Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I miss writing and thought I would share - The Clock



Tim slowly descended past his breaking point.  The cuckoo clock, so old his grandmother did not remember a time without it,  ticked off each passing second, with every click reverberating like a gunshot.  He stared at the ceiling, knowing that eventually they would have to return.  He had heard nothing from the hall outside of his door in over a day.  The lights had come on automatically at 6AM like they did each day, but had flickered throughout the morning.  He knew, or at least he had convinced himself, that soon they would go off and he would end the day in total darkness. 

Tim rose from his cot and began pacing the short side of the room.  It was only 12 steps and he knew them well.  Tim had only been allowed to bring one book and one remembrance item with him.  He had been told anything more was outside the allowances for each person on board.  The clock he thought would remind him of family only served as a trigger for happier memories.  Tim brought the longest book he could find, "The Count of Monte Cristo," It had seemed like a great idea at the time.  He now realized just how much he hated the story.  In fourteen months, he had not gotten past the 30th page.  Each time he tried, his hands began to shake and he could not keep reading.  

The lights flickered for the last time late in the evening.  No food had not arrived in over 30 hours.  As the hunger and darkness began to gnaw on his stocmach, he grudgingly began to acknowledge the cold.  It had started soon after the lights flickered out the last time.  The heaters were no longer running.  Power must be out all over the ship.  Tim imagined everyone frantically working on a solution.

From the hall a sound somewhat between a sob and a chuckle escapes into the darkness.  The realization has dawned on Tim that he has just been granted an amazing gift.  His life sentence, handed down on earth to be served in the mines of Saturn, was significantly shortened.  Soon the sob faded away as the welcoming, cold darkness allowed only the ticking of the clock to mark the cell's rebirth as a tomb.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Note

The NOTE

   
 As Thomas looked through the window to the dusty, leaf-strewn path, he knew his life would forever be changed.  His mother had left the house a short time earlier with the admonition to," Stay hidden, no matter what happens.  Do not answer the door for anyone!"  So for a short time, Thomas hid in his room.  He looked at the Legos he seldom played with and the TV that had been dark since the power went out 2 weeks earlier.  Time passed slowly as he waited for his mother.  Thomas grew tired of waiting in his slowly darkening room and walked back to the first floor.  He walked first into the kitchen, thinking he would get something to eat, but it was too much work to make anything.  He decided instead to watch for his mother through the boards covering the front windows, figuring she would not be too mad as long as he was not visible when she came home.

     His view from the window was limited by the fact darkness was falling and his mother and Tim had put the boards so closely together.  That was before Tim had left and did not return.  That had been a week ago and Thomas could tell that his mother was bothered that her boyfriend had not come back.  Thomas did not like Tim as much as his mother did, but he was better than most of the men that had pretended to be his dad.
  
    From Thomas' perch by the window he also had a view of the basement door.  Two padlocks and a deadbolt seemed to fill his vision as he gazed at that wretched door.  His mother never let him go down the rickety old steps, but he knew what he would see if he ever did.  He shuddered a little as he turned back to the window, hoping to see his mother, but seeing only the ever growing shadows.  He knew with each passing minute the chances of her appearing grew smaller.  Sweat broke out on his face as he thought back to what he was supposed to do in the event she did not return.  He knew he had to go get the list from his dresser, sooner rather than later, so that he could still read it in the failing light.  They had one flashlight that still put out a feeble light, but his mother's first rule was not to turn on the flashlight unless there was an emergency.

    Thomas rose from his place at the window, climbed the stairs to his room passing his siblings rooms on the right and left.  Their doors were closed and Thomas figured they would never be open again.  He missed them both, but understood the consequences of their choices.  As the youngest kid in the family his mother had worked harder to keep him under control after what his siblings had done.
   
    When he arrived in his room he grabbed the list.  He did not really need to even look at it any more. He had memorized it the very first day when his mother entrusted it to him. When he saw his mother's writing on the page, he sat heavily on his bed.  Even though he was only twelve, Thomas understood this may be the last glimpse he would have of his mother.  
   He allowed himself a short cry that ended as a gunshot split the air.  It was not as close as the others he had heard on previous nights, but it brought him quickly back to the list.  He quickly began the list, closing doors and hanging blankets.  He prepared the barricades for each door leaving the front door for last.  When the house was locked up tight and everything was done except the front door, he made his first adult decision.  Thomas was going to open the front door.  He had to look and had to know that his mother was not coming. 

   He found himself energized by the chance to do something for himself.  The chance to not just follow the list.  He undid the locks from bottom to top and swung open the door.  Feeling a rush he looked out on the cul-de-sac.  Everything was the same it had been for the last two weeks.  The cars still parked in driveways.  The neighbor's paper on their front walk. The trees were changing colors as their leaves began to fall. He glanced quickly, searching for signs of movement. He saw nothing moving and his elation fell.  As he hung his head and as he began to turn, he caught a glimpse of something on the front porch.  It was a small rock with a piece of paper caught under the edge.  He stooped down to pick it up and as he stood he was and was struck by how vulnerable he felt out and exposed.  He quickly turned on his heel, threw the door closed, and bolted the locks. 
   It was now dark enough in the house that he had to make a choice.  He knew it was against his mother's rule, but emboldened by his first adult act he decided on a second.  He grabbed the flashlight from the counter and with a shaky hand read the words his mother had chosen to write.  The words swirled on the page as the meaning of the words sunk in.   
    When Thomas awoke it was pitch black inside the house.  He did not know how long he had been unconscious, only that it was long enough for the flashlights feeble power to run out.  It did not matter though.  Thomas stood on shaky legs and felt his way to his mother's room and found a second flashlight in her dresser.  When he flipped the switch, the light blazed to life and he was temporarily blinded.  That was when he knew it was time.  Thomas descended the stairs and walked to the basement door.  He knew the numbers by heart, they were the next to last item on the list, and he spun each padlock in turn.  When the locks were off he turned the deadbolt that clunked with a finality that almost drove Thomas to run to his room and hide.  

     As he swung open the door and the light fell on the stairs, Thomas began to feel each second.  He stepped lightly down the dusty, worn treads.  Each stair making its own little noise as his weight settled on them.  When he reached the bottom he turned to the back wall and saw two mounds of dirt with the little crosses.  What made him begin to cry were the two empty holes beside them, one small and one larger. He hid his face in his hands when he realized only one would be filled and sat upon the step.  As he looked up after a short while he noticed that only one of the two guns were hanging above the workbench where the list said they would be and he realized why his mother never came home.  She had left him to complete the last item on the list alone.  He had one last adult choice to make as he stood and reached above the bench, knowing it was time.

Friday, October 23, 2015

It Starts With an Earthquake

Lenny was contently reading the morning paper, savoring every sip of his steaming cup of black coffee, when all of a sudden the house began to jangle and pop.  As the rumbles subsided, he got up from the kitchen table, folded the newspaper and silenced the radio.  Peering outside, he thought to himself,

“Great, my day starts with an earthquake.”

As he studied the view from his kitchen window, he saw a mesmerizing murmuration of starlings dominating the sky. As he gazed at the dazzling cloud of birds swirling, pulsating, and drawing together to the thinnest of waists, his attention was diverted to a pit of snakes unearthing themselves from their den. Puzzled, his eyes then shot up towards the sound of aeroplanes rumbling across the sky. Such an odd way to start the morning, birds and snakes and aeroplanes, but Lenny was not afraid.

As much as he would have liked to continue to stare out the window, Lenny had to get to work. The radio offered no relief to the oddities at play that started his day. First, he heard an NPR news report on how the eye of a hurricane mysteriously seemed to come to a standstill on Daytona Beach, Florida. Then, as he was stopped at a traffic light, Lenny saw a petulant vagrant brazenly hoisting a sign and shouting, “World serves it’s own needs, dummy serve your own needs!”

Lenny grunted, “No.”

As Lenny finally got downtown, he saw a building ablaze and a local fire department ladder in the midst of a fearful fight down at the Height building. A frayed wire started the firestorm and the whole block looked like a combat site. He slowed down to check out the scene, but a stream of cars behind him blasted their horns as they were coming in a hurry, breathing down his neck.

At the next block, he saw team by teams of reporters looking baffled, trumped, tethered, and cropped.

“Look at that," he said to himself, "How can they be low playing that fire at the Height building?” 

He then saw the soup kitchen overflowing with people, "Fine, then, population common food. It’ll do.” Lenny chuckled.

A businessman on the corner dashed out and pounded the hood of Lenny’s car, yelling, “Save yourself, serve yourself, world serves it's own needs!”

Lenny refused to listen, “Bleeding heart dummy. What does he think this is the rapture? That’s only for the revered and the right, right?”

With a sense of vitriolic fervor, Lenny pulled in to his parking spot at work feeling pretty psyched.

Six o’clock couldn’t come soon enough after an uneventful work day tucked away in his cubicle. It was time for Lenny’s favorite TV hour, and he just missed getting caught in the traffic jam at the foreign towers. But instead of a new episode of “Slash and Burn: Return”, the network continued its coverage of the day’s events; Lenny could literally listen to himself churn. The networks were stationed at several major metropolitan cities; as the military was uniformly locking in. In the streets, there was book burning, blood-letting, every motive escalating, automobiles incinerating. The news reporters were telling the viewers to light a candle, light a votive, step down to the lowest level of your home.

Just then, Lenny’s roommate Lester bangs through the front door, shouting, “If you go outside, watch your heal, there is crushed glass everywhere! There was also a swath of no fear, cavalier renegades; so steer clear!”

Lenny replied, “I know! Have you watched the news today? It’s like a tournament of lies. They want to offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline.”

As the two sat down for dinner, Lester proceeded to tell Lenny about how the other night he dreamt of knives and continental drift divide. All the mountains sat in a line, and how Leonard Bernstein was there. All of which was extremely peculiar, to say the least.

Lester continued, “The weirdest thing about it was that it was my birthday party and we were having cheesecake and ..... jellybeans. Boom! I hate jellybeans.”

Lenny chimed in, “That dream is kind of symbiotic of all the events that have happened today, right?”

“Right!” Lester agreed, “It’s almost like it’s the end of the world as we know it.”

As he loaded the dishes into the dishwasher, Lenny expanded on that thought, “If it’s the end of the world as we know it, I feel fine. It's time I had some time alone.”

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My latest Trip Around the Sun during a Month of Saturdays



In the Aftermath of Luke asking for me take a deep dive, a Nightswim if I may, and select the topic this month I almost struggled with Losing My Religion.  I was able to be one of the Shiny Happy People, climb out from Underneath the Bunker and pick a theme that fills me with Wanderlust. So, I decided this month we would play a little Wicked Game.  We have two choices for the month, each inspired by a REM song.  Luke, these are for you.

#1 - Its's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) - Write your own end of the world tale.  It can be fun, it can be frightening, it can even be a little sci-fi, but make sure its the end of ?????????

#2 - Turn You Inside Out - Since it is October, and I love me some M. Night Shyamalan, take a well known story and write your own twist ending. Expand a universe, change a life, or just get the bad guy in the end.  What ever you choose to do, make it your own.


Pick one, pick both, or chose to do something else!  Just make sure you Talk About the Passion and don't be Second Guessing what you choose.

Josh

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Yoga Breath


Yoga Breath;
blue
roving between Sun and Moon
like wool between hands
softer than peaches
and the touch of silken water
along the sandy shore.
The wave, eternally amused
humored in it's own reflection
blue as night
blue as day
blue as yoga breathing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

autumn.


she - floating downward
amidst no cries, no tears shed
leaves fall – autumn comes.

- The First Day of Autumn (Autumnal Equinox), September 23, 2015. photo & haiku by Jeffrey James Ircink.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Off Topic; if you will permit me a moment

Fragile. A simple word that we use to describe babies, glass, emotions, and myriad other things. Last night I was reminded the most fragile thing of all is life. Teenagers are a rough sort. We view them as impulsive and reckless. We see them as brilliant and stupid at the same time. We see them as the traditional paradox of, "can't live with them, can't live without them!" Believe me there is no truer statement than that. I taught middle school kids for 11 years and the one word to describe that time is frustrating. It's frustrating to not know how they will turn out. To not know which ones will end up as Rhodes Scholars or teen moms. It's frustrating to know it will be years before they truly find themselves. Last night, I saw how frustrating and fragile come together to create sorrow. David was a kid with an easy smile and a quick wit. Always willing to engage in banter, thought provoking discussion, or a prank to get a quick laugh. He frustrated me because he used his smile to mask hurt and frustration. That same desire to laugh easily hid his deeper emotions much of the time. Often his release of those frustrations came on the ball field or basketball court. Last night frustrating and fragile came together. Sorrow and sadness visits in its wake. A family ripped to shreds. A town in shock. Friends hollowed out. Never say enough. Never quit. Reach out. Someone cares. I know my town did. I know I did. Goodbye David

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Tide Stumbles In

The sky laughs at my misfortune
The venomous yowls breach my soul
The stars instinctively know they have won
The moon separates from the sun

Footprints vanish as the tide stumbles in
The seagulls flicker and dance on the bay
Life is ever so easily undone
The moon separates from the sun

Envelopes of light peer off the moon
The sea mechanically lathers and fades
Freedom was never so easily won
The moon separates from the sun

The fish and the flora never knew me by name
Whirls of the clouds temper and flail
The threshold is simply and perfectly done
The moon separates from the sun

The brilliance and the light
The pain and the pride
Destiny calls us one by one
The moon separates from the sun


Monday, September 14, 2015

Ekphrastic Poem


September's writing assignment is submit a poem to Rattle magazine. Rattle is a quarterly literary magazine that publishes poetry. They have monthly Ekphrastic poetry challenges as well, which is what I am encouraging all of us to partake in! An Ekphrastic poem is art-inspired poetry. The artwork I have posted here is the art in which to draw your inspiration from for your poem.

After you submit your poem to Rattle Mag, post it here too so we all can read it! Have fun!

The submission on rattle.com must be made by September 30th. Details are within the link below:

http://www.rattle.com/poetry/extras/ekphrasis/

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Hearty Welcome


Sending a hearty welcome to our newest member Joshua Winrotte! We're so excited to have you join us here in our 'community'!