Thursday, December 30, 2010

taking chance

Taking Chance

Flitter, flutter, glitter, gloss
The wings of hearts, the fear of loss
Quiver, shiver, tremble, shake
The dreams will last until you wake.

Crunching snow, prickling skin
Bristly scarf, blowing wind
All these things and many more
Have come to knock upon my door.

"Come out today and play with us
Why do you look so serious?
It's nothing more than taking chance
To lose your seat so you can dance."

"So what if you've no mind to dream
Or that you have no voice to scream
Just take a chance, you'll see it through
Then nothing will be troubling you."

Giggle, wiggle, hope and pray
Please don't wait another day
Crying, trying, prance and dance
It's nothing more than taking chance.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the letter

"The Letter"

She was perched on the plush window seat cushion with its gaudy pattern of orange chrysanthemums. They were made uglier by the young woman sitting upon them. But it wasn’t the chrysanthemums’ fault, really. The girl could make a golden rose wilt with jealousy. Or so she had always been told.

Her wedding dress whispered when she stood, the setting sun behind her drawing an ethereal outline around her body. On the coffee table in front of her sat a worn piece of paper with frustrated script and scratching on it. She bent to pick up the paper and a pen with a sweaty hand.

“I take you Kent,” it read, “to be my husband, my partner in life and my one true love…”

It sounded so stiff. So somber and meaningless. She had been told to write her own vows, but could write nothing moving or romantic.

But what did it matter what she said? It wouldn’t make the wedding illegitimate. She would still become Mrs. Kent Westmore, even if she said nothing. She knew this, because she has learned throughout her twenty years that silence does not exactly scream opposition for most people. If you say nothing, people will choose for you.

This match had made her parents so ecstatic. Especially her frail father who hadn’t smiled in years, until that day Kent came to the house. Very old-fashioned. That’s how the Westmores were; very serious about who got to marry into their family.

And Kent was so nice. So gentle, even-tempered, thoughtful. So couldn’t she channel her appreciation of his sweetness into her vows and make them more earnest? Perhaps…

She knew, of course, why they sounded insincere. Everyone else, however, would just think her an unpassionate girl. It would follow her forever. While she wore an apron in the kitchen, fixing dinner for her husband’s family, they would smile as she passed the bread, but secretly remember her cold, indifferent words. Her daughter would one day come to her for advice on love, and she would have to lie again about how Kent was always meant to be her husband, her partner in life, and her one true love…

And each night she would lie next to Kent in bed, and lie to him, too. Every kiss, every embrace, Kent will bury his face in your neck to smell that place above your collarbone and you will look away. Every time.

She flipped the paper over and began writing. “My dearest Kent. I tried to ignore how I feel, but I cannot teach myself to love someone, though I wish I could…”

The letter came quickly to her. No scribbles, no mistakes. It was earnest, respectful, the truest thing she’d written. But something felt wrong. She pictured Kent’s disheartened face as he read the letter, and the image clawed at her heart.

She flipped the paper over and read her vows. Flipped the paper again and read the letter.

Flip… flip… flip…

Monday, December 6, 2010

muff's eyes

"Muff's Eyes"

         I had been dreading this day all weekend. My mom had decided last minute that she was going to go visit her dying mother in Rhode Island, and that she would have to leave my sixteen-year-old brother with me for the weekend. I had only reluctantly accepted, since I hadn’t seen Connor in over a year.
         And now I was being forced to take him to work with me. My job was embarrassing enough – cleaning people’s toilets, changing their dirty sheets. They were all ungrateful. I didn’t want Connor to make a scene, and I didn’t want people staring at him, wondering what was wrong with him. I’d put up with that my whole life.
         Even so, I led Connor into the lobby of the hotel and sat him down in a maroon armchair.
         “Sit here quietly for a second,” I told him. “Don’t move.”
Connor sat obediently, clutching his stuffed monkey.  He’d had it so long that its eyes had fallen out.
I hurried through the “Employees Only” door, clocked in and gathered my maid service supplies. I wasn’t in the mood to clean up people’s dirty lives. Working here straight out of high school for almost four years had taught me that most of the people who came through that golden revolving door took everything for granted; especially clean toilets and sheets.
When I came back to the lobby, the maroon armchair was empty. Connor was across the room sitting uncomfortably close to a middle-aged woman, their faces inches apart.
He showed her the stuffed monkey. “This is Muff.”
The woman inched away from Connor and hid her face behind her copy of Vanity Fair.
I immediately grabbed his arm, apologized to the woman, and marched him up the grand staircase.
“I told you to sit in that chair until I got back!”
But Connor and that monkey only stared at me. I rolled my eyes and guided him down the second floor hall to begin my shift.
I unlocked the door to room 201 and he darted in. I ripped the sheets off the Queen-sized bed and replaced them with fresh ones.
Connor had already found a leather briefcase on the table and was going through the papers inside.
“Hey, put those back!” 
He shot me a sullen look, replaced the papers and sat on the floor with his arms crossed.
I sighed. “If you want to help, you can dust.”
He smiled when I handed him the duster, and he went over to the dresser and started dusting. I slipped cases on the pillows, placed them neatly on the bed, and got the vacuum cleaner out.
I turned around to find Connor sitting on the floor next to a small box and holding two small, silver circles.
“I found Muff’s eyes!”
“Connor, those are cufflinks,” I said, taking them from him. “They’re not yours.”
“I know – they’re Muff’s.”
“How do you know?”
But once I asked, I remembered our mom often calming Connor down at night when he was upset by telling him something about his stuffed monkey’s eyes falling out and becoming stars, watching him from above like a guardian angel.
Connor put the cufflinks on his monkey’s face where its eyes used to be.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain to him that those were dress shirt accessories and they were probably very expensive. He would always believe they were his monkey’s missing eyes.
“Just put them down.”  I figured I could distract him and make him forget about them. He continued dusting the table.
I vacuumed the carpet around the bed and kept my eye on Connor as he dusted.  
      Suddenly, the vacuum clicked two times and began rattling as it sucked up something large.
Connor spun around.
“Muff’s eyes!” He dove at the vacuum and scratched at the bag.
“Calm down, Connor, I’ll get them out!” I said, prying his hands away from the vacuum.
I detached the bag and dumped the dust and hair right onto the carpet. Before I could get to it, Connor was already sifting madly through the dust ball. He found the cufflinks quickly and held them tightly to his chest.
Something in me snapped. It was pathetic, seeing a teenage boy hugging a pair of cufflinks.    
        He would never need cufflinks for their true purpose. He could never attend a cotillion or prom or his own wedding. Yet he cherished them.
        At that moment, I didn’t care how much those things cost. To Connor, they were priceless.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

montgomery mansion

"Montgomery Mansion"

           What everyone knows about the Montgomery Mansion in my neighborhood is that it has three stories, a balcony, four white, stone pillars, and two live oaks on either side. Its four acres of land are perfectly manicured; no weeds, no secrets.  And everyone knows it’s for sale. The whole town has been to the Open House and toured the mansion, knowing full well they cannot afford it. Everyone knows its aging master of the house, Carl, has been sick for the past three months and has been confined to the house the whole time. He was not allowed any visitors. Everyone knows that his wife, Beverly, is in the newspaper every other week for fund raisers, dealings with the Board of Education, and interviews with the superintendent. Last week the house and land was put up for sale after Carl was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night. He was then transferred to a different hospital two states away early the next morning. No one could confirm which hospital Carl had been admitted to.
But what I know about Montgomery Mansion is what is underneath its polished wood floorboards. I worked for Beverly every day, doing her laundry, cooking her dinner, and keeping her secret. I know what was in the basement freezer for three months. I know what happened in the middle of the night last week. And that beautifully mowed lawn has a patch of fresh dirt for a reason. No one knows where Beverly went to last week, and she hasn’t been seen since. But I know she’ll be back on the front page soon.



I know what lots of people think
I know just what they say
I hear them talk behind my back
I hear them every day

But no one really know who I
Or anyone can be
If all they do is criticize
The part of me they see

There's more to me than dull, gray eyes
And bushy, ugly hair
I know I'm short with crooked teeth
And I don't really care

If all you see is ugly me
Then look deeper inside
Look into my inner self
And see just what I hide

I always envied all the girls
With popularity
The girls with perfect shining eyes
I fumed with jealousy

Even though they laughed at me
And called me certain names
I still dreamed to be like them
For this, I was insane

'Cause why on Earth should I regret
That I don't look like them?
I like myself and how I look
On the outside and within

Anyone that laughs at girls
Less beautiful than they
Should come to see their hearts of black
Are worse than eyes of gray

Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words won't break my pride
'Cause when we're dead, our body's gone;
We’re left with what's inside.

i want to know why...

"I want to know why..."
I want to know why…
…no one understands the thrill I get when I walk into Staples to buy new school supplies.
…I never feel too compelled to join my friends at a party on a Saturday night, and why they never seem
sincerely disappointed when I stay at home.
…I always have to look down at my feet when I walk.
…I can devour an entire bag of baby carrots the way others can eat a large pizza by themselves.
…the guy with the suit and briefcase at Starbucks yesterday was reading the comics and I was the one
catching up on world news and thumbing through the business section.
…I’ve never had a real boyfriend.
…I can never seem to keep up with today’s popular TV shows.
…I still look back at that eighth grade Sadie Hawkins dance and regret never asking Thomas Jameson.
…so many people have never heard of A Mencken Chrestomathy.
…even though I’ve wanted to be a news reporter since the day I saw Katie Couric co-host the 2000
Summer Olympics, I’m beginning to regret my journalism major.
 *       *       *
                I think I’m beginning to regret my journalism major. I don’t know why, but I just get this unsettled feeling in my stomach every time I walk into my news editing class. But it’s not like I ever forget my homework, so that can’t be the reason. And I love my professor, Mr. Parker. He’s a genius. So I have no idea what my problem is.
                I remember when I was ten and my sister was eighteen. She told Mom she wanted to be a philosophy major. We were eating dinner, and after hearing my sister’s news, my mother, Mrs. Pragmatism, just sat there eating her green beans for several seconds. She finally put her fork down, and told my sister she was an idiot.
                That was the year I stopped drawing all over my math book, fantasizing about being an artist. That was the year I saw Katie Couric co-host the 2000 Summer Olympics. My mother called her “one of the most diligent, able-minded females on television.” That was the year I began reading the newspaper and calling myself an aspiring journalist.

coffee and pencil skirts

"Coffee and Pencil Skirts"

(Told in first, second and third person)

                It was a Monday afternoon at the office, and I had a meeting in five minutes to discuss advertisements for the magazine. I went into the break room to get a cup of coffee, knowing that caffeine was the only way I stood a chance against Will Weiner, the head of the advertising department. He was as easy to listen to as a television droning on in another room of the house. As I made my way to the meeting room, my editor-in-chief walked up right behind me. “Nice skirt,” he said, and squeezed my ass. He then cut in front of me and walked into the room first, jovially greeting those inside. I followed silently just as Weiner began talking. I took my place at the long table and tried to tune in to Weiner’s drone, but it was as if the television had been muted.

                You enter the break room for your third cup of coffee of the day. It doesn’t bother you that some people think it’s a bad habit – it’s not like it’s a cigarette or anything. Plus, that Will Weiner is pathetically boring. As if advertising meetings aren’t bad enough. They don’t even serve donuts for afternoon meetings. That cup of coffee is your saving grace. You’re walking toward the meeting room, and you’re intercepted by your boss, who comments on your black skirt and swiftly grabs your right butt cheek. He immediately goes into the room, talking and laughing with people about yesterday’s golf game and this morning’s traffic jam, as if what he had just done was as normal as a pat on the shoulder. And you don’t even say anything. What could you say?

                The young woman was fresh out of college and had only been working for the magazine for a couple months. She was a typical young employee; she overworked, was exceedingly nice to her coworkers, and thought that drinking several cups of coffee a day made her interesting. She made her way to the afternoon’s staff meeting, coffee in hand, preparing for the only part about her job she openly disliked. It was no secret that she had already dozed off several times at previous meetings led by Will Weiner, the aging advertising manager with a monotonous, Southern drawl. She neared the meeting room door and ran into the editor-in-chief, a forty-something divorcĂ©e who often held widely popular Friday evening gatherings at his house for his employees and colleagues to unwind from the week. The young woman and editor had a brief exchange, when the boss’s hand fell from his clipboard to his side and slightly brushed the woman’s rear end.  Seemingly embarrassed, the editor strode quickly into the meeting room and began greeting his other employees. The young woman came into the room soon after, and sat at the large oak table, looking somewhat distracted. She stared at her coffee cup the entire time, not saying a word.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


(I wrote this poem by picking out random words in a paragraph of a random book.)


The threads, the temple
Sing the rainwater!
Splotches scattered.
A boat? No...
She is now the container.
Then she brings
The handfuls, washed.



My Heart has been asleep.
Boa constrictor
coiled --
with all his strength.

Heart numb,
there is no feeling
constrict --
tighter, tighter --
I cannot breathe.

He releases my Heart;
he does not want it
any longer.
Heart still asleep --
I cannot move.

To move is to feel pain.
Heart mangled --
he slithers away,
so unfeeling --
he cannot love.

But slowly,
light, dark,
light, dark,
Heart begins -- ever so slowly
to tingle.

sonnet no. 1

(My first attempt at a sonnet...)

"I push against my skin and make it wrinkle"

I push against my skin and make it wrinkle
And thus I shove away the years of time;
I wait for dimming bluish eyes to twinkle
So I can be reminded they are mine.

My graying hair still sprayed with sunlit blonde
Can stay alight when candles fail to burn;
My voice a parch'ed rose can still respond
As if it has so much yet still to learn.

The journals masters wrote of earnest truth
May envy mem'ries found in my old mind;
I can't excite my spirit like in youth
But find it I much wiser and refined.

And yet I feel that it has been my heart
Where love has reigned that let me get this far.