Auclair

Help me aged tree. My senses have all been attacked.

I’m color-blind.

My ears are ringing.

Everything feels like steel bristles on my skin.

Sugar and fat are dust on my tongue.

Everything is the worst kind of pungent.

That’s not what bothers me most though. Like you, with your hardened bark and height and beautiful foliage for all to see, I’m mostly hollow underneath. Some birds are there but they’re on holiday now, and the mice scare the shit out of me.

When I look inside and see the space I really feel bad for myself, but then I feel bad for those who came to see something else. They come to see something that they think is there and so I fill it as quickly as can be. Flocks of these crowds snap and point and bask or something. I’m running out of ideas. Mostly, aged tree, I’m tired of pretending that I’m not carved open and empty as can be.

Was it my fault or something else? Where’s the answer to this equation? I’m sorry to say it’s just me and, yes, I don’t blame you for the frustration. If I wasn’t so color-blind I’d maybe tell you about my mask de-jour, but I am, I can’t, and basically the presentation was cut short.

You see I’m just like you aged tree: on the hill and alone except during peak hours. I feel empty and stiff and forgotten. I feel dishonest and sour. I can shout at you all night and there’s still going to be another day; I can try and try and try some more but I won’t be able to strip the bark away.

Help me aged tree, because I’ve never asked for help. I know you can’t and won’t, but I’ll ask you because I don’t know what else to do. There’s still no color but there is ringing; there’s still bristles, the pungent, and dust.

I wish I wasn’t me anymore, or that I could at least truly give up.

I wish I could rhyme better or grow up.

I don’t really wish though…. I just try and keep up.

 

Hey there, aged tree. I’m hollow just like you.

Except my pain doesn’t turn off, it just recycles itself anew.

 

***Featured image is by Alena Aenami

https://www.artstation.com/aenamiart

Nine in the Afternoon

All through the little town’s houses, shops, pathways, and trees colored like candy and just as sweet. The sun that morning rose and smiled at the people as they smiled back during the easy commutes and walks along the grass and iridescent sparkling of the river-ways. A cheerful morning progressed in to a delightful afternoon. With hearts light and excited, the evening was welcomed in to night and before they slept there was laughter and fun for a night-cap.

Dawn returned singing joyfully bright and on time. The routines were journeyed like the stairs down to the tree on Christmas morning right through the morning, afternoon, evening, and in to the gloaming last hours before sleep bid good-night and good-bye to the terrific day.

The sky of diamonds was washed anew in the light of the morning sun, rising-up and filling the clear and pale blue sheet above the rising town. Few clouds came but the ones that did were small and wispy in their lazy floating down the river of the sky. When the next morning arrived, few of the townspeople realized that today they would notice just how particularly similar the clouds they would see that afternoon were, and when they turned their gazed up at noted times the day after that a question they wished they hadn’t considered came to mind.

The weeks past and the town buzzed happily along with their work, their laughter, their time in the sunshine, and without a single speed-bump. Some eyes couldn’t fail to see the clouds drift by with each afternoon, but they brushed that away like an irksome fly. None of them remembered what it felt like to swat away a fly, or a mosquito, or the panic of a buzzing wasp or seeing a spider, but the flowers were vibrant with an aroma as soothing as camomile. Their lives were as full as their bellies, protruding and growing with each glorious, fairy-tale like day and salty and fat loving night of comfortable drunkenness.

The sun bounded over the horizon and took its spot high above them once more. In it’s hot glare an insect-green smart car butted in front of a medium-slate blue pickup. The brashness of the smart car’s coxswain had been sprouted by being cut-off in a different manner the night before by low-funds keeping him from reaching his nightly buzz. He was shorter than his tall stature would suggest, and with it came the uncommon rush to cross the distance between home and work this morning. The pickup did his best to drop off the unexpected indignation, but this was only one of many tiny stones that had pinged in to the town’s windshield. The cracks begun to spread.

The sick calls the following mornings were the first in sometime, and with eyes as round and full as the moon did their swollen and bronze bosses gaze upon this new mar on their perfect attendance. Voices cracked unfamiliar as they shouted without delight and scratched their sweating heads to the view of candy colored shops, pathways, and trees outside of their windows.

A young woman’s alarm beat the sun the following morning, and with playful synth in her ears she opened her door out to the cooler morning air. The concrete path through the grass lined with wilted flowers was but twenty steps in length and ended at the sidewalk framing her quiet suburban street. With a tiny skip she begun her morning jog until her sweat grew warm and then cool in the air. Three blocks away from returning home she spotted a man sitting on the step of an enviable home of grey brick and elegant windows. She recognized the unfamiliar man through the new weight he’d gained, his slumped upper-body leaned heavily upon his knees, and his swollen hands cupped together like a bowl as it held his face.

“Good morning, Mark!” She called as she ran by.

He did not respond, nor would she have heard such a thing anyways, and instead he wept until the dawn threatened to arrive shortly after.

Separating Migrant Children from Their Families.

Public outcry continues to grow over the increase of children being separated from their immigrant parents entering the United States. Former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Women’s march co-founder Linda Sarsour, House Democrat Nancy Pelosi and even First Lady Melania Trump and her husband Donald Trump are just a small number of public figures, human rights activists, and politicians that have been lambasting the growing number of incidents that have come to the public’s focus in recent weeks.

Since the Republican Administration enacted their new “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration this past May nearly 2, 000 children have been separated from their families upon entry, according to new figures from the Department of Homeland Security. [1] In accordance with the new policy: “The Attorney General Directed United States Attorneys on the Southwest Border to prosecute all amenable adults who illegally enter the country, including those accompanied by their children, for 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), illegal entry” and that “Children whose parents are referred for prosecution will be placed with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). [2]

While illegal immigration is and has been a crime for years, past administrations have focused on lesser penalties such as deportation, charging only a small percentage of illegal immigrants with misdemeanors or, in the case of repeat offenders, felonies. [3] This new focus of stricter guidelines has sparked the increase of separation due to migrants being sent to federal jails while they wait to be presented in front of a federal judge for prosecution [3] and their children are sent to ORR facilities while they are detained. This is where these reports of families being separated comes from. The quickly growing problem with these new guidelines is that these agencies have been overloaded and underequipped for years, and as of June 7th of this year these facilities are 95 percent full, with 11 000 children being held. [3] These numbers along with the continuing emergence of firsthand accounts from those who have been separated from their families [4] and the moral arguments that arise from this treatment of children has fueled the public debate of whether it is right or not to enforce these policies in this manner.

When questioned about his thoughts on these separations, the President of the United States blamed the Democratic party and claimed they were responsible for the policy, stating: “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.”. Kellyanne Conway also made similar remarks when questioned and put the onus on Democrats, saying if they are serious about overhauling the system, “They’ll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform”. When asked whether the president was willing to end the policy, she said: “The president is ready to get meaningful immigration reform across the board.” [5] These claims prove to be false due to this policy only coming in to effect via a deliberate policy shift by the Trump administration, and they have the power to unilaterally reverse it. [6] This certainly does not bode well for what this means in the coming weeks and creates an air of uncertainty regarding if or when change may be seen.

Sources:

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/children-separated-trump-immigration-policy-zero-tolerance-parents-border-a8401526.html

[2] https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/zero-tolerance-immigration-prosecutions-family-fact-sheet

[3] https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/they-just-took-them-frantic-parents-separated-from-their-kids-fill-courts-on-the-border/2018/06/09/e3f5170c-6aa9-11e8-bea7-c8eb28bc52b1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7f3b06375c1a

[5] http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/border-children-parents-separation-trump-1.4710055

[6] https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/15/politics/family-separation-democrats-trump/index.html

Pink Lemonade

He ordered a pink lemonade and sat in the shade. The summer was alive and in her prime for all to see to his absolute delight. There wasn’t always an easy understanding when necks were burning and a quick walk down the block meant sweat and salt but seeing vibrant light against every dirty corner and a boost of color in the general dress-code made up for it. With a cool drink to hold and condensation between his fingers he could just absorb it like a flower taking in sunlight. He would leave the sunlight to the flowers though and sit in the shady comfort of an umbrella, bar, or lie on his couch and watch the ceiling fan spin in wait for the dusk. It was the nights, still hot and alive but shining with a mix of lights and colors that repainted the city up and down the streets with paradise. Music filled the air and his body with the energy of pure life until he became a wildly dancing marionette under the influence of the experience. Nothing he knew or felt could compare with these visits to heaven to dance with the angels, and it was what he lived for.

He checked his watch and saw it was nearing three O’clock. There were people to meet with and begin the parade towards the festivities of the coming night: dancing and singing in to the hot air all the way there.

Architecture

Red like the sunset

Red like pain

Heads: upset

Tales insane

 

Blueprints mark where we went apart

Ghosts haunting together keep hand-in-hand

Keep quiet but alive, unbroken heart

Don’t ask me why I’m so sad.

 

This calefaction in passing has been hope

That I’m not as stranded as the shore suggests

More importantly I’m not a misanthrope

Like the growing, painful red

 

Be young, be free, be all over

You’re the print on my far wall

There’s haunted prints in the sand coming closer

With the same smell of alcohol

 

Red like velvet

Red like blain

Tails: abet

Head: abstain

 

Wind from the peddles

Accompany me in writing

Not the garden but of wheels

Traveling, not sight-seeing

 

Two buildings at last remain

One to be constructed, the other a passenger train

In that there’s me and that and me

A message unmissable when you’re dreaming to be free.

Six and-A-Half Hours

Last night, I turned off the lights of my apartment and the darkness rung in my ears like a call from an unknown number. I found it a lot and grabbed my keys before stepping in to the light of the hallway, stepped in to the lift, exited the building, and entered the parking-garage next-door to find my car. The engine brought a familiar sound of purpose that held strong as I exited from the opening shutter of the entrance’s eye. It’s funny, but it took cutting four other cars off on four separate occasion for me to recognize the way I was feeling. Once I saw it the illusion surrendered belly-up with the most earnest of eyes: my tight knuckles were a range of sharp peaks against the lights ahead of me, my foot ordered the gas and break with a startling lack of caution or forewarning, and by the way my face kept close to the wheel you would think death was ready to jump out in to my headlights at any second. All at once and at no particular time this state of affairs came to me along with a destination.

I pulled in to this parking lot that’s nothing more than a road sign with the impact of a goldfish memory to rush to a stop with one yellow line almost dead in the middle underneath me. I wanted to get out and slam the door behind me; I wanted to throw my keys at a passing car and crack their windshield. That wouldn’t work, so I next thought about smashing all of my own windows and taking a seat inside the MacDonald’s near-by. From a window I’d wait to see how long it would take for someone to steal it. Twenty minutes I’d wait on the least-compensating metal chair that could have possibly been my date for the night before running back out and throwing my keys in to the driver’s seat. Why I would have ever taken the keys with me I’m not sure, but it pushed me to throw them in a little harder. Perfect form though, and as I let them loose I felt like I’d maybe missed out on something as an athlete. My teamwork was about as strong as a chain of paperclips trying to tow a jeep, but maybe it would have improved if I’d taken up more sports. Just simply trying to figure out which was the result of which or which I would need to have put first to push the other forward was already more work than I was willing to do.

Once I turned the engine off though I just sat in the same silence I’d driven forty-five minutes away from. There weren’t many cars on the road and the passing half-hours dwindled those numbers to practically nothing. I counted the seconds between them and only stopped when I could build minutes. In the back of my head I wanted to go home and sleep but knew I wouldn’t be able to. I felt chained to that bed: rattling up and out to eat breakfast, shower, go to work, and whatever duck-walking parade the route of the day led me along. Feeling tired and uncomfortable with my legs cramped and the soreness all over my ass feels different and that’s really all I know that I want right now. When was the last I did that? When was the last time I was tired because I wasn’t sleeping? Or wasn’t sleeping because I was up?

The sun rise makes me feel sick. I want to puke in the most dramatic sense but that’s not gonna happen, so I’m just going to have to feel like this for awhile. It’s not as good as what I was hoping for, but what was I actually hoping for? Checking my phone with the last of its energy suggests something. This is the first time I’ve realized I don’t have a best-friend in a long time. Probably since high-school when I first found myself without one, but the nights over and that map of memories and what-ifs will have to wait until next time.

In the rear-view I see some kid in a reflective vest get out of a truck and start picking up trash with a stick. In a couple of hours there will be a rotation of people passing over all of this without much thought to anyone maybe having been here this morning. I think I care even less about them than they do me, but mostly everything is alright right about now. The raw and itching of my rose-colored glasses will probably help with the view of the day, but I really was hoping something more would have arrived at dawn.

Blackburn

The class room was standard fair that was amplified by the bored faces and bodies hibernating through the season of a dry lecture.

The voice born to lullaby them came from a man without the inclination to reign his pupils in no matter what eyelids were covering them, and as such his speech persisted on whether he saw a student eating, a phone commanding another’s attention, a head down catching up on the sleep they traded for arriving on time, or even the student near the back with their headphones in.

It was the one near the back, earbuds in and yet still sharing his music with those within earshot, who was managing to attract the attention of someone with his transmission of sound waves like an S.O.S. It was her though, transmission coming loud and clear, that sought saving. She first hoped that he would turn it down after a particular song, and then when that hurdled was clumsily run through she begun hoping someone else who notice and say something. Several of those hurdles were run through like it was elementary school track-and-field, and so she begun to look around at those close to her in hopes of meeting the attention of someone else who was only an ally away from acting.

Still, nothing. The beat of the music mixed and corrupted the lesson like black paint mixed spitefully in with the perfect shade of yellow. She tried to build herself enough of a platform to reach over and ask them to turn the music down, however the butterflies in her stomach drew in moths that ate the fabric of the platform down. She was beginning to resign herself to the situation and theorizing the best course of action. Every seat in the room was occupied even though little attention was being paid the ones in them and every attempt at making the circuit run smoothly failed due to the unwelcome sound breaking her connection. It left her unable to improve the situation or accept it as is.

She looked at the ear buds and wished, more than anything, that she could just rip them out. She pictured it and felt the simulated joy it would bring to her with such authenticity that it looped in her head over and over again. She even raised a hand and pretended to pull on them in a manner which, had any of them been paying attention, would have looked silly to anyone nearby. Right after she did so the slouched Captain Hook to her Peter Pan raised the hook he wasn’t resting on and fixed his earbud. Amused, she did so again. And then….he fixed it again?!

She paused for a moment as her heart did the opposite and soon found the blood in her ears to be almost as loud as the music in his. She then pulled another time and triggered him sitting up straight and pushing the earbud in with noticeable frustration. In silent malice of cartoonish delight, she took pleasure in her ploy and was now ready with the frustration of a half a lectures worth of missed information behind her like an army ready for the final charge.

She knew the extensive collection of three songs he had on repeat, and during one in particular he always lowered the volume (how many times her hopes had soared that it would stay down) only to turn it back up for effect. It was almost admirable enough to grant him some small degree of forgiveness that he repeated this through his outward apathy and spaciness, but his crimes had earned him this sentencing.

The volume lowered like happy feet on a trampoline before she yanked the springs out from the anticipated bounce and his headphone fell out of his ear. He yanked the remaining earbud out of his ear and stuffed them aggressively in to his pocket and pushed his chair back with his standing legs, swung his bag over his shoulder, and exited the class with his burning frustration: hot and justified without any idea of what had occurred.

Light as the air filling the desk in front of her, she happily begun taking notes of the monotonous half, whole, and quarters glacially making their way to her with a smile on her face that would have confused, had any of them been paying attention, those around her. It was a smile that she thought would never falter…

Until the girl next to her started snoring.