50 Going On 100

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.”

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Comfortable silences are overrated.

There. I said it. Or a dude in a song did; either way:

I don’t like to indulge them.

Not when there are a million stars and twice as many constellations, not when the air can smell like the ocean even though there isn’t one for miles and miles, not when we could be laughing or–

“It feels like forever,” she says, eyes closed and hands clutching at the grass. “I feel like we’ve been coming up here for forever,” and it’s strange because she’s never been one for over-exaggerations but maybe she’s not here. “Hasn’t it been forever?” eyes open now but looking over a place that isn’t here, but someplace where that could be true. I shrug.
“It feels like forever,” she repeats, just because she can.
“Maybe,” I acquiesce. A beat. Then, “I’m bored.
“Wanna race to the river?” she asks, and then she’s off as I pull up, slower than I would have liked, behind her, our laughs ringing out as we shoot down the hill.

We have been coming up here forever. The ridiculous ribbons she insists on wearing for no other reason than the alliteration stream out behind her, much like my hair–displaced in a way I haven’t been for well over a couple years now. In the days of sketchy motels and blurry towns, the realization would have sent a jolt of panic up my spine but today (here), the familiarity slides smoothly into a hollow that had gone unannounced until it was gently removed.

I speed up just a little and don’t bother to refrain from gloating.

“Well of course you won, your legs alone could be 6 feet tall, you freak,” she gasps out between breaths once she’s finally at the bank and I shove at her until we both collapse, a heap of fluttery dresses and skirts and slightly torn t-shirts.

What feels like hours, but could quite possibly be mere minutes, pass as we catch our breaths, the sky a washed-out blue that’s so boring but so immensely reassuring that I forgive it for it.

“The Eskimos didn’t have a hundred words for snow, by the way,” I blurt out for some reason.
She’s understandably confused. “What?”
“There’s that quote you like, right? With the Eskimos and Egyptians? It’s a myth, I looked it up.” I don’t know who I’m punishing. If I am.
She’s squinting, “Oh, I know. It’s just nice to think it anyway, is all.”
“Hmm.” I start humming a song she starts tapping out on her knee.

 

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.”

Yours Truly,
S.C.C.O.P

P.S  What’s this??????? not??? a??? poem????
It’s barely like 500 words but hey, it counts!

Every Story But Mine

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i am 23 and singing to a girl
who does not love me-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
a pretentious witch
who has never fallen in love
but can pretend
and shamelessly exploit
the theoretical heartbreak anyway.

i am 48 and clawing at a nicotine noose
that only seems to cling closer-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
and smoke may look good in black and white
but cigarettes make my eyes water.

i am 34 and burning the slippers
of a husband who left me-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
and the burning plastic would
only serve to poison me.

i am 9 and aboard a train
and the man kisses my hand-
-but that’s not true i am 18.
and kindness can be a disguise.
 

yours truly,

[idk man do I even need to sign-off? why am I making this harder than it has to be]

you make me laugh but it’s not funny

With the dawn of winter, a series of births took place amidst the population on Earth. They gave rise to peculiar little children–the first on earth to not be perfectly Happy. Or Sad. Or Angry. These kids discovered desperation.

Those who gave birth to them–The Happy–did not understand. What was this–this grey fog their children writhed in silently, mechanically? What was this watered down imitation sunshine that bathed their houses and plants and roads? The Happy did not understand.

The Sad–who came before the birth of The Happy–were similarly flummoxed. What were hesitant smiles that did not perfectly contrast their misery? What was this tentative hope, hesitant optimism?

The ancestors of The Sad–The Angry–understood the newest people in a way the other two generations didn’t. Of course, their great grandchildren were still freaks as far as they were concerned, but they could see the method to their madness. They understood desperation, even if they were unfamiliar with the intermittent moments of apathy that followed.

The Happy, The Sad and The Angry all loved the newest people unconditionally. The Happy delighted in the way their fingers dipped in the colours and drew swirls of beautiful, bright madness in the air. The Sad wept with them when they sobbed the tears of the discontent and wailed as they cried the woes of the distressed. The Angry ranted with them against the injustice of the skies and the flesh, and the betrayals of the heart and the mind.

And to all this, I stood a spectator.

The newest people took off sometimes. You can stay in the same place and still find ways to leave people, it’s fairly simple. They took off in the still night, picking locks with pieces of hearts ripped empty and sharpened to a point; crystallised preservations you could hear over the dripping of the faucet if you listened hard enough.

They’d breathe in the night air and look at the stars and grasp comfort from lights long dead and so far. The Sad once told them that stars are just stars. Not dead lovers illuminating the dark.

The stars are just stars, but some flowers used to be people, The Angry would hurriedly placate. For instance, windflowers sprang forth when Adonis’ blood fell to the earth. The hyacinth used to be Hyacinthus, a victim of jealous rage, the narcissus, the lily, the lotus.

The kids laughed and wept and joked and threatened to choke on the air they inhaled. Some of them fell in love and forgot to be sad, others fell in love and forgot what it was to be happy, still others did neither and stared at the scenery. And this has been their story.

The End

Yours Truly,

sign-off

 

Winterchild

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Climbing off the highest shelf,

crooning in dulcet tones,

she ground her bones

and built herself

the prettiest of tombs.

 

The song that sprang forth from her lips,

she was sure she’d never known:

an ode of sorts to all the ships

she’d seen but never flown.

 

(She’d caught his glimpse once before,

on a night half cold as this;

when the road was streaked with blood and gore,

and the fading promise of a painless bliss)

 

Oh, feel the brittle heartbeats

drown out the shaky breath.

as a half-forgotten sight it meets:

the cheeky grin of Death.

 

 

Yours Truly,

sign-off

Went Up The Water Spout…

Part one: Itsy Bitsy Spider…

 

Matushka.”

“Ah, why so formal, moy kotik? Aren’t you glad to see your mama?”

So it’s true then, what she had heard. The woman is actually in the country. She briefly chides herself for getting sloppy enough with the home security for her to be able to break in. There isn’t enough alcohol in her body to deal with this.

The tall woman stands up off the couch and the metal top of her cane glints in the near dark–feeding off of the slightest sliver of light in the room–the cane glints and suddenly she’s seven again, cross-legged on a plush carpet, shivering despite the warm fire just a few feet away, tear tracks cutting through the blood and the grime on her face begging–no. Irina takes a deep breath, tamping down the rising panic. She squares her shoulders and lifts her head, her gaze steady before asking coldly, “What are you doing here? I had made it very clear that I did not wish to be contacted. “

The woman tuts, “Now now, Nina, I’m sure I brought you up to be better than that. Is that any way to speak to your elders? Or has the crassness of the Amerikashki been imbibed by you during the past years? I must say, your accent is impeccable, it seems you’ve succeeded quite significantly in distancing yourself from your heritage”

“It isn’t my heritage I’ve distanced myself from.” She’s had enough of small talk. Whatever it is that her mother is here for, it can’t be good, but she’d rather they just get this over with. She turns to fill her glass and detects a slight movement from the corner of her eye and almost whirls around to land a well-placed kick, but realizes ‘mama’–the word stings like venom as it sloshes around in her mouth– is simply rearranging her coat. The slight twitch doesn’t go unnoticed and the older woman’s lips curve into a smirk, blood-red and all too smug. What kind of monster.

She doesn’t bother offering the other woman a drink.

“Your sister is unwell.” Irina looks up sharply, her eyes roving over the thin, defined features, trying to come to a conclusion, but like always, her face is as blank as the snowy expanse of their homeland, betraying nothing.

“The last time a family member was supposedly ‘sick’, I was the one who ended up being taken care of at a hospital.”, the accusation running clear and sharp as she spoke evenly.

Continue reading “Went Up The Water Spout…”

Itsy Bitsy Spider…

“It’s funny. Sometimes I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment in a given day but–but most days, most days all of it just washes over me, missing me entirely and I’m sat at the bottom trying to grasp at things that should have belonged to me–that were meant for me but were never mine to begin with and I can never decide what’s worse: to waste away, parched in the middle of the desert or to feel my lungs fill up and give way and drown in the ocean.”

Her index finger circles the rim of her glass and he wonders at the eloquence displayed despite the inebriated state she’s currently in. There is no doubt, of course, that had it not been for the alcohol and lack of options by way of Friday night companions, the two of them would most certainly have not even bothered with a nod hello, let alone an entire drunken philosophical monologue on mental well-being. He briefly contemplates the extent to which her sober self would regret this conversation come morning but decides that perhaps it wouldn’t be that bad. Maybe this meant they were friends now. He would like that.

By the third drink, she gives up on ridiculing him out of his firm refusal to consume alcohol and by the time she downs her fifth, he’s telling her about moving to the city and taking up the job at the University not entirely sure whether she’s listening but reassured by the occasional nods and the way her eyes flick over to his face every now and then.

Her shoulders have set themselves into a state of sadness they usually never betrayed and his heart constricts in a way not unfamiliar to him and the echoes of a childhood spent grieving over the sadness of those most dear to him faintly reverberate through his skull.

Continue reading “Itsy Bitsy Spider…”

Part Four.

Part One.  Part Two.  Part Three.

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It had happened so long ago, nobody could be expected to remember who started it. I could pretend like it had all been her, from beginning to end. I could pretend she had been the way she is right now from the beginning and that was what had broken us. Nobody would blame me. I could pretend.

For whose benefit?

 

I had cast the first stone.

I had caused the first crack in our fragile crystal cloud, which until then had floated, oblivious yet still somehow cautious, above everybody and everything else. The crystal cocoon off of which bounced the silver rays of the moon and the twinkling light of stars probably long dead but still somehow shining. I had watched the first hairline fracture spread along one of its sides and taped it up and hid it from her view.

She sang and she twirled and she sang and she twirled and she sang and she twirled inside our crystal cloud, as I ran frantically from end to end, fixing the peeling tape, pouring runny glue into the cracks, sweeping away the shards, anything to let her hold on to the illusion. Anything to make me believe in it again. And I did; after a while it stopped being a simple illusion again. So I sang as she twirled and I sang as she twirled and I sang as she twirled around and around our crystal cloud–her eyes bright and cheeks flushed while a warm content spread slowly out from the exact center of my chest, up my throat and down to my toes.

And then one day while the sun shone and the clouds gathered, longing  to kiss the earth again, she stepped on a tiny hidden crack in the glass and the whole thing came crashing down while I snatched desperately at the air, trying to glue it all back, glue it all back because there was still time–except there wasn’t and then we were on the ground, millions of tiny powdered crystals all around us while she sat laughing in delight at the sunlight reflecting off of them–her broken ankle forgotten, the pain somehow overlooked; the blood on the deadly shards ignored. Isn’t this pretty, she asked and I could do nothing except nod and sit beside her, the shards embedding themselves painfully into my palm as she put her head on my shoulder and we watched the rain begin to fall, washing away the ruins bit by bit until it was just us in the mud.

Continue reading “Part Four.”