Where the Nest Sits Best

“There’s a toll to go forward.”

She stared with blank eyes that were trying to figure out far too much at once. The words they spoke saved her the trouble of saying anything aloud.

“What will you pay?” She was asked.

“I’m sorry?”

“What will you pay?” was repeated, and she felt fear panic and rattle in her chest.

“I don’t have any money.” Her voice was as shaken and weak as her knees.

“Can you work for it?”

Her knees were trembling and she wasn’t sure if she could stand much longer, “I’m exhausted!”

“Alright.” The voice remained silent while she remained standing desperately. It returned and said, “Alright.”

“I don’t understand!”, but her knees gave way and the exchange was ended.

*************************************************************************************

She was older, bored, and felt the days pass like trees lining a highway while she drove rather mindlessly along.

“Are you happy?”, The voice said to break the decade long silence.

“Happy? From what?”, She asked, breaking through some of the familiar apathy with an axe of indignation.

“Would you like to try a different method of payment?”

She felt found that the past ten years had almost ceased to exist and was back to feeling as she had before, except she was older now and had given up time.

“I’m sorry but I…”

“Do you have a payment to offer?”

“Stop!” She interrupted, “I don’t want to being giving something up without at least knowing what it is!”.

“What has past since we last spoke?” It asked without a hint, allusion, or seemingly a care in the world.

She thought on how she had lived her days and nights alone, preserving but working to build up something for herself. She felt good and had fortune but nothing special called back to her heart.

“I want to feel like I’ve experienced things.” She said quietly, and with that there was no more.

*************************************************************************************

The bench caught her as she took a seat, her weariness calling an end to whatever she was hoping for.

“Are you happy?”, She heard, hoping she was going mad.

There was no reply from her just yet. She felt her legs with her hand and the true fatigue of them weighed her down on the spot. She felt it the most in her neck and shoulders and felt her eyes begin to water.

“No.”, She said, “No I don’t.”

“Is there something else you’d like to give?”

The voice echoed around her with déjà vu and somehow magnified the pain throbbing in her neck, lower back, and knees.

“What difference would it make?”

“Are you not feeling pleased with what you’ve done?” It asked, and she saw the nights pass. New nights and days of adventure, life being lived to the fullest while she took every chance she could happen upon.

“I don’t…think I am.”

There were people walking by. There were all so different in so many different ways that she found something fascinating in the way they were. It was enrapturing and mind filling to observe and think on these strangers as the time passed. She walked to a nearby café when she needed a break, and with her coffee in her hand she watched again.

As the daylight dimmed she felt the coolness on her skin and knew she must return home soon. She whiled the quietest route home and was nearly there when she was spoken to again:

“What will you pay?”

The buildings she past were lite inside with warm orange glows. The streets around her were quiet and the air still, and so through some of the open windows she could hear people speaking (both in anger and in casual conversation), music playing, and through others wafted the smell of food.

“I’m not going to.” She at last replied.

“What about happiness?”

She was several blocks from home when she stumbled came upon a grocery store. She entered and browsed without any real purpose. While looking at the different varieties of bread she remembered that she had headphones in her bag, and so she put them in her ears and picked something to listen to.

“What about it?” She asked.

Nightingale

There’s a need that’s needed as much as the actual need itself; The resistance holding you down so you don’t run like a wild tire, unfastened and broken free.

In the day it keeps your mind afar while the bits left behind breath shallow; muscles fasten tight as cable. Likely nothing but the thoughts of lists checked off and lashes of red where the half pleasure goes will make that devil, not on one but a claw on both shoulders digging nails in while he rides, bite its tongue for more than a second while your own teeth are half way through. Likely nothing will break through the toxic atmosphere that you’re struggling to build rockets for, and nothing will tell you that’s you’ve done it, even if you could, and let you feel the weightless freedom of an astronaut sucked out in to space and lost forever.

You’ll be pulled home and saved, grounded and burden by the putrid demon wrecking your posture, but you’ll always be a bird. Even in the night as you pull a blanket around you to keep the comfort of being covered, much the same way that the need covers you by day: your wings are there. You need, I need it, and we always will, but even when we concede we can still unglue our wings and beat the air with them in our own miracle of flight. The sky can fill with our old plumage and be made beautiful in the changes we make.

There’s a need that’s needed and there are those that aren’t, and the answers we fill in don’t have to be the cages we die in.

 

***Photo source: http://wiwords.com/word/nightingale ***

The Hands that Shape

There’s no shortage of imagination; there to sweep you off your feet and fly you around with the same force its tendrils, poison black, slither up to your throat and cut out the sound.

The black spirit that preys on the weak runners fleeing through the desperate wood, but also the light through the prism that makes the rainbow stream. So strong no matter heads or tails, right or wrong, kind or cruel, and without it we’d be nothing.

It makes no promises though and may still leave us with nothing in the end.

Lonely Empathy

There’s a stone bench perfectly placed in the snowy court yard, and it’s there that I find you sitting. My bluest friend and daughter that even if I never sire I know I could be proud of; I sit next to you on the bare bench curiously, so in spite of the falling snow. Neither of us speak much and so why would our exchanges be any different? Sitting there with you and the quite snow, so loud and thick in the air, I don’t feel happy, purposeful, or special by in any convention, but this looks like a place that makes sense to us both when so many other things are irregular.

City of Stars

Like an insect in amber she lay in the dark with her eyes to the ceiling and her mind much further. It had been hours since she’d hopefully give sleep a shot and for hours it hadn’t given her the time of night. Her mind was busy and bustling like city streets, and so she tried breathing deep and slow to take her mind away from the running to amble along dirt roads. The rusty powder was undisturbed and not a car was in sight, and in her comfiest shoes she walked in the warm sunlight balanced by the cool breeze; the swaying grass rippling in a hypnotic dance as far as the eye could see. The daisies were cheerful and friendly, as they are well-known to be, and while she did not feel sleep snuggling up to her there was certainly a peaceful tune lulling them together.

It wasn’t without purpose that she walked, and that purpose soon bore the cozy fruit of a farm house and wooden fence. Abandoning the path with an endearing impatience, she made an ankle-deep run towards the boards and posts with her heart bounding so infectiously that the sheep took to their line and begun mimicking the fretless and Seussian spirit. She counted through a smile the woolly friends reaching out their hooves to pull her out of insomnia. They trotted and leaped, trotted and leaped, but their numbers grew larger and the girls smile waned.

“Forty,” She counted, her smile departed and an empty, haunted platform left in the wake, “Forty-one….”

She was cut short by a new woolly friend, small and cheerful with a cute bird nestled on their head. Her legs were stubby but her flower wrapped around her neck was radiant. Over the fence she leaped and soared towards the young woman to return her smile with an extra pull to deepen her dimples. She leaped in to her arms and together they sored up, up, and away until the sky was awash in slumbering purples and blues. They soared ever higher and streamed like a comet towards the glittering pools that they then dove in to. Warm were her bones; soft and cool were her muscles, and among the starscrapers and blossoming flowers of stardust her eyes opened wide with delight. The colors were hypnotic and soothing like warm chocolate, but she must have over-worked them by feasting on all there was to see because her eyes soon became tired and droopy as can be.

Her little alpaca nestled in her arm, she finally found sleep inside the City of Stars.

 

***Image artist Unknown***

The New Devil…

The king is dead and for some reason patches of the crowd, that grew larger and louder by rowdy, forceful influence, cheered praise for the queen. Her name in letters on every screen, shirt, and paper stuck to walls like a silent herald. The crowd outside the new cut-outs for the queen, the unshaped but shapely pieces of paper left with the missing shape and to be recycled, look around in confusion with their hands still half in the air, mouths still agape with the fading smiles and farewell cheers look around in confusion. Were they not a moment ago toppling and doing away with a singular figure on stage? Did they not all burn effigies? Burn banners? Burn and curse the ruling name? They’re desperately looking around in confusion as if waiting for someone to laugh off the joke they were all to experienced not to see, but from one face and quickly to the next the panic was pulled in to the vacuum where the joke was absent. Surely as they scratched out the old problem to write in the new they would stop and chuckle, even if they were late, but they actually sang while they raised the new flag, hung the new banners, and ran behind the convoy coming for their neighbor’s homes.

Looking up at it ripple in to dance by the wind, she saw the new colors against the stone walls. Maybe it was dramatic, but the actors and lines all came to stage in her mind and played out the days to come. It didn’t require being insightful or prophetic to swap some names and faces out, and she didn’t know what to do but stand in the used-up street covered in litter. It was exhausting to have arrived here and would be even more so to move forward on top of what had already passed. Slowly she lowered herself on to the ground and rested her head in her hands, feeling no comfort or discomfort from the concrete on which she lay. Music louder than the wind blew over from the migrating and cheering mobs as she thought of nothing. A goblin thrashed in a bird cage of her ribs, and to think or consider what was and would be happening meant throwing meat to it: encouraging the thrashing and worsening the rattling of the bars.

There she remained among the dropped banners, discarded bottles and signs, and she didn’t know if she would ever get up. She didn’t even think she just grieved.

Wednesday

Words of time spent in photos and the stories cultivated behind them are what these gatherings usually consist of. Maybe it’s my age or resignation but I listen to these tales and only feel the joy I can see in their wild eyes, excited hands, or the way they turn from face-to-face as if they wish they could pull each of us back in to the moment to live it with them. I really don’t know what anyone else would really enjoy otherwise because I don’t feel envy or longing from the exposure. I watch the others forming the loose circle and see pain on my love’s face, polite interest on the petite souris-like face of another, and the story-teller’s companion echoing in movement the life of the account. The companion also feeds the fire we’re huddled around in a way the rest of us don’t feel enough to do.

When the tale ends the talk becomes smaller and our circle breaks like links in a chain so we can drift and form other short-lived loops. Hours of this do more for others than they do for myself. I enjoy the time with my love but otherwise wonder if I’m missing out on something when I see how life seems to drip like sap from a tree from these gatherings for the others, and when they take their filled bucket home I can only guess how long the sweetness of it keeps them full. What I do know is that when I return to the dark of my summer-heated apartment I’ll feel miles away from them like a stranded goose with a broken wing in late November. It doesn’t take long to remember how little the sweetness of those journeys and the tales that keep them alive as ghosts for the years afterwards do for me, but while I come down from the high of loneliness I feel it all the same. I light up my keys and dim my screen in the dark of my unlit apartment so I can speak in my own voice like I could never do with the chords in my throat. The night goes on, and by the time the sleep takes me I’m far from longing.