Bury Me So I Can Bloom
I crave the earth's warmth
A sun, forgiving
or so you think
has the same callous
as you claim
told to bored,
They grow weary
of your cries,
As do I
How many times
There is a
reserved for the
arrogant, single minded
The peak, it calls
I usher you
from my hair
May its chilling wind
Bring you truths
Let it suck, let it rest
It can be hard to move forward with a piece when nothing seems to be working. It's fine.
It's literally fine.
Called a rough draft for a reason.
Patience is a virtue. Rome wasn't built in a day. [Enter your own cliché here]
Get the idea out, grammar and plot holes be damned.
Rest your eyes. Have a drink. Take a drive. But not if you've already had the drink. Put it down. As long as you want. As long as feels right.
Go live your life. Take a class. Watch some videos. See what the universe has to offer you in the way of experience.
Come back. Paint your words with the stroke of the worlds you've discovered.
Repeat. As many times as you need.
Success, money or not
I would be lying if I said that the notion of successful publication didn't come with some sense of validation for the creative overachiever. Is it the only marker of talent? No, of course not. Plenty of incredible works are passed over for a myriad of reasons and as long as humans find solace in ease and familiarity, mediocrity will also be elevated. (Not to say that an incredible piece of writing can't be easy or familiar to its reader).
To me, traditional publishing is external validation combined with the promise of publicity or profit, however meager it may be. It is someone else in your "world" seeing your work, saying "No, you're not delusional- this does indeed deserve to be shared with the world" and being moved enough to offer compensation in one form or another. You've cut through the politics, through the arrogance of artistic sentiments and creative cliques. You've learned to speak from your own beating heart to the beating heart of another in a way that is not just personal, but professional in the most black and white of ways.
Self-publishing is a different mountain to climb. It is brave, it is bold, it is looking in the face of established systems and choosing to go your own way. But that independence comes at the cost of money and time. You have to learn more, do more. Success rises and falls upon your shoulders. The greater the risk, the sweeter the reward. If traditional publishing is like a slot machine, self-publishing is when you brazenly try to bet against the house.
Both require sacrifice. Both are lofty pipe dreams, depending on the end goal. Neither are necessarily markers of talent or personal success, but the notion is still quite alluring.
haven for the mind
It is mine,
and mine alone
Twenty years ago, my small brown feet, encased in glitter-specked jelly sandals, stopped abruptly at the edge of the back porch. The dying lights in the heels flickered an erratic pattern, then ceased as I took note of an spotted belly exposed between the dandelions.
I'd come in from play, or maybe school, to find the tank empty. I walked through the house, also empty, and descended into the basement on the hunt for one of my elders. I walked outside, greeted by a black, fan-shaped fin pushing through the grass. A soft brown mouth was frozen into a blunted diamond, screaming silently into an atmosphere unforgiving . Despite the dryness of the day, the ground was soggy beneath my feet. Papa was in his workshop, which is where the fish tank has taken residence for the better part of a quarter century.
I had a dream the other night. I was a child again, and my waify frame leaned over the side of the loveseat, ribcage shifted upward by the armrest pushing gently into my abdomen. The room was dark, and I was alone. My nose was inches from the glass, and soft white light illuminated the curiosity in my tiny face. I carefully watched the movement in the tank, just as I had all those years before. But the beloved creature of my memory was replaced by a sea of koi flashing obsidian and tangerine within the quiet glow. They flooded the tank, fighting for space. They were not the same fish I knew from my childhood but still, I woke with a memory unlocked.
The fish didn't have a name. They called it Oscar, based on a misclassification of the species. I know now that the fish is known as a common pleco. Hypostomus plecostomus. An omnivore from South America that locks itself onto the side of the tank and sucks growth from the glass. They grow beyond expectation and are surprisingly sensitive to their environment. They're armored, but that serves little purpose for the domesticated fish. I've read that they're able to breathe air, though I doubt that extends to the wind sifting through the blades of an overgrown backyard in the Carolinas.
I asked my grandmother about the fate of the fish. As she tells it, the tank leaked often and many of the inhabitants attacked each other. They had the pleco for a long time, but my grandfather grew weary of the problematic upkeep. I had no memory of its problems. Only of an unyielding fascination with the beautiful black fish.
"It was an ugly thing", Grandma said. An ugly thing, sold deceptively -or ignorantly- for a utilitarian purpose. The pleco was never destined to be the star of any display. It was a custodian. A forgotten descendant of an exotic, resourceful lineage commanded to clear the muck that refined, celebrated fish wouldn't dare to touch. An ugly thing. Undeserving of a legacy of its own.
My grandmother didn't specify if the pleco was alive when they dumped the tank. I didn't press. I'd asked enough questions and the answers I received were unsurprising and made me weary. I chose instead to focus my attention on internet articles discussing tank conditions and growth sizes.
Soulless eyes stared into the sunlight. Sandal lights spun on heels and crossed back through the doorway. The fish became bones in the next coming days. Soon the bones were gone, too, carried off within the voracious maw of memory faded.
Madame Kavindra’s Freakshow Theatre
Kavindra cast a crisp, almond shaped eye onto the bay windows of the Great Room. Ice and miniature snowflakes clung to the chilled glass. Beyond its frosted panes, the village slept upon the hill, a life-sized version of the ceramic figurines found in predictable, stable homes during this time of year. Unsurprising, she mused, that this is where peace lay hidden, presented only to those who seek it out. World wonders needn't be impossibly remarkable.
The elegant bard had learned much through her travels, but ignorance still bit at her heels. The life of a traveler led to vast yet superficial knowledge, illusory in its promises of expansion. Her relationship with the people of the village was tumultuous--and largely conditional--but even in their stormier encounters, she felt an almost envious sense of fondness for the simplicity of their lives. There was a place for everything. No question or concern as to how their roots would take and spread. This life was part of them, and they were part of it. They would fight for preservation of what was precious and true. Though disruption held a certain level of value in her eyes, Kavindra was familiar with its consequences and often wondered where she'd be without it.
There were less than ten minutes until the show was to begin. On a typical night, there would be protestors and patrons alike crowding the grounds of the sprawling mansion. But tonight, the pathway to the theatre was free from tracks or prints. It was the heaviest snowfall of the year-- overbearing in its romanticism--and few villagers wandered outside of their homes. Kavindra began to mull over the fleeting wings of loyalty but deduced that for those with fickle footing, loyalty would always choose to lie elsewhere.
Flip, Kavindra's short-tongued companion, stoked withering flames on the other side of the room. Sensing the dying warmth upon her back, she called out to him.
"Flip. If you need something to aid in the fire, there's a stack of flyers lying on the table."
Flip followed Kavindra's gesture to a disheveled pile of papers on the table to her right. He picked up the papers, scanned them over, and grunted with concern.
"Burn all but one. I'd like to remember the events of today. Though the ghoulies may not. They haven't come out of their rooms since we returned from the square. Jazz and Domino are confused. Eddie understands. All too well. "
"Hrmph." Flip tossed the posters for the night's showing into the fireplace. The flames leapt in excitement at the mixture of adhesive and ink. The thirsty logs washed over with amber and saffron, crackling with glee. Satisfied, Flip joined Kavindra at the window and took in the scene for himself.
"Perhaps we’ve overstayed our welcome here. Maybe I’ve overestimated our usefulness. Is it wrong to have hoped this would be our final stop? The shows have gone so well."
"I'm tired, too. But I tire more of fighting than I do of fleeing. " Kavindra tore her eyes from the painted hills and cast them upon Flip's chiseled face. "The mountains will thaw over in the next few months. We'll hold a final show in the spring, when the roads in the valley have dried." She paused, her voice cracking as she began to speak again. "I wonder how the ghoulies will fare on their own."
"I suppose you're right. They are creatures. But they're children first."
Flip cast a booted foot forward and slid heavy, weatherworn arms around Kavindra's tapered waist. He craned his head, nestling his clean shaven jaw into the space above her slender shoulders. Kavindra inhaled with apprehension, but the rapid beating of Flip's heartbeat upon her back eased her tension. He was rarely so well kept, but their stay in the mansion at the bottom of the hill lent itself to luxuries they'd learned to forego during transient times. Consistency was uncommon in the lives of the tinkerer and the bard, but she was ready to lean into the little their circumstances would allow.
Kavindra lifted her arm and ran a dainty bejeweled hand across the length of Flip's cheekbone, ushering him closer to her body. Heads together, eyes closed, the two breathed into one another, intertwined in the slow, hot breaths of familiarity.
Eight insistent chimes came from the grandfather clock in the hallway and broke the companions from the intoxication of intimacy. Flip lifted his head from the crook of his mistress' neck and unlocked his arms from her waist. The sound of creaking doors came from the bedrooms on the second floor, soon followed by scattered footsteps scampering down the carpeted stairway.
"I suppose we should gather the ghoulies. We may have no audience, but the show must go on. They need the routine. As do I."
A flurry of pointed ears and pastel skin flew by the entrance to the Great Room. Flip extended a craned arm to Kavindra, who gracefully interlocked it with her own. The two strolled wordlessly down to the hall to the theatre, ready to prepare for a showing meant only for the dutiful keepers of the Freakshow.
Idk, I guess I’m like good at dialogue or something?
I try not to toot my own horn because I am prone to delusions of grandeur followed by periods of bitter realization once I receive a freshly powdered backhand from humility.
I think I do okay.
I think about a lot of stuff. I write about a lot of stuff. People have funny minds and they're entertaining to explore. There are things that happen that intersect with things we wish would happen and there's some neat little ditties in them there crossroads.
I'm always willing to read the work of others and provide feedback as the situation calls for. I like constructive criticism on the things I write as I am pursuing publication and as I mentioned earlier, the occasional reality check is a good thing for me.
I like dark things, inappropriate things, intense things, flowery things, romantic things.
Serevina slammed the microwave door shut. She pressed the 1, the 0, the 0 again, and the Start button. The familiar hum began a symphony of convenience, one she'd become familiar with in these few weeks with the new baby in tow. Somehow, as their mother lay to waste in a hospice bed that resided where the dining room table used to be, there seemed to be more time- more opportunity. How was it that in the face of the reaper, she felt more like herself? As the stork approached, the remnants of who she was seemed to fall to the wayside in favor of nursery décor, breastfeeding lectures and webinars about the early signs of postpartum depression.
The microwave beeped. She looked at the directions on the plastic wrap sealed to the top of the tray. "Stir, then place back in for an additional minute." Aye, aye, captain. She wasn't one to disobey. She never had been. Probably wouldn't be here if she was. She followed the poorly printed directions to a T, and placed the black plastic tray back into the microwave. Just another minute, and then it would beep again. Hopefully the shrill electronic tones wouldn't wake the baby strapped to her chest. He never wanted to be put down.
She didn't know where her sister was. She wasn't going to the push the issue. Elena had done so much already, and she had her own way of processing things- usually with the help of someone or something. At least this time it was a man instead of booze...or pills. Or psychedelics. Though the comfort of a man could be addictive in its own right. Serevina knew this well enough. Hell, she'd spent the last year dealing with the consequences of the comfort of a man.
The microwave beeped again. The meal was lukewarm. They usually were. The directions were flawed. She slammed the door again. Pressed the button again. She thought to complain, but the thought faded. She got these meals through a government program after all. Fourteen, to carry her through the first couple weeks of her recovery. She would make it work. She was a beggar, not a chooser.
The door unlocked and her sister walked through the entryway, sheepish grin on her face. She hadn't come home last night and offered mild apologies- equally as lukewarm as the TV dinner being pulled from the microwave. The baby strapped to Serevina's chest stirred and began to wail loudly against her sternum, rooting manically for her breast in search of food and comfort. Serevina sighed, Elena grimaced.
Serevina shot a look at her baby sister, a silent plea for relief. Wordlessly, Elena pulled the infant from his carrier and placed him awkwardly over her shoulder. Serevina watched nervously as her sister fished a bottle one-handed from the lead-painted cabinets but said nothing. Elena had been criticized enough through their lives together. She had the ability to be capable. She just needed the space to figure out how to do it.
The microwave beeped again, insistent that its contents be removed. In the midst of the newborn's crying, Elena opened a drawer to her right, pulled out a plastic fork and handed it to her big sister. Like magic, a bottle of milk appeared within the chipped polish of Elena's fingertips and she slowly headed up the stairs to feed her howling nephew.
Wordlessly, Serevina watched them ascend the stairs, exhaling deeply as the door to the nursery closed. She opened the microwave door and dropped the steaming tray onto the dining room table. She twiddled the plastic fork between her fingers and eventually stabbed the pennies-on-the-dollar mystery meat and shoved it into her mouth.
If there was no one else, at least there was Elena.
Look at the way it writhes on the ground. Like a little dancer round a maypole.
Quite a gorgeous shade of red, too. Perhaps I'll take a bit, show it to the decorator. I hope it doesn't oxidize. Any deeper of a tone and it'll clash with the curtains. They're vintage, you know.
It's still alive. Clawing at my dress. Nasty little thing. Can you believe that it wanted to be human?
Now don't you leave a stain. I spent a lot of money on this dress. It's custom. These are real diamonds. The kind you get from worker children in the third world. Don't be such a prude, at least they're employed. Anyhow, do you like it? It's designer, you know.
Its sinew got twisted round my stiletto.
I don't know why I wore these. They haven't fit right since the war. I get so stiff after just a few hours with them on. My, it'd persistent. You think it'd have some sort of afterlife to get to. Do these things even believe in a god? No matter. Do you like the shoes? They're designer. And vintage.