Monday, February 21, 2011

Goodnight - 10thDoM RoM Percocet and Pudding

It was a beautiful night and everything was movie scene perfect - the serendipitous meeting, the soft glow of the street lamps, the clear and starry sky, the ambiance of the fountain diving for the sky and falling back around itself. And the kiss was lovely, soft and slow and with an odd familiarity like it had happened between them a million times before.

And it was the sad kiss of something that could never be. Elle's life, or at least her desire to keep going, had been dying for quite some time. She floated through relationship to relationship with no breath in between. Every time she thought the next one would be different, and every time, she found him to be exactly the same.

They were all serendipitous meetings, and the first kiss was always a scene from a movie. Elle was oddly comfortable with people she had no business developing such a deep level of comfort with so quickly. So, she had promised herself to stay single, to not give in to her usual impulses, to not look at every chance meeting and perfect kiss as fate. And this perfect kiss told her all she needed to know about John.

He gently released his grasp of her and smiled the smile of the conquerer. He knew that with that one kiss he had sealed the deal and that Elle was smitten with him. She returned a different kind of smile, one laced with sadness in her eyes, and she saw his eyes change at some sort of realization that he couldn't quite put his finger on.

"It was wonderful running into you, John."

And before he could say anything, Elle turned, clutched her bag close to her chest, and ran as fast as she could to her car. Since she knew the area well, she took a couple of longer ways in hopes that John wouldn't be able to follow her easily. She hoped she hadn't mentioned what kind of car she drove, not that he'd be able to find it anyhow amongst all the others, she thought.

The drive home was a melancholy laced with an earnest sense of satisfaction. She didn't know his last name or his phone number, and Elle was pretty sure that stuff didn't come up in conversation. If it had, she must have been daydreaming her way through the banter.

Elle's apartment was small. She flipped on the TV and headed for the fridge. After contemplating a few different options - orange juice, ginger ale, Cherry Dr. Pepper - she decided to open the bottle of Chardonnay that had been chilling for at least a month now. She poured the golden liquid into an amber wine glass and took in the aroma. Wine always smelled so good.

From beside the fridge, Elle grabbed a prescription bottle. She didn't hurt anywhere, at least not physically, but she needed to feel numb for a while. After a few moments of contemplation, she decided 3 Percocets would do the trick and downed them quickly with a swig of Chardonnay before she could change her mind.

It wasn't the perfect end to a nearly perfect day, but it was probably the best ending to a movie scene day she'd ever had, she thought. She'd gone against her nature. It hurt terribly. She wanted to be in John's arms right now, blissfully unaware of what would inevitably become another emotional horror show. Elle smiled bitterly as she opened the fridge again, grabbed a cup of butterscotch pudding and decided it had been a good day to run.

I'll just be a minute
Close the door
It's all been a game to you
I don’t want you no more

You’re all play, no fair
Fireflies glow at night
It’ll just be a minute
Til I say goodnight

It's time for Percocet and pudding
And a little wine to pass the time
It’s time for Percocet and pudding
And a little wine to pass the time
Don’t wanna scream or shout
I’m laying it out
Cause you won’t never play fair

Don't wait for me here
I'm not coming home
Flypaper won't stick me here
I’m just too far gone

Sing your lulla-lies down the street
I'm floating on air
Don't wait for me here
I’ll lay your shit bare


Leave me for now
Your honey don’t attract me
I know you’re sour inside
And you won’t let me be

I’m not your queen bee baby
I’m tired of being the fool
Leave me here for now
You never play by the rules


Careful Wishes - 10thDoM RoM You Gotta Be Careful What You Wish For Here

John stood up from the bench and walked toward the fountain as the haggard old man for whom Elle had created an imaginary lifetime began hobbling his way down the brick walkway and into the night. She followed John and as she watched the old man wander away, taking her created life with him.

"Do you make wishes?" John asked as he handed Elle a shiny copper penny. Elle took the warm piece of metal and closed her fingers around it, closed her eyes and made a wish.

"Not really," she lied for no reason at all as she rubbed the penny between her forefinger and thumb and then began switching fingers. She liked the way the penny felt in her hand. It was small yet strong.

Elle wished for many things. This one penny couldn't begin to hold them all, but she felt herself sending wish after wish with all the mental force she could muster down into the shiny copper circle. It was silly, she knew, but it made her feel good to pretend.

"Not on stars or coins or birthday candles?" he asked.

"Maybe... Maybe I wished for you."

"For me?"

"But I don't even know you so I don't know if you're what I wished for yet."

"Why would you wish for me?"

"I don't know that it's you I wished for. You could be what I wished not."

"Wished not?"

"Maybe running into you has made me miss my wish."

"So you do wish?"

"Not really."

John just smiled. She thought he had a beautiful smile. It quirked up to the left and there was a perfect little dimple there. His deep brown eyes sparkled under the starry skies and street lamps, and even though she didn't usually like brown eyes, preferring a grey-blue or hazel instead, she liked his. Or maybe she liked the way she felt while she was with him enough to overlook that small thing.

"What do you wish for, Johnny Boy?" Elle teased.

He raised his eyebrows to challenge her tease but smiled anyhow.

"World peace."

"That's ridiculous. I can't even find self peace."

"But that's what everyone's supposed to wish for, right?"

"I guess. It just seems a waste."

"But it's WORLD PEACE!" John's voice raised and his arms flew wide as he let out a big laugh and threw his arms around Elle.

Elle looked up at him. It was a moment. A moment that could change her whole plan. Maybe just for today, or maybe for a week, or maybe forever. That was too much to think about right now as her heart pounded and she half-heartedly attempted to pull away. He didn't let go. She pressed her lips together tightly, shied her eyes, and quirked up her own crooked smile.

"What would you wish for me?" John asked.

She didn't know how to answer or she didn't want to. It didn't matter. She knew what was going to happen, and it was what she wished for from the moment she first saw him even though she knew it was a dangerous path to follow.

Elle tilted her face toward John's, lifted a little onto her tip-toes, and kissed him.

Careful Wishes

Careful wishes
Don’t come around
Like August dreams at noon
They fall to the side
And can’t decide
If they’ll obey the moon

Speak your dreams
And never dare
To let love flail
Or fail to unpair

We cast our wishes
Across the pond
Into the wishing well
We wait for miracles
To be seen
Or hope to cast a spell

Speak your dreams
And never dare
To let love flail
Or fail to unpair

Oh, careful wishes
Fly high to the sky
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon
They light on clouds
And seek no grounds
But often fall too soon

Operatic Irony - 10thDoM RoM Threepenny Bet

At some point during the evening, the conversation dissipated into a lovely silence. Not an awkward one but a comforting one where it felt like they could communicate without words, feel their thoughts traversing the air, and know the depths of each other's soul. It was a little over-the-top, Elle thought to herself, but it was the feeling of the moment, and she loved that feeling and would fight tooth and nail to have it now and to have the possibility of experiencing it again.

Slowly, John and Elle realized that their surroundings grew quieter and quieter until it was only the random passerby who infiltrated their imaginary autonomy. They found a wooden bench near an illuminated fountain and sat facing each other, dreamy-eyed and surface nervous despite their comfort level with each other.

A man caught the corner of Elle's eye, and she turned her head to face him. She was taken in by his disheveled state and began imagining how he had gotten to this haggard state, wandering alone, quietly stopping beneath a street lamp to catch his breath. She could see that he might have been handsome once and imagined that he might have sat on this very bench with a woman once upon a time before life had played its sad game with him.

As he moved, awkwardly ambling toward a grouping of large stones near the fountain, John followed Elle's gaze and then turned back to her, seeing that she was in some sort of imagination trance that he didn't dare interrupt. Elle's mind began creating this man's life from a promising childhood as his neighborhood's best street baseball player to his rebellious, long-hair-growing teenage years to his stint in the military, to his dishonorable discharge for something that wasn't even his fault.

She saw his life flash before her eyes as she read the sadness in his. "Mack the Knife" began oozing out of the outdoor sound system, and Elle saw some spark of recognition in the man as he heard the tune. She wondered just how much he could relate to the lyrics wafting through the air. For a moment, Elle recalled seeing the Threepenny Opera with her dad, and she bet that the disheveled man had seen it at some point in his life as well.

His life, as imagined by Elle, began slowing down as her mind brought him to this point in his life, dragging himself around as though he wished he were invisible or nonexistent. Finally, John interrupted her thoughts with his mere presence, and Elle finally broke their lovely long silence, "I think that's Mack The Knife over there." If he was confused or didn't understand, it didn't show on his face, and that made Elle smile.

That man standin over there
He don’t know where
He’s gonna rest his head tonight

He’s been rambling all over town
With his head hung down
Keepin out of their sights

He thinks he’s all alone
With a heart made of stone
And he’ll be all alone
For the rest of his life
He thinks he’s all alone
Thinks his heart’s made of stone
And he’s ready to die

That man walkin down the street
Lookin down at his feet
Wondering where he’ll hide

He’s runnin from his sins
Making plans for his ends
Time is not on his side


He threw her to the winds
Drove out around the bends
Hid her body neath the trees
Neath those rusty autumn leaves
Now he’s runnin in the wild
He’s feeling like a child
Beaten down to his knees
Beggin please, no daddy, please


That man crawling on his knees
Beggin please mister please
Could you spare some change now

He’s crying all the while
Knowing he’ll never smile
Now that she’s in the ground

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beneath the Stars - 10thDoM RoM A Space Iliad

John looked over at Elle and simply smiled. She felt like he was glad to have her fingers intertwined with his and was relieved that he didn't seem to have noticed her indulgence in his scent, or if he did, he did not care.

Their conversations stopped and started with a familiarity typically reserved for age-old friends. There were no awkward pauses, and when Elle's mind drifted so far away that the dialogue became lost in the cacophony of the surrounding sounds, John seemed to either not notice or not be bothered. It didn't occur to her that he just wouldn't care.

It was evening and the aquarium was getting ready to close. Elle wasn't ready to leave John, and John didn't seem eager to leave her either. There was an open grassy knoll between the aquarium and another museum, and they found themselves sitting in the middle of the field, oblivious to other life except the street musicians serenading the rise and fall of their unending conversation.

The familiarity between the two on this day of their initial meeting was one of confusion for Elle. She didn't understand the lack of awkwardness and candor. They both spoke of old relationships, philosophies on life, love, religion, politics, and all the other supposedly forbidden subjects as the lolled about on the emerald field.

She didn't notice until they were nearly lying down, side by side, that their hands had never released and were still intertwined as though that was the way they had always meant to be. It was odd that she had not gotten the sensation to pull away because even though it was Elle who had intertwined their fingers in the first place, she was typically the first to pull away from any situation that became too close or intimate. She liked his hands; they were handsome.

The day seemed to go on forever in a way that Elle deemed beautiful and serene. Most days that went on forever were dreadfully depressing days filled with sadness and wishful thinking and her own unique method of over-analyzing any situation in which she found herself.

Under the stars, her mind flew at warp speed, contemplating how she had gotten to this point, from being a complacently single woman on the journey of finding herself through being truly on her own to feeling desire and wondering about possibilities. Her mind jumped arduously through every hoop she could imagine, and despite all her reservations, all that mattered to her in this moment, in this time, is that she loved how his hand felt intertwined in hers.

It didn't matter that this day was meant to be a day of solidarity, concreting her commitment to a life of being single for a while. Today was the day that she would lie beneath the stars, talking about space and Homer and poetic epics and all the nothingness in between. This day could be the day that she met her true love, and who was she to put her foot down and intimate that this was a time of solitude for her. Elle firmly believed that people came into her life for a reason, and beneath these stars, beneath the endlessness of space, she would not let this opportunity for love pass her by. Even though she could feel her eyes welling, unsure of whether they were from fear or happiness, she, like Andromache, smiled through her tears and squeezed John's hand a little tighter.

I was in pieces
When he came around
Thought I was lucky I’d found
A man with feet on the ground

And he told me he’d be
Oh, he told me he’d be
My rock on the sea
He told me

I was in pieces
He put his hands on my face
Followed my offbeat pace
He loved looking off into space

And he told me he’d be
Oh, he told me he’d be
My rock on the sea
He told me

How could I know
Oh, how could I know
That you weren’t so my dear
How could I know
Oh, how could I know

I was in pieces
When he said my name
Said he’d never play games
Or put my heart to shame

And he told me he’d be
Oh, he told me he’d be
My rock on the sea
He promised me

How could I know
Oh, how could I know
That you weren’t so my dear
How could I know
Oh, how could I know

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whale Tide - 10thDoM RoM The Faint Trace of Ambergris

The Whale exhibit was on the furthest side of the aquarium away from the jellyfish. They didn't stop to visit the starfish and stingray petting pool, the North American rivers exhibit, or the Asian sea creatures exhibit, although Elle made a mental note to head there next if there was time. As much as she enjoyed being at the aquarium, there was actually very little that truly interested her; she simply enjoyed the ambiance of the watery azure surroundings and watching the silvery white reflections weaving their tentacled fingers along the sky and cobalt halls.

As they traversed through the now crowded halls, John stopped suddenly, causing Elle, in her usual state of being happily oblivious, to walk right into his back. It was only a split second, but Elle's nose brushed against the grey hood of his sweatshirt, and her nose burned in exhilaration at his scent.

She was immediately transported back to the Saturdays of her childhood... Incense burning, windows and doors open so the breeze could flow through the little apartment she shared with her dad. Saturdays had been usually reserved as cleaning day or softball tournament days in the summer, often both, and Elle's mind played with her olfactory senses as time machine in the present. She was thrown into a happy bliss of sensory overloaded memory as she could instantly recall the waxy lemon scent of the furniture polish and the eye-burning clean smell of the dish soap. She could feel the breeze flowing from the front to the back of the long duplex, from the living room door, down the long hallway to her bedroom and out the back screen door. She could see bright sun filtering through the billowing sheer window coverings and feel it's warmth through the cool breeze. She could hear the Rolling Stones playing on the big speakers. She could taste the humidity resting on the invisible streams of mountain air. But mostly, Elle could smell, feel, see the incense burning on the living room mantle; they had always burned incense on Saturdays.

Elle's dad was a fountain of useless knowledge, and the sensory tornado that John's simple musky scent had just created in Elle's already overactive mind also brought on a barrage of miscellaneous trivia her dad used to bestow upon her while he worked his daily crosswords in the old yellowed and torn chair in the living room. She remembered that early incense was made from whale vomit.

At that very moment, Elle noticed an inconspicuous part of the whale exhibit, near the emergency exit, underneath the giant life sized replica of the blue whale suspended by wires that were a little too conspicuous for Elle's taste, but that was neither here nor there. She grabbed John's hand, wrapping her palm and closed fingers crisscrossed against his, and pulled him towards the previously overlooked fixture.

It was ambergris. The whale vomit that had been the original incense. It was a fairly large piece and was covered with a mesh material so you could still smell it. Elle inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. It was a unique and earthy scent but it was still reminiscent of many other scents of her past. John was talking, maybe wondering what the thing was, maybe asking Elle a question, maybe just talking about nothing in particular. Elle wasn't paying attention. She simply turned to him, buried her nose in his sweatshirt and drew in a deep breath.

There it was - the faint trace of ambergris. As the barrage of memories came back to her, she noticed she hadn't let go of John's hand. Instead of letting go, she turned her hand a little and interlaced her fingers through his.

Summer days
Running through my veins
I feel it now in the air

Steamy rain
Soaking through my shoes
Cooling off the hottest days

I got caught in your scent
It always takes me back
That faint trace of ambergris
Always brings me home

Nighttime breeze
Curtains billow in the wind
While I sleep through night sounds

Morning dew
Running through the grass
Barefoot in the summertime

I got caught in your scent
It always takes me back
That faint trace of ambergris
Always brings me home

It’s when all the time is free
And time moves lovely
It’s our time, you’ll see
In our time we are set free

Summer days
Running through my veins
I feel it now in the air

The faint trace of ambergris
Always takes me home

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

John Followed - 10thDoM RoM En Plein Air

Elle headed toward the outdoor patio just off the aquarium cafeteria without waiting to see what John wanted to do. John followed. The swirling mosaic of mini ceramic tiles was one of her favorite parts of the aquarium. She liked to follow the swirls, imagining herself as Dorothy at the beginning of the yellow brick road, where the road swirled so closely around itself. She enjoyed running her fingers across the air, painting imaginary pictures on imaginary canvases as she slid along the colorful path. Only vaguely aware of John's presence at the moment, she let herself go, tracing along and twirling around the swirling patterns of the multi-colored tiles.

The times she caught herself in these trances, the ones where she was aware that people might be looking or staring and thinking she was maybe a little off kilter or maybe even completely off her rocker but truly didn't care for the moment were the best of all. This was her version of being Monet, an impermanent version, creating pictures of fields and flowers and umbrellas in her mind as her body shifted waltzingly along en plein air. The only thing missing from this moment was her iPod playing An Horse or Tegan and Sara in her ear, giving her an awkward beat to dictate her odd combination of childlike and trance-like movements.

John didn't make fun of her. He just stood there, that left-quirked smile across his face, eyes glistening in the sunlight, staring at her as she moved to her own imaginary song. She was beautiful here. The springtime yellow sun shined brightly and reflected shades of red penny and deep copper off her long hair as she flailed to a beat or song unheard by anyone but Elle. She painted a beautiful picture across the patio with her movements. He was amused but not embarrassed. She could tell. It made her happier than she felt comfortable with, but she'd take it.

After a few more minutes dancing in the warm sun and light breeze, she was done and walked back to the double doors to enter the aquarium building. She looked over her shoulder at John.

"Let's go see the whales!"

John followed.

Love Like Air

She paints with colors red
The sun shines upon her head
She sings to the morning sun
Dances for no one
And lives love like air

He watches from 'cross the room
Smiles as she sings her tune
Afraid she'll never know
How far he'd go
He loves her like air

They'd waltz in time to sounds
That no one else can hear
He'd sweep her in his arms
And lift away her fear

She twirls in her favorite dress
Laughs like she couldn't laugh less
She smiles like no one
Could have more fun
Dancing on air

He dreamed her in colors red
Words spoken, unspoken said
Come follow me
And we'll be
In love like air

They'd waltz in time to sounds
That no one else can hear
He'd sweep her in his arms
And lift away her fear

Origami Heart - 10thDoM RoM Fuck Origami

When he asked her to continue walking with her, she said yes even though she'd already seen the parts of the aquarium he had yet to explore. The aqua hues stole her mind for a moment and she didn't notice him speaking to her, conversational tones lost in the periphery of her consciousness. When her mind was reluctantly returned and she realized she'd glazed over, she had a momentary pang of guilt, but she was glad she caught the end of the conversation.

"..introduce myself. I'm John."

"I'm Elle."

"Well, I'm glad I ran into you, or vice versa. How did that go again?"

"Either way, I suppose. Probably more me running into you."

"Well you take the blame for that, and I'll score the blame for the cranial smash."

As she gave a half-hearted laugh, she gave a whole-hearted smirk. Most of her didn't want to go with him, but those were not the parts in control of the situation. It wasn't a matter of being interested or not. He was cute and had nice lips. Another time and she'd be eager to go with him, but she needed to be single for a while, a long while, and she was the type to dive head-first into a concrete pool without first looking to see if there was even water. She could feel the beginnings of the dive, and she couldn't stop herself.

They began weaving their way through the aquarium, nearly tracing an identical path to the one Elle had already traveled. John seemed to really be interested in sharks and the more predatory species of the aquarium. There was an uneasy lack of dialogue between the two, but Elle kind of enjoyed that. She found solace and sense of calm in uncomfortable situations. Maybe it was from being constantly on edge as the only child of a resentful mother, trying to anticipate and quell the extremely volatile situations her mother created, or maybe it was that Elle knew if things were too comfortable, something terrible would have to happen soon. Such was life.

As they exited the shark exhibit and made their way to the main atrium of the aquarium, Elle realized she hadn't eaten all day and suggested they take a little break for lunch. John had already eaten but seemed happy to sit with Elle for a bit. Since it was mid-afternoon, the lines weren't long, and Elle was able to grab a salad, fries, water, and too many napkins.

John picked up a Coke and they quickly found a place to sit. Conversation flowed more easily between them as Elle ate at a strangely quick pace, and when she'd filled up on just half her salad and a few fries, neither made a move to continue their aquarium journey. As they continued talking about everything and nothing important, Elle's hands became occupied with the mess of too many napkins.

She didn't even notice what she was doing as her fingers worked nimbly to fold and refold napkin after napkin. These were high quality napkins and held their shape well without tearing, which probably contributed to the lack of attention Elle was paying to what her hands were doing while from her mouth flowed words and sentences and laughter. If John hadn't stopped mid-sentence and stared at the pile of carefully folded tiny three-dimensional hearts, Elle would have continued making the simple origami shapes unaware.

John picked up one of the two napkins left and met Elle's eyes, indicating that he wanted her to continue and he would follow. Elle kept her gaze on his face, noticing the small mole below his left eye, the way his hair hung to the right and sometimes covered his deep brown eyes, the stubble that created that five o'clock shadow look but looked as though he'd taken a few days to get to that point, and the way his lips quirked a little more to the left when he smiled. Her hands continued to work their magic, and John seemed to be concentrating with pointed interest.

When she was done, she looked down at John's first attempt at origami. It was a terrible mess and looked nothing like a heart or even anything more than a crudely folded wrinkled napkin. Elle guffawed and John's eyes lit up hearing how loud and unusual her laugh was.

"I think success!"

"Oh, is that so?"

"I got you to laugh - I mean really laugh."


"But you know what?"


"Fuck origami."

At that, Elle smiled, really truly smiled.

"Yeah. Fuck origami."

She emptied the tray of thirteen carefully crafted and one crudely crumpled heart into the nearest trash bin.

Origami Heart

Take a look
Each fold a past
Each crease an end
The smooth sweet edge

The way I fold
I'm paper thin
Under your hand
Your strong rough hand

I have an origami heart
And I fold with you from the start
I have an origami heart
Oh, please be careful with me

With silent aches
And words unsaid
In etches only
Hearts unfold

You see my smile
It tears with ease
Oh, hold it soft
Origami heart

I am an origami heart
And I told the truth from the start
I am an origami heart
Oh, please take care of me

Like crisp rice sheets
Perforated lines
Razor scored glass
A cracked mirror hold
I'll tear to shreds
Pitiful and small
Oh, sweet origami heart

Hold it close
But keep some space
I crush with ease
As I break

Oh, turn me up
And pinch my sides
Your fingers crease
Upon my edge

I was an origami heart
And I said, with it I cannot part
I was an origami heart
Oh, please return it to me

Be gentle love
I'm fragile, frail
Please soothe my heart
Origami heart

Too strong a hand
Crumples my folds
A docile grip
Will keep us close

I had an origami heart
And I folded quickly from the start
I had an origami heart
Oh, fuck it. Origami heart

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reluctant Titans - 10thDoM RoM Reluctant Titan

A new kind of starry vision and sharp pain seared through her skull as they smashed faces on their simultaneous journey to pick up her scattered belongings. Her right hand flew to touch the upper outer corner of her eye socket where the impact had been most fierce and had a mental picture of the goose-egg that was sure to grace that space within the next hour or so. And before she knew it, she saw her left hand lift to caress his right temple that was already brightening in color.

The words fell hurriedly from both their lips - the I'm-so-sorrys and are-you-oks ran together, overlapping and intertwining to create their own cacophonous chorus beneath the white-noise hum of incandescent lighting, air filter motors, and an oblivious public. When their voices finally silenced, she saw that her left hand still caressed the side of his face and she reluctantly let her arm fall away.

Her relationships tended to be volatile, and recently she had, after much resistance, fully accepted but only halfheartedly committed herself to being single for a while - a long while. Truthfully, she thought she only needed the halfhearted commitment due to the lack of local prospects, so it was really more that she just didn't think finding someone at this juncture of her life would be a possibility.

With awareness of her lack of true commitment, she cursed herself as she began speaking to him in a fashion one would if she were flirting. While her mind seethed, trying to distract her mouth from talking and smiling and her eyes from sparkling, her lips kept moving and melodic syllables kept falling from her mouth. The conversation existed and there was nothing to be done.

He caught a glimpse of her journal, opened to a page that happened to have a wider array of different handwriting styles than any other. She wondered if he wondered if it was the work of multiple people or multiple personalities. Then, she wondered why she cared. She wondered why she was flirty and interested in him while she chastised herself for being flirty and interested in him. This was how her mind always worked. She found it interesting from an observational perspective and incredibly frustrating from an experiential one.

As they stood, the last of the jellyfish exhibits towered ahead. The aquarium had recently acquired a giant Lion's Mane jellyfish. While this one was no record breaker, this sea creature had the potential to grow longer than a blue whale, which they both thought was pretty epic. They also felt a sadness, not a deep one - one that would be forgotten within the next 30 seconds or so, if it even lasted that long - but a sadness, nonetheless, that this great sea titan only existed reluctantly in its state-of-the-art Plexiglas container with simulated oceanic currents that would never take the gelatinous blob anywhere more than a couple feet to the left or right. She was well-aware of the irony.

Reluctant Titans

We were talking like old friends from the first time
And you were lighting up my life, but it’s the wrong time
Your smile scrapes my heart scars, it scares me so
I’m tired of being the only one in love

And we are, we are
Reluctant Titans
As we fall, we fall
Back to the ground

You say my name like it’s your favorite word, I told you so
I make up words that you mean but cannot know
Slick tongued sayings you practice in mirrors for
A me who hadn’t walked through your door

And we are, we are
Reluctant Titans
As we fall, we fall
Back to the ground

We were young and we were fighters weren’t we? Yes, now.
And we were shooting our ideas up to the skies now
Hold my hand, we'll fall together from the clouds now
We are bigger than this world we know, yes now

And we are, we are
Reluctant Titans
And we fall, we fall
Back to the ground

(Apologies for the vocal quality of the video. Not For Jellyfish is experiencing technical difficulties of the vocal chord variety...)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Into the Deep - 10thDoM RoM Deep Sleep. Deep Space. Deep Shit. (M1, C2)

As she gazed at the azure blue cylinder in the center of the room and watched the wispy transparent sea creatures puff their way up and float back down a little over and over again, she felt her cheeks flush with the awareness that someone had fixated his gaze on her. Through the bright tank, she glimpsed two dark eyes, partially obscured by tangled tentacles as they flowed effortlessly through the cylindrical divide. She caught his eyes for just a moment before looking down, pretending that she didn't see him seeing her.

She dug through her shoulder bag and lowered her eyes, a futile attempt to hide her face that had turned beet red and the sheen of sweat had appeared on her brow. From the cavernous bag, she pulled out a small, brown leather-bound journal with unlined fibrous pages. A thin, prettily braided string wound around the tattered booklet, and as her fingers fumbled, the braid caught and the book fell to the floor. No one seemed to be looking as she knelt quickly to catch it, but she felt like all eyes were on her. She glanced around quickly to see if anyone had noticed, or maybe to see if he was still staring at her. She stayed close to the ground for a moment, pretending to look for something else while she recovered. She could still feel his dark eyes sliding over her.

Most of the pages were scattered with smudgy penciled lyrics and thoughts, beginnings with no ends and ends with no beginnings. An occasional sketch graced a random page, every handwritten entry bearing its own unique font. There was no order to the journal, just as disconnected as her thoughts at any given moment, and there was no place for penned entries as she was unconsciously seduced by the impermanence of pencil. When she was truly herself, she was all stream-of-consciousness with strong boundaries but many offshoots, trails that veered and crossed and always made sense to her in a linear fashion but that she couldn't explain to anyone else. She often wished she could simply plug a USB cable from her brain to another so she could be understood, even for just a moment.

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and stood, feeling the blood rush and enjoying the momentary darkness that had always followed any sudden movements. As she opened her eyes, the blue-black haze and sparkling stars ushered in a feeling of being in space. It always reminded her of the Dutch bedtime lullaby her grandmother used to read to her as a child:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they 'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea---
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
And Nod.
~Eugene Field

There had been many deep sleeps induced by the lullaby and her grandmother's loving touches - to one eye, then both, then her forehead. She'd always imagined three tiny men, sailing in a tiny wooden shoe through a space so deep it wasn't known by earthy beings.

When she turned to move on to the next jellyfish tank, she'd forgotten all about the dark eyes of which she'd been all too aware less than a minute before, but many thoughts had matriculated through her ever-swirling mind by then, and she had moved on. The smash of her body into his and the startlingly loud, "Ooh!" along with the clattering of leather and pencil and bag hitting the ground shocked her back into reality. At the same moment, they both uttered words:

"You must have been somewhere deep.."


Into The Deep

We're falling into the deep
Our eyes can't fall asleep
We’ve been counting the days
We've been falling from grace, now

Our meeting was so sweet
Just open up your eyes
It’s like everybody said
This shit’s bound to be a mine, now

And it’s only ‘cause we breathe
Oh, we feel each other there
And it’s only ‘cause we know
We belong somewhere

The sky’s beginning to weep
The lights are falling through air
Smiles remembered always
Or was it simply a phase, now

The stars will sing us to sleep
Our eyes are too tired to wake
Don’t be counting the ways
To float off into space, now

And it’s only ‘cause we breathe
Oh, we feel each other there
And it’s only ‘cause we know
We belong somewhere

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not For Jellyfish - 10thDoM RoM No Prompt (M0,C1)

Each "chapter" for the RoM Challenge will include prose as well as a simple song to accompany it. Yes, the songs are "original" to the extent that anything can be original these days and yes, the video will be of me singing it. Enjoy the journey...

Here are the chapters, in order:
Not For Jellyfish
Into The Deep
Reluctant Titans
Origami Heart
John Followed
Whale Tide
Beneath The Stars
Operatic Irony
Careful Wishes

Not For Jellyfish

The aqua colors, silvery lines crawling the ceiling, and general hum of the large cavern allowed her to be in a trance that couldn't be easily broken. She watched the large grey predators swim menacingly through the bright blue waters, completely unimpressed and feeling no awe or fear of the aquatic predator.

She wandered through the halls of exhibits, in her own world, completely unaware of the swarms of people brushing against her, ignoring her as they pointed and gasped, screeched and awed at each of the sea creature exhibits. More than anything, she enjoyed pretending to be invisible, anonymous, a wisp in the memories of the people she passed.

Her posture and gait changed with each day, each feeling. Sometimes, she walked tall and confident, head held high, smiling brightly at passersby as she offers a friendly greeting to those she knows and strangers as well. This happened fairly infrequently because for some reason, she found this to be infinitesimally exhausting. Sometimes, she seemed to float through crowds and down streets, aware that she must look somewhat confused and aloof but not caring that some might figure her to be a little mentally unbalanced. Mostly, however, she kept her gaze ahead, blinders on, and her best "eat shit and die" face staring out at the world. If she couldn't be invisible, maybe she could be unapproachable.

There was an awareness that certain people had a certain idea of her. It, at once, made her feel powerful and sad. Powerful to know that she wielded some kind of off-kilter, trance-like allure over men, particularly groups of supposed friends who would compete against each other for the chance to be with her, and sad because she knew that the image created of her was not anything close to the truth of her being and that there would be disappointment with their "prize" should any of them win her at all.

As she wandered from hall to hall, exhibit to exhibit, she had hundreds of thoughts, few having to do with another, no clear path from thought A to thought B and most of them contradictory even if they were truthful. It was this constant duality of thought that made her "the weird girl" she'd come to believe... That, her unnatural literalness, and her incomprehensibly trusting nature created a person who fit no molds, who couldn't be categorized or controlled. She found this amusing considering her sometimes incapacitating need to categorize and control everything in her life. Her naivety, if it could be called that considering her awareness of it, was her favorite quality about herself even as it tended to cause her the most pain in all of her relationships.

With that thought fragmenting through her mind, quirking up the right side of her mouth in the way she did when she had these mental tangles, conversing with herself, facial expressions and all, she wandered into the final hall of the massive aquarium. She always saved the best for last, savoring the moment she'd get to gaze upon the ethereal creatures falling and rising, pulsing and floating, tangled and billowing, dangerous and transparent. In all the animal kingdom, she would never feel connected to another species if not for jellyfish.


She wanders along
Looking through the wrong glass, the wrong glass
And she’s crying her song
To pass the time, it’s time to pass

It’s useless to move on by
Her reflection in the watery sky
It’s useless to move on by
Her reflection in the cool waters lie

She’s singing light
Floating tendrils, poisonous grasp
Her voice takes flight
A crowd of solitude at last


She’d float, float, float for you
But no one looks at the jellyfish
They look right though

She’s smiling dark
Voices crack a little, seem to wane
Her presence sheer
Let’s go up, up, and away