When you're clutching at your sides trying to keep yourself whole, you're not going to miraculously mend. You'll have to work at it for a while because the pieces inside you don't fit the way they did before; you might have lost a few and replaced them with new(more) ones, or you might have accidentally buried some important ones deep down. After a while, though, you'll find a way to stand without breaking. Maybe you'll always be leaking glue but you're only more human for that.
Everyone falls apart, but there's never a need to be hopeless because everyone can always be rebuilt. If ever you can't do it alone, find someone who's a particularly good builder to help you out. Probably someone who's good at putting together furniture from IKEA.(less)
It starts with a whisper, a ruffle of wind against feathers that cuts through the silence surrounding you.
It triggers something in you, some reaction to the sound wired into your instincts and you know you've been here before. It always starts like this.
"Still not learn(more)ed your lesson?" Caws the raven.
"Just what is it I'm supposed to learn?" you return, tired of this game you've played far too many times before.
"Now what would be the fun in telling you that?"
Of course you knew it wouldn't be so easy. You asked more for the principal of it than any desire for an answer. You've been playing long enough to know you have to learn these things for yourself, that the entire point of it is the experience, but still, it's frustrating sometimes.
Just when you think you've got it all figured out something comes along and turns you on your head, making you wonder whether it's really worth it at all.
"Don't you ever tire of this cycle, Raven?" you ask, sighing in something akin to resignation.
"Do you not tire of resisting?"
"What am I resisting?" you ask, exasperated. You've gone over this before. One of the reoccurring themes is acceptance; to learn to accept things as they are, to understand that everything is as it is meant to be or it wouldn't be at all.
"Change," crows the raven. This takes you by surprise, this isn't the answer you usually get. "You resist that you have changed. Too long have you played the bumbling student, the lost seeker. These roles no longer befit you." The raven's eyes gleam. "As you said, do you not tire of these cycles, human?"
You warble on. Half-melted words reach my ears. I don't want to listen to you any more. I know what you are going to say and it is painful to hear it again. How did we get here?
You're sitting at the table, folding your arms and talking(more) across the tea set in a very animated way. I'm sat across from you, deliberately sunk in stillness, involuntarily deaf to your words and mute to respond. I know that at some point, you are going to realise my absence in this conversation and we will have a row. Perhaps I want a row. I know I want to storm off and spend some time away from you. The trouble is I keep coming back.(less)
A 1969 Pontiac Ventura station wagon with over 135,000 miles on the odometer, shot shocks, and shitty brakes really has no business on the road anymore, and I knew it. But I still pushed it.
I went faster and faster, feeling immortal as the balding tires hummed away(more), wearing away rubber as I floated along in butteryfly jerks between the asphalt ruts. Days and months went by like this in carefree juants.
I should have known the end was near. All the signs were there but I ignored them. At first it was an intermittent, inaudible, high-frequency throb that would last no longer than half a second. The steering wheel would briefly tremble in my suddenly white knuckled hands like a frightened child before returning to its normal languorous drift from side to side.
Once I thought I heard a clunk but I wasn't sure if I had run over something, and I never heard the sound again, so the thought of it fell behind me like so many miles.
Later, it was the basso chafing sound for a few miles that stopped as abrubtly as it started.
But right before the crash, oh! I knew something was terribly wrong from the sound. It began as a metallic warble that matched pitch with my speed. Puzzled, I would slow down and speed up, oblivious to the end I was coming to. Just as I was ready to pull over and check, it stopped.
Unnerved, I still slowed down, but as the seconds turned to a quarter mile, then a half, then a mile, then two miles, I stupidly attributed it to a loose belt and brought the car back up to 80 MPH.
Right before the end, the warble returned, was replaced by a squeal, and then it was over.(less)
The UFO spun in the air like a pizza thrown high in a new york pizzeria. It spun and it leaned, turning upwards and downwards it looked instable. It let out an odd screeching sound and stopped in front of my car. My grandson and I watched as the(more) UFO slowly lowered to the ground. Eventually metal poles came out and dug into the pavement stabilizing the craft. Next a ramp extended from the ufo, I was instantly glad to see this ramp because it meant this UFO was handicap accessible. I turned to my grandson and told him to help me out of the car and into my wheelchair. He did so and when I was comfortably in my wheelchair I looked up and standing there was a purple man with tentacles coming from his head and atop each tentacle was an eye. All his eyes seemed to be staring at me and my grandson. He opened his mouth and I saw his steak-knife like teeth. He kept his mouth open and a pink smoke began to come out, it floated toward me and I sniffed the air. "Roses," I said, "quite lovely." The purple man smiled, motioned with his hand, and said, "Come quickly for we are about to begin the Thanksgiving dinner." I scooted up to the ramp and began up it, it was steep but the purple man helped. At the top he said, "Your cub cannot come for he is too young and not yet ripe for harvest." I nodded and turned to my grandson and said, "Don't worry kiddo I included you in my will, and I didn't finish my fries look in my under the driver's seat and there you shall find what you want." And this is how my grandfather passed away.(less)
Her room is littered with to-do lists. Penned neatly on notebook paper like purple ink. They seem to cover the floor like a snow that has been sitting for years.
The bathroom door is open, a Barenaked Ladies song from the 90s playing from a radio somewhere. You ca(more)n just see her sitting on the edge of the tub, shaving her legs in long strokes. A dollop of shaving cream is on her cheek.
You pick up one of the to-do lists. "Clean, go to Target, make dinner, write." Nothing is checked off. You pick up another: "Send e-mail to Jan, write cover letter, make dinner, laundry".
You let the lists fall gently back to the ground. You walk into the bathroom. She doesn't notice you, because you are not someone who gets noticed. You are an idea. A thought. A push. She dips the razor under the faucet. She smells like someone who has spent every night for the past several months crying herself to sleep.
Back to the bedroom. You take a box of matches out of your pocket. You are an idea. You strike a match, watching the tiny flame struggle in the air. You are a thought. You drop it, and the to-do lists ignite into a menacing, hot flame. You are the push.
She sees the fire and screams. Wrapping a towel around herself, she runs out of the room, her left leg still lathered. The apartment is filling with smoke. Sirens ebb in and out of the night.
Later, after the firetruck has left, after she has swept the ashes into the bin, she will sit down with her notebook. And at the top of the next fresh page, she will see in handwriting that could almost be her own, a new heading: "Done:"(less)
I once loved a man with the voice of a lark, who one day sold his piano and stopped singing, the absence of his voice sudden and terrifically sad.
"Never again," he said, when pressed. Even his speaking voice was drained of tone. Bombed.
"Why?" I asked.(more) I already knew the answer, because like so many others before him I could fathom him out without trying. But I wanted to hear him speak, half-convinced that it wasn't gone, that every word was a tone closer to bringing it back.
He shook his head, cleared his throat. "It hurts."
Because for him making song ached like a persistent scraping up the walls of his throat, like the noise came from his stomach and brought acid up with it. War-ble, elb-raw. He wasn't a bird, couldn't keep trying to sing like one. He was an ancient thing, older than the gods, older than the woman down the street who couldn't walk to her mailbox, who cried on nights when it had been raining because the scent of wet tar made her think of her children.
He sat picking at a loose thread in his sweater, avoiding my eyes. Raw, war. The surge of his throat against silence had been what had attracted me first, the way he seemed to always be fighting, punishing himself. He'd told me once of the canary he'd had as a pet as a child, and after I could hear the bird call knit so tightly in his songs, the cry for help.
Before you even know you're hearing it, your ears register the vibrations. It starts as a tickle, then a humming, then a buzzing, then a trilling that grows and grows into an unbearable yelling. If you're lucky, you'll pass out from the sound before your ears start to bleed.(more) But, really, there are no lucky ones here. Not since they came.
They're faster than us. They are of greater number than us, and they just keep growing. Every death of ours means a multitude of their kind come into existence. Do you still have the gall and the guts to try to fight? If you do, they'll just thank you and kill you and lay their damned larvae in your very same guts.
You've seen it, haven't you? The bloated corpses, left to be festering incubators. At first, you'll destroy, shoot, blow-up any of the abscess covered bodies you come across, still hoping it will make a difference. Eventually, you continue to do it out of habit, or a tiny insignificant fleck of denial, a fuck you to their kind. You try not to identify with these sacks of meat. But you will die, it is inevitable, sooner probably rather than later, and in death we all become traitors to the human cause of survival. Our enemies go out and multiply, but we just die.
Out of focus.
Rinse, repeat, ad infinitum.
Everything I saw in the hours it took to hit the floor reminded me of High Schooler me, bored in Bio class, fucking with a microscope.
Out of focus.
Except what I was looking at now was much(more) more interesting than some freeze-dried aborted chicken embryo. In between the hazes and the clarities, people were marching forward and getting beaten back, fighting with broken bottles, batons, and silent screams.
Floor. Ouch. In focus.
It wasn't the ground that hurt, it was the screams it brought with it. It didn't sound quite right, but it was loud. The silent screams were given voices again, and suddenly, I missed the silence. Everything was too fast or too slow. Out of focus.
A police car, twenty feet off to the right. The siren was on, it reminded me of the turkey call my dad used, all high pitched warbles. Three guys, wearing clothing with more rips than fabric were lined up along the side of it. Two were smoking.
I looked up. Last time I did that, it was high noon. It's so dark, not a star in the sky. Why is it still so bright though? I was going blind. Blackness was taking over my sight. In focus. Down and to the right, I see it, from here it looks like an ad on a skyscraper.
White and yellow, getting swallowed by the black. This is how Chicken Little felt. I saw the rubbery blackness press down on my face, and the fucking sky fell.
Out of focus.(less)
It is dawn and Ka'edura has almost forgotten where she is. The cold of the desert night lingers in her bones, clinging to the gold sand like a lover, unwilling to go. The rim of the gold sun rising on the distant horizon is beautiful, and Ka'edura unwraps herself(more) from her many blankets to sit up, and look out across flat earth to where the gold fire lifts into the sky.
"Paikhi." Ka'edura says in greeting. "Mother sun." All around her is a vast emptiness, stretching behind her, and to each side. No one for miles. All alone.
Not far away, a tall cactus stands, a giant presiding over its smaller kindred. Ka'edura watches as a small brown desert bird hops across the warming sand beneath the shade of the cactus, its small head bobbing at the grains, perhaps picking at tiny bugs that Ka'edura cannot see. She gathers her things and steps lightly toward the bird, freezing when its small head swivels to stare at her, black eyes glinting in the light of the rising sun. It is only feet away. Ka'edura takes a smooth dark pebble she had kept in her pocket; such rare things, a stone in the desert, that she had held on to it despite everything. She slips it into the loop of her slingshot and raises her hand cautiously, carefully. Food would give her strength to walk for one more day. Always, there was the next horizon, and perhaps a tribe to take her in .
The desert bird senses her intent, or her movement startles it, and it flutters and takes off into the air, a high warble escaping from its throat. Ka'edura watches it fly away. She will remember it's voice well throughout the long and hungry day.(less)
There was a slight warble in my voice, it was as if my ability to speak had been temporarily transposed on a rolling and rollicking wave. My eyes became unfocused and my vision became the windows of an old station wagon on a summer day minus a working air conditioner.(more)
Yes, it would be kind to say I was breaking down. However, the implication here is not necessarily negative, unless, you are one of those people that only believes that human emotions are an evolutionary flaw; a pointless vestige of an overly sentimental ape.
Its true even the most evil amongst us has the capacity for this and I am no different . So in a post pubescent shrill voice that sounded as tempting as an un-tuned bagpipe. I uttered the most devastating three words in the English language, "I love you."(less)