“Well, Hell’s bells… That was a waste.” she said to herself after watching Days Of Our Lives. A waste. I am wasting. Wasting time. What time? Wasting life. No. STOP. I wish I could just smoke…
Jean sat in her chair at the kitchen table, readying herself, steeling herself for the coming emotionality of telling her secret. Am I not in enough pain already…? And can’t I only feel it…?! Why does it have to spread?! WHY DO THE PAIN AND CELLS HAVE TO SPREAD?! Because misery loves company. ‘Misery’. Mm… Good movie. “Joe hates the leg part…” she smiled wistfully, a private smile between herself and a memory of one of her sons. I still remember the way he moved as a child; jerky and quick like he was out of time… Time. I still remember the way his little arms wrapped around me before bed. Little arms and then big, strong arms. How do I tell Joe? My Joe. How could I ever be away from my Joe…? He is just like me. Not like Lisa. Not even like Terry, his twin… Like ME. He would face this, head on. So would Terry. They would fight. For me, they would fight. So, I will fight for them. You have to fight. Maybe you can beat this. Maybe you can beat this before you even have to say anything. Stage four. … No, it’s lonely... And I’m done.
On her way back from the bathroom, Jean stopped at the refrigerator for another beer. “Damn this leg!!” she hissed as she sat back in her chair, phone in hand. 10:01PM. She poured the beer and sprinkled the salt. She swallowed a pill with a long drink and marvelled at the minor discomfort she was currently feeling in her mouth. Ready now. Jean dialed the number she knew by heart from the day she received it. Little pain now…
It rang twice, “Hellooo…?” Jean could hear the smile in her sister’s voice.
L.L. Flores 2021
Nausea had become Jean's constant. Like her heartbeat, it was steady and thick. But not forever. Neither can last forever. Sigh… She walked, second beer in hand with her head swimming in pain and malnourishment, from the refrigerator to her chair by the table and carefully sat. She tapped the top of the can with her broken nail a few times before opening it. Feels wrong to use a broken nail but there's no sense in breaking another one. Nails are not tools. She set the beer down and looked at her outstretched hand. Long, slender… strong, even still. Like I was. Before. Before time and illness took from me. Before they ravaged… me. Jean curled her fingers into a tight ball, her fist shaking with rage. Or was this fear…? Damn it. She picked up the can, angled her glass, and poured the beer, listening to the half-melted ice from earlier crack and tink. She shook just enough salt into it and listened to the sound that made; a quiet fizz was the voice of receding foam. Should eat something. She took a timid taste of her beer and waited for the flames of liquid contact to sting and burn her sore. Just breathe. Just. Breathe. Before you know it, it will barely hurt anymore. All I do is hurt anymore.. Take another drink. Let it numb…
Jean eyed the silver cigarette case on top of the TV Guide. The case was open. It was full. She had, a few years back, switched from cigarettes to little cigars in an attempt to quit smoking altogether. That had been the plan, at least. 'Man makes plans and God laughs.' "True." she thought, solemnly. She reached for a cigar and paused, fingertips hovering but a centimeter above it- Not yet. I can still feel my mouth. It's throbbing. She had taken a solitary puff that morning and had opened a door to a new chamber of torture. Wait. Drink. It will help. … Help. Jean sucked in a quick breath before taking a swig of salted beer and clenched her jaw against the onslaught of a sensation that the word 'pain' could even begin to describe. This… This was beyond pain. This was Hell in cellular form.
And something lurks within me, sharp like broken bulbs from a Christmas tree, bloated with a stinger like the hive’s queen bee and my weather is cast in shadow
Ashes inside instead of falling snowflakes, the monster never gives as much as it takes, bodies are missing, drag the lakes and I barely breathe anymore
Heartbreak gave me talons and six horns, eyes the color of Firethorns, a low and guttural growl that steadily warns and silver feathered wings
Eight inch nails for teeth, nothing but storms in the underneath, my altered humanity, I do bequeath to anyone who might want it
It cracked the moment I tasted flesh, in the forest of pine needle mesh, I couldn’t resist the smell of your blood, so fresh, I had to take you home
Because I’ve been less than human for so long, since the last time I heard my mother’s song, I see the people gathered in a throng and my mouth drips…
I am not like the other daughters, hands forming hearts like coupling otters, holding tightly against the tumultuous waters, I’m my own kind and I stand alone-
Remove the marrow from the bone, freeze it, turn it into a stemcell ice cream cone, howl at the moon, like the wolf, I am lone and the sky is a Soylent Green
And, oh, how I miss the actual snow, to sink into it in a fiery glow, I carry four broken hearts, I know, can you make one of them work…?
And at his cries, my pointed ears perk, I want to pull him to me, just grab his hand and jerk, instead I hide, just behind him, I lurk, because I can’t let him see me like this
Gone is the woman about whom he used to care, replaced with by a teething and dreamless nightmare, I want to capture him, take him, drag him back to my lair, but we can’t connect over a vacant and burnt orange stare
And, oh, how I simply long to hold him within my wings, just a whiff of his skin and my soul screamingly sings, but he loves humans, he doesn’t love THINGS and I am one, I’m a creature in between beings
“I saw Wires again..?” Isaac murmured, mostly to himself.
“...What did you just say to me..?” replied his father, still drunk from the previous evening.
Isaac focused on his hands clasped tightly in his lap, knowing better than to look up as he tearfully whispered, “He was tasting again.. it hurts.”
“You listen to me now, boy. You hear? There IS no “Wires”. The only thing in that damned closet is your momma’s dress and I’ll burn the damned thing if you don’t stop your lies! Now, quit your crying and go comb your hair. It’s sticking up.”
“But there is! Wires is in there, I promise! He comes out to taste!”
“Shut up now, boy! I don’t want to hear it! You do as your daddy says and go comb down your damned hair!”
“... But it hurts.. my head..” Isaac cried.
Isaac’s father had reached his limit with these lies. He propelled himself across the expanse of the small kitchen table, one hand on each side of Isaac’s little head, “BOY! I’LL GIVE YOUR HEAD A REASON TO HURT! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PAIN IS, JUST YOU-” and stopped as goosebumps traveled up his arms and neck. He swallowed hard. The back of Isaac’s head, beneath the point at which his hair was disturbed, was warm and it.. it was wet. “What the…?” his father began to question as he pulled his hands swiftly away from Isaac. His right hand was glistening and he vaguely noticed a familiar smell. He stood up and slowly walked behind Isaac. What he saw had an entirely sobering effect and he was horrified. There was an injury to the back left side of his son’s head. The hair had been removed and where there should have been skin, there was an area of exposed skull. It was the edge of the wound that brought the vomit to his mouth.. It looked like someone had taken a large pencil eraser and had effectively erased away a section of Isaac’s scalp, leaving a wide hole with a red, raw edge. No.. No, it was something else.. It looked more like when a predator with a rough tongue just licks and licks its lifeless prey, clear down to the bone. His father went pale as he recalled what Isaac had said just moments earlier; “He was tasting again..” He walked shakily to his son’s room. The nightlight was still on and from inside the closet, he heard the distinct sound of wire hangers scraping along the bar as the door softly closed.
“Daddy..?” came Isaac’s tiny voice from the hall behind him. “Did he taste you, too?”
TREES OF CRYSTAL: marigold
And I hate the way they smell, ripe with betrayal and secrets to tell, lacking a backbone, headed straight to Hell because they believe-
That simply saying it makes it true, I am beyond sick and tired of you, I am steadily overlooking my cue to walk away
It grows larger and larger each day and the end is beginning to fray, loosely tied, a slipknot ballet, twitching and breathless
And trees of crystal line the path between safety and the bloodbath, I’m a reddened wall, the aftermath of bludgeoned life
With imagined betrayal, he was outright rife, it is why he still gripped the knife, slick and dripping with hematic strife; what had pulsed within her
But her heart’s still fluttering, it’s astir, even as the black and whites purr against the curb, red and blue lights demur any sense of well-being
Because, for them, there is no foreseeing the consequences of her disagreeing, they didn’t see his concrete guaranteeing that she would pay
There’s just nothing that she can say, descriptive words could never convey the hatred writhing within the way his eyes promised her
That worse than punctures will assuredly occur before he will ever “allow” a spiritual transfer, that the lines between life and death are the ones he can blur and without feeling
Anything though she is left reeling, under moonlight, on wet dirt, she’s kneeling, in this position, he almost finds her appealing, but it’s not enough
And in the low light, she can see one metal cuff, a well-worn blade, and his quiet voice is gruff, he exhales a warm Marlboro puff… “I thought you told me you liked it rough..”
There is no way to safely outbluff, to feed him words of lace and feather fluff, the breath leaves her lungs in a panicked huff, oh, this is it…
He is a bottomless pit of the atrocities to commit; bite and beat and slash and slit, “It’s what you deserve.”
Simply and solely to unnerve, his eyes trace along her every curve, nothing about her worthy of reserve, he’ll take her apart
She left a taste on his tongue that’s tart and he has punishment to impart, justice will be served, his actions his art and they’ve all been fooled
And where it’s darkly pooled, her blood has thickened and cooled, around his fingers, her tresses are spooled like strands of gold
She did say she never wished to ever grow old, he helped her, truth be told, he did what was right, what was needed, what was bold…
His eyes the shade of marigold
FIVE YEARS AND A DAY: replicas
And her eyes speak a lot like mine at the end of the night, heavy-lidded with wine, conveying a yearning, a longing, a certain pine, for who you were the original time you stumbled
Across one another in snow, your hearts without each other rusted and hollow, to your emptiness, she was the sharp echo, at least at first
His matches my insatiable thirst for the perverse and the hopelessly cursed, my impatience for the innocent and unversed, my love for the scent of heavy cloudburst
She even has my unbalanced disposition, a woman possessed by her own intuition, using your flaws as emotional ammunition to bleed you dry
And, like you, he loves to watch me cry from a frigid cold distance, never explaining why he's drifting away and his actions belie what they once were
She chokes out a guttural purr, "She'll never be me and I'll never be her…" even when it seems that some types reoccur, nearly perfect clones
I became his to consume, lick the bones, he whispers to me in low, sinister tones, "I used to love you." the words sinking like stones, a reiteration
And she's manning your obliteration, not submissive at all, but with vociferation and, like I, she lacks desideration for any part of you
He tells me exactly what to do and couldn't care less about the black and blue tinting my skin, coated in a panicked dew of perspiration and pain
Five years and a day since we last had contact, our connection a charade, a joke, a play-act, we found one another in others when that love cracked, dehydrated and gone
Because each one after US is a nearly identical pawn, a void-filler, a bore, a yawn, we take them wishing affection would respawn, so tell me…
"Did we move on…?"
WILD WINDS 4: the ribbon
Because wild winds wrote my name
Across the concrete in red letters of blame
Because I AM the reason you came…
I am the reason he hides; the reason they declaim
I have been tinged, I taste banality
Pearlescent teal and flames of carnality
2,000 years this side of night yet somewhere inside, there exists some light
A weightlessness that brings shame to flight and lets me absolve without having to fight
The forces at work well below the detectable tip
The ones that say, "No." and those that command me to rip
My shell from its framework, alabaster and cracked
I was biodegradable once…
I AM SCAR TISSUE AND CHEMICALLY ABSTRACT
Metallic where the unscathed bone cracked
A crater in the arm where the ribbon was packed
And cotton candy can't taste as sweet when, after wild winds, the body meets the street
Plant the truth beneath the wet, black peet and pray that it and ears never haphazardly meet
Never have I ever screamed in defeat-
The secrets I'll hold until Death and I meet
When the demons come, they arrive by the fleet and I find there's no way but to gracefully retreat
Into mySELF, fear-rattled and at a loss
The smallest always looks me in the eye and gives the coin a toss
"Heads, we'll be with you for a day - tails, you're ours foreverrrr…"
They ate my guts so long ago, I have none with which to reply, "Never."
Or even, "Whatever." - I can't feign not caring-
The glowing spots set in their rings are the pieces of my soul they're wearing
Parts of who I am that I didn't anticipate sharing
And there's no one around who's fit for pairing
Love's in the corner sullenly staring and at my own reflection, I'm rufescent and glaring
Howling into sweet, dark nothing, "WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!"
Receiving a wispy, godforsaken reply, "Inhumanly glum…"
I am interwoven with all that is wrong
Gangrene and tetanus-
Lockjaw to prolong-
The horrified expression frozen, mouth utterly agape
Close the verbal floodgates with staples and duct tape
But before you do, shove your hand down my throat
Tear from their God given place my vocal cords as you smote
My bodily vessel, invaded and overridden
By presences and faculties that once were strictly forbidden
Wild winds carried them in and so shall they sweep me under…
And in my mind and in the sky rings the same voluminous thunder
This isn't a joke. I am serious when I say that the laughter has been led to slaughter like the pigs we consume. I am so serious when I tell you that concern has fallen to the wayside, as dead and weightless as the last autumnal leaf. And I am absolutely serious when I state that love has been strangled by the clawed hands of enmity. There's a hunger- grotesque and selfish -that lingers in the collective gaze and it, itself, screams, "NO ONE EVEN SEES YOU..." while still conveying the spiteful fact that they can't WAIT to watch your collapse. Time is ticking... The elements of this life are shaded by banality; lackluster at every turn and she is GONE.
Never again will we genuinely laugh. No, what we emit is a forced cacophony of awkward, stilted tones. We feign concern because we know it's what's expected of humans. And love... We never even mention love because, without her, it doesn't exist. Why so serious...?
Because she is gone.
BECAUSE she is gone.
Pure derangment lurks in the gaze, void of mortal attachment or concern. That's what identifies us...
I still remember my first. Guarded eyes, dark hair, nice teeth.. Perfect hands stuffed deeply into his pockets against the freezing night. I had to HAVE him. I needed his body to be mine and mine alone, so I stalked him through the howling winds and heavy snowfall. He entered an alley illuminated by a singular streetlight, florescent and flickering. The walls on both sides blocked some of the loud gusts making it possible for him to finally hear my approach. He swiftly glanced back at me and from his expression, it was clear that he understood my intentions. Well.. He understood ONE intention, definitely. He broke into a full sprint away from me. I slowed to a leisurely pace, marvelling at how pristine the snow undisturbed by his panicked footprints was, so confident in my ability to make him mine. I rounded the final curve, locking eyes with him- his, frenzied and pleading. Mine, hollow as two bird bones. He didn't feel the same. He didn't want me, but I was his gift. I was pure carnality on two feet with a bow made of virulence knotted around my neck and HE- with the ivory ground beneath our feet now steeming from his leaking red -he was my awakening. Those guarded eyes suspend in formaldehyde and that dark hair retains his scent in a vacuum sealed bag.Those nice teeth clatter within a jar like a makeshift infant's rattle. And those perfect hands... Those perfect, perfect hands... are MINE to hold forever. I'll always remember my first.
& DELIRIUM IS BLUE
From the gaps between infected synapse drifts an acrid smoke
A signal to swear that "Your mind is NOWHERE..." came the gray voice, the only truth it ever spoke
Knots form after Invega's poke which is the latest injected joke
This is the final psychological downstroke-
This is the army of demons I invoke
And what am I to do when delirium is as blue as Neptune's clouds and just as cold...?
Under sheer madness, I warp, I fold
No longer a precious metal..
No longer tinted gold
Mind set aflame, I can't be certain of my name or perhaps it is that I have simply detached
But in the dark, eyes the shade of electrical spark, watched as a new breed of insanity hatched
To a chemical mist, I wildly latched and at a mental itch, I frantically scratched, thoughts trapped beneath my splitting, bloody nails
No matter how loud or the size of the present crowd, it's as though no one can hear my psychic wails
What this entails is a suffering with six tattered sails; a broken and capsizing ship of a feeling
And delirium is blue-
There's something ELSE about it, too-
It's a predator, it's talent sanity stealing