MUSIC SERIES – Eyes Closed

This poem was inspired by Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles. Let me know what songs you think I should write a poem about!

 

Eyes Closed

 

Sitting in the strawberry fields

trying to recreate a simple dream

while the sound of a tractor tilling

at the stony winter soil

covers the distant song of the birds.

 

I can almost see myself on the branches

sitting next to them with my legs hanging;

looking across the small acre of land

at this stranger perched on a shrunken log

with his eyes closed, staring at nothing.

——

 

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FIFTY WORD STORY – Blind Mornings

I could hear the birds chirping in the morning sunlight, ruffling their feathers as the sun melted away the cool night. I felt my way to the window latch, popped it open, and drank in the air. There was a layer of sweetness I couldn’t see, hidden in the scents.

——

 

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A Sense of Adventure

Joshua awoke to the sound of rain tapping lightly on the rooftop of his Volkswagen Bus. A short suck of air revealed that the day was fast becoming a cold one. He rolled himself up, taking care to duck before he got to full height, tossed his blankets onto the back seat, and swung the door open. He breathed in the smell of the fresh mountain air as it mixed with the rain, and could taste the wet pine on the breeze.

He stepped down into the gravel and took a short few steps past a tree to relieve his bladder. As he walked back, he felt a pebble stuck between his toes, and shook it loose. He put on the well-worn electric kettle, and as it boiled he sliced some fruit he had left sitting in a bowl on the seat. The breeze invaded him on the floor of his car, and he threw on a light, brown jacket before he poured his tea. He grabbed a few handfuls of nuts from another bag—a mixture of almonds and cashews—before finally eating.

The tea took its time to cool, despite the weather, but Joshua didn’t mind. He was going nowhere, and had no real thought to get there quickly. The sleep was still in his eyes, and he chanced a yawn that tempted him back to the warm embrace of the blankets. The thought passed through his mind quickly as he sipped his tea.

Today was a good day to be driving. Not for the weather, but for the experience. Joshua loved the rain, and even more he loved how the trees changed in the rain. The wet bark seemed to melt away the decades they had put on, and they looked as though they were sprigs ready to spring their way back to life. When the van sputtered to life, he felt giddy to think that he would get to see Mother Nature so alive.

He pulled away from the bank of the road he had slept on the night before, and found a steady pace of forty miles per hour to drive at. Though he was going nowhere, he felt compelled to make a stop at the mountain ranges just along the horizon. The last few days had been made in that direction, and though sometimes the roads turned him this way and that, he always found his way back on to right path.

Joshua pattered along on his steering wheel to a beat that had festered in his head. It was catchy, but he couldn’t quite make out what it was from, so reached into his glove box and pulled out one of many CDs at random. When the noise finally came in, he found that it was The Wall by Pink Floyd, and felt a sense of bitter irony. The tracks wove their way in and out of the day, and the horizon slowly became the distance, which became the background, and then finally the foreground. By then the day nearly half gone, but Joshua didn’t mind. The sun was high somewhere behind the clouds, so Joshua pulled over and turned off the engine.

He hopped out of the car, and drank in the rain on his brow. The mountain stood before him, but he wasn’t afraid. It was a great day for an adventure. His socks would be wet by the time he was back tonight, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

——

 

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THE ADVENTURES OF A ROCK

I was sitting under a tree, in a line of rocks that had been formed up to hold the barrier between the two yards. A couple of us had shaken loose, too excited to get going—though to the onlookers it simply appeared that the dog had dug some out, or that the birds had knocked us over, but we all knew the go-getters when we saw them. Those excited few that would dart out in front of the pack to get ahead in life.

Unfortunately, as we became domesticated, we realized we didn’t have a few months to get across the lawn anymore. Someone would undoubtedly trip over us on their way up the walk, and we would be set back at our starting line. But thousands of years experience helps break into the deeper wells of knowledge waiting for those who listen. Come the next rainfall, I talked to a few droplets on their way back to the sea, and asked them to send a cloud to bring me with them. That’s something you can’t do with sprinkler drops—they’re much too young to remember your message on the long journey home. But a rainfall, they’ve been around a while. For some of them, it might even be their last trip back.

It took a year, but the clouds came by in force. They pelted the ground until it was beyond damp, and the slick shells on our backsides started to roll. One rock, afraid of the sudden change, held his ground, but the rest cracked off of him and continued on their way. We rolled into the street, and the thick streams of water pulled us, ever so slowly, into the sewers. The fattest of us couldn’t fit to join us, and of those who made it, some of the stupid ones sunk to the bottom, thinking this life would be much better that whatever was to come, but I washed out with the rest of them.

It was a short few months to the beach. I was soaked to the core when the sunshine hit me, but the salt air was refreshing nonetheless—even to a lung-less being like myself. I was the first one out. I rolled down into a trench that flowed into the base of the waves. The waters rushed over me, splashing up into the air as they came into contact. These waves were calm, friendly, and had a song in their voice. They pulled me the last few feet to land in the clear waters. I sank down onto the sand and looked around. There were a few fish, listing about as fish do in the current. A school even came over to say hello, but before long they grew bored and moved away.

The current took me deeper, and deeper, until the light faded away. I saw bigger fish, whales, and even some unspeakable thing. Had I not been a rock, I had no doubt I would have been quite scared. They took me deeper, until the cool became cold, and the cold became freezing; and then, strangely enough, the freezing became a boiling vent of air, and I found what I was looking for: an underground volcano, with waves of lava—my brethren unborn and reborn again. I sauntered up to them to say hello, and their one collective voice echoed back their response. It was like listening to a choir, if a choir could sound so much like home. I nestled myself into the side of the volcano, listening to them, and dozed off into a much needed slumber.

——

 

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DREAM LOOP

Today’s dream (or rather, last night’s dream) plays with something of normalcy, which is something that seems to occur regularly in my dreams, which is perhaps why I’ve struggled to remember them for so many years. Here it is:

 

I woke up, for the first time, or perhaps the millionth, gasping for breath. My room was dark, but the beam of light peaking out between my window curtains signaled to me that it was well into the morning. I took a brief look around, when suddenly the door burst in and my father was there, spewing some nonsense about getting out of bed and doing my chores. I couldn’t really make it out, but his tone of voice was clear enough. I sprung to my feet, threw a pair of shorts on, pulled a shirt over my head and walked through the door…

…then sat up gasping for breath again, again, for what felt like the first time, but may have been the millionth. At the time, I had no memory of what happened prior, just as many fail to remember their dreams moments after waking. This time there was a scratching at the door, likely from one of our cats. They would occasionally scratch, asking for food—or occasionally freedom. I opened the door, and saw Twilight, our black cat, staring up at me with great green eyes. I walked her to the door to let her out front, the pitter-patter of her feet were as light as snowflakes falling. I twisted the nob, watched her exit, then figured I’d grab myself a quick bite to break my fast. I took two quick steps to the fridge, opened the door

and again was gasping for air in my bed.

 

But this was where the dream ended. My eyes opened, and the world felt that slight twinge of real that distinguishes it from even the most vivid dreams. What does it mean? I don’t really know. I could be, very obviously, that my life is literally on repeat. Day in and day out things are too similar to really be distinguished. The repetition of gasping could very well be indicative of choking, as if I am dying by doing this. Or, it could mean nothing, and this is just some weird thing my brain decided to project, and I just happened to remember it. Who knows? Let me know what dreams you’ve had that stood out to you in the comments below!

 

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LOVE POEM #58 – THE TOP OF THE STAIRS

Falling in love is like climbing a tower of stairs

only to lose your footing on the way up

and come crashing back down to reality

with everybody else.

 

The first flight of stairs is full of life.

The suspense of togetherness in a world

devoid of individual cares and niceties

creates a shared fire for cold winter nights,

 

but come the second flight of stairs

the kindling will burn low, and it will be

up to one of you to make it whole again.

Some people don’t know how to make a fire

though years of experience often help.

 

If you can manage the second flight, the third

will be less stressful. Your body will be accustomed

to the rhythmic pacing, and won’t tire from climbing.

You might even find yourself bored

and come back down, wishing to relive past loves,

until you hit the bottom and find

they don’t come by moving backwards.

 

The fourth flight is where people often trip

rushing to what they think is the finish line—

a room with white dresses and church bells.

Yet when they turn the corner, and see

another set of stairs, their footing fails

and they go tumbling down again.

 

But maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it up

past the fifth flight of stairs; past the long last leg

of this long climb we subject ourselves to,

and find yourself on your death bed

next to the only person in the world that matters.

 

Maybe then you’ll realize the stairs weren’t love,

but that the stairs were life, and that you were lucky

to have someone there to accompany you

all the way to the top.

——

 

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ROCKSLIDE (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Sun Struck

Sun struck bricklayers

are blinded by the mundane

and don’t see good lives.

 

Fresh Water

If water is life

then I would fill my cup in

the ocean of you.

 

Rockslide

A few tough pebbles

thrown well into the quarry

can cause a rockslide.

 

Civilization

A third city built

by spilling the blood of men

and burning forests.

 

Exploring Beaches

Small hands dig seashells

out of their half buried sleep

to hear ocean songs.

——

 

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THE TWO DIMENSIONAL WOMAN

I dream myself, one night, inside the seams of the wallpaper, looking in on our house. It was a wonderful feeling—to be utterly flat, and without a care in the world, living in the second dimension. My family was there, staring back at me, like a crayon picture that had learned to dance about. There were all sort of secrets that I learned about behind the closed doors. My son hid candy he had stolen beneath his clothes in his second drawer. My daughter had a very handsome boyfriend (that was a shock, speaking that he had never come through the front door)! Whenever my mother would stop by to visit, she would comment on how the couch pillows didn’t match the rest of the household, but only under her breath when everyone else was out of the room. It became quite a life.

I eventually figured out how to move from wallpaper to electrical wire, street signs, and so on, until I could make myself useful and run errands. Nothing like getting groceries—two dimensional hands don’t work to well with carrying things. But I could deposit checks, and when I figured out how to walk inside the computer, I really made my way into a different world. My husband would open Word documents, and I would get to rearrange the letters he typed on the page. It made for mischievous fun, and great laughter.

But then I found out a secret that I wished I hadn’t. One that, living in three dimensions, I had never had to worry about. My husband kept a journal on his bedside table, and I had never looked at it before, since it was personal, but while trying to learn to transfer from wall to paper, I accidentally fell into the pages. The first few pages were beautiful. He drew, and wrote, and occasionally scribbled. There was a poem about me. It was like walking in a field of daisies.

It wasn’t until halfway through that things took a bad turn. The daisies were replaced by dead roses, and the sunny skies became covered with thunder clouds, and the beautiful words grew harsh and jagged. He missed me; resented my freedom. Jealousy, anger, loneliness, depression, stress, and all sorts of real world issues fell on his shoulders in the place of mine.

To relax, he had taken up staying late at work. I had never check in on him there, because overcoming the rocky hills he was stationed in had proved too difficult. Apparently, there was a woman he worked with, Stephanie, who had recently transferred from Washington. She had been staying late with him, and they had been entwining together as I entwined with the paintings in the living room.

Which is when I woke up, feeling lonely in the middle of the night, to see him laying next to me. There’s nothing quite like cuddling up with someone after feeling like you lived a whole lifetime apart from them.

——

 

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ESCAPING SIMULATION

When I watched the Facebook app disintegrate

into the ether of my cell phone’s display screen,

I couldn’t help feeling like I had been unplugged

at the back of the neck from a giant machine

 

and while I at once felt alleviated

from the pain of self-imposed enslavement,

I couldn’t help worrying that an Agent Smith

might be coming to force me back in my place.

 

Perhaps that’s why I cowered in fear

when there was an unexpected knock at my door,

but after a few moments of suspended silence,

I gathered the courage to go investigate.

 

And when I reached the doorway, it was empty.

Outside, it was another beautiful day.

Which is when it crossed my mind

that I had not been outside in weeks.

 

So I took a stroll, noticing how the sloppy details

in the simulated experiences of our technology

couldn’t quite compare to the simple pleasure

of breathing a fresh breath of crisp spring air.

——

 

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THE RED RIVER

For the past three weeks, traces of red liquid had been found in the clear blue waters of the rivers, growing more solid with each passing day. At first, it was just a whisk, like a droplet falling in a cup, before it disperses and becomes unnoticeable. Then eventually, the water began to darken, from blue, to purple, to a beautiful shade of red wine. When it hit that shade, the water became undrinkable, and we knew we had to find out what was going on.

We began our trek up the river, to see what we could find. A few days later, it morphed into a bright, angry red, like a vicious sunburn. Eventually, we came to a massive forest, and followed the red river in. It was dark, like night, spackled with the occasional beam of sunlight peaking from in between tree branches. It was enough to light they way, but hardly bright. The angry red of the river looked more like smoldering ash in the dark. We began to worry when the sunbeams grew thin and orange—it meant the sun was going down, and all sorts of things could inhabit the forest.

We made camp, set up a fire, and picked roles for the watch. Mine was the last, which I was thankful for. It was easier to sleep through most of the night, and simply stay awake, than it was to sleep for a short three hours, wake up to keep watch, then sleep again. My eyes had glazed over by the time the first beams of sunlight touched down through the trees. It was like a heavenly ascension piercing through the heart of the darkness.

We kept this routine for another two days, marching through treacherous pitfalls and shifting terrain. All the while, we kept along the river, following its unexpected. It was growing wider, which we took to mean we were getting close to its source. A few hours later, the river widened into a lakebed, with a massive red waterfall, which, as it smashed into the lake, created a thin, red mist. The waterfall itself seemed to stretch off into the distance, far above the trees above us.

The unexpected base of the cliff met us as we drew closer, and we began our ascent upward. The way up was full of dangers, but eventually we crossed the upper threshold of the trees. The break of sunlight on our faces was soothing, as a cool glass of water is to a man returned from a desert. We could see the top, not far above the trees, and took the last hundred meters quickly.

When we reached the top, we were awestruck by the sight before us. Lodged in the middle of a massive lake—ten times the size of the one below us—was an enormous heart. It looked almost like a titanic boulder, bigger in size than any we had ever seen, beating fiercely, as though whatever body it had inhabited had been running for miles before.

And it was split in two, held weakly together by tethers at the bottom. From the center of the split sides, it was gushing blood like a fountain, pouring tons into the water around it by the second. The air stank of rot and decay, but the heart showed no signs of weakness. It was incredible to see something so full of life yet so broken. All we could do was stand there still, looking on amazed and frightened.

——

 

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