The Perpetual Nursery
I sat upon a mossy stump
The hunched shoulders of giants
The surrounding air lilted heavily
Like tattered, rain-soaked drapes
It was then I winced, hard
The creeping back –
That primal existential panic;
The dissipation of consciousness
The devolving heart
The hollowed eyes
The chalky remnants of bone
My strife, my influence
Waning as an unobserved moon
Shrouded by fog
A peripheral wisp – Orphic strata
A kindred speck of interstellar sinew
A facet reattached
I’m covered in the dust of so many years; I lay among the relics.
What worth am I? A mountain of gold, or a liar’s promise?
The fingers which held me have long since withered, but that sleep I will never know.
Fluttering falsettos in the mind’s eye.
A twisting expanse of mottled pastels.
Timber dripping with rhinestone and pearls.
Boundless imbued fragments — A lullaby bouquet.
Reaching toward a setting sun, under a sleeve of stone.
With veins of languid flora, and skin of frosted rain.
Dauntless in endeavor, despite her earthen chain.
Please Leave the Window Open
She lightly holds onto his frail hand as if it’s a glass of water from Babylon. Morning’s primrose glow exemplifies the shadowed lines of his skin. Within a mere handful of days his health has deteriorated to the same degree as an hourglass nearly void of sand.
Throughout his life, this man had been the sort who chose to waltz rather than trod, likely owing to the fact that his father had instilled in him a seed of bottomless resolve during those early, tender years of ponderance. Because of this, his subsequent endeavors were saturated with brightly colored ribbons and hearty applause, rounds of firm handshakes, rose petals, trophies, and teetering throngs of cooing devotees.
Now, however, the particulars of a diseased condition have rendered perseverance inconsequential and he finds himself tethered with synthetic veins and the weight of stark linen feeling unusually heavy upon his rib cage.
“I’m here my love,” she responds in earnest.
“My wife, thank you for staying by my side,” he briefly pauses before adding, “will it be long before our daughters arrive?”
For a moment the grief upon her brow deepens. “They both had to reluctantly catch return flights this morning. Do you not recall them spending yesterday here, at your bedside?”
Just as he begins to mull this contradiction over, a sudden draft molds ripples into the fabric of his bedding. Sybil instinctively turns toward the unfastened pane of glass.
Their hands remain connected as he says, “Please leave the window open; today the wind flutters with neon wings.”
Sinking Within Oneself
Birth is the blooming. The culmination of countless variables; a miraculous occurrence each and every time.
The molding begins from the first moment. The person one shall inevitably become starts with external influence.
How intensely shall one love?
How often shall one cry?
How strong will the foundation of one’s self esteem be built?
The variables which usher us into existence delight in the open-ended nature of life; they are a quintessential ingredient with regard to the fabric of our universe.
Childhood is warmth, curiosity, marvel, fear, knowledge. The curtains in the foyer are tall as skyscrapers, translucent and softly billowing. The language between adults is cursory and troublesome though easily dismissed by any welcome distraction. Routine and behavioral expectations are impressed upon the child and this is where personality burgeons. The ebb and flow of the self and all else; causality is fundamental and tethers matter to reality.
Life is a tenuous forest of never-ending paths, however, circumstance tends to restrict the choices that one is given along the journey. Where one child is reprimanded and shamed for making mistakes, another is taught the importance mistakes play in the process of learning and growth. Accordingly paths may either multiply or divide as circumstance dictates.
At what point does one muster the courage to take the reigns into their own hands? It is a phenomenon unique to us all. It stems from a catalyst both subtle and elegant.
It is a product of the same energy which fuels our hearts to beat, our thoughts to form, and the winds to blow. One may choose to either utilize this ability, or let it remain on the shelf. Some have called it courage.
Courage can bend circumstance in direct proportion to the proclivity of its bearer. Paths are now created by the individual rather than generated by chance. As with many things, this brings with it both benefits and danger. To control the trajectory of one’s life is empowering and fulfilling, but without a proper foundation it can lead to chaos and self-destruction.
The true artistry of life is that it only becomes clear when reflected upon, though courage grants control, it can not grant precognition as well.
Adolescence further defines the personality, the favored archetype tailored. Some designs flourish, while others wilt like a fallen petal. Variables are the stitches of our garments and they are sewn without end. From humble beginnings we assemble a collage from each year that passes. Courage can be found in each of the colors that add affection to the pictures.
Adulthood is the only thing which continually gathers momentum whether at rest or in motion. It is interesting to note that regardless of how many paths available on the journey of life, there seem to be only three major destinations: success, failure, or limbo. Success is personal fulfillment, inner peace, potential legacy. It is reached by those with the foundation to utilize courage to their benefit. Determination, adroitness, and humility are common components of those who realize success.
There are those who utilize courage, but unfortunately were not instilled with the means to see beyond themselves. Failure is spoiled potential, the bitterness of regret, a life in vain. Those who embrace hypocrisy, who place earthly possessions above all else, who leave a deficit rather than an abundance, all arrive at the crumbled gates of failure.
Limbo is the destination for all who leave courage on the shelf. Those who let failure suppress them, who lack the ability of self-improvement, who find comfort in mediocrity will have a home in the shadow of forgotten footprints.
Variables. Circumstance. Causality. Courage.
Death is the great equalizer which renders variables obsolete. It demonstrates ambivalence to courage and circumstance. Aptly does it implement causality to swell its ranks. Time is indeed a most precious commodity.
Notes on Redemption Underfoot.
I wrote this short story in March of 2011. It explores the premise of a man who, dogged by modern life in America (though the location is not specified), abandons civilization in the pursuit of inner revelation.
It is a speculative experiment. He is transformed from a desensitized consumer into a reactionary and capable human being.
The concept of “living in the moment” is something which I do not possess, instead I find myself either dissecting the past, or contemplating possible futures. I let the narrative describe how I believe the effects of an immediate consciousness could benefit an individual.
My esteem for the honesty, beauty, and fairness (specifically—absence of culture) found outside of man’s dominion was another motivating factor for this short story. I chose not to include exhaustive detailing of either the protagonist or specific events relating to his journey so as not to obstruct fluidity, but also to mirror the theme of immediacy.
I am pleased that Redemption Underfoot is an accurate vehicle with which to introduce any reader to my approach to the short story format. Unconventional, saturated, cohesive. (Though total length will invariably differ.)