Thursday, February 28, 2013

Edison's Wisdom

The floor sits empty by 5 am. Well, almost empty. Here and there a solitary figure slumps over a desk. Some are typing, one or two are packing up, but the vast majority of them have fallen asleep. As the sun starts to filter through the south wall, these last stragglers rise and shuffle out to class. Or to a resting place a bit more comfortable than their wooden cubicle.

Around 7 or 8 the flow reverses and those who had passed a night in bed take up their posts. Coffee and muffins mingle with readings and problem sets as the carts begin to roll. Slowly a days worth of words finds its way back to the shelves. By noon both the shelves and the tables stand full. And equilibrium sets in.

Those who stumbled out early this morning return after dinner, groggy and clutching their fourth espresso of the day. They search for their usual haunts and fall into now-familiar chairs. The floor begins to buzz. The sound leaks out gradually. It first reaches the rows of wooden cells in each corner, then crawls into the stairwell. By 10 pm the whole building is filled with an inescapable hum. People battle for seats and tables and even spots on the carpet, as long as they're near an outlet. The printers spit out page after page without ceasing.

By midnight the last of the night's visitors trickle in. They search in vain for an empty place before descending to the bowels of the building. A lucky one grabs the last desk, hidden in the far corner under the flickering light no one had bothered to fix yet. As she put down her bag and began unpacking the evening, now morning's work, she noticed speck of neon green just out of view. She looked up. And she alone smiled.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


A number takes the place of a moment
All that is left is to acknowledge
Only objects that stand alone

Powerless, you are carried onward by the current
Grief and sorrow mingle indiscriminately

Heavy, weighed down by memories,
She lies, curled up with her blanket and book
A solitary figure

A man steps forward,
Knee deep in forgiveness,
And out into the sun 

Sometimes, when I want to write something but am far too lazy, I collect some lines from old pieces and stitch them together. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekend Plans

Never wear heels. Ever. Whoever thought brick was a good idea, historic she'd heard it called, needed a good smack. The thousands of cracks sat like baited traps, waiting for anyone foolish enough to try stilettos instead of flats. She cursed the man, it had to have been a man, who made that amazingly stupid decision so many years ago. Carefully picking her way through the minefield she at last came to the house. She didn't have the address, but the flashes in the window and the music leaking onto the street were clearer than any sign. The steps were cement, thank God, and about as even as anything on this aging street. The door swung open and she leaned into the doorway, bathed in light and sound.

Without having to ask, he knew what the answer would be. He stood there, frozen, before her door, wanting to knock. His hand hung motionless in mid-air as if held by some force-field. Then he realized how ridiculous he looked and he stepped back, letting his hand fall limp by his side. She'd never say yes anyway, yeah, it's not worth asking. Having convinced himself of this, he returned to his room. Despondent, and looking forward to another weekend doomed to Stargate Atlantis, he gathered his laundry that lay strewn about the floor. He grabbed the hamper and headed to the elevator. Might as well do something productive. When the doors swung open he stepped in. The doors closed. And then opened again. She hopped in, breathless, and looked at him. She dress, her hair, her heels all said she was going out. They exchanged weak smiles and stared at the doors.

She sat behind the counter, watching the clock hands slowly march towards midnight. She hated the graveyard shift, especially tonight. Earlier she had watched waves of faces with plastic cups and fruit juice file by. She knew they'd be back tomorrow for Advil and water. But for the moment she envied them. As the little hand crossed ten her phone lit up. And now the texts begin. Where are you? Wanna go out? I know this great party tonight. Can I borrow that one black dress? This was the worst part. Every week she let them know she couldn't go out tonight, that they should have fun, but please don't text her. And every week, after drink three or four most of them forgot.

Friday, February 15, 2013


There are moments when everything you put on paper grates your soul. And you know it’s absolute crap. Something inside you impels you to string letters and thoughts together and then that same thing graciously informs you that you can’t keep any of it. And you go back and forth and crumple used-up pages, tossing them on the floor. Except you’re writing on a computer now so you don’t even get the satisfaction of doing that. You hit delete and stare again at that mocking blankness.

You try again, hiding this time behind the safe, anonymous pronouns. No identity. No latent associations. Just him and her. It, them, us, we, they. You wish you could be brave and put your story down. Shout from atop a stage that this is me. But you can’t, won’t. You are buried deep within the verse. You build up walls around yourself. They shatter and fall, but the rubble burying you serves just as well. No light gets in and you remain.

Writing is hard work. Life is harder. Don’t worry. The punch still tastes just as good.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Maybe I Should Try Coffee...?

A million people stare at you
As you stand naked, bathed in light, surrounded by darkness
Move, they shout, dance, sing, laugh, cry

Well not actually a million...
More like twenty
And you're not actually naked
Although the boxers are feeling awfully small just now
And they aren't shouting. Or even talking.
The silence seems somehow worse though.

They want you to create mist
Not with a fog machine or even a paintbrush
But with yourself.
How do you do that?! What does that mean?
But you try anyway.

Your world narrows to the three walls,
Stained with the writing of years past
They bear messages barely worth reading
The view is stunning: whitewashed wall
And aged carpet, never cleaned.
You ask why you're sitting here, now?
No answer appears.