1/7/2018 – “You”
I wrote several poems to You
back in 2007
Seems fitting that 10 years later
I’d pop in to say hello
How have you been?
Still lying to all of your friends?
Still tricking girls into loving You
and then disappearing on them?
You really gave Houdini
a run for his money
Your disappearing acts at least
always had me buying another ticket
The older I got the more I realized
every bit of it was fiction
You’re a story-teller, Aaron
I should be able to forgive that
You just couldn’t help spinning stories
I understand the appeal–
spinning stories is how I got through my teenage years
Stories that you really loved me
or our song wasn’t one you played
for every naïve 14-year-old who’d listen
You had me
and I promised that last poem
was the final one for me
I guess breaking promises
is another thing we have in common
Author’s Note: I really did write several poems titled “You” for this person in my teenage years, so it seemed appropriate to go back to that theme. I know it makes it less relatable for readers, but hopefully you all enjoyed it nonetheless.
1/6/18 – “Silence”
There used to be nothing but silence
An expanded canyon filled with
all the times you lied and
all the times I let you
I couldn’t speak over the echo of that silence,
the weight of it on my chest
Now you tell me to say how I feel
don’t hold anything back,
you can take it
You practice honesty and I
do my best to believe you
in the back of my mind
it still echoes, “Shh, shh,
you’re safer in silence”
1/5/2018 – Five-Minute Friday Free Write
Is writing just a pity party?
Is that what writers do?
Invite all of our past hurts,
give them party favors
and tell them the cake will be worth it.
Remind ourselves with slide shows
played to sad songs
about all the times we’ve been wronged.
Drink too much and
go on and on
about how we never got a real childhood?
Why do people come to all these gatherings
when they’re always the same—
a memorial of pain.
Maybe daily life is just
a masquerade ball
and we’re all so sick of wearing masks
a party relishing the horrors of reality
is almost a relief.
My guests should be happy,
I have so much material
this one could go on for years.
Author’s Note: This one was just kind of for fun. I was having a hard time thinking of what to write about and this is what came out of it. It’s not spectacular, but I’m realizing that doing a 31 day writing challenge means some days are simply going to be forced. But that has to be okay, because at least I’m writing. Thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with it for the first five days!
1/4/2018 – “Brew”
When I was 7 I had a dream
we owned a restaurant
and in the back kitchen worked a witch
She had warts, clammy skin and
a pointed hat, all the things
a 7-year-old would expect to see
from a witch working in her parents’ kitchen
Back then I had a real fear of witches
thanks to Roald Dahl and that
terrifying 1990 “kids’” movie they made
So when I saw that witch
in a cauldron suspiciously the same size as me
dream changed to nightmare and I woke up
My body shook, cold with sweat, but that scrawny,
short-haired, tenacious 7-year-old decided,
this dream wasn’t over
And forcibly went back to sleep
I returned to that kitchen,
potions still brewing,
and scrawny, short-haired,
tenacious dream-me explained to the witch
why it was bad to be bad,
and good to be good
I told her we could be friends if she’d just
quit with the brewing and
be a nice witch instead
And that nightmare shifted so fast:
warty-witch became good,
brewing station removed,
and I guess our restaurant
gained a new cook
17 years later and I still can’t get over
how simple little me made it seem
to take a terrible nightmare
and turn it into a dream
I wish real-life witches
could be talked out of it
Author’s Note: This one is for C.S. Lewis (Clive), one of my favorite authors and people. He wrote the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and naturally that’s the only place my brain could go when I read the word of the day… Hope you enjoy!
1/3/2018 – “Wardrobe”
I looked over at old Clive
his hands nursing a hot cuppa
(a bit of borrowed British lingo)
and my curiosity got the better of me.
“A wardrobe, huh?”
His thoughtful eyes met mine,
eyebrows arched, amused.
“A wardrobe, yes.
Haven’t you ever wondered what
goes on in closets when we aren’t looking?”
brought my oolong tea to my lips.
“Doesn’t that beg the question, then—
whose wardrobe are we in?”
1/2/2018 – “Paint”
I painted my room once. I was 13 and wanted to be cool—at 24 I can admit that now. I stole my mom’s unused paint set, some forgotten cans from the clutter of the back porch, laid down sheets like the responsible kid I was. I had no real idea of what I was doing, just a pounding sensation insisting I do something with the conserved energy housed in my tiny body from all the times I refused to scream back. So I dipped pilfered paint brushes into forgotten canisters and threw the color against the sky blue wall until it forgot what shade it really was. I danced across my carpet whipping reds and greens and blues through the air, watching as the wall was dressed in splattered patterns.
When the paint dried and the pain remained I took some sharpies to that plaster and marked it with lyrics from all the emo songs I thought conveyed my angst. I think, even now, most of them had meaning. Except for the time I scribbled words about hating my mother after our throats had gone raw with screaming at each other. When my parents split up I had a lyric for it, made sure my walls wouldn’t forget it. When my grandma died I painted half a wall red to remember her. That red hung over my bed till I moved out, a picture of the fact that everything changed when she left. A signature at the end of my four-walled mural, I painted my hand black and slapped it on that sky-blue wall so hard it nearly cracked. The only way a teenager could leave an imprint.
Five months ago he repainted that room. There wasn’t a discussion, a final look or some pictures taken. My teenage years got swallowed whole by brushes covered in beige paint – just the right color to smother out the memories. I know erasing me wasn’t the point, but, bravo either way.
Author’s Note: I want to be honest and admit that I definitely edited this one a lot after my five minutes were up. It mattered a lot to me, so I wanted to make sure it was at least decent. I know it’s a little short and the end comes quickly. Maybe one day I will write more on this topic.
So, for the month of January I have decided to force myself to practice writing every day. I am doing this by participating in a 31 day free write challenge, in which I will be given a single-word prompt each day and will time myself to write for five minutes on that prompt. I decided to post my writing each day from the prior day’s prompt. So, today I am posting my writing from yesterday. Be warned, this is a “free write” so admittedly some of my days will just suck. But, that is the process of writing and I am learning to love the process. If you choose to read my posts throughout the month, thank you in advance for understanding that the process can be ugly!
1/1/2018 – “Walk”
He had what you’d call
The way his hips rolled as he walked
there aren’t words to describe that kind of movement
And he had a smile miles wide
engulfed your whole soul when you saw it
I wondered what the sweater on his shoulders thought as it held him
Did it stop to appreciate the experience?
Savor the moment?
To be that close to his hair
hanging down in tendrils so long I could climb them
I watched him fidget with some papers he was holding
his hands burnt red from the cold
I think fireplaces might
fight for the right to warm them
He seemed determined the way
a bear looks when it’s trying desperately to catch a fish –
a little anxious but still elegant
And he walked down that sidewalk
like he owned the whole block
I knew I was nothing more
than a streetlamp
lucky enough to light his way