The Park pt. 1

I always wanted to fly; so that way when things got real bad I could just push open my windows, hop on the ledge, sprinkle on my fairy dust, think happy thoughts and fly off to Neverland with Peter Pan. But, this is reality and stuff like that never happens. I’d also have to have happy thoughts, and I can never think of none. I always pray that maybe Peter is out there, listening, and one day come whisk me away. ‘Cause I know somewhere fairy tales do come true, and I’ll get mine some day. Mama calls all my stories bottle dreams. She says I should put ’em in a bottle cause they ain’t never commin’ true. Maybe she’s right, but I still got hope.

“Evy, get your right side of a bottom down here before I pop it one good!”

“Uh oh.” I tried to figure out what I had done now to make Mama upset. But, most of the time I hadn’t done nothin’. She was just good and angry. I think it was ’cause Pop left her when she had me and Mary, that’s my twin. Now she’s just forever angry, but I dunno why, she met Donny. He took her in, even with two babies. Although, he’s awful angry too. I think their just mad at each other, ‘course didn’t stop ’em from having two kids.

I fumbled down the hall, going slow, to delay yellin’ as much as possible. It only takes about ten seconds to walk from our rooms to the main room, seein’  as our trailer’s ’bout as big as my two feet. There wasn’t much to delay. I approached the livin’ area, my mama was sittin’ on our couch eatin’ some chips and trying to tune into the one or two stations we could get on our little box of a TV.

“Evy where is Mary?” It wasn’t really a question. Mama didn’t ask questions. She just continued talking and you didn’t interrupt. “I haven’t seen her for hours. You need to get dinner cooked. Go and get her. If you aren’t back in five minutes, I’ll tan both your hides.” She didn’t look up from her television program. I walked away.

I was always getting the belt ’cause of Mary. She was a trouble maker. The trouble was, she always went out with out tellin’. Then I could never find her. I slipped on my sandals sittin’ by the door and went out to look for her.  Her and the other trailer kids was always startin’ trouble out in the fields behind our park. Unless you liked sittin’ out on your plastic chair in some dirt and starin’ at neighbors there wasn’t nothin’ to do in the park. They usually stole fruit or was lettin’ the chickens loose.

I heard laughter commin’ from the wheat field. It was followed by snorting and the sounds of pounding hooves. “Perfect,” I thought, “They let loose the cows.” Mr. Parker, the farmer who grew wheat out in the far field also had four dairy cows that he kept. They must have been chasing them back through the fields. I followed the noises till I saw Mary with Willie, Karen, Leesy and trailin behind her was little Donny Jr. “Mary! Come on Mama wants you home now to make supper. And, Little Donny is with you, come on you know better.”

“We were just havin’ some fun, I’m commin’.” She said goodbye to our friends as they continued chasing the cows into the other fields.

“Mary you know better. I don’t care if you wanna get the daylights knocked out of you by one of the cows, but Donny Jr. is only five. He could get seriously hurt.” I eyed Donny Jr. as he followed us back to the trailer.

“Sorry. I didn’t know he was with me.”

“Don’t tell Mama. Don’t tell her what you was doin’ either. She already skinned us once this week. Plus, if Pop comes home from the bar tonight angry, you know we’ll get it anyway.”

She looked at me with her eyes. The way we did sometimes, understanding each other without talking. As we approached our trailer the wind picked up and the clouds covered the sun.

“I hope there ain’t no tornado.” chimed in Donny Jr.

“Don’t you worry. It ain’t the season. It’s just God talkin’. If you listen carefully you can hear him whisper in your ears,” Mary reassured him.

Advertisements

Fire and Rain

He stared at the bed, unblinking, with sweaty palms. The sound of the machines were waning. His heart beating rapidly. Hers seemed to be slowing, steady, her breathing easing. He paced back and forth next to her bed. watching the muscles in her face relax. She was gone two days ago. “Hospice,” whispered the doctors. She wasn’t going to make it out of this hospital. He turned and did something he had not done since he was six years old.

He took his father’s hand. They clung to each other, steady. Their clammy palms interlocking. All of the things left unsaid, and now it seems forgotten. Her eyes flutter, not really opening, but as if she is dreaming off into the other world. His body tensed, and he squeezed his father’s hand. Reminiscent of the doctor’s office, a large, sharp needle heading into his shoulder. He held his dad’s hand so tight, if it hadn’t been his tiny, six year old hand, he might have broken it with that grip.

But, now he was seventeen. Old enough to do some damage. Yet, he squeezed it gingerly. He did not want to hurt his father more. They watched on the monitor, the lines became smaller. Yet, his heartline seemed to become increasing larger, when did breathing become so difficult? When did it matter so much? All of a sudden it took so much concentration. Then, in one large exhale, he had control again, and her line was flat. They looked at her. Her chest was no longer moving.

Dropping his father’s hand, he turned and left. How could he watch her leave, no longer exist? He ran down the hall, out the double doors, he ran until he saw the exit sign. He burst into the courtyard. His whole body shaking, doubled over, breathing in the fresh air. He still could.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But, I always thought that I’d see you again.” – James Taylor

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Gremlin

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

My demons are the way words crawl up and down my skin trying to find a way to enter. Hiding in the creases of my elbow until there is that one chance cut, and they can scuttle into my blood stream-flow into my body. Words are sneaky like this. Even if you are less observant than myself.

“Rachet.” “Gay.” “Homo.” “Fat.” “Dumb.” “Ugly.”

Don’t tell me it just slides off you. Words don’t slide, they hook into the crook of your wrist. Stick like glue onto your legs and stomach, stay until one day you grow tall and confident, peeling them off your epidermis. Yet, sometimes you can’t. We can’t. I can’t. 7th graders don’t.

“Snitch.”

A person who tells on another person, because they stood up to do the right thing. The word of the week. Her wrist bleeds out gay, short, fat, dumb. Her pills drown out ugly, homo, rachet. Words that the students’ batter into her head everyday as they shove her into a wall. So he writes a confession to the teacher full of names. Snitch. When really, he is a hero.

Dead. Is what she might have been. Lying lifeless, the words beating against her pale, ageless body, dangling from her toes trying to be set free.

It is the words clinging to our lips, spewing from the fire.

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

Names are forever.

Limbo

The circus came to town while Maggie was asleep. A ringmaster stood atop a charcoal colored, oversized bucket in the center ring and shouted, “Come one, come all.” They did. They came from near and far. The people filled the grand stand seating until only one little seat was left way up high above the rest. Tucked back in the corner, where it was impossible to see the ringmaster shouting from his perch in the center.

But, Maggie was asleep. Wildflowers painted across the sky bleeding through clouds. They poured down onto the pirate ships where swashbucklers looked up caught off guard. A mop in one hand, Roger cried for his sword. What were these abominations falling from the melancholy clouds? Maggie cried, “I will save you!” She took the wildflowers, knelt down and dug in the fresh dirt that now covered the non-existent pirate ship. The flowers took hold and grew tall. Maggie looked up to Roger, but he no longer stood scared with a mop and sword. He had left the flowery ship and so did she.

Lions pranced across the circus arena chasing a terrified tamer. He led them dancing through hoops of flame. The audience roared and came to their feet with applause. The lions took little bows one by one; their manes drooped and dragged across the ground. Still, one seat remained empty not a shadow of a person to be seen.

Maggie snored soulfully, but her arm seemed to be missing. She was racing down a speedway. One hand on the steering wheel, the other had been removed from her body. The car whipped around a corner and through a hole into the space continuum. Driving onto a large sapphire space ship that glittered with glass paneling, she skidded to a halt and hopped out of her car. “Captain, the asteroid will collide with us at any moment,” A short man in a turquoise uniform approached Maggie. She gave the order. They would have to self destruct and use the escape pod.

The audience turned to the empty chair. Whispers echoed through the stand,”Where is Maggie?” They said, “Where, where, where…” Clowns took the stage, suits oversized and brightly colored. They clomped in their giant red shoes, gagging and giggling with silly faces. An audience member was chosen for a prop. Into the cannon he was loaded and shot from afar. Plop. He landed in a pool of pudding, vanilla.

The pastures were green as envy. Maggie’s palomino galloped uncontrollably barely touching the wild grasses. She clung to his hair leaning forward as the sunlight streamed across her bare back. They burrowed deep into the earth and she looked at her body which was no longer her own. Her head was attached to a small thorax from which extended six legs. Maggie was suddenly two times as strong as she used to be. “Help us!” Ahead of her, a small pebble was crushing two of her fellow comrades. She loaded the pebble onto her back freeing the miniscule ants, who thanked her profusely.

The circus was leaving town, while Maggie slept. Onto the trucks the lions leapt. Clowns crept quietly into the night. The ringmaster thanked his audience. They clapped and left to near and far. Maggie did not know of the circus. Although they whispered her name, she slept, attached to machines. In a bed soft, with blankets warm. The stillness did not disturb her dreams. Machines sounded. Beep. Beep. Beep. Her mother wept at her side, head in her lap, for her daughter to wake.

Jordans Pt. 2

I’d like to believe that reality will one day become easier. That the hard times will pass and happiness will overwhelm us. Peace will reign and everything will be good. But, it is not what is true. We muddle through our day to day, we hold on to those we have and then we pray that they don’t leave us. At least not now, not when it is too soon, when it is too fresh. Why pray? Because it is easy. It is nice to have something to cling to when life leaves you tumbling down a dry dirt road so full of prickers you wish you never stepped foot in that forsaken desert to begin with. Yet, it really wasn’t your choice. At least there is someone waiting for you, holding your hand as you spin uncontrollably into the storm that we deem to be life.

Bianca had only her friends. I have learned by my experiment (said Henry David Thoreau) and it has been my experiment, that seventh graders cannot be trusted further than you can spit. Their developing brains cannot allow them to understand the complexities of life, therefore they will be best friends until the end… the end of the week. Of course, they would never reveal this to you themselves, but it is exactly what happens on a daily basis. This was the case for Bianca as well. She may have had her friends, but they were never her true friends. So again she was left alone on the outside of the world looking in with no one to take her through the storm that she was about to pass through.

I have also come to understand that there are people who are evil. Maybe their own parents were like Bianca’s. There was no one to teach them right and wrong. She was looking for love. A person to hold her and tell her that life would be something. She would be more than just a woman lying on couch drowning the sorrows and horrible memories of a life time of wrongs. But, how do you explain to a thirteen year old what her step-father did to her was wrong and going to find herself comfort in the arms of a boy who was kicked out of middle school is not the answer?

Bianca was living the life that no child should ever have to find themselves a part of. She took solace in the fact that her one friend came from similar circumstances. Middle school changes people and it did that to her friend. She slipped Bianca drugs in her drink. Bianca overdosed in the middle of class that day. She had no idea what was happening. She began having seizure like attacks and was rushed to the hospital. Her life was falling further and further into a darkened hole and the rope was fraying. Every time we pulled her out a few more strands fell loose. It was the boy that would end up changing her life not once but twice in the same year.

Jordans

In the land of Charmingville there lived a seventh grader. She was carefree and whiled away the days riding up and down the street on her bike. A purple and black blur of speed, her father had bought it for her Christmas of sixth grade. That morning she had come into the living room and her eyes filled with glee at the sight of the bike. She had begged for two years for a mountain bike. Finally, she had gotten her wish. Now, she spent her afternoons riding around the neighborhood with her two best friends. She would quickly finish her homework and get on that bike as fast as she could. It was her ultimate freedom. Her chance to really be a kid, she was after all only twelve years old.

Bianca’s copper hair fell past her shoulders. She did not live in the land of Charmingville. Bianca lived in our world. My world. I don’t think she ever owned a bike in her life. But, she had a pair of Jordans (Nike hightops), that were her pride and joy. When she wore those shoes she was not just another student in a uniform, she was somebody. Bianca’s father wasn’t home. He hadn’t been home since she was in the second grade. Her stepfather took off two years ago. She lived with her mother, if you could call it that.

When Bianca left for school her mother was lying on the couch. When she came home from school her mother was lying on the couch. The only difference was the beer cans that littered the floor and table were fresh. The stale cans were crumpled and cleared into a corner. Her older sister took up one room of the house with her infant son. Her older sister was seventeen. Bianca had been looking out for herself since fourth grade, no body else was going to do it for her. But, she wasn’t sure what she was looking out for. Then seventh grade happened. Her life turned a corner she never would have imagined. But, then again, she didn’t spend a lot of time imagining things. She lived to survive.

Word Demons

I am followed. Words follow me around they are in the shadows of my mind. They play at my thoughts and taunt my dreams. All day lexicon begs me to write. My imagination drips with endless characters. They waltz into my lessons marching like ghosts between my students. They look back at me their silent faces and pleading eyes watch me while their bodies are covered in word vomit. Places they wish to be from, settings I will one day write.

I feel some thing wet splash across my face, and I look down at my toes. I see the words rain, and storm rolling across the carpet like tiny army ants. i stare back at my students, can they see the words too? The words they are haunting me. On my way home darkness cowers around me. Black, vile, ominous— is this another story trying to fight its way onto the pages of my notebook? Everywhere I look, the images are replaced with words.

I can no longer see a leaf. The leaf is covered with the words: floating, crisp, Autumn, golden, dying. The word demons follow me. They Invade my every breath. Until I only breathe in words and everything else has left me, and now I write.