griffin claws and upturned teeth
digging into bone and beach
sloping hills and sandy sighs
a soft and scraping lullaby
dusty daisy and yawning caves
thrashing just beyond the waves
save me a soul again,
if i can't find my own
leopard dreams and wasted eyes
flickering out like fireflies
ancient sun and newborn moon
grinning and then gone too soon
weeping shadows and sweet seafoam
intertwine to never be alone
Write Without A Plan? I Always Do
Hello there, stranger beyond the screen.
I wonder what your life is like.
Sonder, they call that feeling.
Curiosity about the lives of others.
Do you want to know why I write, stranger?
Why I take random emotions of my own and throw them into books and more books and more books?
Or come to places like these and let my brain go wild based on the little guide from another person?
There's this... Feeling I have.
I like to call it a "disconnect".
I have no idea what certain words like dissociation or derealisation or depersonalisation fully mean but I'm rather certain I must have felt them, at least a bit.
I wish I could live in the moment and enjoy the present.
But reality just... Isn't pretty enough for my imaginative mind.
So I like to create one, sometimes.
One that is better, one that is worse.
A place where I can scream into the abyss, so to speak, and know that it won't matter at all.
I mentioned these feelings to my mother, yesterday.
Hoping for... Something she could never give me.
It led to a thirty minutes conversation about how I needed to be social and healthy, drop my phone, make more friends.
I could never blame her for her opinion.
It's hers, after all, as mine is mine.
And it isn't her fault for not understanding me, I'd rather blame myself for being a writer - of sorts - who is terribly bad with words in the real world.
So I leave this world.
And I make worlds of my own.
Worlds where a character I love is struggling with the same messed up feelings as me.
Or worlds where two characters fall in love, whatever that means.
And can I tell you the truth, stranger?
Person I'll likely never meet?
It is one of the scariest, craziest feelings, to have so much power.
Sometimes I wonder what to do with it.
I could kill a dozen men and bring to life a dozen more with the tips of my fingers.
And I have.
It throws me into this strange state, like a pianist who gets lost in the music.
The zone, I suppose I could call it.
And suddenly, the world blurs away, the voices turn to bare whispers and I am lost like a being possessed in the throes of my creation.
Like a god, I puppet them all through joys and demise.
I forget the strings on myself when I am there.
I forget everything but what is mine and mine alone to shape or destroy.
We have a little too much power, I think.
But readers will continue to read and even if they don't, I don't see us ever stopping.
It's simply too fun to disappear from this realm and fall into a self-made dream, even for a moment, even for a while.
Lost in Uncreativity
Put pen to paper
Leave this for later
When I feel safer
And ideas flow
I need to think
Pour in a drink
Stare, don't blink
Idea level still low
Put on a song
Wonder what is wrong
Listen to the throng
Of household and home
Come back to me
Ideas all free
How about going to the sea?
Beaches to roam...
Think, think, think
Coffee - drink, drink
Just don't sink
In the ocean of the brain
Huckleberry’s Barefoot Jug Band
Barefoot shuffles down a dusty back road-
Shimmy shake, shimmy-shiny, shimmy shake.
Palms pitty patty on a sunburned belly-
Slap a dappa, rap a tap-it, tippy take.
A-whistlin’ a Willy’s wet happy mornin’ John-
Woot a wee, weedle-dee, woot a wake.
Singin’ how the wide world would be a perfect place-
Come a cane pole, a bobber, and a lake.
Pen to the Paper 19
Nick walked down the halls of the arena. “Caleb, this isn’t funny,” he said, scanning left and right through the empty, dark corridors. Suspenseful music slowly began to increase in volume. Subtle at first, when it was finally reaching its loudest moments, Nick hadn’t realized that music had started playing, just that it was currently playing. It felt natural: as if it were always there.
There was a woosh behind him. Scared, he jumped and turned around, his phone flashlight illuminating an empty hallway.
“I don’t like scary movies, man!” he called out.
An ominous laugh came from behind him. He turned around. Still nothing.
Then he felt it. Two tendrils poked his sides.
Nick spun around, screaming like a little girl and flailing his arms. When he opened his eyes, he was horrified to find no one was there. "Mommy," he mumbled under his breath. He bolted forward, the eerie music picking up, making his heart beat faster.
There was a cackle to his right, but he ignored it and kept running. His legs pumped faster than Usain Bolt's impressive twenty-seven and a half miles per hour. It's incredible what fear and adrenaline can do, isn't it? One of the speed detection devices I set up clocked him at thirty-five miles per hour. Though he does work out, Nick has never ran for sport before.
In front of him, a door began to slide down from the ceiling above. Pushing harder, Nick continued forward, sliding underneath the gate just before it closed.
He rolled head over heels and used the momentum from the roll to pick himself back up and continue his mad dash for the dressing room. He heard more whooshing behind him, as if whatever had ran across the room was doing so faster and gaining on him rapidly.
Tears were streaming down Nick's face at this point. As he neared the staircase, he began to panic. What if there's something on the other side of that door? That and a million other thoughts raced through his head. He closed his eyes, reached for the doorknob, and slammed it shut behind him.
He slid down the first railing on the stairs, grabbed a hold of the edge, and threw himself down the next flight of stairs. After sprinting down the final flight of stairs, he began to laugh in relief as the door to the dressing room neared. The lights above him began to increase in intensity, the buzzing from the LEDs getting louder and louder.
Ten feet from the door, the lights began to shatter. Glass rained down on Nick as he grabbed the doorknob, twisted it open, and slammed the door behind him. He slumped to the ground, leaning against the door, chest heaving.
He looked around. Watching. Waiting. Listening.
“Just kill me already,” he said when he saw the dark shape in front of him.
The mysterious figure slowly lurked closer and closer to him, taking on a more humanoid shape.
Nick covered his face, waiting for whatever harm may come to him.
“What are you doing, dude?”
Nick looked up. The lights were on in the room. The dark figure that had been lurking towards him was me. “Did you… were you…”
“There was this thing chasing me, and the lights exploded, and I ran like an Olympic athlete…”
“Lights exploded? What are you talking about?”
Nick struggled to stand up, still exhausted from running so hard so fast, and opened the door.
“Man, you’re crazy. The lights are fine.”
Nick did a double take. His mouth dropped open when he realized that I wasn’t lying: the hallway was perfectly clean. Every single light was on and in place. It slowly dawned on him what had happened.
I don’t know what happened, but I woke up in the hospital lying in bed. “You’re lucky to be alive,” the nurse said.
“Your ‘friend,’ if you can even call him that, kicked you in the side of the head. Your face slammed into the wall and you crumpled to the floor. I’m amazed you don’t have any brain damage. You have a fractured skull, though.”
“Dang. That sucks. I have somewhere to be! I have an announcement to make!”
“Don’t worry about that. You should be getting some rest. And he did it for you already. He told me to show you this video.”
The nurse pressed play on the TV.
Nick was standing beside my limp body. He was holding me up next to the microphone. I had sunglasses on. The sunglasses were hanging on the edge of my nose, and you could completely tell I had been knocked out.
“So, Caleb isn’t feeling well,” Nick said, raising my hand in a weak attempt to make it look like I was waving. “He–uh–is having some voice issues.” Nick shook me to try to make my head nod, sending my sunglasses skipping across the stage. The audience gasped. “Pentothepaperisout!” Nick called out, panicked. The platform beneath us began to sink as mass panic took over the stadium. The video stopped.
“Well, that was a mess,” I said.
“Indeed it was. Here are your pain meds, and I’ll be back in a minute with more information about how long your stay will be here.”
Pen to Paper 19
Why? I ask myself. Why do I always ruin everything by being depressed?, Why can't I just let me be and let myself do what wants to do?, Why do I need to make everyone I love angry with my stupidity, my drama?.
I don't mean to do that but it kinda is the only way I know to treat myself. I wanna stop being that negative person and change! Because now my life has a meaning and the people that are in it, are the greatest I could ask for. Stupid hormones and feelings! Why do we have to go through those?, Why can't we just be beautiful and happy without getting scared, without drama, without depress. How do I find my way to be great?!
Maybe if I let myself free and show more trust to that one special person who surely knows how to make me feel amazing. Thanks to him I had an amazing month of smiles and happiness. I guess sometimes, I suffer from sadness because I think that if I don't, something is not right! But I need to let go of that feeling and trust more in my happiness.
Finding answers while writing is WoW!
My head is being filled with
Millions of pictures,
And thousands of pieces of prose.
I see words flowing through my sight,
And paint dripping off the brush,
But in reality,
All is still.
No words appear.
No characters coming alive.
Surrounded by inspiration,
Pens bubbling with anticipation,
For the next masterpiece we shall create.
I cannot move my pen with purpose
As I used to do.
I go through the motions,
A simple sketch alone.
It has no soul or feeling.
No capacity to grow.
My drawings look uncomfortable,
My dialogue is dull,
Despite my trying round the clock,
To combat this horrid writer's block.
The Woman with the Red Hair.
There was something about her that day. I swore the color behind her eyes changed. I loved her so much. It was hard for me to handle what was happening, but I had to for her. It all started on a Thursday night. I came home one day early. I shouldn't have, but I did. She was there sitting at the kitchen table. Her sunglasses were splayed beside her feet, along with her purse and jacket. She never looked at me.
"What's going on?" I said.
"Sit down," she said sternly, staring daggers at the wall ahead.
I pulled out the wooden chair keeping my eyes down. Did she even know it was me? We hadn't made eye contact, nor has she made a single movement.
"Why are you here?" She said.
"Look," I rushed out, "I..."
She held up her hand, "it's okay," she said. I watched as she rubbed her hands over her eyes, pushing into the lids smearing what mascara was left. I didn't know what to say. I had never seen her like this, and the house I was beginning to notice was utterly silent.
"Where's..." I said before she held up her hand again. I tightened my lips and stared at her. She looked sweaty and anxious. Her black top was disheveled around the neck, and my God, she was missing an earring. She threw her head back with her eyes closed, took another deep breath, and then proceeded to tell me about Mackenzie, Mackenzie Roth.
She had gotten bored in the afternoons and decided to go into the city. She wasn't sure what she'd do when she got there, but she thought she could figure something out. The train was only about a ten-minute walk from the house, simple. She packed a light bag and walked to the train that headed right into the center of Manhattan.
She was so confident when she boarded the train, but the closer it got to the city, the deeper she could feel her stomach sink. What would she do when she got there? She wasn't savvy at anything. Why did she need to go exploring now, at this age? She had planned to get off the train when it arrived and hop right onto another train home. No exploring today. This was a big enough step. The train came to a stop. The crowd was so strong exiting the train that she was on the streets of New York City by the time she realized what had happened. It was loud. People pushed by her frustratingly as she stood aimlessly in the center of the sidewalk. How did she end up out here? She followed the crowd so blindly. Nerves raddle through her spin, and she started to panic. She took a deep breath and spotted a simple coffee shop only steps away. It wasn't too busy. It was 1100 AM. Right in the middle of breakfast and lunch. She straightened her bag and jacket and pushed through the door of the café.
After ordering a medium cappuccino, she took a seat at the window, looking out to the street because she was too anxious to pick from the menu. She couldn't believe it. Here she was, sitting by herself in a coffee shop in New York City. Her heart fluttered. She was so lost at that moment that she hadn't noticed her name being called. The shop was surprisingly relatively peaceful. It was only her, a man, and the baristas. The baristas whispered to one another behind the counter, looking at their phones and giggling now and again. The man had a headset on and was staring into the soul of his laptop. So she was startled when she saw Mackenzie standing beside her.
"Are you Sandy?" Mackenzie said, smiling.
Alarmed that she knew her name, she stuttered, "um, yes..."
Mackenzie smiled again. "Your coffee," she set the coffee down in front of her.
She was confused. Where did this girl come from? Had she been in the bathroom?
"You were the only one I thought could be Sandy," Mackenzie said, nudging towards the man with the laptop and smiling.
"Oh, my, yes," she said, bumping her forehead, "I'm not a city girl."
Mackenzie smiled at her for the fourth time and said, "want some company?"
She didn't respond right away. She wasn't sure if she wanted company. This was a solo exploration, but this girl seemed nice enough. Maybe this would be good for her?
"Okay," she said, "sure." She reached for the bench beside her, motioning for Mackenzie to sit.
That is not my chair.
At my mother's house, there is an old wicker chair that my dad used to use. He'd sit on it to work on whatever things he had picked up earlier: Wiring, a broken thing of some kind, or something.
Looking at it, I could already here the peculiar "creeeak" of the wicker as it adjusts when he sat down on it. He would then reach up with one hand, adjust his glasses, then get to work on whatever doodad or piece of technology that required repair, the occasional "creeeak" of the chair protesting as he adjusted his position.
I came to associate that chair with Dad: That was "Dad's Chair," and not mine.
. . .
When he passed away, I realized that's one of the things I missed: Knowing that Dad would be there, in that seat, working on something. I had grown comfortable with him sitting there, focused, hands moving over the object of his attentions, making it better. That's what he did.
...and he always did it in *that* chair.
When I look at it, I realize I can't sit in it. I can't own it. It isn't mine.
It's not my chair.
It's Dad's chair. It always will be.
. . .
My Daughter’s Imaginary Friend
I knew I should have given my daughter that puppy for Christmas, for children left to play alone eventually find themselves in dangerous situations. Once a child begins talking with themself, it isn't too long until they make an imaginary friend. And talking with an imaginary friend is nearly as dangerous as talking with a stranger. What if your child puts themself in danger for the sake of somebody who isn't real? Somebody you never can get to know?
What gives rise to an imaginary friend? Wishful thinking? Is this what my daughter secretly wished for--a friend? Perhaps it isn't too late to get that puppy…before they begin exchanging secrets.
By joining her one-sided conversation, would things only become less real to her?
What words could convince this imaginary friend to leave her alone? What could I say to this stranger who talks through my daughter? What could convince it to stop from feeding upon my daughter's loneliness and reinforcing her false beliefs?
The world is not always what we believe!
Nobody can make it on their own. I remind my daughter of the time she got lost. Of the time she wandered off, believing the wind was whispering to her…only to find nobody there.
Then the words came. The words that would convince my daughter to return to me.
Sweetie, would you like a puppy? A best friend who will always lead you back home?