The Runners (Partner Poem)

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Co-written with hastywords

 

The phantom highways

Stretch before us

High speed, racing towards
A destination we can’t see yetOur feet are weightless,
each step covers miles
and yet we are going nowhere
endlessly running

Weariness threatens us
On our endless destination
Urging each other forward
Holding each other up

We are so real, so poignant
but only paint brushed on canvas
bursting with life and color
an endless moment captured

The earth under our feet
The sky our sunlit canopy
Never a more beautiful picture
Captured, a living symphony

She strokes our surface, lovingly
as she paints our moment, her dream
Her wheelchair creaking softly
as her brush dances
and a tear traces a path
to her smiling lips

 

Chapter One-The Nightmare

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The room was filled with balloons and the floor was carpeted with bubble wrap. The balloons looked like normal balloons but seemed to bob strangely in the air, as if filled with something. A small child is huddled in the corner of the room, fearfully facing the only exit to the room; a large red door. The door begins slowly begins to open, creaking loudly in the process but  no one but the small boy seems to notice. The door then shuts and the balloons and dancing guests part as an invisible force makes it’s way towards the young boy, the bubble wrap crackling with each step. The small boy whimpers and his lips can be seen mouthing “Stay strong my boy, Stay strong my boy”.

His lips quiver as he keeps muttering the mantra under his breath, eyes fastened fearfully on the advancing force. Then clenching his fist, he resolutely faces the creature as if determined to face whatever challenge comes his way. Suddenly the balloons start exploding violently, spewing puffs of color into the room. POP! POP! POP! Each pop shattering the silence like a shotgun blast. The colored fog that billows from the balloons eats up the air in the room and transforms it into a mystical shadow land, the chairs, tables and people acquiring almost ethereal qualities as they are consumed by the fog.

In the fog that is created, a silhouette can be seen. A blank area where the fog can con penetrate, and it is advancing on the young child who is now standing, fist clenched and face scrunched in concentration. The crowd, oblivious to the action bursts into song “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Kevin…” The happy joyous song striking a sour chord, each burst of merriment underscoring the young child’s advancing death. The irony of a celebration of life on the eve of his death seemed to register on the young child’s mind. He glances fearfully at the incoming  menace and then with a shout charges into the mist hoping to get lost in the crowd and make his escape through the door. He moves faster than he has ever moved before, running as if he has gained wings, but before he can even reach the edge of the crowd the shadow is upon him. He can feel the cold clammy hands gripping his neck and drawing him back as if by sheer force of will. He struggles, his legs pistoning and arms flailing but it’s as if the very air is against him and he is drawn back inexorably to his doom.

His flailing starts to slow and his body begins to grow limp. There seems to be no escape. Then from the resounding silence that had come after the balloon explosion and songs, a voice booms out, filling the room with sound.

“Boy! The whistle, blow the whistle boy! Remember what your father said, when facing death, blow the whistle!!”

The boy, moving as if through thick jello reaches for his chest where the whistle hangs. His hand rests on his heart for a moment and he can feel his heart trying to rips it’s way out of his chest. Grabbing the whistle and struggling to bring it to his lips even as the invisible hand crushes is throat, he blows with all the air left in him. The whistle’s piercing scream fills the air and the room is consumed by it. Time stops and the room is silent it the midst of the sound, each person frozen as they were. Then the aura of death, darkness and confusion is shattered and so is the room and everything else in it.

Still screaming, the echo of the whistle still ringing in his head, Kevin lurches upright, hitting his head on the top bunk. Panicked he looks around, eyes darting from place to place, thoughts running rampart in his head like stampeding buffalo. Where am I? What’s going on? Who…?

The realization hits him as he look around and sees the walls of his room and the scrunched up sheets laying in disarray and his bed that looked as if it was the victim of an aggravated assault. Sweat drips from his face and he rolls over and wipes it on his pillow in disgust and whispers “Why does this keep happening?”

Beauty (Revisited)

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There is an infinite beauty in living

Breathing and listening

To the rhythm of the earth

 

Artists merely tap into this haunting melody

And make vacuous shadows of the real

Beat that echoes

 

And heats the blood of men and women

And sounds through the dreams of kings

The symphony

 

Of a sunset, the staccato beat of the heart

As the body warms from a kiss

The music that roars

 

Soundlessly through the universe

The scale the world revolves in

With moans

 

Of the seasons, typhoons and dust bowls

Of the worlds pain and joy

The rumbles

 

Of a stampeding group of elephants

Charging the nearby store for bargain prices

And the percussion

 

Of the incessant tapping in class as the teachers

Drone on endlessly, the rhythm monotonous and

Overbearingly slow

 

Like the heartbeat of a great whale as it groans

Its sad song to the world, the sound vibrating through

The ocean wide, sonorous

 

The cry of a parent that outlived their child

Wild and aching, a piercing pain, sharper than the

Shriek of

 

Of pain as a tooth is uprooted and tossed

 

In it all.

There is beauty.

 

A Lonely Boy

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“Great party last night!” boomed Jace from the front of the room as he nonchalantly threw his letterman jacket over his shoulder. “This is gonna be the greatest senior year ever!”

                The words continued to flow from the mouths of my classmates, rising and ebbing like a sea of sound. “Plans for dinner…” “Duuude…” “..And then she…”

                Bits of conversations would drift into my ears as they walked by. Waves lapping on the shore of an island but always receding. That’s how the words, the conversations were. I would always hear, listen from the distance, catch little scraps but never did I have full intercourse. No teasing foreplay of snide comments or sports trivia. No interesting exploration of positions and ideas. No satisfactory conclusion of a debate well fought. Just scraps.

                “It’s ok, you don’t need them anyway.” I muttered to myself as I ground the pencil lead into the deep groove on the corner of my desk. “You’re perfectly fine without them. Who cares what they think?”

                I glanced up quickly, hoping maybe someone had heard my dark muttering and noticed. Nothing. The class droned on as if nothing had happened. In the beginning at least I got some weird looks. But now nothing. The taste of blood exploded into my mouth before the pain did. Damn it! I had bitten my cheeks from gnashing my teeth. I couldn’t stand him!      

                There he stood like some power drunk wizard king enjoying his concubines. Three! He was having not one but three conversations simultaneously! With three different people. And here I am, the only pleasure I get is this inner dialogue. This pathetic beating around the bush and following the same old thought patterns day in and day out.

                “Fine, if that’s how it’s gonna be then fine. I am sick of it all. You better listen cause I am about to tell you how you are all gonna die.” I mutter whispered my defiance to the ocean. The only response was a girlish laugh from one of Jace’s concubines at one of his witty jokes. 

The Answer is Only Half the Journey

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You demand clarity,

each heart beat pumps desire

for knowledge to your brain

 

Your eyes strain

searching endlessly, relentlessly

for the answer to your question

 

You dread the answer

but you cannot unloose the hounds

of information from ripping through

 

You celebrate

as the answer appears before you

but you find its only half the problem

 

Now you know

what you wanted to know

Now that you “understand”

what will you do?

Give me Liberty or give me Death!

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The night air was cool and calm with a breeze dancing gently across the surface of my skin. As I stood there and surveyed the sky I noticed that the moon was closer than normal and glowing softly through the clouds. I laughed sarcastically inside as I felt a tear trace its meandering path down my face and into my bosom, carving new pathways for the wind, now icy, to assault. The serenity of the night was the opposite of the stark battle raging within me. I swallowed, the sharp tang of vomit and fear stinging my throat. I swallowed again and forced my foot to move forward and hang over the edge. My body fought my every move, each muscle spasming as if to shout “Don’t do this!” But I had spent too many years hating and hurting this body to listen now. Determined I moved another foot forward and now my mind started rebelling. Whispering things and saying that maybe death isn’t the solution and maybe I should just conform. But this too was something I was used to and brushed it away. Give me liberty or give me death I roared within myself to drown the noise of my own protests. I cast myself forward into the night to be swallowed and absolved of my great lie. But just as my body was plunging forward, my dark hair absorbed by the darkness, a hand grabbed mine and pulled me back to the hospital roof. 

They Say Time Will Heal

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They say time will heal, 

but what do they know?

The illusion of peace

time paints over the pieces

lasts till pressure is applied

and the cracks start to show

 

They say time will heal

But can they really feel?

this nagging needing

of my heart, tired of bleeding

though the wound is healed

the pain is only sealed

 

They say time will heal,

can I trust them?

Time ticks and tocks 

and my mind’s eye is blank

then memory madness flashes

and sudden sadness lashes

out and sinks me again

They say time will heal,

I am waiting.