Welcome, Walk Free

I arrive in the US at six AM and stand in the customs and passport line to find the first news greeting me is CNN, playing on the television set that hangs on a column and that, in my past experience, usually played TSA adverts. Not this time. No, now it is telling all new arrivals that George Zimmerman, according to the tag line running below the newscasters pink faces, has been acquitted after a sixteen hour-long jury deliberation. This is supposed to be some triumph of democracy, although the image in my head is of pillars crumbling to dust. The newscasters play a clip of Zimmerman’s lawyer, looking tragic for a guy who got what he wanted, and who also looks like the main guy from Breaking Bad but without the moustache and soul. The lawyer is saying that he’s grateful that the tragedy didn’t turn into a travesty. The travesty, I deduce, according to him, would have been his client being punished for murdering a teenager. Determined to enhance my already torrential nausea, the newscasters then turn to discussing the fact that the prosecution lawyer’s not shaking the defense lawyer’s hand is big news, something that “just isn’t done”. Yes. Clearly. The handshake is the real issue at hand, so to speak and pardon the pun.
All I can think of is how accurate a portrayal this is of the current media’s mirroring the symptoms of a nation exemplified in the amusement it consumes (Today, on GENERIC REALITY TV, let’s see who was mean on the playground and who didn’t play fair!), and how sickened I am by it.

My first bit of spoken word poetry

I can’t afford WordPress’s space upgrade at the moment, so I’m going to post a link to where you ca hear me reading it if you’d like to. I apologize – I usually don’t link out from here to other blogs. I will note, however, that the Tumblr I’m linking to is my own, and that if you have a Tumblr, I do spend a lot of time procrastinating there because it is a very quick and easy way to time-waste without needing to think very hard for too long.

 

Click here to listen to my first attempt – one I enjoyed writing, more than I knew I would – at the spoken word poetry form.

Spark of Beauty

I didn’t plan on it. It just happened. I swear, it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t mean to do it. But I guess I should start at the beginning. That’s what they told me I should do. Just start at the beginning, and everything would become clearer as I went along.
I guess the first time was when I was really young. My aunt had baked me the most beautiful birthday cake a boy could ask for. It had the shape of a rocket ship on it, all made out of candy and and sprinkles. The cake itself was creamy and cheesy, just the way I liked it. I’d always hated chocolate, apparently. I was one of the only kids I knew who liked drinking milk straight up. Anyway, the cake had six candles in it – I was turning five, and there was one for good luck. My aunt lit the candles, one by one, with those big kitchen matches. You know the kind. About as long as an adult’s finger, with a red head the size of the pearls on our grandmothers’ pearls.
I think the next time something happened that made me think about things was later that year, on the Fourth of July. It’s not illegal to light up your own fireworks where I live, so every year the whole neighborhood would get together and make a big show of it. The kids would ooh and aah and the adults would echo them, as if they’d never seen the big sparklies in the sky before. This time stands out in my memory, though, because my aunt had a new boyfriend then, and he was one of the guys who went behind the old silo to light the cracklers away from the crowd so that no one would get hurt. My aunt took me with her to see how it was done – thinking back now, I’m pretty sure they also got to necking some while I was investigating the inside of the disused silo. Anyway, once I’d come out of the silo and they’d stopped fooling around in the darkness, my aunt’s boyfriend bent down and showed me the long tail of the fireworks and how you light one end of it so that your hand doesn’t get hurt from being too near where the big BANG happens when the spark hits the chemicals inside that make it do what it does to light up and burst into a hundred little red or green flames in the sky.
I’m not making sense? But – I started at the beginning, didn’t I? Oh. Oh, I see. I haven’t been clear enough. Well, I guess I have a bit of an issue with that, because, you see, not many people really understand what it is that I do. Or what it is that I like, you might say.
Alright, I’ll be blunt, then. I suppose that’s how you’ve gotta be in this sort of thing. Fire, then. I like fire. Why? I couldn’t tell you that. Maybe it’s because my aunt and her boyfriends necked while I was around. Some shrinks have told me that. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have parents, because they died in a car crash – that incidentally also had a fireball involved in it. Oh, yeah, I was in that car crash too. The shrinks love that as well. They think that part of me remembers that beautiful fireball that must have killed my parents and which I was immune to because my little car seat was covered with a blanket that was still damp from the beach, where we’d been that day. But I’ve never seen what a fireball looks like. The shrinks think that that’s what I’m looking for, that that’s why I light houses on fire, that I’m trying to recreate the scene of my second birth from the ruins of a crashed and mutilated car with the corpses of two dead people stinking in front of me.
I beg your pardon. I didn’t mean to make you queasy. I simply get very… agitated, yes, that’s the right word for it, agitated. Because I take offense at the need to explain why I find beauty in something that you people don’t happen to find beautiful. I think that it’s despicable that you think I need some sort of excuse, some sort of ulterior motive, and that without one I wouldn’t enjoy doing what I do.
My lawyer has told me that this wouldn’t be a very good defense, and I suppose she’s right. But it’s also the truth, as my earliest memories have it. Take from it what you will. Just know that I never meant to kill anyone. I just wanted to see something beautiful.

Some Stories Are Different

Five titles:

1. Befriending Giants

2. Things to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say But Don’t Want to Stay Silent

3. The Summer of Finches

4. The Madcap Man on Wimpole Street

5. Building a Chair

Five first sentences:

1. Catherine didn’t know how she was going to do it, but she’d made up her mind and there was no turning back now.

2. In a small chest, half-buried in sand, deep down in the darkest corner of the ocean, lies a piece of my heart with a gold thread wrapped around it.

3. Sometimes you don’t feel like going to work; it’s a thing.

4. She looked at me and laughed the sweetest laugh I’d ever heard, and I realized finally that she reminded me of my mother.

5. The highway patrolman spat on the ground and looked at his watch; his shift was far from over.

Five fictional quotes:

1. “I wouldn’t touch the balloon if I were you. It’s unsafe, you know.”

2. “Me? Freak out? I so did not freak out. I may have gotten giddy. Just a little bit. But I seriously did not freak out, okay?”

3. “Dickens didn’t write an autobiography. He wrote David Copperfield instead. What does that tell us about the book? Should we treat it as an autobiography? As a novel? As a mix of the two? Come on, people, you’d think I was the only one in this room. Talk to me!”

4. “There are some things you just don’t say. If I ever had any respect for you, it would have dissipated right around now.”

5. “Ready… Set… FLY!”

Five emotions:

1. Anger

2. Confusion

3. Anguish

4. Elation

5. Tenderness

Five last sentences:

1. She died that day, and though I knew that it was a sticky, humid morning, I couldn’t help picturing it as a perfect autumn afternoon.

2. He freed his hair from its restraining cap and shook out his long curls for all the world to see them one last time.

3. An eagle let out a cry and the party below all looked up and shaded their eyes to watch the majestic creature swoop.

4. The coffee cup stayed in the sink for months before anyone dared wash it out again.

5. No one picked up the phone, so I left a message, but the machine cut me off before I finished speaking.

Eavesdropping

The owl sat on its regular midnight perch, on the beam that hung between the garage door and the overhanging roof. It was quite roomy there, and she liked having its nest so close by, in the very corner, where there was space right inside the corner of the roof.

She was just about to hoot softly and then fly out to catch little rodents by the tail when she was interrupted mid-hoot by a pair of loud voices that erupted in the middle of the driveway in front of her.

“You did NOT just say that!”

“What? You think you’re the only one allowed to be mean? I know how to be mean too, you know.”

“I’m not mean, you jerk-wad! How can you even say that to me?”

“‘Cause it’s true! You’re stuck up and mean, and you know what? I can stand it when you do it to me, but not when you start ragging on my best friends, too. They don’t get to see you like I do, so they don’t get that it’s just how you are.”

“Oh, what, so because they don’t get to see me naked then they don’t know the real me? Are you suggesting they all come over and we have a big party together?”

“WHAT? When did I ever say that? Where the hell is your head, Angela?”

“And what’s all this about you being okay with me being mean to you, anyway? I’m not mean to you!”

The owl in the eaves of the house cocked her head. The voices changed tones. The whiny, female-smelling one sounded muffled, and the deep-voiced male-smelling one made cooing noises that reminded the owl of the noises she made over her eggs.

“I love you, but don’t you see that you’re going to isolate me from everyone else if you keep behaving like a stuck up bitch with them? I’m not saying you ARE one. I’m just saying you act like it, honey.”

“B-b-but your friends make me nervous, and ever since we moved to this stupid city it’s been all about your friends, and don’t you think I miss mine to bits? It’s not like you were super nice to them or anything…”

“I made an effort and you know it. It was hard when they kept sizing me up with their eyes, checking if I was hot enough for they angelic Angela.”

“Well, they were protective of me. What can I do? All your friends want to do is talk to you. It’s like I’m just a painting on the wall in the room. They stare at me sometimes and then go right back to talking to you about the Diamondbacks or the Razorbacks or whatever that team is called.”

“If you stopped acting like an ice princess, and if you stopped being so cold, maybe they’ll be nicer to you, hmm? They don’t always talk about sports, you know.”

The owl, getting bored with the human jabber and the ensuing wet noises as they did that strange thing humans do with their mouths, decided to get going. She spread her wings and leaped from the eaves, wings spreading out to her sides. She dove and then flew upwards, scanning the neighborhood for some delicious little critters to snap in her beak.

“Wow, did you see that?”

“An owl! I’ve never seen one before! Oh my gosh, that’s amazing!”

“What a beauty, hmm?”

“Yeah, so beautiful…”

Time

The keyboard clacks and clicks,

The clock now tocks and ticks,

As time goes by,

The words do fly,

Little shapes like sticks.

**

The music beats and swells,

Containing sounds of bells,

The speakers thrum,

The voice does hum,

Like echos in a well.

**

The night is damp and dark,

Loud voices in the park,

Dreams are rare,

When sleep is spare,

But wish they could embark.

**

The days are long and slow,

But weeks, they seem to flow,

Confusion reigns,

The body strains,

And missing is the glow.

Lucy’s Diary, May 5th

May 5th, 2008

Dearest Diary,

After many hours of pointless, useless and otherwise simply obnoxious paperwork, I am free to dwell on my own thoughts once more. The flight landed, and I have never been more reluctant to get off a plane as I was this morning. There was a man a few seats in front of me who looked at me rather oddly as I sat there in my seat, making no move to get up and off the plane. But then, I suppose it is rather odd, in the hustle and bustle for the door, that a girl should stay stationary in her seat.

Having finally convinced myself to get up and leave the plane, though, I was plagued by the usual airport routine: passport check, luggage retrieval etc. I was most anxious to get some fresh air, and I almost forgot that I needed to look for my pick-up ride when I entered the arrivals hall.

Of course, they hadn’t forgotten about me – much to my chagrin, I might add. There was a man with a hat and a sign waiting for “Miss Lucy Blake” and I had no choice but to approach him and follow him to the town car, of which he was the driver.

While I wish I could have written in the car, it was much too bumpy and couldn’t be managed. Moreover, having gotten no sleep on the flight, I fell into an uneasy one on the ride over to Pratt and Smith. It was a long ride, because as I’ve said before, P&S is in the middle of many square miles of fields upon fields.

We finally arrived, and I was met at the gates by the woman who I’m supposed to consider as “the mother of all the young girls in this glorious home away from home!” Her words – not mine.

She escorted me to the offices, where I got many a dirty look for joining with them so very late in the semester. True, their semester lasts until the end of August, but my lateness is apparently enough to give me a black mark before I’ve even started. That relation of mine who sent me here [you see, my dear, that I am still too angry to even write her name] will be feeling more of my wrath with her in my phone call to home this week, you can be sure of it, Diary.

It is evening now, and I’m settled in my new room. It’s rather cozy and nice right now, but that is only because my three roommates are currently at the study hall doing their homework. I was assured by Miss Flynn, the self proclaimed Mommy of us all who is actually the supervisor of the girls’ living quarters, that the other girls will be along shortly and will escort me to dinner, which begins at promptly seven-thirty every evening.

I freely admit to you that I am dreading the introduction of these girls. They will be my staunchest companions in the coming months, if only because we are forced to live within the same very small room and share our bedtimes and awakenings. Wish me luck; I believe I hear the sound of giggling in the hall!

Much love,

Hastily,

Lucy