Walking in Darkness

For my friend, Laurey. Love you, Doll.


Night has come and we walk in dark
Because we have not made it home.
But in the black, hand in hand,
We do not go alone.

The light will come again.
We know that now for sure.
For lightless earth and dimming path
Love is the only cure.


Isaiah 9 ESV

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish…but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea… The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.


Laurey lost her mom over Thanksgiving. Anytime is not a good time to lose your mom, but it was unexpected and on holiday break. If you would like to help, they have funeral costs. You can give here. Ellen Johnson Please do not feel obligated. I’m sharing to try and help.

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Back to Life

Words are straining
Light is waning
Pulse is fading
Dead

Born again
Back from when
Where I’ve been
Alive

Now I fly
On rhythm’s high
Do or die
Awake

Through the ceiling
From numb to feeling
Nerves are healing
Breathing

Eyes on fire
Love’s a wire
World’s a liar
Sleep

Good night.

Pray for Heaven

Too many memes
To cover our screams.
Tell us to pray
And wish it all away.

Pray for Vegas

Our thoughts and prayers
Fall on dead ears.
Those victims are gone.
That gun has been drawn.

Pray for Orlando

Cut through the night
With muzzle flash light.
When will I succumb
To Madman overcome?

Pray for Dallas

Hunker down now.
Kneel and bow.
Live in fear.
My rights are clear.

Pray for Newtown

How many deaths
Are required for checks?
How many guns
Are required for one?

Pray for Columbine, Denver, San Bernardino, Virginia, Paris, London…

ETC.

Pray for the whole fucked-up world.


This isn’t about protecting your home. This isn’t about one pistol or rifle for sport. This is about limiting Goddamn military hardware for crazies. It shouldn’t be your right (and it isn’t BTW) to collect an arsenal. Well-regulated, I believe it says! And we’re not.

I’m tired of thinking and praying because the men in power who can control our safety aren’t listening. Gun manufacturers profit from the death of innocents.

Pray for Heaven to have Its way. This isn’t heaven.
This is hell and the NRA is the red one with the automatic rifle, horns, hooves and pointy tail.

December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.

Elderly Dragonfly

Oh, aged, fluttering Friend,
Your short, lovely life is about to end.

Perched upon my window sill,
Your lethargy reveals you are ill.

You linger and you long,
Not quite finished with your song.

When your life is almost over,
Why aren’t you dancing above the clover?

Instead, you visit me for one last glance.
My window–your funeral. Our last chance.

When humans are old and losing the world,
We sit and stare at Universe unfurled.

But you, my friend, stare back at me,
Waiting for Heaven to finally be free.

Did you have children? Did you find grace?
Did you ever find your very own space?

Thank you for spending your last minutes here.
I embrace your brave absence of fear.

Float on up. Flying is done.
Your winged race? Too-soon run.


Based on a story my husband just shared from work last night. I made the dragonfly in Photoshop from scanned ink textures and filter effects.

Vol. 2 (continued)

More from my second volume of Present Tense. These excerpts have not been published or seen. This is from the time I visited my dad in the hospital, just before he passed. He was very sick. End-stage cancer.


Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em


Lung cancer. He smoked for over 45 years. Sometimes 3 packs a day. Sometimes a pipe. Rarely marijuana.
He is laying in bed in a hospital room. I walk into the room with my mother and sister. He’s in a gown, head shaved and Sharpie marks on his scalp. That’s where they focus the radiation. That’s where the brain tumors are. There are several marks. There are other places in his body that have cancer. Leg. Stomach. Chest.
He’s uncomfortable. He starts to squirm. He rolls onto his stomach, props himself up on his elbows and knees. My mother rubs his back. She whispers softly in his ear. She looks scared. So does he. This is the most vulnerable, tender moment I have ever seen them share. The pain passes.
He looks at me and asks me to buy him a pack of cigarettes. He hands me several dollar bills. I agree.
Our philosophies were in agreement on this day and many to follow. The world is a brief, harsh place and you find pleasure where you can.
I was not going to deny a dying man his last want or need.
We are on our way to my grandmother’s funeral.

Lois the Lion

i made this helmet princess several years ago after my friend died. it’s the dark eyes that remind me of her, i added those.

i didn’t draw the helmet, but i did everything else. i found it and manipulated it in photoshop. it was a royalty-free image, like a drawing from an old book.

and i wrote this poem. i revised and published here because it makes me happy to think of her.


i didn’t know you as well as i could, but i knew u were:
funny as hell
wispy like a princess
and the-heart-of-a-lion mother

life is a stain, full of blood and pain
an un-removable mark

indelible, undeniable, irreversible
irrevocably absolute

life is crazy and messy and amazing
impossible to erase

ur mark can never,
will never, fade
ur remarkable and beautiful
uniquely made

ur body is broken
ur life is undone
but ur spirit is alive
you have overcome

ur daughter is here
ur love is around
ur there in her eyes
angel come down

ur the lucky one
now u will rest
u endured the worst,
enjoy the best

STP

I grew up on Stone Temple Pilots and when Scott Weiland died a few years ago, it made me sad. He, obviously, had a troubled life and couldn’t conquer addiction. I loved their music and he had a great voice. I had an idea for a tribute poem; it may be trite, but it sums up my 20s with titles and lyrics from STP.


Creep along the interstate
Love song plays when I show up late

And I feel it–empty inside
This sour girl is Lonesome’s bride

Though my scarred-up heart still remains
Days of the week in tight-gripped reins

And so I know, and so it goes
Plush is the place where shallow grows

The dogs do find me, Smell on the street
Make my way to collapse at your feet

And as I lay my troubled head
Vasoline on plain, white bread

RIP S.

Paranormal Revenge Fantasy (1-5!)

*MATURE CONTENT* Chapters 1-4, with new Chapter 5! for easier reading or just to catch up.


1. Time To Wake Up

The room is white. White, sheer panels over the windows. White sheets on the bed. White carpet, white furniture, white trim. The only bit of color is a tan, overweight man sleeping peacefully on his stomach in a twist of wrinkled cotton ridges.
And…
There is a dark figure sitting on top of a dresser in the corner. Its legs are folded underneath. It is motionless and silent. The white panels ripple in the breeze and rising sun. The shadowy form flaps in and out of focus behind the curtains as they fly. The almost stillness hangs on for several moments.
The black figure leaps.
“WAKE. THE FUCK. UP!”
John was immediately awake. Barely able to inhale, John struggled for his breath, partly from the terror running through his body, partly from the pressure of something very large on top of him. John could not move. Only the figure’s sick-red lips and milky chin emerged from the dark hood surrounding its face. It whispered wetly in John’s ear.
“Rough night? I know you’re awake now, right? I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, John. I’m going to enjoy this.”
There was a long pause. John was terrified. He didn’t bother to ask the question of who the figure was. He understood. This was a person that he had wronged. His lifestyle and work placed him next to dangerous people. He ran a successful car service. Most of the people in Miami who used his company were powerful men who played terrifying games. Drugs, sex, crime. He had arrangements, entanglements, loans with these men. His success had come at a great price, his freedom. It wasn’t a surprise to have someone threatening him, but an invasion of his home was new.
The voice on top of him sang sweet like a woman, but the body was very large and heavy. Even if he had wanted to ask some question, he was not able to speak. He had just enough air to keep from losing consciousness. His mind seized as well. He could simply listen and wait for the next moment.
“I know you didn’t expect to see me. I know you thought you would never have to think about what happened again. Oh, you thought about me for a couple of days. But you didn’t worry about how I felt. You only shuddered occasionally thinking I would show up at your door. But how could I? I only had your number and you took care of that. But you didn’t need to unplug the phone, I only called that one time.”
John’s mind immediately flooded with memories of many girls from the past. He tried to place the arousing lilt and scratch of this voice, but it vibrated with echoes and harmonies. He thought of how many times he had unplugged his phone. Avoided the calls of those girls he wanted, slept with and couldn’t bear to see again. John always looked for girls. Women.
He couldn’t help it. It was a habit. Like chewing gum or biting fingernails. He didn’t sweat over it. He did it unconsciously. Involuntarily. Like bleeding.
“I’m Hy.” She placed her elbow in John’s back as she steadied herself to stand. John yelped and squirmed in pain. “Sorry, John.”

2. Let’s Party

Hy slogged across the room. The pieces of fabric tied to her coat jumped up and down, they danced like wooden wind chimes clacking together on the breeze. Dark hair oozed out of her hood and swished around like ink on marble. When she passed the window, he noticed that she was just as tall. She had to be almost 7 feet. Her legs were long enough to step onto the dresser, turn and squat with her black boots tucked under her, supporting her body.
John realized as she sat that he was free and scrambled on all fours through the sheets to the cell phone on his night stand. It was off. He pressed the power button and nothing happened. He slammed the phone down and called for someone, “Deana??! Are you still here??!” No answer.
He got up off the bed and walked quickly to the door. Before he could reach the hall, Hy silently flicked her finger and slammed the windows and doors shut without even looking up from her task. John stopped. He turned to Hy with his fists formed, not angry, scared. Hy swiped her finger across the small screen of a handheld device.
“This Deana? I’m looking at your Facebook, Johnny. She’s cute. Professional cheerleader, huh? And what else does she do? Professionally, of course. On the side? She’s pretty. How long before she cheated on ya, Jaybird?”
Hy vacantly blinks and smiles for a few moments at John. He has no response. He walks slowly towards the dresser and pulls out a black pair of shorts, unsure if she will allow this.
“I’m at least going to put on some clothes.”
“Oh, yeah, please do. I don’t wanna see that. Can I even see it??” Hy giggled. “You know, that always was a lot like your height and personality. Always coming up short.” Big smile.
John sits down on the foot of the bed to face Hy. She turns her face back toward the screen in her lap as she stretches out one leg and sits on the other. She shifts; gets comfortable. “Yeah, Deana won’t be back.”
“Why, what did you do?” He was angry.
“Oh, I didn’t do anything. It’s what you did. When she walked out of here last night, it was for the last time.” Back to the screen. “Looks like you have a successful company. How much do you owe to the banks? Or this guy?” Hy showed a picture of El Rey, known in Miami as a big-league businessman with ties to the drug cartels, a money launderer. No doubt he washed some of the money in John’s cars.
“Oh, here’s a fun picture. The sweaty, beer-stained collar of your shirt really catches the light in this one.” She laughs. “It’s starting to catch up with you, John.” She continues to swipe the screen, flipping through pictures and pages.
“I can’t see how old you are, Jooooohn. No birthday? By my calculations, you are, let’s see, 45 right?” Hy closes her eyes and then pops them open with the answer. “No! My bad. 46. I missed your birthday this year. Sorry ‘bout that. Happy birthday.” Hy is sitting on the dresser, kicking her dangling leg with absolutely no trace of a smile.
“What do you want?” John asked.
“Yay! I finally get to kick you in the proverbial balls. Here’s the real gut-punch, John.” Hy rose into the air. She floated above the dresser with her arms stretched wide. She was done playing around with her mouse. Her voice consumed most of the air in the room and John’s lungs.
“I am righteous anger. I am vengeance. I am every single girl, woman, person you ever violated. I am the pooling blood of the innocent. I am violence. I am justice. I am the voice of the girl you raped and killed. I am the dark angel formed by all the pain and suffering you have left in your life. I’m here for that life, John.”
“I never raped anyone! I never killed anyone!” John gasped.
Hy raised her hands and pushed an invisible force toward John. He was thrown against the wall, pinned by his wrists to the white suede headboard. She seethed and spit through teeth. “You had sex with a drunk, unconscious woman. Remember Rachel? Maybe you don’t remember her name? Maybe you never knew it. That was rape. Your friend took pictures of you having sex with her. He shared the pictures of you raping her with everyone.” Hy clicked her tongue, “Real sloppy, John.”
John was ashamed, afraid, confused and in pain. He started to cry. His chin dropped to his chest along with small streams of tears.
“Rachel saw those pictures being passed around at school. She was taunted by your friends. But you wouldn’t know that. You never went to college. You simply hung around at the parties, preying on girls. You didn’t know that Rachel was mentally ill. She’d have to be mentally ill to sleep with you, honey. Believe me, we all were.
“You also never knew that she stopped taking her medicine because she ran out. She was too afraid and embarrassed to even walk to the pharmacy to refill her prescription or ask for help.”
Hy swooped down and raised John’s head. She whispered the rest into John’s face, her eyes darting back and forth between his, searching for any sign of recognition or remorse.
“She stopped going to class. She stopped eating food. Rachel killed herself because of what you did. Do you remember Rachel now? She sliced her wrists open in the dorm bathroom while her roommates were at a party. You were even at that party. Her
blood is on your hands.”
She removed the force from his hands and his palms landed limply on the bed. She glided to a stand at the edge of the bed. John could not speak or move. He was motionless with fear and shame. Hy stared into John’s eyes for a moment and then returned to a chair near the window. She sat and folded her arms and crossed her legs.
“You didn’t know that did you? You never called her or spoke to her again. You never picked up a newspaper or watched TV. You were too busy fucking someone else to notice.”

3. The Apology

“I’m–sorry.” A few more tears. John was weak.

“Did you just say ‘sorry’?” Hy was angry.

“I AM sorry. I’m so terribly sorry.” John pleaded.

Hy sat still for a moment. She stared at John. She saw past the surface. She saw past the watery eyes. She saw past the terror and despair. She looked into his heart and saw nothing. “You’re pathetic.”

John groveled. “What should I say? I regret doing that. I was young. I was stupid and drunk. I want to take that back.”

“You can’t take it back! She’s gone and I’m what’s left.”

“I don’t want to die. I don’t want this. I’ll do whatever you want, just please don’t kill me.” John whimpered, “I’ll make amends.”

Hy sighed. “You want to make amends. You have no idea what that even means. What that entails? You cannot make amends. You do not want to make amends. You can’t lie to me. You can’t charm me.”

John shouted, “I’ll do whatever it takes!”

Hy moved so quickly to John’s side that her body blurred behind. She was close to his ear within a second. As sweet as you please, “You know what we’re going to do, don’t you?”


4. Back to the Beginning

John panicked. He was terrified by his own words spoken back to him. Those words are the ones he always whispered to women the moment before he kissed them for the first time. His mind flipped back through time, through each woman, flashing through pictures, rapidly increasing in speed. Then everything came to a bright, white halt.

He landed on the one picture he didn’t expect to see. His own mother. The image in his mind began to play like a home movie, soft and dull at first. Her dress and hair faded into vividly bright spots of swimming color. Her face comes close to his. Her face is distorted. She whispers, “You know what were going to do, don’t you?”

John shuddered and dropped the image like a boiling pan. He shut his eyes tightly and went blank. He tried to dampen the overwhelming feelings that struck like lightning bolts.

Hy sneered. “You’ll do whatever it takes, huh?”

“I get it,” John whimpered.

Hy reassured John. “You don’t get the half of it. That’s only the beginning.”


5. Behind Closed Doors

Hy walked slowly to the door and it opened. John watched Hy as she turned to look back at him. For just a moment, a second before she disappeared, her face melted into something different. She started to shrink and wither. She was gone.

John closed his eyes tight for a few seconds and gathered himself. Trying to understand what he had just been through and seen, he heard soft cries of a small girl from the next room.

What is THAT?

The soft, wet breaths increased. A few gasps. The sounds intensified. Weakly, “No.”

She repeated the simple word until John stood. The noise immediately broke, but his mind accelerated. He was afraid to go into the next room.

Even though the noise had stopped, he could still feel things happening down the hall. Light. Warmth. An energy. His chest ached and dragged. He walked slowly to the door.

He looked and listened down the hallway for the now-silent voice. Everything was still for several seconds. He heard a small noise. Not a voice, but a body shift or a paper move. Someone was in the next room.

The hallway was dark. The hallway was usually bright with sunlight reflected in mirrors, artwork glass and light-colored tile. It was never dark. Even at night, the moon and stars found their way down the hall. The house was different. The tile was replaced with dirty, matted olive-green carpet. There was a smell: stale, heavy, metallic.

He took small steps and strained to make out cigarette butts, crumpled plastic cups, crushed beer cans and torn pieces of paper littering the floor.

As he approached the end of the exaggerated hall, he saw a sliver of silver highlighting the edges of a closed door. Whatever was happening was just beyond. The light bounced, dark to bright, when something bumped the door from the other side. He couldn’t breathe or swallow. His chest was burning. He stretched out his hand to turn the knob.

Paranormal Revenge Fantasy (Cont.)

3. The Apology

“I’m–sorry.” A few more tears. John was weak.

“Did you just say ‘sorry’?” Hy was angry.

“I AM sorry. I’m so terribly sorry.” John pleaded.

Hy sat still for a moment. She stared at John. She saw past the surface. She saw past the watery eyes. She saw past the terror and despair. She looked into his heart and saw nothing. “You’re pathetic.”

John groveled. “What should I say? I regret doing that. I was young. I was stupid and drunk. I want to take that back.”

“You can’t take it back! She’s gone and I’m what’s left.”

“I don’t want to die. I don’t want this. I’ll do whatever you want, just please don’t kill me.” John whimpered, “I’ll make amends.”

Hy sighed. “You want to make amends. You have no idea what that even means. What that entails? You cannot make amends. You do not want to make amends. You can’t lie to me. You can’t charm me.”

John shouted, “I’ll do whatever it takes!”

Hy moved so quickly to John’s side that her body blurred behind. She was close to his ear within a second. As sweet as you please, “You know what we’re going to do, don’t you?”