Bad Review

I didn’t coach her.
I didn’t give anything
except advice,
warning,
and comfort
in an attempt,
though in vain it seems,
to keep us from another review.
I thought I was doing what you wanted.
In the past,
under your orders,
I’ve given advice,
warning, comfort,
dealt the hand of justice
you’ve told me to deal.
I’m the strict one,
the rule-keeper,
the invisible right hand.
Or, that’s what you tell me.
But I’m condescending,
bull-headed,
wrong.
Or, that’s what you tell me.

Each step I tread is a careful one,
keep my tone clear,
nice,
not ordering or rude.
Keep my voice loud,
in charge,
silent.
Keep my ideas good,
useful,
never anything you don’t like.
Keep calm,
and never, ever,
say anything that contradicts you
or, in some cases,
isn’t what you want to hear.

But now, where do I stand?
Do I fight for what I did
and say that,
though I might be in the wrong in full,
what I did was the right steps to take
because you weren’t going to do it?
You were there,
you saw the review,
you knew she was there,
why did you not speak to her?
Why did you let the possibility
for another bad review,
for a good coaching session,
pass you by?
Was your desire to leave
stronger than the needs
of the company you manage?
And I,
putting the needs of the company,
knowing I had to send her in there
without any nudge in a direction
that would be more beneficial
for her and us,
I am in the wrong?

I am sorry.
The knot in my stomach,
the pit that has been there
for almost a week,
a hole where every wrong step I take
sits, and waits,
keeping me awake at night,
that knot grows
and twists
and I cannot stand it.
The other day you said you thought I would cry.
And now, as I think,
and I realize that any step I take,
any direction I try and go,
anything I decide to do
because it truly needs to be done,
all of it will be wrong to you.

I don’t know if I can be truly sorry.
I tried.
I did what needed to be done
in that split second moment
where it was between my conscious
and what potentially could have been wrong.
I thought the benefits
of stepping forward
and doing the right thing
by talking with her and figuring out a way
to make this night work well
were more
than the downsides
of another bad review.
And so, I understand your point of view.
But if you knew about it,
why did you not do something?
You could have,
and should have,
and that
is almost worse.

Why I Write

I just wanted to say, off the bat, that even if no one reads this, even if only one person reads this, it doesn’t matter. I need to do this. For me. And I will keep posting. Even if it is sporadically and not on any schedule.

I write when I feel it, then that tug in my soul makes me want to pour out my thoughts into words. I write when the need pulls at my fingers and brain and very being until I type what I wanted to type.

And so, the poems and the pieces and the random thoughts that end up here don’t get much polish. They’re rough, what I wanted to say at the time. Maybe, later, I’ll go back and retype them on my end, but they will only be posted as first drafts, complete in their own ways. They will be posted as complete as I feel they are in the inception of their creation.

Except maybe some short stories. Those I might work on more.

So, be kind. They’re rough, just like emotions are, just like thoughts and hurts and happiness are. Just like dreams are. I’ve tried to catch what I could at the time and put it down. And I hope you like it.

This isn’t what I want to write. I want to write tales, tales of adventure, of love. Of loss. Soaring epic fantasies that span worlds.
Yet I can’t.
I can’t find a voice, one that fits the stories that I want to spin. A voice so full of magic and wonder that it makes you pause.
Yet I can’t.
I find myself writing half-baked stories, ideas that don’t feel right. Ideas that, in other hands, might be beautiful. Might sit on a shelf in a bookstore, someone else’s name emblazoned on the cover. But not my name, never my name.
I used to dream of my name on a book, one that people loved. Growing up, I was to write the next Great American Novel, so much so that it felt a part of who I was supposed to be, who I would become.
Now I don’t dream of that, because dreams are jinxes that haunt my waking moment. If I dream it, it won’t come true, because nothing I’ve dreamed has come true.
And the secret dreams, the ones hidden behind the curtain in my heart, those have.
Maybe I don’t want it enough. Maybe I’m not trying enough. I’m not skilled enough. I don’t read enough, write enough, think enough for this to even happen. Maybe I should stop trying.
Maybe I should stop trying.
If the thing that I was supposed to grow up to become hasn’t come true, and I am grown, does that mean I am living a lie, breaking every promise I ever made to everyone I looked up to in life? Does this mean I am the embodiment of failure? Does this mean I am lost?
Maybe I should stop trying.
But I don’t think I can.
Sure, I might have fallen far from what I thought I would do. Perhaps I will never find that voice. Maybe stories aren’t in the forecast of the future.
But I don’t think I can stop.
I like writing, and reading, and hearing what I write and hearing MY voice. If I can’t fit the stories I want to spin, then I’ll have to find the stories that do.
And maybe, just maybe,
My name will be on a book.

Dream of the Sky

In the summer nights,
when hopes run high,
when dreams appear
and fade and die.
When grasses rise
and sway and grow,
and monsters lurk
above and below.
When people fight,
drinks tossed aside,
and crime is created,
illusions a lie,
and safety becomes
a secondary side
to the fun and the life
of the son and the bride.
In summer nights,
when hopes run high,
when dreams appear
and fade and die,
when you sleep in the dark
and are forced to comply,
I look out at the city
and dream of the sky.

If I Could Paint the Sky

If I could paint the sky,
I wouldn’t stop at blue.
Instead, I would use all the colors
that remind me of you.

Yellow for the sunshine
that caressed our face,
and indigo and violet
for the flowers at our place.

Oranges for the color
of the burning summer sun
and the harshness of the streetlights
where two strangers had begun. 

Yet I would skip the greens,
and the vivid blues and whites,
for those only remind me
of the many sleepless nights. 

Brown would be forgotten,
And buried with the gray,
the color of the sky
on that cold November day. 

If I could paint the sky,
I would paint it every morning
and let the sunset colors
brighten up the seeds of mourning.

 

Malaphor

“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it!” he yelled, arm thrust into the air. His outfit
was a mix of colors that assaulted the eyes; a deep purple cape that billowed in the air behind him, clinging periwinkle tights, neon orange shorts, blazing pink ‘M’ off-center on his chest. The crowd surged around him, screaming as he marched forward. “We can no longer ride the fence! We cannot sit around here any longer, pretending all is fine while we secretly cry over lost time!”
I watched from the roof of a building overlooking the street they had started to march on
and rolled my eyes. Out of all the villains I had faced, Malaphor was the worst. Annoying,
idiotic, and harmless, the worst crime he ever committed was insulting the English language. But this, this was different. Not only was he convincing the town to follow his crazy ideas, but he was creating public panic.
I dropped from the roof, landing in perfect superhero pose, one hand pressed into the
ground, one knee down with the other near my chin. No one noticed me; I stood and waited untilthe crowd had passed far enough so that I had to yell to be heard. “Malaphor!”
Though they were loud and angry, my voice carried, the one superpower I had. Everyone
turned, staring at me. In my ripped t-shirt and red flannel tied around my waist, torn tights underneath jean shorts, black hair dyed with blue streaks, I didn’t look the hero. He laughed. “Have I caught your attention? Are you going to join us?”
“Are we really going to listen to a man who mixes idioms without issue? Are we going to
follow the anger of a man whose only goal is to confuse and incite issue? Do we not have
enough common sense to follow our own ideas and our own minds? Or is this what we choose to follow? An idiot?”
“Just fly the nest already. You’re clearly off your deck.”
“Are you… are you serious?” I watched as the crowd started to look confused, glancing
between the two of us. “This is a man who clearly has no grasp of even the most common of phrases. I mean… come on!”
“Don’t listen to her. All she’s saying is straight from the grapevine, not true in any sense.
Everything I say is as clear as a bird.”
And the crowd came towards me, shaking their heads, hands dropping to their sides as
the anger melts into disappointment. They walk past, ignoring me as they always do once my job is done. Once they return to their homes, their jobs, their lives, I step towards him. “You’re done, Malaphor. And I’m done dealing with you.”
“Oh, so you’re finally using your own superpower for yourself? Just because you call
yourself Common Sense doesn’t make you the cream of the castle.”
“Do you do this on purpose? What is the point of all this? I honestly want to know.”
“It’s irritating, isn’t it?”
“Uh, yeah. Completely. You’re the worst villain I’ve ever come across.”
“Good.” He jumped back, the widest smile on his face. “Well, we’ll see each other soon.
You keep feeling like you’re on top of the moon. But I’ll be there to bring you back down, until you’re cowarding in the bathroom.”
I step towards him, fists clenched. “Tread lightly.”
“Why? Am I on dangerous waters?”
I rarely fight my villains, usually resorting to words and, of course, common sense. But I
punched him right in his wide mouth. It felt satisfying, it really did.
He wiped the blood from his chin. “Did your power fail you? Did I find your
kryptonite?”
“Get out of here before I stop being nice.”
“This is nice?”
I punched him again, blackening his eye. “We’re done here.”
I watch from the shadows, the invisible man in the crowd, listening for those who need
help the most. I wait for the moment to be the voice of wisdom, the devil’s advocate for idiotic situations. The world lacks common sense, and I will provide it. When the world remembers I exist, I will be no longer needed. Until then, I will be there.

To Those I Knew Before

To Those I Knew Before

 

I learned from you.
To be kind, to be smart,
to be generous,
like you.
Always giving,
sharing, spending,
offering what I have;
I know they’re broke,
so I sit and share,
a snack, a smoke
(but I learned from you,
the shadows of cancer,
the stench of cigarettes in the air,
so I stay away).

 

I learned from you.
They called you the favorite,
the nice one, the good one.
And I want that.
To be remembered as the good one,
the kind one,
the one offering,
packing extra,
giving all that I have
and more.
All my time,
all my effort,
all to be
Like You
(because I watched you,
slipping dollars to the cart takers,
an extra twenty pressed in my hand,
no one else could pay but you).

 

Because I learned from you.
And that
was a blessing.