes Cathy out of the way)
Cathy
You did not just do that!
            (Walks away indignantly)
Johnny
            (Hands Sarah the drink and watches Cathy storm away)
What was that all about?
Sarah
Oh nothing, just a friend of mine telling me that I should stop talking to you.
Johnny
Did she now? And why is that? Does she fear for your honor then?
Sarah
Not at all, she just likes it when I soften up her targets for her.
Johnny
And what will you do? Are you ready to drop this weary husk of a man you’ve so effectively enfeebled with your sharp wit?
Sarah
            (Smiles)
Not quite yet, I’m hoping to get another few drinks out of you first

Johnny
Oh good, I was hoping I’d have a few more chances to embarrass myself for your amusement.
Sarah
Something tells me you write more than editorials.
Johnny
Ah you’ve caught me! I also write in my diary nightly, it’s the only place I can be completely honest.
Sarah
            (Laughs)
No no, I mean real writing. Poetry, fiction, things like that.
Johnny
And if I told you I did write those things?
Sarah
Then I would request to see them. Although I expect some true gravitas to your scribblings, otherwise this wit you possess is all for naught.
Johnny
I assure you madam, nothing could be farther from the truth. Miss Sarah, may I ask you something?
Sarah
Whatever would you like to inquire of me good Johnny Boy?
Johnny
I would formally like to request your accompaniment on the dance floor, if you would be so inclined as to acquiesce to this potentiality.
Sarah
            (Smiles)
Why sir, I do believe that I would be delighted to escort you to the dance floor.
            (As they dance, Johnny holds Sarah close, but not too close. His hands do not stray.)
Sarah
I must say, not only am I impressed with your nimbleness but also with your politeness as well. This lasciviousness you alluded to seems to have fled!
Johnny
            (Laughs)
Oh it’s there all right; I just respect you too much to allow that to be at the forefront of our interaction at the moment.
Sarah
Again, I must say that I’m impressed Johnny Boy. But it’s time for me to go, I have prior engagements with some very important figures, I’m sure you understand.
Johnny
            (Feigning a crestfallen expression)
If only I had more time! I was hoping to possibly learn your last name before you left.
Sarah
            (Reaches up to whisper in Johnny’s ear)
My number is 549-9009 don’t forget it. And it’s Carter. Sarah Carter.
            (As she pulls back she kisses Johnny on the cheek)
Johnny
            (A large grin is painted across his face. He reaches down to kiss Sarah on the hand)
I couldn’t forget it even if I tried Miss Carter. I will speak to you soon.
           
Sarah turns and walks out. Johnny watches her leave, the same grin stuck to his face. The curtain falls as she finally exits.

            

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thoughts right now


This was spur of the moment ideas that just came to me. These concepts embody what I want to write about, what I want to say to the world. More actual prose is coming next week, after finals. It's been a little hectic lately

We are capable of so much more than we ever think we will be. The power inside of us in incomparable, and we don’t even know it. The capacity for great good and great evil is inherent in every one of us, but what unlocks that potential? Is it society? God? The universe? Or is it what we do each and every day? Our lives are built upon the visions and revisions of our lives, and what we are is more than the sum of our parts. Our history does not define us, nor does our present confine us. Our future frees us, and that freedom calculates to the true nature of our being: there is always redemption, hope, faith. We can be so much more than what we think we can be, but it’s up to us to work towards that goal. So what if she doesn’t care about you anymore. So what if you didn’t get the job you wanted. So what if you can’t seem to catch a break? The worth is in the act, and it’s up to you to find that out. Make your life the best you possibly can, and good things will come to you. Follow your own path, discover your Buried Life and you will become so much more than you ever dreamed. The world seems daunting, impossible, unforgiving, but you have something they can never take away: you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Introducing..


A beginning for my story? Let me know what you think!

Michael Carrington stood along the bluffs, watching as the washes crashed on the shore over and over. He thought about the raw power displayed a hundred meters below him, the clear line between land and sea as the two forces collided time and again. This was his favorite spot ever since he was young. He always felt that here was purity in life; two clearly defined powers that continuously clashed, never ceasing their battle. He imagined the two powers as armies, and he knew that was what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to test himself, to find out if he was made of stronger stuff than his opponents. He longed fopr the chance to test his mettle and to truly know himself.
                Tomorrow was the day he would be sent off to boot camp, sent off to become a man (at least that’s what they say.) He would learn to become a gear in the machine, a piece of the greatest army on God’s green Earth; he would learn how to take a man’s life without a second thought. His family still did not understand why he wanted to go. They thought it barbaric that he would want to pursue this career. He told them every single time, he was doing this for himself, to find out who he really was. All they say was an intelligent young man wasting his life to play the action hero.
                As he stood out there, his sister Victoria came up beside him, her eyes already limned with tears. He could tell she was trying her best to hold back, but she never was the best about masking her emotions.
                “Are you sure about this Michael? You can work at the store with Dad, you don’t have to do this.” Her voice shook with every syllable.
                “I told you before Victoria, this is what I need to do. I need to know this.” Michael refused to look at her, for his own sake.
                “You’ll be safe, right? You’ll come back home?”
                “As soon as I can, I’ll be coming back in one piece.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ruminations on the contemplations


The little details of our lives fade away into the crashing waves of our experience. They are lost, stranded at sea and never to come back. But the things they leave behind, that is all we have left. The fingerprints these people leave behind on our lives shape us into who we are today. We are a patchwork, a collage of the things we've done, the things we've said, the things others have said. Do not despair and weep over what was; realize that what happened was always meant to happen. What happened has given you a new perspective on yourself and those around you. What happened is an experience that will enrich your life beyond measure, good or bad. Find the goodness in every moment, because every moment has the capacity to inspire. She may not be coming back to you, he may not want you anymore, but it’s up to you to keep moving forward, to forge ahead and make yourself who you want to be. It is YOUR life, so start living it that way.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's a sonnet!



"Weltgeist"

You wake to a cold morning light, dull, frigid;
A pallor has crept around your visage.
The Ghost comes again, the world-spirit
Crashing down on you, I can still hear it
Draining, feeding, pulling from you your light.
Where has it gone? You always were so bright.
This world, this Ghost, has ever been a part
Of all our many lives, and from the start

It has been tearing us to shreds, but now
It is time to rise up, to fight the Ghost
And prove that we can survive and thrive, how
Powerful we can be, and as a host
Of humans, we must find the goodness, bow
To the moments that will never be lost.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Self-reflection


“A Man Converses with his Self.”
Mark sat down hesitantly, watching the other’s eyes follow his every move. He quickly scanned the strange room, discerning nothing more than the firm, oaken wood of the table and chairs. All about him was static, a blizzard of gray and white with a familiar hiss. He was deliberate in his movements, careful not to give anything away; shouldn't he know everything about himself? How poorly we understand ourselves when we get down to it.
“Umm, hey,” Mark’s voice cracked from the strain.
“Haven’t talked in a while have we?” he answered.
“I guess I've been a little busy.” Mark gripped the warm wood tightly.
“Too busy for your Self?”
Mark’s eyes quickly flicked down. He knew he was right, he hadn’t had a true thought from his own head in months. Who am I becoming? His brain was filled with the musings of a culture that places little value in its vessels. Mark noticed he was watching.
“I just have a lot going on. It’s hard being in the real world.”
“Oh I know, but that’s when you need me the most.”
“I think I can manage on my own here.”
Mark watched as he shook his head, a subtle tremor of disbelief and Self pity as his lips curled into a knowing smirk. He thought back to when he gave his Self up, to the instant he touched her hand. His wife never questioned why he stayed at work so late, never inquired as to where he went on his business trips. It was all a shadow of truth, a white elephant in the room. He could not bring himself to touch his wife any longer, because if he did his lives would cross, the thread unraveled.
He tried for months to work up the courage and come clean, but what could he say? Sorry is never enough. He lay on the side of the bed, unable to say he loved her. His family never believed in liars. He would sit at his desk and remember the life they had planned, a life he might still salvage. When his mistress would call he did not answer, not until after he left the office.
Mark expected a reaction when he told her, but he didn’t know what. She immediately excused herself from his presence, walked into the bathroom and smashed the mirror, promptly left the house and never turned back. He has not called her. Now when he thinks about the life they had planned he can no longer see anything but a broken mirror.
His mistress cried when he told her they were not going to see each other anymore, but he had nothing left to say. Mark was never one for tears. Why cry instead of doing something? Weakness was not something he could afford, not anymore.
He walked away and has not called her either.
“I can’t go back, it’s all so broken.”
“No one said you had to go back Mark. It’s time to move forward.”
“Where do I go from here?”
He watched as his Self gave a small laugh.
“You can start with me.”
It was simple enough to hear, but devastating to understand. Could it really be that easy? No, simple but not easy. Mark began to cry. The release he had denied for so long was upon him, and he didn’t want to give in to its embrace. He had refused to see the strength in weakness, the hope in fear, but this time was different. He felt his eyes upon him, but he continued to cry. It was as if he were a man dying of thirst given a drink: he took everything he could before it was taken away. Mark finally regained his composure enough to speak.
“There we are, it’s been a while since you cried.”
“You can’t tell me it’s that easy.”
“It’s not, but we’ll keep moving forward.”
Mark watched as his Self reached out his hand. It was time to sink or swim, but which is which?

Now and Forever

I stand out along the bluffs and the ocean beats across the rocks; in out in out in. The heartbeat of the earth. I feel her again, the waves pounding her memory into my head. The ocean beats its rhythm over and over, pulling me in. I fall, tumbling down to the rocks below. The journey down is a span of lifetimes as I am born again and again; in out in out in. I see the ocean’s foam. I see myself rising out like a god. I am eternal. We are all eternal. My head hits the rocks and my memories spill out, joining with the sea. 

Her crooked smile. 
Making breakfast. 
Watching her walk out the door. 
A woman begging for spare change.
A dog without someone to hold his leash.
A funeral of somebody I used to know.
My parents arguing before the car hits us.
Our wedding day that would never be, a fragment of a dream.
The other man.
My first bicycle.

Realizing that she is the only one that I could ever possibly love, without knowing how I could love her.
Watching the news detail their plane crash "an unfortunate accident."

I snap back to reality. My foot is hanging over the edge, poised between now and forever as the world holds its breath. I step away from the bluffs and the ocean beats across the rocks; in out in out in.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Monsters


This idea cam,e up when I was watching all the sad social media posts at night and wondering why they always start being posted at midnight or so. Why late at night instead of during the day?

Night time is when the monsters come out. They’re big and frightening, their long sharp claws gleam red in the moonlight. Some are covered in fur, some scaly. Each monster is unlike the other, except for their hunger. They prowl the town, swallowing people whole. They don’t leave anyone unscathed, and they never get full.
Night time is when the monsters come out. I see them when I’m brave enough to look. They slink across the streets; their tails are swishing back and forth. Their mouths drip with saliva, waiting hungrily for their next meal. They growl and grunt, hack and cough, spit and curse. I shake as I watch them hunt, as I watch the people ground to bits between the monsters’ powerful jaws.
Night time is when the monsters come out. They lurk in the shadows, waiting for someone to drop their guard. They know how to hunt us. They know how to kill us.
 Night time is when the monsters come out. The monsters live inside us. Doubt, fear, jealousy, pain, anger, shame, rage, despair; these are our monsters. We sit and think and begin to questions ourselves, our souls. The Abyss climbs out and shows us everything we never wanted to see. The monsters are inside us. They feed off our doubt, fear, jealousy, pain, anger, shame, rage, despair. We grow weaker as they grow stronger, and they eat us alive.
Night time is when the monsters come out. The monsters live inside us, how can we shut them out?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

just a start?


Michael Carrington walked the lonely streets, rifle slung firmly around his shoulder. His boots pounded a staccato beat, the only sound for blocks. It was a ruined city filled with ruined people, a canvas displaying the true nature of these boys turned men. Bullet holes peppered the walls, a tangible reminder of the anger that perforated the city. He stopped at the school. The entire building had been blasted apart, words he could not understand danced behind his eyelids.

He was walking through the city when he came upon an enemy soldier, wounded and lying in the street. He watched as the man’s life bubbled out of him in great gasps of pain. He could smell the burnt flesh where a grenade had opened his gut. He watched as the dying man's' blood gurgled out of him, and all Michael could think of was a bottle of champagne being opened. He tried to hate the man but couldn't; everyone feels pain.  His hands trembled as he brought his rifle to bear, his stomach churning. The injured man gave a great moan, a cry of some type. A terrible grin stretched across his face, engulfing his visage. He began to laugh, a laugh that left the man shaking as if from cold. Michael couldn't breathe, he felt as if all the air around him had been sucked out of his lungs. This corpse kept staring at him, the eyes boring into him, his soul. He had to close those eyes, before they became his own. He squeezed the trigger. The shot rang out, echoing off the ruined walls of the city. Michael turned and vomited, leaving the grinning corpse behind him.


As he walked he heard the muffled sound of sobbing; a child’s voice. He rushed to the spot, hoping to help the child. She sat in a ruined house, her yellow dress, bright as a canary, the only point of color in the gray landscape. He walked towards her, hands out and nonthreatening. She cried out in a language he did not know. She hid behind a grandfather clock, trembling like an animal. He held out his hand to her, just waiting. He could not move.

"How can I take her with me? What relief will I give her, I'm a killer not a father. I would be sentencing her to death, not life."

She tentatively reached out to him. He looked in her eyes and saw himself; he didn't see what he thought he would. He saw a thin, haggard man on the verge of tears. A man that needed someone just as much as she needed him. As he took her hand she began to cry. He held her close, two ruined people in a ruined city. They cried together, sharing their pain and relief. When he finally stopped crying, he rose up and took her by the hand.
“Come on little canary, let’s go.”