Paint

Distant humming, mechanical whirring,
a slight rumble and shake to the room;
The air is on, and I can feel it graze through
the hairs sticking up from my skin;
Computer screens, half awake, half asleep,
a beachside oasis wallpaper repeated
on every other monitor,
jutting rocks, a cavern of sand,
and it’s 1:46pm, to be exact;
Two more hours to go, until I am free to leave
and let my mind roam mindlessly elsewhere
and at another time;

Remember school?
Remember what it was like when they finally
turned on the AC, and the entire building
shifted
in place?
Remember how it felt when walking into a room,
a room you knew before, but now with
added comfort and luxury?
A room that once made you sweat until your
pits could drain enough water to fill a bucket?
A room that once made you cry tears of
complete exhaustion, from bullying or
heat or whatever else existed outside the mind?

Yeah, that’s it.

Paint a picture without photos

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End

This is the end, he said,
While wiping away smiles
From his brow, his face
So limitless and free
The summer to come
No clue where he’ll land
Come autumn or winter or
Next summer

This is the end, he said,
For now at least,
Until a few months have passed
And time takes its heavy toll
On whatever remains
Come August, September, October
The months and years down the line

This is the end, he said,
and I’m ready for what’s next

F Word

Crumpled up piece of paper
found in the trash between
lunch periods,
between gum-stained homework
and block erasers
an outline of a small hand,
all five fingers, one extended
further upwards than
the others,
and a message in all caps,
scratched out in pencil,
still legible despite this
it says, “Mr. D” and then
trails off, landing
somewhere indistinct and disgusting
and vulgar and depressing
and most of all, sad,
to think someone thought this
up, put it into reality, and
threw it out, unable to face
the consequences of
sharing it in person,
face to face,
I would’ve cried if that
had happened.
I would’ve

Breakfast at Sea

A late-afternoon family breakfast in the middle of the ocean,

Where the life was quite inviting and the food was mighty delightful,

We ate soggy sea chips with soggy seafood, then in our comfort departed.

It was two a.m. and the waves floated in on a darkening cloud,

Carrying shells and seaweed with grace to the awakening shore –

Since forever it seems that nothing has changed -, then the waves floated back.

At three a.m. the family made its arrival and expected adventure,

With alien eyes and alien bodies to the great island before us,

The sky strolled on foot and then rained its confusion, then we danced in the mist.

Once the palm trees started to bend we knew it was best to stay inside,

For the shower of coconuts shined like the moon arriving in an apocalyptic blaze,

Like the end time but more pleasant than the Christians had imagined, then we laughed.

After it reached four a.m. we sensed trouble on the horizon,

As a pirate ship sounded off and barged in with a “BOOM!,”

Taking the family for prisoners and the island for their kind, then sipping on rum.

Then in ten minutes time the family had boarded the dangerous vehicle,

Since we braced for the worst, we knew the worst was yet to come,

But they sacrificed little sister Rita to their captain, then anchored off.

At five a.m. the sky unglued itself from the dark of the dawn,

And the mist had rose around the pirate ship to their dismay and commotion,

So the family devised a plan which would surely work, then we cheered.

Once it reached six a.m. the sun had taken his watch over the land,

Peering through the crack in the sky that it crafted especially for him,

Such that the moon could rest for a while in his spectacular light, then awake again.

When the clock tower struck seven and the birds rose in the east,

It was time to unleash our plot upon the dastardly pirates and surprise them,

So with great ferocity and coordination we struck them with steel, then with iron.

We escaped the ship in a bang as the cannons fired after our tracks,

But in the ocean we were protected among the coral reefs and fish galore,

And we enjoyed a nice meal with them in the distant shade,

Then at eight we finally awoke and forgot the great dream we had shared.

 

Having fun

What will they think when they check Facebook,

And see you hanging out, having fun?

What will they think?

I’m no stranger to salacious social media gossip / in high school a clique was formed around laughing at junior prom outfits / as every dress and tux pairing posted on Facebook / within moments the thunderbirds mobilized, pulling apart / their inelegant extravagance and disastrous unpreparedness / but they feared themselves most of all / admitted years and days later / far enough removed so the wounds had already closed / for everyone else but those who started it / they dreamed absolution, saw none in their lifetimes / left in the dark again / I watched with them

What will they think?

Estranged family / arrive at my classroom by instinct knowing fully / well the dangers in closing and reopening doors / that creak and croak louder when magnified / they wonder why my namesake changed / why my tagged pictures don’t load any more / why my posts are customized, hidden from their view / they spoke to Aunt Sheila, who was left off the list years ago / before she drugged herself on a Tuesday afternoon / two summers ago / and fell into being life’s eternal social media manager / and you remember crying in front of them / without answering

What will they think?

No stranger, no stranger to / dangerous anxiety and self-deprecation / but no worries, no reconciliation, no ambushes / no more watchful scars atop high peaks observing, reflecting on the day’s wonderful filtered experience / we are in full surrender to the norm / those who are happy make it known, those who suffer leave it alone / nothing surprises anyone except / when weeks pass without a mountainous sunrise / of laughter and unique experience / and the chains bind you to unceasing futility and boredom, while / thunderbirds soar in circles above you / and Sisyphus whispers mournfully,

But what will they think of it?

What will they think if you leave?