#1639

Tell me, my fickle gods of ink and steel, are you satisfied with this offering? Have I bled enough to please you, wavered on the edge of unconsciousness long enough to appease you? Are you honored by the brands, unalterable and permanent, that mark me as yours? Tears are precious, and plenty have I shed for you, but blood is the stuff of life. You know blood. You respect blood. That’s your language, after all. See? I can learn to speak it, too. I will become your Rosetta Stone written in red and black.

#1637

“Grenada”

white-lipped, look away as you pass
because that girl who kissed you in the dark
won’t acknowledge you out here in the light;
a swan flocked by peacocks,
her smile isn’t for you and never was
though you ate its lies like chocolates
guilty, greedy, grasping at hope;
you may not feel right in lace
and you sure can lay them all out with a punch
but she needs a pretty boy, not a handsome girl;
you can make a fool of yourself if you want,
break their fingers while they break your psyche,
but that won’t change her mind
only prove the rest of them right;
so white-lipped, look away as you pass,
don’t give them the satisfaction;
head high, look straight as you pass
and wait ’til you reach the shadows to collapse;
don’t show them weakness –
those pretty wolves in pretty dresses will eat you alive
and your swan won’t lift a feather

#1636

time moves differently with you and the graveyards which two years ago were all fresh turned earth and polished headstones are now full of weeds and crumbling mounds with names too weathered to read, and the lurking ghosts once poltergeist-powerful are nothing more than dust orbs and tricks of the light we dismiss with a laugh as we go on our way

#1634

The scene opens on a dim yet inviting bar. There are several other patrons and parties, though they keep to themselves in booths or tables on the periphery. No one yet sits at the bar counter, behind which a handsome young man polishes glasses in between taking drink orders. The shared single gender of the clientele reveals the theme of the bar, though nothing else about the tasteful yet understated room betrays their common preference.

Tanim enters and makes his way straight to the bar, slumping down on a stool with his chin propped on one hand. With a self-deprecating eye roll, he grumbles, “If there’s a prize for rotten judgement, I guess I’ve already won that. No man is worth the aggravation; that’s ancient history, been there, done that.”

The bartender sets a glass of whiskey down in front of Tanim with a disbelieving raise of his eyebrows. He’s heard this from Tanim before, for weeks in fact; the man’s a broken record. “Who do you think you’re kidding?” he replies with a hand to his hip for emphasis. “He’s the earth and heaven to you. Try to keep it hidden? Honey, I can see right through you! You can’t conceal it. I know how you feel and who you’re thinking of.”

Tanim grabs his drink and turns on the stool to avoid the bartender’s knowing smile. “No chance, no way, I won’t say it, no.” He sips the drink with a grimace and stubbornly avoids the others eyes. The bartender shrugs and goes back to polishing glasses, pretending not to notice Tanim’s brooding. Over the polishing cloth he prods, “You swoon, you sigh, why deny it?”

“It’s too cliche! I won’t say I’m in love,” Tanim sighs and stares down into his glass. “I thought my heart had learned its lesson. It feels so good when you start out. My head is screaming ‘get a grip, man, unless you’re dying to cry your heart out!’” He slams the glass onto the counter, causing amber liquid to slosh up the sides.

“You keep on denying who you are and how you’re feeling – baby, I’m not buying,” The bartender leans over the counter, ostensibly to wipe up the spilled drops, but instead keeps pestering Tanim with a grin. “I saw you hit the ceiling. Face it like a grown-up; when are you going to own up that you’ve got it bad?”

“No chance, no way,” Tanim throws up his hand to block the bartender’s obnoxious smile. “I won’t say it.”

“Give up, give in, check the grin,” the other man pulls Tanim’s arm down, “you’re in love.” Tanim yanks his arm free with a scowl, growling, “This scene won’t play.” He swallows down the remains of his drink and shakes his head vehemently. “I won’t say I’m in love.”

“You’re doing flips. Read my lips,” the bartender cups his hands around his mouth like a megaphone, “you’re in love!”

“You’re way off base, I won’t say it,” Seeing the bartender start to open his mouth to reply, Tanim snaps, “Get off my case, I won’t say it!” The bartender chuckles and holds up his hands in mock defeat. They both shut up and glance over as the door opens on a slender man dressed all in black, his white hair sparkling with raindrops. Tanim pales, then blushes profusely and turns away before the man can catch him staring. “Don’t be proud, it’s okay,” the bartender stage-whispers as he pours Tanim another drink, “you’re in love.”

“Oh…” Tanim heaves a weary sigh as he accepts the drink and gives in with the smallest of smiles. He tries his best not to look around for the other man. “At least out loud, I won’t say I’m in… love.”

[ Remember the time I wrote a Tanim/Daren scene using lyrics from a Muppet Treasure Island song? Yeah, had to do another since I’ve been listening to the Hercules soundtrack so much… ]

#1633

Some writers, I suppose, are like servants; silently observing the scene, forgotten by the players yet privy to every word, every gesture, every glance. Others, I think, must be like cherished confidants, offered secrets and motives in tidbits, gossip passed behind cupped hands. Still others, possibly, are like detectives, piecing together a story based on clues left behind; or like interviewers, prompting with leading questions a whole life to unfold in exposition. What, then, am I, who am none of those things? I am allowed entry to the innermost chambers, my presence noted yet never acknowledged, to stand as silent witness – or is it silent accomplice? I do not interfere; I do not persuade or dissuade; I do not approve or disapprove. Yet I am there, the necessary third, eyes wide, ears open, mouth closed. I am the scribe, who writes yet cannot alter the story. I am the scribe, who witnesses and records all.