Posts Tagged With: yeah write

Laying Down My Mantle

We are all given a gift when we are born. We unpack our mantles, shake them out, and wrap them around our shoulders. They are, each one of them, custom made.

Some can wear them with aplomb, splendid things spun about with flourish, decorated with a filigree that was meant to be. They are not such a bother, these embellished mantles. Some merely hang around, a gossamer wisp of possibility, mostly neither here nor there. Some become yokes, yokes that grow heavier in such small increments that we do not realize how far they are weighing us down until we find that we have stooped so low that we can no longer see the sky.

I have chosen to lay down my mantle, to re-pack this outer garment that no longer suits me. It has grown dank and dark; unobserved, it has become worn through with holes through which I can see the glory of the layer that existed underneath. I will snip each thread, one by one, until the whole falls apart. I will burn through the thread of guilt, the guilt of being the one to choose to put my burden to rest, of being the one who has decided that I want to stand tall once more. I will tear apart with my teeth the thread that holds me to your remorse, the thread that has tethered the responsibility for carrying your mantle, along with my own, around my neck. I will leave you free to decide whether your mantle is one that you wish to bear. I have loosened the clasp around my throat, and now I wind it, gently, back around your own.

The patchwork of holes that will always remain have left me emptier than I was before, missing little bits of me, colorful pieces of happier times. Within it, though, is a lightness, a buoyancy that could not exist without the pockets of empty. The edges may have darkened, but the vibrancy of what was cannot be dimmed.

We are all born with a mantle, to wrap around ourselves. Today, I will fold mine up in tissue paper, and slide its box underneath my bed to rest with the cobwebs that will never be swept up, so that tomorrow, tomorrow I may stand tall.

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Categories: Non-Fiction Nonsense | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

What’s Left

I want to rage but you want to cry,
and so I whimper.
I want to sing but you want to sleep,
and so I whisper.

You win by default, never warning me
your compromises are comprised
of a hundred tiny deaths.

Categories: Fiction, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 25 Comments

Moral Compass

Mother has been through my writings again, I can tell. It is only a personal diary. She really should not hold against me the things that I write simply for my own edification. I no longer have anyone to converse with, and so I must create my philosophies within the confines of my own mind.

It is raining again today. Every time I feel that I have Mother convinced that I should be let out for some fresh air, it rains. I am starting to believe that she times her acquiescence with the likelihood of precipitation. I do not believe that she wants to let me out. I do not know if I shall ever get out again. I know that she is afraid, both for me and of me, and I cannot say that I blame her. That does not mean that I am not angry about it. These walls grow closer together with every passing day.

There was a time when she thought that it could be controlled, that I could be controlled. That time passed, rather long ago I admit, and I am not happy. I have put so much effort forth to be other than I am, to no avail. Failing that, I worked to conceal it, to allow a film down over my eyes so that the urges buried in my soul were not on display. This failed as well, excepting one memorable experiment that most likely cannot be repeated as Mother now keeps the only key to my door upon a chain around her neck.

She does bring me things to brighten up my lonely days. She brings me small animals, sometimes. Pets, she calls them, though she never asks what I plan to name them, and very obviously refuses to notice that they are no longer keeping me company when next she returns. She is most certainly playing the willful ignorant, as the small collection of sharpened bones that had been squirreled away underneath my mattress is now gone and the dumbwaiter frequently reeks of bleach when I pull up my supper.

Earlier today I heard a woman’s voice that I did not recognize, through the door at the bottom of the attic stairs. The tantalizing lilt of Ireland sang through it as she answered Mother’s murmured directive. “Yes, Miss, I swear to you that I will never try this door again.” Despite the gloom outside of my barred window, I feel that my burden may be lightened, soon. It is nearly a given that Mother was not explicit with the woman when delivering her warning, and where there is a crack I may find a way to slide through it.

I do wonder that Mother did not bother to mention to me that our missing maid had been replaced.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Cresting the Summit

Sarah felt like the beleaguered heroine in a Greek tragedy. She muttered as she searched for toeholds, fingers digging in to grip at the soft surface of the mountain she was scaling, trying to remember who the hell it was that had to do the whole boulder bullshit. She knew it was a he, and that he had to push this big ass rock to the top of a mountain over and over again, since it rolled all the way back down every time he reached the top. Well, whatever the hell his name was, that’s who she felt like. Prometheus? No, that was the fire guy who got his guts pecked out every day. Or his eyes. Maybe some days she felt like him, too, but that’s not who she was thinking of. Trying to figure it out was a welcome distraction from overthinking her current predicament, so she didn’t mind overmuch that she hadn’t landed on the right name yet.

A rank smell assaulted her nose each time she was stupid enough to forget not to breathe through it. “Phaw!” she yelled, smacking her lips, actually tasting the stink in the back of her throat. Bits of grimy crust stuck underneath her fingernails; bits of what, she didn’t want to know. She just wanted to put her head down and concentrate on reaching the summit.

She shuddered in fear that yet again, once she reached the top of this mountain, all she would see would be another, and another, stretching towards infinity, no end in sight. Searching inside herself, she was dismayed to realize that she really didn’t know how much longer she could keep this up. There was a part of her that just wanted to snuggle into a crevice, crusty smelly bits and all, and let herself be buried alive. It was hard to keep going, hard to traverse an entire mountain range that had just sprung up over night. She would have sworn that yesterday there was only a single mountain, more of a hill, really, nothing insurmountable. Then, some time during the night, she had heard voices, a rustling born upon a rumbling, and next thing you know…

She silenced her inner wuss, drowning the voice out with more muttering. “There’s gotta be an endgame, Sarah, just shut up and get to it, just a few more feet to the top.” It was a comforting lie to tell herself, as distance appeared to be relative in this landscape and she had no idea how far away it truly was.

With dogged determination, she grabbed and slipped, lifted and dug in, until finally she could flop herself over onto a plateau with all the grace of a slug. She scrambled to her knees, exhausted but driven by the need to see. She gained her feet slowly as she realized that she had finally reached the end – down this side was gloriously flat land. Energy rebounding, she pumped her fists in the air and hooted. “I’m done!” she yelled, doing an ill-advised happy dance on unstable terrain.

Down she went, ass over tea kettle, around and around and around. “Oh, well,” she thought, “at least I’m falling in the right direction.”

She caught up against something cushioned yet firm, and lay there until her whirling thoughts and dizzy limbs calmed. She glanced to the right and found herself looking under a couch and into a pair of feline eyes, blinking mere inches from her own. She reached out, scratched under his chin.

“Come on Sisyphus. I finally finished the damn laundry. Time for the dishes.”

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Aging Ungracefully

Flames lick the ground behind her, lascivious tongues of flame laving furrows of black and red and she stumbles her way from the forest, towards the road. The heat is oppressive, a dance that’s spun out of her control; what she thought she had held firmly under her thumb is writhing its way out, a filament at a time. Each breath weighs in her lungs after it tears through her throat, like swallowing dry bricks of gun powder, particle filled combustibles that float back through her cracked lips as she wheezes out and huffs, and digs for just a few more strides.

It was a game, just a game, she thinks, desperately searching for a path through the underbrush to lead her to fresh air. Her shoulders hunch forward as branches creak and crack and crash, the groan of the trees before they lose their limbs rumbling Earth gods challenging her to outrun their burning, wayward children. She has overstayed her welcome in this land.

A flash, matte black, a split second glimpse when she dashes around a half hidden lump of a log. She changes direction mid-stride, careening with feckless abandon, high stepping across the hot ground lest she be caught up by something hidden under the ashy debris.

She bursts through the tree line, tries to whoop and ends bent double, hacking and spitting polluted breath. She decides that breathing freely is freedom bellow enough. Before she pulls herself upright, she catches a susurrus from the corner of her ear that has nothing to do with fire. She looks up.

A dusting of snow glitters across the road, frozen motes dancing upwards on a wafting breeze. Coalescing, they swirl hypnotically, snaking across the asphalt away from her. She watches, rapt, as these snow snakes meet and twirl upwards, ribboning together, a form emerging from their wintry midst.

As the trees stood as Earth gods, so she too is a goddess, a goddess of the Sky, of Snow and of Ice. Her hair is carved in glittering whorls; her smile, when it breaks across her face, is tantalizing, terrifying, in equal measure.

“You must cross the road, at some point.” Her words strike the air with the ting of falling icicles, and the girl blanches.

“But…but…I would freeze. I have no protection.” She is not ready to be frozen in place, she does not want to be molded as this beautiful goddess is molded. Not yet.

The glacial goddess inclines her head. “This is the truth. I am implacable, yet not without mercy. You may bring a spark with you when you cross, so that you may remain fluid.”

Nervous now, the girl starts at a sting on her ankle, automatically reaching down towards the tender spot. A teardrop of flame clings to her finger, clambers into her palm with a purpose of movement and sits there, warming without harming, and glows happily.

“This will protect me?” she asks, although she already feels tenderly towards the tiny drop, and wants to protect it in turn.

“If you do not forget to nurture it.”

“Then I will cross.” She places a bare foot on the frozen road, and takes a tentative step.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Parental Rights

This fucking skirt. I could give a shit less what I look like if I’m not comfortable, and this skirt sucks. It twists, it clings, it’s all over the damn place. Of course, I can’t stand still, so that could be a factor. My left foot bops, my right attempts to jitterbug. My shaking hand holds a cigarette that will burn down to the filter after a few cheek hollowing, lung harrowing inhalations.

I can’t decide which is worse – the grey outdoors where I’m standing, the sun on vacation, leaving us mortals clinging to its memory and feeling only half alive, or the painful harshness of the indoor fluorescents, the sadistic and efficient creators of which are on my find-out-I-have-a-terminal-illness hitlist.

No Smoking, says the door. Yeah. Fuck you.

I eye every person that passes, searching. Not you, not you, definitely not you; you do not have the answers to the questions that I am asking. I am twenty-five years old, defiantly clueless. You do not have the answers to the questions that I am asking.

Hello, I rehearse in my head. Hi. I’m your daughter.

Stranger words have never passed through my mind and I want to grab one of the grounded in well-being and ask them if they have ever had to say those particular words in that particular order. Excuse me, have you ever had the pleasure of introducing yourself to one of your parents? If so, how did that go for you?

Hi. I’m your daughter. Still strange.

I turn my head and I see her staring at me through the window. I was told she’s my grandma, but I’m not sure how to process that information. I’ve never met her, there are no over the river and through the woods cookie baking memories between us. As soon as she realizes I’m looking back at her, she looks away. Hi, I’m your granddaughter. Still strange.

My body can’t handle one more iota of nicotine, so I light another cigarette, and man, it hurts so good. There are so many butts strewn on the ground it looks like a homeless man came and made a collage. I look for pictures in them, like you do in clouds, but it’s just dirt and garbage. It’s nothing.

Hi. I’m your daughter. Still strange.

I take as deep a breath as my riddled innards will allow and pull the door open. Yes, that’s right, hush your conversations and stare. I will offer you a smile, regardless.

As the door whooshes closed behind me I am in another dimension. Though this first room is barely larger than my high school homeroom, I have never been somewhere that felt so cavernous.

I chant my mantra in time with my steps- Hi, I’m your daughter. Hello, I have never seen a single person in this room before, will you welcome me into your family with comforting arms, because this hurts me too you know, or will you all just keep looking at me like you’re more afraid of me than I am of you?

An arched doorway, into soft lighting, softer music, and the stink of flowers.

I know from television that the insides aren’t inside, the organs removed and weighed and recorded in posthumous posterity, and the mouth has been stuffed so you don’t notice the sunken cheeks. For a moment, looking at smooth eyelids, I get a mental flash of garish, cartoonish, giant black X’s stitching them shut.

I shake the image away, take a waxy hand in mine, and bore my words through the shell.

“Hello. I’m your daughter.”

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Courage

With my halcyon days so far behind me that
they no longer even cast a shadow,
as what I know to be my last years begin
to climb out of the depths,
wrapping their ropes around my ankles to
slow my steps, hunch my back,
eke the marrow from my bones,

I find myself wandering the cemetery
in the sunshine,
under fluffy clouds and winging birds,
to visit a plot that for a decade,
I pretended did not exist.

I stray from the path, because really,
why not, when there’s no one on guard;
I doubt there’s much market for broad-daylight
grave pilfering,
but I wouldn’t know much about such things,
myself

I had heard you were gone; even in introversion,
news travels as fast as the speed of a click
and there’s always some who
can’t seem to wait
to start a conversation with the words ‘oh hey, have you heard?’

I still thought about you all the time,
even then, so many years from
when I had last seen your face,
my own eyes shimmering tears, doubled
the sheen of those gleaming in yours
and then, pfft, never again

would I have looked longer,
I wonder,
if I had known that I would
never see you face to face again?
It didn’t seem like a thing that could be,
a truth that still made no sense,
when reality sits in your lap
and you don’t even realize you have company

And so here I am now,
shuffle stepping to your marker,
stooped and angry,
still mad, still furious, that you
couldn’t manage to be that man,
the one that I saw the first time that I met you,
that was leaps and bounds ahead
of the one that I left behind,
even though I loved you

i’m not here to say goodbye,
I’ve talked to you so often in my head
and doing it when you’re alive and not near
is even more pointless than doing it
when you’re already dead.

If my epitaph stood next to yours,
these many crumpled years later,
Yours, I think, would say goodbye.
And mine, mine would only say I tried.

***

So, I used to join in at The Speakeasy (which I really loved) with Suzanne, and it was brought back into the fold of the Yeah Write community – so I figured I’d give it a try over here.

I pretty much wrote the whole thing around the optional prompt that was given:
What is written in the stone?

As soon as I pound some more words out for NaNo, I very much look forward to reading the other stories. Click on the badge at the top of the post if you’d like to check out all of the other cool stuff going on.

Categories: Fiction, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Voices Told Me To

“Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?”

The voices of soldiers speak in my mind,
articulating before I was self-aware enough to understand what they were telling me- that there must always be questioners, for there must always be a front line standing ready to challenge the status quo.

* * *

The bolded quote comes from Gabriel García Marquez, and what follows is my first 42 word response to the yeah write gargleblaster challenge. Word counts are hard, son…

well, poop, they reached their link up limit…

Categories: Non-Fiction Nonsense | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Cleansing Fire

Midnight hair and lantern jaw, gentle in speech if not appearance, he spread his hands wide and, reaching them towards the bonfire, spoke an unbinding spell.

'What once was ours
Is now yours, and mine.
I release you from your vows.'

Tendrils crept out from the ring of stones, smoke snakes curling through the grass to encircle her ankles. She made a little moue of distaste and visibly stopped herself from stepping back and shaking them off. Interrupting the ritual now would nullify everything they'd already done.

He was sad, though not heart-broken. This was his fault; he had mistaken rigidity for strength. While strength was malleable and capable of spontaneity, rigidity snapped like a thawing icicle at the slightest provocation.

Better to start his search from scratch than to cross the finish line with the wrong partner. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don't always turn out as planned.

***

I've wanted to try the Speakeasy for a while now, having read about it on Suzanne's blog http://lucidedit.wordpress.com/ and because I really love the name Speakeasy and its connotations. So, here's my first attempt, and now I'm going to go read the other link-ups for inspiration to get better because so far the writing I've seen here is way above par.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , | 27 Comments