Lights out

•January 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Turn off the lights and stumble through the darkness. The cold of my room makes my feet feel clammy and the only things I can feel are the creases in my socks. I step on something hollow and it collapses inward around my foot.

I should really pick up that empty box.

I brace myself on the white towel that without seeing I know is hanging on the back of my swivel chair. It is soft on my fingertips but coarse where I am gripping hardest.

Next time I will turn on the light by my bed first.

My lower leg finds something. The slight pain from the pressure of plastic pressing against my shin is irritating for a moment, but the softness of the layers of blankets, fleece, down and woven, supporting my knees tells me that I have found what I am looking for. I raise one leg and proceed to crawl across the surface of my bed to the head. Peeling back the covers I slide under them and onto the cold bedsheets underneath.

If only they would warm themselves without me.

Dissatisfied with the exposure of my shoulders I grip my bottom blanket and pull it upwards. Along the way it takes hold of the sheet and uproots it.

I’ll have to fix it tomorrow.

Squinting, I check the alarm on my clock not once, not twice, but three times, until I really believe I have set it and did not accidentally turn it off immediately after turning it on.

I still don’t believe it.

My arm retracts back under the covers and rests at my chest for a moment before migrating under my pillow. As I lay my head down the pillow is soft and welcoming but my ear piercings refuse to let me find a comfortable position without a fight. I twist and turn until I find just the right elevation so that the top of my left ear is not quite in contact with any surfaces.

I close my eyes and wait.
Waiting.

On a clear night…

•January 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

She awoke at the bottom of a well. Though unsure of the time, the faint moonlight illuminating the darkness told her enough. Where the fuck am I this time? she thought. She could feel the wet layer of dirt coating the old stone bricks as she pressed against the wall to stand,  legs quivering as they extended. It was always like this, it would take at least three minutes for her to stop shaking. Something cast a shadow over her.

“Is that you Lassie?” she laughed.

The red eyes of an evil St. Bernard stared down at her, tongue hanging limp out of the side of its mouth. It tilted its head and flashed its teeth with a snarl, sharp and numerous. As it exhaled, thick clouds of moisture formed from its hot and heavy breath. She pulled one hand off of the wall, wiped the dirt onto her jeans and met the dog’s gaze, then gave it the finger. It let out a strange snort that she knew was laughter. The dog tilted its head once more, then abruptly turned around and disappeared.

He thinks he’s safe does he? If he does, he’s got another thing coming, and when I catch him… she halted her train of thought. Now now, I’ve got to get out of here first.

Standing on her own now, she looked up once more at the moonlight. With a quick kick she broke the stone and lodged her foot into the wall. Two hops to check if it would hold her. It did. A third hop, this time she drew back her fist and punched it into the wall slightly above her. It’s not fast, but it gets the job done. There was still a ways to go.


Roasted

•July 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sticky like freshly cooked rice,

Steam rising from my body like

Hot sesame oil.

My tea has evaporated

Leaving an empty glass and leaves

More shriveled than when I bought them.

Too fried to stay awake,

Too boiled to go to sleep,

Basting in sweat.

The familiar sweet and sour smell

Of roasting human.

Some haiku on sleeplessness

•March 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So I wanted to do a lot more than this, but life has been super hectic and now it’s been over two weeks since I posted anything. Finals will probably keep me occupied for another week, but hopefully after this term is over I’ll be able to do a lot more again. As I look over what I have to get done this week, I see that these poems are also particularly relevant right now…

**

A cloudy sky at sunset,

the same gray in the morning;

Another sleepless night.

**

Sleep interrupted,

the sound of my alarm.

Five more minutes please.

**

Even in silence

I am bombarded by the sounds

Of my thoughts.

**

Coffee in hand

I am falling asleep in class.

Daylight savings time.

Waiting at the Airport

•February 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Doug sat in one of the chairs in the back the waiting area near the security checkpoint, a bouquet of yellow roses on his lap. Rachel’s favorite. He was in a perfect position to watch the toddlers and small children climbing on top of the mini-padded airplane, nearly falling off and sending worrisome mothers into a panicked frenzy, but instead his gaze was elsewhere. Staring out the window, every time a plane was coming in to land he followed it with his eyes until it was out of sight. He looked at his watch. It would be another hour before her plane was scheduled to arrive.

A woman’s muffled laughter snapped his attention back inside. A reunited young couple stood in embrace, her luggage left unattended a few feet away. Doug grimaced. They were obviously still very much in love and it made him uncomfortable. It reminded him of Rachel.

It seemed silly to him now, the last argument they had. She was away on a business trip and it was the first call he received from her in the three days since she had left.

“I’m sorry I haven’t had time to call…”

“That’s alright, how’s Portland?”

“Oh it’s really nice! The clients have taken us out to eat every night. There are microbre-,” she paused.

“What?”

“Nothing, we’ve just been treated very well. It’s quite nice.”

“Have you been drinking?”

“I, no not really.”

“You’re lying.”

“W-well, what am I supposed to do? It’s my job to make sure we have good relations with these people! I can’t very well come off as abrasive can I?”

“Not drinking is abrasive?”

“A drink. That’s all I ever have. My sister is here with me. You know she wouldn’t let me do anything she didn’t think approve of!”

“I’ve been sober for three months now. WE have been sober for three months. I thought we agreed to do this together.”

“We, we did… Look, this is strictly business. As soon as I get back, nothing’s changed.”

“…”

“Say something! Don’t you think you’re being unreasonable?”

“… Why bother coming back?”

“What?”

“Spend some more time going out with your sister. It won’t do me any good having you here.”

“You’re not serious…” she was quiet.

“You know how important this was! Do you know how hard it’s been for me? I feel like having a drink right now. Who am I going to look for support? Some stupid woman that can’t even keep a promise as soon as she’s a few hundred miles away?”

“…”

“…”

“I’m sorry…”

“Goodbye Rachel.” He hung up.

The next day he regretted what he had done, but couldn’t bring himself to call. Each of the following two days he grew more and more upset until finally, the day she was to return home he received a single text. It read “I think I’m going to take your advice.” He couldn’t believe it. He wished that she had never called in the first place. But more than that, he wished that he hadn’t acted the way he did.

Immediately he tried to call her, but she didn’t answer. She purposefully left it on so he would know she was ignoring his calls. In desperation he sent her a text back, “I’m sorry. I need you,” was all it read. Still there was no answer.

Stopping at the grocery store to buy some flowers, he went to the airport anyway. After parking on the fifth floor, he navigated his way to the checkpoint she would be coming out of and sat in the back of the waiting section.

It would still be another hour before her plane was scheduled to come in.

Traveling Alone

•February 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Together we are traveling, but we are not traveling together. I am surrounded on all sides, we are close enough to touch, but each one of us encased in our own world. We are rapidly approaching our destinations. One departs from the pack, their journey over, only to be quickly replaced by two others. Sometimes there are only a few of us, but we are never by ourselves. There are always more.

Never alone, but at the same time, we are always alone. Though I can see my companions, it is forbidden to interact with them. Some linger and some speed ahead, but we are all after the same thing. Even if our destinations are the same we do not remember each other, for we were never truly traveling together to begin with.

We are protected from the outside. Rather than keeping each other company, we have created artificial companions. They provide us with entertainment and information. They keep us isolated. We are flawless, impenetrable, we think. But in reality, at any random moment a small mistake could yield catastrophic results.

But still we prefer our solitude. After all, it is much more terrifying to be in the presence of others.

The Endless Staircase

•February 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Above the clouds there is an endless staircase. It’s rumored that when the tower of Babel was struck down, everything remaining above the heavens was left standing, but that was a long time ago, and nobody is around who would remember. Many have tried to climb it, and while it is possible that there is in fact an end, and that someone made it up there, nobody has come back down to tell about it.

It used to be that many people would come to challenge the staircase to test themselves, but they were all met with defeat. After enough people were lost in the staircase, an elevator was built alongside it to serve as a rescue for exhausted adventurers. While it is capable of going up 2,458 floors, nobody ever makes it that far.

Not many people visit the endless staircase these days. Most have given up on climbing it, and the few that do come by simply take the elevator for the view. It exists simply as a curiousity. A lone shop near the base sells t-shirts with phrases like “I rode an elevator for 34 hours and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Life for the owners is uneventful, but peaceful. Still, every once in a while someone comes to try and attempt the stairs, hoping to be the first. To them, I say, good luck.