Swiftly Go the Days

The Sun hangs low in the sky
On my early morning drive.
She rises just below the visor
Directly in my eyes.
Our eyes
Just one in a river of cars
Barreling toward the morning Sun

What does the sun do all day?
Does it get to go out and play?
Does she watch the children play ball,
Or the first time they walk or crawl?

I may never know,
Because I only ever see her
Shining directly in my eyes
Just under my visor
On my late evening drive
When the Sun hangs low in the sky.

Float On

After months on vicious, roiling seas
A blind man steps into the crows nest
And we ask what he sees.
“Why, an island in the mists,” he cries
And everyone believes knowing it’s a lie
Because the alternative is starvation,
Is loneliness,
Is loss of control.
But nothing is that easy.
There is no plan, no destiny.
No island, no land.
Just reeds
Too wet to grasp
in a river flowing too fast.
No one is in control.

There’s nothing we can do.

So settle into the calm reality
That even to the best of our ability
We can’t escape that cold inevitably.

Lay back, and float downstream,
Let go of struggle,
Let go of control,
Because we never had it anyway.

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.

What Have I Done?

I was too scared
At that critical moment
Rife with indecision.

Could I have known
That their absence
Would reveal perfection?

I am terrified now
That I’ll never know
If it was love or infatuation.

I chose me over us
in a moment of weakness
Now I wish for the moment I missed.

I hold my pillow close
Wishing for their warmth
On a night I’m feeling selfish.

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.

 

Birds of a Feather

Note from the author: Hey every one this is another flash fiction thing I had to do for class “2030, Iceland, A Story of Love in Multiple Forms,” now simply called “A Love Story” is almost complete, I just need to do some finishing touches and I will release it episodically in the coming weeks. I thought you all might be becoming disillusioned at the lack of new content so here you go, enjoy. 

“Excuse me, Ms. S. I need to go pee!” I said squirming the same horribly small desk-chair combos I’ve had to have sat in for the past 7 years.

“No, Steven, Timothy’s already in the bathroom; you know the rule.” She said while continuing to write the pythaguras theory she’d been going on about.

Screw Tim, she let’s him do whatever he wants, it’s my turn, “Okay, so Tim gets to spend 15 minutes in the bathroom while I get to pee myself all over this beautiful desk.” As soon as I finish Tim walks in with his hands in his pockets and his eyes to his feet. One of the girls, a couple columns over, giggled and whispered something I didn’t catch. “Ms. S. I’m going to the bathroom now.” With that and nothing else I’m already passing Tim out of the door.

“What’s so exciting, Tim?” I heard someone say behind me as I passed into to the hallway. Red, white, and blue blur together as I rush through locker hall and tackle the swinging door to relief. After I finished I decided to take my time going back to class. I looked through the stalls, opening them one by one; nothing, ew god gross, toilet overflowing with toilet paper, Kamel Reds, fuck yeah! I put my prize in my kangaroo pocket, hiding it with my hands against the fabric while I walked back into class.

I spun into my seat with my back to the teacher while I dropped the cigarettes into my backpack. Rachel looked at me and smirked, my heart skipped a beat; she took a smile from me in return. “Hey, Steven what you got there?” She asked leaning across the aisle.

“Shh, I’ll show you at lunch, come with me to the portables?” My voice cracked from astonishment, she giggles into her sleeve and nods. Woohoo!

I notice Tim talking to the girl next to him, again, while the teacher explains how A and B make C. She’s giggling, watching him adjust himself in his seat by the window. Birds congregated on the tree that grew above the wall around the school, tweeting and flying in circles around each other. Two of the birds flitted with each other concentrically, coming together a few feet above the others. One fell away and landed between two sitting on a branch, it pecked each on either side of it while its friend flew over them. It left the two on the branch to fly with its mate again. The quartet then flew together in separate circles above and under and around each other until I couldn’t tell which was which.

Something cracked, I twisted my head to the front. Ms. Smith was leaning over me, dry erase marker pressed against my desk “what’s so interesting Steven? Care to share it with the class?”

“Uh… Uhm, well there’s these bir-” BEEP, BEEEEP, BEEP. One short, one long, and another short; lunch time. I stood up with my bag and looked the teacher in the eye while I left the classroom with the other students. Single file out the door, stay in the same line, parallel with the others. Tim walked hunched over ahead of me, encroaching on the boy ahead of him.

We exit through the grey-green double doors to the concrete square. Vending machines with colorful screens line the walls of the square, my classmates swarm their gentle glow. Every time, thank you mom for packing my lunch. I felt something brush against my leg, “Oh, hey, Tim what’s-” he looked at me terrified then quickly dropped his head and ran away, “up? That was weird.” I said to myself.

I waded through the sea of classmates and the din of chatter, laughter, and the occasional screech out of the main lunch area. There was an overhang with an expansive mural displaying an american eagle, with the appropriate flag, raining stars down on an open field with children playing. One of the students was etching an elephant in the faded red lunch table as I walked to where Rachel was waiting for me in the sun just past the awning; her fly-aways refracted the light around her brown hair. “Hey,” she said, pulling another smile from me.

“Hi,” I throw my hand up then quickly it’s back at my side in a kind of awkward wave. “You have your lunch already?”

“Yeah, my dad makes it for me,” she answers, then bashfully adds, “want to go over to the portables?”

Smile still uncontrollably plastered on my face I lead her to my spot between the portables and the wall. It was perfect: I could see everything coming this way, but one could see me. We sat down across each other and looked in our brown bags, almost in unison we pull out our lunch. She takes out the brightest fuji apple as I pull out the same apple that’s lost its sheen. She set it on her lap and took out a salad, it was all sorts of red, green, yellow, purple, and white in their purest form. I pulled out a squished peanut butter and jelly with a purple-brown spot soaking through one side. We sat and ate looking down at our food, I’d chance a glance at her but she was either chewing or looking at her phone, or both.

“What is Tim doing?” I said, she looked up at me in confusion; she was facing the wall. I pointed around the corner where Tim was standing a few feet away. He’d just been pushed away from an embrace with a belligerent 8th grade football player. As the bull ran after the matador I saw a girl in a loose dress with golden-brown hair keeled over in laughter farther in the distance. Immediately, I heard hurried footsteps to my right. Tim launched himself over rachel and past me then hid under the wheelchair ramp.

“Did you see some skinny little gaybo run through here?” The football player asked while gasping for breath; he looked like a lineman, not muscular though.

“Uh, well… no its just been us back here,” I replied standing as straight as I could, he still towered over me. He leaned into me until his nose almost touched mine, forcefully exhaled onto my upper lip and skulked away. I turned around to tell Tim of his safety, but he was already wrapped around me. He drew me in close; I felt something press against my leg, what? Does he… oh, no that’s not his. I press myself into him until I feel the rigid lump crumple against his pelvis; he fell on his back in apparent agony.

“Hey woah, Tim get up,” Without turning my head I scanned to see if anyone was looking. The golden-haired girl, wiping her cheeks and regaining control of her laughter, was walking this way. He was holding his crotch and crying, “my dick! My dick! Oh god, my dick!”

“Dude! Your dick! What did I do?” I replied in hyperbolic concern.

“You pushed it back in!” He declared as he slowly lifted himself from the ground. Suddenly he sprung himself around me again, legs and everything, and ecstatically exclaimed, next to my ear, “Thank you!” He dropped to his feet and continued, “finally, I was so scared it was going to fall off. It came out and wouldn’t go back in.”

I stood there, bewildered, for a few seconds, looking him in the eye; I broke down. I couldn’t control my laughter. By the time that girl had shown up I was in tears, curled into a ball. How does he think of this shit? How does he do this shit? Mid thought I was lifted to my feet and greeted to toothy grin that reached twin blue eyes behind a shade of dark hair. “Hey man, thank you: no one else had the balls to help me.”

“Stop… Stop please… It’s too much,” I sputter through my convulsions. I couldn’t handle it; this was the funniest kid alive. I leaned back against the wall, resting my head against it and closing my eyes. I listened to the birds chirping in the trees just outside, the cars out on the freeway, and, lastly, someone clapping by my nose, pulling me back.

“Hey, how’d you know?” Tim was standing directly in front of me at this point, still giddy.

“Know what? That you had a toilet paper roll for a wiener?”

“Yeah,” he replied his eyes focused on mine, anticipation?

“Well, you know, I felt a wiener before, in my life, that wasn’t one. Was that why you spent 15 minutes in the bathroom?”

He blurt out a short laugh, “Yeah why?”

“Ms. S wouldn’t let me leave until you got back, douche.”

Without offense, he replied flatly, “oh, well if you really had to go you should have gone before me.”

“Yeah, or you shouldn’t take 15 minutes in the bathroom,” I replied feigning indignation.

After a short, silent pause Tim stuck out his hand, “I’m Tim, this is Jenny, we used to live next door, but she moved,” with his other hand he pointed to Jenny.

I looked down at his hand, “I know who you are, we’ve been in the same grade for 7 years.”

“Hey rachel, hey steven,” Jenny said brightly as Tim put his hand by his side and she put hers on his shoulder.

“Oh, well we never talked before so I felt awkwa- like I had to introduce myself.” He said smoothly, I almost didn’t catch the slip.

Rachel drew closer to Jenny, “Hey, Jen, oh I was going to ask you what I should wear to your sleepover,” I immediately tuned out of that conversation.

Tim comes close to me and whispers, “So what are you guys doing back here,” winking at me.

“Just eating some lunch,” I said nonchalantly.

“Just some lunch?” He repeated dubiously while backing out of my space.

I turn and point to our lunch, “Yup, just some lunch,” which had been trampled, to my surprise.

“Oh, man, I’m so sorry, here (hands me a few dollars) Jenny’s mom made enough for both of us today, but my mom gave me this; I don’t need it.”

“Thanks, but I’m full, plus I can’t stand the food they have in there,” I said keeping my hands to myself.

“Well, take it, maybe sh-you’ll be hungry after school.”

“You know what I will take it, because…” I paused for dramatic effect while I reached into my bag, “of this,” I ecstatically presented the Kamels I’d found this morning.

Jenny stops mid conversation, her and Tim’s eyes widen, she spoke first, “what are those?” She said without any discernable emotion.

“They’re Kamel Reds, my older cousin says they’re the best,” I responded less enthusiastically.

“C…can I have one?” Tim asked, in a surprisingly timid voice.

“Of course,” I said as my heart slowed its beat. I opened the pack and offered it around, everyone took one. Jenny had a lighter in her dress and lit us all up. In the next second we were hacking in a circle. It felt like I swallowed razors, but it tasted like… nothing I’d ever had before. It was delicious. I took another drag immediately after I recovered; the razors dulled. Jenny was sitting serenely on the handrails above the ramp dragging her cigarette, how?

Rachel sat by my feet against the wall and looked up at me, I sat next to her. She asked me what I liked to do outside of school, when I told her she seemed interested. She even asked if she could join me sometime as she realized we live in the same neighborhood. Tim and Jenny joined their conversation with ours while we finished our cigarettes, then left us there alone. Rachel and I talked until the bell rang and we had to join everyone back in the classroom.