An original composition.
Let it all out. Enter the sweet, never-quite-true world of memory, where everything runs through the filters of music and color and nostalgia, passes through the Gateless Gate beyond which even the most ignoble sufferings seem to have the same magic of the past. The present slips through you and becomes film photographs, remembered melodies, great friendships and beaming smiles, and before you know it your whole life is behind you. Take in the mysticism of bravery, of sex and dreams and demeanor, of French girls in photographs and of sweet love made for the first time, of the simple ineffability of every single experience, which only seem comprehensible and meaningful when you revisit them by wandering through the black attics of memory, where they pulse like luminescent butterflies, alive with the glories of play and the wistful teardrops of all that we have done, because all we have done has brought us to what we are doing right now. Who could or would be free from the magic of a bike ride down a long trail, of a walk taken with a stoned friend, of all the enchantments and disenchantments of high school, which bind and release as often as the sun rises and sets? My remembered life is not a progression of moments but a pastiche and a panoply, a Picasso mural full of all the things I succeeded in and all the things I didn’t, full of snapshots and snatches of conversation and the spiderweb of moments that influenced and tugged on each other across the shuffled card deck of time, all of it bringing about the sad smile which only ever comes from reflection. Our brains and our souls do this, send us spiraling into the past, revealing the pattern that emerges when the waves of time have eroded the moments in between defining flashes of light that seize what was temporal and turn it, like the transduction of energy brings the world into ourselves, into the eternal humility of a snapshot. Tenderness saturates your being like a conciliatory quicksand around the legs, and looking back on the scatter of what I’ve managed to snag from the river of time and store with me in little albums and mobiles and dreamcatchers, I embrace even my enemies, wish somehow I could move beyond the faded stillness of what is after all a memory, a symbol of something which during its own time bloomed with incredible flowering motion. The mind is like an aviary full of yellow canaries and sailors that spend all night playing patience whittling and drinking from old green bottles, and by the time we realize this the canaries are already fleeing or else holing up for the night, done with their singing, so seize it all now before it fades, regardless of how many ancient globes spin in your memory and entrance you with hypnotic numerologies that you could not see when they spun before you the first time; once it has passed it is subject to the many predators of the unconscious, who bend and twist and sprinkle fairy dust on what happened before, and the jungles of memory become a place to see that each of your friends was a steeple before which to kneel and pray, a bundle of sizzling nerve fibers more precious than a bowl of diamonds, that every love no matter how impure was still an intimation of the great Maternal Soul who presides over all such matters, that each tragedy was a lesson imparting volumes and volumes of wisdom through the simply stark meaningless fact of its happening, that each leaf and piece of mulch and ignorant comment is integral to life, that it all happens because … so use this knowledge, this late-night grasping for the lost & hinted worlds of your memory, where dreamtigers stalk, footprints leaving Arabic sentences in the mud, and where ghosts dance with living folk in the ballrooms of Regret and Remembrance, use this knowledge to throw yourself forward, into the immense shining value of everything and anything that will ever grace your being with its simplicity or complexity: doing this, become the river.
Submitted by vast-flowing-vigor
Who are your favorite poets?
Some of mine are..
Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Anne Sexton, Andrea Gibson, Allen Ginsberg, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Rita Dove, Ron Rash… I could go on forever!!
They called in sick again.
It was easier for him; a quick email to his boss- a woman too busy to take phone calls, and a woman too busy to care- was all that sufficed. She had to wait until 9.30, until she knew her boss would be at his desk. That gave the rest of the office plenty of time to notice yet another absence, but it was plenty of time to sing herself hoarse.
She positively croaked down the phone.
The snatched back morning was slept away. She opened the windows wide, to let in the morning sun, and they stretched out like cats beneath the duvet. The sunlight splashed across her face, and he laughed and said that maybe she’d get a tan. They could not afford a holiday this year. This was their holiday.
The rest of the day was frittered away, filled with warm G&T’s and idle, hair brained schemes to get rich. She repeatedly vowed that this time, they’d clean up their act. He strummed his guitar and repeatedly ignored her.
After the fourth bottle, they were truly drunk, giggling as far away, termination papers were signed. They both fielded the news with good grace, not caring at all about substandard work, or unacceptable behaviour, and spent their last fifty on enough gin and cigarettes to get them through the rest of the week. They’d worry about it on Monday.
Submitted by fullstops
We all follow this road at some point.
The choice of not knowing.
The road that might lead to
absolutely no where.
The fear of the unknown.
Fear of being lost.
Hopeless thoughts drowning our minds
squeezing all that is left
into a state of suffication.
There is right or left.
Which path should I take?
No map exists to help me.
I admit, I am the lost one now.
The scared one. The one in hiding.
Trying to survive this obstacle.
A the crow needs to just sweep on by
and pick me up. Pick me up and just
drop me off somewhere. Anywhere.
That will be the path I am willing to take.
A Segment from a Novel-in-Progress … Taxi
The cab driver, Chicago-born and Chicago-raised, pulled up at the stoplight, back seat empty of passengers, and stopped to look up at the sky. The red lights in Chicago were long. He peeled back the greasy wrapper of a McDonalds hamburger that had been sitting in his car for a few hours, and then bit into it. He paused to push back a strand of equally greasy hair curled down around his lips. A black beret sat atop his filthy head. Phil Collins’ “Son of Man” blared from the taxi’s tinny radio. The cab driver craned forward to get a good look at the sky, and chomped in approval as he saw the sighing stretch of pure blue above him, past the tops of the buildings. Nature hates corners, the cab driver thought, and imagined the jolly blue belly of the sky wiggling in disapproval as the sharp edges of the skyscrapers poked it. Sky-scrapers, he mused. The cabbie tapped on the wheel to the music, very off-beat, and sang in a gruff voice, very off key. He sniffed the air and recoiled from the blend of smells coming from his body and the landfill on the floor of his car: discarded chicken legs, spilt gasoline, genital sweat, long-flat Coke, the uncleaned remains of one passenger’s vomit, and far more. The cab driver stuck his head out the open window, feeling the spring’s tickling breeze, the playful chorus of city noises, and taking in some more of the big glossy sky. I was a blockhead, I was a true asshole, he thought, but it’s sights like these that redeem me. It’s skies like these that redeem me. The light turned green, and he eased his foot off the brake, saying good-bye to the sky and driving on. His windshield was stained with bug corpses and mucus from the cab driver’s sneezes; visibility was low. He drove on, smiling, singing, belching.
As he turned right onto Lake St. a businessman, shirt only halfway tucked and tie flapping, tried to flag him down. The businessman yelled and flailed his arms at the cabbie, one of which was holding a leather briefcase. The cabbie pulled to the side of the road and braked hard. The businessman slowed down but as he swung his briefcase both of the latches popped open and a whole cosmos of papers poured out onto the sidewalk, files and reports and notes in pen and pencil on papers white and yellow and lined and unlined, all of them scattering behind and in front of the moaning businessman, some dashing into a storm drain and others floating into the middle lanes of traffic. The businessman dropped to his knees. He threw off his suit jacket and exposed a white dress shirt coated with wide blotches of sweat. With a fuss of scrambles and mumbles the flustered man hurried to pick up all the papers he could, motioning at the same time for the cab driver not to leave him. Calmly, the cab driver opened his door, stepped out into another lane, and walked around the car to help the man. Cars screeched and bleated as they swerved to avoid missing him. Without saying a word, the cabbie scooped up all the papers around him, collated them into a neat, if damp, stack, and handed them to the businessman, who was still cursing himself and lunging around on his knees with only a few papers in his hands. The businessman looked up in awe at the cab driver, who stood grimy and sloppily dressed, a towering 5 feet 4 inches, and took the papers from the driver’s blackened hands. They both got in the taxi, the cabbie taking his sweet time, whistling and walking around the car into the road again. A car behind them, at the forefront of the growing clot in traffic, spied the “HOW’S MY DRIVING?” sticker on the back of the yellow taxi and telephoned the cab service to complain.
“Chicago and La Salle,” the businessman blurted.
The cabbie settled in and turned the key while the businessman inspected the cab floor with a mixture of disgust and outright fear, trying to keep his loafers from touching one of the moldy banana peels or pools of shattered glass. The sights and the smells attacked the businessman, and he caught himself curling into a fetal ball. The taxi lurched left and the businessman felt what he hoped was not a cockroach tickle his naked ankle.
“Maybe I should just walk … I can make it in time,” the businessman said, reaching for the door. The cab rolled on. The taxi driver didn’t respond. The businessman’s hair was ragged and ruined. His clothes were soaked through with sweat. His cell phone was ringing in his pocket like a rodent nibbling on his leg.
“What’s your name?” the cab driver asked.
The businessman spluttered. “I don’t have time for this! I’m very late.” His voice had the sharp, preening jumps of those very uneven people, those whose breaths and words are shallow and quick. He had the limping angst of a wounded animal or an army close to defeat. “If you’ll just get me there as fast as you can I’ll make it worth your while, I’ll pay you double. Hell, triple!” That’s when the businessman glanced over at the display on the taxi’s dashboard and noticed the driver hadn’t even turned it on.
“I’m Lou,” the driver said.
“And I’m late,” the businessman said. “Your cab is dirty, Lou. You ever consider cleaning this thing?” Lou didn’t answer. He smiled. The businessman’s breathing was still frantic, his eyes still animal wild.
“Don’t swim,” Lou remarked. “Float.”
The businessman just furrowed his eyebrows, sighing in despair and leaning his head against the dirty window. He emitted tiny sobs, in little choking bursts of three. Lou was quiet for a long time. Then he took both hands off the steering wheel and turned it with his elbow as he burped and lit a cigarette.
“You oughta take a nice long walk and let go of everything,” Lou said. The moment Lou’s voice appeared in the taxi, the businessman’s heart breathed a little bit deeper. The voice was gruff yet serene, sure yet humble. Each syllable seemed a nougat of truth. “That’s your problem, that’s the problem with you people. You change like this taxi turns, in sharp little jerks, maybe only five or six times in your whole life.” The businessman had to strain to hear Lou’s words through a mouth full of hamburger, but he didn’t dare ask the cab driver to repeat himself. The businessman felt like he had been quickly awakened and rocked gently to sleep all at once. His muscles relaxed, and his feet touched the disgusting floor without flinch or shiver.
“You’re already going to be late for whatever it is you’re going to,” Lou said. “Why not take these few minutes and enjoy some good old silence? Some good old peace? Enjoy it with me.”
So they did. The taxi rolled on from block to block, and even with the windows rolled down and the noise of the city pouring in, the businessman and Lou were both in the middle of a silent piety, a long slow inhale, a moment’s lapse in a wild symphony. Then Lou pulled off to the side of the road and said good-bye to the businessman.
“But La Salle isn’t for another two blocks,” the businessman said.
“Walk it,” Lou said, spitting into a styrofoam cup and missing. He smiled at the businessman. His open lips showed maybe eight or nine rotting teeth.
The businessman nodded and got out, briefcase in tow. He walked off towards La Salle, rejuvenated by the little clue the world had given to him, the little seed of life he had reaped from the fields of circumstance.
Submitted by manypetaledlotus