Inside My Journal

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            Every summer morning you struggle with the flat mop draped haphazardly over your head, more and more often you find an inexplicable black, wiry hair. Your mother’s hair wavers thinly in the sunlight like corn silk, frayed wispy ends flying away from her face the more she tries to tame it. Your father’s is a rich walnut brown, fine and short. Whether it appears on the floor of your bedroom or in the bathroom sink, you can find no reasonable explanation as to whom it might belong to.

            You try unsuccessfully to convince yourself that this morning’s sample didn’t come from your head—you probably touched it at some point and transferred it into your own scalp by accident. You try, again unsuccessfully, to convince yourself that you did not have to throw it away twice—you’re sure it just stuck to your hand.

            It is out of curiosity, not obsession, that you first began collecting them. Though they appear at ostensibly random intervals, each hair is the same as the last: black, thick, coarse, straight. Compiling mental lists of visitors to your home becomes second nature—alongside a stranger’s smile, the first thing you notice is their hair.

This is done privately. Paranoia is not a trait you find flattering.

Mostly, your speculations lead to the conclusion that some unseen or unintroduced acquaintances with appropriately matching hair had left a souvenir somewhere in your house where you happened to step, and you managed to carry it all the way to your own room. This was not unreasonable. In any case, it was not as if you could say that they were exactly alike, many people have coarse black hair. You are not exactly a forensic scientist.

             As the beginning of the school year approaches, though, you notice the hairs less. There are more important things with which to occupy one’s time, especially when enrollment is concerned. You “meet” one of your roommates—or at least see her Facebook profile and speak to her over the phone. Every time you tried to Skype her something came up that prevented her from answering, but you decide it isn’t a big deal despite your desire to see a more recent image of her, as her most recent profile picture is from six months ago. Her hair is blonde and full.

            By move in day you have almost completely forgotten about the phenomenon. What is on your mind is how heavy your boxes are as you shift your weight in the elevator—you now live on the fourth floor of a new residence hall. You fumble with your keys upon finding the correct room number, finally managing to shuffle into the small apartment.

            Waiting behind the door is your new roommate. You scoff at yourself as your old habit arises again and you notice the long, straight strands framing a face you had only seen online with a level of alarm you immediately recognize as irrational.

            “You dyed your hair?”

            She nods with a kind enough smile, tucking a few loose black threads behind one ear, “Yes.”

“It looks nice,” you stretch past your discomfort. “Did your parents already go?”

She nods a little too stiffly for your liking. Something about her movements is strange to you, but you can’t decide what it is, other than simply unsettling.

            After deliberating for a moment, you continue, “Mine, too. When are the others—”

            “I don’t know,” she cuts you off with the same stiffness, “Just us for now.”

            You decide that you only imagined the underwritten zeal in her voice, but with the excuse that you’d like to try settling in as soon as possible, you close and lock your door anyway.

The general layout of the room is satisfactory—you don’t feel the need to move anything around. Afternoon light streams in through the window, streaking across the stripped bed and bare white walls. Venturing out after unloading a few boxes, you hear your roommate shifting something heavy in her closed room, directly beside yours, scraping what could only be her furniture across the linoleum floor—unless she’s stealing the fridge, you think cynically, wondering a little more seriously if you could trust her or your other two roommates not to be kleptomaniacs in the coming months.

The four single bedrooms are connected by a shared kitchen and bath. Maybe the new room seems the size of your closet back home, but the window is a decently large with a decent view and a communal refrigerator and stove which made up for it. Plus, the thermostat is closest to your door.

Once it is properly clad in sheets and comforter, you test the bed—immediately glad that you invested in a mattress topper and simultaneously so overcome by the fatigue of the moving process that you decide a short nap wouldn’t hurt anything, and that maybe your other two roommates will be there to make you feel less awkward.

            It is dark when you awake.

Stumbling, you maneuver toward the light switch, shaking your head to clear it of a nightmare half remembered. Blinded by the sudden fluorescent buzz, you blink, eventually turning to survey what was left to unpack.

You find four perfectly aligned black threads of hair lie stark upon the crisp white sill next to your bed.

            In an instant you begin scrambling through the remaining unopened boxes, sure that you had packed away the plastic bag you had planned to dispose of far away from your home. The bag ripped slightly as you opened it, spilling a few of the hairs into the box you stood over. Extracting one of them, you placed it next to those on the sill. Your hand drifts upward, covering your mouth as if to silence yourself as you step back from the bed. They were exactly the same.

            The scraping in the room next to you has gone silent, so as you hear the corresponding door open you lunge at the light switch, leaving yourself blind again to all but the bar of light from the common area reflecting on the floor. Your hand drifts up again, stifling your panicked breathing as the other supports you by pressing against the wall.

            A shadow flows beneath the threshold, stopping with unnatural immediacy. The doorknob shakes violently.

Your roommate is waiting behind the door.

Filed under short story

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The Missing Poem

She thinks this tale is one of love

but I’d say I know better;

her lack of courage, his of sight

will bind her, key and fetter.

 .

And if you read much farther, dear,

you’ll know why I am missing;

a poem lost should not be found

by the one she dreams of kissing.

 .

As she sleeps not here tonight

she feels him on her skin,

almost like the drawn short breath

cut off by sand and wind.

 .

And as she lies awake once more

she feels him like the ocean,

which rocks her body on and on:

the ghost of finished motion.

 .

My message, in its briny keep,

is supposed to have dissolved,

but among the foam hides molten lead:

a single question unresolved.

Filed under poetry

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Slick

I hated my smile—and hate, you know, is not a pre-didactic thing. Why should I have cared that I was a snaggletooth, with a mouth with all the aesthetic appeal of a pile of Jenga blocks? Why should I have wrenched them into place and moaned and cried about the pain it caused me to move my jaw for a French fry except for the desire of attractive, straight, Colgate rows?

 .

For four years of my life the doctor tweaked my grimace; four years scraped and scratched the pink flesh of my mouth against those metal shackles which trapped not only my teeth but last night’s dinner. (A similar thing could be said about my childhood).

 .

Today they salute at strict attention whether they clench or clack or chew, and I reward them with a liberal brushing and a minor restraint to retain a good-girl’s grin.

 .

They are perfect. But do they look a little yellow?

Filed under poetry prose poetry

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Sick

Sick

is a perfect word.

Sick sticks in the throat

hissing, sore from a convulsing chest.

Sick forces its way out of you

even though hands pray for mercy

wrapped around a toilet bowl.

Sick sends scathing shivers

running all the way down

like the leak sprung in your blazing nostrils.

Sick secludes victims in rooms

with a box, a can, and a bottle.

Sick aspirates

even though your plugged up nose won’t.

But worst of all

sick strikes fear

into your not really wormed heart

because all the symptoms point

to cancer (or lupus if you’re House)

or some freak strain

of what you’ve been vaccinated against.

“I’m not a hypochondriac” you say,

but you weigh a mind stiffened neck

against a mosquito bite that doesn’t even itch anymore

while your aching eyes flit across page 23 of WebMD

“I’m just (you say with a pathetic cough)

sick.”

Filed under poetry

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Mother

I can find her in the brightened house

just by the patter pounding of

her unceremonious stride,

and by that shifting pressure discern mood.

.

I might find her yet again

just by standing stolid in the streaming sun,

and over the mumble of my music

listening for a single, light sniff.

 .

In her yellowy bedroom she stands,

wishing, wanting, willing off the weight,

and without wondering once of

what that might make me mindful.

 .

She’s sometimes in the darkened pipes upstairs,

“justly” speaking, sobbing, shouting

too wildly to be drowned out by our wafer walls,

stumbling stubbornly over stiletto speech

meant for any but my own ears;

 .

I have pondered over the poniard in my penetrated chest

how downy would they drawl

if I rose from the sink to face her

instead of my reflection?

 .

Never can I find her, though,

where she will not sing her stance:

“You’ll never know, dear,

how much I love you.”

Filed under poetry

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Javier Velasco in Murano Glass
Deep Blue
.
tendrils
like disconnected neurons
in the child-brain of God.
Suspended invisible fragility
unreachable
by the romp
of a circumstantial visitor.
.
Tendrils thin and tapered
into the clean white reverence
to almost tickle your ears
and thread into your veins.
. 
I can see the delicate turning
of shapes that fit
somehow perfectly in his hand
and stretching,
slow then straight,
to pitch those wisps of rain arched
across the room.
Stop, clump, stretch.
and planting a sterile garden of
icicle branches
fit for snapping on the sill.
. 
And maybe I am swimming in his
Deep Blue sea
but if those corals fell
they would drift
gently down
without an audience;
and though they broke with a tinkling cry,
even shattered they would not suffer
glowing, shining,
Deep Blue.

Javier Velasco in Murano Glass

Deep Blue

.

tendrils

like disconnected neurons

in the child-brain of God.

Suspended invisible fragility

unreachable

by the romp

of a circumstantial visitor.

.

Tendrils thin and tapered

into the clean white reverence

to almost tickle your ears

and thread into your veins.

I can see the delicate turning

of shapes that fit

somehow perfectly in his hand

and stretching,

slow then straight,

to pitch those wisps of rain arched

across the room.

Stop, clump, stretch.

and planting a sterile garden of

icicle branches

fit for snapping on the sill.

And maybe I am swimming in his

Deep Blue sea

but if those corals fell

they would drift

gently down

without an audience;

and though they broke with a tinkling cry,

even shattered they would not suffer

glowing, shining,

Deep Blue.

Filed under poetry

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Catfish, Star,

The beautiful thing about snow

is its luminescence.

In the darkest, most foul and bitter night

it outlines everything in white,

itself glowing with the afterimage of the day.

In this way, it is like your soul.

.

These moments, I believe,

are the reason we say that time is frozen.

Because, as the landscape becomes a negative

to be later developed by memories somewhere deep in our skulls

time has indeed stopped.

In this way, they are like your stare.

.

Once the blizzard has passed a new dawn does not rise

so much as it lingers somewhere upon the horizon blocked by the trees

that cradle each snowflake with such care

you would think they were lovers,

and not so murderous to the plant life

which they choke and chill and bleach.

In this way, it is like your heart.

And mine.

.

The sky and the dirt for a time invert themselves.

For once, the ground is pure and clean and desolate,

while the air becomes a ruddy haze meant only for the eyes

of the one who takes the time to gaze upon a secret

no one should have stumbled upon.

In this way, it is like your mind.

Though I never knew it to be part of me.

.

Until,

of course,

I met you.

Filed under poetry italics address Catfish plain text addresses Star you should go check out the Star and the Catfish project by jimmynovaks that enriches things

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At this point I’m throwing myself against bars wrought apart by tears and screams and kneeling in the dew before a church with cold white breaths after dark, and I can’t tell anymore if the twisted, invisible bruises crisscrossing beneath my skin are hurting me.

Anyone could tell you, this cage used to be of glass.

I used to be the clone of a trophy that enabled a vicarious lifestyle. I am unsure of when it changed, but as to why, it may have been because I was becoming strong enough to break it. To pound my fists against the brittle walls and shatter the sick dream so that the razor shards of transparent motivations would rain down red upon myself and those who once looked through so smugly.

Now, it’s like the metal has softened, the bars are fewer, no longer a trap within a trap enveloped in heavy drapes that are far too warm and pleasantly suffocating.

Now, if I reach my arm out and stretch it as far as the marionette strings will allow, and push myself against the cold black lines, and pop my shoulder out of place the same way that my mind wanders so that the bone where my right wing might one day grow back from its sheared stump fits between them, the barely-raised ridges of my peeling fingerprints can almost graze the light outside the cage.

That light is what made me examine the lock. I’m sure I’ve seen it before, though I have little memory of it for the folly of misunderstanding its significance. I have the key somewhere, but cannot I know that the copy I’ve made will fit. I’m afraid I’ll have to cut it off, metal on metal ringing sharp and shrill, enough to cut your hands and scar your face and heart and soul.

My fear wanes as the bars move more easily still, and in apprehension I have begun to long for that day the steel will buckle and crack, whether under word or action.

If the door will not open, then I will make one of my own.

Filed under freedom prose

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I am a potential flight risk

I daydream of freedoms impossible for me to acheive

I am confined by chains of my own making

I strain against the biting manacles that will not break

I am full to bursting with that which goes unnamed

Filed under poetry

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I guess I didn’t realize

as my feet sank through the floor,

as the waves were lapping warmly,

that the ocean asked for more.

.

I guess I didn’t notice

as the sirens called my name,

the sand had ground my senses dull

and I forgot the lighthouse flame.

.

I guess I didn’t see it,

for the salt did sting my eyes,

but I was falling deeper down

past the foam’s too kind disguise.

.

I guess I didn’t feel it

through my sun and wind burnt skin

that the water swirling in my lungs

would be the only thing to win.

Filed under ocean water beach poetry

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Write it down.

Capturing a thought

is like bear traps on butterflies.

They’re unpredictable.

They come and go as they please

and yet, so delicate

that any amount of force seems excessive.

But it must. be. caught.

And plastered onto a page like your life depends on it

and your handwriting worsens as your pencil flies across the paper so you can scribble it down before it slips right through your spiked steel fingers and your frenzied vomit of words is expelled so violently that the table shakes and your point breaks and just like that your butterfly is—

crushed.

.

And, hopefully, you had it in your sight

long enough to see its wings.

.

Hopefully, you’ll have put it somewhere you’ll remember.

Because as hard as you deliberately try to live in that very moment—

you’ll forget tomorrow.

.

Capture your butterflies between the leaves

in piles of paper

so you can see their beauty—

or lack thereof— later.

.

Write it down.

Filed under poetry butterfly writing butterflies

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Oh, this is how it ends.

Good for you, you no longer have to pretend.

Oh, this is where we part,

I’m done with you and how you always break my heart.

.

But I guess you could say,

That we wanted it this way

And all that’s left here

Is the pain and the fear

Of letting go.

.

And oh, this is what I know,

Now that it’s over and I had to watch you go.

Oh, someday I’ll make you see,

That all you ever wanted, that’s what I could be.

.

But I guess you could say,

That we wanted it this way

And all that’s left here

Is the pain and the fear

Of letting go.

.

But too late for second guessing,

You’ve moved on and so should I.

I guess it’s just kind of depressing,

That I only wanted to try.

I know that she’ll only hurt you,

Can’t you see you’re living a lie?

I’m assuming that she’ll break your heart, soon,

And I’ll be holding your hand with a sigh.

.

Oh, this is how it goes,

You give your heart away and it just goes to show,

Oh, this is what I’ll do,

Until the end of time, and just because it’s you.

Filed under life love poetry song I'll record this sometime from a while back

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     I once saw the curve of time across the horizon. My time, at least, and therefore whether it was days or months ago doesn’t matter. I saw the painfully finite nature of everything I knew and would ever know, and then I saw the infinity beyond myself, the thousands of millennia which would not know me or my name, and the nonexistent dent which my short life made upon it all.

     You’ve seen it, too, haven’t you?

Filed under time life infinity

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Let’s not regret.

Realize we must live for us

And not for others.

Not for your mother,

Father,

Sisters,

Or brothers.

.

If it will make you happy, do.

If it will give you freedom, go.

A life that is not yours is squandered,

Frittered away on dreams that are not yours.

Given to charity are your thoughtful hours,

But never quite in earnest.

.

Do not mourn for the expectations lost on you,

They did not suit,

As they were not your choices.

.

Do not expect the lost to mourn their broken path,

They will return,

And they will soon find their way.

.

Let’s not regret what we have done.

Let’s not allow ourselves to look back in shame.

Do not be disappointed.

If it is wrong, make it right.

If it is right, there is nothing to regret.

So don’t.

Filed under poetry life regret

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A Knight’s Tale

     This is the story of every knight you’ve been told of, and of those you’ll never know.

     Every knight has a quest. I want to go about open minded, trying not to grovel and not go gloating to anyone else, like a humble knight with a pen for a sword. Have you heard of a truly noble knight who bragged about himself? They go off and fight dragons with no qualms, and without becoming arrogant. And if you can fight a dragon with words, maybe you can kill it more definitely.

     Every knight has a quest, but the tasks and trials along the way are often unknown. Make your quest ambiguous and broad, so that you might not be limited in your smaller victories and learnings on the way. My quest is to leave a mark. To make things better. To pull people of their groveling stupor, get them to stand on their own. I want to change the world. I can try, at least. Maybe I’ll impact one person in a positive way. Maybe I’ll save the world one person at a time. That’s all I can ask for. You see, it only takes one to make a stand, and maybe the one will help someone else.

Filed under knight writing prose