Some Mornings

Take my voice, my pillow, and lay me on my bed of steel. For I am home, and not within the walls of a prison refusing to reveal. I have not sound and I am not bound, by ropes and chains, my efforts no more in vain, but the burdens of life are nevertheless so profound upon my brain.

I rise early to enjoy what I can and must. The dust of morning dew settled, the petals on the flowers gaining in power and trust, the rain showers of yesterday gone away for another day. It is soon time for sunshine, for divine bright yellow sunshine. It floods over from into the horizon, into my home. It greets me with the hugs of its splash, it crashes in, welcomed without word. The rays are as bright and absurd as life itself. Filled with mysteries and endless history, warming me as if fulfilling my every living wish.

The sporadic changes occur in sleep. Some times rocky, turbulent, unnerving, and seldom serving purpose of peace. I rise near dawn in hopes of bright “good mornings”. But is the good morning where it ends? Where I turn the bend into afternoon, where the sight of the moon means fatigue and I grieve my life for turning sour too soon? I speak as I swoon, tired retiring to the thoughts of the past day and what I may have expected too soon. But move on, I must, and turn thoughts of dust into concrete, to churn my cream into butter, to utter beautiful words despite the clutter between my ears and unsorted matters that we all fear.

I search for solace in solitude, I look for the love within my attitude, and I refuse the rudeness of days to rear their machinery into my way, for whatever the others hold, whatever the world may leave untold, must not encroach upon what I do or say.

Life is beautiful just as it can be ugly. Life is a vengeful thug, life is a drug dosed and laced with hardships between everything lovely. Life can be a lie, life can be why I refuse to cry, but life is lived for today and it is better to hear “good morning” than to hear “good bye”.

A Political Party

*I wrote this piece over a year ago given the nature of history, current events, and happenings in the media and society. I do not intend any offense with this short story. It is simply a play on historical characters, moments, and events with added fictional twists. If it isn’t funny, I hope you might at the least find it entertaining picking through the clichés. *


A Political Party

I once had a strange dream. I woke up in a bright white room. Malcolm X knocked before walking in. He looked sternly at me before telling me to sit up straight for “they” might walk in at any time.
“Who are they?”, I inquired, rubbing my eyes and dusting off my jacket to avoid any signs of my nap.
“I told you a million times! You never pay attention. You should wake up to what’s going on around you, man!”, he shouted.
“I…I…I’m sorry.”, I replied.
The doorbell rang and in walked a cast of characters capable of charming, flooring and making the most resilient of minds question their eyes. I watched Gandhi walk in, bowing before placing his walking stick near the coat rack. Behind him was Bill Clinton holding a cigar between his long slender fingers, and after a brief pause, in walked Martin Luther King Jr., George Bush, John Kennedy, Susan B Anthony, Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, and a host of familiar faces and historical figures. I retreated to a corner, wondering if I should serve drinks, or take my place on the couch and rub elbows with the greats.
“It is an honor.”, Obama came up to me and shook my hand.
“The honor is all mine…your honor…I mean Mr. Presi…” Before I could finish my sentence, Bush Jr. walked up and patted Obama so hard on the back that his drink splashed over my shirt.
“I’m so sorry.” Obama was apologizing profusely. “We will find a way to fix this.”
Malcolm X, who was watching me with great displeasure, walked over. “I hope that you know that whites and colored must be separated.”
“Wha…what?” I managed to stammer.
“Oh, for God’s sake, just go to my bedroom and grab a shirt and a pair of trousers. And put the white shirt in the “lights” basket and your black trousers in the “darks”. You’d think he was born yesterday.”
George Bush snickered. “So, Barack, haven’t seen you for a long time. Fool me once, shame on you! But fool me twice, well, then I’m glad at least Michelle answers my calls. I painted something for her. He snapped his fingers and a man walked in carrying a covered piece of artwork. “Just put it there by the Bill’s coat. I’m sure it’ll be safe.”, he said.
Bill Clinton was sitting on the couch, inattentive and fully focused on Susan B Anthony. He was nodding his head in appreciation, his eyes wandering as he leaned in towards Ms. Anthony.

As I walked into Malcolm’s bedroom, I heard a drawer shut. It was Nixon, grinning and his hands behind his back.
“Funny catching you here. I wasn’t expecting you to walk in.” He extended his hands but I had my trousers in one and shirt in the other. I offered my wrist as compensation, but he was unsure what to do so he slapped it with his hand.
“I’ll be outside if you want to talk.” He rushed out of the room, making sure I understood him. I had not.

I put my clothes into the laundry basket, separating them as instructed by Malcolm X and walked back out into the living room. The chandeliers hung low brightly lit and the party was in full swing. George Bush was having a great time, until his father walked in a few hours later to make sure he went home. I was sure that Senior grabbed him by the ear but it all happened in a flash and they disappeared quite quickly. Gandhi danced but did not drink, Susan B Anthony refused to dance with any of the men, even Bill Clinton, who wouldn’t hand over his cigar to any of his guests. Perhaps the most dignified and gracious guests were Martin Luther King and JFK. They drank to their heart’s content but eventually ending up arm wrestling on the kitchen table. Sleeves rolled up and ties hanging loose, the men glared at each other. The Kennedy clan hung around their fighter.
I looked over to Malcolm X and managed to stammer out incoherently.
“I don’t think this is a good idea for Martin. I mean he’s outnumbered.”
“Utterly foolish. I don’t think this will go his way.” Malcolm X agreed, watching eagerly.
There were fights, there was debauchery, and there was abundant drinking.
By the middle of the night, few were left standing. George Washington walked in around 2am.
“So, this is what I have fathered. I cannot believe this insolent mess.” He said, looking over to Lincoln, who returned his glare in defiance.
“No, George, you are the mess. I’m with them now.” He put his arm around Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.  Malcolm X smiled awkwardly, easing away slightly as to not be too close to the volatile Lincoln.
“I challenge you to a duel.” George Washington stamped his foot and reached for his pistol.
“Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, can’t we just get along? If you don’t behave, I’m going to take away your guns.” Barack Obama said, approaching slowly to diffuse the situation.
“Quiet! Everyone shut up!”, Malcolm X rushed towards the window, creeping alongside the curtains and cracking the blinds.
“They’re here. They’re here. I knew they would come. You fools.”  Malcolm X shouted. “Well, I’m ready.” He reached for a vase, crouching into a mode of attack, hiding behind the couch. Luckily, the police were merely passing by and before long, the eye of the party’s storm had settled.
A few groups broke out and discussed politics and people from their age. Particularly enthralled was George Washington, who was the only one sober to have any sort of real discussion. But he, too, lost interest. I could tell he was feeling a little out of touch.

I felt more comfortable and soon, I was in the mix, offering my opinion and absorbing information.
“I’m slowly learning. I’m slowly learning. I feel like a student. Yes, yes, like an apprentice.” But the second those words entered my thoughts, it was as if I had uttered them. The room went somber, etched in darkness and silence. They all looked at me, eyes blazing in fear and anger.
“You’re fired!” They screamed in unison, the words echoing endlessly.
“What? What are you talking …from what exactly?” I said.

I woke up. It was still 2008. I patted the sweat on my brow. I had overslept. Some television show called “The Apprentice” was on. Just when things were getting interesting, it had to end, I thought. Too bad it was just a dream. I turned off the television and rolled over.

The branches of chaos

The monkeys descended onto the courtyards with little but hunger in their stomachs and fire in their eyes. They were balls of furor with tails wrapping around their heads, lingering behind them like whips ready to lash out at whatever came near. The mothers would carry their young around their chest, the babies hanging on looking over shoulders at the commotion they had stirred. In the orange evening sky, while the religious establishments boomed calls to prayer over the city, the animals leapt, from buildings to trees and into the streets in packs. They were merely passing but usually brought neighborhoods to a standstill in their melee of swinging branches and chaotic march.

We feared them like all other wild animals but always watched them with our jaws slightly open. Our games would come to a halt and we would stare, apprehensive and ready to run for cover. They were leftovers of times past, relics of times and people friendlier and accepting of nature. They were now seen as no more than dangerous pests, ready to wreak havoc over balconies and power lines until mayhem stirred and the concerned humans barked them away in contempt.

The watchmen would smash their makeshift drum on the brink of nighttime to scatter the evening birds and with them, the monkeys would disappear off into the darkness, their drooping arms slinging them back into the wilderness and their slithering tails the last sights of their raucous presence.

Incidents

“Life will kick me down he had said”, Samuel spoke into the glass. “Get back up he had also said”, Samuel said, looking down at his breath covering the window with a film of fog. The words had lost meaning. He only repeated them to himself. He had heard somewhere that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. “I have been punched in the face plenty”, Samuel said. “And I have never dropped. I never stopped”, he said. “Never broke, hardly bent, never came to a halt requiring a moment of silence or any pity”, he assured the man who was standing behind him. Samuel said he was ready to take on day after day, ready to take on the world, and ready to take on his life. “There is little to stop me from rolling, barging endlessly into the unknown with confidence and coming out on top”, he said, clenching his teeth.

The doctor nodded without any emotion.
“Do you feel like you’re up now? Do you remember anything from the incident?”, the doctor asked Samuel. Samuel shook his head, thinking the doctor was playing a joke on him.
“I shouldn’t be here, man. I should be out there”, Samuel said, pointing out into the building’s parking lot. It was a windy and rainy evening, and not a soul was to be seen outside.
“I’ll give you time to think it over. You’ve been through a lot and you should probably lay down and rest.”
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I cannot be defeated”, Samuel said, patting his chest.
The doctor bowed his head slowly before walking out of the room. Samuel expected resistance and protests to his stance and began shaking. The blue ceiling lights flickered, the white sheets on his bed sterile and uninviting. He looked out into the evening through the window. He could hardly see himself in the reflection.

Mission Street 2016

A street with two sides, separated by wealth of old and new, and changes that occur over time. A shift in the socioeconomic, a corner for drugs just as a corner for the up and coming, the new and fortunate. The older residents march the streets in pursuit of their lives, the fresh and young do not have a minute to spare in their busy, ceaseless world.

This is a pearl in the heart of the city. The old styled stores carrying merchandise from mixed fabrics, worn and unbranded. The joys are in the essential for America’s fringe, along for the ride in the heart of the mission district. What is a life spent on the streets of San Francisco, a city for all the poor, the young, the rich, and those who are vulnerable and marginalized to the ways of the world?

Surrounded by beauty, by concrete, by foggy street lights and sights that often miss eyes, it a pleasant place for a break indeed.

Watching scenes unfold from balcony windows, the nighttime chatter in the bustle of evenings. Restaurants serving great meals welcome guests for the evening. A small bar hosts a couple in a window booth. They engage in their drinks and the city. Life is abundant, never to sleep on Mission Street.

Sketch book

My black book is my work. It is a sketch of letters, of words, of lists to uncover life. It has gone too far in many ways just as it has not yet scratched the surface of what it reveals. Its purpose is to fulfill the emptiness, to carry me through the dry and empty patches of my rides through bone barren patches of life and land. It is also a smile through the floods of fulfillment. It has painted faces of the familiar, reflections of the obscure, it is entirely a secret but it has been through the hands of everyone I have met.

The pictures I draw outline the life around me. A cursive creation submerged in my passion. It notes my attractions, my defeats, my victories, and happenings. A little black string keeps the ends closed, safe from flinging open into naked view, helplessly into the hands of those in silence. The pages thicken with every sheet penned in blue and black ink. It is a parenthesis of poems and prose, the book never closed on the infinite subjects that arise in day to day life. It is my light and my darkness, it faces the difficult just as it approaches life in all its harmony.

The coarse edges around existence are noted and the soft, spoken for. The pages are turned until there are no more lines to continue, until my book is full of inklings and thinking. One by one, from start to finish, the flow of words streams through my sketchbook until it may hold no more sentences, no more observations and it is replaced by the sponge of a newer black book. It will open again when I wish to sift through the river of my thoughts and I wish to swim through from one end to the other, in hopes of understanding this journey through words.

A Little Library

I stumble upon a scene fit for voracious readers and friends of literature. Walking through the student village, a spotless glass pane showcases a world of books to those passing through the little lane. An overcast skyline brings a spring season of snow and chills onto the large window. The roads are covered in ice, the frost still clinging to the roadside. The room, however, is warm and scattered with an abundance of books. I sit upon a small couch intended for students and others who wish to immerse with words. There are papers, articles, and magazines lining the tables and shelves within the small room. Stacks of books outline the little library, sitting thick through the middle of the room and forming great walls of literature.

The endless content of these books is filled in different languages. Finnish, French, and German words are etched across the spines of the hardcovers and paperbacks poking through the shelves. There are more books than space allows with literature spilling onto the old wooden chairs and tabletops. There are hundreds of places and plots to explore within the worlds of this room. The older books with yellowing paper hold together despite the years and hands that have passed over their delicate pages. The books, organized gently by genre, invite readers to fall into the couches. The study room begs a second look from passing bookworms, casting invites upon those wishing reflection and relaxation into their busy souls, to come in from the cold and spend a few minutes away from the outside world.

Survival

art-prompt-for-writing-cotnest

*I wrote this story for a flash fiction contest based on the work of artist Adam Kluger*

I gave him my back as I always did when I could no longer bear to look him in his face, even after years of looking up to him in admiration. He was my father, the only man I truly respected, and the only one whose expectations I could never seem to live up to. I was nearing forty, he was well into his sixties but age was insignificant in our relationship. I closed my eyes to think back to our days as children, on the beach building sandcastles and playing in the water in a setting of bright sunshine. This was my place of happiness. He was always in the backdrop, detached from us through work, on the phone or reading his newspaper. He seldom looked up to see what we were doing but we paid full attention when he did.
This was the first time I turned without anger or without a feeling of inadequacy. I had aspired to be like him, to be a commanding figure in the eyes of my children but never lived up to the larger than life image in my mind. Now, after all these years of seeing him on rare occasion, he was present and had offered me undivided attention. He had greeted me with a firm handshake as he always did. After an hour of dinner without a hint of distress where we had laughed together more than I could ever remember, I was left disappointed and hurt. More than anything, I was terrified. My father was only human.
“Don’t worry, son.” he had said looking me straight in the eyes. “The doctors say there is still a chance I may somehow survive.”

 

Days

The words fall into white spaces. Trickling from fingers onto page, emotions and scenes are enraptured by experience. Stories take shape all around, in profound settings as they do in the mundane. A vein exposed to an inkling of suffering is buffered and prepared for all that daily routines may dare. The growth of subsequent strength, at long lengths only to weaken at day’s end, bent and out of shape but remodeled in sleep for another cycle in lively, earthly rotation.

A summation of existence in a minute is possible, just as the unanswered call of the infinite and endless. Possibilities arise just as hopelessness may derive the strength of people who thrive on little pleasures. Little treasures are measured similar to doses of good weather, the moderation of the day between play and pay, between staying and walking away for tomorrow that may leave the strong speechless or the weak knowing exactly what to say.

To the dismay of the clouds clearing for a burning blue sky in orange flickers for an evening’s goodbye, the human star gleams light without ever truly burning out.

Stations

A rumbling locomotive grinds into the crowded station. There is little space afforded to stand and none to sit. The faces pile into the train, squeezed tightly and holding on for sparse breaths and safety, looking forward to making it to their destinations. The compartments are full, some of the passengers on the platform choosing to wait for the next carriages to roll into the station before making their way home, sacrificing their time for a little more comfort.

The platform left behind is a tale of people, of waste and of the hardships that pass through every day. A site of struggle and necessity, the stations are murky in their standing, lined on both sides with soot encrusted tracks. The storm of dust brought in by the compartments settles as the train continues forward, onto the next station on the journey from one end of the city to the other.

Jolting from side to side, the train speeds in bullet form, pausing between stations and coasting along as it can. The faces peer into phones, into their papers and out of the windows only to find their reflections glancing back at them through the dark underground. The number of passengers thins as the train proceeds out of the city.

The train surfaces in the suburbs, people continuing to appear and disappear in and out of the compartments. There are hundreds of stories on this train, of toil and struggle, and of hopes and dreams but I can only be sure of one. The people of backgrounds dissimilar, of different worlds, crossing paths once for a brief eye contact only to never brush into each other again on a warm and crowded Friday afternoon on the subway.