Abacus beads across a horizontal, wooden rod being counted. A tight frame where we see the eyes behind bars, behind glasses. A lock of hair dangles over the frame, unnecessarily. Cool, but staged. Realizing the elegance of radicalization when it comes to understanding the precepts of mathematics. No time to think, do, or feel. Jeopardizing the big project. Sealed documents cover the table, now illegally unsealed. Waiting for a rainbow, waiting for a room to spin. Saint Patrick’s Day and our protagonist could spit diamonds. Secret bookshelf. Anne Frank. Distant runner. Long shot of a field. Perfect symmetry. Skies that besiege Scandinavia. Rolling rocks down long avalanche mountains, currying favor with Nature. Different energies at stake. Wraiths fly in three-dimensional figure eights in the air. Needing to know what comes next after the ‘Happily Ever After’. Stories never end. The stories just beget new stories. Officers having pipe dreams where they can do no wrong. Lullabies sing to sleep the lilies in a giant garden belonging to no one, where wildflowers run free and everything is safe. Crimson colorings on all the petals; The dominant genes are strong and if there’s anything I remember from biology it’s that. Turning off my mind.
“Do you wanna know what I think?” she offered. “I think that you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Presents are wrapped with ribbons askew. The corners of the boxes have too much paper smushed and frantically taped along the edges.
“I never said I was good at this but they’re wrapped, aren’t they?”
Lyla laughed out loud and said, “I suppose they are,” in an amused sort of way. She tucked her chuckle back in her throat and walks out of the room, nearly tripping over a large cylinder of cellophane. The plastic wrap, sheen, but loud and crinkly. See-through, opaque with mild distortion.
“Have you wrapped the basket for the baby yet?”
“No,” Laura responded in a gruff, annoyed tone.
“Well,” Lyla waits and considers what she’s about to offer, just in case. “Why don’t I help you?”
Laura tosses her a skeptical look. “You’ve been teasing me all day about this and now you’re playing Mother Teresa? I may be a lost cause, but I don’t need charity.”
“No, no! I want to help. I have nothing better to do anyway. Look,”
Lyla grabbed the tube and the basket at the foot of the bed. Arranging the baby items in some QVC display fashion she must’ve learned in some godforsaken, stereotypical high school elective geared toward domestication, Laura thought; Lyla suddenly created a piece of art out of tissue paper and ribbon, filling the basket with blue booties, binkies, and bottles. In the back, she added little books and in the front she arranged the toys so that all could be seen. Then she fearlessly released the cellophane from it’s containment and rolling out a ginormous piece, centered the basket on top of it, smack dab in the middle. Once Lyla was satisfied, and with an all-knowing smile, she used scissors to cut and grabbed both ends.
Possession of mind, body, and spirit. A haunted house has maudlin black and grey walls. Antiquated wallpaper, still peeling from 1926. Marshmallow duck, stuck inside Easter bonnet, spooling and spilling through, melted on the floor so we must put on our galoshes to stomp in these sticky Easter puddles. Basket, hardwood floors; The house renewed. Different, but structurally the same. A necessary exorcism at Bobby Mack’s Music Hall in Kentucky. Ghost Adventures episodes. And a millennia of time that seems to have passed between then and now. Possession – As if women and people are objects. As if life is a game of control. I don’t understand how others live that way, guided by these subservient, toxic rules. The jig is up sooner than you think. Not sustainable. Cannot end well. 10 shots to the face for the feeling of being possessed by spirits. Or else, just really tired, fall asleep at the bar, things we still value over time are dumb. New traditions, new religions, new value system. Maybe we wouldn’t need a nuclear family if the bomb wasn’t such a threat. Possessed by conviction, haunted dolls sold on eBay (no thanks). Gumption, nerve, standing toe-to-toe with adversity. Staring down the eyes and mouth, looking at the belly of the beast – whatever beast that may be.
Strike it and light it up. Something melodramatic to be said under foggy floor lights of blues and purples. Nighttime colors with spirits dressed in black. You cannot see their faces. A dancer runs upstage, lit by spotlight. It follows. She looks like a luminescent goth saint. Her face, albino white with clown makeup but it’s not funny. She strikes a pose, her face the fulcrum of the obtuse angle she makes with her arms. The music pauses as she looks upward, skyward, heavenword. Heaven bound and glorybe. With her eyes slowly closing, her lilac eyeshadow shows itself like a hidden trapdoor of a secret made to bear and share with you. The runway is a stage is a runway is a walk way is a highway is the milky way is broadway. Some fixed point for free or with no expenses paid, that we gaze at and/or hope to stride down someday. To strike our pose for our 15 seconds of fame. Rejuvenated Andy Warhol on speed and acid, never dead or dying. Cryogenic Walt Disney meets the Futurama Richard Nixon jarred head. If he was still around he’d have so much to say. Warhol and Postman engaged in debate. Now, that’s a holodeck program I would watch. Little drools of fantasy eek out of my brain and run down the sides of my face like Rudy Giuliani’s hair dye. Makes me think of the Oil of Violets Danny Devito uses in Matilda. Remember when she switches its contents with bleach? Such a classic movie. Verbatim remembered dialogue. Ballerina slippers tied to a bunny rabbit’s feet. That was definitely some cartoon character I remember in either decoration of illustrated book I remember reading as a kid. I cannot place her though. I’m not quite sure where she came from. Rinsed mouthwash inside out to spit in the sink and run the water to wash it down. I glance in the mirror with teeth bared and I pose. It feels good and fresh and clean. Shotgun wedding in a cardboard church. I remember the friends whose families could afford small playhouses in the yard. How new and fresh they felt. How it felt so nice to fit inside. New Jersey backyard spring and summer. A chocolate labrador.
Stale bread, hard as rock. Tooth-breaker and chipper, into the spout to destroy. Makes good breadcrumbs. Authentico eggplant parm, chicken too. I get suspect at shrimp and feel like veal is 2nd place, always. There are two kings in this deck of Sicilian cuisine. And they are both verboten to me due to the inability of my body to produce the lactase enzyme. It’s drag a but I’ll say yes to anything that doesn’t cause me unnecessary pain. Tired, complacent, repetition, insanity. Emotions that are below the fill line. Same behavior drug out and disappointing. A carnival game where the hammer drops, but the ball doesn’t quite hit the bell. You don’t get a prize. There are no serotonin emotional rewards. Seismic shifts upon realization that what is stale no longer serves and needs to let go. Snake shedding its skin again and again and again and will forever, as long as there are nights and rodents to eat and eggs to lay. Hydra has many forms. The message asleep and incomplete. A bread box with an air hole in it. Damaged goods. The beige color of an unsliced loaf of bread, the heels of it pock-marked and uneven. Heavier than a football, cumbersome and difficult to throw.