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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holocaust Found Poem

it’s hard to talk about that
I was Jewish
and that was okay
it wasn’t an issue

it was a shock
if you can understand that
we had to leave
slowly but surely

he said “go”
not forced –
by choice
she said “no,
they stay”

we were afraid
left and right –
they found us

they tried
to get rid of us
it wasn’t unusual
– I escaped that
little incident

being Jewish was familiar
but Jewish presence
was a shock

I listened
morning, noon, and night

rifle down?
not by a long shot
you’re crazy –

just like that.

Self-Worth

the edges are rugged, clearly from use
and perhaps some neglect hidden in there too
the chapters are worn, damaged, stained
from experience, from life, and from just a bit of rain
left outside, withered, torn to pieces
by onlookers, bystanders, and just little children
some yellowing, some age – it all seems the same
flipped upside down, turned around
into a violent rage
it still wouldn’t cause a second glance
no one would care
or even notice
until the sound of ripping
tearing
torturing
reverberated
because then it’s not the same
it’s not rugged
or used
or neglected or stained
it’s destroyed

and we’re all to blame.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Angel

your voice resonated in a song
every time you spoke
the words chimed together
creating an atmosphere
some can only imagine experiencing

your rosy cheeks and broad grin
brightened the room
even on the darkest days
and we all wish
we could see it right now

photographs don't capture
your essence
enough to make it okay
but your impact on me
is one more powerful than most

I can remember your smile
your numerous fragrances that
wafted through the room.
I can remember the anecdotes
and the incessant laughter that filled the room
whenever you were there

you made everything better
and nothing will ever be the same
but I know you're out there. I know you're
not gone. Because you can't be.
Because wonderful things don't leave.

you will never be gone
because the Irises bloom every spring
and your pictures will sway in the cross breeze
and you changed my life
and believed in me.

You're my angel.
like the glass trinkets
throughout your house.
The ones I always wished
to play with.

You're the angel I'll hold near
forever
because your smile
will forever brighten my heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

No Looking Back

sometimes I stand by
watching, staring, gazing
wondering if you ever notice
the pain in my eyes

passing by me
you look straight through
as if all I am
is a web of lies

the screams within
go unspoken
the words I speak
go unnoticed

the falling rain
envelopes me
drowning me
trying to make me forget

taking it all away
the pain and the glares
the screams and the stares
and me

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Always

Sometimes I sit beside a piece of glass
as the wooden planks cross my face
gazing out to those that cannot sense
the shards that burrow beneath my flesh.


Sometimes I wonder who is staring back
questioning the things they might not see
never knowing if I’m really there
or just dissolving off in the distance.


Sometimes I sit there on my own
buried beneath the words and leaves
wondering when my chance will come
to escape the pressure upon my spine


Sometimes I wonder who can see
the pain that’s living deep within me
the weight intensifies throughout my core
as I hold my breath and wait to be alone again

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gone

they're gone
every last one of them

all because I said

"leave me alone"

but now it's lonely

and the birds are chirping

mocking me

because at least they have friends

they left me behind

without knowing why

as if they thrive on my sadness

and wanted me to contemplate those heights

the silence creeps over my skin

stabbing into my veins

I wait for everything to stop

I wait for the buzzing to go numb

I waited

in the loud silence

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Catch a Glimpse

the syllables hum through the drums
as the tapping becomes steady
pulsing through her flesh as her wrist
gyrates to the beat

eyelashes sweep her rosy cheeks
shoulders relax into her spine
and her neck begins to sway
back and forth

the intricate mask is cracking
away from the world
where no one can see the rawness
underneath
but me

the light goes out
leaving me alone in the room
with an occasional tap of her pen
to let me know
she’s okay

across the room the droplet
catches itself in the
poor lighting
glistening down her seemingly
perfect face

and then the syllables
waft in softly
and suddenly
neither of us is
alone

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nonsense

some things traipse through minds when there is pizza.
I speak when I want others to stare at me like I’m an idiot
unable to make common sense come flowing out of my mouth.
Normalcy makes me think of idiots. Can you understand me if I Speak. Like. This?
Your being slow doesn’t affect me so go be slow on the slide where people will try to kick you down and scream at you for not knowing how to slide at a normal rate.
He’s standing over there staring at me and I try to make that sly half smile to let him know I’m interested, but instead my smile apparently looks like a stalker or a pedophile and he grabs his kid and runs away.
Less teeth? More teeth? Should I stick my tongue out next time?
I greet people by putting my thumb on my nose and wiggling my other fingers at them.
The innocent make life boring. I kick them down the slide, wiggle my fingers at them, and then go eat pizza.
Can you see the sun shining from beyond my face? Cause it’s blinding me and I hate it. I wish I could attack the sun and tell it to put up some blinds for the world.
Those blinds could hide me from the world. Hide my inexcusable actions as I prance through the streets – and no one would be able to see me because the sun would be blind.

I’m a puppet, and I really just want some damn pizza.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chocolate Head Disease

have you ever had that craving?
stirring from deep within
the one that waits until you're stranded
to first beg for your attention?

I have.
Mine is called chocolate head disease
and there is no cure
only many more years to satisfy

it's a hassle
but who am I to complain?
Then again, it's not what most think
gorging myself on chocolate? I wish.

No.
I spend my days surrounded in it.
But only my head
a bath of sweet suffocation

I blow bubbles in my death
waiting for life to pop
chocolate splatters
it's like art

chocolate head disease
will envelop me
and all I will do
is lick my lips.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Key to Candyland (Revised Short Story)

My heart started pounding and my breathing lessened to a hum the moment I realized what I was facing. Since moving here five years ago, I had tried to maneuver my way past the locked door to our unfinished basement that my dad never failed to latch and bolt shut. I had always wondered what was behind that door. Why was it so important to keep it locked up? Why had my father gone to such lengths to move it here to our house in Georgia from our old house in Kansas – and before that Nevada – separate from the rest of our belongings each time. I always tried to finagle my way into the basement, or get answers out of him directly, but he never budged. But this was the last thing I expected to find. The bolt was supposed to be latched, but for the first time it wasn’t. My dad had been in a rush all morning after getting a call for some important interview, causing him to forget to close the door completely. All those years of wondering, questioning, missing out – she couldn’t believe it; the room was full of dust, hard-packed sludge, and boxes.


As I walked further into the cave-like basement, glimpses of the pictures that were scattered across the ground caught my eye. Ralphy. I hadn’t thought about Ralphy in years, but his face always jogged the same memory: endless games of Candyland. I never won, except for once. It’s the last memory I have of him.


I sat down on the cold, dirt floor in the collection of dust and tried to remember my brother using the pictures that surrounded me. He had been my best friend. There isn’t a picture of me without him by my side. We were only one year apart in age, and my last memory with him was at age four, but he was five. It was the only time I won a game of Candyland against him. And he had cheered me on. I faintly heard Ralphy’s far away chants: Go Clara!


It had all been right under my feet the entire time. Everything from before; everything from my past; everything from the first four years of my life. Dad told me there were no secrets between us, but even that was a lie.


The panoramic view of my early childhood surrounded me in that moment. That locked door held all the secrets of my life. It’s been thirteen years since I’ve seen Ralphy. Thirteen years of lies and deceit and all of the answers were through a two-inch, nineteenth century wooden door for the past five years and locked up elsewhere before that. How could he have done this to me? How could my father lie to me like this?


Thirteen years ago, everything in my life changed without me even knowing. My mother and older brother had gone out one day and never returned. As far as my father told me, there had been a car accident and they hadn’t survived. I forgot about that. I had managed to forget most of those details. Until today when the most dramatic and painful memories penetrated my forgotten past that had been blocked for years, thanks to my father.


I turned my focus back to my surroundings, trying to forget the “memories” that were no longer blatantly true. Parts of my life that I didn’t even remember were reliving themselves right before me. I don’t understand. What am I even looking at anymore? My heart raced, beating in disbelief, unsure of what to do next. My father lied to me. About all of it. I looked around and I knew that I couldn’t stay there and dig through the past – my forgotten past – for long, but after thirteen years of secrets, I didn’t have the willpower to turn away.


Footsteps overhead seemed to get closer. Did I close the door behind me? My heart throbbed as I waited. I sat there and debated whether or not I was willing to get caught or if it was worth it to discover more of this underground chamber – this extension of my mother and brother. Everything around me resembled them. Everything around me was them. The footsteps above me passed over the entrance and began to fade off into the distance. My heart went back to its new pace – a fluttering that had become constant upon discovering the slightly ajar door.


Stumbling in the dust to get up, I finally began to walk around. I ran my hands along the decrepit tables that weren’t far from collapsing beneath the stacks of boxes that rested on them. I took a deep breath and decided to open one of the worn-out boxes. It was resting on the corner of the table closest to the entrance and the flaps of the old box weren’t completely folded closed. Billowing with years of neglect, the box popped open revealing pictures that were stuck to one another, grimy and discolored. I worked through the piles of faded memories slowly and attempted not to ruin them as I pulled them apart and gave them each a glance over. Stuck to the side of the box there was a letter. Opening its crusty creases, it read:

Dear Clara,
If you’re reading this, that means you now know. I guess you now  understand why I kept the door locked all this time. Also, if you’re reading this, I’m sure I’m gone by now … I’ve been very protective of this room and have done my best to keep you from finding it while I was around. I wish I could protect you from the truth forever, but you deserve to know what really happened after all of these years, I guess I won’t ever be able to explain that to you completely, but I hope you don’t blame me.
I’m sorry I kept the truth from you. I’m sorry I kept Gineene and  Ralphy from you – the memories of them. I never intended to hurt you, but I couldn’t let you discover the truth, Clara. There was never a car accident – and I’m sorry I could never be a good enough father to you to tell you this to your face: Your mother did not hit that truck as the papers led you to believe…as I led you to believe. I’m sorry I can’t bring myself to tell you the complete truth even in writing, but I can show you.
Inside the envelope where you found this letter, there is a key. I’m sure you’ll figure out what it is for.
I’ve always loved you, Clara, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be the father you needed and deserved. I hope one day you’ll understand.
Try to forgive me,
Dad


Rivers of water trickled down my cheeks as I tried to understand what his letter meant: How could they have not been in a car accident? What else happened to them? Where are they? Why hide everything if he had just wanted me to find it when he died anyway? Is it that difficult to face?


I realized I hadn’t found the letter in an envelope. Looking back in the box, I noticed a small crevice in the corner. I gave the box a shake and the key popped out. The key was too small to be for a door and it resembled the one I used to use for my jewelry box when I was younger. The key being hidden instead of placed in the envelope as he had said it would be, was typical of my father. He had raised me to look for the unexpected and to earn knowledge just as he had done throughout his life as a reporter.


Placing the key in the shirt pocket that rested lightly against the left side of my chest, I put the slightly damp letter in my jeans’ back pocket and continued to look through the boxes. They were stacked three or four high all across the room. Some were titled “Home Videos,” while others were labeled, “Pictures.” Without a VCR available, there wasn’t much I could do with the videos, but upon opening the box, I realized they were all dated from before I was four-years-old – before the so-called “accident.” I closed the boxes and put them back where I found them, before I turned to the photographs.


There were pictures of Ralphy – pictures I had spent years searching for and wished I had found years ago, were now right in front of me. Photographs of me hugging my older brother, being held by my mother, holding onto my dad’s pant leg, never wanting to let go. All of these memories flooded my vision. My father told me everything had been destroyed and that he couldn’t handle looking at their faces every day after the accident. There was only one picture he kept: a professionally taken photograph of the four of them that hung on the wall in the hallway upstairs. He told me he destroyed the rest of the memories lessen the pain; for coping reasons. But why lie about that? Why hide all of the memories?


Footsteps overhead sounded again, except this time doors slammed and things fell. My heart began to race when I realized that it was getting late and I hadn’t checked in with my dad since that morning when I had left for school. I heard every door in their condo-sized house open with a gust and slam with anxiety. After five minutes of the consistent slamming, the footsteps died down and I knew I was safe downstairs for now. Pulling out my silver phone, I saw three missed calls from my dad and the phone shimmered, telling me it was 9:42 P.M. – practically three hours late for dinner. I slid the phone open and found my dad’s number in the contact list and dialed.


I waited through the ringing while staring at the earth-packed ceiling of the secret vault.
“Hello?”
“Hey, Dad.”
“CLARA! I’ve been worried sick. Where are you? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, Dad, I’m fine. I’m sorry I never called you... I got distracted. I’m at Sasha’s house. Can I stay the night?”
“I don’t know Clara... I haven’t seen you all day. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yes, Dad. I’m fine. Please? We’re... we’re working on a project for school. It’d help our grade if I could stay longer...”
“I guess...”
“Thanks, Dad! I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Night.”


I hung up with a click and took a deep breath, thankful that my part of the lying was over for now. I hated lying to her dad – as ironic as that may seem now. He has always been there for me – or so I thought. It wasn’t such a horrible thing to fib a little bit this time. After all, I was supposed to be at Sasha’s; I just never went.


Pocketing my phone, I remembered the key in my shirt pocket. What truth could this thing show me? I closed the box of photographs of Ralphy and took a few steps forward, maneuvering my way through the maze of boxes and tables, until a gleaming piece of metal in the corner caught my eye. Lodged between two dusty stacks of boxes was a briefcase.


I brushed my fingers through the inches of dust that caked the outside of the briefcase and let out an exasperated, choking cough after yanking it out of its hidden nook. Turning the briefcase over, I noticed it was locked shut. The rusty piece of metal had begun to feel at home in my shirt pocket, but I pulled it out and placed it in the reddish-brown keyhole that had begun to chip away from age. With a sharp twist, the buckles released and a gap manifested between the top and the bottom of the briefcase. I slipped my calloused fingers into the gap and pried the briefcase open with a ruthless tug.


Newspaper clippings fluttered to the floor. Ones that I had never seen before. They were all about my mom and Ralphy. Reaching for one specific, dog-eared article that was still on regular printer paper, I read:


KINGSBURY, NEVADA – MARCH 1998: Local family faces death. Mother and wife, Gineene Fitzpatrick, 29, was driving with her son, Ralph Fitzpatrick, 5, on Tuesday, March 17th towards the local petting zoo when an oncoming truck strayed into the lane, hitting the 1995 Subaru in a head-on collision. Gineene Fitzpatrick was killed instantly upon impact. Ralph Fitzpatrick was declared dead at Barton Memorial Hospital, due to severe trauma to the head. Father and husband, Roger Fitzpatrick, remains in his Kingsbury home with daughter, Clara.


Fitzpatrick? But our last name is Fitzgerald… It didn’t make sense. The byline was my father’s name, but as Roger Fitzpatrick. The heading was directed towards the Kings Journal as a submission for publication. But this doesn’t make sense. He wrote in the letter that there had been no accident. If that was true, then why would he have written this article? Fidgeting through the other papers, different headlines filled my sight: “The Truth Exposed!”, “On the Run”, and “Truth Is Out! Daughter Knows Nothing!” What are these? I picked up an article with the heading: “Father and Daughter Live In Denial” and read:


KINGSBURY, NEVADA – MAY 1998: Local family exposed. Father, Roger Fitzpatrick, submitted an article to the Kings Journal in March describing the fatal events in his family. Upon further investigation, it has been discovered that the article was fabricated to conceal the truth from friends and family. There was no accident. Due to the inability to locate death certificates for the supposedly deceased family members, Gineene and Ralph Fitzpatrick, Roger Fitzpatrick provided the Kings Journal with reluctant commentary on the matter.


“On Ralph’s birthday (5), Gineene took him out for ice cream and a trip to the zoo,” said Fitzpatrick. After two days had passed with no sign of Gineene and Ralph, Roger Fitzpatrick had immediately filed a Missing Person’s Report – a document that was found during the investigation. Ralph has yet to be found.


“Six days after she first left, Gineene returned home, but she refused to explain where she had been and why she returned without Ralph.


“Gineene confessed to taking an ‘extensive detour’ that day, but wouldn’t tell me where. I don’t know where she left my son or if he’s okay,” said Fitzpatrick.


Gineene refused to disclose any information of Ralph’s whereabouts, although police have reason to believe he was brought out of state. Gineene has since been located and arrested.


“I wrote the false story so my daughter, Clara, could grow up with no hard feelings towards her mother,” Roger Fitzpatrick told the Kings Journal.


Mouth hanging wide open, I finished the article and let it slip between my fingers. I can’t believe it. The real truth was hidden in a briefcase? Flipping through other articles, I realized they were all the same: Mother Abandons Child – Child Still Missing. They were all consistent in what happened – except for one. Going back, I found the article titled, “The Truth Exposed!” and read:   

KINGSBURY, NEVADA – JULY 1998: Four months ago former reporter, Roger Fitzpatrick, attempted to publish a false account of the whereabouts of his wife and son. After investigation, Gineene Fitzpatrick faces charges of child abandonment, neglect, and child endangerment. Ralph Fitzpatrick remains missing. Gineene Fitzgerald faces 5-10 years in prison.

How could he have done this to me? The words from his letter flashed before my eyes: “I couldn’t let you discover the truth Clara” … “I can show you” … “I’m sorry I couldn’t be the father you needed.”


At the bottom of the pile of newspaper clippings was a ragged and taped piece of rustic paper. Smoothing out the creases, words came into focus before me. Legal documents. My name scrawled across it in different forms. Fitzpatrick. Fitzgerald. Attached to the back was a near copy, but instead of “Clara,” it read “Roger.” He legally changed our names. To hide us. To hide me. From knowing about it all. Tears rolled down my freckled skin. Slipping down to the grimy floor, I wrapped my arms around my knees and pulled my legs close to my chest as I rested my head in my lap. What am I supposed to do now?

Moments passed. I sat on the cruddy, packed-down floor, leaning against a knobby dirt wall. Tears ran down my face, moistening the patches of earth that were scattered between various shoe imprints in the soil. I rested my head against my knee and curled up on the floor, trying to shake the awful lies that surrounded me. A gasp sounded from across the room. My father stood across from me, tears in his eyes as he looked at the pictures and articles that surrounded me on the ground. I just stared.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Treading Comforters

it washes over me
an overwhelming feeling
paralyzing my voice
through my limbs
unable to express
mere exhaustion

motion like gelatin
jiggly yet stationary
stuck on the same path
unable to
change

weak at the knees
or is it the mind
it overpowers and restricts
my chance to act

buckling under
unable to uphold
I collapse
and begin to drift
away

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beyond The Windows (Short Story)


They cover her walls from the slanted, raw ceiling to the splintering floorboards. From every place imaginable. From every season and setting one could desire. Scribbles scrawled across the surface on a special few: Taylor, Daphne, Elliot, Maya, Benjamin, Tammy, Jan, Paula. All experiencing the exotic lifestyles she could only dream about in class when her mind drifted out the window and across the seas.

Images from places she has never seen, but yearns to discover and unravel herself. Many left blank and purchased from stores nearby. Wanting to visit every place possible, but never having been anywhere, Catharine often caught herself dreaming about the the images across her walls – since she has never seen the real thing. The Norwegian fjords, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the sunsets from the top of mountains and the life from beneath the seas.

Catharine’s calculus class was reviewing for the Advanced Placement test today and Catharine’s mind was as far away from calculus as imaginatively possible. Running through the rainforests, swimming with the dolphins, dancing through the streets while the cars drove on the wrong side of the road. Everything that wasn’t here. Everything that wasn’t in this dreary classroom, this boring town, this lifeless state, or this side of the country that she had never managed to escape from.

Her mind throbbed and pounded as she heard the murmurs of derivatives and integrals being contemplated in surround sound. She heard the threatening clicking of the clock as it moved forward telling her she was running out of time. Telling her if she didn’t explore the world now, then when?

A ringing filled her ears causing her to rise from the depths of the ocean; jump from the tops of the fjords; reach the Great Wall, the Eiffel Tower, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Collecting her books and handouts, Catharine left the classroom where her world existed beyond the windows and headed to the convenience store to look for a new postcard.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

and when you acted like
it never happened
pretended I didn't exist
I wish I could have said to you
everything within


but you walked away
with your hands tied behind
not aware
that I knew the truth
had just been lies


you're not my friend
feels like you never were
cause real friends
make me feel secure


I'm moving on
not looking back
since you're not the guy
I once loved back


I miss the old you
the one that was there
and you're not that person
cause he actually cared


so now I'm stuck
missing someone who doesn't
exist
while you go on not realizing
what you've dismissed