I’ve started reading horoscopes
Now I’ve never believed in the zodiac
Or really even humoured it
But I never believed I’d find someone
Who made me feel comfort by acknowledging my anxieties or who
Distracts me from movies by simply being in my peripheral vision.
This sounds like a cheesy line
But I was thinking maybe if the stars said
We could be good together
I’d have a slight chance.
“Together the two can fly without fear of falling”
I’m definitely scared of falling.
See I’ve already fallen down this rabbit hole
A painful amount of times
I keep thinking there’s a light at the end
But this time I’m scared to jump off the ledge
Which I’ve been hiding on for months
You smile and I see it…I see the light
That terrifies me more.
I don’t know what to trust.
I’ve started reading horoscopes
A science for which I’ve never developed trust
But you my dear
I’ve started reading horoscopes
Does that word offend you?
How about that one?
We all know how much of a lie that word can be.
However the most abrasive “f-word” according to the media is not any of those
Swears, insults, and lies are just fine as long as we don’t mention
The 1 in 6 women whose bodies are used without their permission
The 4 women who were killed by a spouse today, yesterday, and the day before
The 33 cents per dollar cut from every woman’s pay because of her genitals
The systematic oppression that makes life unnecessarily harder for half of America’s population
We get to see Christian Grey “take” Anastasia and gossip about how sexy it is
But never end up speaking of the drunk girl whose uncertainty was ignored
and everyone blamed her for being broken the next day
We watch game shows showing women who perfectly depict the beauty standard
Competing to be the sexiest dead girl in the photoshoot
This is what we call entertainment.
These are our role models.
Who cares if you’re dead as long as boys 18-24 will pay to look at you?
We can talk about the best brand of fake lashes and cellulite cream
But not about the fact corporations create insecurities and new products simultaneously
American media encourages us to fear, hate, and misinterpret this word
Well I’m sorry but I don’t want to talk about the next miracle diet, newest shoe designer or celebrity break up
I want to talk about feminism
Yeah, I said it!
Let’s hear her side of the story
Let’s take the media out of it
Let’s eliminate the male gaze
And listen to the people who may
Dress, talk, think or love differently than us.
We are women.
We are not the unfortunate counterpart to men.
I want to indulge in media of substance
I want children to see strong role models of all genders
I want “you can be anything you want when you grow up” to include
I can’t help but write about the metaphor you presented me
Of your fiancé hurting herself with the engagement ring you gave her
When a relationship is as poisonous as yours,
It should come with a warning label
It didn’t and I got involved
I guess I’m not so good at reading signs anyway
You’ve cut a much too big heart shaped hole
Through my chest
And dug around before finding what was left
I just hope that you don’t lose the chain that you keep it on
It’s funny how we will go through so much pain for a chance at love
The parallels to religion blow my mind
An omniscient all powerful thing we have so much faith in
We let it guide us
I let you guide me through the garbage disposal
And now I’ll sit and rot with the rest of the trash
Thinking how lucky I was to have such an obvious reason to believe
And glancing up through the light to see you happy
I’ll tell myself it was worth it
Written some time last semester. Just found it
I don’t want to write another sad poem
I don’t want to write another self harm suicide rape trauma poem
I don’t want to write another poem that I cry through
When I try not to write sad, I write sex
But what am I supposed to do when sex and sadness intertwine?
Molested as a child and it never stopped
Harassment here, blurred lines there, just another guy I’m meant to hate
I told everyone I loved it.
I told myself I loved it.
Then I found myself in a relationship with an asexual guy
At down I find myself wondering if it is because I needed a break
or because I wanted to be the one pushing for once
Fuck, now I’m crying again
They beg you to throw away your blades and they give you a typewriter
What else can I write?
Should I tell you about the girl?
The girl I catch myself thinking about too often?
The girl who plays guitar and piano
like it’s the only way her thoughts can escape?
It’s not that I want to have sex with her
I just want to see the inside of her
I want to know if it’s barmen and carved into
or blurry and dark.
I want to know why she does so many drugs.
Is it to numb or to feel?
I catch myself looking at her hands
Can you be attracted simply to the way hands move on certain people?
I can tell so much just looking at them
The callouses and burns don’t give it away
It’s the way she grabs beer and weed like her mother’s hand
but pencil and paper like something foreign or banned
It’s the fact that she is 20 something and I was her second kiss.
She kissed me out of anger.
She kissed me out of fear.
She kissed me because she didn’t know what else to do with herself
I think that’s why I’m so mesmerized.
She has so much emotion but lets herself believe she doesn’t
I wonder if she remembers our drunk talk
or if she pretends not to, in the morning/
I wonder if she thinks about me
or if I was just another vice to grab.
Maybe I have made it all up
Maybe she is just a girl
and I am making her an example of my problems
Maybe the world it what it seems on the surface
Maybe the love of my life is asexual by chance
Maybe the list of guys who have pushed me gets longer by chance
Maybe every poem I try to write is sad by chance
or maybe this is all something bigger
Maybe the girl is in my head because she fell into my story
and doesn’t belong.
Maybe I’m onto something here
or maybe I need to go to bed.
The stars drop silently
While our laughter screams through stale air
My neighbors have no right to complain
Why would people complain anyway
I deserve to be happy
I don’t understand
How we had seperate terrible evenings
But nights together so perfect
We refused to let them end.
I told you how you hurt me
I explained that my heart used to be whole
and you shattered it into a million stars.
I described the pieces as stars because
they were once beautiful
and are now burning away
leaving just darkness.
I shared my need to cut off my skin
hoping it would allow my heart to evaporate
and I wouldn’t be stuck
with a melted puddle in my ribcage.
We talked about pain for hours
and I had never felt so safe.
What is it about your hair
in a side pony
and a bang on the right
twisted with the arm of your glasses
that makes me forget the world?
Intoxicating my blood stream
while you intoxicate my mind
is just a recipe for disaster.
I forgot how to filter and for once
let shields down I didn’t know were there.
I knew you’d be scared of my insides
There’s a reason guts are only spilled
in horror movies.
I never meant to hurt you
that without you in my life
I wouldn’t have guts to spill
Just tears watering my face
hoping they’d grow into something beautiful
so you’d love me again.
Every month the Humboldt NaNoWrimo group puts out an ebook called the Roaring Slug. We have a monthly prompt that everyone follows and this month is was a character prompt.
Siv, a folklorist with night terrors.
Here is my submission:
Although the sun going down means it’s time to wind down the day to most people, it does not mean the same to writers. Siv was 52 years old and had been writing short stories his entire adult life. He had always preferred writing to sleeping. Stay up and teach the lessons that he was never taught. That had always been his passion. Sadly he never got any published. They were said to be too scary for children. Siv thought they were just right. He picked up a stack of papers and found one of the first he wrote.
“Stay close Robert! I don’t want you to go to the big kid playground. Stay here so I can see you from the car. I need to go change David’s diaper.”
“But mom I just want to go for a minute!” Robert’s mom shot him a strict glare that he knew the meaning of, and turned her back to go to the dull red mini van. He spent all his days in school, thinking about the swings with the real chains that go way higher then the stupid baby swings on the red playground. He was in the first grade now. Maybe his mom just didn’t know what she was talking about.
Robert looked over and saw his mother struggling. She hadn’t even opened the van yet. She was holding her phone and his little brother at the same time. He had a good ten minutes. From where she was there was no one she could watch him. He had to take the chance.
The big kid playground was empty so he wouldn’t even have to wait for a swing. It was a sign from the universe. Robert got up from the sandbox, brushed off his jeans and walked over. As he hopped onto the swing a bit too tall for him, he remembered the struggles of swinging alone. His legs were not strong enough to pump as high as he dreamt of swinging. After a couple minutes of trying, he felt a firm push on his back.
“Who are you!?” He shouted almost loud enough to catch his mother’s attention. The figure pushing him was a lean homeless looking man wearing a rugged grey jacket much to big for him.
The man spoke in a sporadic voice. “Moms don’t understand. You aren’t a baby anymore. You are a big kid. Don’t you have a dad around? Guys always know what is up.”
Not knowing to be worried around the stranger, Robert replied, “I don’t have a dad. I want to find one though.”
“Well, your mom obviously doesn’t understand you anyway. I’ll be your dad. Listen, I have this tire swing at my house. It’s way better. You should come along.”
“Okay, as long as I’m back soon so my mom doesn’t worry.” Robert agreed ignorantly.
“Your mother will be fine if you come with me.”
When Robert got to the man’s house, he was a bit scared to go in, so he went straight to the backyard to find the tire swing.
“It’s around the back, son.” The man encouraged. Robert kept going and found himself in a corner. He turned around confused and saw the man had a dog collar and a big rock in his hand. The man hit him in the head with the rock and chained him up by the neck in an old shed. When Robert woke up he could barely talk. He croaked out, “I want my mom. Take me to my mom.”
The man laughed. “You didn’t want your mom. You wanted a dad. Come on son. You’re MINE now.” Robert started crying
Three days later, Robert’s body was found beaten and bloody in the same park he was lost at. The cops couldn’t figure out how the body got back in the park when they were patrolling it. They never suspected the janitor.
Siv tossed it aside. “Bullshit.” He said to himself. It didn’t take much to empty out this off white room. The walls were cement and covered with dirt. There was only one small window and it was too high for him to see out of, not that there was a view anyway. He missed the world that fed him smiles and laughter, ice cream and candy. It seemed like he hadn’t been outside in years. He hadn’t written in years either. Perhaps those two things correlated. There simply wasn’t any inspiration here. He picked up another one of his stories. They were like memories to him now.
Destiny was a very sassy girl. She whined whenever she had a slight reason.
“There aren’t enough sprinkles on my ice cream!”
“There are too many sprinkles on my ice cream!”
“We already went to this park yesterday, I want to go to a new one!”
“My shoes are dirty. Get me new ones!”
Her mum and dad worked hard and she spent all her time with a nanny who waited on her hand and foot. Destiny was a very naughty girl and never got punished for it so it only got worse. When she was 12 years old, she thought she ruled the world. She owned the title she wore on a sash- “Princess Destiny”. When your parents are rich and your friends are paid to be with you, no one argues or punishes you.
When her father died in a plane accident flying home from work, things changed for little bratty Destiny. Her mum decided to take an enlightening trip of self discovery to Rome, and Destiny was suddenly living with an aunt she had never met.
Her new house was only one story and there wasn’t a pool or a playroom. Destiny hated it and made it very known. Her aunt ignored her most of the time but a man lived in the house as well. For the first week or so, he ignored her too. He would sit on the other side of the room and watch as she threw temper tantrums.
“I hate this food. I want beef wellington not Kraft mac and cheese.”
“Where is the maid? No one made my bed. Someone is getting fired.”
“I am SO bored. I need a new toy.”
“I want to go to the movies. This ipad isn’t even in HD.”
The man watched her, building more disgust and anger toward her spoiled, ungrateful ways. He knew something needed to be done to teach her a lesson and no one else seemed to be stepping up to the plate.
One day she was throwing a fit after dinner. “It’s your fault we had ribs. I am not going to wash my hands until after you give me dessert. I don’t want to wash them twice. You shouldn’t have given me messy food if you didn’t want me to make a mess. This is really all your fault.”
The man couldn’t take it anymore. He raised the butcher’s knife he used to separate the ribs from the rest of the pig, and slammed it down before Destiny could think of moving her hand. The dark red of her blood mixed with the barbeque sauce creating a crimson palette on the cheap china. She started to scream but it didn’t shake him from his fury. Within two minutes she had no fingers and a knife in her chest cavity.
She learned a lesson that day. She would never disrespect an adult again.
That was the worst story he had ever completed. It angered him so. He recalled having to fight tooth and nail for his box of manuscripts and shit like that made him feel really stupid about it. It was the last fight he would have though, and he knew it. He searched through the boxes to find a happier memory but all he could find was unfinished crap he regretted writing down.
Charlie’s siblings would never let him play with anything. They were all older and meaner. When they got to drive the car, Charlie couldn’t even sit in the front. They were allowed to cook and wouldn’t even let him stir. When he was throwing a fit at the park and a stranger let him light the barbeque, he was so excited…until the man set him on fire.
In Portland, it was usual to talk to everyone as if they were friends. Little Casey decided to only talk to those she liked. She judged books by their covers. She didn’t talk to him. She regretted it when he gouged out her eyes.
5 year olds should look both ways before crossing the street. Otherwise strong men might snatch them by their blonde pigtails.
Little boy named Jesus- got from Safeway when he threw his broccoli on the ground. Growing kids need their vegetables.
Cheyanne 9 in the canyon- not wearing the right shoes.
They weren’t even stories in the end. Just field notes. He threw them all on the ground and started to scream. He hadn’t slept in three days. Between the flashbacks and the ticking clock he just couldn’t anymore. The pile of papers on the cement floor looked more inviting than what was supposed to be a bed, so he laid and fell asleep.
When he woke up, there were two officers at his door, about to drag him to the only room he feared more than his current home. As they strapped him into the chair, he stared into the medical grade light on his face and listened silently. There was no point in screaming again.
“Samuel “Siv” Davidson. Death penalty appointed by the Supreme Court of the United States of America for 27 counts of kidnap and murder of a minor. Do you have any last words, Mr. Davidson?”
He closed his eyes, remembering everything important in his life and managed to say out loud, “I hope they learned their lessons.”