One Inch Frame: An Exercise in Remembering

 Think of me in her deep set eyes like you’re kissing a faint memory of what was and all that could be. Think of the way my hands fit in yours perfectly and the way our heights were so perfect I could kiss your shoulder when we stood. Side by side, remember our pictures together where the sun never set on our happiness. Side by side, remember when our kisses begged warrant from infidelity. I’ll kiss you indefinitely if you’ll let me kiss your shoulder again. 

Think of me in the way you call her name remembering what it was like to have mine roll off your lips. Your tongue, remember the way I teased you with mine. Lick the taste of hers away and remember for just a moment.. Remember me in the folds of your sheets and in the front seat of your car. Remember me and the way my hair cascaded onto your face like undone waves. I was undone in the folds of your sheets and at the grip of your palms. Think of me in the way you think of a best friend whose life you observe in tweets and Instagram pictures. Think of me fondly and with a smile. And I’ll do the same. 

The Absurdity Of Freeways and Diners

“I probably stood there for a good half minute with the wind on my back and the world beneath me. I’d done nothing. Not a single thing,” she told herself. She paced back in forth with her ghostly self listening to the sirens. The traffic lights beneath her stalled as her dead body lay unmoving on the freeway.

People killed themselves all the time. Just yesterday someone else on her block shot himself in the mouth with a Bible in his hands and his wife floating in the tub. Today, however, Helena walked out of the house at 8 PM on the dot ignoring her little brother dozed off on the couch still wearing his goody-two-shoes private school uniform. Helena hated the place, she remembered.

Just off the bridge was an old diner that all the teenagers in town apparently liked and that Helena liked too. She used to go in and grab a peanut butter milkshake just before the high school got out and she made her way to class in the piss-poor university across the city. Helena the ghost now remembered and cursed herself.

She hated that diner. Hated the customers too with their combed hair and pressed clothes from the office plazas down the street. She hated all those teenagers with their loud mouths and weirdly shaven heads, for fuck’s sake, did she ever do that? She wondered trying to remember and sift through what was left of her. Being a ghost and trying to remember doesn’t go so well. The memories all blur together and while you’re stuck wondering how the hell you died in the first place you’re trying to remember what it was like to be a teenager and live a teenager life.

“I didn’t even have a life!” Helena screamed into the night. She wore her hair tied to keep it from falling over her face when she did homework. She left at 7 in the mornings and walked just a few short minutes to the private school she’d attended since she could walk and after all that. After graduating at the top of her class and getting into Yale, Stanford, Harvard, she threw her hands up and fell straight into the university across town. 

And tonight, poor sad Helena decided to walk just a few short minutes to the overpass and throw herself off that and fall straight into the pavement below her. Now ghost-Helena sighed watching as a drunk driver swerved past the barricade running over her body and racing off into the night.   

There goes 19 years. Poor, sad Helena lived 19 years to become a ghost and watch her body get mangled by a drunk driver. Jesus Christ, she clenched her ghostly fist and frowned. She hated drunk drivers.

Photo Source: Fabian Merelle

Penny Dreams: Flash Fiction

Once, I dreamed about a door that was half grey, half rotting with its brass door handle rusting. Water poured from the corners of the door frame soaking my feet and the door billowed like a bed sheet when I laid my hand on the wood and out popped a shiny penny.

I gripped it in my hand and it disappeared into my palm and so I ran quickly down the mountain trail, my feet forgetting the water and tracking mud and rusting leaves until all I heard were crying birds and swirling leaves and if nauseous was a verb, and maybe for a moment it was, the forest turned nauseous and spat me out in the middle of an ocean upside down.

Breathe.

Upside down, my feet were. I saw the blurred sun between my toes and when my hands reached out popped the sunset between my fingers and I must have had gills for I could breathe and because I could breathe I reached into my neck and dug my nails into my throat wishing that I could breathe and because I couldn’t swim I drowned and forgot how to breathe until all I could hear were swirling leaves and crying birds and when the current kissed my temples, I cried because I was choking on rusting leaves..

Breathe.

And when the water disappeared I felt the concrete beneath my finger tips and the coppery tinge of blood on my tongue, my poor neck. So I looked up and gazed into a mirror but it must have covered the sky or I must have shrunk to the floor drenched in water but when I shielded my eyes from the mirror, my reflection did not follow but scooped me up and before I could react was swallowed by its closing palm. The taste of copper on my tongue.

The Novelty of Ireland

Tell me about the shoreline and how its metaphorical arms stay open waiting to embrace the tide. Then, please, tell me how the waves ravage the jutting rocks at the Causeway settling within the crevices. How frightened must the Giant have been to hack away the land and leave its ruins to settle on the ocean floor.

Now please, tell me about the sleet and the rain. But don’t you dare say you love it because you yourself cannot even say you love the ocean if you are not willing to die if it takes your breath away. If you can kiss your lover good night and drink whiskey to numb your heart..

Walk along the edges of the Cliffs of Moher with me. Run with me when the rain patters upon the cobblestones; when the wind tugs at your heart let’s walk down Grafton in search of ice cream to share under a lone umbrella. It’s no fun to sit inside when the world opens itself to you.

The grass begs to be frolicked through. When we tour the Wicklow Mountains, take your running shoes and bandaids so if we slip and fall we can gather the pieces of ourselves and paint them in graveyard ruins along with the people there. It is not disrespect to climb their tombs and smile but only if you look at them with sadness because it reminds them of their own failures and once and a while, people need to see a glimmer of sunshine.

Can you tell me about the sunshine? How it kisses your arms and recedes in time for the clouds to cool the burn? We carry coats and layer sweatshirts but what if we just carry their embrace, what becomes of us if we need the taste of poison to laugh.. Or to smile.

Did James Joyce ever anticipate the reality of his words, did it ever beat itself into his heart? Can we sit at the ends of cliffs and jump on rope bridges together if it meant we could take that reality and watch it sink to the bottom of the Atlantic?

If I may, I’ll stand forever as an abandoned shoreline whose waves have dried being kissed by the sun.

Only A Day

Come away, O human child.
Where rain puddles around your ankles and laps at your ribs.
You need a pinch of sadness
Because the days are long and the night so short
You can drink yourself weary,
Or you can take my hand and dance with me until the moon glows.

Death gave me wings, once.

He asked me what I wanted most and I replied, “Death, I want to fly.”

So he took his hand, bent me over, and stitched wings onto my back. I waited patiently for him to finish and he disappeared without a word. I spread my wings and jumped into the air and as my wings grew bigger, the ground beneath me grew smaller and in the clouds I saw the world smaller than the tip of my finger beneath me.

I saw the oceans beneath me, the clouds covering the fields beneath me, the people in all their trouble beneath me. And still I grew larger till the lands were but a floor for me to rest my feet but I kept on flying.

“Death, don’t let me die,” I yelled. “Don’t let me die.”

But in my plea, he ripped the world from me and I woke up sad and alone. My feathers gone but my wings still there. I could still fly if I wanted to.

“Death, I want to fly. Don’t let me die again.”

—-

Image: Aberrant Beauty

Fleeting

My days are measured in teaspoons of maharaja oolong.
The mornings and evenings are just a whisper of you my ears skip over.
The night an overwhelming reminder of teaspoons.
I might as well have had my limbs pinned to a wall, my wings sending dust into the air behind a pane of glass.
If I tried to fly, I’d drown in cups of tea.