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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Autumn

I feel the end of summer drawing near. The sun leaves me sooner at the end of the day that has become shorter, more somber, as the hot air cools, the humidity dries. The crisp touch across my cheek is welcome, but the early nights are not. I will miss the bright evenings, the sun’s warm gaze into my living room until half past 8 and even 9. Now it retreats and begins to linger at another’s far south from this place. It’s philandering ways I’ve come to accept, but still it does not ease the bitter twang of envy and sorrow when it begins to drift away.

There will be another spring, a relieved embrace when he knocks upon my window with that glowing grin upon his vibrant face. Until then, I settle into the cold and prepare for winter’s icy approach. The leaves do not turn gold and maroon, orange and tan in this town. Sometimes, they do not even fall. Though the air remains warm, I know that winter is only a few steps away from our reach. It arrives when we least expect it, trapping us inside, wrapped in blankets and sipping hot tea to warm our shivering souls.

Until that day falls, we make do with autumn, her ghoulish celebrations and her family affairs. Her beauty is the golden light which kisses the trees in the early evening, but this she gradually pulls away and succumbs to the bright stars above her bohemian head. We tolerate her whimsical nature, those tempestuous mood swings where she runs hot and cold. I am cut from her cloth, the flitting fish born in her rising crown, tempered by the divides of her duality. Her frigid touch shields me from her burning fires, crisp, singed leaves spiraling through ashen smoke, though I am not immune to the brevity of her hours – I do not embrace the darkening afternoons when the sun ducks out of work early by 5. There, autumn fails me, where I struggle against her waning current and curse her passive sighs.

– Written by Miss A on August 27, 2012

a Baby

small mold of clay

soft and pliable

eager to be shaped into many things

a smile, she gurgles

a cry, he wails

reaching for an impression

innocent of expectation –

for now

where all is new and nothing old

a world to behold and wonder

eager to embrace the awe

clear, blue eyes, she shines

tiny fingers, he waves

gasping for a direction

naive of purpose –

until one day

this creature is poked and prodded

pulled this way and that

forced to grow on the chosen path

it had no decision in making –

will clay become its true own

or just a replica of what was already known

– Written by Miss A on August 27, 2012

Dancing

There is no other dancing like Phish dancing. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to hold a class that teaches young and emerging Phish fans how to dance like the tribes, flinging their arms and kicking legs into the air as they circle around each other. Some hold glow sticks, others beer, and at some point during the night, most of them have a joint between their fingers.

Only stoned and drunk people can Phish dance. I’ve seen sober people try, and with awkward, disastrous results – like watching a plank of wood attempt dancing Swan Lake.

No matter how outlandish Phish fans look jerking their body in all directions, there is also an element of joy that flows through their movements. Eyes closed, content grins, and exuberant smiles as the music rushes from the stage to kiss their ears. The boy in dreadlocks and a faded tie-dyed shirt lifts his arms to the heavens, moved by the notes which pour love, peace, and a moment’s happiness into the air. Thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow don’t live with him – or the thousands of others dancing and swaying and singing along to “Down with Disease.” The girls in the handmade sundress she stitched herself doesn’t pause to consider what others might be whispering about her simple clothes and bare feet. She throws her heart and soul into the sway of her hips, the light steps side to side. This experience is hers.

As the night passes overhead, the  crowd becomes one body, led harmoniously by the music of the band. In the lulls of a jam, they drift from left to right; then the quickened tempo of a new song thrusts their limbs to the air once again, and they soar together in the haze, kicking legs forwards and backwards, swinging hands in big loops, open mouths belting they hymns they know by heart, open minds embracing the euphoria that flows between people intertwined by pure love and joy.

– Written on August 19, 2012

Credit card

Harold was wrong, Millie pouted to herself. If it was anyone’s fault for the large bill on their table, it was that handsome young man with the dashing smile who charmed her with his bold knowledge about money after beckoning her to his booth.

It had been Homecoming Weekend at Rae’s college, and her daughter and husband were off bonding over football and the old alma mater. Leaving poor Millie stranded among all those strangers who were roaming the school’s massive yard before the big game.

“Hello there,” the Prince of Finance had greeted her with a devilish grin that creased one dimple into his chiseled left cheek. “You seem a little lost. Need help finding something?”

“Oh, no,” Millie answered, flustered by his striking looks and gorgeous blue eyes. “I’m just waiting for my husband and daughter who went to the bookstore. They’re buying shirts for the game tonight.”

“Ah, and here they left you to your own devices,” the prince had chuckled. “Well, while you’re standing there waiting, perhaps I could interest you in opening a credit card account for your daughter. With her away at college, I’m sure it would put your mind at rest knowing she had money available, should she find herself in an emergency situation.”

Millie shook her head.

“I don’t think my husband would be happy about our daughter having a credit card,” she replied. Harold had never even allowed her one. She could hardly imagine him agreeing to give one to their eighteen-year-old.

“Well, maybe you’d like one for yourself. We offer a fantastic program where we give one percent of what you spend each month to a special fund for this school.”

Millie paused. One for herself. She hadn’t considered that. What would Harold think? Oh, she knew what he’d say. No. Absolutely not. On the other hand, she could finally buy items without having to pull out that tattered checkbook and hold up the line at the grocery store. After watching all the manicured wives in front of her at the check-out line coolly hand over a thin, plastic card to pay swiftly for their loaded paper bags, Millie felt so ancient having to write a check to cover hers.

“Is it hard to do? To get one, I mean?” she asked the gentleman.

“Not at all,” he assured her, flashing a bigger smile that made Millie’s heart flutter. “Fill out this application and we’ll get you on your way to financial freedom! Your card should arrive within ten business days.”

It was forty-five days later that Millie found herself in the current predicament, pouting in the bedroom while Harold blew off steam mowing the backyard. Silly her for not checking the stack of mail before he came home from work. How was she supposed to know it was bad to spend the entire amount provided on the credit card in one month’s time? Twenty-five hundred dollars didn’t seem like that much; groceries, dry cleaning, buying a decent dress for Susan’s daughter’s wedding – these routine costs added up fast. Harold didn’t understand what it took to keep a proper household running, she decided.

But she would hold off telling him that until he helped her pay the bill.

– Written by Miss A on August 17, 2012

Fork

Frost has covered the ground where I stand today

Staring into the woods, splashes of light boasting on shiny new leaves

And a cool breeze twirling through the air

Beckons me to step further down the trail

Tempting me with the roots of trees, the shade from outstretched limbs for me to hide

But I knew deeper within, the dark woods wait

With their twisted arms and fingers barren and dry

Shadows lurk into the bushes, robbed bare by the winter ice

As it lies on the ground like a sheet of glass

Setting up its trap for me to slip and fall.

So I linger at this point and look the other way

To sand dunes and stripped beaches, lured to the waves

Lapping at their feet, roaring for them to come and play

All that exists there is land and water

Adorned by the wandering shell who comes to shore for reflection and rest

There is no shelter from the sun’s fiery watch

My pale skin will surely singe and burn, exposed to its incessant glare

And the shape-shifting sands challenge the balance of one’s toes

When they drift with the air, are pulled by the water

A tumultuous ride with the appetite to devour me whole.

To which path should I step –

The one with certain shade, sturdy roots, limbs to hold

A frigid center numbing to the core

The other with space to trance my finger through the sand

An uncertain shift and change as the floor moves beneath

Sacrificed to the unwavering eye that hovers with its skeptical stare –

It is the nature between which I’m torn

Holding me hostage, contemplating the difference.

– Written on August 11, 2012

Fog

Drifts in from the west –

Long, grasping fingers

Meanders between buildings and trees –

Dazed and drunk off pints of cold air

Wets the tongue and urges for more –

A late-night bender gone far too long

Quiet grays the world around us –

Where we doze under the blanket of fog.

– Written by Miss A on August 10, 2012

a Flag

Between the lines drawn on the battlefield, the real-life toy soldiers fired their guns and canons at their enemies. One standing between the lines would see a mirror image of one side’s fear masked by blind courage as it fired rounds of ammunition. Some soldiers, in their dark green hats, withstood the flying bullets while others fell to the ground, bullet holes drawing the blood from their souls as they gasped their last breaths before the infinite black night cloaked their vision and bid them farewell.

Salty tears sprung from the plastic soldiers’ eyes – tears for their fallen friends and their own mortality, which would certainly come to a bitter end in the passion of war. How easy it seemed to have all the courage in the world when watching war from the comforts of home, and how horrifying it really was when you stood in the line of fire and counted the last moments of your life, hoping you made a difference in the outcome of a struggle too big for you to truly know.

When would this hell be over? When could they drop their guns and walk away?

When the war was won. When one side could claim the victory and justify the blood shed from thousands of young men who would never see the impish glint in their grandchild’s eyes or feel the stiff discomforts of old age.

These men on the field were merely the pawns, the pieces a larger entity moved around at its own will, negligent of their fears and feelings.

Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. BOOM! The ear-deafening noises pierced, knocked, and exploded in the dust-filled air around them. Those who knew this wasn’t a war that would be won by either side tried to push their hopeless thoughts away from the field as they shot blindly toward the enemy’s front line. Five long years. And some had been here the whole time, unable to assimilate and adapt to the carefree civilian life back home.

One soldier, toward the back, tired from the endless days of fighting, set down his gun to wipe his sweaty brow. Glancing around the ravaged field where his friends lay dying or stood shooting aimlessly, he wondered what it might take to stop this war.

In his pocket, he had a handkerchief, an ivory piece of cloth his mother had forced him to take before he deployed for war. He reached for it now, and held it in his dirt-covered hand. Fingering the soft cloth, he longed for home. He longed for peace. He longed for the sound of guns to fade into the distance. Far from his thoughts as a soldier, he took no notice of his blackened fingertips wrapping a corner of the pale fabric around the barrel of his gun. A nearby soldier turned his head and watched the young, homesick comrade raise his gun into the air, waving the white flag for others to see. Inspired, the second soldier reached inside his own pocket for the handkerchief his young wife had pressed into his hand before he walked out the front door of their home. Without hesitation, he tied the cloth around his own gun and raised it in the air. More and more soldiers took notice and lowered their guns, reaching into their own shirts and pockets to find their own scraps and tissues to raise in the air. The rat-a-tat-tat faded across the field. And across the way, on the enemy’s side, another white flag rose in the air. For every man was starting to awaken and realize this war was not his own, but in order to stop the rage, he would have to take a stand against the bureaucracy which had initiated this whole ordeal.

– Written by Miss A on November 5, 2011