The Joy and Pain in Wonder
I do not know
Whether you are actually interested
I just can’t tell
But isn’t it still fantastic
That I can’t translate
I cannot truly read
What they mean to say
To tell me
I’ve no real clue
As to what is going on
I’m not sure if you’re just as excited as I
Just as scared
Or just annoyed
Are you annoyed?
I really don’t know
You express a lot of things
In all you do
And don’t do
As far as I do know
You could be feeling anything
Do you feel the same as me?
I get nervous
As I approach you
But even more so
When it’s with reason
I’m really afraid
To know what you’ll say
Therein lies the pain
The pain in wonder
Not knowing if it’s no
Or if yes is an option
I’d almost rather never know
And wade in the shallow joy
More half written and all ideas.
Pulling Down The Stars; part 2
You should definitely read Part 1, first.
“Hey, Aiden. Watcha doin’?”
“I’m reading, Lua. Go away.”
She proceeded to tower over him. “What are you reading?”
“I’m reading about space, now would you mind giving me some?”
“Oh, Aiden.” Lua laughed. “You’re silly. I’m going to play on the monkey bars. Want to come?”
“Because I need to learn about stars.”
“Stars?” Now Lua had a look of perplexion across her face. “Why do you need learn about stars?”
Aiden turned to face her. Staring her straight in the eyes, with the widest grin he could manage, he whispered, “Because, I’m going to have one, someday.”
Lua just laughed.
“What.” Aiden was not amused.
“You know you can’t have a star, they’re huge!”
“You’re just too silly, Aiden. I’m off to play. Bye!” Lua waved and bounded away, leaving Aiden, alone with his book.
“I don’t understand why everyone laughs, when I tell them that.” Aiden mumbled to himself. “I had hoped she wouldn’t be one of them.” He got up, from the floor, and returned the book to the shelf. “Oh well.” And he walked off to join Lua.
“Honey, I’m sorry. Things like this, they just happen. They can’t be helped. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry? You are sorry!?” The young man roared. “How can you be sorry? You didn’t tell me off. You didn’t look me in the eyes and break my heart. You- you didn’t break my heart.”
“Oh, Aiden. I—”
“Don’t, ‘Oh, Aiden,’ me.” Aiden bellowed from the pillow. “Go. Just go. Leave me be.”
After his mother left her efforts to console him, Aiden lied there. He lied prostrate upon the bed for the better part of an hour. He didn’t sob. He didn’t cry. He barely even breathed. He just lied there.
Physically, he appeared to have died, which he may have wished upon himself at this moment in time. Mentally, he was as active as ever, running through the events of the day, or more specifically, the event of the day.
He had waited for her to get out of class, she had stayed a little longer to speak with a teacher. He drove the two of them home.
“Thanks for the ride.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re on my way.”
He pulled onto her street. She was just a few houses from the corner.
“Aiden, about the other night. I—”
“No. I want to apologise. I did something wrong and I want to apologise for it.”
He put the car in park on the street, in front of her house.
“What did you do that was wrong? You didn’t do anything.”
“But that’s just it. I didn’t do anything, when I should have done something. I just- I- I don’t know what to do. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. Just forget about it.”
“Forget about it? Aiden, I was horrible to you, and you want me to just forget about it? There has to be something else—”
“There is nothing else. It either is or it isn’t. Look, what happened that night was my fault. You reacted only the way you knew how. I am sorry. Not you, but me. I had taken a risk and quite possibly ruined what he have. I should be the one who’s sorry, and trust me, I am.”
“No, don’t. Nothing is ruined. We can work through this. We can—”
“No, we can’t. At least, I can’t.”
‘I don’t know what to—”
“Do you know how long?” He stated more than he asked, staring at the wheel, before him. “How long I’ve longed? I honestly don’t know when it started. It just kind of always was. I don’t how else to describe it than that. It just was, and I am. Even through all those other guys. I had to sit and watch each and every one. As they made you smile as only I wished I could. As they made you cry as I never would. I watched. Some seasons, I would try and just get over it. I’d see other girls, but that didn’t work. How could I be with them, when my heart was with you? I couldn’t even bear to hold a hand, knowing it wasn’t yours.”
There was no emotion on his face. He just stared straight ahead of himself. Every ounce of feeling, every bit life, he put into his words.
“And it’s kind of ironic, how close we were, and how close we really aren’t. We used to spend everyday, together. We told each other all our secrets. Damn it, Lua. I’ve told you everything. Everything, but this. I love y—”
He turned, now, to look at her.
“You can’t do this to me, Aiden. You can’t. I left the dance for something small. We can forget about that. You only tried to kiss me. That’s fine. But you cannot say all this and expect me to- I don’t know what you’re expecting of me. But Aiden, I’m sorry. You’re one of my closest of friends, almost like a brother to me. I can’t be more for you. I’m sorry. Goodbye.”
And she got out of the car, went inside the house, leaving Aiden, alone with his heart.
Pulling Down The Stars; part 1
“Stop that. That’s disgusting.”
Aiden pulled his fingers out his mouth and spat bits of nail to the floor.
“Oh, that is awful. Never do that again.”
Aiden never much enjoyed the supermarket, but most seven year olds don’t enjoy being tethered to their mothers for long. He would have much rather been playing in the yard, or riding his bike. But no, he was walking the aisles of the market with his mother.
Although, he knew that if he was good, Mother would sometimes buy Aiden a reward. The most delicious little treats Aiden ever tasted. Fallen Stars. Little stars of pretzel dipped in a creamy milk chocolate. Aiden would trade all of his toys for a bag of Fallen Stars. Bearing through the supermarket was worth the treat.
“Alright, ready to go? Oh, is something wrong?” Mother smiled. “We didn’t grab any of those Fallen Stars, did we? Well, let’s.”
Aiden could barely contain himself as he jigged behind his mother to the fifth aisle, and continued to do so after she placed his favourite snack in the cart and proceeded to the check out.
“Thank you, Mommy.” Aiden chirped, from the back seat. He slowly placed one of his precious stars on the center of his tongue. He liked to suck each star of its chocolate, relishing every moment. Once all the chocolate was gone, he would imagine he were a dinosaur eating the star in the most ravenous of ways. Before, his mother would comment on how obnoxious it was, but considering that he was a fairly timid child, she saw no reason in pressing the issue.
“Mommy, what are stars?”
“Pretzels in chocolate.”
“No, not these stars. The one’s in the sky. What are those stars?”
“Ah, those are little pricks of light made from giant balls of fire, far, far, away from Earth.”
“Fire? Wow. Have you ever seen one, up close?”
“Up close? Ha. You don’t understand when I sar ‘far’, do you? If we were to try and drive all the way there, you’d be older than me, by the time we’d get there.”
“I don’t think I could ever be as old as you.”
“Hey, punk, watch it. Eat your stars.”
“You know what, Mr. Chew?” Aiden whispered as he tossed his stuffed bear up in the air. “I’m going to have a star, one day. I’m going to hold my very own star.” Aiden caught his bear and crawled over to the window. “See them, Chew? They’re pretty, aren’t they? I want one.”
“Aiden, it’s time for bed. Have you brushed your teeth, yet?”
“Well, get along, then.”
Aiden got up from the rug and turned to walk to the bathroom, but paused for just a moment. Looking back out the window, he found a star just a little to the right of the moon. “You,” he spoke to the star, “I will have you. You will be mine.”
“Aiden. Teeth. Now.”
And Aiden went off for the bathroom, leaving Mr. Chew to watch his star for him.
I don’t know how to end a story. I don’t have the slightest clue. I’ve brought my hero to his conflict, I’ve let him find a way to overcome his giant, but when it comes to the resolve, I flounder. I’ve been stretching this way further out than should be.
For example, I wrote myself a short story. I created this wonderful world for my protagonist to exist. I laid out, as briefly as I could, plenty of characters with which for him to interact. I gave him a purpose, a reason, and a means to acquire his goal. All that was left was how to end it. Does he get his wish? Does he get anything? Do I do anything for him at all?
I look back at past work, and I cannot see a single point where I actually ever finished anything. I have no completed anything. I have never actually done anything. Even this little rant that I’m in the middle of vomiting, this itself won’t be really finished. I plan to publish an unfinished work. I just— I don’t know what to do about anything. It’s almost debilitating how wrecked I am that I can’t seem to finish anything.
Half of my reasoning for writing this is that tonight, I just concluded that the girl I’d been doting over for months hasn’t the slightest of interest in me. That really sucks. Like really really sucks. I’m completely destroyed inside. I just want to crawl into a ball and slowly pull my knees into my chest until my body compresses into the dying star that it is and I collapse into the oblivion that is my own heart. I’m an emotional creature, and all I am right now is too many emotions. Just writing this has helped me to sort of some of my feelings, but even still, that star ball into oblivion idea is the only thing I want to do. That’s all I want to do.
Then maybe, I could say that I finished something.
A great chieftain is walking through the forest with his grandson. The boy looks up to his elder and asks, “You look troubled. Grandfather, what ails you?”
"There is a battle within me, my boy. A dispute between wolves. One wolf is full of all things terrible; filled with hatred, disgust, selfishness, and rage. The other wolf, he contains what is good in this world; He is full of love, patience, understanding, and compassion. Both wolves wage war within me."
The boy is concerned, “But grandfather, which wolf shall win?”
"The one I feed."
A Native American folk tale adapted by RJ Ramage
Writer’s block. The point in the journey where- I don’t know. I can’t think of it. It’s supposed to be something along the lines of- damn. Damn it all.
I blow all this hot air about how much I enjoy writing, and then when the opportunity presents itself, my page stays blank. Well, not blank exactly. There may be a spare few brief indirected lines of hope. Hope that maybe some sort of product may come forth of the minuscule bit of inspiration. Inspiration enough to spit and scribble some odd scrawl on a near blank page. Blank page. Blank page. Oh, how those two words haunt me so.
“Darkness and light lives side by side,
like the brightness and shadows within your eyes.
But who are you, that I have to hide?
That I must cover this up with so many lies?
You are my love, my only true,
to whom I am torn to bid ado.
But I must go,
My time has come.
The Lord has beckoned me home.”
You scrawled that on your fancy stationary. The stationary you bought from the thrift store, months back. I remember. You only had a handful of sheets in the pack, so you use them sparingly. One to your mother, two to your sisters (one for each wedding), and your first was to me. A love poem you had been waiting to write me for the longest time. One that I was so eager to read. So unlike this last one you wrote, this poem I hold now. So different. This, this I won’t want to remember.
You always wanted to be a poet. A poet, and an artist, and a nurse, and a singer, and a politician, and a photographer, and an astronaut. You were a poet. You really were. A poet and a dreamer, and my best friend. You aspired like no other. Your aspirations were inspirations. People became people because of you; I became something because of you. I love you.
You didn’t have to keep it all a secret, the sadness you felt. I knew when you just weren’t feeling so keen. You could put a show on for anyone else, and none would be the wiser. But I knew. I don’t know why you wouldn’t let me in. I care so much. I knew he hurt you, but that was then and this is now. It’s you and I now. It was you and I. You shouldn’t have left me like you did.
You always laughed at your favourite story. How it was “so cliché” . How it was everyone else’s favourite, too. It really was a good story, even for being 400 years old. I can’t help but laugh now, how we ourselves have fallen in line with that tragedy. I always told you we were “star crost” . Still, it didn’t have to be this way.
You know how I’ve always felt, what I’ve always told you. You have to remember the times I would serenade you with Death Cab, I didn’t think I’d have to follow through. That hurts me the most. You can’t know what I would do once I found your note. I could have rejoiced and danced off in glee, free of you. I’m not going to. Part of me knows you knew that too. Part of me wonders if you wondered what next I would do.
You are never going to read this. You’ve left me behind. In some regard, I had no reason to write this myself. Well, it must have been just for myself. And yet still, it was for you. It was all for you. Everything, from the beginning, for you. When I left work early, for you. When I picked up your prescription, for you. When I went back out to get your favourite chinese, for you. When I came home with dinner and a movie, for you. When I saw what you did, for you. When I wrote this letter, for you. When I use this knife, for you. It is all for you.
I’m never any good at endings. I can never wrap anything up. Do you remember all of those paintings I left dripping? How many stories I would never bring to closing? How many letters I’ve never sent? This isn’t going to be one of those times. This is the finish. Our grand finale. And as the curtain falls, I’m going to get this right. I want this, as much I don’t, I do.
I’m sorry I wasn’t enough, here. I hope it will be different, there. I’m sorry for what happened, before. I hope it will be different, soon. I’m sorry it had to be this way. I hope it will be different. I just hope to God that it will be different. It has to be different. It has to.
Well, considering that this is both prose and poetry, I decided to post it to my main blog and repost it on each of my prose and poetry blogs, accordingly.
http://laments-and-lullabies.tumblr.com/ for poetry
http://thingsirrelevant.tumblr.com/ for prose
Also, this was initially a prompt from fellow tumblr OfHeightsAndHollows whose true name I do not know.
http://ofheightsandhollows.tumblr.com/ for her lovely blog
Flirt with Success, Succumb to Failure; Part 1
I saw her, today. She’s beautiful. She radiates as though she is the Sun, but she isn’t. She is a moon. She glows so wonderfully, it takes so much not to just sit there and admire. Oh, Success, I wish I could just tell her how I truly felt. I wish I could take her by the hand, and recant the words to a feeling she made me feel that never had any words to begin with. But whenever I approach her, she fades. She wanes to a sad smile, still beautiful, but sad. I love Success.
But I can’t do this. Though I can’t help but feel as I do, it’s not me thinking. I know this. I keep running for her blind, because she was the only light I wanted, so now I have none. I just keep stumbling in pursuit, in chase of Success, my moon. Since she has gone, there’s this blanket of hopelessness, fallen upon me, and all I have is the hope in struggling against it, bleak a hope as that may be.
This is masochism, really. As much as I hate this, it’s the closest I’ve had to truly living. I could do this for months. It hurts so much, but again, it’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never tasted Success. Never had the chance to feel as the hairs stand up on the back of Success’ neck. To hear Success whisper anything into my ear. I’ve only ever smelt the dank breath of Failure. Felt as Failure drove a knee into my stomach, and spat on my face. I’m so accustomed to Failure, she seems like my only friend. We almost seem to sit back, at times, and revel in all the ways I’ve come crawling back to her. Fucking Failure.
So many times, I’ve tried to leave Failure. I’ve tried to just walk— no, run away. I can only ever get so far. I hear her before I see her. She sounds like the beating of a drum, beating at my chest, then cuts me at my knees and kicks me in the stomach. I know that if I could just escape her, Success would be just around the bend. Just over that mountain between us. Failure knows that. That’s why she has me here. Just out of reach of Success, with a mountain of a challenge to climb. I must overcome it.
My ears are burning as your lips are sparking from your tongue alighting the fire to tickle all our senses.
So I went stand up paddling for the first time, today. That’s where you spend the whole time on the board on your feet. I was terrible. I couldn’t stand for more than a minute or two before a ripple would knock me in to the water. I could only take twenty minutes of this before I gave up and floated back to be washed up along the shore. I dragged the board and paddle up to a log and tried to catch my breath. That’s when I saw her.
This stunning, gorgeous, beautiful local girl. She strolls up with her board, sets in in the water, and launches off into the coming wake. I’ve been here three weeks, and not one girl has caught my eye. You can imagine how stunned I was. And like that, in the time it took me to gather all the thoughts she provoked from within me, she was off. She was paddling away.
I had to do something. I couldn’t let the only wonder I’ve seen in these past weeks just slip away from me like the falling tide. I had to act. I did what any young man would do in my position. I grabbed my board and chased into the water.
By the time I was on my feet, she had already paddled twenty yards or so away. So I dug in with all I had and pushed forward with what was left. They say never to look down when SUP surfing, (Stand Up Paddle surfing), because where your eyes go, you’ll go. I remembered those wise words and applied them to my new goal, this beautiful girl. I kept her in my sights for all that life was worth. I was going to earn this.
After five minutes of paddling, I was going pretty well, putting sixty yards between myself and the shore. She was going along much better than I, putting another forty yards between myself and her. I started to paddle harder and harder. I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to get over there and I was going to… Oh shoot… What was I going to do? I spent all this time trying to focus on getting to her, I didn’t much plan what I was to do once I got there.
Obviously, I couldn’t do the whole “Hey, I’m really good at what I do. Let me impress for you a moment with my awesome skills.” That would require me to be any good at SUP surfing, and I didn’t think showing off how well I could fall was going to get me anywhere but in the water.
Trying to be an intellectual wasn’t going to do me any good either. People don’t go out on the water to discuss their thoughts on politics and literature. Besides, I’m not much interested in the former, and a majority of my authority of the latter is based on the works Silverstein and Watterson.
My best bet was not what I would have hoped for, but we play with the cards we’re dealt. I would have to go out there, try not to fall, and do my best at being a goob. That was my only hope, and hey, I’m pretty good at that. And on the bright side, falling might work in my favor. I could try and be charming an all, and it would matter if I— TURTLE!
I had paddled out for fifteen minutes, I had managed to stand for fifteen minutes, I had kept her in my sights the whole time, I had planned how to pick up on her, and then I found a sea turtle with the nose of my board, and then I found the water with my face.
By the time my head was back out of the water, she was gone. She must have turned past the jetty and gone out way past where I could go. She was gone.
I took a moment to recollect myself. I was forlorn. She was gone. What was I to do? I had paddled as far as I could. I had done all I could do. Now, I had to retire. Once again, I grabbed the board by its belly and let the waves take me in to shore.
I had almost done it. I had almost gotten to her. I had almost experienced the beginning of every Disney movie. All to no avail. Today, I was bested by a turtle. Maybe next time I’ll do better. Maybe next time.
I’ve never felt that way before. I tried preparing myself for more than a month, just so I wouldn’t fail. Yet, I failed. Though, that way I felt, I’ve never felt that way before.
It was a feeling of weakness, though I’m amazed I could even bear to stand. It was a feeling of incompetence, though I’m amazed I was wise to not speak. It was a feeling of no feeling at all, and to that I am completely unamazed.
All I wanted to say was how I felt. “How’s the pizza?” were my words instead. “Right, that’s a lot of bread,” was all that followed. It’s moments like these that I wish I could just crawl up into a ball and breathe away all my pains into smoke.
Too bad I’m aware that this is irrational.
And yet still, I’ve never felt that way before.
I’ve been nervous. Many times in fact. I’ve been scared, frazzled, intimidated. I’ve felt a great many ways. I’ve just never quite felt that way before.
I don’t quite know how to explain it. I could go on about how things are in society on this and that, and compare it to my own life, specifically this instance. I could attempt at being philosophical as one of the greats even with my irrational background. I could do a great many thing, but tell you why I felt as I did, tonight. As I said, I’ve never felt that way before.
I just, I don’t really know. I stood there as my knees began to buckle. I fought gravity and watched as my chance slipped away. I know many moments when I should have gone. I should have acted. I should have done. But, I didn’t. I didn’t.
I remember it all from a quiet position. An observer’s point of view. As though I were intruding on someone else’s private moment. This is all rubbish, of course. I was actually there. I was just too weak and frail to act. Instead, I just stood there, standing.
She made my knees go weak. She made my heart go fast. She made my head spin faster. But this all has come to pass. Now I am all alone. She left me standing there. With shame upon my face, as all I did was stare.