The rain falls
The World turns
Moans flow out unheard
I am nothing
Soon to pass
With dreams of a once dead past
And with hopes unrealized
With perfect loves forgotten
And actualized loves muddled
With tears, lies, regrets
I am a fountain
Perpetually spewing out murky water
Though You are the same
And We cannot purify each other
At least we spew together
And in doing so, truly live
So, I cannot promise You purity
For all We have is We
And We will be nourished all the same
And in doing so, truly live.
And in doing so, truly live.
#poetry #freeverse #love #philosophy #pain
First Line of Time Forgotten
"Well Master Johnson, it's time for you to exit," The monitor said calmly.
I rose in shock,
"What? Land? Where the hell-"
I was ejected from the ship, careening uncontrollably to an increasingly larger burnt orange orb.
I dream of running
Away from all directions
Fear in front and back
I had a life before, you know. Before someone stuffed me in this pod to float out in nothingness for all of my life. How do I know? Because I can remember the grass under my feet, the summer sun (excuse me a summer sun) shining down on my head, the expansive and never-ending blue sky above me like the river that stretched out beyond. Yes, I know that there is something beyond these pristine white walls, this ship that caters to my every whim, this soul-killing sterility.
"Soul" is a funny word isn't it. I learned it a while ago, but how long ago was it now? Maybe a day? Week? Month? I couldn't be sure, the days bleed together. And while I'm on the topic, what a strange way to count days, 24 hours? Who came up with that? Yes, I know that you used to have a sun that kept you aware of the change in the time, but I do not have that luxury anymore.
And who is this "you" anyways? I guess I need a companion so I've created one out of myself. You are I, I am You. Maybe that holds some value, but how can I know up here alone?
But anyway back to "soul". I was taught the word the same way I was taught anything, by the large black monitor screen that stood impassively in the front of the ship at all times watching me. The lesson that day was Advanced English Vocabulary and the monitor had explained it thusly, "The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal".
Obviously, I had asked a follow-up question to this ambiguous definition,
"What is meant by that?"
"By what, Master Johnson?" the monitor replied in its polite, robotic dialect.
"By that word, 'soul'?"
"'The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal' I'm sorry if I was moving too quickly Master Johnson," the monitor tried to inject some remorse into its apology but it hit my ears as being inorganic. But then again what did I expect?
"No, what does it mean? I think I've seen the word in books or heard it before, and it seems like one of those big things I should know."
"I'm sorry Master Johnson, I was not uploaded with that information. Hopefully, I can be updated with this information soon."
I sighed and ceased my questioning. Whoever had set the monitor up had left out many important pieces of information like what I was doing on this ship or what a soul really was. All I knew is that I was traveling to some unknown location or more accurately away from my former planet. I didn't know the way, and more importantly, traveling in solitude on a small ship within this dark, endless universe, I didn't know myself.
A Note To The Reader (Or More Accurately a Disclaimer)
I recently read an article that stated that Stephen King wrote 2,000 words a day, and it got me thinking of myself. I know that at times I can become complacent in my writing, or go through writer's block when it comes to my more important projects which causes me to go days without writing. I realized by not writing daily, I was depriving myself of precious time practicing my craft. So I decided to start a project that I could see myself working on even on those days when I'm feeling uninspired. This is that project, less cohesive story with a cut-and-paste plot than meandering epic that travels wherever my mind takes it. I plan on making this a very experimental work, like a sandbox where I could throw any literary plaything in hopes that some stick. For this reason and others, I expect for most to bear some quarrel with what this project could become, but I will be much less bothered by that than harsh criticism on my other works because it's a stress-free project that I'm writing for practice more than anything else. That being said, as always, I'm extremely open to criticism of any kind or any length from anyone. I'm sure along the way the question of why I'm publishing this on Prose might come up and to that question, I answer thusly, "Because I can!" I hope that I, or any reader, is able to see my steady progression as a writer and maybe even able to derive some pleasure from reading what I have to write.
If anyone makes it this far, happy reading!
Musings on The Transmuted
As the first part of my novel draws to a close I thought it would be fitting to write a little bit about what the book is, the plans I have for it, and what the rest of it will look like so that anyone who isn't reading it could see this and possibly find the story interesting.
So first a word on how the book came to be. I always wanted to write and I've been trying to think up an idea for a novel for a long time. This summer, when I would have nothing to do but write, I found would be as fine a time as any to begin a novel. For a long time, I was clueless for ideas but knew what type of book I wanted to make. I am a huge fan of high literature and the work of the Lost Generation while I also knew that I wanted to write something revolutionary in some ways because that's where the best work comes from, but again I was without an idea for a story plan. I know there are many writers on this site that know how it feels to have a yearning to write but not knowing where to start and that feeling followed me day and night for a long time this summer. Thankfully, an incredibly simple idea hit me over the head, "write about what you know!"With this information, I devised a rough idea for what The Transmuted has transfigured itself into. I decided to write about the one thing I knew because I experienced it: heartbreak.
The Transmuted is at its core a story about heartbreak. We live in a society now where everything seems disposable and changeable, but certain things like love, true metaphysical love is still tethered to the human experience. The problem is we can't control who we love which can be problematic when the people we love, love other people. This is Michael's problem and mine as well. He loves one person truly but since she is with another, he must push his feelings down and try to see beyond it. The first part of the novel focuses mainly on this with Michael turning to Tinder and casual hookups to fill the hole of a love unfulfilled.
After Part 1, there'll be an Interlude which will be a seen of the post-high school malaise of a young single man. It'll basically function as a long chapter that will get Michael from high school to college.
The second and third part of the novel will focus on Michael moving to other parts of his life, college and young adulthood. This part will focus more on Michael's other interest and his social experiences with the shadow of love always looming ominously overhead. The most immediate of these interest is Michael's own writing career which he properly begins and builds up, with a diverse mix of reception and praise.
I think the work is going quite well and I know some people on the site have also taken a liking to it. So if you have any interest in it, I would really encourage picking it up. Also if you're reading it and enjoying it, don't be afraid to show or tell others!
The Transmuted (Chapter 13)
It was night now and I burst through the doors realizing it would be the last time through them; the last time feeling the air rush forward to greet me. My cap, the final remnant of my graduation attire was clutched in my hand, the tassel moving carelessly from left to right and left again, unaware of the significance its airy dance held. I was wearing a white oxford shirt, the top unbuttoned without a tie and dark dress pants that moved in tune with my legs. The thought of wearing the clothes for church passed through my mind and I sighed at the prospect, slightly dreading that Sunday alarm that always felt too early. I forced myself, though, to move onto more exciting thoughts, happy that I would soon be reunited with my friends.
“I’ll be there in a second,” I texted out to Anthony.
“Hey, Michael!” A voice called from behind me.
I turned to see Mary, her smooth hand holding and held gently by Zack’s. Forcing a smile, I waved back to the approaching couple. They came to me and I could see them both clearer, Zack’s blue shirt complementing Mary’s blue dress.
“Hey,” I said when they were in earshot, “How are you two?”
“Great,” Zack replied.
My question wasn’t directed at him necessarily but Mary nodded vigorously in agreement and said,
“Yeah, the ceremony was really nice.”
“Yeah, it was better than I expected it to be, honestly,” I hastened to agree.
The ceremony was exactly how I expected it to be. The excitement of the day carried me through most of it, even gracefully guiding through the rehearsed speech of the headmaster and prolonged storm of cliques by our valedictorian, yet it couldn’t push me through the physical reception of diplomas, and I was in danger of falling asleep by the time the ceremony had gotten to the “P”s.
“Now it's all over and we move to the next chapter,” Zack said unloading a wide smile on me. I’d overhead many times that Zack’s smile was his best quality, apparently melting the hearts of many girls before working their dark magic on his greatest opponent who now stood defeated at his side.
“Yeah, I guess it is time for the next ‘chapter’,” I betrayed myself and a note of derision found itself into the statement. I didn’t particularly like the expression, it implied our lives had a definite plot organized into neat periods of times, that as soon as that period of time was over we were changed and given a fresh start in a new world of endless possibilities. When I looked at Mary, the moonlight shining overhead as if marking her off as its own, I knew that this chapter was not at its end, but was stuck in its middle, rambling without end in sight. My misstep seemed to pass by unnoticed as Zack continued to flash his smile at me. I thought it was woefully overrated.
“I’m so happy that you’re going to Camden though, seeing it on the program was such a pleasant surprise,” Mary said with a genuine delight.
I didn’t want her comment to fill me with any joy, in fact, I planned on making a subtle backhanded reply to it, something like Yeah, I guess we haven’t really spoken in a little bit or Yeah, I didn’t know you were going either, but looking into her eyes I couldn’t feel the indignation I expected.
“Yeah, it’ll be so great to have you two there,” I said with a pause between “you” and “two”.
They both nodded as a breeze passed through the familiar courtyard where we stood. Zack checked his phone and looked to Mary,
“Hey I gotta go, my whole family came to the ceremony and my parents want me to come back to see them before they have to go.”
“Oh, Ok cool.”
“Alright, sorry about this.”
“Oh it’s totally fine, I understand,” Mary said raising up to give Zack a quick kiss. The absent indignation arrived but I forced it down quickly, “When do you want to meet for tomorrow?”
“Probably around 11,” He said beginning to walk away.
“OK, great,” Mary said waving at him quickly before he receding into the darkness.
My heartbeat quickened progressively as Zack’s footsteps receded and I tried to think of the last time I was alone with Mary. I couldn’t find it and discovered that my thoughts had all meshed together into a formless blob with Mary’s moonlit face shining graciously over it. We stood in a small silence and I tried avoiding staring directly into her eyes for any long period of time.
Her eyes perked up and pulled mine to her like they were magnetically attracted,
“Oh yeah before I forget, I really hope you can make it to our graduation party tomorrow. It starts at 3 but feel free to come whenever.”
She said it like she knew I was coming, which I still hadn’t decided, but now I was under her spell, eyes locked on her’s and hoping befuddled drool didn’t pour out of my mouth,
“Yeah, of course, I’ll be there.”
I cursed myself for sealing my fate, still locked in her hypnotic trance. She replied to me with a radiant smile that muddled my thoughts worse than before, and part of me wanted to escape her before I did something I would regret. However, I stayed, not sure if I could get my legs to move anyway.
“So what are you still doing here?” she asked her lips glimmering in the moonlight.
I hadn’t thought about that for a while and it took me a while to picture my friends smiling around a Chick-fil-a table.
“Oh, I’m going over to Chick-fil-a to meet up with some people,” I said motioning to the restaurant over in a plaza near the school.
“Oh Ok cool, with Anthony and them right?”
“Yeah. I told him that we shou-”
“-go there when we all graduated, yeah,” she said with a quick laugh, “I remember you telling me Freshman year.”
I smiled dumbly back at her, and my mind picked out an assortment of Freshman year memories from out of the shambles of my thoughts. Rapid scenes flew through my mind like a flipbook: laughing with her in the halls, helping each other out in class, giggling over late-night texts about nothing, whispering clever insults to each other during lectures, lamenting over the school schedule in the morning, sharing her with Anthony and others over drinks at one fast food place or another., and a litany of other sunny memories that felt so small in the moment and incredibly large now. In the past, while trying to chase Mary out of my mind, I assured myself that she’d let that time slip from her mind, but the evidence that she didn’t made my heart cry out exuberantly. Everything else seemed to fall away as my mind began to formulate a plan to declare my love to her, moving too quickly for me to stop it or focus on any one scheme in particular. My reason and sensibility buckled easily against this wave of true feeling and unfounded hope in an impossible future that I felt was destined to occur as I looked into her lush green eyes.
“I can’t believe you remember,” I said, my voice hushed by emotional gravitas.
“Yeah, how could I forget?” I really miss being that close to you,” she said momentarily looking at an invisible spot on her shoe.
If she would’ve maintained eye contact, I would’ve kissed her that instant. Instead, I was just able to contain the eruption of emotion inside. I took a small step forward, but when her eyes were reunited with me I could tell she hadn’t noticed. There was, however, a change in her eyes, what looked to be a sadness that wasn’t there before, but it was shelved away before I could place it. Was it love? Does she feel how I feel? Was it even real? Though I didn’t have a definitive answer, I was thrown into feverish desperation, Mary coming into sharper focus as the edges of reality blurred.
“Yeah, I really miss it too,” I said my voice even more hushed than before and lacking any savoir-faire or bravado.
“Yeah, I know right,” she said, sighing deeply then cheering, “But we should get back to that in college, I would love to have a person like you in my life.”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
We stood in silence for a second, and I could feel myself beginning to brim over with this secret love which threatened to burst out at any time. I thought moving might relieve me of some of the pain,
“Hey, do you want to walk over with me to the parking lot?”
“Oh, yeah sure, I should probably get going soon too.”
We began the journey, one walk I’d taken several times before and that my legs navigated unassisted. I felt as though I made the right decision, as we walked I felt the feeling begin to slowly die down and shrink into the little spark that I usually felt when I was around Mary. The conversation itself also had something to do with it, we asked and answered questions about nothing like what dorm we were going to live in and what we planned on majoring in. Finally, the parking lot came into view and I let a wave of relief wash over me similar to the feeling I got when my parents double-checked my room for monsters. We made it to her car and she stopped by the front door as I walked over to lean on the back door of that side, and we both simply stood, eyes locked to each other again. She laughed quickly,
“Ok, I should probably g-”
“Hey, I love you.”
I always imagined what that moment would be like, I had played out every possible scenario and reply, guessing at the depth of emotion I would feel and charge into every word. I never thought of it like this, blurting out of my mouth without any real thought, interrupting her as she was unlocking her car door. Now she squinted towards me like she was seeing a completely new being in front of her,
I wasn’t completely cognizant of the fact I’d really said it until her question and the gravity itself didn’t hit me until I tried to formulate an answer. What did I mean?
“I love you,” as if repeating the statement would change the situation.
“Yeah, obviously I love you too like we’re really close friends Michael-”
“No…” I trailed off unable to accept her facile version of what I said. I looked down so I wouldn’t have to face her with my painful explanation,
“No, I mean I’ve loved you since the moment I saw you. I love everything about you, I love talking to you, I love thinking about you, I love you, Mary.”
My eyes slowly rose, reluctantly moving only due to the small part of me which hoped against everything. When I met her eyes though, every part of me knew I made a mistake. Her eyes were searching, wild and bewildered, like I’d just savagely killed a harmless animal inexplicably. The look made me want to crawl into myself and never come out.
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t say that to me again,” she said anger painting the statement a deep red, “Why would you do this to me? You were the one that told me to-” she shook her head her tone shifting from anger to sadness, “Why would you say that?”
“Because it’s true Mary, I do love you and I live with this every day.”
She shook her head and her eyes misted over slightly, glistening in the moonlight.
“I can’t believe this…”
My heart shattered and I realized there was nothing romantic or heroic in what I did. Truthfully, I only did it for me unloading my burden onto Mary’s back in hopes that we would throw it off together. But now she would have to carry it with me, while my load wouldn’t be lighter, but even heavier with the knowledge that I hurt her and ruined our friendship.
“I’m sorry,” I said reaching out to console her, my arm losing its way and freezing midway. I wasn’t that person for her anymore.
“I think you should go,” she said looking away.
My mouth opened in protest but I closed it and turned away. I heard the door close behind me and I turned momentarily to see her back out. I looked forward again and began to walk in the darkness towards the neon signs in the distance, the moon still standing carelessly over the school.
Lust rising inside
large and overpowering
Seizing the controls
A cold, distant pain
The problem is existing
Runaway from life