Critical ridges buffetting my reach

Like a squall line diverting my path

Rhythmic and non-rhythmic

As though on the crest of an enturbulated sea at dusk

The waves encroaching at all angles

She grasps her cigarette with unconcious poise

The beingness of another time

Encroaching on the present

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Show Me

Strip me of my selfish ways

Tear it down and break me.

Teach me things I've yet to see.

And show me the ways of the world.

Make the walls around me

Fall down and crumble in.

Let me see what has yet to begin.

Bring me faith I've never had,

Hand me something I've never held.

Show me feelings I've never felt.

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The Ashen Night

     The sky was the odd gray-black of burned paper that remained whole but would disintegrate if touched. It even appeared wrinkled like that due to the jagged, ashen clouds that crossed it in all directions. It was dark early. The air was molasses-thick as if a tornado was brewing; you could feel it compress your skin like swimming-pool water, but there were no storms for miles. It was September and not at all cold, but she had goose bumps even on the backs of her arms and the nape of her neck. Years later, she recalled this night, trying to pick out the moment that her grandmother had expired. She'd only stepped out for air, but she lingered studying the nearly alien atmosphere, and her elder died alone. She battered herself for not seeing the omens. When she returned to the stifling house, her skin felt as like it was stabbed by pins, and she nearly choked on her guilt. Until she died, she tasted dust inside of her nose and upon her tongue.

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Growing Up


     With my 18th birthday fast approaching I'm beginning to wonder about the whole growing up thing.  Personally, I believe it's overrated.  As I'm beginning to involuntarily, well, at least I prefer to think of it that way, mature I'm starting to question if it's such a good idea.  I mean, why do we only get the allotted 18 years to consider our childhood?  I feel now that there was so much more I would have liked to do, or that I would have liked to start earlier.  There was so much time that I squandered.  I don't think I'm cut out for the whole mature adult thing.  In fact, I'd probably be perfectly happy if I stayed forever at age 13 or 14.  Was there anything that was honestly so terribly wrong with that period of life?

     I'll admit, part of it is fear.  I'm scared of being considered an adult.  I don't really know what's expected of me.  How can the expectations put on a person by friends, family, government, and society change so drastically overnight?  From what my peers have said, they haven't really noticed a change.  There was no real defining moment for reaching adulthood.  Sure, they technically become one the day of their 18th birthday, but nothing truly felt different on the all-important date.

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هزة أرضية

قصص قصيرة

تتمايل إلى الأمام والخلف، تسرع في حركتها، تهتز، تفقد إحساسها بالأشياء، تطير، تنسى الزمان والمكان، تتباطأ الأرجوحة، تتوقف بشكل فجائي، تستيقظ من نومها.

حلم يراودها دوما..أرجوحة تهدهدها، تفيق لتجد الصمت والسكون يخيمان عليها، جدران الغرفة تتطلع إليها بفضول، المرآة المزخرفة تؤطر صورتها، سريرها الواسع يضمها، طاولتها تزدحم بالكتب والدفاتر والأوراق، الأريكة تمتد أمامها بزركشتها الشرقية الساحرة.

الساعة الثانية عشرة والربع ليلا، تفتح أمها باب الغرفة، تطل برأسها

- هل أنت نائمة يا رشا؟!

- لا، استيقظت الآن

- ألم تحسي بالهزة الأرضية؟!

- هزة أرضية؟! متى؟!

- منذ فترة قصيرة

تمطت رشا في سريرها:- ظننت نفسي في أرجوحة تهدهدني، وتأخذني في كل الاتجاهات، ربما صحوت بسبب ذلك.

حلم الأرجوحة يطاردها دائما، طفلة صغيرة كانت، تصطاف في ضيعتها، تربط حبلا بين شجرتين قريبتين من بعضهما في الكرم، أ وتربط حبلا في شجرة لوز كبيرة، تتأرجح، تشتبك بالأغصان والأوراق، ترنو إلى السماء.

أول أرجوحة اشتراها لها والدها حين كانت في السابعة من عمرها، وضعها في الشرفة، تجلس على الكرسي الصغير، تتأرجح، تحلق بخيالها، تراقب المارة، تتشاجر مع أختها الصغيرة، تتنافسان على الأرجوحة، أخيرا أعطى والدها الأرجوحة لأحد أصدقائه، اشترى أرجوحة جديدة، لها أريكة كبيرة تتسع لثلاثة أشخاص.تستلقي على الأريكة، تتأرجح بهدوء، وهي تقرأ قصص الأطفال المشوقة،الألغاز المثيرة والغامضة، القصص البوليسية، روايات الجيب المختصرة عن قصص عالمية، ألف ليلة وليلة، والقصص الشعبية، تتخيل نفسها بطلة القصص التي تقرؤها.انتقلت الأسرة إلى بيت جديد شرفته ضيقة لا تتسع للأرجوحة، صارت الأرجوحة في الضيعة، أهملت، أصيبت بالصدأ وتآكلت، لم يعد يتأرجح فيها أحد إلا إذا سافرت أحيانا إلى الضيعة في الصيف، صارت الأرجوحة حلما يرافقها دائما.

تذهب إلى الحديقة العامة مع أختها، تشارك الأطفال اللعب في الأراجيح، قالت لها أمها:

- رشا صرت شابة، عيب أن تلعبي في الأرجوحة مثل الأطفال

اكتفت بالتأرجح في أحلامها، يطاردها دوما نفس الحلم، اتخذت الأرجوحة أشكالا مختلفة، تارة تكون طائرة، وتارة شجرة تتطاول أغصانها إلى السماء، أومركبة فضائية تحلق باتجاه كوكب مجهول.

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Attack of the Nerds

Maybe we'll beat you with our flutes, cut you with our braces, or hold our glasses up to the sun and burn you. We've been seething for years, but you'll not get off so easily, and who wouldn't expect wallflowers to be off the wall? We've been working on secret weapons in our lab: Our dew will dissolve you, and we can shoot pollen and put out your eyes. Oh, stupid boy, all we wanted was a prom date, and though you're dumb and boring, your rear end is a work of art. We're going to clone you, but the original will be a sex slave for our exhalted leader. You'll curse the day you called her a hideous nerd, for brain beats brawn, and you aren't very brawny anyway.

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A broken woman sat in an empty pew

of the rundown community church,

letting the sands of time slip between her aching fingers.

It wasn’t even Sunday,

but the thrill of finding pennies on the sidewalk

kept her coming faithfully.

She fussed with the frayed seams of her favorite dress;

she would have played C-C-Cat’s Cradle with the loose threads,

but she just couldn’t remember the steps anymore.

The diagnosis:

Life in Reverse,

seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

It’s a shame she forgot the other yesterdays

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Jackie Blurs By Me

Jackie blurs by me on a screaming locomotive and she's screaming too "late baby maybe we might have... but you know we aren't gonna be kids forever and have inexperience to use as the scapegoat for every little pang of desire that didn't go unheeded, because really baby, we're smarter at this very moment than we're ever going to be and maybe you were cute in your sweater and socks but i was waiting for an over-the-counter kiss and maybe a roll in the grease when we kicked over the trash bucket and had a public bonanza killer mad style love that just blows your mind deep and hard and hot and fast just the way i might have liked it

but hey, you know what they say about the ill affects on your health (cancer-causing, maybe) when you regret the things you never did so let's pretend like we never smiled conspiratorially with wine tones in our dripping voices and you were just an ugly kid buying his supper and sitting quietly with his mother in a hall of fresh-lipped pink-tongued lovers who never squander an opportunity to showcase their goods and maybe act from the depths of the most intelligent stupidity they'll ever know because they're just feeling like it and feeling it up real good (boy are they ever)

so that's it, nothing happened (like it usually does) in this cosmic sized dry well of a town, city, world and that's the story of your life - you've written a whole book about something that could have been said in so many words.  and you've still got pictures of some other lives that seemed so vibrant and fleshy and wet that you'd almost swear they were real once, and who can tell?  it gets hard to separate the Was from the dream lustered Might Have Been, but i've got faith in you - you're too cute to just go and die unnoticed."

and with that she's gone headlong into steam

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This conversation never actually took place.

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The Valetudinarian

His footsteps on the pavement echoed through the still night.

The sun had set on him hours ago,

slaying his essence and making him yet another indistinguishable shadow.

His journeys to the cemetery were routine,

a formality he lived solely for.

Every twist and turn of the path was etched clearly in his memory.

He slowly wound his way past hundreds of tombs,

to a small grave stone beneath a willow tree.

He fell to his knees,

numb to the pain of sharp pebbles tearing into his flesh.

With his fingers he traced over her birth and death dates;

forty years had passed since her demise.

There he waited in silence,

anticipating her presence and expecting her embrace.

Just as she had every night,

she appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

With skin pale as the moon,

and  hazel eyes shining just as bright,

she stood at and arms length away from him,

smiling down upon his dark figure.

She looked just as she had the moment they first met;

beautiful and innocent.

Her hair, soft as silk, fell in cascades over her shoulders.

An aura of peace and tranquility flowed from his glowing phantom.

He reached for her, longing for the same serenity,

and she faded into the night.

He smiled and whispered to his vanishing angel,

“Soon, my love, we shall be together.”

The walk home felt longer,

only because he had nothing to look forward to but an empty house.

The sun had began to rise as he reached his door,

marking the birth of a new day.

He no longer stopped to appreciate the miracles of life,

for nothing mattered more than what was stolen from him.

Sleep was his yearning now;

a reverie where he could look upon her ghostly face.

But not before he sipped a bottle of wine,

and swallowed pills to hurry along his slumber.

When he woke, night had descended upon him again,

and stars filled the great expanse outside his window.

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