The Lamp Post

mistletoe

Here I am again. Hanging out on the street corner. Every year it’s the same thing. Someone strings me up on the lamp post and 5 hours later, someone comes back with a girl they position underneath me. “Look.” He’ll point. “We’re standing under the mistletoe.”

The girl will glance up. She will give me the same look she gives the someone beside her. Ah yes, I can hear her think. How did I end up here again?

I am the only mistletoe around for blocks. Yet everyone knows I exist. The lamp post, while beautiful in its own right, both resents and enjoys my popularity. At first, the pointing feels good. Basking in the glow of his own light, he feels a surge of pride from the strangers looking at us.  Then comes the eggnog.

Early December is not so bad. The Christmas music is at a comfortable Mariah Carey intimacy. Mid December and the shoppers are getting more hectic. By late December, Perry Como has peaked and the eggnog, while once a disgusting choice of raw egg and cheap alcohol, suddenly makes an appearance.

Loud after-work parties and sloppy caroling seem to never end. The lamp post isn’t pleased. Teenage boys with dog-like tongues kiss the girls they like best. The lamp post glares at me. Come January first when I should be taken down, it’s just me and the post-Christmas post.  Here I am again, wondering whether someone made it home with someone else.

The Roller Skate

rollerskate

 

I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, but I am nobody’s key. 

They rolled in hot pink bubble gum, but stuck to the sides and bleed. Roads for miles with streets past the corner, the ground is stretched on neon. They roll past gravel and pave plumping stickiness until nobody is left to deceive. 

I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, but there is no actual key. 

They could leave if they want to, but actually they can’t because people can’t roll the same way. People head home. People go to work. Their feet got stopped up in sweetness. 

“I’d go if I could, but I just can’t move.” The path is too pretty to leave. 

The Magazines

ppl

 

People is for sale.

All of them as one, wrapped in plastic. How did they get themselves caught?

At first they were too large. Big, broad shoulders too wide for scrawny dresses and heads the size of thoughts: they had to become smaller. Tiny phones holding the world of web made them crane, straining their necks into squares. One by one, person to person, they shrank.

Into the flashes of cameras, people curled up inside miniature frames. One shot shows a smile. Another, a wave. One shot has a pensive look. Another, shame. The eyes are scanned and recognized, but they all seem mostly the same. These are the people beside the candy bars.  

I’d like to buy the People. Every one of them, into my purse. Crinkling on top of one another, they cut up. Get plastic surgery. They slip around one another like business cards -I’d buy what they’re selling. Whether it’s clothing or just the material, People stands for stands of people. They still stand on top.

The Rat Poison

poison

 

The bellies of the beasts with the sickness and the death mated from each other’s navel gazing.

“Look how beautiful we are,” said the first to the second.

She was long and sleek with the coat of a fox. She had a head like that of a peacock. Tall feathers sprouted from her scalp like bright ideas pointed high. They were out of reach. All she could think of was the beauty of herself and the ideas, like her feathers, moved beyond her.

“It’s almost too much.” The second stared at his expansive chest made entirely of beating hearts. Thumping in unison, he was a strong and steady rhythm. His body marched only for himself. With the blood of a thousand sons, his energy spiked mountains. His body was a gift from the Gods. He stared at his stomach, swollen from a feast, but suddenly noticed a hole.

“What is that?” The first said to the second. She pointed at her own belly in shame. She, too, had a tiny hole and it was tunneling to the center of her core. She was sure she would have noticed had it been there before, but absent of its memory, she gazed. A dark emptiness went straight through her gut. Coldness was hiding.

The second stared at himself. His worry was starting to grow. Poking their eyes as far inside themselves as possible, each beast could not find what they were looking for.

“Do you see anything?” The first asked the second.

“I see nothing.” The second said to the first.

The idea of a vast emptiness in the pit of such perfection was enough to make a grown beast cry. They curled their claws, reaching and prying into the depths of the nothingness. They reached for themselves and when they couldn’t hold on, they reached for each other in vain.

“I think I feel something.” The second said to the first.

After digging into the crevices further against her flesh, he felt the sudden movement of acid. Unlike possible organs nourished in the blood of a belly, this was a wetness that was cold.

Frantic with a mix of repulsion and curiosity, the second beast tried to melt her.

“What are you doing?” She asked with no answer. He was finding himself inside.

The acid crept closer to the ridges of her body, but it never once warmed to his touch. When it stung the sides of his clawed and gnarled fingers, he immediately retracted in pain.

The acid was out. Trailing against his skin, it tunneled through his stomach for the safety of an easy spot. His own body was contaminated. Like a hollowed out fish with a lifeless disposition, he could feel the clearing of his hearts.

One heart stopped beating. And then another. His strength began to fade.

“What have you done?” He said to the first, but she had no answer to give him. “You’ve infected me. You’ve made me sick. You’ve given me your own disease.”

She stared at the beast, now scrawny and deflated and shook her head side to side. “I’ve got nothing of my own. I’ve got nothing to give. What are we without our disease?”

The Fire Alarm

fire-alarm

 

5 things to understand about your fire alarm

  1. Some things need more attention than others. When your alarm screams, flashing everyone in sight for seemingly no reason at all, it needs you to understand: You are his whole life.
  2. Fire alarms are sensitive. Sometimes when they go off, it’s scary. To the fire alarm, even the most innocuous threat seems real. Without your full attention, the fire alarm may feel ignored.
  3. Fires are unnecessary to sound an alarm. If peace and quiet has occurred for an unusually long period of time, the fire alarm will warn you. Under the guise of “it’s better safe than sorry”, random shrieks may be heard.
  4. If a fire alarm ceases to carry out its duty; you will not know. Like the silent, but deadly killer of carbon monoxide, a defunct fire alarm stays quiet. Instead, fire alarms may sulk, pretending everything is okay for months at a time.
  5. Fire alarms will die for you. Some may consider fire alarms dramatic. Others think they’re their hero. Either way, when taking a fire alarm for granted, there will be repercussions.

The Brush

brush

 

“You’re so beautiful.” And the brush was good. 

When the brush was tiny, a comb with sharp teeth, he snagged against thick tangles in the morning. Large women with curls like a slinky proved the comb was not strong enough to fit. He pulled and he clawed, but he ripped at the root. He snarled until the women all screamed.

He was a small plastic comb that looked sharp, but was flimsy. With too much stress, the comb would snap, so he hid in the hair of many. Maybe she’ll forget about me, the comb started to hope as he buried himself further toward her scalp. 

The further he tried to disappear, the harder the women yanked. Stuck and clingy, he had nowhere to go. He bared his teeth again. 

“This is useless!” One woman shouted early before dawn. Her hair, heavy and wet, was too much for the comb to handle. With one jerk of her bangled wrist, the snarls of teeth and hair broke free. The comb was no longer. The mornings were bad.

In its place, several days later, the comb morphed into its softness. He had bristles like horse hair. His body was a spoon. No longer were there hard edged teeth and the small compact frame of something rigid. Instead, he embraced the shine that all women want. And there was evening, and there was morning. And it was good. 

The Sentencing

 

the sentence2

 

Curled into tiny shapes and growing. Animal letters stretch carefully as not to be seen. Peering small sized and waiting. It takes a bent neck to notice. “Closer” they say – seeping further into the page. “My body of paper is eating us up. Is it cannibalism?” Still they stay.

These words weren’t always this small, but before the big, they just were. Limping on a question too old to hold: Can anyone read what I’m saying?

And when nobody could, they grew impatient with rage until the question split in half. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE ALL OF THIS? They jumped into space. IS ENTITLEMENT NOT DESERVED?

But when one page’s letters became the volume of another, their meaning became the same. I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. Said one sentence to the next, but nobody paid attention. I NEED TO PICK UP TOOTHPASTE, SPONGES AND SEEDLESS GRAPES. Another sentence took over.

Exclamation points were added to stand out from all the rest. HEY!! I’LL BRB!!! But they were ignored just the same. It was always besides the point.

A small period was stated and then The End. The words, at first, were devastated. But after the silence, when exclamations were forgotten, the words crept and curled. Like the pause of a tongue swallowing the “saids”, the animal letters

s t r e t c h

The Thermometer

thermometer-1614708_960_720

11:28pm: Hey, u up?

Thermometer 11:28pm: What’s that supposed to mean?

11:29pm: Just seeing whats up

Thermometer 11:30pm: Who is this?

11:30pm: I’m your #1 fan

Thermometer 11:31pm: Do you even know me?

11:31pm: I know ur hot

Thermometer 11:32pm: Stop texting me.

11:33pm: Ok- I’m serious now. Ur the 1 for me. I saw you at the CVS on 5th street, remember?

11:40pm: You were in the aisle all by yourself. I asked for your # and you gave it.

Thermometer 11:40pm: Fantastic?

11:40pm: u know it

Thermometer 11:41pm: That was two weeks ago.

11:41pm: I was working up the courage to text

Thermometer 11:41pm: Really? You seemed pretty cocky when you approached me out of nowhere.

11:42pm: It was a facade. I’m shy underneath

Thermometer 11:41: You don’t have anything underneath.

11:43pm: What are you saying?

Thermometer 11:52pm: You’re a carpet cleaner. Expiration date passed.

____________

[Hi readers, I am trying to make a bit of money off my blog by trying Amazon’s Affiliate program. It might not work out – I’m not sure yet. Anyway, any advertisement I post, will be relevant to what I write. I respect my readership and your opinion.]

 

The Guide To Modern Dating:

The Prayer Flag

prayer

 

I have a confession to make. I heard everything you were saying that night on the porch. In the alley. On the beach.

I hear them all. All the time. I hear them even when you’re fine.

Somebody wants a boyfriend for the 8th grade dinner dance. Someone wants a raise. I know the man who cheated on his wife and I know his remorseful ways.

I heard the child in the bathroom stall, pleading the school would fall down

and I heard the teacher in the other room, wishing they’d all drown.

I have to pick wisely, I keep telling you all. At the right time for the right cause, I answer the right call.

Like the woman in the hospital who really might have died

or when a man was almost jailed because of someone else’s lie.

But I have to tell you everything because without it I won’t make sense.

I lost my ears in a city park. The world became too tense.

 

The Cap

cap

 

Put a lid on it.

Everybody says it. Someone’s popping off at the mouth and all of the sudden, it’s my problem. It’s up to me to find the solution because God knows nothing else will stop this catastrophe from bubbling over. The problem with this theory, of course, is that the explosion still happens.

Nobody ever really chooses the bottle. They think it will give them something to do – make them feel like they have a purpose, or that it doesn’t matter if they don’t. Either way, it’s a second solution when the first is out of reach.

I met this bottle in a wood paneled convenient store that was made to look like a country store. By that, I mean they had the wood shelving and weird stamp books, but they also had stuff like Mineral Water for $4.39 a bottle. It’s a place where rich people can spend money to feel poor. Although the mineral water bottle seemed exotic enough in the moment, they’re all the same.

“Where are you going?” It was like the thing would never leave me alone. No matter where I went, it followed. “Don’t go to lunch without me!” The pleas were incessant.

I wanted freedom. I could go anywhere just as long as I could find a pair of pants loose enough to sneak into.

This apparently was not an option. “You can’t leave me.” I was halfway out of the kitchen when I heard it.

“I have to go. I can’t sit around all day and do nothing.”

“You can’t leave me!” It was the same thing over and over and over again.

“I’m really sorry. You’ll find another,” I said. “I promise.”

But as soon as I rolled on, a terrible avalanche of fizz built up against the bottle. The sound of carbonated thunder roared down the counter and through the house.

“Jesus.” Even as I said it, I knew I’d never be heard.

It was too late. A million tiny bubbles packed their way against the glass, threatening to break everything solid. Its pop and fizz hissed and the whirlwind of water that once seemed magically alive was now an angry force I hardly recognized.

I looked longingly for the door, but it was too far away. It wasn’t my problem. It wasn’t my idea. “Just contain yourself,” I said.

 

Three weeks later, I saw the bottle again. I was in a little cafe staring hopelessly into a bottle of wine, when I happened to glance over to the table next to me. Elegantly poised and completely at home, the bottle was capped by another.

____

 

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