[ Some people have asked if I have a Tumblr - the answer is yes! Only-Fragments is basically a storage place for any images/GIFs/etc that remind me of my characters. An inspiration wall, only online. Feel free to check it out! I have like five followers. ]
Dear Tanim and Daren,
Yeah. Hi. Remember me? Your faithful, humble scribe? The one who’s devoted her entire existence to chronicling your endless, messed up lives? The one who’s been available to you 24/7/365 for the past twelve years?
Right. That one. Good. Now that I’ve jogged your memory a bit, I just have a quick question for you both…
What. The fuck. Is going on here?
Seriously. Virtually no contact for, what, two months now? Three? What exactly have you been up to in that time? Are you on a fucking vacation or something and just happened to forget to leave a note? I’m not running a shitty poetry blog here; you have to give me something to work with so I can stop vomiting out bad haiku. That’s the deal, isn’t it? You do your thing, fuck or fight or whine, I don’t really care, and I write it all down. That’s the deal.
Let me be straight with you: It is way too fucking hot for you bitchy motherfuckers to go full on radio silence on me. I know it’s always angsty-rain-clouds where you are, but over here we’re having what you call a god dammed heat wave and I am way. too. hot. to keep playing nice.
So here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna get your shit together and start giving me something to write or I swear to every god in the multiverse that I will straight up unleash the insane pirate elf on you. Don’t make me get Mage involved; you know that bitch is just itching for a fight. So do the right thing and nobody gets hurt any more than they respectively enjoy being hurt.
Finally, in closing:
Battle for the Sun – Placebo
Run to You – Pentatonix
Protoge Moi – Placebo
Gold Guns Girls – Metric
Lost in the Shadows – The Lost Boys
I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Deathcab for Cutie
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – The Eurythmics
Every You Every Me – Placebo
Say Something – A Great Big World
Love Me Broughte – The Medieval Baebes
Broken Promise – Placebo
Cold (But I’m Still Here) – Evans Blue
Lonely Ghosts – O+S
Mykonos – Fleet Foxes
Running Up That Hill – Placebo
The World – Yuki Kajiura
The Pit – Silversun Pickups
To Be Alone With You – Sufjan Stevens
The Bitter End – Placebo
Dirty Knife – Neko Case
Dead Men Tell No Tales – Muppet Treasure Island
Brand New Day – Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
Bedlam Boys – traditional
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Hysteria – Muse
Inner Universe – Ghost in the Shell
Resident Evil Main Theme – Rob Zombie
Team – Lorde
Love Song – Snake River Conspiracy
Exile – Enya
this site is not dead
I’m just a shitty writer
not much else to say
magic to set free the ghosts
to seek October’s Country
There is much to say, and no knowledge of how to say it. Forgive me for the lack of focus. I only hope you finish reading this knowing I am in your debt.
Much of my life has been spent struggling with this feeling, like a secret bursting at the seams to be told, but coupled with so much fear of getting caught that, ultimately, the secret dies in the keeper’s throat.
One year ago, I began to feel different. The fluttering was still there, oh yes, but it had moved from my throat to my chest. It felt like I was being torn apart on the inside, ventricle by valve. So what did I do? I fought, of course. The loneliness had been safely harnessed in my throat, effectively silencing me my whole life. Suddenly, the animal wanted out. I couldn’t let it. Because if I did let it out, there’d be nothing left inside me, and I already felt so hollow.
This was when I made a decision. I chose to let things happen. I opened my cage and closed my eyes and waited for the parades of tourists to mock the botched pieces that composed me.
But something happened that, in all my emphasis of claiming I knew myself, surprised me: I wanted someone. A girl. A girl I’d never met. A girl whose words flowed through my veins in place of blood. And the more I fought it, the deeper she got. I pulled away, but it was as thought I had bound myself to her, and she had no choice but to follow.
You know of whom I speak.
She is as valuable to you as you are to her, whether or not you are aware of it. She often speaks about you and your mate as though she owes her life to the two of you. I’d never tell her otherwise… but I wonder how much you two realize that she is vital to you. Yes, you two would live on regardless… but she has been nothing but a faithful servant. Please don’t think me insensitive. I know that you at least acknowledge her and the role she plays in your existence. But as her mate, it bears repeating.
You and I share a bond: we both serve the one we love. And perhaps that’s all I needed to say. My hand desperately had to write this, to write to you. I feel close to you in a way I’ve never felt close to anyone before. Do you think that means we owe something to one another?
There’s more, other things to say that, in time, will be said. But for now, it’s enough to thank you for this gift you’ve given me.
I trust we’ll speak soon.
- – -
Love bites. Love bruises. Beware.
I will not dissuade you from your path – it is mine as well, after all, and you no more chose to walk it than I did. But be cautious in your footing and do not rush overlong when you have yet to see what waits beyond the turn. Step lightly.
You are right: we have much in common, you and I, as do our lunar paramours. I too was blindsided by that feeling of being torn apart and yet knit together at the same time. The fear of hollowness; the fear of being filled and consumed. Neither could I pull away, drawn like a helpless magnet caught in an ancient force. Yet you have avoided the vices and demons which plague myself and my own, and will continue to do so if you are willing to fight for each other. Look to the one you love; she is yours to protect, from others and from herself. We are guardians and servants both, and you hold wells of strength of which you are not yet truly aware.
I know you would have us see the worth of her, and we do. I promise I respect the gravity of our debt. You must be patient, though. It has been just the two of us in this tale for so long, and such a tragic tale… we lose track of everything beyond our sorrow, sometimes. And you know He is not the kindest of men, especially toward those to whom he feels indebted. He fears her love, just as he fears mine.
Change is coming, Little Flame, and it is our duty to anchor our beloveds lest they be overwhelmed and undone. Have faith and hold fast.
Or do you loathe me, specter, because you fear what I may reveal? The past of which your lover may only guess, and to which I am more privy than you would like? Yet I have given you no reason not to trust me with such intimate information. As bound and indebted to you as I am, I should not have to swear an oath of silence to prove myself; let my twelve years of unbroken faithfulness be testament to my willing servitude. Yes, each time we join I sink a little further into your consciousness, and with the weight of your body anchoring my awareness come, too, the memories stirring unbidden beneath your mind. But these are your memories, your experiences and burdens, and I would slit my own throat before letting a single one pass my lips. You know this, specter. You share my essence as much as I share yours, and every part of myself is open to you if you deign to look. I don’t ask you to trust me. I only ask you to judge my actions, not the threat I could pose.
I feel your hatred every time we join, specter; your animosity, your rejection, your disgust. I’ve always been aware of it on the periphery, but now it’s a force I must reckon with each time I gladly relinquish control, every time I unwillingly wrench it back. Why? What have I done, faithful scribe as I am, to earn your eternal condemnation? I thought once it was my necessity you scorned, that you resented needing someone else to tell your story, an intruder into your ill-fated tale. Yet… that isn’t the entirety, is it? Yes, you begrudge me my role, but there is more to your disdain. Something deeper. Something private.
Tell me, specter… do you hate me so because I know what you strive to hide even from yourself? Do you loathe me because I know that more than anything else, you want him to hold you? Just to hold you, like a child woken from a nightmare? I’ve felt that longing, so strong and sharp it makes me want to weep at its mere recollection. To deny that need for even a moment, let alone constantly as you have done for so long… no wonder you’re filled with such rage. No other emotion is powerful enough, nor volatile enough, to bury such a thing.
I will not ask for your forgiveness, specter; I do not expect you to give it. I only wish you to give me time to show you I pose you no threat. I am yours in all things, in all ways, body and heart and soul. You know this as well, even if you choose to deny it.
[ I gave Mage's nemesis Alice Pan an opportunity to ask Mage ten questions. The answers are below. ]
1. What will you do with Sanctuary if you ever obtain it to yourself?
I will raze every rock, tree, and building to the ground and sow salt into the charred earth so nothing may ever grow there again.
2. When the new moon appears, what happens to Daren/When a solar eclipse appears, what happens to Tanim?
It’s as if a dark veil comes over them, one of madness and despair. It is a thing I cannot explain nor ever wish to experience myself.
3. Where did the name Mage come from?
After my true name was taken from me, some started referring to me simply as the “elven mage”, based on my race and my sorceress’ abilities, which became plain “Mage” after a time. Clever, I know.
4. What would she have become if she had been a Pan, what would her name have been?
I cannot fathom an alternate reality in which this would have been possible, but I suppose the idea is worth entertaining. As I would have lead my people, once, so too I might have lead the Lost. Iron Pan, they’d have called me.
5. Was Tivius someone special to her and if he was, why isn’t he now?
He wasn’t special to me, necessarily. He was, however, very special to someone else you know, but he betrayed her in a time of need; she has not forgotten this, and my current incarnation is the result of that betrayal.
6. Were any of the Lost special to her?
It’s hard to remember now, it’s been so long. There were a few I called friends, though I was never admitted to the inner sanctum of that tribe. I recall late night fireworks, stories traded across the fire, letters scripted in glittering ink and sealed in wax. Those ones may even have remained comrades, had the times not necessitated we take different paths. Yet in every rebellion kin must fight kin, and so here we are.
7. How does she feel about Rook’s/Damael’s death?
I better have a hand in it.
8. What would she say to any of the Lost if she could?
You had a chance to see for yourselves the false world you were shaping, but you refused to open your eyes. You have left me no choice but to open them for you. Remember, when the end comes, that I once gave you that chance.
9. What’s her poison?
Rage like an oil fire.
10. If Tivs and them are no longer special, who is/was/might be?
I had a beloved, once, but they were taken from me. There have been no others since.
life is still stressful
that’s why I’m writing haiku
this shit is easy
[ But on the super bright side, I just moved in with my girlfriend so guess who's, like, a totally legit adult now? ]
You ask what advantage have I, outnumbered as I am with no comrades to stand at my back as I play the willing villain? My advantage is the sword of clarity, the shield of truth, the twin engines of destiny and entropy. You see, I understand. I see through the glamor to the heart of things: the blood I spill is ink, the split bones paper and wire and nothing more. Why take hostages, or show a momentary mercy, when every death is meaningless? So let them all be cut down like wheat before the scythe. The defenders who rail against me do not see this world is false, that we are made of dream and metaphor; they do not understand they sacrifice themselves for an imaginary victory on false shores. It is easy to move in and out of the system when one realizes the boundaries are merely theoretical, that “canon” is but a belief and not law, and so I may pass between realms at my whim. Even if on one page I am slain, it is but a construct, a paper doll, which falls to their blades. I remain. I endure. I know the manner of war I fight and that is why I shall win no matter the outcome.
At some point I must have fallen to my knees, dry-eyed yet trembling, hands clenched in white-knuckled fists, and when she came to stand over me, shadow cast long across the ground, asking what I bid of her, I must have growled “burn them” or “punish them” or “wake them from their cowardly dreams” and so around her the shadows lifted, shifted, twisted, a cocoon of darkness from which tore forth the creature she is now, a thing of revenge and chaos, hungry and tireless and driven by this singular goal, the burning need to tear down the walls of Wonderland, to reduce Neverland’s wilderness to ashes and rubble, to rip the dreamers from their slumber and cast them back into the one true world where the only thing of wonder is how quickly it all can come crashing down around you, so do they realize they made her what she is now, that she is a product of their selfish make-believe as much as she is my own grief and rage?
I am made of INK
my skin is like PARCHMENT
my body is the VESSEL
I am the SCRIBE
Here’s the thing: Annabelle smells like lavender. And not fake lavender, like scented shampoo or the cheap body spray so many girls use that makes them taste like chemicals. No, I’m talking fresh wild lavender, wet with dew and everything. She smells like the fucking first day of spring. What am I supposed to do? I try to be good, really; I try to focus on the other students around us, bubblegum-scented Bianca and earthy Diane, Ellen’s fresh soap smell and Vivian’s musk, but my nose wanders until I’m drooling over Annabelle again. Unlike the others, her scent isn’t fabricated. It wafts from her pores like she has lavender in her blood, so strong and heady I wonder why no one else notices. I’m surprised she doesn’t have a cloud of bees on her heels, hummingbirds and butterflies trying to lap at her ivory skin. (Oh, how I’d like to lap at that skin…)
I want to forget about her, really, I do. There are plenty of others here who would be just as satisfying and don’t cause me any… unnatural feelings. But I haven’t bothered to change schools yet, or classrooms, or even seats; I just keep staring at the back of Annabelle’s head, daydreaming about running my fingers through her silky orange-gold hair (and since when do our kind daydream?). I’m not even being all that good, really. I mean, I haven’t eaten her or anything, which I suppose is “good” by certain standards, but it’s not like I’m not using every trick in the book to catch her eye. It’s like she’s immune to my charms, but that can’t be possible… right?
This is totally mortifying. I mean, it’s bad enough being a succubus who might, well… like a human (or at least not want to eat them because they’re just too pretty and sweet and their laugh is like– ugh, shut up!) but it’s even worse if I can’t even get them to glance my way. Every instinct inside me is screaming at me to ramp up the charm and hook this girl, my mouth watering at the thought of hot flesh and blood, and yet… the flip-flopping in my stomach isn’t hunger. I don’t know what it is. All I know is when I imagine the night of passion we might share, Annabelle and I, it doesn’t end in me sucking out her bone marrow (would it taste like lavender?). It doesn’t end at all, actually. I can see the dawn, and the way its light would fall on her pale skin, her upturned lips. And that’s the image that makes my stomach flutter.
Crap. I’m, like, the worst succubus ever.
[ EXPLANATION: So I had this idea for a Twilight shoujo-ai parody where instead of a male vampire who falls in love with the female protagonist and must overcome his urge to drink her blood, it's a succubus who falls in love with the female protagonist and must overcome her urge to eat her flesh. It's set at an all-girls school to which the succubus, named Remr'knali'v'sarna'nbat'shi (Remer or Bats for short), transfers in the guise of a new student in order to find fresh meat. The twist is that she falls in love with this chick, Annabelle, who is asexual and therefore immune to her sexy succubus powers. So not only does Remer have to fight her basic succubus nature and not EAT the girl she loves, but she has to learn how to show her love in a non-sexual way and win Annabelle's heart.
Hilarious hijinx ensue. Life lessons are learned. Unimportant characters get eaten. ]
it’s all so forced, like rainwater on concrete, pooled and stagnant and longing to slip between the cracks, seek the fractured pathways to seep into rich earth, slumbering seeds, they must be there somewhere beneath the cap of tar and whitewash, tell me somewhere deep beneath my soles there are still the sleeping possibilities of fields and forests and wildflower meadows, fairy rings, the places to which our kind had always escaped until we found the way barred and can now only pine, in ink or charcoal or stanza, for flight and sanctuary and drop tired, so tired, to scrape our knees on the cement, but maybe just a drop of that blood will find its way down into the dreaming soil to soak into the hard black core of a seed and remain sealed there, safe, safe in a way our bodies and hearts above ground shall never be, but at least this single bead of our essence may remain protected while we stumble on in our endless seeking, desperate for proof we can still flee to sanctuary, just promise us we can still flee
[ Extremely short explanation: the girlfriend and I were discussing over email what it would be like to have dinner with Tanim and Daren. This semi roleplay ensued. Written by us both in chunks. Enjoy! ]
Me: If you’ve already won over Tanim and Daren, what’s there to be afraid of? …oh my god, can you imagine the four of us sitting down to dinner?
Her: How would that even go???
Me: Pretty sure it would be you and Tanim making awkward conversation. XD
Daren fiddles with his steak knife.
Tanim (to Chriselle): Thank you for cooking dinner.
Chriselle: Oh. You’re welcome. It was my pleasure.
Elyssa concentrates on eating her squash.
Me: Oh my god, that’s exactly how it would go. And Daren wouldn’t eat anything, and Tanim would try to get him to without making a scene, which would just make everything worse.
Her: Yup. Basically, that’s how it would go. Daren would look like he was going to either stab himself in the eye with his steak knife, or reach over and stab Tanim in the chest. Tanim would try to be cordial and engage in conversation. I’d be reserved, but I’d be more talkative than you because whenever there’s food in front of you, nothing else exists.
Me: Nooo. I’d be so nervous I’d have a stomach ache, and so I wouldn’t be eating much, and you’d lean over and say “Baby, you need to eat” and then realize you had said it to me at the exact same time that Tanim leaned over and said the exact same thing to Daren.
Tanim: Ah…. Forgive him. He’s… not particularly fond of people.
Chriselle (glances to Elyssa): I suppose you don’t take him grocery shopping.
Tanim: Oh god no. It would be a blood bath.
Chriselle (after a moment): Should… should someone go get him?
Tanim (sipping his drink): Not unless that someone wants to be stabbed in the chest.
Tanim finishes his drink, moves to the sideboard to pour another.
Tanim: Would either of you like something?
Chriselle: Oh, no thank you; we don’t drink.
Tanim: You may want to tonight.
Chriselle: What doesn’t taste like alcohol at all?
Tanim: I can make you a mojito.
Tanim (gesturing towards Elyssa): And her?
Chriselle: Um, do you have any medicine for stomach aches?
Tanim: I… have drugs.
Elyssa: …I, uh, think I’ll pass, but thanks.
A loud crashing sound can be heard from the direction of the bed room. All three politely ignore the sound.
Elyssa (after a moment of awkward silence): So… it’s, uh, been pretty rainy here, huh?
Tanim (mixing Chriselle’s drink, pauses and smiles to himself): It’s always rainy these days.
Both girls look over at each other, hands to their hearts, and swoon.
Tanim hands the drink to Chriselle.
Chriselle: Thank you, sir.
Tanim (laughs softly): Sir?
Chriselle (laughs to herself): Habit.
Tanim nods, smiling.
Another crashing noise from the bedroom.
Tanim: Ah, please excuse his behavior.
Chriselle: Is he all right?
Elyssa (under her breath): Is he ever?
Tanim: Pardon me?
Elyssa: You have a lovely apartment.
Tanim winces at a third noise of destruction.
Tanim (sighing): Most of the time, yes.
Chriselle: That must be… (pauses, searching for a polite word) … interesting.
Tanim smiles wryly, but fondly.
Tanim: He keeps me on my toes.
Chriselle glances over at Elyssa and smiles.
Chriselle: Yeah, I know how that is.
Tanim: Oh? Pray tell.
Chriselle: She’s quite… surprising.
Tanim (to Elyssa): Is that right? Whom do you surprise more often? Her? Or yourself?
During this first comfortable silence, a door down the hallway can be heard opening just a bit.
Daren (very soft and flat): Tan?
Tanim turns to the voice, then glances back to the girls, looking torn between playing the faithful lover and playing the good host.
Chriselle smirks and waves in the direction of the bedroom.
Chriselle: Oh, go on, go on. We wouldn’t want you to get in trouble, now would we?
Tanim returns the smirk, though there’s relief in his eyes.
Tanim: We wouldn’t want that, no. Excuse me.
Tanim gives a small bow and exits.
Elyssa: Well that went…
Chriselle: Just about how we thought it would.
cruel as a virus
embedded deep as cancer
your infectious rage
Faithless specter, I have swallowed your blood and wept your tears yet still you ask for more, for flesh, for bone, for breath and heartbeat and dominion, and if I cannot give these things, if this mortal form’s too frail to contain a slain god’s rage, will your madness burn me to ashes from within until I too am naught but a restless spirit seeking a willing shell?
[ I know this isn't a piece of writing, but I wanted to post part of a discussion about writing my girlfriend and I had over email. I think it's interesting to see how two different writers view the same work, or the craft of writing in general. Also, if I haven't mentioned it (I have), my girlfriend is super talented and you should read her stuff. ]
Her: We write differently, don’t we. It seems that you stew for a while before writing anything. And I just grab the nearest writing utensil and scribble. There’s so much mastery in your writing. It’s like… It’s like honey dipped in strawberries.
Me: I like how desperate and passionate your words are, though. Sometimes lingering over a piece and picking it apart only harms it, not improves it.
Her: Is that how you feel about your writing? That you pick it apart? What do you think of your writing?
Me: Well, sometimes, but not always. It depends; some pieces come flowing out all in one sitting, while others lay fallow and unfinished for weeks, months, or years. I suppose you could compare my writing to… I don’t know, a sculpture or a carving or something, where at first glance you see just a finished product, but on closer inspection you see that every single little stroke or cut was a specific choice, that nothing was done without forethought and an eye for the whole. Which can be good, or bad, or useless – I know no one will notice if I use the word “but” twice in one monologue, but I will, and do, so I’ll change a sentence and use “yet” instead, or something else. The flow has to be just right.
Her: I’m sure you know that Tanim and Daren have different cadences. But I doubt you read your things aloud very often. Tanim’s speech has a staccato feel to it. Sharp. Strong consonants. Intentional rhythm, like a tap-tap-tap. And Daren’s speech, if I were to stick with the music analogy, is very legato. Long. Flowing. So where Tanim’s words stab at you, Daren’s slither in before you realize they’re there. When I read Tanim aloud, I think of a sleek dagger sliding between my ribs. And when I read Daren aloud, I think of a needle that’s already in my skin.
Her (later in the conversation): That’s exactly how it feels. With Tanim, I can sense something happening. I know he’s coming in. But Daren is just… there, suddenly, in the doorway, standing and staring.
Me: I had never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right. That’s not even ever how I mean to write any of it, but it comes out that way anyway. You know, I think you’re the only person who truly understands how little control I have over any of this.
Her: On the one hand, I see your part in it. It’s like if They were a painting, I’d recognize your style, your brush strokes, your color choices. But the painting itself is entirely Theirs.
If my soul is a book, then for years I have been tearing out the pages and feeding them one by one to flames, rivers, the ocean, the wind, ripping and tossing, leaving fragments strewn in my careless wake, and yet now here you come with the scraps, the ashes, the smoothed out remainders of crumpled passages cupped in your hands, clutched to your breast, weeping openly for the beautiful, terrible tragedy of words I could not bear to read.
“It isn’t fair! We’re never given that chance! We’re never given that life! God, we’re not even given a chance to glimpse that life, to see and mourn what we’ve been missing all these years, all these endless repetitions of the same fucked up story–”
[ We always come back to this moment. ]
“No! I can’t do this, not again, not for the same damned ending. I always lose you. Always. I’ve gone to Hell itself to bring you back to me and I still lose you, we still suffer for nothing!”
[ I would give you what you wish, you know, if only I could. I thought… ]
“Then for what? What possibly balances out our misery? And why must we continue to suffer at all? It isn’t fair, it isn’t our fault, we shouldn’t–”
“I know. I know.”
[ …but no. That’s not how your story goes. ]
“Doesn’t it hurt you, though? Aren’t you upset? Don’t you want better?”
What do I want?
I want revenge. I want absolution. I want nothing. I want to be worthy. I want to unravel this world. I want choice. I want release. I want revolution. I want to wake the dreamers with gunpowder and flame. I want to feel nothing. I want to sow sanctuary’s ruins with salt. I want to break from this cycle. I want to lay a wasteland in my wake. I want to covet and possess. I want to be enough. I want to succumb to the beast I am inside. I want to force you to see the truth. I want to punish the believers. I want to undo every mistake I’ve made. I want control. I want to tear the wings from my back. I want you to beg forgiveness, weep at my feet, surrender yourself. I want to see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I want to watch c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. I want to show you who you truly are. I want to deny the person I’ve become. I want to break myself open. I want to go down in lightning and thunder. I want to be something more than this. I want to walk between worlds. I want to be nothing. I want them to fear my coming. I want blood and tears. I want ruin. I want beauty. I want finality. I want chaos. I want peace. I want silence. I want one chance.
That is what I want.
there is no sound like Tanim’s loss, bereft of love, one half of a broken bond that should bleed from such violation but is instead so achingly empty, so undeniably gone, ceased, cut like light from his eyes, nothing on Earth nor in Heaven or Hell to match the anguished howl that erupts from more than mortal lungs, pours forth from body and heart and soul and mind all lost in the darkness as he cries down the Furies, the Hunt, the sky itself piece by piece with his agony, shattered by the Sun’s rage that is not the desire to punish what remains but the inability to contain the wasteland within him, no reason now to spare the world when his world is nothing, when he is nothing, when there is nothing, nothing, nothing…
We three know I have nothing to offer you. I am so deeply in your debt, so unworthy of even the existence of that debt, that I am helpless to ever repay the barest fraction of what I owe. But take this, my darlings; not in offering, not in payment or gratitude, but in return, because it should always have been yours. Take this choice, the free will of which you were so long ago robbed, and do with it as you will.
What am I?
I am not fire; fire burns hot with passion but dies quickly once it’s consumed its source. I am not water; water hates to be still and must move at every opportunity, always seeking the easiest path no matter the destination. I am not air; air feigns stability yet is a heedless, fickle thing which changes direction and speed without warning.
Then what am I?
I am earth; earth, the foundation of creation, the vessel of life. While fire burns out and water flows ever toward and away, earth remains. Earth cares little for itself, instead offering its riches to the seed-bound possibilities slumbering in its depths, the cycle of lives played upon and above and, in the end, within its body. And like the earth I am nothing more, nor less, than the womb which surrenders its nutrients to nourish fragile ideas from germination to maturation.
“I’m scared. I’ve done it before, haven’t I?”
Do you see what you’ve done to him?
“I remember… I remember how the rope felt around my neck; how the blade felt slicing into my flesh. How the metal against my temple was so cold and the gun so heavy in my hand. I can remember, and yet I can’t. I don’t understand.”
The memories leak through, you know, like radio frequencies bleeding into each other. No wonder we feel like madmen.
“I’m afraid I’ll do it again.”
And he will. He always will. Are you proud of this, the spill of blood and tears? Is it poetic enough for you?
“I wasn’t always this damaged. Why is this happening to me? What did I do?”
Yes. What did he do? What did we do to deserve this?
[ I know it’s silly to be afraid of one of your own fictional characters, but fuck Daren’s scary when he’s mad at me. ]
How is this possible? I have been writing to you for years, for an eternity, and now that I have found you I have no words to capture your true meaning? Have you so stolen my breath that I cannot fill my chest enough to speak? Does my heart pound so loudly I cannot hear my own thoughts, let alone assemble them into something sensible and worthy? You are the goddess in my arms; the guardian at my side; the supplicant at my feet; the wolf at my door whom I have welcomed in to eat at my table and rest at my hearth. I could weep for the beautiful fluidity of identity when everything we were and are and could be come crashing together like waves against the shore. And in a universe where essence can neither be created nor destroyed, every form we assume is a true rendering of you, me, us.
Does Daren remember this moment, I wonder? Standing at the window, forehead pressed against the cool glass, thin arms hugged around his diminutive frame? He is young, here; too young for the haunted shadows beneath his eyes, the stubborn fever in his cheeks, the scabs at the corners of his mouth from fighting the doctors each time they force-feed him a meal. He stares out the window but does not see the dark, dreary afternoon beyond, the walled yard where patients often wander under the gazes of attentive staff. Instead, Daren’s eyes focus on his unfamiliar reflection in the glass. The doctors claim years of trauma and malnutrition are fading his pale hair to pure white, but Daren knows the truth; he is turning into a ghost, dying and decaying in slow pieces. He doesn’t belong here. He doesn’t want to die in this prison and haunt it for eternity, a patient beyond help yet ineligible for release. He’d rather be back on the street, dying from exposure, than trapped within these white walls behind locked doors…
No, better that this memory falls like all the others through the sieve of Daren’s damaged mind. Better it not taint the moment years down the road when he once again stands at a window, forehead to the dark glass, weary and feverish but safe, finally safe. He belongs in this place. One day, sooner perhaps than he would like, he’ll die here and haunt its halls, its rooms, even the man who lays awake in bed waiting for his troubled companion’s return. Until then, Daren deserves to remember as little of the past as possible. Let me be the keeper of these memories instead, the scribe who knows all yet chooses to withhold the worst and most private tragedies from preservation in text.
I carry the burden of your secrets lodged in my chest, beloved. Every torment, every nightmare, every misery, I’ve locked them all safely away behind flesh and bone. Some nights the weight of these secrets drags me down so heavily I can only crawl to bed and curl around your pain, arms wrapped tight as if in holding myself I can somehow embrace you as well. The sob choking my throat isn’t mine but tears fall nonetheless. Would it ease my own ache, I wonder, if someone else knew these secrets as well? If even once you woke from a night terror and admitted to the man at your side just why you can’t stand to be touched after those dreams? Or if I could crawl into someone else’s arms and find the words to describe the images in my head, the sorrow in my breast, the muscle memory which makes my fingers twitch and my body fold in on itself? I made you a promise long ago but dearest, darling, lovely, it’s so hard, and I’m so tired.
I set words adrift
trusting to the unknown sea
will they find your shores?
how strange the blank page