What Can Happen in a Second

(My best friend for christmas gave me a book called 642 Reasons to Write this was the first prompt. A simple question, “what can happen in a second?” brought this about, idk if it’s worth a read that’s for you to decide. It only takes a second to decide what you’re going to occupy the succeeding seconds with, so in that second I decided to be arguably productive.)

What can happen in a second? If you think about it a second is a long time. It takes a second for a bullet to reach your heart. Only a second from when a beautiful girl catches your eye until your heart starts racing. A second can make or break a relationship, there is only a fraction of a second difference between “I love you,” and “I think we should break up.”

A second is the difference between winning or losing. I was in a race in higschool, 100 meter freestyle swim. My opponent and I were neck and neck way ahead of the other racers. Each stroke put us ahead or behind the other. We had no idea, however, we only wanted to be the fastest we could. It’s hard to see your opponent in the pool and looking would cost an all important second. A second away from your time and in a race that often takes a minute ± 4 seconds that is a lot of time. The race ended in just under a minute; 56 seconds for him, 57 for me. In that second all of the immense effort I put forth into swimming my ass off became meaningless as it only meant 2nd place. I’d beaten my best time, and most of my teams best times, but in that second I became second place.

Paramedics work in seconds. In that second that they lost getting stuck behind a wall of idiot drivers at an intersection they lose the heart attack, spider-bite, stroke victim they were racing toward. Same with police or firefighters. Any emergency is measured in fractions of a second. I’m sure and have heard stories of people being saved on 9/11/01 by the second they “wasted” at a stop sign, or turning back for their keys, or dressing their kids.

Songs and film even paintings work in seconds. In a second a piece of music can swell to a heart wrenching crescendo, or an actor can deliver that one line that brings the whole plot reeling from twist after twist to that final satisfying conclusion. When observing a painting, the extra second one takes to breathe and truly open their eyes to it can mean the difference between understanding or disregarding the piece.

In writing a second can mean everything. In the second that a potential reader takes to read the title or the first line of a story is the subconscious decision to continue reading or putting the book down.

The universe was created in a second, it took several more for it to become what it is, but it only took a second to explode into being. You, me, and everyone who’s ever lived were created in that final climactic second of passion. Well, speaking technically (read: less poetically) some people were created in that second of fertilization when a sperm – be it from the oh so satisfying natural way or the miraculous life changing science of insemination – all humans were created.

So there you have it, all life, humanity, animals, everything began in a second, and every second afterward can mean the creation or destruction of any number of things. So, and I usually steer away from such platitudes, but it seems so appropriate to say now, make every second count.

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Nonproblems of a Member of the Privileged Class

This afternoon I was struck with the dire decision of where to get first meal. I’d slept in later than normal and when I got up my roommate was watching the episode of sherlock with That Woman. So, of course, I had to stay and watch before getting on with my routine of yoga, breakfast burrito, coffee and writing.

Anyway after watching I was way to hungry to do yoga but also feeling fat so the breakfast burrito was out of the question. Now incredibly hungry, a little stoned, and without the predetermination of a routine I got into my car and haphazardly drove off to figure it out on the way. As some of you may know that was a terrible decision.

As I waited at the first stoplight the true weight of the matter fell upon my feeble mind. Where would I eat? The myriad restaurants passed through my mind faster than I could process them as every car on the road seemed like they wanted to slam into me. It had to be somewhat healthy (veggies, no grease, etc.). I know I was disgusted with myself too however I skipped yoga, my dubious excuse for eating like an american, but everything that came to mind was the opposite.

Breakfast bagel from my favorite spot? No, right direction but too late. Breakfast burrito? No, stupid. Okay fine, something from the coffee shop? No not enough food. The buffet of choice overwhelmed me as I drove aimlessly. I lamented the plethora of choice and my own indecisiveness. It seemed there would be the perfect solution if only I sifted through the proverbial haystack.

That or I should just pick something, anything, and get on with my day. I mean, it’s all clean, edible, and in most cases delicious. How was this even a problem. In fact it wasn’t and shouldn’t have been at all. The plethora of choice of food is the pinnacle of society.

I began imagining a nondescript third world community of huts, scavenging the slim amount of edibles from the plain on which they live. They had no problem deciding what to eat all they could do was happily accept the bland wheat and whatever meat would pass by. Their entire life is based around scarcity. Everything from what they could eat to their job in the community is determined by working with what they have.

I envied them. In The States, well at least the part in which I live, there is no scarcity. We have an abundance of places to eat, types of jobs and anxieties about which to choose. It reminded me of an episode of Malcom in the Middle where Malcom was caught in the middle of the indecision the plethora inevitably creates. He was faced with choosing a career, and only told he could be whatever he wanted. Some would see that as nice problem to have, especially the fictional third world community I made up above, others would point out it’s fiction.

However, it points to a very real problem what do you choose when you could literally do anything and nothing seems right.

Then my stomach growled and I was on a road with no food at all so I pointed my car toward the coffee shop and settled on the terrible sandwich shop next to it and wrote this.

Pick One

Name’yer favorite band,

right off hand.

Sure, ya can.

“Heard em asuh 8th-grader;

I’ll love ‘em forever.

No this’uns better.”

What’s that’ya say?

More got in th’way?

Well ya’can’t stray.

“I can’t choose;

I love all who’s

been my muse.”

Havin’ trouble son?

More than one?

Can’t be done.

 

A Love Story, Part 1

Bananas, or My First Lesson

 

Everyday I take the same way home after school; go left out of the main entrance, walk three blocks, turn right, pass the zoo, and my house is four blocks down on the left. Its a simple route that my dad taught me when I was in 3rd grade and I’ve been taking it ever since. I’m nearing the end of 8th grade now and soon I’ll be in a new school, and I’ll have to take a different way home; maybe I’ll have to take the bus, maybe it’ll be miles away and there won’t even be a bus. As I was overthinking every possible danger of my new route I heard the familiar howl of my friend bananas.

 

“Bananas,” I call back with the name I’d given him the first day I walked home on my own.

 

“Where are you, I hear you but I can’t see you” I yell to him playfully as he bursts out of the trees and lands on the bars. He howls and screeches at me as if he’s catching me up on the events of his day. I pull out the banana I always bring to give him on my way home. He crawls down the bars to meet me at shoulder level and starts grabbing at the banana.

 

“No, Bananas, what did I tell you about manners? Now ask politely.” He complies and asks in his native tongue for his banana as I peel it, “here, since you asked so nicely” I hand him his banana then unwrap my own. We sit for a moment enjoying our fruit, usually I run my mouth when I meet up with bananas at the end of the day but today, I guess, I just had too much on my mind, or not enough. He just sits there, though, as unexpectant as ever. I’ve always like that about him, sometimes its nice not having another person around. They always expect you to contribute when sometimes you just want to focus on yourself.

 

“I’m going to miss you bananas, next year, when I’m off to high school. I really hope I can make time to see you, but my older brother keeps telling me ‘enjoy this time, you’re not going to have time to later.’ He’s an idiot though, he always tries to scare me with that stuff.” I pet bananas as I explain, he lengthens his body to extend the feeling of my hand on his fur each time I stroke it. “I don’t know, maybe he’s right, he always comes home and closes his door and doesn’t come out until dinner. Mom and Dad did just give him a computer though, he’s probably just playing with it the whole time. I can’t wait to get my own though, he says its the best thing ever. Well, he says the internet is the best thing ever, he never says why though, I mean I’ve used it before, it is pretty cool; I can do all my school work on it without having to go the library and carry books, but I’m always locked out of stuff on it.”

 

I continue absent-mindedly petting him, he purrs and closes his eyes, he still hangs on the bars, lower now as I’d taken a seat against the fence, and enjoys his banana. I take a bite out of mine. We sit again in silence. The only sounds are the common and usually ignored; cars passing on the street behind me, passersby patting the ground with their feet, and sometimes brief confused whispers between pedestrians as they pass by me sitting at the fence of the zoo as I stare glassy-eyed in no particular direction while I stroke my friend.

 

“You know, Bananas, I think you’re the only one that ever listens to me. Yeah, my parents always say I can tell them anything but its so uncomfortable talking to them about… stuff. Mom always tells me to talk to Dad, Dad always tells me to talk to my brother, and he just tells me to google it and when I do its blocked. I just want to know why Jenny makes me feel weird.” Bananas twitched drowsily while I continued to pet his soft little body. “I just get so… so weird when I talk to her now; like, my body tenses up, I start mumbling and forgetting my words, then, the worst part, my stomach feels like it’s fallen out completely and I feel like I might throw up all over her. I’ve known her all my life, and, I mean, we’ve grown up together. We’ve always been in the same grade. We used to live next door to each other and play everyday. I remember our moms used to wash us in the bathtub together when we came inside covered in dirt.” Bananas wriggled under my hand so I took it off and let him stretch, when he was done he laid on his belly, fully extended now in the dirt on the edge of his habitat. He opens one eye and looks up at me expectantly so I continue to stroke him. “We did everything together; made mudpies, played doctor, climbed trees. She’s my best friend and now I can hardly look her in the eye.”

 

“Who in the eye?” Bananas and I both jump out of our skin, he curls up and retreats slightly under a bush as I look around to see a familiar face.

 

“Jenny, hi!” The words stumble out of my mouth as I fall over myself to greet her.

 

“Hey I thought I’d find you here, I wanted to hang out with you after school but you left in such a hurry.” She says as I hug her. My stomach flips upside down and I can’t find anything to say to her.

 

After a pause she says, “Who were you talking to?”

 

“Just bananas, he’s my friend.” I reply, I really hope she didn’t just hear my voice crack.

 

She giggled even before I finished my thought, and it just made my stomach churn even more. “It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen him,” she goes over to the edge of the fence and begins calling him out of his hiding place. “Bananas, Bananaaas,” she repeats this a few times until he eventually crawls out from under his bush, “Hi, Bananas, its been a long time huh?” She croons to him.

 

As she bent over to say, “come here boy, come here,” my eyes, uncontrollably and unnaturally, run the length of her body. When did her skin get so smooth? Had her hair always been so soft looking? Then, when my breathless eyes finally ended on her chest I thought, what are those; had those always been there?

 

I catch myself before she does and step a little closer to her. She already got bananas to fully come out of his bush and was petting him gently but firmly.

 

“I think he likes you more than me,” I say as I watch my monkey wriggle and purr more than I’d ever seen him before.

 

She giggles again, like she wants me to faint, and says, “yeah, I think I have a softer touch because I’m a girl.”

 

“Yeah,” I say back, forgetting every other word I’d ever heard.

 

“Hey, Timmy…” She pauses, seemingly entranced by petting Bananas. I noticed he was fully extended on the ground, trying to feel her hand on as much of his body as he could. It looked as if he’d never felt anything so perfect in his life. Just as I began wishing that was me Jenny looks up at me and says, “I came here to find you because today was the last day of school and I just really wanted to tell you, I think I really like you, like, like you, like you.”

 

I feel my heart fly right out of my chest, my stomach, nowhere to be found. My palms start sweating and my face explodes with fire, I finally manage to say, “uhh… bluh… guh…” She just continues to stare at me while she absent-mindedly pets bananas into an absolute frenzy.

She stops immediately and jumps away in terror, straight into me, knocking us onto the ground. I just lay there dazzled by her sparkling green eyes, “I never really noticed how pretty your eyes were.” She smiles the biggest most heartfelt smile I’d ever seen and wraps her arms around me pulling us up. Her arms still holding me tight. I wrap mine around hers, but now It doesn’t feel so weird, now I just feel perfect; whole.

Why You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Payday, I insert my paycheck, the numbers go up,

Groceries, I treat myself to a cake, and fill the basket with necessities,

Home, I take a slice, small but delicious,

Television, I turn it on, nothing but commercials,

Bites, small and satisfying, I take from my cake,

Bills, “fuck, this can’t be right,” I say spitting frosting on the paper,

Smoke, take my mind off it, I’ll go on the web,

Amazon, my mind’s off it, this looks nice,

Package, on my doorstep, fills me with excitement,

Lights, flip the switch, it’s still dark,

Fridge, open it up, food is spoiled,

Cake, enjoyable yet limited, already gone.

Punctuation as Expression, or How I Feel About the Subject

A comma, a beat rest for a beat change, a thought within a thought,
Then a full bar rest to let the whole sink in.

Colon:
That’s probably right; I don’t really have a clear idea of it, nor do I of its half-rested partner.

Maybe my expression was in form of a question,
With an upward inflection?

Excitement! A feeling that flows,
From the depth and surface of our souls.

(Realizing)(knowing) how (you)(we)(I) feel in the (rules)(terms)(applications) of (culture)(language),
To (show)(express)(say) to others,
Using the (laws)(conditions)(terms) of a culture(language).

sex and violence, opposite ends of the same spectrum

Why in the states do we glorify violence and abhor sex? Here tearing each other apart is a more holy of an act than ultimate communion between 2 human beings. We are so separated from each other that we fear intimacy. It scares me, our love of destruction, but what I fear more is the total destruction of intimacy in the future. We all fear dying alone so why do we condone killing each other over loving each other?