TEN THOUSAND WORDS

In ten pictures, I’ve seen ten thousand words,

Yet in ten words, I’ve found ten thousand more.

 

‘Course they wouldn’t tell you of that magic,

Not anymore, not nowadays. Not when

We hunger, feed, thirst, and drink for vision.

Not when we are pacified by color.

Not when we are made ravenous by lust.

By the need to see, rather than to know.

By the need to have, rather than to hold.

By that carnal, burning desire to win,

‘Ther than admit defeat for the greater good.

 

But I can show you a world divine,

Where true lovers rest, and heroes reside.

Where the wars are fought for nobility,

And the wind’s pass us by much more slowly.

A world with some truth, and pain, and lies,

And a world where good men go to die.

But a world more real than on TV

Hides within those pages for you and me.

 

Those ten thousand words can last a lifetime

While pictures fade as memories decline.

——

 

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THE HALLWAY

I woke up in an empty, white paneled hallway. It was lit with rows of florescent lights, which reflected off the walls to make them appear even brighter. When I got up to look around, I noticed that there were no windows, but in the distance there was the vague outline of a doorway. I glanced behind me, only to see the ongoing nothingness continued that way as well.

I began to walk thought the hallway. The emptiness was filled by the soft pattering of my shoes beneath my feet. The clothes I had woken up in felt clammy, and stuck to my skin awkwardly, but the more I walked, the more they fell away from my skin. The door, which had been but a tiny outline in the distance, grew closer as I walked toward it, and it became clear that it was built for another time period.

In stark contrast with the walls around it, the door was made of a faded bronze metal, with a handle rather than a doorknob. As I put my hand on the door handle, my eyes came into contact with a large door knocker. The knocker was made of a large metal serpent’s head, which looked vaguely draconic. The serpent held the metal knocker ring in its mouth. The ring itself was another work of art, which had been fashioned with careful detail into the design. Rather than smooth metal, the ring had been made to look like a chain of people moving into and out of the serpent’s mouth.

I realized I had been transfixed on the serpent, and shook my head back to the task at hand. I pushed and pulled on the door handle, but found it to be stuck in place. A few more shakes and I yielded. I sighed, and took a step back from the door to look around. The white halls stretched endlessly on either side, but in the distance from the direction I had come I could hear the faintest of sounds. Dah-duh…Dah-duh it was the unmistakable rhythm of someone—someTHING walking closer. I strained to look into the distance, and noticed a speck of black at the edge of my sight. It was definitely moving, albeit slowly.

Fear shot through my body, and I had the sudden urge to run away. I restrained myself, and turned back to the door. I wondered what could be on the other side of the door. Freedom. Safety. Slavery. Murder. Death. It was the great unknown, locked to me. And what monstrous being would be on the other side? But as my ears turned back to the slowly approaching creature down the hall, I decided it was best to take my chances. At worst, I would have two things coming for me instead of one. I drew my hand up to the ring of people, and banged it hard against the door twice. I stepped away from the door again, and prepared myself for what came next.

One…two…three moments past before I heard the distinct clank of metal unlatching from the other side. The door swung open, and the stale air of the hallway mixed with the moist, wooden air of the new room. Standing in the doorway was a little girl, no older than my cousins. She was pale white, with light brown hair that fell down to the middle of her back. She looked on at me with wonder; her head cocked to the side slightly. Her eyes were black and dead, yet her mouth moved with the most colorful and lively emotions. Shy, happy, concerned, scared, and so on. She was dressed in a white ballerina’s leotard, and white ballerina shoes.

“Hello,” I said cheerily, meeting her empty eyes with as warm a smile as I could muster, “and what is your name?” She didn’t answer. I glanced off into the room, and saw nothing but a black void before me.

“Do you have parents? Or a caretaker? Would they be available for me to speak to?” Again I was met with silence, though this time the little girl stepped back from the door and into the darkness. The light faded away from her body, and I could barely make out the barest hint of her form. She beckoned me in, then stepped to be completely engulfed in the darkness.

——

 

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TONE IN LITERATURE AND LIFE

From time to time, my father and I talk about a variety of subjects. Anything from alcohol, to weight lifting, to…well, really anything. Yesterday, my dad finished reading Honored Enemy, a book by a (slightly) lesser-known fantasy author: Raymond E. Feist (at least, compared to George R.R. Martin), and we were considering it in comparison to the Game of Thrones series (yeah I know it’s called A Song of Fire and Ice officially, but everyone calls it Game of Thrones). My dad asserted that Feist’s characters were more hopeful, which I thought was an interesting perspective, since at many times throughout his book, they knowingly face and fear certain doom.

To contrast, the characters in Game of Thrones, while often times very dire (I mean, the Stark’s house words are “Winter is Coming,” which is indicative of a fear of death, rather than an enjoyment with life) also hold a sense of hopefulness at various points, it just doesn’t seem hopeful. Think about it. Tyrion is hopeful in his own way—in the sense that he thinks he can overcome pretty much anything with his own wit. Renly is hopeful in a way too. He is very fun loving, and clearly represents some amount of goodness in the world. Vars, in his own way, is hopeful that things can go well, and Littlefinger is hopeful in his own schemes. Though I would categorically say that Game of Thrones is far less hopeful than most books.

Which takes us to the point of this post! Tone! The whole tone of the story frames the perspective it takes. And I like to think of stories as an allegory for life. This one is that the tone you take can change how you look at life. If everything you think is hopeless, then the world will seem that much darker. But if you can look at the things around you, and find some greatness in it, suddenly you might be able to enjoy it a bit more—even in dire straights.

Alright, well I’ll leave it a bit shorter today, but don’t forget that life can be really great, just as books can be really great, even if there are many points where the world seems too big, and the battles you are fighting seem hopeless. Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject. Is life better when we view it as better? Or does the pessimism lead to better successes in happiness?

——

 

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LOVE POEM #34 – SOLACE FOUND

I’ve never seen a more handsome couple

Than my best friend and his hesitant bride.

Which isn’t to say that either’s supple,

But that no lovers exhibit such pride.

He’s round ‘bout the edges, and pudgy too;

With a mouth you can’t take home to mother.

And he loves to make a hullabaloo

By saying that they don’t love each other.

And I’m not quite sure I’d call her a catch.

She’s quiet, and a tad bit annoying.

She’s the kind of girl that would leave a scratch,

And I would prob’bly find disappointing.

Yet together, somehow, they pirouette,

Like he’s Romeo to her Juliet.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #32 – A LITTLE FANTASY

I have this little fantasy,

Where every morning, you and me

Wake up beneath the unlit skies

With an adventure in our eyes.

 

We pack our bags, and picnic too,

And set out, as the sky turns blue.

We scale up the mountain’s peak

Till we come to the point we seek:

 

The highest point our eyes can see,

Occupied by a lonely tree,

With leaves more green than summer’s grass

And roots more deep than legends past.

 

Up there we waste away our day

Without the need for words to say.

Just cheese and wine and happy thoughts;

Admiration for what we’d wrought.

 

As the sunsets, I see us both,

Sitting beneath the undergrowth

We’re arm in arm, and cheek to cheek,

And I feel the urge to speak.

 

The sudden welling in my throat

Is realer than all I’ve wrote.

And there, beneath that glist’ning view,

I have to whisper “I love you.”

——

 

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A YEAR IN THE BOOKS

Hello everyone,

 

Today is a good Tuesday for a discussion. It’s cold out, I’m at work on spring break…just a perfect day. Wait…that’s not perfect at all! Then again, nothing can really put a damper on my mood today, because today we (I?) are celebrating one year of blogging! Technically, cassadyblog turns one year old on this coming Thursday, March twenty-third, but as discussions are on Tuesdays, it seemed most appropriate to put this “year in review” segment today.

As you may or may not have noticed, I started out writing this blog pretty exclusively as a discussion of my ideas. I’ve talked a decent amount on just about everything—politics, gender, race, global warming…the list goes on. But then things took an interesting turn as I started trying some creative writing here and there. I realized I adored it—specifically, I really liked poetry. It called to me. The rhythm was like a siren calling out to a sailor—beautiful and irresistible.

Likewise, writing short snippets of stories is something I took up after a few attempts at it. I realized that writing short stories was something that let me focus on really getting into the nitty-gritty detail of things—which is something that sonnets and such often are forced to leave a bit more broad. I mean, how does one fit the details of scenery, complexities of dialogue, and development of character into one-hundred forty syllables? It’s pretty hard—I mean, isn’t that why Shakespeare wrote plays too?

Anyways, I wanted to do a couple things with this post. First of all, I wanted to thank all of you for reading. I had a friend recently check out what I had written, and she was kind enough to tell me how much she liked it. I don’t write for people—I do it because I enjoy it. That being said, I can’t pretend like there haven’t been days where I wanted to bail entirely. There are always doubts, misgivings, and fears about a project, but the happiness, the smiles, and the support are all things that have kept me going when I’ve felt like quitting. So thank you.

The second thing I wanted to do with this post was provide a list of my top 5 pieces of work for the past year. I know, based on WordPress statistics, what everyone likes most of my work, but none of you know the works that I have liked the most. With that in mind, here is a list (with links) to my top 5 favorite works from this past year of writing (and of course, I ranked them because who doesn’t love ranking things?):

 

#5 – Views from the Coop

 

This is one of a few haikus I wrote, and has been followed by several after it that I’ve enjoyed very much. But somehow, relating chickens to people is something that I have found an everlasting appreciation for, ever since I wrote it.

 

#4 – Stand Up Citizen

 

This was the poem that actually sparked my desire to continue writing poetry. It was the third original poem I posted on my blog, but the first born from personal experience and real, current emotions. I can still see myself, on the rooftops of L.A., sitting and waiting in disbelief and anger. In retrospect it’s a little…well, it could be better, and, like my emotions at the time, it’s a little rough around the edges, but I like it just the same.

 

#3 – An Eternity in an Instant

 

Similar to Stand Up Citizen, this was one of the first short stories I wrote. After a thought experiment of smiling at everyone I saw, I recognized that the people that smiled back were often people I would never see again, and that moment between us was so meaningful, yet completely intangible. It has been a memorable experience for me in my writing, despite how short it was.

 

#2 – A Stroke of Red Ink

 

I have a soft spot for haikus alright?! Though this is a poem made up of several. I think A Stroke of Red Ink is probably the most interesting poem I have written so far. It has aspects of cultural differences with both the language difference in some actual French words, and the abuse of the black girl (and the character’s inability to help her). It has powerful imagery with the lake of red ink swallowing the dreamer, and it has allusions to other aspects of literature—all of which is juxtaposed with a certain irony.

 

#1 – Camouflage

 

Do you ever unintentionally make a rhyme, and it sticks with you for…like months? That’s what the last two lines of this poem have been for me. I’ll be standing in the shower, or walking through the halls, and BOOM “why is it that you / Hide behind that suit of red, white, and blue?” hits me like a bullet. I wrote it in December, after the results of the election had finally sunk in, and the hypocrisies of various nationalistic characters began to show their ugly faces. The “I Want You” poster kept popping into my mind, and I decided to write a poem applying that image to our current political climate.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Where would I be without a myriad of honorable mentions? Many of these I think about regularly—things I could have done better, turning points in my life, and so on. I encourage you to check them all out, though if you have read this far, I’m sure there is no need for me to tell you that.

 

A Choice

Tweedle-Dee-Do

Off Ramps

Chapters

I Wrote You a Poem

The Morning After

Visitors of the Mind

Train Stop

Harnessed Lightning

Connecting Hillary’s Two Faces

——

 

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BEDTIME STORY PART 2

Before you begin, make sure you have read part one of this short story, so that you have context for it. Enjoy!:

 

The next evening went very similar to the one before. I made dinner, Lizzie watched TV, I cleaned up, Lizzie ran around the house screaming wildly. She brushed up and got in bed. I was tired from my long day at work, but as I was walking Lizzie to the bathroom to brush her teeth, she piqued my interest.

“Can you tell me more of that story from last night?” she said in a solemn voice.

“The one about you in the boat?” I asked.

“Yeah!” her face lit up as she doused her toothbrush with bubble gum toothpaste. I smiled and nodded my head, then went to set up the chair in her room. A few minutes later, Lizzie was in her bed ready to sleep. She was really quiet, and it filled me with a slightly anxious feeling. Even I didn’t know what would happen next.

“Do you remember what happened yesterday?”

“Yeah!” she exclaimed, “I was on a boat and then I was in a cave and then I fell asleep by the fire.” Her eyes were aglow with excitement.

“Pretty much,” I said, “OK, so then…” I paused and thought for a moment, “so then you wake up with a start. There was a chilly wind that passed through the cave, and it sounded almost like a low bellowing voice calling out to you. You were so shocked from your sleep that the memory of the dream you were having fades too quickly for you to remember it. The embers of the fire have nearly died out. They flicker lightly against the darkness of the room. You apprehend the cave around you, and realize something seems quite different about it. The air tastes different; the smell of lilac and grass from the meadow before has been overtaken by the rock and stone of the cave around you.

“Finally it becomes clear what’s missing. The water! The endless river that had brought your here had disappeared! Your boat, along with all your things, sits on an empty shore. It was as if you had slept for ten million years. You pack your things to go, taking care not to spill your lantern from the night before. Just as you turn to leave the cave, a second wind pushes you back. Again, the low hum of some unknown calling rings in your ears, and you turn back to the darkness of the cave. It seems deeper than the night before—as if it were to go on forever. You pull your lantern from your bag, unsure of what it could be, and set out into the depths of the cave.

“The darkness envelops you, the light of your lantern extending only a few feet out around you. As you walk deeper, you hear the echoes of your feet bouncing back from the distance. It’s eerily silent. The air is cool. You walk for nearly an hour when suddenly a flash of blue lights appears to your right, not thirty feet away. The lights are moving, shifting, rising, and you realize that the cave is shaking as a massive beast rises from a slumber. Its furry body is covered with unearthly gemstones, which light up the area to look as though it were under the sea. It is on two massive legs, and looks fat by its proportions. Its massive arms hang low against the ground, and its hands hang in a loose fist. It rears up to its full height, the blue light from its shoulders illuminating the previously unknown ceiling of the cave.

“You hear it bellow in a deep voice, which seems more ancient than the Earth itself, ‘Who has disturbed my slumber?’” I glanced at my watch. It was nearly ten o’clock. “Alright Liz, that’s a good place to stop.”

“NO!” She exclaimed, “please no I want to know what happens.” Her voice was pleading.

“Well, then you’ll just have to wait till tomorrow.” I smiled at her in the darkness of her room, and kissed her on the forehead. She was frowning, but remained silent. “Goodnight,” I said to her, and turned toward the door.

“Goodnight,” she called back to me as I closed the door behind me.

——

 

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WISE WORDS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Writing

I am a writer

And I talk about problems.

I think I’m cliché.

 

My Room

My room’s a forest

Of cloths and books and papers.

Tread lightly alone.

 

As Long As…

Trust me, you’re safe here.

As long as you obey me

And do as I say.

 

Trophy Shelf

Look at my trophies:

The greatness of childhood,

Now covered in dust.

 

Wise Words

Grandfather, help me.

I feel I’ve lost my way.

Then make a new one.

——

 

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HIGHER (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Too Many Writers

I read less than write,

But all that I write is read.

Does that make me wrong?

 

Lecture Halls

Click-click goes the pen

As the class drifts off to sleep.

Higher thought indeed.

 

Sleepless Nights

I just want to sleep,

But there are too many lights.

Mom! Stop partying!

 

Patriarchs

“Praise be unto Zeus

For he has brought us the rain!”

Words from a rapist.

 

Higher

I fell through a haze

Of smoke that was in my car

To the universe.

——

 

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THE FLOWERS OF SUCCESS

Hello everyone,

 

First of all, for those of you who liked The Discovery of the Skyfish, I wanted to let you know that He will be returning next Monday. I have a few ideas I wanted to run with to put those poems together, but today is for some goal setting and schedule building. It’s been nearly a year since I began writing for this blog (in fact, we are just 23 days away from the anniversary, if I have counted right), which is strictly awesome, and I will talk about that more at a later date.

However, I realized that I, as a blogger, have only sort of kept to some of the ideas I have shared throughout my blogging experience this past year. Specifically, I wanted to discuss the schedule of this blog. Over the past year, I have been carefully tracking the data that WordPress keeps for me, and recognized that Fridays are my most popular days. Whether this is because I cemented love poetry pretty much exclusively for Fridays or not is up for debate, but what I realized is that I am not making this something I can track easily. I write somewhat randomly, which is great (I mean, in the sense that I can claim I am channeling “the Muse”), but it also leaves myself and others uncertain about what the next day entails. Do you have the vaguest idea of what I write about on Mondays? I don’t. Is Tuesday going to be something you want to read? Who knows?

One of the major inspirations for me, as a consistent, five day per week blogger, was YouTube. YouTube, you ask? But aren’t they, like, the enemy of written work? Well, yes and no. The visual medium, and the ease of access to it, has pacified many people, which may be why reading is less “popular” today than fifty years ago. Who knows? What YouTube (or rather, many famous YouTubers) did do right, however, was realize people like consistency. Take a look at the vast majority of popular channels. Consistent views, everyday, because they upload new, interesting content every day. Similarly, if any of you are aware of Twitch, the popular streaming service, then you probably have a knowledge of popular streamers. Those who are the most popular stream daily (excluding a few, who are typically members of the community in other ways).

So what does all this have to do with my writing? Well, everything and nothing really. Any expressive medium is a device that is unique to each individual in the same way that all petals are unique to a flower. Both are used to present ones self to a variety of pollinators. While on the surface they may all appear the same, the slightest detail is enough to distinguish between two different individuals. Video and literary art are simply two different species of flower—one with blue petals, one with red. Both still need water to grow. Put less artfully, I’ve taken the success of posting consistently on YouTube, and applied it to my own work. With this in mind, I’ve decided to solidify my schedule a bit more, in order to make it easier for you, the reader, to have an idea of what to expect. Here it is:

 

Monday – Poem/Short Story

Tuesday – “Serious” Topic Discussion

Wednesday – Poem/Short Story

Thursday – Short story

Friday – Love Poem

 

Look at that. Even in my scheduling I have some room for randomness. I have put serious in quotes, because it’s not really supposed to just be “serious” stuff. It could be the terror of the political spectrum, it could be the puppies I saw down the street the other day. Until next time!

– Cassady

——

 

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