Loneliness Kills

Loneliness Kills

The heart’s an aching thing; like anything,

It seeks the music of another beat;

The echo of its own leaves its own sting

Where brokenness and loneliness then meet.

You are alone. You feel it in your bones

That none can feel the pulse beneath the stone;

Yet, you’re alone. Is there a beauty there?

Where is it hidden? Here, among these tears?

The silence stresses death aloud to sight

The emptiness that every ember earns

And, with a breath as frigid as its fright,

Sends to a form of smoke this flame that burned.

I seek the beauty of my loneliness,

Yet the heart dies where darkness finds its bliss.

Advertisements

Before His Time

Before His Time

I can hear the creak of the jail cell door. I can feel its pulse, its ache; it’s suffering too. It’s hard to believe something I thought was so malevolent is only a sick existence itself, merely suffering from its use and decaying from the evil within it.

I am that evil. They proclaim I am, so I am. There’s nothing more about it to say. Ten years. Ten years with my own thoughts, and even they have betrayed me. I am alone. In myself and everywhere, I am alone.

But yet, my mind returns to this door. It’s still creaking from the wind. It groans in pain, muffled hints of emotion buried in a steel coffin. I envy its resolve to resist the rust. Perhaps it still feels a sense of glee from imprisoning people like me.

I wonder if I were a jail cell, would I feel the same anger and the same happiness? Heaven and hell in a single body… Maybe it’s something I’m already familiar with.

“Bennett, come on. You’re up.”

I can feel it in my bones: fear. Fear, the intangible vines that spread through my nerves and call me its home. The weight of destiny is heavier on my shoulders with every step and I can feel my fate emerging from the fog.

The creak of the door opens, and my feet are weights I’m forced to lug along. The stairs groan too as I walk down – the whole prison is suffering.

“You’ve done pretty good this time.”

The guard is talking to me… isn’t he? I feel the concrete is louder, even louder than the howling inmates. I know they’re all rooting for me, but I feel the prison is trying to tell me something.

“You’ve stayed out of trouble, you’ve pretty much topped all of the programs. Hell, at this point, you’re the honorary example of rehabilitation. There’s no way they won’t give you parole.”

The guard stops in front of a corridor that leads to an office with the sign “Hearing” overhead. He smiles at me. “Good luck, Bennett. You’ve got this, brother.”

I can’t nod. I can’t smile. I’m inside a dying home; how can I smile? My feet are still heavy but I carry them nonetheless to the door. Past it, there are three men sitting in a row behind a table in a room reminiscent of an office with floorboards and wooden walls, plaques, and pictures.

Time passed in bolts of lightning. I sat and their voices drawled to me in a distortion of seconds. I blinked and ascertained that, indeed, an hour had passed with me sitting there. I believe my soul had been asleep… asleep in its own prison.

“I’m sorry to inform you, Mr. Bennett. We just don’t feel like you’re quite eligible for parole yet. We need a little more time for you to grow, to be sure you won’t repeat your mistakes – to know that you’re truly rehabilitated. Maybe after some more time, come back and apply. Thank you, there’s the door.”

There was nothing, not even numbness. Shock was elusive, pain was scarce: I was simply led back to my cell by the guard who, with all his passion, threatened to quit for the injustice of my hearing. I heard the prisoners groaning as I was led back. I sit now in my cell, the fogginess of the outside dimming my walls. My mind matches the sky – I’m married to confusion.

In my hands are bedsheets. I’ve sweated on them for many nights. Nightmares, pain, hunger… they’ve endured it all. They’re a cloth meant for time. Perhaps they can be meant for death as well.

I understand now. I understand what the prison was trying to describe to me, trying to get me to understand. The pains of it were too clear yet so distant. “Kill me,” it said. The evil it contains makes it organs rot. Rust is the skin of decay and it has long since died.

It’s because we sleep here, the roots of all evil, in the beds and dream of freedom, knowing we too are rotten inside. I wish I weren’t, but I am rotten. I am decaying and my skin is rust.

I feel it tighten around my neck. The overhead lamp should suffice. No one is watching except the walls, but the walls are always watching.

There is no freedom except in death. I can free this prison from one evil at least. My duty is done and with it, my life.

“Hey, Bennett- What the hell?! Bennett, what are you doing?! Bennet?! BENNETT!”

Innocence

Innocence

How fallen must we beings be when Devils

Can, with a whisper, render death in levels.

There is a rank to death and those deserved,

Where not by rank are others fairly killed

But by the evil made in incant’d words.

Look upon thyself: How like him art thou?

Him, the proud and hateful of creation

That cursed man for but clay before fire’s glow

And was cursed after, testing our temptation.

The blood of men’s hands nestle eons-long,

But starts with vanity and the pride willed

That do all but separate us from wrong.

Dost thou then honor life in hatred’s ilk

When reaping based no more than hues of silk?

Bitch

Bitch

Tap… Tap… Tap…

“Why would she do this… why would she do this… Why…?”

The door rustled and clinked, the echo of the shaking keys nestling into his head. The click-clack of her shoes grew stronger with every step, but his fingers slowed their taps as she did.

“Hey, babe,” an ebony-skinned woman greeted, leaning down with a smile that stars envied. She kissed the man on his cheek, rubbing his shoulders. His skin was darker than hers, his frame muscular to her slenderness, and his eyes dark to her bright hazel. “How was work? Did you eat already? Because, if not, I’m happy to whip up something or… are you okay?”

He glanced at her, and she was able to see the forest: his eyes were red and face was streaming with tears. “Babe…!” She grabbed a chair and sat to his side, holding his hand in hers with soft strokes on his knuckles. His other remained under the table. “What’s going on? What happened?”

The man shouted silence, his lips trembling. The woman looked on, her own eyes reaching to peel the veils of ignorance, the hide thick with wordlessness.

“Babe…?”

“How long?” he asked.

“What?”

“How long… have you been with another man?”

The woman retracted her hands timidly and sat them on her lap. She shook her head slightly as she gazed at him. “What are you talking about…? I would never –”

“DON’T fucking lie to me! I KNOW!” He reached into his pocket and slammed down an unfolded picture, lines running through its bent form. “Ain’t this you? Huh? I said, AIN’T THIS YOU? FUCKING SAY SOMETHING!”

The woman shook from the rage in his voice, before slowly reaching for the pictures. She raised it and looked it over with tears growing in her eyes. It depicted a scene of her on top of another man, her body bare and the view from his perspective.

“How did you…”

“I guess the guy you’re fucking is stupider than a pile of bricks. He sent them around his workplace, and apparently, my partner at work knows a friend of his, and he instantly recognized your face when everyone just started to show everyone, basically. And here it is, printed and in your fucking face, bitch.”

“Baby, I can explain-”

“Bitch!”

“Ba-”

“BITCH!”

She sighed and covered her face with her hands, her body slumped over and tears stroking her chin. “Baby… I-I don’t know what you want me to say…”

“I want to hear your explanation. I want to know why.”

She removed her hands from her now blood-red eyes and sighed again, her gaze on the table. “It’s been empty around here… ever since we moved, something’s changed in you and I don’t know what it is… I come home and I’m just not wanted. I don’t know, I guess it just helped create a distance between you and me that I didn’t even notice. It made it easier to…”

The husband’s frown deepened as he shook his head, a taste of disgust on his tongue. “Do you even feel remorse?”

“Of course, I feel remorse! But, babe, honestly, don’t you feel it, too? Nothing’s the same as it was even a month ago, much less a year. We’ve grown apart, haven’t we? I can’t be the only one who’s noticed it. And I’ve been thinking about talking to you about this for a while. I didn’t want to betray you, but things happened, I guess… What I’m trying to say is, maybe we should split up for a bit and see how we feel? Just… just go through the world on our own and see if what started our relationship is still what matters to us now…”

He scoffed. “You think because you cheat on me, you can just skate by with a ‘let’s be free and fuck anyone’ creed?”

“No! No, I’m not trying to skate by anything, I swear. I know what I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for it. But… it’s just so much deeper than you think, babe. It’s not malice, I swear to God, it’s just… I don’t know if we love each other anymore.”

The man looked down at the table surface with absentminded nods to himself. The wife studied him, eyeing him up and down.

“Babe…?” she asked slowly. “Are you… oka-”

The man snapped forward and grabbed his wife’s hair. Growling in her face, he slammed her head down on the table repeatedly, creating a larger spread of blood each time.

“10 years! Huh?! TEN FUCKING YEARS!” In his other hand was a knife, which he pressed against her cheek on the flat side. She shivered from the steel’s touch, her breath struggling through her upturned nose.

“Baby… p-please…”

He threw her to the ground. Weak, she tried to crawl away as he stalked towards her. “You’re no fucking woman. You’re a tramp, a whore, a goddamn slut. I don’t even know who I married, so who’s the bigger fuck-up here?”

He straddled his wife and held her down by the throat, having turned her on her back.

“Baby…” she gasped with her hand wrapped around his wrist. “Please…”

“Fucking die, bitch.” He stabbed her in the chest and she gasped harshly. His nostrils flared as he witnessed the pain in her eyes, pulling out the blade and impaling it again. Over and over, he did this until his face, shirt, and hands were covered without a spot of relief in blood. By the end, she laid still with gaping wounds all over her chest and stomach, and he sat on her corpse with exhausted breaths. Her blood pooled across the kitchen floor, reddening the picture that fell from the commotion.

The husband raised his head to see a small figure standing in front of him: a young boy with a teddy bear in his arm, wearing green pajamas and glowing with curious eyes.

“Daddy,” he said, “what happened to Mommy?”

The Cloud’s Pink Hue

The Cloud’s Pink Hue

Love is the color that comes o’er the sky

When day sees night’s birth and night sees day die.

The Sun’s paint fading in the cloth of saints,

A purity of love purely aglow;

It shines in hearts endowed with lover’s paint

And covers eyes with the sky’s covered show

With day’s last breaths and with light’s final faint.

Beauty, and yet all things die a day come,

Even beauty; love fades to nighttime’s song,

Reaped rightfully as life demands in sum –

As love even proclaims its days’ length wrong –

And so floats the pink cloud with its last hum.

And yet, beyond the night, love comes again,

In both the worldly life and patient pen.

Favors

Favors

“Just do this one thing for me. That’s ALL I’m asking for, it’s not that hard!”

She sat in silence, the music of the mournful. Her fingers tapped to the rhythm on the table, the distasteful look of such a listener on her face. The scale of things set the chord to be struck and the melody was the air of bitterness that brought her nearly to tears.

“Mom… you always do this.” She sat back in her chair with the mask of patience and the face of defeat. “I told you, I can’t… It’s not a small favor or one thing. Once it’s this, then it’s going to be that. You don’t know how to stop, Mom. You don’t know how to stop asking for favors.”

The mother growled like an animated bear, stomping about the kitchen floor. She pulled at her hair and scratched down her arms. The girl sighed as she watched her, her eyes following her mother as she paced back and forth.

“You make me sound like the bad guy. Well, I’m not the bad guy and you know I’m not! All I want is for you to sleep in bed with me for ONE night, understand? That’s it! I’m your mother, for fuck’s sakes!”

“Mom… I’ve slept in your bed with you every day for a month now. You keep ranting on and on about the monsters, you keep asking me to do things just so you can ‘protect yourself’ but you never tell me what you need protecting from… I’m tired, Mom. You’ve been like this for so long, I can’t even remember when you weren’t. I’m begging you, let me call a doctor. They can help.”

“No! No doctors! I don’t need doctors, I keep telling you, girl. I’m fine, all I need is my baby and I’m fine. You keep trying to send me to the doctor’s office like I’m crazy but I’m not crazy.”

“I’m not saying you are, Mom. I’m just –”

“You are! I can hear it in your voice! You think I don’t, but I do, and I know you’re judging me. I hate that you probably be thinking bout how to put me away. Is that any way to think of your mother? Is it? I raised you, Aveline!”

The girl jumped and slammed her hands on the table, tears now creeping down her eyes – the paint of pain’s brush. “I am NOT Aveline, Mom! For the last fucking time, she died from that fucking shooting a year ago! She’s dead, Mom! She’s DEAD!”

The mother stumbled and propped herself against the kitchen counter. Her eyes were wide, blinded with disbelief. “My baby? My baby Aveline…? No… No, it can’t be… That’s not possible…”

The girl covered her face with her hands and started crying. The mother, seeing this, walked over to her and held the girl in her arms, pressing her daughter’s head against her chest.

“It’s okay, baby. Why are you crying? Mama’s here. Don’t cry…”

“I can’t do it anymore…” the girl muttered between heavy sobs. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…”

“Don’t worry, baby. Oh, hush now, hush. Don’t worry, Mama’s got you. We won’t let those bullies on you no more, hear? We’ll talk to the principal about this. All those derogative names, too. They should have been left back in the sixties, they have no place here now. Oh, it’s okay, Aveline, it’s okay.”

The girl pushed off from her mother and ran to another room, leaving the mother with confusion glistening on her brow. She turned around and started washing the dishes in the sink. She began humming to herself as she went, her hands lathered in soap.

Suddenly, she stopped, a plate falling from her hand to the floor and – Crash! – breaking into pieces on the ground. Her hands began to quiver and her eyes darted wildly left and right. She collapsed on her knees and held her head, her entire body convulsing.

“AH!” Her voice echoed through the entire house and a few moments later, the hurried footsteps reintroduced the girl in the kitchen.

“Mom!” The girl kneeled by her mother and held her around her shoulders. Her eyes briefly caught the mess on the floor, but she ignored it for her mother’s state. “Mom, just breathe. It’s okay, it’s okay.”

“What have I done? What have I done to deserve this? Why, why…!”

“What are you talking about Mom? What’s going on? What’s wrong?”

“My baby! They took my baby! Aveline, Aveline! Baby, where are you? Come to Mama, please! Oh, Lord, they took her! My heart… I can’t, Lord, please…”

“Mom…” The girl pressed her mother’s head on her chest and held her tightly, her own eyes again racing with rivers. “Mom, it’s okay. We can get through this, we can get through it. She would want us to, she would want us to see someone and get the help we need to get past this. It’s not your fault, Mom. You didn’t know what would happen, you didn’t know she’d die that day… There was absolutely nothing you could do. But we can both do something now. We can both help ourselves, we-”

The mother snapped for a shard on the ground, immediately stabbing herself in the back of the hand with it.

“Mom, what the fuck are you doing?!” the girl cried.

She tried to grab her mother’s wrist as the woman tried once more to impale her hand. “Stop!” the girl shouted.

The mother turned to her daughter with a belligerent, crazed glint in her eyes before stabbing her in the thigh with the sharp piece. The daughter scurried back with a pained cry, clutching her thigh as she stared at her mother with fear gripping her neck and covering her eyes.

The mother’s eyes popped as she glanced down and saw her hand covered in blood. She dropped the shard with a gasp before looking to her daughter and seeing her cradle her leg. The mother was a ghost as she withstood the heated glare from her daughter and the shard that she held up against her mother.

“Baby…”

“Stay back! Stay the fuck away from me!”

The girl rose and hurried out of the kitchen, limping out of the house with blood trails left behind. The mother slumped over and covered her face; her shoulders shook with silent sobs.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry, Aveline… I’m sorry…”

The Eye

The Eye

Have

You   ever

Really     thought

About            eyes?

What                 souls

Do they                   contain?

Indeed,                     they shine

When struck                                     in love

And fill                                       with tears

When sadness                          is provoked.

What are           …The Eye.             our souls?

What’s                                             yours?

That which                               beholds

Beauty                            and light

And life                    and cries

Upon being         but a human.

To see         other’s souls

In their               irises

And love each other:

That is…