Reopened

Time doesn’t heal all wounds

it Closes them over, hides the blood and bone under crisscross scars,

it Fades badges of honor, camouflaged in soft sagging, aging skin.

Memories grow fuzzy as you rest on laurels, feeling proud of survival.

Time makes you Forget,

how to cope with the pain

how to endure.

You are Soft. Weak. Pathetic.

Back in the trenches your mind would explode under onslaught of bullets and bombs

Awwww….

you Weep alone, your delicate little feelings hurt by words.  Words? Really?

You should have stayed in Fighting form you know?

A siren wails….

You know what’s coming

Running out of time….

you hear the engines of then sneaking up on now….

Squealing, Screaming….

Sticks and Stones WILL break your bones.

I’ll give you something to Cry about.

Butterfly?

It’s easy to never leave. Anything I need can be delivered.
Nexflix to watch, Amazon to read, groceries dropped off for a small fee.

You say I must go out, be part of the world.

You say I have friends, should have friends, or will have friends depending on your argument for the day.

You tell me people interact, they build bonds, tribes, families. Come out you say, to a movie or a play. Let’s go visit this person or that and pretend they’re happy to see you.

Put on a nice dress and a smile. Nothing is prettier than a smile.

You list out my virtues, telling me all the reasons people like me: brains, humor, talent, imagination, compassion.

But your logic is weak. It’s based on people being reasonable and stable. It relies on them choosing simple over complex, and easy over exciting. You think other people are rational like you. You think they value substance over form.

I was thin and pretty when you met me. I was full of excitement and energy. I wasn’t afraid all the time, every moment of every day. I had big plans. Today I was supposed to be a CPA, a senior accountant on my way to CFO. I was going to wear nice suits and go to power lunches. I wanted to be a mother.

Instead I’m an unemployed cat lady in her pajamas peering out the window, checking all the locks.

You fell in love with my heart, which aside from the lack of courage has not changed. You fell in love with how much I love you, and love me for how much I love you still.

This me happened in slow motion and backwards.

Frame by frame, a butterfly goes back into the cocoon.
A beautiful garden becomes an empty lot.
A confident woman becomes a frightened child.

How is it that when you look at me you still see a butterfly?

butterfly

***

This was written for the trifecta prompt Weak -3: not factually grounded or logically presented

I am 5 days into taking SSRIs for the first time. It is not supposed to do anything yet, but I feel horrible. My anxiety is way higher than normal, I feel alienated and depressed. This poem or prose, or whatever it is, is not very good but it is what I felt like doing today.

Uniform

riot gear 3
Black pants, black shirt, riot shield, helmet, baton, gun, nametag hidden behind black tape. Lights reflect off your faceplate, obscuring your features. You’re not a person to most of us on this side of the barricade. You’re a mindless stormtrooper taking orders from corporate masters. You’re a soulless robot, a nightmare, a monster.

You’re not an individual. You’re a force, a wave of fury, violence in motion, one cog in a machine, one bullet in a gun. You attack, impersonal as a hurricane.

You don’t see us as people either, do you?

If you did, you’d see my face reminds you of your sister; my hands are like those of your first love. You might wonder what my favorite food is or if I have any pets.

I think about who you are, not just because I want a name to tell my lawyer after you burn my eyes or bloody my nose.

Do you like superhero movies? Do you have kids? What sort of house can you afford with thirty pieces of silver? I know the average pay of cops here. If you live a nicer house than mine then you don’t spend much time there. You work a second job. Are you the man who sits in his squad car at the Chinese place I like? Did you smile at me last week when I waved, balancing half a cardboard box of fried rice and moo shu?

If you weren’t going to punch me and zip tie my hands together, could we be friends? Lovers? Would you laugh at my jokes?

We are teachers and students, nurses and firefighters, social workers and foster kids. We want to change the rules so everyone has a fair chance, so no one is a slave to a meager minimum wage paycheck or dies just for being poor.

If you banded with us, would you be able to go to your daughter’s recital instead of standing in line against Americans just like you?

Written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt word.

BAND (verb)
1: to affix a band to or tie up with a band
2: to finish or decorate with a band
3: to gather together : unite

The picture is from http://www.pghcitypaper.com/, and I think the photographer was Renee Rosensteel.

The Hunt

I don’t know exactly what happened, but I lost confidence in my writing for a few months. I gave myself a good talking to and I’m back to work now. Writing a short story for the wonderful Trifecta seemed like a good way to get my brain working again. I hope you like the story and that I can stay motivated enough to write one next week too.

The prompt is:
CHARM (verb)
1a : to affect by or as if by magic : compel b : to please, soothe, or delight by compelling attraction
2: to endow with or as if with supernatural powers by means of charms; also : to protect by or as if by spells, charms, or supernatural influences
3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music).

The Hunt

Waiting was the hardest part. Mother said waiting was a skill, like tying knots or shooting arrows. She became stone, save her eyes, constantly searching. Even knowing where she was, Lisha had to concentrate to see her. It wasn’t clothing and body paint that faded her into the jungle; it was stillness inside.

Two years into training, Lisha was improving, able to hold position for hours. But her mind never settled. She thought about being uncomfortable, dinner, friends, the festival. She daydreamed about future catches and the praise she would receive. She thought about being a mother and teaching her daughter to hunt.

Last moon Lisha killed three deer. She once took down a bear and had hidden from a tiger. But animals were different than people. People can feel your thoughts on them. Their spine tingles and blood cools as you hunt them; your excitement fuels their fear. They flee without knowing why. Unlike deer, humans can’t be shot. Killing a man makes him useless. Perfect calm, delicate magic, and timing are needed to charm one.

Lisha is not expected to capture a man. Her mother and the other master hunters would bring men for the festival. But she could not stop daydreaming about it, which is why the few she had come close to had gotten away.

A twig snapped, startling Lisha, causing her to fall. A tall, well-muscled young man stood looking down at her.

He stood not five feet away, his confusion giving her time to remember what to do. She stared into his green eyes, singing the calming song. Without breaking eye contact she stood, beginning the dance, stepping backwards slowly, beckoning him. His eyes locked on hers, he followed.

Mother jumped out behind him, tying his hands, but he hardly looked away from Lisha.

A hunter can claim any man she captures. Lisha was younger than the other girls in the festival, but no one would challenge her right to this man.

Writer’s Regimen

For a while, almost a year, I had formed a good routine. I was putting several hours a day into my career as a writer. That is not to say I wrote fiction every day. Some days were spent searching for markets, some days doing blog posts, interacting with other writers or possible readers, or working on my webpage. Mondays I wrote a short story from a prompt; most other days I did a mixture of editing and marketing. And then I stopped.
It was a few months ago. And now I can’t even remember why I stopped. I have some issues with mania and depression. Maybe I found something better to do, or maybe I thought writing was pointless. Whatever the reason, one day I decided not to write. The days turned to weeks, the weeks to months. The longer I went without working, the scarier it became to go back to it. I started to not feel like a writer at all anymore.

Last night I couldn’t get to sleep. I thought of all the work I had done, and how no one was ever going to read it if I could not make myself get back in the saddle and finish it. I put “Writing, 1 hour” on my task list. This is not the first time I have done it, but I guess it was the first time I meant it, because here I am, writing. Editing my novel might be the most important thing I could be doing, because I can’t have a career as a writer without a product for people to buy. However, that seemed much too hard to jump right back into. I don’t have any short story ideas and I don’t know if I am up to writing something fresh from a prompt right now.

A blog post about my life, thoughts and feelings is always pretty easy, as I love talking about myself. I know very few people will read this today, or maybe ever. But that is not the point. The point is that the clock is ticking down an hour and my fingers are clicking on the keys. It feels good, still a bit scary, but good.

Maybe I will finish this post in less than an hour. Then what? There are so many things I could do, so many paths I could choose to take back up Awesome Author Mountain. Maybe I could go read and comment on some of my favorite blogs (which I have also been neglecting). Maybe I could at least open my novel and read a bit. Maybe I could organize all my finished and ready to publish stories and start looking for people to buy them. Maybe I could start on another blog post or order business cards. Perhaps making a list is in order. Today it does not matter what I do, as long as I am doing something. Today is one day, but the days will turn into weeks, and the weeks will turn into months, and soon I will feel like a writer again.

I love reading about other writers’ routines; some of them are so strange, with weird superstitions, ticks and habits. Daily Routines is a great blog to check out if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Other than a timer, I don’t have anything that always happens. Some days I feel the need to write with paper and pen, some days I light a candle, burn incense, or turn on the salt lamp. A few days I got really drunk first, which worked out better than I want to admit, but I don’t plan to make a habit of it. I keep a keyboard (the musical type) beside my computer, and I have found that playing a song or two when I am frustrated with something I am failing to write correctly is helpful. If a certain food, action, time of day, or weird habit forms I will let you know here.

Please tell me about your writing routines in the comments.

Rabbit Pays a Debt

This story is for Trifecta’s April Fool’s day prompt:

rain (transitive verb)
1: to pour down
2: to give or administer abundantly
3: to take a lot of money in bill form and toss it up in the air. This is most effectively done at a strip club for the effect of raining one dollar bills on the dancers (and it makes them feel so pretty), or to snub a hater by throwing money into their face that then falls to the floor like rain (use this when paying a debt to a punk bitch who keeps asking for their money to the point that they are ruining your friendship or when dumping someone who has been bankrolling you for a while now that you’re making money).

It was also inspired by the carrots which are coming up both in the rabbit pot I painted as well as the garden beds. I love carrots! Carrots make me think of rabbits. They are strongly linked culturally, though my friends who keep rabbits tell me they don’t actually eat that many carrots. Rabbits are perfect for April Fool’s Day because like Coyote and Anasi,Rabbit is a great trickster. SAM_1729

***
When you do mischief like Rabbit, you get in trouble. Money, everyone knows, gets you out of trouble. Stealing a carrot can land a body in jail, but a rich man can steal a whole farm, if he has money to buy police.

Rabbit borrowed money from everyone, a little from each, hoping they’d forget. Times being hard none forgot. They all looked for Rabbit when they had need of their money. But one thing Rabbit can do is hide.

Rabbit was resting in a briar eating fresh blackberries, when he heard voices.

“Have’ya seen Rabbit?” asked Possum

“I’ve not seen him since I let him a few dollars” said Fox

“I sore need the money I gave him” Said Possum

“Have’ya talked ta Bear? He gave me what Rabbit owed, sayin’ he’d get it back from Rabbit along with what’s owed him” said Fox

“I’ll go see him now” said Possum, hurrying away.

Rabbit was afraid. Bear had a long memory and was mighty fierce. Rabbit added up what he borrowed all together. It was enough money to fight over.Rabbit made a plan.

He told Chicken, a known gossip, about a beautiful lady at the hoochie-coochie show on the edge of town.

That night Bear came to the show. The girl came out, hiding behind two fans. She danced ‘round the stage, everyone hottin’ and hollerin’. Bear didn’t see too good, but he knew this must be the lady he’d heard of. To impress her he made it rain, emptyin’ his wallet. Later Bear tried to find her, but she was gone.

Next day Rabbit found Bear sighing in his cave.

“Why do you sigh?” Rabbit asked

“I lost all my money, to impress a lady. Now I have no money or lady” Bear said
“Good news! I’ve come to pay you back. Lucky I waited or you might have lost this too” Said Rabbit, giving Bear almost as much money as he had thrown at the mysterious lady.

Which Home?


Up until now I have always written something new for the Trifecta prompt, that is sort of the point for me.  While I am editing this novel I don’t have much chance to write new stories, and I fear the creative parts of my brain meats will dry up like beef jerky.  Writing something fresh with the prompt lets me just run wild with it, as opposed to editing with is soul numbing. However I have been neglecting the editing, so today I decided to post something from the novel instead, to encourage me to do better work on it.  It took almost as long to edit this passage (which started out at 500+ words, lots of which were so, really and very) as it does to write something new.  I tend to be uselessly wordy, over describing things and babbling. Having word limits has helped me work on this problem.

The following is from “Lost in Reflection” which will be released later this year.   The story is about Marney, a 16 year old who ends up trapped in a another world.

***

You can’t survive alone.  Most people stay in dense, walled towns like Derry, where the buildings touch and the people know each other.  The gates lock at sundown every day. Only in numbers do people have safety, because out there are dangers and temptations of darkest dreams and delightful nightmares. Every fairytale agrees about that.  There’s a sort of magic here which some humans even learn to use. A wizard lives in Derry to help keep the town safe from magical threats, native beings, and for lack of a better word, monsters.

I’m lucky the worst thing I met were cranky chickens.  There are so many scary things here that many don’t even have names.  There are rules: Don’t be alone outside a city at night.  If anyone offers you food and you’re not 100% sure they’re human, don’t eat it.  Don’t play games with non-humans, just to name a few. Most rules have exceptions.  If you’re out at night, light a fire, unless you think you might attract Fireflies. Don’t follow bouncing lights unless you’re already lost and think it might lead to safety.   There are too many to remember, and I have a feeling they change anyway.

Mrs. Shaw let me stay and work at the Milk Maid.  The work wasn’t hard; cooking, cleaning, and gardening.  The sort you do with your body while your mind thinks about other things.  At first I was always thinking about getting home, but soon I realized I was thinking about home less and less.

This place was great.  No one had called me fat or questioned my sexuality.  I didn’t miss school, and loved being treated as an adult.  I liked the people, inn, and town.  The happier I was the guiltier I felt. Mom had a hard time raising me alone, after my father left. Even twelve years later she has trust and commitment issues. When he left, it broke her heart in half, me disappearing must have shattered what was left.

Socially Transmitted Insanity

I wrote the following for this week’s Trifecta prompt “infect”.  This piece is not clean or polite.

***

Writing was the calling and fetish of the mad.

Those with demanding demons and dangerous desires took up the pen when the pressure of being, being alive, being buzzy broken, being bold, being beaten, became too great, ejaculating misspelled, grammatically incorrect, beautiful, tragic, hot life onto paper, and into the minds of the lifeless.

Mom read a bit of Kerouac after putting little Timmy down to nap.  For an hour she ran away from spit up, jello molds and obligatory missionary sex.  She huddled in the bed of a rusted out pickup truck, smoking reefer and looking up at the endless desert celestium.  She had freedom of the open road from her comfortable chintz sofa or mint-green kitchen chair.  She went to the clinic of depravity where Doctors Lovecraft, Shelley, and Poe injected dried up wickedness to vaccinate her from smothering her tow hair cherub-cheeked darling with a stuffed bear while he slept.

Dad spent the night on underage heroin addicted hookers with Hunter, while never straying from the sanctity of marriage. He learned to appreciate his own comfortable life after embracing loneliness, alienation, and self-loathing with Salinger and Falkner.

Sane people could open their wet willing minds and pull in a little insanity.

Everyone needs a release.  Society can’t function if all the drones have hum-drum blue balls.  The masses jack off with words to stay proper, and all it costs is the minds of a few mad ones, who fuck themselves raw, lubing up with cocaine, reds, alcohol, acid, and opium.  A few crazy bastards burning, pumping out their souls for everyone.

Now the mad ones take mood stabilizers and SSRIs, trimmed wick, limp-dicked.  The vaccine no longer produced, because it turns out normalcy was the disease.  You infect us, self-help books on my shelf, coffee in my mouth.  Your suburban fantasies slip in as you stroke my hair, whispering sweet goals and profit projections.

Sane people in creative writing classes train for a proper vocation.

Madness is epidemic.

<a border=”0″ href=”http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.blogspot.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m573/SeekingBlog/Picture11-1.png”/></a>

No Easy Path

Path

My goal is the top of the mountain, but I can’t seem to stay on one path walking straight up. I walk around it, paths crossing and forking, sometimes turning in on themselves. Often I’m going back down towards gray cubicals and financial statements, where heavy air is pumped in to keep alive hands click, clicking on keyboards, where flickering computer screens illuminate glazed eyes and tight jaws. Down there, I’m grounded, approaching stable.

At the top of the mountain the air will be light and dizzy. I will be standing on winners peak looking out at 360 degrees of possibility.

Currently in the forest I pick my way among roots and rocks. In eternal green-gold dusk time is meaningless. Hours and days melt together, each one different and unique in the same way trees are, ways not worth mentioning, that don’t matter when you have a forest of them blocking your view in every direction. Here is both tranquil and terrifying. I’m accustomed to the solitude and cool moist air smelling of decay. Woodland creatures play out fantasy worlds created and destroyed by my thoughts. I could be happy here, in that crazy aunt in the attic with origami birds and cuneiform trees way, but for the wolf.

She always around, sometimes so far away I can lie saying she’s the wind rudely shoving tight knit branches. Sometimes she’s so close I smell her breath. She snaps at me, closing off this path, hurrying me down another, The wolf howl’s screaming “NOW” when in my mother’s voice I think “too late, too late”. This is the time to become who I am going to be, to walk back down or find the smooth path up.

But wanting and doing, knowing and achieving are not the same things. I have turned so often I’m not sure which way is up.

I whistle a bit of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and keep walking, my woodland friends keeping me company in top hat and tails.

This was written for this weeks trifecta challenge, click above for the details and to read more submissions.