writing

i tried to tell you but my pride…

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anger spills from my veins that pump the thick bellacose blood to all vital zones of my weakened anatomy. my eyes flicker with rage, not something entirely uncommon of me. you are not what i initially thought. and yes, i presumed that you were someone who cared, someone who had a purpose. but its obvious, after weeks of silence, that i was dead wrong. instead of being pleasant, you’ve witnessed me being hostile. new concept, right? as if you really noticed. with words exchanged, through vivid imagery, and concepts of only an allegory, my heart pounded at a pace i cannot bare to speak of. i, awaited your responses, as loyally as a canine to his master. and i awaited for years and years, and on top of those years, even more years. time passed, and i rarely grew tired of waiting, because, upon meeting you, i knew you were the sort of person who required a lot of waiting around for.

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here is the church & here is the steeple

nervously descending the steps i wonder if anyone is watching me.  my steps, a bit intoxicated from the four sam adams consumed a mere thirty minutes before, my head, a bit foggier than usual, mon rythm cardiaque accelerating at the sight of a dark figure waiting in front of the door.  my left arm, covered in a tattoo of a map of the arctic circle, extends to meet the handle of the steel door.  a rush of wind greets me with hospitality and the dark figure turns to meet my gaze.  his hood is pulled up over his head, his eyes, behind those fogged glasses, are indeed, dialated, his throat is parched, and his ears are beet red.  he puts his  left hand on the face of the door and motions with his right hand for me to exit first.  my body obliges, but my eyes remain, intent, on his mysterious visage.  his eyes, follow mine, and a smile creeps to the edges of his face.  no such thing appears on my face, but my soul is warmed by this small gesture.  i begin to walk up the hill to the main road, but my head is still turned back, facing the stranger.  after a brief moment, his silhouette disappears into the building and my head is forced to look onward instead of behind. 

the streets are cold, iced over, abandonned.  the people are sporadically placed, and i, i am just a passerby.  my pace is swifter than normal, perhaps it was the decreasing temperature that fired my energy.  the street lights glowed with a sallow tint, and the stars were nowhere to be spotted.  as i found myself, moving uptown, past the bars, i passed by a group of young men all clad in sable.  their heads were homes to an array of thrifted hats- all of which looked miraculously warm.  each man had a cigarette in hand, and they were conversing amongst themselves.  with my presence however, their colloquies seemed to cease.  all eyes were on me, and i tried to speed up my pace.  i felt my skin flushing, but oh, not pink, my skin flushes even more paler than what most would think is humanly possible.  the last boy i passed blocked my pathway and smiled at me.  i averted eye contact the moment this happened.  hey sweetie, wanna cig? he prodded.  i nodded my head in a manner that was both timid but strong, and his friends pushed him slightly out of the way.  one even called after me a half-hearted apology for their ill-mannered drunken friend.  my walk continued to consume me.  by the time i reached the promenade, the traffic lights were blinking  with their carmine color.  my hands displayed little to no signs of life, and my hair was brittle and feeble.  my eyes glanced around my outdoor environment nervously and spastically.  i saw a bench and headed towards it. 

the bench laid beneath a tall street light, and it faced the wide and endless atlantic ocean.  as i sat on the weathered bench, mon ryhthm cardiaque, stabilized.  i fumbled through my pockets in search for a pack of cigarettes.  pulling out my roomates camel lights, i light one with a zippo that i acquired from working at an irish pub.  the lost and found always presented many treasures for me and my co-workers.  the night seemed to be at a stand-still, and the cars on the overpass, that could also be discerned from this consecrated bench, seemed to pass by at a snail’s pace.  my thoughts were empty, and my breathing was slow.  the world in front of me was simple enough to love, but also, simple enough to detest more than anything else one could imagine detesting.  minutes went by, even though they seemed like hours, and eventually, i wandered back into the real world.  i hear the shuffling of feet approaching from behind.  due to my skittish nature, i turn abruptly to see what challenge faces me tonight.  my eyes detect a lone boy, sporting a ripped black t-shirt with Albert Einstein’s image printed on its chest.  he has a cigarette to his lips, and his free hand remains in his pocket.  he looks incredibly chilled, but no wonder! his shirt barely covers his malnourished torso.  i see his eyes glance at me.  he stops a bit in his tracks, but continues onward.  the moments it takes him to make his way from the pine tree- which happens to be about 25 yards, to where i was sitting, i can’t quite recall, but that’s not the point.  as he passes by, an unknown force is ignited within me.  i leap up from my bench and call after him.

scuse me!

he looks around him, and then his eyes meet mine.  he stops where he is, and i saunter over to him with no idea what to say.

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monologuous

his head is in my way.  the noise blocks out any means of eavesdropping. i believe my head just sank. my friend jabs me in the ribs. an involuntary noise pushes its way up through my throat. my sight is bleary.  “move on” she hisses.  move on? its not as easy as you’d think.  i continue staring, staring long and hard.  my thoughts are not censored, my feelings are not translated.  i don’t blink.  his head turns a quarter turn.  he’s eyeing the tv. he isn’t turning to meet my eye.  “i said come on. we gotta go,” gotta go where? another bar? really…do they have a different type of vodka that is cheaper and makes you even more drunk? i don’t understand why we have to leave.  she’s persistent though.  she has been ever since i met her the summer of eighth grade.  her coat is already on.  “did you buy him a drink yet?” she questions as she reaches and picks up my jacket off the ground. i nod my head no.  she waves her index finger an inch from my face, “that’s a shame, why don’t you go ask if he’d like to join us?” i don’t plan on doing that. i rarely confront people.  especially strangers.  she knows what i’m thinking. she sighs loudly, puts my jacket on her chair and gets up.  her arms reach into the air, a stretch as if she were a cat awaking from an uninterrupted slumber.  she smiles at me, i grimace.  she’s up to something, i can feel it in my stomach.  she saunters over to the bar, she winks at the bartender- who also happens to be her boyfriend.  she reaches into the container where the lemons and limes are kept and she picks a slice of lime, and puts it in her mouth.  she turns facing the exit, also facing the boy.  i can see her eyes looking over his malnourished face.  she has a look of something on her face.  not quite sure what, but something, and all of a sudden i see her lips moving- words are obviously coming out.  her hands start flailing about, she motions over to me without warning, and his head half turns.  i am in his view.  sitting at the booth, with an empty glass of what was once allagash.  a look of disbelief and stupidity plastered about my face.  i hear my name being said and repeated.  once again the boy looks.  he smiles, and i don’t.  oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. what am i doing.  i feel myself bending down picking up my jacket that once again, fell to the ground.  next thing, i’m standing up, buttoning up the woolen peacoat.  footsteps are approaching from behind.  an arm brushes my shoulder.  carefully spinning around, i’m faced with her.  she is beaming and proud to say the least.  she hands me a piece of scrap paper with seven numbers methodically written on it.  “name’s seamus.  he thinks you’re cute,” she giggles.  her hand tugs at my jacket.  is the vodka across the street really that much better.  the piece of paper is shoved in my face again, but my left hand reaches up to grab it and then puts it in my back pocket of my corduroys.  she yells across the room to her boyfriend and adds a goodbye to seamus.  i stammer and run out side.  i light up a cigarette using my exs zippo.  “you should give that back someday yknow?” no shit i know. i’m just not ready at this point.  i suppose i nod back to her and hand her a camel.  she declines, but puts it in her purse anyway.  “so you stayin over tonight or you gonna go home?” she questions as we are walking down mainstreet.  i don’t say anything, but she understands that i’m going home eventually.  she tells me she doesn’t think i should ride my bike to the apartment, and of course she adds in that i should keep in mind what happened last time.  last time i was drunk out of my mind.  last time she wasn’t even with me. 

we continue walking down the street, her heels are clacking louder than my doctor martens.  she takes out her minolta and tells me to stop where i am.  she snaps two photos and tells me to keep walking.  silence overcomes us for the next few moments until she breaks it and tells me she thinks that i’m going to look too sad in those photos.  too sad? bullshit.  i shrug, and she is annoyed.  she knows that i have barely uttered a word the entire evening.  “when are you gettin’ inked next?” she attempts.  i tell her in two days and she inquires what i’m getting done.  i answer with fatigue that im getting my half sleeve with a map of the constellation.  she nods ponderously and then asks if i’ll regret it later on.  i scoff and she knows my thoughts on this.  we only live once, so why shouldn’t i get something done when i’ve wanted it done since i was sixteen? she adds that was a stupid question and i grimace.  after a few more minutes of forced conversation we reach our destination.  this new bar is loud and dark and busy.  she tells me to sit at a booth and she’d be back with drinks.  i look around me, observing the modpodge of people.  there are college kids, and lawyers alike in this place.  that sort of impressed me, but i didn’t care for the feel of the bar.  minutes go by, my judgments of people get worse, and finally she comes back rescuing me from my mind.  she puts a manhattan down in front of me.  i know that if i drink that i’ll be wasted for the next four days.  i look at her, and once again she smiles at me- her hands motioning for me to drink up.  i sip at the whiskey and it tastes quite good.  the song changes to something strange with a standard bassline.  she begins nodding her head in accordance.  i stand up and put my jacket on.  she says to me over the music, “some friend you are.” and then she giggles.  i look at her contemplating whether or not i should leave her, and i decide she’s fine by herself.  she comes over to my side of the table and gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  she tells me to call the boy and to call her. i nod and walk out.

the icy cold hits against my face, and the pink sky that is only spotted in northern new england lights my way.  there are a few other passerbys but they are rowdy and laughing.  i walk with my head facing the ground, one foot in front of the other until i meet my destination.  the sky was clear, no stars or moon though.  i sigh deeply to myself mutliple times.  i reach the place i started at- bar number one, and i light up another cigarette.  a voice calls out from behind me.

you should probably quit you know

looking behind me, i see the boy, seamus, was his name.  he is waving at me and has a cigarette of his own in his mouth.

but then again who am i to be talkin’ (he laughs)

i shrug, words aren’t making it out of my mouth.

so, i’m seamus. your friend told me about you. did she give you my number?

yes.

were you planning on calling me?

no. (i grimace)

oh…well, i’d like you to.  maybe we could get breakfast sometime (he smiles)

i don’t eat breakfast i hear myself retort.

well, i’ll buy you an allagash.

im trying to cut back.

we could go for a walk.

its too cold outside. i respond.

he laughs and drops his cigarette to the brick ground beneath us.  his foot crushes the ember and he approaches closer to me.  i feel my eyes looking intently upon his visage.

we can do whatever you’d like. he suggests.

to this i shrug, and he laughs again.

please call me.

why don’t you call me? i question.

i don’t have your number- that’s why.

oh. 212-9982.

well, i will call you.  need a walk home or something? he questions.

no. i ride my bike.

is the schwinn your bike?

yes.

he smiles and says, haven’t seen one of those in a while, where’d you score it?

my grandmother’s will. i respond frankly.

he observes my face and he turns towards the bar.  i’ll call you soon. he says.

don’t.

i will. we’re going to get you some breakfast. he adds.

you look like my ex boyfriend.

he laughs at this.  i’m not your ex boyfriend. don’t worry about it.  his hand brushes my shoulder and his eyes are gleaming with kindness.  sure you can get home fine?

i didn’t drink too much i stammer.  his head nods and he tips his hat.  i mount my bike and ride up the street- wind brushing my feautures with an antagonizing chill.  the street lights are flickering and there’s a flurry of snowflakes falling from the atmosphere.  i see more passerbys walking the iced side-walks, all with cigarettes or phones in their hands.  the traffic lights are blinking red, but i’m the only one on the road.  controlling friends are bad, but at least they keep reality in perspective.  as far as the boy goes i can’t help but wonder if he is my ex reincarnated.  i whiz by the liquor store and then turn around to enter it.  the fluorescent lights burn my eyes and my pale skin.  i wander the aisles and pick up a bottle of vodka.  the cashier grins at me and collects the last of my money.  the bottle of grey goose goes into my wicker basket, and i once again, mount my bike and ride to my apartment.  i’m sitting on the steps and drinking vodka.  of course, this vodka happens to be better and cheaper than the ones at the bar.  i look up into the sky and i see the constellations appearing.  i begin imagining outerspace and its boundaries- if there are any.  my phone buzzes and consumes my thoughts.  an unnamed number appears on the small half inch LCD screen.  i answer, and its seamus.  brunch tomorrow? miraculously i agree.  he laughs, and he tells me the address of the brunch joint and the time.  hanging up a stray cat comes and perches itself next to my left foot.  my hand gently strokes the kitties head, and purrs soon arise.  the first smile of the day is cracked, and a cat was the cause.  i’m left alone to my thoughts until an orange cab rolls up in front of my curb.  she comes stumbling out of it, her shrill laugh can be heard by the entire neighborhood.  she asks if she can stay the evening.  i nod yes, and she proceeds up the stairs.  when she gets to where i’m sitting, the cat scurries away and she grabs the bottle of vodka out of my hands.  she wanders upstairs to my apartment and i’m left alone in the outside.  i wonder why i’m her friend.

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the inner thoughts of an over achiever

sitting at one of these fake wooden desks, which in addition, happen to be too small for anyone other than a kindergartener.  my ap books towering feet above my head.  pencils sharpened ready to go, side by side with high-lighters and implements of ink as well.  crisp, freshly torn notebook paper, ready to be scribbled frantically upon- knowledge waiting to be recorded.  the teacher enters their domain- although, it’s a wonder they have even developed their vocabulary to that extent.  he briefly looks around in the small lecture hall, eyes a few disciples who are texting away on their only means of communication to the outside world.  ahem he calls, eyes piercing their guilt-racked faces. they look at each other in disdain, stand up from their desks, and as they walk down the shallow carpeted steps, turn off their best friends.  his hand is held out, demanding and welcoming- he knows he’s taken away their “lives” for the next hour and a half.  as they place their compact technological devices in his hand, he turns to me and gives me a smug grin.

why does he assume that i’d take pleasure in his recent victory? its not like i care what those kids do with their time in this public institution.  just because i’m known for my attentiveness, my timeliness, and my intelligence doesn’t mean that i experience pleasure when i see random folk being disciplined.  the students make their way back to their desks, and the teacher puts his newest prizes in the bottom drawer of his escritoire.  the room is overcome with silence, his presence demands that, and somehow, our intuition hears his demand.  my hand reaches, out of habit, for a pencil at the far left corner of my own desk.  rummaging through the papers on his escritoire, he spends a few moments and begins to write in white chalk on the board.  the hour goes by, with sounds from chattering neighbors. the teacher sitting behind his menacing desk, me, observing the clock.  before the end of the period, the teacher rises from his throne and beckons us to open up our backpacks and get out our homework.  students bend over in their seats, reaching through their bags and gathering crumpled sheets of hard labor done in their spare time. 

 i remain sitting up in my seat, he approaches slowly, cautiously, and is finally in front of me, grinning down with a look of pride in his eyes.  his hand reaches out for my MLA formatted essay.  i remain idle.  he clears his throat. i didn’t care to do my essay last evening, and i don’t think i will care to do it any other time.  he asks, where’s your homework A+? i look at him, eyes discerning his wretched face.  he doesn’t deserve to be a teacher. he discriminates. frankly, i respond,  i didn’t do it. gasps from my neighbors arise.  its almost as if it was a widespread panic.  whispers, bewildered expressions- all this over my simple response. sure, a response that is certainly not in my nature- but i didn’t do my work, and i shant do it anytime in the near future.  his face contorts, i see his blood pressure rising.  didn’t do it? he asks.

i respond, yes.  his mouth twitches involuntarily.  sweat is forming at his brow.  he’s not sure what to do, he believes deep down that I haven’t met his standards.  to most it would seem that way, but, perhaps, the one aspect about being an over achiever that is somewhat beneficial- is my rationality.  who deemed his standards to be the standards i must abide by? the public school system you say? well, to be blunt, the public school system is going down the shitter.  oh, now you pin the standards approval to the superintendent? well, he’s a washed up professor who graduated magna cum laude from John Hopkins, and instead of pursuing the job that’d be typical of one who majored in the medical field, chose, and yes, I emphasize chose, to come back to his hometown and be named superintendent.  Some choice.  There’s a saying, one that I heard many a time, but best known from Jack Black in the School of Rock, and that is, if you can’t do, teach.  I suppose that’s what my teacher decided to do.  Couldn’t become a writer- well then, why not teach writing? Its been apparent to me, ever since I entered kindergarten, that I was in fact, being taught by failures.  A better tomorrow? Well, not if the failures of today are our only resources to mastering a skill.  And if we do so happen to master a skill, won’t we be mastering a failed skill?

*now of course, I do appreciate teachers with all my heart and without their aid and expertise, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I have certainly had my fair share of good and bad ones.  This monologue is categorized as fiction- but to be entirely honest, it has caused me to think a bit more than usual about the teachers who aren’t so great.

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inside the head of robert c. plum

i saw her walk in, alone, arms overflowing with bags of all sorts, books of all genres, and her teal blue jacket was resting on top, just a like a cherry on a sundae.  she plopped her stuff down on the barstool next to her, she sighed loudly, and the bartender smiled and said, “the usual i presume?” she nodded, lazily and expectedly, and she placed her head in her hands.  i’m standing around the corner, supposed to be waiting on table two, but her entrance was a distraction.  she’s not a mystery to me- her name i’m aware of, in fact, i believe i even have her number.  we’re social networking friends, and maybe even once she’s come over my house to drink a beer or two with me.  but i don’t know her like i wish to know her, and she doesn’t know me how i wish her to know me either.  her head raises from her hands, and she spins around, examining the mostly empty bar.  she spots me and waves. a smile is painted on her face.  i grimace and wave back.  she saw me…staring.  thats no good. what to do, what to do.  i go behind the half-hearted wall separating the diner from the bar.  i feel as though i’m slowly creeping towards the reception area again- just so i can see her.  table two calls to me, “two more bud lights, kay buddy?” im faced with. stupid fucking patrons. never show any respect. they ask questions that are unheard of. can’t they just function normally? i make my way to the bar. i stand there, face to face with her- although technically she is on the other end.  the bartender asks if he can fill my order? i stand there, no words coming from my mouth.  did they want allagash? heiniken? pbr? blank. my mind is blank. my eyes are observing every part of her easily discerned face.  “hey, what can i help you with?” bartender asks pushily once again. he thinks hes so high and mighty because he pours the motherfucking drinks. that’s a load of shit as far as im concerned. benefit of his job? he gets to talk to her! and they talk.. a lot.  he drives her home every once and a while.  he pats her hand gently when she pays him too much, he has his inside jokes with her. they text before she gets to the bar to ensure a seat will be saved. me? i talk to her, but not nearly enough as i’d like to.  “hi,” i hear her say from across the bar. say hello back! “um how are you?” i hear myself call. “oh yknow….how are you?” she smiles back… how am i? terrible, really, but that’s not what she wants to hear. wait. how do i know that. i don’t know that. instead of verbally responding i shrug. i send her the wrong message. she looks disappointed, and ends up turning to her fellow patron and strikes up a conversation there.  what the fuck was my problem? and what the fuck was i supposed to get table two?

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