Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Think I've Heard This One Before

I wish it were a fairytale,
yet I’m suspicious of happy endings.

I think I am in love with you,
but you’re in love with her.

You come to me to talk—
to share your fractured heart,

and there’s only so much I can say;
truth: “I just want your happiness.”

Because that’s what love requires
(horrid thing that it can be):

that I must constantly push you up,
yet pushing you away from me.

You love her and she loves you;
I've no right of your love to claim.

I refuse to attack her virtue, your fealty,
or to selfishly self-promote.

You love her and she loves you.
To your happily-ever-after, my sacrifice I devote.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flight 1023

A sharp throb in the corner of my forehead woke me. I opened my eyes as I was shaken again and my head hit the window. 

I sat up and grasped the arms of the seat. The turbulence seemed worse than before. I glanced around the cabin. All six people, though wide awake, seemed unperturbed. There was one couple who sat next to each other, quietly talking. The rest were scattered throughout the twenty-passenger cabin, happily entertaining themselves.

I glanced toward the control cabin, and found the stewardess staring at me. She was standing before the closed door, both hands reaching out to steady her balance. The knuckles to her left hand were white, as she clutched the galley counter. I met her eyes again. I could not tell if they were pleading or warning.

I stood and then grabbed the seat before me as the craft lurched again. The stewardess continued her stare. I slowly made my way toward her. When I reached her, she drew herself erect. 

“Um,” I began, uneasy with her silent formality. “I was wondering if—” I didn’t even know what I was wondering, but before I could babble on, she stepped aside and opened the control cabin door. “Uh,” I mumbled, aimlessly pointing inside. 

I glanced at the stewardess again for direction. Her eyes seemed to soften for a moment, but then the plane shook violently and all she managed was a harsh, “Go!”

I pulled myself through the door, and it shut quickly behind me. The turbulence seemed to have lessened here, but the room was all but silent. Clamorous beeps and buzzes trilled through the air. In response, flashes and blinkings jived along the flight deck. “What is going on?” I yelled to no one in particular. 

“No need to shout,” came the terse, calm voice. Instantly, the beeps and buzzes and flashes and blinkings subdued. I searched for the voice and found an apparition in the co-pilot’s seat. 

“Who are you?” I asked, suspicious of his translucency. 

“The auto-pilot,” he said, plainly, not taking his eyes away from the controls directly before him. 

“Where is the pilot?” I asked, quickly scanning the otherwise unoccupied cabin.

 “Not here,” came the reply. 

“And the co-pilot?” The apparition did not respond. “Right,” I mumbled. “Who needs a co-pilot when you’ve got an efficient auto-pilot?” 

“This body is fully under control,” the auto-pilot stated. His hands and attention remained at the controls. “The passengers are content and undisturbed. There is no protocol to question my efficiency.”

“What about all those sounds and lights from this side of the cockpit? Or even some of the ones near you that you seem to be ignoring?”

“Non-essentials. And it is inconsistent that you question my efficiency.” Although the voice remained emotionless, the words betrayed a challenge.

“Well, I, uh,” I took a step back toward the door.

“Unless of course—” the auto-pilot paused, and for the first time turned away from the controls. He looked directly at me. His face was expressionless, but his eyes spoke the same ambiguous language as the stewardess. “—you are offering to direct this body.”

“Oh, uh,” I took another step back and felt for the door hatch. 

“Are you leaving?” the auto-pilot asked.

“Yes,” I said, still unable to rip my eyes away from his. 

But with my response he turned back to the controls. “Then I shall resume my post.”

Freed of his stare, I turned toward the door. The beeps and buzzes returned; lights danced, reflecting, upon the door before me. I yanked the door open and was shoved by the plane’s turbulent fit into the passenger cabin. I sensed the stewardess beside me but avoided her eyes and made my way back to my seat. Once settled I glanced again at the passengers. The turbulence seemed to have no effect on them. Then I dared to look again to the stewardess. She had resumed her position before the control room door, her arms again bracing herself, and her eyes again watching me. I sank down in my seat to escape her glare, and set my head against the window. The cap on my head shifted sideways. I pulled it off, and set it on the seat beside me. I hadn’t remembered putting it on. With my head against the window, I closed my eyes and urged myself back to sleep before another round of turbulence could awaken me.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Be Bold, But Remember: You Can Never Take it Back

Words have power.
Sharp thorns embedded
into flesh, emitting toxins,

I’ve learned to harness such power—
to topple kings and queens
with precisely aimed words.

But power is corrupting:
not only kings and queens,
but brothers and sisters
have fallen prey to my words.

“Turn evil to good.
Use words not to tear down,
but with them only build up.”
Such a beautiful image:
Pauline murderer to saint.
But weapons of death
aren’t easily wrought
into life.

So I sit
and I watch
and I listen
and I wait
and I pray
that I may be wise,
that when I open my mouth
and let forth tempered speech
I may only nick your fear or your pride.
And if I do stab your heart
it will not simply be to kill,
but rather aimed at a death
which makes way for new life.

So be careful when you ask
or allow me to speak;
words still hold their power,
and I'm still learning to be meek.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Day is Bleeding

I dreamt of you; a Nightmare
of one whom I desire.
In dream, my heart held tight you,
but yours held someone tighter.
I felt my heart start breaking;
I tried to flee this terror.
But woke to horrid memory
that Day bleeds into Nightmare.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Don't Stop; Run

They say, those who can’t do,
I say, those who can’t decide,

To be fair,
there are those who study
with a specific telos in mind:
the much-coveted,
Can you hear the angelic chorus?
Here, let me do it again:
Hear it?
Ah. Music to my ears.
Or at least to the ears of
my financially-conscious,
(family members,
potential funding bodies,
insurance companies,

But I just can’t decide—
especially upon which life-defining
(There! Did you hear it, this time?)
I should pursue.
And I admit
I was guiltily excited
to discover
I am not alone.
There are a surprising number of us here,
floating in indecision,
finding safe-haven within academia.

Please don’t misunderstand me:
it is not avoidance of responsibility;
it is avoidance of caged-monotony.
The fear that once I choose,
I will be locked-in.
Oh, yes, I know it is possible to change,
but I’ve tried that at the academic level,
and even there it costs time and money.
(I hear my financially-, socially-, productivity-conscious critics cringing.)
No, a stable and secure career is much more preferred.
(You know, the kind where benefits
and vacation time
with increased commitment
and dedication
and loyalty
to The Company.)

But I think I am avoiding
more than simple caged-monotony.
Let me illustrate:
Hi, I’m Jaime.
Hello, Jaime. Nice to meet you. And what do you do?
I’m a blogger!
(She must have misunderstood my question.)
I’m a self-publishing writer.
I’m an editorial assistant.
(Temp-work, most likely.)
I’m an editor.
(She probably sucks too much at writing to be an author herself.)
I’m an author.
I work under Gina Centrello for The Random House Publishing Group.
I’m still a student at the moment. I am studying
_______ (insert exotic or intelligent-sounding topic here).
Well, that sounds exciting, Jaime. Enjoy the adventure!
You have so many opportunities before you!

For along with caged-monotony comes
The Label.
The pigeon-holes
and classifications
and judgments.
All because you asked me what I do.
But put off the decision,
and I can still do—
and, more importantly—
anything and everything and nothing.

Those who can’t decide,
And those who study,
often teach.
It is not an inability to do
or an avoidance of responsibility;
it is defiance of—
or, perhaps, irrational fear of—
that immovable Label,
which dictates:
you are what you do.