Riley

For this is the Life I’ve Grown Accustomed To:

 Spiraling out of control

And into confusion and chaos

I have no grasp

I had a plan

But it is no more

Destroyed by a single choice

By a solitary misjudgment

I have set fate free to run its course

Destiny to trample upon my future

For this is the life I’ve grown accustomed to

The boring routine grinds my bones

Like sandpaper

Upon a malleable surface

With my shovel

And calloused hands

I have dug a rut so deep

Though I claw and reach

Stretch and struggle

There is no hope of escaping

For this is the life I have grown accustomed to

The fear envelopes every cell of my body

Electrifying my nerve endings

Piercing through the fog of my shaky consciousness

I have not eyes on the back of my head

The shadows taunt me

Whispering conspiracies through the thin night chill

The panic rises and swells

There is no way out

There is no hope for tomorrow

For this is the life that I’ve grown accustomed to

The pressure squeezes

Like the sole of my shoe smashing an ant

Sucking out the very essence of my being

It tightens its grip upon my sanity

Its hold upon my reason

Though I thrash and resist

There is no winning this game

For I have already lost

Because this is the life I have grown accustomed to

How to Rid Yourself of the Monster under Your Bed

Terror is an intense, sharp fear. This feeling creeps up slowly, starting by leaking through the corners of consciousnesses, then quickly growing into an uncontrollable force. It lurks in the shadowy crannies of forgotten passages.

As you lay in my bed your breath comes in short gasps as you try to divert your thoughts from the monster under your bed.

When everyone is asleep and the darkness is your only companion, that’s when the monster comes out.

You can hear it shuffling under your bed and the shadows play across the walls. It brings with it a cold sweat and clenched fingers upon your sheets like a baby clinging to its mother. You need to rid yourself of the monster under your bed.

First, while hiding beneath the covers, snap three times, snap, snap, snap as you cling to your favorite blanket. The snaps will take you to the World of Magical Answers.

You will arrive in the lobby where you should talk to the satyr receptionist and ask for Commander Steinfield who specializes in monster eradication.

The receptionist will transport you. You will appear in dark alley. Rats skitter upon the dank cement and litter skids with the slight breeze. A solid brass door lines the back wall and you should make your way towards it.

 Knock and it should be opened by one of the Commander’s minions. You enter, and there sits Commander Steinfield in all of his masculine, larger-than-life glory. He is clothed in black leather and reflective Aviators that shade his chiseled face. He assures you that he will be able to take care of your monster problem, but he will need some kind of payment. All that you have is your favorite blanket so you reluctantly give it to him.

The Commander says that the monster will be gone by the time you teleport back. Suddenly you are back in your bed. You find a small golden note on top of your pillow and it reads:

The monster has been eradicated.

You may now sleep in peace.

-Commander Stienfield

P.S. Thanks for the blanket.

My Grandpa

He is the shrill awakening of the blow horn

He is the sour tang of lime in my jaw

He is the most graceful swimmer in the world

He is the warm smell of Maui Swim Club Cookies

He is our secret handshake

He is a well worn history textbook

He is the silvery shine of white hair

He is the icy chill of blue vanilla ice cups

He is the ocean calm

He is my grandpa

Down the Road I Walk

 
Down the road I walk

Tangled in my thoughts

Hands shoved in my pockets

Invisible to the world

 

Tangled in my thoughts

My tread a heavy burden

Hands shoved in my pockets

Lost with no return

 

My tread a heavy burden

Continuous and steady

Lost with no return

I sink further into oblivion

 

Continuous and steady

My breath released with anguish

Lost with no return

I stare into the distance

 

My breath released with anguish

Hands shoved in my pockets

I stare into the distance

Down the road I walk

Crutches (The Perfect Excuse):Classified Ad

P.E., oh how I loathe P.E. I hate the way that my arms burn when Mr. McCartney makes us do so many push-ups that I forget how to count past 156.  I hate the way that my legs feel like they are on fire when we sprint ‘round and ‘round the gym so fast that I feel like I’m still circling when I’m standing still. I hate the way salty sweat slicks every pore of my body and runs down my face in streams clouding my vision and seeping into my mouth bringing with it the unwelcome tang of human juices. 

I pride myself in coming up with the best, most believable excuses no matter how simple or elaborate but after weeks and weeks of this, my creativity began to run dry, and I had to spend more time in P.E. than should be legal.

One day while walking home and feeling the aftereffects of the suicide runs I did that day with every step, I look up and see a thrift store with a bunch of random stuff in the window. Among the strewn items, I see a pair of crutches and the simplicity of the idea hit me like the dodge ball that was beamed at my face last week in guess what class. The perfect excuse.

I hurried in, well as fast as my aching legs would carry me, and bought those crutches. I finished the journey home and found an Ace bandage to wrap my “sprained ankle,” practiced walking down the hall a couple times with my new purchase and mastered the pain-filled face when people showered me with their sympathy.

The next day, I carefully wrapped my ankle and headed off to school with high hopes. As soon as I arrived at school I was surrounded by many of my classmates. Their faces were concerned as they asked me how I hurt my ankle. “I um… I um.. well… hmm….” Turns out I had forgotten a vital piece of my excuse.

In the days that followed I made no more excuses for the fear of the embarrassment of being found out. I ended up selling my crutches online for $20. But that didn’t make up for my utter humiliation. So I am writing this back story to express the importance of having a back story.

Expectations

I can barely put up with myself, how can I expect others to?

I have too many freckles, maybe I should hide from the sun

My makeup is smudged, let me go fix it

My hair is so curly, I think I could get lost in it

I’m too short, where are my heels?

I’m not a size zero, and it’s painfully obvious

This dress makes my butt look big, I’m going to go change

I’m not gorgeous, not even pretty

It shouldn’t be legal for me to leave my house

Maybe I should hide, no one would look for me anyways

I can’t do this who am I kidding?

“That’s ok,” he says, “I love you just the way you are.”

A limerick

There once was a man from east France

Every day he would put on his pants

But whenever he did

Down his body they slid

Off that strange, dear, old man from east France

The Birth of an Idea

I am armed with nothing but truth though there is more to come. A storm is brewing; waiting for the culmination of wind, water and anger. Pieces fly, scattered among the deserted land waiting for the call from its master. A plan has been conceived. I need only to call upon its name and it shall answer me. I stand upon the hilltop and look down upon the madness that has been dwelling within me. If only I could articulate, the world would know of the deadliest weapon known to man. In its purest form this energy can bring life upon my summons. The antithesis is equivalent in its power, but its destructive nature threatens the very existence of mankind. It is up to me to decide how I will use this supremacy. I begin building my army. The hazy fog gives way to clarity, hinting at a final destination. Thoughts of the end are too premature and must be reined for all of my concentration is needed. From the chaos and confusion emerges a light. Refined and reformed this light seeps through the once impermeable walls of my consciousness and courses through me. My nurturing and attentiveness now come to fruition as the light is now shared with those surrounding. The power that once only existed in me is now able to expand and increase daring others to attempt the same.

Introduction from a personal narrative entitled “Limes”

It was a Wednesday, my favorite day of the week. My mom shakes me awake and I’m excited with the realization of the fact that today I get to ride to school with my grandpa. The act itself was nothing special but the comfort and security that it brought me was indefinable. My mom brushes my hair which has frizzed up from its relationship with my pillow during the night while I brush my teeth and carefully assess my mother’s handiwork simultaneously…(read the end of this story in the print edition of We Digress, available in May 2011.)

I am a perfectionist, even at a young age I knew my fate lay within my own chubby hands; it was my choice to make of it what I wanted. I knew I was to be something great; something that my family could be proud of, something that my grandpa could be proud of. When I was even younger, my parents had to spend hours away from me at work. These hours spent away from them were spent with my grandparents, taking bike rides, feeding the ducks and fish at the Maui Tropical Plantation, reading shelves and shelves of books or swimming in the containers filled with rain water and guppies for my enjoyment. They became my world. I knew that if my parents weren’t around, they would always be. This brought me the feeling of refuge and safety like being wrapped up in a warm blanket when it’s freeze-my-toes-off cold outside.

 I give myself one final glance in the mirror and a nod of approval follows. I hear the familiar start of the engine waiting for my arrival. I give my mom and dad a quick kiss and rush down the stairs. I greet my grandpa with a big hug, swing open the backseat door, and jump in after my bag. In the middle of the back seat lay a mound of treats; Maui Swim Club chocolate chip cookies, Capri-Sun juice pouches, white and green boxes of Junior Mints lay within the heap. I eagerly strap in my seatbelt and dive into the pile as my grandpa turns up the radio. Many of these rides consist of a trip to the past with long, twisting stories. I inhale the tales with the taste of chocolate on my tongue. 

The Mystery of the Darkness:

This Is a Poem That…

 This is a poem that whispers secrets

In the hollow darkness behind closed doors

That conspires against the highest of powers

Because while in the shadows, you may unleash your festering dissension

Because when left unattended a shy ember may become a thunderous blaze.

 

And when the paranoia drowns out whatever sanity you have left

That, that is when fear seeps in and locks its very existence to yours

                                              This is the poem that runs far, far away         

From everything that was ever familiar

Like trying to escape your shadow, it can only be lost in the darkest of nights. 

 

Refuge: My Favorite Place

My childhood tree house is my favorite place to be. Here I can see old wood walls as bleak as a still dessert plain, the green roof protective like the arms of a nurturing father, and windows, lovingly cut out of the wood walls by a careful hand, frame the view to the outside world like the portholes of a spaceship looking down upon the earth. I can hear giddy children laughing, the gentle sound of leaves and branches murmuring their story, and unfamiliar sounds of a distant world. I can feel the once plush carpeting that lined the wooden floor, lying now in unwelcoming patches of smashed mats while the rusty lock guards its inhabitants from prying hands. I can see, I can hear, I can feel in my favorite place, my childhood tree house.

 

Friends

I had a turtle that was sweet

She was the most angelic one you’d ever meet

But she always had her head in the sky

Because she was very, very shy

 

I Have Let Spot out of His Cage

I have

let Spot

out of

his cage

 

you will

probably be

mad with me

 

but he looked

so depressed

so lonely

 

Just My Luck

Hi, my name is Lucky but in fact I am exactly the opposite. My life had been an ongoing stream of unfortunate events. The most important moment of my sad, sad life had just transpired; not that it was amazing, beautiful, or even remarkable it was just the most important occasion because it had caused the most pressure, anxiety, and stress. I had just gotten married to Lola, a chubby, ugly lady who always smelt like cheese and owned an impossibly large collection of Russian nesting dolls.

The wedding had taken place in the lush, green garden, with an open grass area, and the fresh scent of blooming flowers wafting through the air. The white benches had been set and white garland dressed the pulpit. The perfect setting for the supposedly perfect day. Or so I thought. The ceremony had begun without a hitch, but not soon after, rain came down like there was no tomorrow and with my luck, maybe there wasn’t going to be one. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed across the sky. We had to move the ceremony to a cramped storage room. Great, just my luck.

After the awful marriage, we headed to the reception which I paid for to be in the grand ballroom of the hotel, but the rain had caused the roof to leak and the party had to be moved elsewhere. When the tour guide had led the herd to our new location, I had never seen a sadder room. This was the basement of the hotel, the place where the unsightly junk was carelessly thrown and the unwanted garbage was tossed. People started to whisper complaints about the smell. Also the food had not been brought from the ballroom so everyone was wet, grouchy and hungry. Not a good combination. Great party atmosphere, I thought. My wife was talking in one corner with a couple of her friends, probably gossiping about what a failure I was, when the door burst open. Over a dozen police officers, dressed in protective armor, swarmed the room and shouted,

“Lucky, you are arrested for the murder of your wife, you have the right to remain silent.” “But…but…she’s…” I stammered.

It didn’t matter. They were slapping handcuffs on my wrists and dragging me out of the room. Great, just my luck.

 

White Blank Page

Draped in purple and gold, the ballroom was more spectacular than she had imagined, but one thing was out of place. To her horror, as she looked around she saw people pointing and laughing. She looked down and realized what had happened and burst into tears. Everyone else was wearing formal wear and she was wearing a fluffy bunny suit. “Story of my life…,” she thought.

 Arianna had just moved to California from a small town in Montana, and with moving came the new school, new people and new situations. She was a shy, studious girl who moved to the city seeking a higher education and more opportunities to get ahead. On the first day of school, she kept her head down and tried to get through her classes without drawing any attention to herself. But as she walked to lunch she wasn’t looking where she was going and slammed into the most popular girl in school, named Brittney. Arianna had apologized profusely but it didn’t seem to make a difference. In the days that followed, Brittney made Arianna’s life a living hell, “accidentally” spilling spaghetti all over Arianna’s shirt, tripping her, spreading nasty rumors, etc. Arianna tried to ignore her or laugh her embarrassing moments off but after countless attacks, she was getting overwhelmed. She overheard snippets of conversations about her latest mess ups. She regretted ever coming to the city and longed for the comfort of her small town in Montana, with its slow life, lazy days, and pleasant people. As she reminisced, she thought, “Story of my life…” Her self-confidence was shaken, but she decided that she was going to see this through and she wouldn’t let an insignificant girl ruin her high school experience. The days past and the assaults became worse but Arianna combated them with a positive attitude and an unbreakable willpower. Brittney became frustrated and planned one final attempt to humiliate Arianna.

 Now at the party, Arianna wiped her tears and realized that she was just a white, blank page for horrible, insecure people like Brittney to stain and contaminate, trying to lessen their own pain and corruption. But she wasn’t going to let Brittney have the satisfaction. She pondered her options and remembered something her mom back in Montana always used to tell her, “If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances” (Julia Soul). Arianna threw her head back and strutted into that party with the intent to enjoy herself no matter what anyone else thought, “This is the new story of my life.”

 

White, White is the Fluffy Blanket

White, white is the fluffy blanket presently pulled out of the dryer;

Static electricity still embraces the bed spread making it unbearable to touch;

White is the blank paper taunting me from its position on the desk before me;

It mocks me in its whiteness, secretly knowing that I have nothing to offer it;

Oh how I loathe that white paper in its entirety for I know what it jeers is true.

 

Dry, dry is the dirt behind the cozy cottage;

Parched for the lack of rain had dehydrated the land, stripping away its ability to yield a harvest;

The farmer hopes that one day precipitation will feel generous and bestow its gift upon the earth;

But until then the dirt remains barren;

Unfruitful and infertile is the earth beneath my feet.

 

Rare, rare are the seeds of inspiration;

Uncommon and coveted are these treasures;

When found can bring true creativity and fertility;

This is what I search for, long for and hope for.

 

Welcome, welcome is the rain that washes the soil;

Making what was sterile, fruitful once more;

So is my paper now drenched with the flow of knowledge proceeding from my mind;

 I rejoice in the coming of the rain.

 

Writing Philosophy

I write to free my thoughts into reality from the containment of my mind, to relay pictures, otherwise unknown to the world, into physical form.

 

Me!

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