I'm Not Crying

Your single mother and cousins applauded you because they had faith I was the one.

It felt amazing to be this close to a family that I never met in the flesh.

Seeing them in the form of a discarded diary should have sounded an alarm in my head.

Your voice was so solemn and so soothing that it was like tasting a honeysuckle lollipop.

It was the best flavor I’ve ever had until I told you about the pauper I am providing for.

Then the flies showed up and I spent the next two months swatting them away.


One day, I licked the lollipop for the first time since then and tasted manure in the center.

I wondered why something so sweet could taste so repulsive.

But to my surprise, I was struck by the thought that I should have known.

You found yourself a guy you couldn’t wrap around your finger.

I didn’t see it until I was being bled dry and I could barely stay awake.

I had nothing to offer you when you claimed I did.


So why were you angry?

Why were you cranky?

I thought you were dandy

When you abstained from hanky panky.


All this time, you were still the hurt little boy that was raised in the Pope’s lyceum.

And turned into a lamprey the second I couldn’t give him anything to eat.

If you’re alone and free, I’ve already forgotten about you.

If you deserve better than me, you took the easy way out

By cheating on your test in life and got caught by the pauper.

You whimpered in fear of getting expelled and I was prepared for it.


The lamprey within broke free when I couldn’t look at you as the same person I loved before.

You fruitlessly faked your regret and pinned the blame on my ass to get out of jail free.

I’m not crying not because I didn’t care about you.

It was because I have the ending from that film memorized by heart.

It’s crazy, isn’t it? I know. I’ve watched it several times in French as a student.


I know my worth. I’m smiling in public while the sun is up

And brightening up the night when it goes down.

Thank you for putting words in my mouth when you were at your lowest.

Can you remind me again what major you’re pursuing?

Because you behaved like a patient in a case study at Arkham to me.

Wake up and smell the roses, my sweet summer child.

If you can’t stand to be where the bald eagles take flight,

Then park yourself on a bench and feed the pigeons.

কতবার বলেছি!

কতবার বলেছি তোমায় সাবধানে থেকো,

অনেক খারাপ মানুষ তোমায় নষ্ট করতে চাইবে,

কিন্তু হায়! তুমি বুঝো নাকো,

তোমাকে যে কে বোঝাবে?


প্রতিদিন খবরের পাতা উল্টালেই চোখে পড়ে,

ধর্ষণ, অত্যাচার আর শারীরিক নির্যাতনের খবর,

এসব খবর পড়ে আমার বুক ভয়ার্ত পায়রার মত ছটফট করে!

তোমায় যতবার বিদায় জানাই, ততবার চিন্তার সাগর জাগে মনের ভেতর।


অনিষ্ট হবার পরে সাবধান হবার চেয়ে আগে হওয়া কি শ্রেয় নয়?


আমি কি বোঝাতে চাইছি এতক্ষণে তুমি বুঝেছ নিশ্চয়!

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"The Lighthouse"

Ice crystals collect upon the lighthouse tower,

The ray of spiraling light ripping through a curtain of fibrous white.

A stream of silence signals those lost upon the waves,

Bringing them home to a shore of evergreen and fir.


A village stays hidden in the hills between the mountains,

Houses lay sleeping, exhaling twisted smoke.

Snow flakes fall weightless against a world painted in white acrylics,

Pine branches shivering against the gentle crystal kiss.


Rose buds become breathless under a blanket of quiet snow,

The warmth of the fire counteracts a frigid winter night.

The lighthouse whispers gently to those lost among the waves,

"Follow my beam, I'll guide you, safely back to shore."

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I just love the power of the lighthouse: safety, protection, and promise; a guide home.

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Life jackets

Everybody should wear life jackets when they're on boats.
If people fall out without them, they will not float.
If they fall out without them, they could drown.
Their loved ones will be miserable if they're no longer around.
Many people love to go out on boats to fish.
If they all wore life jackets, I'd get my wish.

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I'll Protect You

I see him walking towards me
I hide myself behind you
You see him
You look at me
"I'll protect you"

I'm sitting alone
He sits down next to me
My eyes show you i'm scared
You come up and ask if i'm okay
I say sure
You leave
I ask you later
"When you need me i'll protect you"

You see me curled in a ball
I'm crying but he's nowhere in sight
You ask me where he is
If he has hurt me
You say "I'll protect you"
I shake my head
I look up into your pain filled blue eyes
"How can you protect me from my memories?"

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Fear of what cannot be seen/paranoia of everyone and the order that it brings

Within this dark, confined world,
the Algorithms ruled each sector of each city with no regard for mercy or compassion;
no free speech was allowed unless it was in praise of the master programmer,
no thought was allowed expression that was deemed a possible threat to the order that had been established long ago.
The price for so called safety and harmony, were the very freedoms, once enjoyed;
the free will that had been suppressed and controlled many generations long dead.
It was not guns or uniforms, but paranoia that inspired suppression;
no one dared speak freely.

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Mary Had a Little... Bear?

Mary had a little…Bear?

By Emily Marshall

“For all those lambs out there who need protection from wolves.”

Ted Amaro: 38 years old, mean, heartless, abusive, big and burly, black hair, works at a lumber mill
Ruth Amaro: 34 years old, afraid of husband, sweet, caring, petite, red hair
Bear: 14 years old, brown hair, kind, protective, stands up for what is right
Mary Amaro: 13 years old, not afraid to fight back, caring, black hair, petite
Lucifer (Luke) Amaro: 16 years old, mean, heartless, abusive, black hair, very dark eyes

This story takes place in the early 1900’s in Wautoma, Wisconsin. We start out in a hospital and then 14 years later the story takes us to the cabin of the Amaro family, the countryside, and the barn.

Scene 1

(The lights go up in a heavily occupied delivery room. We can hear the screams of a woman whom we cannot see. Nurses are rushing back and forth. We finally see the doctor pass a huge, bloody mess of a baby to the nurse and hear one final cry from the woman as the baby is rushed out of the room)

Woman: (agonizing breathe. Scream.) Bear!!! (She collapses.)

(Doctor checks her pulse, shakes his head, and a nurse covers her with the blanket. They all leave the room as we finally see the bed and the woman covered in a bloody white sheet.)


Scene 2

(Curtains come up on the inside of a cabin. There is a fire going in the fire place. A little girl, around 13 years old, is sitting at the kitchen table eating porridge, while an older woman, 34 years old, is bustling about the kitchen. In the corner near the outside door, stage left, a boy around 14 is sitting, staring at the wall. A man, roughly 38, comes barging in from the outside, slamming the door into the chair the boy is sitting on, knocking it and the boy over. The boy picks the chair back up and sits back down, wincing in pain.)

Ted: (shouting) Where’s the boy? (Crosses to Ruth, grabs her shoulders, and shakes her. She starts crying and is in too much distress to answer)
Bear: (stands up and steps to other side of chair.) Mr. Amaro, I’m right here. Please don’t hurt her…
Ted: (Shoves Ruth into counter. Crosses over to stage left while talking.) You listen here boy, tell me what you did to Luke. I know you done something ‘cause he wasn’t like that yesterday. Tell me! (Grabs his shoulders and shakes him.)
Bear: I done what he deserved! He was pushin’ Mary around and I was just protectin’ her, sir! I weren’t tryin’ to hurt him much… (Ted pushed Bear away and starts walking toward Mary.)
Ted: Mary, is this true?
Mary: (She looks up from her porridge and we now see that she has a black eye and a swollen lip.) Pa, we was just playin’ around. It’s nuttin' much. Bear just wanted to join in on the fun. Right? (She looks pleadingly at Bear.)
Bear: Y-yes, sir. That’s what I was doin’. We was just havin’ fun.
Ted: (Sits at table.) Well boy, don’t go havin’ no more “fun” with Luke or I will have to have “fun” with you! Ruth, where’s my coffee?
Ruth: C-c-coming T-ted. H-here you are… (Sets coffee on table in front of Ted as Luke runs through the door and grabs Mary’s arm. We can clearly see that he isn’t hurt at all apart from a slight bruising to his jaw.)
Luke: C’mon, Mary! We are gonna be late for school!
Mary: Lemme go! I’ll be right out; I just need to put my bowl away.
Luke: Well hurry it up. I’ll wait outside fer ya. (He releases Mary’s arm and glares at Bear as he walks out the door.)
Mary: Mama, I’ll be home right after school to help you with the laundry. (She goes over to Ruth and kisses her cheek.) I love you. See ya later! (Goes to the door and motions for Bear to follow her shortly. She leaves the house.)
Ted: Don’t just stand there, boy! Go do your chores like yer sposed to!
Bear: Yes, sir. (Goes outside.)
Ruth: (Ruth sets food in front of Ted and in front of her own chair.) Must you be so hard on the boy? The world has been hard enough on…
Ted: (Interrupts in a mocking voice.) ‘The world has been hard enough on him.’ Bah! It’s been hard on us too! We wouldn’t even have to take care of the boy if your minx of a friend hadn’t gotten herself knocked up by who even knows! He got no father and no mother and of course she just HAD to write a letter leaving the brat to you. If it weren’t for that letter we’d be a much happier family!
Ruth: I-I only m-meant that maybe, since he’s gettin’ older, we could give him th-that loft in the barn, ya know where the cats sleep, t-to sleep in. Th-then at least he’d be outta our h-hair in the h-house…
Ted: (For the first time, a smile brightens his face.) Why, Ruth! That’s a wonderful idea! Sometimes I can barely tell you think, but this idea is perfect. (Kisses Ruth.) Outta our hair… I gotta get off to the mill. You tell the boy when he comes back from his chores that he’s now stayin’ in the barn. No more of this mat being a nuisance on the kitchen floor.
Ruth: I-I will. G-good bye! (Ted leaves. Ruth begins to clean up the kitchen. She puts plates in the dish water and starts to sweep. She lets out a sigh.) Oh, Lily. I wish you were still here. Life has been so terrible without you. Ted was nicer to me and actually loved me… We had so many plans! (Pulls crinkled old letter from her pocket.) ‘My dearest Ruth, Oh how I miss you so! I hope little Luke is growing big and strong. My child will be so lucky to have a playmate around the same age as he! I strongly believe he will be a boy though my doctor told me not to get my hopes up as it could very well be a girl. My due date is soon coming around soon. When is your child due? I’m sure you are so excited to bring another little one into the world! I know that I’m excited for my first. Please let Ted know that I’m doing fine. I know he disapproves of me having this child since I’m not married but what can a girl do? I love this child more than anything and he isn’t even born yet! Oh what a large capacity we humans have for love! The main reason I’m writing to you is if something should happen to me, I would like you to care for my little one. I trust none but you to take care of him. I have named you the Godmother. I doubt anything will happen, but I want this security just in case. I don’t think I would be able to stand seeing my child mistreated at an orphanage! Please take care of him as if he were your own. With deepest love, Lily.’ Oh, Lily! How I wish with all my heart you were still here! (By this time she is sitting in a chair with broom still in hand. The letter is placed over her heart as her last lines are delivered.)


Scene 3

(The curtains open on a countryside scene. Rolling hills, a wooden fence, and a pasture full of sheep line the road as Luke and Mary enter stage left.)

Luke: C’mon Mary. You walk too gosh darn slow.
Mary: My shoe needs tied! I’ll get there when I get there. (She bends down to tie shoe.)
Luke: I said c’mon! (Grabs her arm trying to pull her with him but she refuses. He pushes her away, knocking her down, and walks off the stage going to school.)
Mary: I’m a tough girl, I don’t need to cry. I’m a tough girl, I don’t need to cry. (Spoken as she brushes off and ties her shoe.) I’m a tough girl, I don’t need to…
Bear: (Enters.) Mary! (Interrupts.) What happened?
Mary: It was nothin’. I’m fine, Bear. (Stands up and leans against fence.) You know what I think? I think we should all be like sheep. They just get to mosey around all day, livin’ the good life; no worries, no fear, and the only pain is gettin’ caught to get sheared. Yah, that’d be the good life…
Bear: But ya know Mary, the wolves sometimes come an’ grab the sheep up at night. Farmers find bloody sheep all the time.
Mary: There are plenty of wolves going after us, too. (Bear looks confused.) I’m so happy I have you to talk to Bear! Luke is too much like Pa and gettin’ meaner every day. I just don’t know what’s wrong with him.
Bear: Don’t worry Mary, I will keep you safe. I’m… (Looks at sheep.) I’m a farmer! And sometimes the farmers have to shoot the wolves to protect their sheep.
Mary: Are ya sayin’ I’m a sheep? (Chuckles.) I think this sheep can protect herself mostly. It’s Mama who may need more protectin’. Wolves don’t scare me. ‘Specially when a Bear goes after the wolves. I best be gettin’ to school. Thanks fer meetin’ me ‘cause I know it cuts into yer chore time.
Bear: It’s nothin’ Mary. I get my chores done well before Mr. Amaro gets home. Don’t ferget to bring your reader home so I can look at it, please.
Mary: Bye, Bear. (Hugs him.) I won’t ferget it. (Bear exits stage left. She looks after him.) I love you. (Exits stage right.)


Scene 4

(We are inside the cabin once again. School has just let out. Ruth is sitting in a rocking chair by the fireplace, knitting while watching the soup cook. Mary walks in holding her arm, her hair in her face. Luke walks merrily in after her, kissing Ruth on the cheek as he heads stage right, to his bedroom.)

Ruth: Well your brother seems awfully cheerful t’day. How was school, Mary?
Mary: I-it was f-fine, Ma. (She looks up and we see she has a bruised cheek as well as her black eye and swollen lip.) I-I f-fell d-during lunch hour. I th-think my arm i-is broken. (Tears in her eyes.)
Ruth: (jumps out of her chair, setting the knitting on the table as she goes to her daughter.) Mary? Are ya sure ya fell? This don’t look like a fall coulda done it. (Gets a wet towel and wiping dirt of her arm.)
Mary: (pulls arm away.) Ow! That hurts, ma!
Ruth: My poor baby! Did yer brother have anything to do with this? You can tell me. Yer pa ain’t around right now.
Mary: (sees Luke in the doorway of his bedroom, peeking out.) N-no, m-ma. I t-told ya I f-fell. (Openly crying.)
Ruth: Okay, I’ll believe ya this once. Let me know if ya fall agin. (Grief stricken.) Now go out ta Bear. He can fix ya up a sling in no time.
Mary: (Wipes off tears.) Okay, ma. I’ll help set the table when I git back. (Exits.)

(Ruth sits back down and starts her knitting again, staring blankly into the fire.)


Scene 5

(The barn. We see Bear setting up his living quarters in the middle of some bales of hay. He is whistling and humming, Buffalo Gals.)

Mary: Bear? Are you there, Bear? (Enters the barn.)
Bear: (wipes hands of dust.) I’m over here! (Still whistling, and then he sees Mary, abruptly stopping.) M-Mary??? What happened to you? (Brushes hand across her bruised cheek.)
Mary: I f-fell during lunch today. (She says this as she refuses to look at Bear.)
Bear: I don’t believe a word of that bull. Your brother did this to ya, didn’t he? Tell me, Mary. (She is looking at the ground, not saying anything.) Look at yer arm! Ya couldn’t of done that by just fallin’. Stay here while I go get ya somethin’ fer that. (Mary watches as Bear goes into one of the closets, looking for cloth and some wood. Luke enters the barn.)
Luke: Why hello, Mary! Didn’t fancy on seein’ you out here. Don’t ya got some places to set at the table? Oh, ya gettin’ yer arm fixed? Won’t do you no good ya know. It’ll probably jest break agin knowin’ how clumsy ya are. (Grabs her arm.)
Mary: (Screams in pain.) Luke, let go of me!
Bear: (from inside the closet.) Mary? Mary, are you o… (Comes back into the main area of the barn and sees Luke.) Luke.
Luke: Hello there, Bear. Gonna fix up my dear old sister’s arm are ya? What else do ya do for my dear old sister, huh?
Bear: I don’t know what yer talkin’ about. (Stares at Luke as he walks over to Mary and pulls her arm out of his grasp.) Go to yer ma and stay there.
Mary: No, Bear! I won’t leave ya! (Grasping her arm.)
Bear: Mary, go to yer ma.
Luke: (Sneering.) Ya, Mary, go do what yer “husband” says.
Mary: But… Bear? (Pleading look from Bear.) Okay, fine. (Next line is spoken as she leaves.) Ya know, Luke? Yer jist like pa. (Anger is on her face as she spits at his feet and leaves the barn, running for the house.)
Luke: Alone at last. What should we do first? Send each other tokens or just git down to it? I vote fer the last one.
Bear: We don’t hafta fight, ya know.
Luke: Oh the big bad Bear is afwaid of a little bitty wolf. (Grins maliciously.)
Bear: I never said I was afraid. How did you end up like this, Luke?
Luke: Oh, I think it just came naturally ya know, with my pa bein’ how he is.
Bear: I’ve heard yer pa wasn’t always like. Ya don’t hafta be like him.
Luke: Oh yes, I do. Yer the reason fer all our troubles. If yer whore of a mother hadn’t of gotten pregnant, she woulda never died and pa wouldn’t have taken his frustration of her dyin’ out on ma and me. Yer mother didn’t want to be married, oh no, that wasn’t fer her. So she decided bein’ friends with pa was better than nothin’. Pa didn’t know how much he loved her and not my ma until she got pregnant with you. That was when he became how he is now. All because of you. (Lunges for Bear. An epic fight takes place, involving a pitchfork, some hay bales, and many fists colliding. The fight ends with Luke lying against a hay bale, knocked unconscious. We can see that Bear has scratches here and there, along with a bloody lip and a torn shirt and pants. He limps out of the barn and heads for the house.)


Scene 6

(Mary and Ruth are both sitting nervously at the table, waiting to see who won. Bear enters and goes to the nearest chair and sits down. Mary gets him water.)

Bear: Luke is out in the barn. I made sure he weren’t dead. (Exhausted.)
Ruth: Let’s just pray that Ted don’t come home anytime soon. (Whistling is heard in the background.) Well speak of the devil.
Ted: (Barges into cabin and sits at table.) Well where’s my food, woman? Where are all the plates?
Ruth and Mary: One s-second. (Ruth goes to get the soup off the fire and Mary gets plates and sets the table with her good arm.)
Ted: Well what happened to ya, Mary? Fall agin? (Chuckles.)
Bear: (Speaks from his chair.) Well actually, no sir. It was Luke. He done that to her.
Ted: Speakin’ of Luke, where is that fine son of mine? (Everyone goes quiet. He becomes angry) I said, where’s my boy?
Mary: He’s in the barn, pa.
Ted: And why’s he in the barn?
Mary: (Stares at floor.) B-Because he…
Ted: Because he what, Mary? (Grabs her chin and makes her look up. We see that Mary is crying. He pushes her away.) Boy, where’s Lucifer? (Goes over to Bear.)
Bear: (Looks right into Ted’s eyes.) Like Mary said, he’s in the barn.
Ted: Then maybe you can give me a better answer. Why?
Bear: Because that’s where I left him. (Pandemonium breaks loose as Ted goes to hit Bear. Throughout the scene, Ruth has been inching her way towards Bear. Instead of hitting Bear, we see that Ted has actually hit Ruth, knocking her to the floor. Mary goes over and helps Ruth stand up. Ruth is looking angrily at Ted)
Ruth: I’m done bein’ afraid of you Ted Amaro. I’m done sittin’ here bein’ silent as I watch you corrupt our son and hit me and Mary and Bear. We don’t deserve this. My baby don’t deserve to be raised by a father like you.
Ted: You’re pregnant?
Ruth: That news don’t involve you. You may be the father but you sure as hell won’ be the pa. Goodbye, Ted. I’m takin’ Mary and Bear with me. You can keep Luke with you here so I don’t hafta worry about this startin’ all over agin. Come on you two. (They walk out the door. Ted sits down in front of the fire and stares blankly into it.)
Mary: (Offstage.) Can we raise sheep, ma?
Ruth: (Offstage.) Sure can, with a Bear like this to protect them from wolves.


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The shower is a safe place.
A place to run and hide.
Mine I take regular with the clock that’s
Stopped at 6.45.

The shower is a place out of time.
Condensation fogs the unit;
Soothes its way down my lungs:
I don’t even have
To look in the Showershave mirrors
If I don’t want.
(Bad Feng Shui?)

Hiss, hiss,
Fade to subconscious,
Fade to black,
And a creaking skull bows
Before the showerhead.

The shower is a place out of time.
All mine. I never knew white tiling
Could be so interesting.
Or the grout that steadfastly fills
The gaps between.

The trickle of wet heat on skin.
I just wish
I could wash away all sin
Before someone taps in.

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