Poem Every Day in July 7: By Design


I used to think of myself
as quite the little fashion designer.
I spent hours poring over sketches:

young women with block-color hair
wearing dresses full of angles,
collars chopped crisp and low

to emulate the girls I’d seen,
the youthful actresses, the older cousins
who I someday hoped to become.

Every face shone bright
unless it was mine, when I drew myself
in baby blue and titled it “Shy Sky”––

that one features a reserved smirk,
and even the exaggerated emerald
I chose for my eyes falls flat,

impassable. It’s hard to imagine
I once thought of myself this way,
misunderstood and tightly self-reined

when really I have always possessed
the multitudinous vibrancy
of a fully-stocked box of pencils.

I have always sashayed and wept,
rainbows, ostentatious and unafraid
to illustrate myself brightly––

and although nervous to document
my full-blast vulnerability,
I’ve remained courageous in the flesh.

Author’s Note: Okay, so maybe I’m misleading you with the title of this post. The entirety of this poem was created on July 8, 2017, because I was a busy bee on July 7. But don’t worry––yours truly will still be providing a full 31 poems this month for you to enjoy.

The Ultimate Summer Playlist: A Poem


tumblr_meawskv1GL1r30mgpo1_500 It made her feel like the sun,

baked sand and happy blisters,

hot but worth it.

It made her feel like a can of something sweet,

snapped open on the beach;

like cicadas,

whispering secrets under the moon;

like watermelon

and strawberries

and lemonade

and iced tea

and hot dogs fresh off the grill.

It made her feel like holding hands,

something she had never tried;

like kissing and blushing

and all the confusion that follows.

It made her feel like a blissful rain,

breaking the sky in two to kiss the Earth,

watching all of its inhabitants skip and glide,

laughing, breathless,

for umbrellas and shelter.

It made her feel like crop tops

and short shorts

and everything she was too timid to touch.

It was just a bunch of songs, maybe,

but especially arranged to create the perfect,

fictitious,

vicarious love

that she could never attempt herself.

Abduction: A Short Story


Image credit: http://buildipedia.com/at-home/kitchen/countertops-101?print=1&tmpl=component

“Are you going to let me out?”

“No.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“With a cherry on top?”

Zenok-9 whirled around, poking her blaster into the human’s temple. The vein there bulged and pulsed.

“You are not getting out, understand?” she asked.

He put his hands up against the sides of his head, a gesture unfamiliar to Zenok-9. “I got it.”

She pivoted on the heel of one of her tall, raised boots to face the front of the elevator once again. It had been a long journey down to Earth, and the prisoner’s unruly behavior was not helping her exhaustion. The doors of the elevator were clean, and shining. For Zenok-9, this was comfort.

Something touched her elbow. On instinct, she whacked it with her gun.

“Hey! What was that for?” the human yelped.

She stared down at him. For someone shackled in place, he certainly was daring. There were burn marks around his wrists from his multiple escape attempts, and a few bruises from the blows he’d taken from others with less patience. The human made an expression that Zenok-9 recognized as a smile, flashing his teeth.

She spun to face the front again, only to be interrupted for the second time by fingers on her elbow.

“Why are you touching me?” she snarled.

Instead of answering, her prisoner asked a question. “Why do you have holes in your sleeves?”

Frustrated, she poked her elbow spike out of the hole he had mentioned. It glistened under the harsh lights in the elevator.

“Neat,” he sighed. “I wish I had one of those.”

“They are very useful in combat,” she replied. It was meant to be a threat, but only seemed to further the human’s fascination. “Very lethal.”

“Are you gonna kill me with one of those?” he asked, glazed over.

Suddenly uncomfortable, Zenok-9 began playing with her antennae. “Not me. And not with one of these.” She studied her prisoner’s face, trying to remember the human facial features she had studied in the academy.  His mouth was completely straight, his eyes staring somewhere very far away. This wasn’t anything she had ever seen.

“What are they gonna kill me with?” Her prisoner, whose head had been pointed at the ground, looked up. “Is it going to be something really cool, at least?”

For some reason, Zenok-9 couldn’t find it in herself to look at the human’s eyes. She retracted her elbow spikes and said, “An injection.”

The prisoner laughed, something her species didn’t do. “That’s not very exciting. I was hoping they’d use one of those,” he replied, motioning towards her gun.

“This gun is nothing special.”

“I beg to differ.” He reached his hands out, as if to take it from her. In response, Zenok-9 returned to her original position, facing forward, like she was supposed to.

The prisoner touched her elbow again. And again. His touch was light, and even warm, unlike the cold, violent physical contact she was used to. The third time his finger lilted against her skin, she let the spike protrude slightly. He ran his hand up and down in, studying its feel.

“Is this made of metal?” he asked.

She nodded, turning her head to the side so he could only see her profile. “Metal spikes are standard implants for soldiers in training. They are required.”

“That’s just cruel,” he muttered under his breath, pulling his arm back to his side. “Why do they do that?”

Zenok-9’s back stiffened. “That is not your place, prisoner,” she snapped. She slung her gun across her chest, returning to full formal position.

In the reflection painted across the elevator doors, she watched the human slump in his seat. This is how most prisoners were; sad, like all of the hope had been drained out of them. Eyes black and cast downward, pensive. The silence smacked the air out of her.

“What is Earth like?” she asked suddenly.

The prisoner shrugged. “It’s okay. Not everyone is great, but a lot of people are. There’s a lot more grass than there is here. And flowers. And colors.” He sighed. “It’s not the best planet, probably. But it’s nice.”

After hearing his testimonial, Zenok-9 backed up slowly and lowered herself onto the bench next to him. “I have spent a lot of my life inside of these elevators,” she said. “I’m always looking at the metal. That’s what I think is nice.”

The human didn’t respond with words, but turned his head to look up to her, then back down, in one fatigued motion.

She continued, “I have never seen grass. But you humans are so sentimental about it.”

“Why do you take us?” the prisoner asked in a quick, rash voice.

“They want to control you,” she answered. “They want your planet.”

“Why the hell do you want that?” he demanded, shouting. His skin sizzled audibly as he jumped in his shackles. It didn’t seem to faze him. “Why?”

“It’s not me.”

“Then why do you take us to our graves?” he hollered. “Why do you do this?”

“That is not your place, prisoner!” she barked.

“It damn well is my place!” His voice filled the entire elevator.

Flustered, Zenok-9 smashed her fist into a few particular keys on the control pad. The elevator came to a sudden halt, silencing the human, and then rocketed upwards again, at several times the speed it had been at before.

The human flattened himself against the side of the elevator shaft, eyes wide. The red in his cheeks shone just as brightly as the electric cuffs around his wrists. Something about his expression was comical to his captor. She burst out in a long, awkward laugh, which mostly sounded painful. She laughed, tears dripping down from her eyes, until the elevator stopped again.

With the press of the button, the shackles that bound the human against the wall and the cuffs around his wrists vanished back into their sockets. She pressed her gun against his temple and, with a monotone, whispered, “Let’s go, prisoner.”

“This day has been something of an emotional rollercoaster for me,” he whispered back. “Maybe I can just take a breather?”

His plea was rejected by her marching steps leading him out of the elevator and into a large, mostly empty room which was decorated only by the gradeouse windows displaying all of outer space before them.

She forced him to walk over to a small, circular door, and punched in the code to make it open. She noticed someone else of her species eyeing her, so she shouted, “Get in, prisoner!” and jabbed him in the chest with the barrel of the gun. He grunted in pain, but did as he was told.

Once the two were inside, Zenok-9 shut the door and made the human walk some more, until he was sitting, buckled in, and she was beside him, pulling her own buckle around her waist.

“This doesn’t look like an execution room,” he stated, taking in all of the whirring lights and clicking that was happening on all sides.

“That is because it is not,” Zenok-9 informed him. “It is an escape pod, to be used only in the case of an emergency.”

She started typing in coordinates when she was interrupted once again by the human’s voice.

“Are you taking me home?”

Instead of answering, she finished typing, and let the blast of ignition speak for her.

“I want to see what is so great about the grass,” she finally said.

The human smiled, an expression of happiness. “Did you really like me enough to save me?” he beamed.

She ignored his eye contact, staring out into the stars. “That is not your place, prisoner,” she replied.

Image credit: http://w8themes.com/grass-wallpapers/

 

excuse me: A Poem


sitting across the room

legs sticking out into the aisle,

“excuse me teach what was that?”

athletic shorts

skin and hair the same shade and tint

scribbling something or other

pencil dancing around

like the waves of the ocean,

“excuse me student what are you drawing?”

an illustration for lyrics

a song no one else in the room knows

in cursive

and hearts

stick figures holding hands, kissing even

“excuse me that seems rather girly”

pulling out glasses

putting them on

tucking them behind the ears

among the close-cropped hair

over the dark eyes

smiling with braces, a cocky grin

raising one eyebrow above the other

looking like a beautiful bad boy

“excuse me is that a problem?”

The Secret Society of Weird Kids: A Short Story


SpatulaHotPink1It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to learn the Macarena, Tabitha thought, stroking her temples with two long pink rubber spatulas; she had bought them earlier that day on clearance at Target and was feeling rather like a rocket scientist herself.

Gavin, on the other hand, was far from it. His feet fumbled across the linoleum as though they were connected to a convulsing elephant rather than a freshman. Nonetheless, he shot a smile to Tabitha, the same shade of white as his skin that never saw the sun. Parts of his expression were lost under flat bangs that desperately needed trimming.

There was a sharp knock at the door, then three more in the club’s secret pattern. Hesitant, Tabitha made her way over to the entryway and, using a spatula, lifted the piece of tissue paper that covered the window.

On the other side of the glass stood a girl Tabitha didn’t recognize. The girl’s dark hair fell in ropes across her face; her blue tee-shirt had an Enterprise pin printed over the breast. She waved her hand, keeping it close to her body, in a stiff greeting. Tabitha rolled her eyes, opening the door just a crack.

“Password?” Tabitha asked in a flat tone.

“Oh right. Duh.” The other girl lifted her hair from her forehead to expose a jagged lightning scar. “I carved it into my forehead when I was eleven. My birthday had just passed, and my letter was nowhere to be seen, and, you know, desperate times call for desperate measures.” The girl giggled. “My name is Hannah, by the way.”

Tabitha sighed, looking dejectedly at the toes of her Converse, then jerked her thumb backwards. “Welcome to the club.”

With a look of awe across her face, Hannah strolled past Tabitha into the band room. Most of the instruments were in shadow; only a single ceiling light was on at this hour, casting a pale yellow across a handful of students who sat in a corner. They discussed something in hushed voices, not because it was a secret but because it felt like a secret that way.

“Guys, this is Hannah.” Tabitha muttered, shuffling across the room behind the other girl.

“Hi, Hannah,” the rest of the group chimed back, rising to absorb Hannah with smiles and handshakes. Beaming, she began a recount of the story of the lightning scar.

“It seems like she fits right in.” It was Gavin’s voice in Tabitha’s ear. She jolted as his breath tickled her skin.

“Good grief, Gavin, stop doing that!” she scolded through her teeth. “You know it scares me.”

He continued as though she hadn’t said anything. “She seems nice. Maybe you should try, oh, I don’t know. Being nice to her.”

“Gavin!” she whined, even though he had a point. “I’m fine.”

“Come on, Tabitha,” Gavin sighed. “You and I both know that you need more friends.”

The corner of Tabitha’s mouth turned up, and she swatted Gavin playfully with a spatula. “Gavin. I’m plenty nice. I even let her in the door without question.”

“You’re not even nice to me all of the time,” he retaliated, “and I’m the best friend you’ve got.”

“Don’t remind me,” she joked.

“You’re doing it again!” he said, although the words were distorted by laughter. “Come on, let’s make some friends.” He wrapped his fingers around her wrist and tugged her over to the crowd. Reluctant, she shifted her feet along to stay next to him.

“Hannah brought cupcakes!” There was an excited chatter all around as the new girl, the life of the party, pulled the pastry in question from her messenger bag. Tabitha noticed with a rue smile that, because the box had been positioned sideways, many of the cupcakes were pushed up against the clear plastic, smearing blue frosting.

“I got the blue ones because they reminded me of the TARDIS,” Hannah announced, pouring enthusiasm out her eyeballs. “It seemed appropriate.”

There was a murmur of agreement as everyone rushed to grab some sugar. By the time Tabitha and Gavin made their way over, all of the pristine cupcakes had been taken, and the only ones remaining were missing patches of frosting. Tabitha looked down at the selection with dismay, then lunged at the blue coating the lid of the box, scooping up chunks with a spatula.

“Thanks for bringing the cupcakes, Hannah,” Gavin said warmly, partly because he was innately friendly and partly because he was trying to cover for his companion. “We don’t usually have snacks. It’s nice, for a change.”

“Oh yeah, of course,” Hannah beamed, eyeing Tabitha. She turned her attention to the other girl. “Are you going to have a cupcake?” she asked.

Tabitha shook her head. “Only the icky ones are left.”

Hannah smiled broadly, a gleam in her eye. “That’s what other people say about us, isn’t it? I mean, we’re just the icky ones. The rejects.” She motioned out to the group. “But we’re still okay. Just because we’re not the prettiest bunch doesn’t mean we’re no good to eat.”

“You haven’t been here very long,” Tabitha replied meekly, a knot forming in the lowest pits of her stomach. “How do you know about that?”

Hannah shrugged. “I haven’t been here, in the secret society, very long, but I’ve been here all my life.” Her smile weakened. “I knew this was a place where I could belong. That’s why I came.”

Tabitha couldn’t help but grin as the knot untied itself and dissolved. She took the spatula that she hadn’t already licked clean of frosting and presented it to Hannah in a pink blur. “Take it,” she said.

“What for?”

“So you can eat the frosting off the lid,” Tabitha explained. After some deliberation, she continued, “But also because you’re a rocket scientist.”

Hannah blushed deeply, then covered her warm cheeks with her hands. “People don’t say nice things to me that often,” she murmured.

They don’t say nice things to me, either,” Tabitha replied.

Gavin cleared his throat.

“Well, people other than Gavin don’t say nice things to me very often,” she corrected herself. “You really do fit in here.”

Gavin cleared his throat again. “Now, what were we doing before Hannah showed up?”

“Teaching everyone how to do the Macarena,” Tabitha answered.

“Okay, I know I just literally walked into a Secret Society of Weird Kids,” Hannah interrupted, “But, seriously, who doesn’t know the Macarena?”

“You’d be surprised,” Tabitha answered.

Gavin shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Whatcha gonna do?”129083-286x236-BlueFrostedCupcake

My New and Improved Bucket List for 2014


It was in 2012 that I first published a bucket list, and, after much deliberation, it does not honestly reflect the things that I want to do before I die. So, without further ado, here is the new and improved list (in no particular order whatsoever).

1. Have a jam session with my favorite band, New Hollow, or, at least, attend one of their concerts.

2. Look Paul Simon in the eye and shake his hand.

3. Write a book. Or several books.

4. Talk to an attractive stranger.

5. Release an album.

6. Fall in love.

7. Have my picture in the Rolling Stone.

8. Be worshiped the way J.K. Rowling is worshiped.

9. Work at a library (it will probably fit in here somewhere).

10. Visit every continent at least once, or travel the world.

11. Cross this off the list because everything else is done.

A Vision


My soul is a warm sunny place

The grass comes up to my shoulders

And in there someone loves me

filler!

I am walking backwards

There are glares from the sun

Scattered across my eyes

filler!

Trees stand in every direction

I don’t know what color their leaves are

It doesn’t really matter

filler!

I smile flashing braces

My eyes are pinched but clear

Drawing him in

filler!

And there is a look on his face

Eyes wide mouth agape

As he realizes he loves me for the first time

filler!

We’re both laughing but it can’t be heard

Instead there is a soft instrumental

Something that I wrote

filler!

It’s beautiful and quiet

Soothing and understanding

Charming and endless

filler!

And we are both running in slow motion

Running through the tall grass

Running through my soul