Act of Contrition

In the deep-rooted shadows upon which the forest stands, where nothing grows but moss and the debris of winter-felled branches, Scott Lang and his brother Tony heard the stuttering k-r-r-r-k like someone opening the door to a derelict shack.

But near all around them, there were no such homes except last spring’s birds’s nests and the torn-up insect domicile buried within a pine upon which a woodpecker hammered another k-r-r-r-k.

“This noise where there’s nothing around creeps me out, man,” Tony said.

“Some of us, little brother, find such ‘noise’ a blanket of comfort, the caress of natural music far from the crash and soul-crunching violence in city life, the promise of peace,” said Scott.

“Okay, I get it, but does it take sloshing all the way out here just to find your precious quiet? Besides, it’s so damn dark here, how the hell am I supposed to see anything well enough to shoot it?” Tony said, swinging his rifle in carefree arcs.

“Your life always comes down to noisy violence. It killed Mom. I don’t want to know who else. Can’t you just enjoy some serenity for once?”

“Yeah, but where’s the fun in that? Now where to something I can enjoy?”

“You’ll never get it, will… Wait, what was that?” Scott said.

“Where?” Tony said, swinging the muzzle of the 30.06 toward the shadows.

When the echo of the k-r-r-r-k made by four rapid shots from the .22 Scott pulled from his pocket faded, he sighed. After a few seconds, he heard the birds begin singing again. He could actually hear his heartbeat settle down as the wind strummed the tall pines like harp strings. And he was pretty sure there had been only two witnesses to what he’d done.

He made a silent Act of Contrition to one.

“Peace, Mom, just like I promised. At last, some peace,” he whispered to the other.

Something About This

We need to do something about this.

I know. If this goes on much longer, I doubt he’ll ever be able to – you know – again…

Don’t even think that. If he stops for good he’ll just lose the will to go on…with anything.

Then we need to do something.

He’s tried almost everything, walks, music, reading. God, look how he just sits there. A blink, blink, a sigh.

I caught him crying the other night.

No you didn’t!

Yeah, in bed, alone, staring, like he was expecting someone to come to him from out of the ceiling. Or past. You know how he likes the room totally dark and cool.

So how do you know he was crying?

Heard him. Like a stage whisper. Said her name and then…well, a sobbing sound. Like he couldn’t catch his breath.

No kidding! Maybe we should suggest he reach out to her. And yeah, we both know she’ll eventually make him more damn paralyzed with misery than he is now. Humming away in his chair one minute and then…

I know. But he can’t go on like this. I’m afraid he might just…you know, POOF, gone. And what about us?

Okay, you go to his right and I’ll go left.

Wait. Listen. The laptop. Is he writing her? Think she’ll answer? I mean kindly? What’s he say?

Let me check. Oh… Well at least he’s trying.

Okay, but what’s he written?

It says, “We need to do something about this.”

(This is pretty much the only way I can write fiction these days. I imagine two characters speaking and then my imagination follows their conversations. But I’m miles ahead of where I’ve been for months.  In this case, I’ll let your imagination discern who – or what – these two speakers are.)

Where a Heart Would Be

You and I are no strangers
to the inevitability of Loss.
We’ve held its hand together.
Like a shadow, it has clung to us,
darkened the paths before us,
dogged our steps, for all our days.
And then come the nights,
the nights when all is shadow,
and Loss lies next to you in bed,
cold and silent, stealing your rest
with tossed elbows and hogged covers.
You have lost something you cherished
and are now bereft of that
to which you gave your heart
but received a heart in kind.
I lost something I never had,
though my heart cherished nonetheless.
You lost your Love. I lost my Hope.
You still have that heart to hold.
I have shivering shadow and
a tangle of covers where I always
hoped a heart would be.

Just An Opened Eye Away

The fantasy always
exceeded the reality,
until the reality
brought so much pain.
It is an inevitability
in my existence that joy
is more often make-believe,
a wish, a what-if,
while suffering is real,
even if only imagined.
What is fantasy if not
the yearn, the ache,
for that which we wish
to feel, if only
to make the pain stop?
You know this, though,
since you’ve been the fantasy,
you’ve brought the pain,
you’ve dreamed the joy,
yet came to learn as I did
that anguish was always
just an opened eye away.

Back to the métier – dreams and hope, loss and pain.

Leaving It All Behind

Within, the emptiness rules, cold and dark.
It’s been this way how long I just can’t say.
Probably long as I’ve not raised a spark,
in here to warm and light another day.

I’ve given up groping my way around,
gave up about almost all I once did
once upon a time, like new stories sound.
Now new stories have run away and hid.

You’d think I’d hear old echoes in this space
where once so many voices talked to me.
I can’t bear to listen, in any case,
lest your voice I hear and dreamed-up you see.

It’s new dreams I need, to fill up my mind,
not blank memories of this life left behind.

If Not for Yin …

I look up to see
the rain come down,
and look down to see
its drops splash toward sky.
I look through the light
to see the shadow,
and through the dark
for any light to catch my eye.

I must be warm in order to
best feel the cold
and feel relatively cooler
to sense the warm.
And so it goes,
living in a world
where we compare and contrast
to judge this life’s form.

There would be no bad
if not for good;
and no silence
without the sound.
Just like I’d not be here
except for you, and you’d
never grace this place if not
for the me to you I’m bound.

Just a little something I tossed at the page to kid myself I’m still writing.  
Nah, I think I’m just flipping verbal spaghetti at this virtual refrigerator door.

Just Can’t Stop It ~ A Pantoum

She’s not sure even she knows
Why she thinks of him still.
And she just can’t stop it,
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all.

Why she thinks of him still.
She’ll only whisper in the dark.
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all,
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.

She’ll only whisper in the dark.
What she never admitted out loud.
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.
Whispering what she wished he’d said.

What she never admitted out loud,
She’s not sure even she knows.
Whispering what she wished he’d said,
And she just can’t stop it.

An old friend suggested I join her and some of her other friends in creating a special form of poem called a pantoum. It is built on four-line stanzas that repeat certain lines that occurred earlier in the poem. In my present state of creative malaise (AKA paralysis), I thought it would tear my brain in two. But I tried and all it tore was my heart.