Past Poetry

My goal is to make sure at least every other post is something from the present, something original. And my last post was. So I am sharing these poems from the past today.

The Poem That Nobody Reads
This is the poem that nobody reads,
Whose words show no forethought or sculpting,
With no regard for meter, or rhyme, or prying eyes,
Or neat, tied up, assessments of worth.
These are the syllables buried
Under the stones and beneath the sheets,
Naked and raw and unchanged.
Editing is forbidden here.
For every word that comes from within is
Authentic.
And nobody reads them.

I narrowly avoided death today
And still I am shattered
And afraid
And wondering how I can be two people
So easily
God………My voice….
It sounds like a wounded animal
I am an animal
A sociopath?
There is no word
I don’t know when the disease took hold
Or how to cure it
Or how to even know when I’m sick
I can’t breathe, God
And no one
Can know
What if I had not
Turned?
And does it even matter?
God…..

Words from the Warehouse

I have combined three thinkingten entries on this particular post.  They are part of a continuing story about Eric and Beth…..a story I have not told from the beginning yet.  Enjoy.

Beth laughed to herself a bit nervously as she parked her car.  It wasn’t dawn yet, but she could see the foreshadowing along the horizon.  He had chosen a waterfront warehouse because it was…prosaic.  And he knew Beth would think so as well.  Unfinished business, that is what he had said on the phone, his accent thicker than she remembered.  Meeting him was probably not wise, but after all this time, curiosity had clouded her judgment.

What makes a sociopath exactly?  After reading several books and studying the subject at length, Beth still felt as if there was a crucial piece missing from her understanding.  Movie and television portrayals were so two dimensional and predictable.  And one cannot interact with a television screen.  But he was not only a sociopath, but a highly intelligent one.  It was too good an opportunity to dismiss.  And despite the coldness in his voice on the few occasions when she had poked a bit too closely at the hornet’s nest, Beth felt certain he would not harm her….physically.  And the other types of harm had already been done.

Eric wasn’t yet at the designated meeting place, but then she had known he would not be.  It was not in his nature to be the one waiting; that was Beth’s job.  It stung a bit, this knowledge that he again had her waiting, but she was not really surprised.  He would control the outcome. That would be essential.  Especially since Beth knew that her understanding of who he was – and wasn’t – had surprised him.  He did not like surprises.  She wasn’t certain how long he would have her wait, so she took out her iPod and placed one of the buds into her left ear.  And then, instinctively, Beth scrolled down to the song that made the most sense.

Depeche Mode: Enjoy the Silence

“Hello belle,” I heard the voice before I saw him.  He was standing casually at the corner of the warehouse, smiling just slightly.  And even though I knew to be guarded, I was struck again by his presence, and it surprised me.

He wasn’t all that intimidating or even overly handsome, objectively speaking.  About six feet tall, lean build, not muscular, his brown/gray hair cut very close and slightly receding.  His ever-present sunglasses were perched on his somewhat sharp nose.  Just the hint of unshaven jaw line, something he knew I liked.  And yet I always felt something in my heart drop to my stomach when I saw him.  For a moment – and only a moment – I felt that familiar ping-pong in my chest.  Then I remembered what had brought me here, and my gaze became as cool and detached as his was.

“Hello Eric, and my name is Beth.”  I walked past him into the empty warehouse and sat down on a discarded wooden box.  “So why am I here again?”

He walked in and pulled an old folding table over next to me.  Leaning against it, he lit a cigarette.  For a few minutes neither of us spoke.  I wrinkled my nose at the smell of the smoke even though he was polite enough to blow it away from me.  “Ah yes,” he smiled, “You do not appreciate this habit.  I had forgotten.”  He dropped the cigarette onto the floor and extinguished it with the toe of his shoe.

“Very charming, as always,” I remarked.  “But you didn’t forget.  And I have other places to be today.”

I saw the flash then.  That bit of ice from his eyes that managed to make me shudder for just a second or two before he recovered himself and smiled again.  He stood then and offered me his arm.  “Walk with me.  The fog on the water is lovely.”

“Eric, I am not walking with you.  I am not riding with you.  I am only here out of curiosity.  You will say what you need to say, and I will go about my day….and my life.  And you will not be in it.  Neither will the rest of them.”

At this, his smile disappeared, and he grabbed my arm, pulling me up roughly to face him.  “I am afraid that is not how this day will go for you, belle.  And as for the others, you have nothing to say to them, nor will you.  Because you will not be leaving this waterfront.”  He paused and chuckled a bit at my expression.  “I’m disappointed, Beth, that you did not see this coming.  Did you really think that I would let you live?”

There were small alleys between each of the old warehouses.  Most of them had been piled with assorted junk items, or chains had been attached to the side of neighboring buildings to prevent entrance.  After a short walk with Eric, during which he held fast to Beth’s arm, they stopped in front of a somewhat smaller cinderblock warehouse. One of Eric’s cars, an old Jeep, was parked in between it and the next building and the restrictive chain hung from the building’s side wall.

Beth looked around and tried to wrench away from Eric.  “I’m not going in there.  If you do something to me, you’re going to have to do it out here.  Not like a coward inside that building where no one can see or hear.”

“Interesting idea, belle,” Eric answered, his hand grasping her more forcefully.  “But I am afraid that you are going to spend some time with me.  Some private time.  You told me it was what you wanted.  Remember? You wanted it to be our secret.”  He took a small key out of his pocket.  “I need some company.  And if I cannot spend time with you, I will have to find someone else with whom to spend my time.”

And then Beth froze.  Because she knew what he meant.  And she allowed Eric to lead her through the rusted door.  She was surprised to see a light hanging overhead, along with a small table.  On the table were a basket and a bottle of wine.  Noticing her expression Eric laughed.

“I would have preferred a pleasant picnic under a beautiful tree, perhaps an old oak.  I know how you admire those.  But you have made that impossible.  I did want to romance you belle, but you wanted it to be on your terms.  And you wanted to control the circumstances.  Unfortunate, actually, that it had to be that way.”

“My terms,” Beth spat, now able to pull away from his arm.  “God you’re an arrogant bastard aren’t you?  Narcissistic.  But not nearly as intelligent as you thought, apparently.  If you had chosen better you could have kept your pathetic little self-aggrandizing charade going.”

“I’d like to make this a pleasant day.  Do you think I wanted this? “He pulled out a metal chair and motioned for her to sit.  “And bravo, Beth.  You have been coached very well.  But your new teacher doesn’t know you’re here.  So perhaps neither of you is as intelligent as you think either.”

Just an excerpt

The following is a brief excerpt from a novel I am dissecting and reworking, He Remains Faithful

 

On New Year’s, Mike and Kelly went out to dinner alone.  A girl from down the street took care of the kids.  It had been a long time since they had been alone anywhere.  They went to a local family type restaurant.  For the first few minutes they chatted about the kids, the holidays, and the specials.  Then they fell silent.  After the waitress had taken their order, Mike looked at Kelly and sighed.  “Kelly, can I ask you a question?”

            “Sure, Mike.”

            “Have I done something wrong?  Have I hurt you in some way?  You seem angry at me lately.”

            “No, why do you ask?”  Kelly answered, guarded.

            “Kelly, we’ve been married a long time.  I can tell when you’re not okay.”

            Kelly felt a surge of irritation.  “Isn’t it hard to do that while you’re working all the time?”

            Mike looked hurt.  “You said you supported my going into business.  You said you understood the work load.”

            “I do…I did.  But we’re still married, Mike.  I still need you.”

            “I try to help out when I can.  Maybe I’m not doing enough, but I do try.”

            “Mike,” Kelly struggled to keep her temper in check.” If you think my main problem is how often you wash the dishes, then you really don’t get it.”

            “Then what?  I don’t know of anything else that could be wrong.”

            Kelly was seized by an anger she couldn’t explain or control.

            “Good God!” She spat.  “Are you blind?  You don’t love me.  I can feel it.  Or maybe it’s what I don’t feel anymore.”

            Mike’s eyes grew wide.  “What are you taking about?  Of course I love you.”

            “You are committed.  You are going to fulfill your duty and be obedient.  But you don’t feel anything anymore.  You don’t touch me.  You don’t want to be with me.  We only made love five times last year.  I feel so lonely, and you don’t even know I am there most of the time.”

            Mike seemed stunned.  He folded his napkin and looked around, trying to compose himself.

            “Why haven’t you told me any of this?  You haven’t been around much for me to be in love with you.  Going to dinner with friends, working on big presentations, staying at the office for all hours   And if you need me to touch you, you can always ask, not that it’s easy now that you have made the guest room your own.”

            Kelly closed her eyes; she was not going to cry.  “Why should I have to ask?  You’re the man.  You’re supposed to be the pursuer.  You’re supposed to want me.”  As soon as she said it she realized she had hurt Mike deeply.  She knew she should apologize, but the unexplainable anger she was feeling kept her from doing so.

            Now Mike was angry.  “Kelly, I try to be what you need, and I try not to upset you.  Lord knows that’s not the easiest thing to do lately.  You are so unpredictable.  One day your in a frenzy, either happy as a clam or on a rampage.  The next day you’re too tired to even do a load of laundry.  I get home from a long day, trying to provide for us, and I can’t even find a place to put my briefcase.”

            “Well, maybe you should have married a wife who was a neat freak with no sex drive.  Then you’d be happy.”

            Mike looked away, and Kelly thought she saw his lip trembling.  “If you really don’t think I love you, there’s nothing I can do about it.”  He threw the credit card on the table.  “I’ll be waiting in the car.”

A Bit of Random Verse

Yesterday’s snippet was brand new. Today I am employing the right of recycling by digging through old poetry and tossing out three for perusal. They are each significant to me (or were, as I was pondering them last night at around midnight( for various reasons.

Shallow

Shallow sadness is often cried
With tears quickly shed and quickly dried.
The deepest sadness is still and stark,
Enveloped in profoundest dark,
With silence as its dearest friend
And realities that will not bend.
With no hello nor clear farewell
To help define its private hell.
And so, while wading deepest grief
Our calmness covers our belief
That living will not be the same,
And love is powerless over shame.
Not with affection nor with hate,
But absentminded indifference bait
Out hearts in cruelest careless smile
With not intent to reject or beguile.
The deepest cut, the tightest chain
Is not rejection or disdain,
But oblivion to our pain
And unwillingness to remain.
And so alone we wage our war
With aching arms and longing sore,
While no one sees or thinks to know
Or miss us as we turn to go.
So shallow sadness we can bear,
The deepest pain we never share.

What Little Girls Are Made Of

Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
I don’t know about that.
But today I would like to be wearing a dress,
And a beautiful, Sunday church hat.
To be facing the sun with my hair blowing back,
In a meadow, of course, full of flowers,
With some pink lemonade and my sweet puppy dog,
Not running inside when it showers.
My feet would be bare and my cheeks would be burned
While the dandelions blow in the sun.
To fall in the grass and look up at the sky,
To make sweet tea and call people “hon.”
I love all the perks of just being a girl
And the lace and the frills and the pink.
It might just be trite, but I really don’t care.
I’m a woman, and that’s what I think!

My pen of absolution
Is fat with dark ink longing for the page.
Its length is smooth, hard, and rounded
In my tightly gripping hand,
Sliding up and down between my fingers.
Shouting the refrains of my confusion,
Death, and hope –
Bittersweet with subtle fragrances
That others often miss
As I take refuge in hiding
Behind its cryptic phrases.

Climbing up the treehouse

Humor, connection, opennes, a bit of “awww,” and, of course, brevity.  A pretty tall order for an opening post on a brand new blog.  Toss in the stage performer idea that one should “leave them wanting more,” and it’s darn near impossible.  So I’ll breeze right past that and go into writing.

Yesterday a new acquaintance was talking with me about working smarter, not harder, a phrase I had heard several times before.  it’s wise advice, so in the spirit of even more efficiency, my first snip of writing will be today’s entry on a writing site called http://www.thinkingten.com .  It’s a wonderful free site on which a writing prompt is posted each day, and the writer is supposed to “write, just write,” for ten minutes.  Today’s instructions were to write a piece using the following words: rust, milk, tree.

So here we go, climbing up the treehouse for the first time….at least in this blog.

I tried not to allow milk to slosh out of the metallic tumbler as I climbed the ladder to the tree house one-handed, no small feat for one who tended to trip over her sandals and was always picked last for kickball.  I watched Bill’s feet and put mine in exactly the same place; after all, he was the expert climber, and it was his treehouse.  And it was Tuesday.

 

I had known Bill since….well, for as long as I could remember.  At the very grown-up age of nine, he had been one of my few lifelong friends. I had pictures of him at my second birthday party, we had discovered that we had different parts at the age of four, and he had rescued me from bullies at the age of six.  He was my hero, and for some reason he thought I was great….and he didn’t even qualify it with, “for a girl.”  Bill spent a lot of time at my house, and I spent a lot of time in his treehouse.  Our father worked together, but his dad was much older.  Bill was what people referred to as an “accident.”  I didn;t really understood what that meant, but I did know that his two sisters were much older and wiser – at least sixteen – and he was free to do pretty much whatever he wanted.  And that meant that as long as I was with him, so did I, an empowering kind of freedom I did not experience in my own house.

 

On Tuesdays, we participated in dangerous adventures.  Our wits were pretty evenly matched, and so were our levels of courage.  So it was not uncommon for one of us to try to either outwit or outscare the other.  Today the outscaring fell to Bill.  And he knew what to do.  It was time to hide in the……forest, which meant that we would be hiding in his neighbor’s large bed of sunflowers.

 

Don’t ask me to explain why I was afraid of sunflowers, but if I place myself back into my childhood body, I can still feel that “totally creeped out” shiver that raised the hair all over my head.  I was the tallest girl in our grade, and those flowers were taller than I was.  That was unnatural.  It was like being in that Gilligan’s Island episode where the fruits and vegetables grew to ridiculous proportions.  Add to that the fact that sunflowers…….moved.  Their sinister faces tilted toward the sun and made a slow path as the day progressed.  Only Bill knew about this fear, of course, and he did not hesitate to make regular use of it.  Luckily, on this Tuesday, he was merciful, and he lent me a rusted metal bucket as a helmet.