lightning

Big ol’ Zeus is gonna kill me. On the run from an omnipotent being who can see all, hear all, be all. Running across a desert plain in plain sight, no cover. The dark, menacing clouds start to roll in and I am so fucked that I am not even afraid. Rapid-fire, stop-motion photography. These clouds are black as night and they are angry. A crack of lightning, emblazoned across the sky. It is multi-veined and continues to spark off as the thunder answers its approval. It is the cue for the heavens to open up and pour everything they have after a long hard earned day of making this rain. And it is immediately drenching. Clothes get sopping wet in this summer storm. The humidity makes it cling, but the drops are cool and I feel like am going through a car wash. The drops come down at such velocity, it is blinding me. And whatever brief pleasure I have taken from this is no longer. I stop seeking shelter and accept that I might as well reconcile the fact that I am no better than the key on Benjamin Franklin’s kite.

Indoors somewhere, a family sits down to dinner. And as the rain pounds on their roof and windows of their well-made home, they are serving pizza, homemade. There is laughter and drinks poured. They do not know of another’s fate, entwined in this storm, cannot imagine it. It is not even a stray thought. And why would it be? The comfort of one’s home is not exclusive to the physical creature comforts within. It is also mental, emotional comfort. Call “ignorance” by some for lack of a better term. The house is shielding, protective. There is joviality at the table.

White hot heat, varied temperature weather particles react. The sand gets sticky and latches onto my body wherever it can. Jar full of rain, catching it to drink. Glass jar. I’m thinking of stories Maya Angelou has told her her books. And my heart is broken lately. I try to will the pieces back together. Stretch outward, neverending hands reach out and try to grasp the aftermath of when lightning strikes, and trees lay scorched upon the Earth. How strange it can be for our planet to be called that. Time for Kids magazine. John Glenn. Space exploration. It is 1960s all over again, but worse. We need someone to correct the timeline.

tingle

“I’m in a parking lot

by myself. It’s a quarter to nine and

I’ve been here since five-forty-fi-y-ive!”

“Third Engine” and the unbridled freedom of catapulting oneself, launching, hurdling down some train track or highway. “The Last Lie I Told” and the uncaptured loneliness of being alone, just letting it out unto the ether. Cold pavement and the recollection of how that felt once. Uncomfortable blacktop as a mainstay of my youth, whether on the playground or in some field. Getting scraped or playing foursquare. Playing tag and the tree is home base. There is something very much about those formative years focused on getting your bones, and forming your sea legs. Socially awkward hesitance blocking the energy from flowing through. Our adult life we grow into, tell ourselves we are not good enough. Rocket pad countdown. Space X flight. Valentine Easter Egg Hunt. I miss the feel of my 2000 Toyota Camry and the verve the gas pedal would give me when riding up Route 17. I –

Writing Exercise #14

Direct Address:

“Sentimental Lady” –

Verse

The sidewalk runs from late day rainfall

Washes scraps of paper up against the grate

Backing up in shallow puddles

Oil floats like dirty rainbows

Splashed by cooling raindrops as I step across the street

I know where I’m headed for

Slip inside

Shut the door

Chorus

I’m a sentimental lady

I don’t mind it when it’s raining

Doesn’t really matter when it ends

A sentimental lady

Sipping tea in perfect safety

Tucked away in secret with a friend

Verse

I love these floors of blonde and amber

Hanging ivies lace my windows smooth and green

I live inside these graceful patterns

Afternoons I read your letters

All that matters here inside my memories and dreams

I know where I need to be

Tucked away

Alone and free

Chorus

I’m a sentimental lady

I don’t mind it when it’s raining

Doesn’t really matter when it ends

A sentimental lady

Sipping tea in perfect safety

Tucked away in secret with a friend

Bridge

I made my mind up long ago

Not to look again

My life was full

I sit content

Knowing I’ve had its best

Chorus

I’m a sentimental lady

I don’t mind it when it’s raining

Doesn’t really matter when it ends

A sentimental lady

Sipping tea in perfect safety

Tucked away in secret with a friend

“Digging For The Line”

Verse

Oh, you loved to watch the greyhounds

You lived to watch ’em run

Breathless as they slow danced past

Like bullets from a gun

Muscles wound like springs of steel

Aching to unwind

Caught up in their rhythm

You swayed in perfect time

Even when the chains of age

left you weak and blind

You still could feel their rhythm

Refrain: Digging for the line

Verse

Even as a child I knew

They greyhounds never won

Though one of them might finish first

It wasn’t why they’d run

Sliding on a rail of steel

A rabbit made of clay

Stayed up just ahead of them

Led the dancers all the way

Circle after circle

Panting just behind

They ran with grace and beauty

Refrain: Digging for the line

Bridge

It hurt to see them run

A race they’d never win

But you smiled and made me see

Remember what you said to me?

Verse

That “a greyhound lives for running

It’s the strongest drive he has

And though he never wins the race

The losing’s not so bad

If he never ran at all

In time he’d surely die

The only world he cares to know

Is one that’s always streaking by

It isn’t what runs up ahead

It isn’t what’s behind

The beauty’s in the way it feels

Refrain: Digging for the line”

tray

Dull green cafeteria tray. It’s lunch time, and the bell has only just rung. There is a clamor and a clatter of chairs scraping the floor, pushed back, the thud of heavy books sliding off desks, into hands, and into backpacks. Sneaker-toed shoes, rubber-soled shoes, stomping heavy footfalls. Metal lockers squeak open and slam shut. The cacophonous tick-tick-ticking of combinations being entered. I still have stress dreams about forgetting my just-learned locker combination on the first day of school, of being late – dismally late. Chatter raises to a din.

Carnival-type paper food trays holding chicken tenders and french fries or tater tots. Salt and grease is 90% of a teenage diet. There are chips, and soft pretzels, and pre-packaged cookies and brownies. The ladies behind the counter look old and tired, but jovial. Like maybe this is fulfilling for them to be here and feed these kids. And they are crucial, important to the public school ecosystem. It smells like lunch time, generic food smell. Like when someone uses the office microwave and it could be pasta or pork or enchiladas; You can’t be sure, but you know that it’s food and that it smells good and that you’re hungry now and want a bite of something.

After lunch, the trays get put on top of the flat-top garbage can for cleaning and collecting later. The bell rings. The din intensifies, metal locker clatter again, the shuffling of feet before silence. And the overflowing garbage can sags as an empty Cheetos bag floats down from the top. It gets picked up by the janitor as he begins to clean the area. He does so without complaint. Like he is happy to be here and it is his duty. Mops and spray bottles come out. All these little worker bees, working behind the scene, beyond the children’s knowledge. Is all life between the ages of 0 and 18 traumatic? I often wonder that. Like, everything is so new always all the time, and changing and different and intense. Does it matter how you were raised? Doesn’t it all suck? I don’t miss high school, but sometimes it feels like it’s 90% of my memory. And I think back and reflect that it was all so different all those years ago, when I was freshman in 2005 and thought that this building is my world. I could never have imagined where it would take me.

red

Command color uniform, photo-centric, jumbled patterns of life-blood, life-source, placenta pardoning afterbirth. Murderous intent, deadset on becoming and feeling heaven sent. Dancing swift and smooth with a vial of poison that’s carefully taken out of an unsuspecting handbag. What a case to solve for Agent Carter. Staying grounded despite waves of rage. Stopping, stomping Hulk-like all over mazes and puzzles, trying to put together the pieces. Sympathetic impertinence. Petulance. I waited too long for the other shoes to drop and now I have grown old and muddied. Sullied. Dipping toes into Tuesday morning. Nonsensical Picasso-like eloquence. Pushing forward and whittling wood and stone. Picturesque portrait. Mother Nature with her hand on the dial. Red paint splash makes a bull go mad. Target practice with arrows and darts. Native American stories. How many died out? Bloody stain that can never be washed off the face of America. Indelible tattoo. On the hippocampus. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. Iconic American Patriot.