On Croissants. On Fish.

On Croissants:

Heavenly, divine

the buttery flakes,

the crisp crunch,

the crinkle of the bread as you break it

to reveal fluffy softness

white as a cloud.

You’re floating in air

with every bite,

until the last one

and you’re abruptly

earthbound.

 

On Fish:

Do fish ever look up?

They look to the surface

when food falls.

But do they ever look beyond?

Humans are always looking at the sky.

We’re always wondering what it’d be like to fly.

To go beyond our limits, our boundaries.

It’s exciting, exhilarating.

We try to go faster, further,

but then we come back down.

And we’re earthbound.

And suddenly our eyes

open to the destruction we’ve left in our wake.

Some of us still have eyes only for the sky.

For beyond, for after.

The rest of us can’t look at the sky anymore.

We have eyes only for what has become of our home.

The current is all that matters,

lest it be lost,

and the future with it.

If fish never looked beyond before,

are they now?

Are they seeing the plastic debris

drifting into their homes,

and trying to see beyond,

to find the cause?

If they are looking,

not enough of us are looking back.

We have eyes only for the sky,

and the birds that are still in it.

We care not for the waterbound.

For we dislike our own boundaries.

And if we can learn to fly,

and broaden our possibilities,

then fish can to.

If they don’t,

well,

they have only themselves to blame.

 


 

Lists of prompts and prompt generators are nice, but I’ve always found them pretty useless or disappointing. They almost never surprise me like asking the people around me does. The prompt “croissant” is courtesy of Kaitlin and the prompt “fish” is courtesy of Misha.

I’m always looking for inspiration, so always feel free to send me prompts!

 

Works of Fire

1.

A burst of color fizzles out, the blooming flower fades

I am the smoke skeleton left behind,

to drift along the breeze.

Your eyes, they move to the next bright thing,

darting left and right, and up and down.

But my shape will hold longer,

and I am the more reluctant to leave.

But when I do, I will soon be unrecognizable.

Unseen by eyes that moved on,

now one with the wind and the earth.

Still beautiful, 

ghostlike I linger,

and feed all that is beautiful in the world,

with all that I have left.

 

2.

Watching blossoms bloom 

amidst thunder, fire and smoke

bursting across the sky,

in short-lived but memorable declaration,

I think:

“only humans.”‘

No matter how brief the moment,

we fill the sky with light

and the air with sound,

declaring

“We are here.”

Left to Right and Vertically, This Read : Instructions

3.
everyday
standards
like
writing
format,
will
we
really
descend
into
chaos,
or
will
we
gain
greater
wisdom
or
greater
empathy?
If
only
one
thing
is
certain
it’s
that
most
all
of
us
could
sure
use
some
more
wisdom
and
empathy,
not
the
least
of
all
me.
I
could
also
use
some
more
patience.
So,
I
decided
this
was
worth
a
try.
As
for
my
conclusion,
well,
why
don’t
you
give
this
a
try
yourself?
2.
Basically,
if
you
believe
a
medicine
will
work,
it
will.
If
you
believe
it
won’t,
it
really
won’t.
Thus,
you
must
always
be
open
to
the
possibility
that
it
might
work.
We’re
not
even
open
to
the
possibility
that
maybe
we
should
read
and
write
vertically
or
right
to
left,
so
how
can
we
possibly
be
open
to
others’
experiences
that
are
so
different
from
our
own?
If
we
challenge
our
1.
I’m
told
I’m
meant
to
write
horizontally,
and
from
left
to
right.
But
I
wonder
if
standards
like
this
are
part
of
the
reason
humans
have
so
much
trouble
understanding
those
who
are
different
from
themselves.
Maybe
if
we
all
took
a
moment
to
write
vertically
and
right
to
left,
we’d
be
more
understanding
of
others.
At
the
very
least
we
may
be
more
thoughtful.
You
may
have
heard
of
the
placebo
effect.

 

To Be Made, To Become

I’m turning into a monster.

    my fangs have grown long
    my voice has become a scream,
    or a growl.

I’m growing scales one by one.

          I’m starting to long to bite you
          I’m starting to wonder what you’d look like,
          writhing in a pain I deal with every day.
          I’m starting to wonder what it’d look like,
          if I were the one in power.

The one who says it’s ok.

     that you spend 24/7 in pain.

It’s ok

    that your body has tried the fight, flight, freeze responses,

    and ended up devoting itself to “faint.”

It’s ok

    because because because because

IT’S OK

          it’s ok that you’re in pain
          it’s ok that the world is dying
          it’s ok so many students have debt
          it’s ok we failed during the refugee crisis
          it’s ok we’re detaining people at our borders
          and separating families
          it’s ok to talk about how hot your daughter is
          it’s ok some people have private jets while others starve
          it’s ok to distrust half your country, that it’s torn in half with hate

I’m becoming a monster
against my will.

    My nails have lengthened and sharpened into claws

     that do not let go that do not let go

It was against my will

          but my roars will not be silenced.

     No,

          they will grow and grow, and grow and grow

     until maybe someday

          they can match the power
          of issues swept under,
          of the control you hold over my life

But then would they listen?


No!

    they would not.

          So a monster I will not become.

For to become a monster would be
     to give up what little I have control over:
                              myself.

To become a monster
    would mean to lose my chance to be heard
                    to change things.

So now,

I’ll shed this hideous skin I’ve grown.

           I’ll shear off my horns,
          And my groans I’ll drown.

          A human being I am,
     and a human I’ll stay.

And in doing so,

I’ll have won

          The game that was made without victors.

And I’ll smile in the face of adversary,

          for their greatest weapon
          will have been destroyed:

                         my destruction of myself.

Thinking of You Still.

In my memories, you both are almost always smiling.
Did you really smile that much?
Or have my memories already become
sKeWeD?

If it is that my memory is in error, perhaps it is not entirely an evil thing,
for maybe the remembrance of you both is finally becoming what it should be—
a source of strength.

Or perhaps your smiles are what I most fear losing to forgetfulness (and anger, and grief). But oh! I want to remember every emotion I saw cross your faces, every piece of yourselves I got to see.

But perhaps you both really smiled that much.

I know there were times you were too sad to deal with the world,
but neither of you liked showing that aspect of yourselves.
At least, not to me.
(Ben, I’m pretty sure for you, at least, it was that you never liked anyone at all to see that.)

I remember moments where you didn’t smile of course. Moments you were too sad to. But those are far, far outweighed by images of humor and mischief and joy.

Perhaps it was because you were together, most every time I saw either of you.
Indeed, I know that was part of it.
For I got to know you both equally,
and saw the change in each of you when you were with each other.

You were the sun and moon respectively and both of you glowed.
You brought out the best in each other.

I feel privileged that I got to see your meeting,
and the growing of your mutual love.

I’m finally to a point where a day sometimes passes that I don’t think of you,
but the vast majority of days you both cross my mind at least once.

I know some of what you both went through. I wish I could have helped you more.
But thank you for sharing with me so many of your smiles.
For because my memories of you are filled with them
(and with listening, and with kindness),
when I think of you, you bring me joy,
even though it is still very, very painful.

I truly believe, with what optimism I have, that the two of you are together,
wherever you are,
and that because you’re together, you’re both still smiling.
(At least, this is the only possibility I will accept.)

But still, please do not ask me to smile yet,
for my heart is still too raw.

I am a writer. Always have been, always will be.
The theme of “immortalizing” people through art of all kinds
has been prevalent for centuries.
So while my attempts will never be enough,
only a faint shadow of what was,
I will do what I can.

For too many good people die young, and the world still has great need of them—
still has need of the two of you.

An Episode In Everyday Life . . .

Thwack. . .

“Haaaa!”

        Thud.

(Clack-clack-clack.)

        “I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you, you monster. . . .”

Smash.

        “Aha!”

The door creaked open cautiously, letting the wary outsider check up on the suspicious sounding activity. A pause.

Bang!

        Bang, bang, bang.

“Yes! Success!”

        The victor crowed and danced in victory—spinning in a circle before finally spotting the audience and freezing.

“What are you doing?”

“I was just— . . . there was a really big spider. . . .”

“. . . Really?”

Twiddled thumbs.
A sigh.

“Well, here, you forgot this. Again. See you after class.”

Phone returned, the roommate left once again, rolling eyes in exasperation.

        The door shuts.

A pause.

                    Solemn fist pump and whispered

                    “Victory!”

 

Later That Night . . .

. . .
(crickets chirping)
(rustling)
(a groan)

        “What the? Ahhhh! Gagahrawww-Ehhh! H-h-hugge!”

SLAM.

        “I TOLD you they were monsters! Where is it?!”

“There! there, over there! KILL it. Do it now! KILLLLL!!”

        “You won’t get away either! Die like your brother. Gahrawwh!

               H A A A A A A A A ! ”

 

    Cree- – – – – ASH        tinkle, tinkle

SMACK.                       BAM.

                   Thud.

 

“KIILLL.”

“Death to the evil one!”

 

And thus, the battle continues. . . .
Catch us at the next episode!

(No spiders or people
were harmed
in the making
of this production.)

Migraine

There’s a flower in my head and it’s trying to bloom
but the roots are twisted up with my brain stem,
and burrowing into the crevices.

The petals are trying to unfold,
the plant is trying to grow, tall and beautiful,
but my skull is only so big, and it’s long reached the roof.

My head feels like it’ll explode soon,
so this beautiful weed can grow through the hole in my skull.

But instead it keeps trying to bloom
and I’m still locked in suspense.

A poet known as “Iron Hand”? More likely than you may think.

Gottfried von Berlichingen (1480 – 1562), more famously known as Götz of the Iron Hand, was a German Imperial Knight and poet. And oh yes, he saw combat. He was involved in numerous military campaigns and fought an estimated 15 feuds. He also worked as a mercenary and kidnapped nobles and attacked merchant convoys. In fact the empire banned him twice because of these activities. Most notably of all though, his hand was shot off by a cannon ball in the siege of Landshut (1504), and if it’s not amazing enough that he lived a long life and continued to have an active military career, his iron prosthetic hand (well, actually, he had two made) seems to have allowed him to write.

(If you’d like to know more about his prosthetic, I found this article interesting https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(18)30025-7/fulltext)

Götz is just one of many poets who were active warriors. It’s interesting to me that poetry, and the arts, have been so starkly separated from sports and military in our society. Poetry especially used to be so intrinsically tied to war, that I wonder just when poetry became some “flowery” “girly” “superfluous” thing. For one example of a society in which poets and warriors were inseparable is the Irish. The Fianna, the elite warriors of Irish legend, were trained both as poets and warriors. Poetry had power.

In a long overdue continuation of my study of gender from epics to romances I will be covering the Ulster Cycle, specifically focusing on stories involving Cú Chulainn, in order to narrow my focus some. The importance of poetry and its use by both men and women in literature will be one of many things that will be examined.

For the Foodies

And today we introduce: a mini escapade into cooking!!

So the background (I’m a writer, of course there needs to be a story behind this, however minimum) is that my grandma made French toast and I had never had any like hers and it was the best. It was still golden brown on the outside, but the inside was creamy, almost custardy. And it was stupendously delicious.

So I set out to recreate, or somewhat recreate, that.

For one thing I know she used “real” bread as opposed to wonder-type bread, “real” bread with nice thick slices. I stupidly went to Walmart for this so options were limited. I ended up buying Aunt Millie’s Texas Toast.

The other thing I did besides ensure I had thicker slices of bread was to soak each piece of bread longer in the egg mixture.

Annnnd it worked! Visualize that perfect golden brown on both sides of each piece of bread, smell and taste that maple syrup and those blueberries! It was custardy on the inside and the best French toast I ever made.

I do think the Texas Toast was just the slightest bit thicker than I would have liked, but I got the effect I wanted.

I’ve never been to a restaurant that had that custardy interior, or seen a recipe trying to achieve that. So listen to your grandparents! Or people in general. There’s always something someone in the world knows that the rest of us suckers don’t.

My mind is like a rusty steel trap . . .

half the time the mechanism works and it holds onto something so I’ll never forget it, the other half the time it doesn’t even try. And it’s truly randomized.

For instance:

Some completely arbitrary, inane piece of knowledge? 50% chance of it being remembered, 50% chance it’s not.

Someone’s name? 50% / 50%

Some piece of life saving know-how? 50% / 50%

Something related to my field? 50 % / 50%

Something I want to remember? 50% / 50%

Oh wait. There are a couple of areas where the percentages change:

Something I don’t want to remember?

Me: 26 years old trying to sleep, My brain: remember that thing you did in first grade that one time that was super embarrassing??

Dates, of basically anything, have about .05% of being remembered.

The short of it is, I really can’t actually predict (for the most part) what my brain chooses to hold onto. This does not mean that there aren’t those vital memories that stand out, of course. But if my brain is so arbitrary, really other people’s brains must be at least half as arbitrary, right?

In other words, what is a significant moment in our lives isn’t always a significant moment in anyone else’s life, no matter how close we are to them.

One of the moments that stands out in my mind when I think of my life is this: One of my best friends was over with her family and I felt a migraine coming so I lay down. This amazing friend of me read to me while I was laying down (if I remember right). I think her sister was there too. I felt better when it was time to have dinner so I sat up . . . and threw up all over the blanket on my lap.

Yuuuup. That super sucked especially because I rarely throw up from a migraine. And you know, they were . . . right there. Sitting with me.

I remember the bad migraines, but I don’t remember ever really talking to anyone much about them during elementary and middle school (actually I didn’t really talk about them until they went chronic). I don’t remember ever having a conversation with this friend about migraines during that timeframe. But I remember this. I still think of it occasionally all these years later.

I found out this year that my friend doesn’t remember that. My friend—whose memory seems to me to be an exceptionally useful steel trap and remembers 75% more than me about elementary and middle school—doesn’t remember that.

Maybe there is no point to all this except our brains are complex, and occasionally I think that mine is the runt of the litter. Or you know, maybe the message is one of those inspiring “don’t worry about your mistakes” cliches. Who knows. I mean, do you? How well do you know your brain and your memory? What will you remember about these posts?

Even if you don’t remember anything, I hope these posts are worthwhile to you. There’s not much point in sharing if they’re only worthwhile to me. Actually, though, even if they’re not worthwhile please keep reading them and please harass other people to read them. (But like, gently. Gentle harassment please.) If you have time to scroll through social media you’ve already read for an hour or rewatch an episode of tv, it’s worthwhile reading my posts, right? Maybe most of them are arbitrary enough that your brain might just remember them.