A tribute to Mr. Prufrock

I am not Athena

Nor was I meant to be

I am just a coward

In a land of thieves

 

Deceit to break the silence

The lies that set me free

You held me your clutches

But then lost sight of me

 

Could I ever escape you

But perhaps I never will

Maybe even you can’t save me

While I’m waiting for you still

 

Once I was a sparrow

But then you broke my wings

So you could wait and listen

To the quiet song I sing

 

Yet I am not your lover

And I am not your friend

I tell myself you love me

And you let me pretend

 

I use to sing of freedom

Now I don’t sing at all

You left cold and broken

While you are standing tall

 

I wish that I could give you

My silver claddagh ring

But I can only wallow

In the misery you bring

 

Hear now my surrender

My melody undone

My song was changed forever

When I refused to run

 

You own my very being

I’ve nothing left to give

I don’t care that you broke me

Just that you let me live

 

 

I am not Athena

Not that I could ever be

Content to be your prisoner

And scared of being free

 

I thought you’d teach me passion

I thought you’d teach me joy

But I am just a coward

And now I am your toy

 

I’m trapped within your nightmare

It’s the only thing I know

Once I was scared to be here

But it has made me grow

 

My song was born of torment

In shades of grey and black

Must I always sing in silence

For the freedom that I lack

 

My song is full of wisdom

The song I’ll never sing

The one about the sparrow

With the broken wings

 

It’s time I’m my own melody

A person of my own

I still may be your prisoner

But this prison is my home

 

My wings may still be broken

But watch me as I fly

I’m no longer a sparrow

But I’ll still reach the sky

 

And maybe someday maybe

As we walk along the beach

I will sing my song for you

And at last you will be reached

 

But if that never happens

If the peaches all turn brown

We can walk into the ocean

And together we will drown

Untitled

I am not an eagle

Nor a hawk nor a dove

My wings are short and my feathers are ruffled

But still I rise among the clouds.

I fade into the backdrop in the tones of grey

And black

And white.

They fly

As the day passes into night

The lake reflects the last glimmers of light

And at once there is no more pink.

Only grey and blue

And ravens and stars.

And the shadows.

 

I am not a raven,

nor a falcon nor a cardinal

I am just a sparrow

 

But in truth I am a human

A mortal, pretending to be a god.

 

The earth shakes.

The skies fall.

And beyond the horizon

A falcon tucks the sun beneath his wing

And fly’s northward

Leaving a trail of pink light in its wake.

Far beyond, under cover of night

Over the lies and the whispers

The raven calls, beckoning

Sorting the truth from the shadows.

And under the cracking of thunder,

In the wind and the rain

The sparrow fly’s scared

Cold

And alone


 

Andas

In a clearing in the forest

Left alone on the ground

Sits an injured sparrow

Hoping not to be found

 

But along comes a women

Her hair is long and white

And seeing sparrow left alone

Understands sparrow’s plight

 

First she takes a moment

then sees his broken wings

before kindly asking

“why do you no longer sing”

 

With a simple smile

And a gentle loving touch

The women picks up sparrow

And holds him in her clutch

 

The sparrow feeling timid

Chooses not to speak

And wonders why this woman

Thinks he’s something more than weak

 

Andas the women whispers

You’re going to be fine

you’ll only have to stay here

for a short amount of time.

 

When sparrow starts getting better,

well enough to try to fly

the woman helps him outside

and says “I hope this is not goodbye”

 

the sparrow walks a little ways

then starts to flap around

but gravity has other plans

and holds him to the ground

 

the sparrow gets frustrated

and is upset he didn’t die

but as long as he’s with this women

he refuses to cry

 

Andas, says the women

You get there in your own time

For now enjoy the moment

And be glad to be alive

 

The next day two robins join them

And try to lend a hand

But sparrow will not let them

So all he does is stand

 

The next day there are both robins

And a raven and a crow

Cheering praises for sparrow

But sparrow counts them as a woe

 

Another week passes

Before sparrow tries again

Only to find that now

His audience has grown to ten

 

But today he feels courageous

And flaps his wings just the same

This time to discover

That he’s glad these people came

 

“You did it!” cheers his posy

“you made it off the ground!”

What was just several inches

Now feels like leaps and bounds

 

The next day sparrow is nervous

But still attempts to fly

Andas the women tells him

“This won’t be goodbye”

 

The sparrow sores upwards

And from high up in the sky

Sings a song of happiness

Because he is alive

 

He lands on the woman’s shoulder

And at last she hears him sing

As sparrow chirps “thank you”

“For more than just my wings”

The G.W.B.

Catharsis comes like thunder

From far across the land

You followed in our footsteps

But still you were alone

You stood there in my shadow

Bright shining as the sun

And still I weep for you.

 

You had a secret

So many of us do

It’s one we shared together

But still I and still I weep for you

 

You took the path you thought you should

And it led you off a bridge

You took the path I knew you would

And still I weep for you.

 

In truth I think I’m jealous

But of course we know I’m not

Because when I was lost they found me

But no one knew you were lost

 

A pain we share together

A burden bitter sweet

A secret to big for telling

That no one should have to keep

 

Forever you have left us

And forever you are gone

And still I weep to hear your violin’s song.

 

And though you never knew me

And though we never met

I will always weep for you

And the secret that you kept

 

Did the sparrows sing your melody?

Did the river run with blood?

But only question worth asking is was the water cold.

 

The world now knows your secrets

And the world has long moved on

But forever you are silent

Free Will and Desperation

These people who need my help so desperately.

They are willing to let themselves be defined by what other people think and believe and do.

When no one can define you other than yourself.

You shape your words and thoughts and actions and then you shape your world.

Not the other way around.

Why should anyone be able to tell you that you are (less then).

I am GREATER THEN anyone who thinks that they have the right to look down upon me.

But still I am greater then no one

No one is greater than anyone.

Least of all me.

No first, no last.

Just life.

And I will never be subject to you.

Nor should you be subject to me.

Things I refused to let people teach me this past year:

  • Love is worth less than money
  •  Honesty is greatly overrated
  • Trust is for suckers
  •  It’s OK to hurt other people so long as you get what you want out of it, or even if you don’t for that matter
  •  The less you rely on other people the better
  • Caring and passion are weaknesses that make you vulnerable
  • Well-crafted lies can accomplish anything provided you have the conviction to stick to them
  •  People should only be valued for whatever you can use them for
  • If you include the words “freedom”, “America” or “Constitution” in what you say there 
  • No system of government will ever truly be run by or for the people, just stop caring, it’s easier that way
  • People will always find a way to fuck you over, don’t be surprised by it
  • Humans’ committee horrible acts against one another to no end
  • Everyone expects respect yet refuses to show it to anyone

A single yellow candle

Avi was not a nice person, at least not to me.  He was kind of an ass who kind of went out of his way to make me miserable for the three years we spent together at Haven Middle School.  The way he and his peers treated me was kind of horrible, and in many was I think it may have contributed to how I became who I am today.

My point is that even thought I lived in hate/fear of him, I knew him and he left an impression on me. For better or for worse.

He died today and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I probably never would have seen him again and not given a damn about it, but now I know how his story ended.  He was 20, maybe 19.  He had a whole life ahead of him that he never got to live. One day he was alive and well and now… he’s just gone.

It’s strange to think that someone I haven’t spoken to since the eighth grade can have such a profound impact on me.

So this single yellow candle is for you Avi.  I hope your soul finds peace.  You made an impression on me, and maybe in some small way I made one on you too?

RIP Abraham

Kicking the Habit: A short story by “A Blank Pen”

I wrote this a few months ago, but I like to put some distance between when I write something and when I share it.  I feel it’s one of my stronger pieces. Enjoy.

***

7:03 AM

He could not believe he was doing this all over again.  Once again Ronny was gone and once again he, Steven, had to find her.  He got off at exit 143 and pulled into the parking lot of a grime looking motel.  He had found her here once before.  He turned off the engine and looked at his watch.  He had last seen her at around six the previous day.  Thirteen hours wasn’t long enough to file a missing persons report, but it was plenty of time to steel Steven’s ATM card and find a dealer.  The door to one of the rooms on the first floor had been left wide open.  It was as good a place as any to start looking.

7:17

Steven looked down at Ronny on the floor; her unkempt long blond hair forming a crude frame around her ghostly white face; the needle still in her arm.  She had done so much to prevent this from happening yet here she was, again.  If Ronny were awake she would feel the sting of her cousin Steven’s eyes and the pure shame would cause her to make those promises all over again.

  It wasn’t that Ronny didn’t mean it when she said those things. She wanted to stay clean, she wanted to get her life on track, she wanted be able to hold down a job and above all she wanted to be able to raise those two little girls she loved so much.  She just never had a way to keep those promises she kept making.  Once she actually managed to stay clean for 748 consecutive days.  It was the best two years of her life.  She had a job she didn’t hate, she got out of debt and her body even started to recover from the years of abuse it had taken.  She made it eighteen days past her two-year mark, longer then she had dared to hope for.  But then Howard showed up the same week that her best friend and sponsor Margaret died.  It was more then she could handle.  Since then the longest she had been able to stay clean was 146 days; 146 hard fought hellish days of torture and agony.      

7:18

Steven was at a loss for ideas.  They had done everything they could think of for Ronny.  Steven and his wife were raising Ronny’s daughters in addition to their own three children.  They had scraped together the money to send Ronny to rehab but nothing seemed to work.  Once again Steven had had to go out and find her unconscious on the floor of some sleazy motel. 

He had a thought that sprung up from the back of his mind; one that scared him to acknowledge but was tempting nonetheless.  He could just leave.  He could just walk off and go to work.  Let someone else find her.  The thought scared him for two reasons.  The first reason was that it was such an awful thought.  For all of Ronny’s faults she was his only living family member and she needed him.  A year ago he never would have had this thought; he would have stayed and helped her for as long as it took.  The second reason that this thought scared him so much was that it would be so easy.  All he would have to do would be to walk out the door and not look back.  No one would ever know and no one would ever doubt.  She would die and everyone could start to move on.  They could live their lives and start to be a little bit happy.  And Ronny, this would be the way it ended for her eventually, it would just be sooner rather then later.

***

Ronny rolled out the dough on the flower coated cutting board and reached for the star shaped cookie cutter. 

“Have you started working on step four yet?” Margret asked.

“Kind of, it’s a lot harder then I though it was going to be.  And with all the work I’m getting piled on me for the holidays…”

“I know it’s a lot of work, but I also know that you can do it.” Margret cut her off in her kind sweet voice.  “Making excuses won’t solve anything.  Are you ready to speak tonight?”

“I think so,” Ronny said nervously “I’ve put a lot of thought into what I want to say.  I’m going to talk about my reasons to stay clean.”

“And what are they?” Margret already knew the answer.

“Well Liz and Beth of course, and you and Steven and Patty and everything that my relapsing would put all of you through.  Did you preheat the oven, Beth needs these this afternoon.”

***

7:19

Steven was sick of helping her; sick of the two A.M. phone calls from the police, sick of paying for her detox because she didn’t have health insurance, sick of her being gone for days at a time a worrying about where she was and if she would find a way back this time.  This had been going on for over a year now.  Why did he do it?  Why did he put up with it?  Is this what you do for family?

He thought back to those two girls he was raising.  This wasn’t fair to them.  They needed parents, real parents who are stable and dependable.  Steven and Patty could provide that for them.  Legally.  Actually.  They were the ones that could be looked to for support, for help, for guidance.  Not Ronny, and certainly not Howard.

Steven saw two options before him; the right thing to do and the better thing to do.  The right thing to do would be to call 9-1-1.  Take her to the hospital.  Pay for the detox.  Start all over again.  But the better thing to do, the thing that would improve all of their lives, would be to leave her here.  Leave her to face the final conscience of her actions.  Steven took out his cell phone with his left hand and fingered his car keys in his right hand.  Out of everything he had done in his life this was by far the most difficult. Steven was a good man.  Why was he being faced with this decision, this burden?

***

“Shit, shit shit shit shit shit.  This is not good.  I think Howard just pulled up, Steven Howard just pulled up.  Steven do something.”

“Calm down I’m on my way, OK? I’m going to call the police just lock the door and pretend that you’re not at home.  I’m going to call the police now so I need to hang up, but I’ll be there in five minutes, less, ok?”

“OK, just get here soon”

click

Ronny locked the front door and ducked behind the couch.  Please god don’t let him see me.  Let him not have seen me.

“I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE YOU BITCH!!!! LET ME INTO MY GOD DAMN HOUSE OR I WILL BREAK DOWN THE DOOR!”

He would to, she knew.

“I JUST WANT TO SEE MY GIRLS. I JUST WANT WHAT’S MINE BITCH.”

Howard kicked the door so had that Ronny felt the whole house shake.

Thud

Thud

Thud

Thud

Snap

Crack

Pop

The door swung open.

“I know you’re in here, come out now bitch, you can’t hide from me.”

Howard took a few steeps into the room and saw Ronny on the ground behind the couch.  “WHERE ARE THEY?  WHERE ARE MY GIRLS???”

He was wearing his studied cowboy boots.  He walked slowly toward her.

Ronny didn’t remember anything else.

***

7:20

Steven walked over to the sink and looked at his reflection in the dusty mirror. What kind of person did he see? Was he a man who always did the right thing, or was he a man who made the difficult decisions that no one else could? He studied his square jaw line; his high set cheekbones, his deep brown eyes. The top of his head had lost its glory over the years and his face was covered in course unkempt brown hair.

He heard his father’s voice echoing in the back of his head. “Never leave a man behind” it said. His father had been in the military. In his father’s world view the only course of action was to do what other people told you to do, even if you disagreed or didn’t understand. Steven was not his father, thank God for that. But his father did have a valid point; Ronny was his family and family… but why did it feel like Ronny was destroying his family.

***

“It was a beautiful service.” Ronny said to Steven. She was trying to be comforting; it wasn’t her strong suit.

They were in the parking lot of the funeral home. If there weren’t so much sadness in the air it would have been a beautiful day.

“I suppose.” Steven replied. There was a small catch in his throat. “I spent most of my life hating him and now he’s gone.”

“The Major may not have been the best of fathers, but he was your father Steve. That’s the only thing that matters.” There was a small pause but it may as well have been a century. “Is Patty still around?” Ronny asked, she thought a new topic of conversation would be better for both of them.

“She had to leave for work. Hey Ronny, if Howard was to propose to you, how would you want him to do it?”

“I hardly think that Howard is the proposing type, why do you ask.”

“Just, if someone were to propose to you how would you want them to do it?”

“Are you planning on proposing to Patty? Oh My God Stevie, that’s wonderful!”

“Will you just answer the question Ron, please?”

“Do you have a ring?”

“Yes I have a ring, can you pleas – ”

“Can I see it?”

“I am not going to take out a diamond ring at my father’s funeral. Just tell me what I should do.”

“Ok, ok. How long have you had the ring?”

“Why does that matter?”

“Because it does.”

“I’ve been carrying it around for a few months now.”

“And you didn’t think to tell me!”

“Never mind, I have guests.”

“No no, wait. Do you want my help?” Ronny was being genuine, she wanted to help her cousin.

“Yes, I do.”

Veronica took a moment to think about how exactly Steven should go about doing this. “Be waiting outside the hospital when her shift ends, just stand by the car OK? And when she comes out just ask her not to say anything until you’re done. Start by telling her all about you father and how you never got along but you still loved each other and now that he’s gone you’ll never have the chance to fix that relationship. Then talk about living life fully and taking nothing for granite and not waiting for anything thing. Do you follow so far?”

“Do you know what you’re talking about?”

“Yes, just keep listening. OK?”

“Fine”

“Then tell her about how much you love her and all the reasons why you love her, girls hate it when you tell them that you love them but can’t tell them why. So tell her why you love her and that the thought of spending a moment of your life without her in it is just too much. And after that look deeply into her eyes, get down on one knee, take out the ring and pop the question.”

“And you think I should do this today?”

“Can you imagine spending another day of your life without her by your side?”

He paused, but they both knew the answer already.

“No. I can’t”

“Then you need to do this today.”

“That’s actually kind of beautiful Ron”

“I know.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome”

“No, really thank you. And not just for the advice, thank you. I never could have gotten through today without you.”

***

7:21    

Steven looked at Ronny again. He knew what he should do, and he knew what he wanted to do. He just couldn’t decide which option to take.

He sat there for some time looking at the choices in front of him.

He ran his keys through his fingers.  The cool jagged metal felt southing between his fingers.

His phone felt rough and hard and empty.

This was not a decision he should have to make.

The truth within the lie.

“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.” 
 
Cheryl Hughes

   ***

We lie.  There are any number of lies we tell our self and those around us, just as there are any numbers of reasons that we lie.  Most often these lies are not thought out, they are automatic, we force them out because they fit the situation, and they make it easier to get through the day, through the moment.  The problem is that sometimes these lies we form are so attractive that we start to believe them, and then the lies start to spread.

            It’s a virus and no one is immune.  Even those who can recognize the potential danger are at risk.  It will hurt everyone.  But the thing is that it needs everyone to keep it in existence.  They need to help spread the poison, and infect everyone.

            And there is only one cure.  The host, the one who first made the lie, the one who first spread the lie, they must find the truth and they must speak it to everyone that their lie injured or hurt.  It will stop the spread of the virus, but it will not heal the wounded.  Only time can do that, if it can be done at all.

I am not Athena, nor was I meant to be.

I am but a peasant in this land of thieves.

Deceit to break the silence,

The lies that set me free.

Poison all my daydreams

Of things that might come to be.

Cower to my nightmare.

Destroy what’s left of me.

Free me from your clutches,

Then lose sight of me.

I am not your lover.

I am not your friend.

You broke me then tried to fix me,

But forgot me in the end.

Hope may spring eternal,

But I never found a spring.

So leave and let me wallow

In the misery you bring.