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I saw her run

and mountains moved beneath her feet

 

She told me her thoughts

and I felt enlightened

and at the same time, unworthy.

 

I heard her speak,

a river of words flowing forth

from her mouth

 

I heard her laugh

and I fell in love.

 

I saw her smile

and knew, then and there,

I would do anything to see that joy again.

 

But she couldn’t hear

couldn’t speak

couldn’t see the beauty and grace

I saw.

 

She bore her beautiful mind

like a cross and a crown of thorns

 

She found me, and I lost myself in her
I found her, and she was lost.

 

by Maxwell Barnett
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Rocks Fell On My Head

By: Train Schickele

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

“Excuse me … Ms. Corgan, what are we suppose to do?”

The most hateful glare I had ever seen arose from her desk. She had black tuft for brows and old, serpent eyes, pointy lips and angry looking creases in her cheekbones. Red-nailed claws wrapped around her pen like a scorpion. I felt vultures perched in the corner of the classroom, hungrily stretching their necks over my young corpse. By her veiny hands, a bright, red apple made of clay sat on her desk. It matched her nail polish. I wondered if she made that apple. And did she have gold leaf in her earrings? A shiny bronze pendant beneath her earlobes made me think about a statue in city hall, and I began to think how city hall wasn’t that—

“Do you listen? I have said what to do three times.”

Her voice was not soft. It was raspy … or choppy. It was a coarse voice, but not as bristled as it was stern. Her voice stabbed me. I began to answer, choking between my chest and eyes, stuttering for an ans—

“Class!” she called.

Every 2nd grader from planet Earth turned their head to look at me, the peasant, shivering in front of Ms. Corgan’s throne.

“What are we suppose to do?” she crowed.

The class answered in unison like a lifeless children’s chorus. And I could not hear them. I could not understand. I listened hard. I listened close. But I could not translate the words. I was crying. But no one could see that.

I turned back to Ms. Corgan in hope that she would repeat the directions once more. Her face had grown darker, and when I saw her spearing glare, a most hateful glare, I turned on my heel and walked to my desk saying,

“Oh. Oh yeah. Of course.” And yet,

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

I clasped my hands between my legs and hung down my head, dripping tears on the waxy-wood table. Ms. Corgan would sometimes tussle the hair of her students. If I could have this blessing, all my life tasks would become trivial. I wanted to make her proud—to impress my greatest fear.

The corner of my watery eyes spied around the classroom. Angelica had construction paper. I could hear scissors clipping. I saw the butt ends of pencils and I could tell that Hayley was writing. We had put up paper screens to hide our work. Spying was never easy, but I had become good at it.

I took out some construction paper from beneath my desk and began to fold. A frog? A crane? I did not know how to fold animals. I knew how to make a paper airplane, but not a very good one.

        I began to fold after observing moving elbows. When the paper walls came down, my vultures spread their wings. The class had written nouns and verbs on slits of paper and folded them into little books. On my desk: a half-crumpled, one-winged, paper airplane. Angelica snickered and Cary, a girl with blue and orange hair, laughed out loud. I did not persist with my work.

        Ms. Corgan talked with me after class.

“This listening problem is really an issue,” she said, as I focused on the center of her nose. Could she notice that I wasn’t actually looking at either of her eyes? And could pigeons nest in her perfect, black shrub of hair? Wait, pay atten—

“Are you listening?”

I had dug my own grave.

“Yes.” I told her.

“What did I say?”

I had dug it very deep.

“…I don’t listen,” I said.

Ms. Corgan reconciled for something. But I could not hear what she said. I watched her pointy lips move.

        I left my paper airplane on the desk with only one wing. Inside the folds of the plane I had written: “I am sorry. I think a rock fell on my head. And it is hard to listen.”

        The next day, Ms. Corgan tussled my hair.

She did not know what she was supposed to do.

But she did the right thing.

Lady Laments

One Night Stand

Because when she walks into the room, they’ll make sure they have a record on.  They’ll make sure whatever’s spinning will spin her dizzy.  They want to look at her looking at the vinyl sleeve, watch her give a small smile and hear her speak some unfamiliar words from such a familiar looking face.  She makes them want to put on the right song, because her eyes sing The Velvet Underground and her mouth weeps Neutral Milk Hotel and her hair looks like Jimi’s.  And when her face fuses with theirs, they’ll feel like they’re up on stage with Lennon, or slouched smoking on a leather couch in a dimly lit room with Dylan.  Even though it’s only for a night, she makes it feel like it’s been a decade.  Even though it’s not love, she looks like it.  She’s candied with consolation and slender in her sex.  He lies next to her loving her classical nose, her modest curls, her standard slimness and her familiar height. She fits in his arms; she fits the night. She looks like love, but not tonight.  One day she might be, but not tonight. Tonight their bodies are a mini city, trafficking kisses and creating earthquakes.

Femme Fatal

Her body was her home. And the lost men that would frequent it found it so humbling, they often left out of fear.  To be humbled by her body, her quiet touch, a kiss on the knee, a kiss on the hip, left them aching.  The emptiness that had nested itself deep in their psyche was ran out by her soft curls, an accidental brush to their cheek and breath of soaped skin was all it took.  She was at home in her body, inviting them willingly to open her up and sink deep into the comfort of roaming hands, open mouths and closed eyes.  They would find a in her a temporary home, so fatal to their nomadism that the moment she entered a room they were either instantly frightened or already akin to her gravity.  All she asked was that they meet her in the moment the heart was so translated in the eye souls could speak without words. But when they did, when they met her in the sweetness, their hearts would fail, break and without comparable strength, would leave before dawn.

Eve

When I arise with you there is no shame. It has been weeded and plucked, discarded from our contented life. I will rise beneath tangled sheets and curls to stretch my arms wide. Arching my naked back and shifting my shoulder blades, I roll the evening off my bare chest. And I will look at you in an ordinary way, liking your jaw line as it parallels the pillow.  My bare feet meet bare wood as I walk, toes first, to the kitchen. You arise, after a while, to meet me in the window beams. Without a thought we’ll greet each other, our nakedness not letting on that we could have been so tangled together.  With your hands on my smooth shoulders you watch my wrists flip eggs. I tilt my smile up to you and find you are my Adam and I am so shamelessly your Eve.  Unaware of the sour citrus of the societal fruit that bares shame in bareness. I am guiltlessly yours and forever my own.

by Sarah Noell