Flicker

In the event of a total and complete blackout, find a flashlight.
Before the unexpected blackout, make sure you check for batteries inside.
Most of us never do that. Most of the time, the batteries are dead. Find new ones.
In case there aren’t any, find candles.
In case there aren’t any, find a matchbox.
In case there aren’t any, find two stones that can produce a spark.
In case there aren’t any, look inside yourself.
There will be something there. There always is.
Even if it’s dim and flickering, it is there.
You’ll be surrounded by darkness everywhere outside,
Sometimes it feels like forever and ever and ever,
But there is light inside, somehow.

And if the power has gone out for so long, for so long,
That your eyes have adjusted to the black darkness,
And you can see your empty, hollow room,
Just wait. Just wait.
The power has to come back.

But you have to wonder,
While holding onto yourself for years,
If the wait has to be so frightening sometimes?

Because even the best of us, striving to flicker,
Worry about being snuffed out.

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One Hundred and Eighty Two Point Five (Plus Seven)

Half-Life

Sixteen I remember, when Twenty Four was first mentioned,
and I had thought about the years between us.
How long would it take for Twenty Four to be here?

I thought that the length of it all stretched and stretched
till Twenty Four remained a small ball of light ahead;
I thought that Twenty Four was a story with pictures,
Of a girl with longer hair with a laughing face and a silver spoon.
Twenty Four was for Red Hands and Red Feet and a Red Sari.
Twenty Four would come to me, they told me, when he’d be waiting for my Red Beating Heart.
And I had believed it.

Nineteen I remember, when I had a Purple-Red Neck
but I had not seen Red flow from between my legs for a few months.
It didn’t frighten me like they’d said it would.
I remember the Red Beating Heart and I remember a man had walked to me,
Trying to claim it.
I gave it to him, for I thought he gave me a laughing face
And all that was missing was a Red Sari
(That I would have willingly worn.)
I reminded myself that Twenty Four wasn’t here yet.
I hadn’t even thought about Silver and a Spoon.

I remember Twenty Two and a broken Red Beating Heart,
Spilling out nothing.

I remember Twenty Three and a broken Red Beating Heart,
Convulsing as it beat, vomitting bile.

And now, I am at Twenty Four, inside the crack of a Beating Heart
That is just not coming together again.

At Sixteen when I pictured Twenty Four as a laugh,
No one could have told me then how to clean up an infected, Broken Heart
that has lost all Red, maybe for good.

Picture Twenty Four if you will, as a story:
A small tap on the shoulder, a sudden fear, ambivalence,
Silence, structures broken, folded limbs, quiet thoughts,
Red bricks, loud voices, cracked houses, cut arteries,
Running, running, running, running,
Running.
Nowhere to go. No one around. Silence.
Quiet heart, still heart, fluttering heart,
But Broken.
Always Broken.
Twenty Four, festering in infection. Forgiven by none.

Entropy decays pained months into Infections, I think.
Because we all know if an open wound isn’t treated properly, it can become infected.
But if I am trying and trying, and trying to try,
And if the World doesn’t listen, doesn’t want me to Do.
And instead says “I will not.”
I ask you, what can be done?

***

I have seen enough horror movies to know
to avoid walking toward the place of Murder,
to avoid calling out to the murderer,
because he will not reply.
I have also seen that when a demon comes to you,
Time stops when he enters,
and if you hear shadows coming your way, you must run.
(Find the Demon’s real name, call it out,
And he will leave, they say.)

The clocks remain at half-past Nothing, never moving,
and my legs are running, running, running,
But I still cannot wash away the feeling that
I am running towards a Murder that’s already happened.

I am so afraid that I will trip over a young girl’s body,
Whose wristwatch died at Twenty One,
And her face will scream: why couldn’t I run? Why couldn’t I run?
And I will be here, watching it all from inside a mirror.

Demons don’t leave despite you calling out their real name,
And the Murder happens even if you keep silent
Before the knife makes contact and breaks open your chest.
And you could be thinking you are dying, you are dying,
But you are only in mid-death, mid-agony, mid-heartbreak,
Writhing and convulsing, screaming and crying but not dying.
Never Dying.

You could be Twenty Four
In-between the fissure Of Heart Break,
Calling out all the names you have ever known,
And then remaining so silent that the World wonders if you’re still alive,
And you find out that Horror does not have to be a scream,
That Horror does not have to be a violent death.
That Horror is only the silence of bathroom walls when you weep,
That Horror is only stained pillows and contorted limbs,
That Horror is only your face shrouded in darkness
When looking above from inside Heart Break. 

***

Twenty Four, half way dead.
One week ago, Twenty Four took a small breath,
And sat down to tell me that she’s half way there,
That when she leaves, I have to think about what is to come.

If Twenty Four was when I was told that pictures would come together,
That it all would fall together
And land on that perfect story,
That my life began when I touched Twenty Four,
They could never have known where I am standing today.

Twenty Four has been brave, Twenty Four has cried for all of us.
And at the meeting point, half-way,
I say the story is coming together only as it could have:
One day at a time, one hour at a time.
One thought of hope at a time.

For I would have never known at Sixteen,
That Twenty Four could have been this quick, this tender, this small.

Picture Twenty Four with almost 6 months
Of an Unwritten Story.
Hands trembling slightly, somewhat tired legs.
Head full of thoughts, still looking above.