Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hot Potatoes

There was a whole hell of feeble hands
Men and women who couldn't tend to children
Who were deemed unfit to stand
And when the time came 
They all, each and everyone caved
Gave up their loved ones
Gave up their souls
Just to make it through till tomorrow
Maybe its a little too much too late
Maybe its a tad too long to think
But the many notions that procreate this world
Tend to fall to the wayside
Of every other story ever told
And in this feeble handed hellhole
The demons glide over all
Pondering the splendorous places
That better men had died
Taking too long to delegate the construct
Feigning their ignorance all over the places
Where no one will look twice at their faces
Trying their hardest to not only build the ship
But make it twice as better
But its only a row boat
And will always be
Wasting time trying to add a shine to a shit
Listing off timid concerns
Only to have the world fall apart
Give back to the laughing stock
Take part in its absolution
I am ashamed to be abominable
I am ashamed to breathe.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Long Last Slumber

If perchance tomorrow you fail to wake
I'll have three drinks for your sake
As I think of all those times
We broke all those rules and committed non-violent crimes
Dissected our minds
And collected old dimes
In the rear view mirror I see you
I can't help but think I said it too few
That you meant so much to everyone
No matter how out of control life spun
To too little and too much fun
Through memories you'll continue to run
Around in circles 
About in diagonals
Among the squares
Aboard triangle shaped ships
We're we shared lovely little sips
From strong mixed drinks
That we'd pour down sinks
Unable to stomach the bitterness
While we smiled and we kissed
If perchance tomorrow you fail to wake
I'll go on sleeping and just fake
That you're even gone
My mind will wander into song
All the day long
Hoping I made you smile more than frown
As we took our laundry out to town
I wore an asshole crown
You wore a prima-donna gown
And if cataclysms are our calamities
We'll light off our fireworks in ten thousand cities
Hurting each other than kissing wounds new
And they will look on confused
If perchance tomorrow you fail to wake
I don't know how much more I could take
How I'll handle swimming alone in a lake
Or eating a single piece of my birthday cake



Saturday, June 14, 2014

New Novel, very Rough Format Chapters 1 & 2

ONE
Despite the world of hell that was around him, Thomas Roads tried to keep a glimmer of happiness in his eye.   As every blow was struck - from as far back as the dawning of his existence - he found ways to hide away the pain that he felt.   When every poisonous word was said, he could make himself deaf.  It happened so frequently that he thought this was how people were.  That your father called you “shit,” and snapped a tree branch against your thigh because that was what every fathers did.   The countless scars and bruises on his body were what other children must have had to endure as part of growing up.   That when he felt sadness it was not what he should be feeling.  No matter what disillusions he had with his existence eight year old Thomas Roads was undeniably trying his best to just exist and survive to the next day.  It was true in the years to come he’d realize the truth, but the future had little bearing on the present.
It was a rather humid day in the middle of June when he was sitting around watching an old cartoon on their little box television.  On the screen an animated coyote attempted to flatten an animated  bird with a giant black anvil, but as he left it to drop it instead remained frozen in place.   As soon as the bird passed through this botched trap the coyote went below the anvil’s shadow to investigate, only to find the heavy object flattening him.   Thomas did not laugh at these images.   In fact it could be said he watched with less emotional investment and more a strange curiosity.  On the screen he was amazed by the general lack of pain and misery that these acts of violence involved.   He knew his reality but these made up things could go through so much devastation only to shake it off to start again.  This animated coyote, and an animated cat, or duck; all of them alive to have more damage done to them.  There were even human character who were able to take rifle blasts to the face, and were only smothered in what looked like soot.   He thought about the branch that was struck against his bare thighs and the cuts it created, and the blood that slowly pooled and dripped out.   .  
Behind him from where he sat on the floor the sound of an uncomfortable groan escaped from his mothers lips as she was roused to awaken from her drug induced stupor.   He turned to stare at her, the most majestic and beautiful creature in his life.  Kayla Roads was like the outline of a tarp hung and yanked tightly over a yacht.   Her skin was tight against her bones and her cheeks deep and concaved.   There were heavy dark bags under her eyes and her hair was a tangle of curls.   She was the love of his young life and she had a black belt strapped tight around her left arm.  As she rose and stretched up her arms over her head he could still see the scar from her emergency C-section and the reminder of the baby sister he had lost.  She had told him her name was April.  Kayla guided the belt from her upper arm and it felt against the floor, its metal clanking against the laminate wood.   “What are you watching baby?”  She said passively as she rose and walked passed him with a playful rub of his head, “Cartoons?”  Kayla yawned and entered into the kitchen. 
He nodded to her questions even though she was not paying attention.   Kayla never struck him, never yelled at him.  And in truth loved him but under the conditions that she was sober.   Instead of battling the bastard who came home in the afternoon and treated her son like shit she would find herself in need of a fix at the appropriate time.
Thomas stood up himself and followed his mother into the kitchen were she went about her routine of grabbing a box of frosted cheerios and pouring her and the boy a bowl.   He found himself to his spot at the table and waited patiently his feet dangling a few inches from the floor.   On the table the plates from last nights fried chicken dinner still sat with bones that still had meat clinging onto them.  He slid the plate to the side and wiped away a few crumbes that were hiding underneath it.   The bowl was set in front of him and he picked up his spoon.   An oversized but kid friendly blue plastic utensil and he began to eat.
Kayla sat down to and before eating rubbed away a small spot of snot that started leaking out of her right nostril with her left wrist.  “Did you sleep okay sweety?”  She said in the most adoring tone she could muster as she tried to awaken.  His eyes scanned her and her dirty white t-shirt she wore, it was nearly see through the impression of her nipples evident against the fabric.   Then his sight found her bare arms, and just below her after her elbow the small injection points slightly blackened and sickly looking.
“Eat up sweetheart.”  She told him as he hadn’t taken a bite for a moment instead interested on her self-inflicted wounds.   As if aware and embarrassed she switched the hand she was eating with.   “What do you want to learn about today?”  
The question existed only because Kayla Roads could never find her way to drive the young Thomas to the bus stop or to the school itself or if she tried she would often be quite late.  There inquisitive looks at the state of herself, constant hidden whispers behind closed doors that ashamed and infuriated her.  Who were such people to judge the way she raised her son, or to question if she loved him.  It wasn’t long before she informed the elementary school principal that she would be homeschooling young Thomas.   There was hardly any schooling to be had.   What lessons plans she could look up online were the ones she ended up using.    At one point she had mustered enough strength to drive to the local library and pick up books on homeschooling and teaching young children but they collected dust and due dates on the coffee table.   They had indeed found more use as coasters than educational materials.
Thomas found himself infront of the old desktop computer that sat in the corner of the living room of their house.   He was rested atop his mother’s legs as she moved the mouse and clicked on each new link to find just the right tool to use for this particular lesson.   “What letter is that?”  She asked pointing to the letter A.   The tone of her voice was as if she were speaking to an infant and not afully capable and comprehending eight year old.   Thomas didn’t question anything however, he followed her lead na danswered correctly that yes indeed it was the letter A.  “And what sound does it make?”  She said in gleefully proud tones.   He said the sound and she congratulated him with a “Good job.”  Kissing his little mop of hair and hugging him close to her.
They went through the whole of the alphabet before Kayla found herself looking about her to see if there was some sort of distraction to give herself.  It was as though even she knew that what she was doing was pointless and endlessly repetitive.  “You wanta help momma with the dishes?”  Thomas didn’t particularly care either way but he nodded again.
Kayla moved him off of her lap and stood up and held his hand as they made their way back across the house to the kitchen they were in not twenty minutes earlier.   Thomas collected the plates with leftover  chicken and the bowls that housed small pools of milk and walked them over to the sink and dropped them in and the dishes clanked against each other.  His mother turned on the hot water felt its temperature with her hand and then turned the cold on slightly to even it out.   The sink began to fill and she squeezed in a small dose of green liquid soap before going to work on the first few utensils.  Thomas loved her most in these times and felt as though he were taking care of her.   As he stood there on a small step stool waiting to take the soapy dishes from his mom and spray them with the hose to rinse them clean.
Of course all such things had to come to an end.  When the last plate was set aside to dry Kayla stared a melancholy smile out her small curtained window that sat just over her kitchen sink.   It was open at that point a small draft blew inside causing the white silky curtains to flap about before coming to a dead stillness.   Thomas eyes were on his mother as she licked her lips a little, and rubbed her wounded arm with the palm of the opposite hand.  It was happening quicker lately and his times of loving and calm that he had with his mother were lessening and lessening.  Young Thomas knew what was coming next.  “Why don’t you go outside and play for a bit?”  There was a stinging tear in her eye that was built up moist in the eye closest to her son and he saw it build, pool, and drip down her cheek and his heart broke.
He indeed did as she suggested and walked away from his stool and quietly trudged through the kitchen and as he neared the living room sofa he turned his face back to her as if detecting eyes on his back, or perhaps hoping hers were there.   It wasn’t so, Kayla was still facing forward still rubbing her arm, and she said while looking forward, “Go on now.  It’s a beautiful summer day.”
There was a tree in the middle of the Roads’ yard that was far passed dead.   An ugly near white thing that sprouted tentacle like branches sharply and violently into the air.  It was as though it were clawing at the sun, a vamipiric forested abomination that hissed at the sight of the sun and was pained by it.  It was unfortunate that such a tree sat open in the middle of the yard in the small clearing where the small house rested in the distant country.   Away from anyone, any prying eyes, or listening ears.   While others may have been afraid of such a frightening apparition Thomas admired it.   He never attempted to climb it as some children might have, for not only had he been warned of its fragile state, and to remain off of it.  He didn’t want to hurt anything.   The tree was in such a delicate state of dying that he felt sorry for it.  It was also from this tree that the branch that was used to beat him was taken from. 
Thomas sat on the steps of the porch and rested his chin in his hands to look at the way the thing moved in the wind.   How it was forced to sit out here in this unbearable winter, how whithered and fractured it was, and yet how strong it was to survive winter after winter, and to stand weak but still strong in the warmer months.   At that particular moment a lone little black squirrel approached it and quickly scurried up its base running around it several times up to the top, and to the end of a branch before jumping off and scurrying a quick return to the woods.  There was  sobbing coming from behind him, just inside the house, and through the open windows.   Kayla Roads sobbed excessively and then sobbed no more.   He could see it in his minds eye, recalling every memory of every similar instance.   He didn’t understand if it pained her so much why she would continue to do it.   He didn’t understand the concept of an addiction.   If something got you hurt you didn’t continue you doing it you just stopped.  Which was why he stopped talking, stopped smiling, stopped being curious, stopped wondering.  No matter how much he tried to stop the pain, there would be something new to contribute to a new beating.
He rose up to his feet and walked barefoot through the drive way and into the small circular spot of grass where the mighty dead white tree stood.  A twig broke under his foot, and stabbed a scratch slightly but he didn’t care.   There was a small build up of sweat under his mess of hair and his shorts stuck a little to his legs but none of that really bothered him, he was used to it.  When he finally reached the tree he threw his arms around it and hugged it tightly as its surfaces sctrached his arms and cheek.  “It’ll be okay momma.”  He said to calm her sobs, hoping maybe she’d feel it.
After only a moment for him to giveaway as much of his love as he could for his mother young Thomas sat down against the base of the tree and dug around in the dirt there.   Inbetween his legs was the evidence of other times he had done the same thing.  There were broken twigs strewn about the area.  Little twigs that had once been little people who had had small little adventures.  Little twigs that had once been funny coyotes and clever birds that alluded funny coyotes.   This particular time the twig he picked up was simply used as a shovel as he scrapped up a small clump of dirt and flung its bundle in front of him.   Once, twice and then a third time.  He continued doing the same action until he had a hole that was the width of his fist and then he put his digging tool into the whole he had used it to dig and he collected the piles of unearthed sand and returned them to their place.  The twig shovel was out of sight and after he padded the pile down he stood back up and rubbed the dirt on his already dirty shorts.  There was evidence of similar brown fingerprints on their sides as he had done a similar action before.
As if set in a scheduled routine he left his place at the tree and wandered down the lengthy driveway of his home that rested in the middle of the woods.  Around him the dirt path was borded by towering trees, some broken, some in tact.   Some of them were rather old and bending, and others were new and vibrant.   None of them held the power and majesty of the big white dying tree he so admired.   These trees had roots that connected and gripped one another in an earthy handshake of brotherhood.  Some of the were tall and thick enough to protect the younger samplings from the harsh winds.   They were interconnected enough that the squirrels and birds could jump or fly from branch to branch and travel their way outo f the dense forest to some place that was bright and alive.   The dying tree was surving of its own accord.  Its roots had to find a hold deep under the earth, grasping not at other roots but at stone and rock.    These things did not particular strike the young Thomas’ mind, but indeed he knew somehow it had made it all on its own.
On his walk Thomas would kick a stone and it would roll and bounce over other stones.   A dust cloud would rise lightly into the space before him and disspate into the air as though it never existed.   His mind wandered to the places that it always did.   Not of his own life, but that of his mother.   On these stretches of time that he walked alone kicking up dust and stones he wondered what he could do to save her life.   Yet he was always afraid to act upon it.   He knew where she kept her stuff.   The poisonous substance she injected inside of herself, that she heated under a blackened burnt spoon.  The stuff that boiled above the flame.  It was kept in her top dresser drawer, underneath her underwear in a little leather box with a button clip.   He had always wanted to go and take it and throw it away.  Bury it in the earth, or flush it down the toilet.  But his mother loved it so that that would be awful.   He had seen the way she smiled as the plunger went down and liquid with mists of blood disappeared inside of her body.  She had looked happy, and content.   Indeed it made her look happier than anything else he had ever seen.   But then after awhile she was sad.  After awhile the tears came.
When he reached the end of the driveway the paved main road intersected the dirt path, and he stopped at the edge of it.   He lined up the tip of his toes and rocked in place looking up one way and then turning and looking down the other.   The road seemed to stretch on for miles on the left side, and then disappear around a corner to the right.   Then before him more towering trees.   Here he sat down and watched to see how many cars might pass by.   And that he did for an hour straight, just sitting and waiting.  On occasion the wind would sound and he would believe it to be a vehicle but then nothing would be produced around the corner.  There would be no shapes upon the horizon.  On this day there was one car that passed by and when he came close to him it slowed.   It was a teal blue color a long station wagon, with a light layer of dirt coating it.  The driver wore a look of concern he was an older gentleman with thick rimmed glasses and greying hair.   He looked at Thomas and Thomas just looked back with a simple stair one eye shut against the rays of the sun.  The driver looked up the road and then at Thomas, checked his rear view mirror and then at Thomas, and then smiled and waved a hand in greeting which Thomas thought was rather nice.   The man still had a concerned and quizzical look on his brow as he stared at this dirty child, but when Thomas waved and smiled back he turned his attention back to the road and continued on his way.
Thomas was always curious who the people inside these vehicles were.  He wondered if they were alone, or if they children.  He wondered if they had a boy like Thomas, and he wondered if this other Thomas was happier than he was.
Eventually as if his schedule continued to press him he would stand up from his spot.  Usually it was on account of one or too many mosquitoes that decided to land on his arms or on his bare legs.   Inside the ruffled mess of his hair.  So at that moment he walked on up the road kicking the stones again.  Kicking up clouds of sand.  Thinking on who the man was in the car.
When he arrived back at the house he wandered inside the door and it sqeaked on its hinges slightly as he opened it.     He hated that it did that because he knew at this point his mother would be sleeping and he wanted to let her sleep.   He wanted to wander in in silence and crawl up on the couch next to her and sleep there beside her.   That door always sqeauked and excessively enough too that it would always rouse her into waking.   “Thomas love is that you?”
He nodded even though she could not see him.  There he stood behind the couch as her sitting figure had risen up.  Her hair bunched and down over her shoulders.  The belt sitting loosely there on her arm.  There was a long heavy pause, “Is your papa home?”  
To this Thomas spoke, “Not yet.”
She cleared her throat and craned her neck so that she could look at him.   “We better get supper going then shouldn’t we?”   Thomas’ head did the familiar movement of approval.   Kayla stood up and stretched her arms up above her head and collected up her tools and case before disappearing into her bedroom and then reemerging again.   Thomas noticed the bags under her eyes were even thicker than they had been the first time she woke up.

Her bare sweaty feet stuck slightly to the floor with every step she took and she opened up the refridgerator to produce a few raw steaks that had been thawing out on a plate.   Thomas opened up a cupboard and took out a frying pan and placed it on the counter where his other began cutting the steaks into small squares.  “Thanks baby.”  She said.  He went about his next task of retrieving the butter from the refridgeraor and he set that on her other side.  “Thanks baby.”  She said again.

TWO
“It’s burned.”  He said in between chewing.   He sunk his teeth into another black piece and tore it back with a movement of his head.   The man was younger looking, with a still boyish look in his cheeks but a great dark moustache under his nose.   His eyes were free of bags, but his forhead housed a receeding hairline and his teeth were dark with yellow.   There was juice from the steak caught within the tips of his moustache and they collected there in little pools clinging in their stick fashion.   “Next time, you gotta let the pan get hot first.”   He was holding a piece of meat between his fingers and used it to point at the timid Kayla who was once again scratching at her arm.
“The potatoes were good though, right?”  She said with a coy little smile.  Kayla looked down at Thomas who smiled up at her but did not turn to see what the man was doing.  
The man kept his eyes on Kayla while ripping off another chunk of meat and then picked up his spoon his eyes still on Kayla’s dumb smiling face.   He shoveled up a pile of the mashed potatoes and chewed quickly.   After placing his spoon down he gathered up his beer can and said, “Yeah their all right.”  He sipped at the can before setting it back in its place so he could continue eating.
“Those assholes at the shop said that I’d need to pick up my pace if I wanted to keep my job.”  He quickly shoveled in another pile of potatoes before continuing with mouth full, “Can you believe the nerve of them?  Me?  Pick up the pace?  I move more metal than any of those cocksuckers and they were going to threaten me with a fucking lay off.”  Again he fed himself another spoonful, this time he took a drink of his beer before the potatoes had even been swallowed, “I’ve spent fifteen years working for those sons of bitches and they are gonna threaten me with that shit.   It’s absurd.”
“Maybe they are just trying to motivate you.”  She said shyly.
He paused inbetween chewing and stared at her, and as if she were the dumbest person in the world he said, “Why in the hell would they need to do that?”  Violently he moved his arm up to point toward the door, “I’m giving them the opportunity to make and move more product than any of those other assholes.   They wanted to motivate everyone they’d a gone around and told everyone the same thing.  They would have threated Danny Cobbs the same way they threatened me.  That kids dumber than anybody I’ve ever known.”  He jabbed at more potatoes the spoon clanking against the surface of the plate.  “Just keep your mouth shut about stuff you don’t understand none.”
Thomas stabbed his fork into a large piece of meat and attempted to lift it to bite into the steak.   The man’s eyes stared at the image of the large piece of steak as a whole being eatin off the fork.  He picked up a knife and slid it down the table till the blade hit against the plate.   “Cut it you dumb shit.  You look like a cave man eating it like that.   We aren’t cave men.  And stop slouching.”
Thomas hadn’t been aware that he had ever been slouching but he indulged the request and attempted to sit up straighter.   He reached over to the knife and tried to saw into his steak.  In truth he didn’t try very hard because he had never had to cut into his meat before.   He made small jabbing motions but the meat slid all over the plate.
“Here sweety, let me.”  Kayla said pulling Thomas’ plate towards her.
“Let him do it himself for chrissake Kayla.  He can’t learn if you do it all for him.”  The man chastised.  Kayla continued to grab the knife and Thomas’ fork to cut the meat for him.  “Kayla,” the man said, she continued, “Kayla dammit, put the fucking knife down and let the kid do it himself!”   But instead of stopping completely she pantemomimed ontop of the meat what he should do and how the fork should be used before rubbing his cheek and pushing the plate back in front of him.  The man just glared at her, “And you wonder why he’s such a fucking idiot.”  He scoffed and tore a hunk of meat apart with his fork before depositing its burned contents into his mouth.
Kayla Roads lifted up a small portion of potatoes into her mouth and slowly chewed.  She never looked up and Thomas noticed for the first time that the portions on her plate were less than even his, and less than the man’s.   “Tommy helped me around the house today.  We did the dishes, and he helped me cook.”
“Yeah, did he?”  The man looked at Thomas with what Thomas could swear was a look of pride but the eyes only shifted up for a couple seconds that he could not be for certain.  Then when Thomas stayed quiet the man’s eyes came up full to meet the boys and he asked, “Is that true?  Did you help your momma with the dishes?”  Thomas nodded, “And you helped her cook?”  Thomas nodded again.  “Is that why its burned?”  The man’s eyes looked malevently over to Kayla as he stuck the last piece of black steak under and over his yellow teeth.  The morsel was mushed and mangled between the locking jaw, it was a grotesque sound of moist sludge being squished repeatedly.
Thomas sometimes wondered why his mother bothered cooking for the man at all.  He never seemed pleased with any meal and ever discouraging remark upon his mother made her frown and cower.  When he watched her in those moments it was as though she turned to fractured glass, that would shatter into a million pieces with just the right amount more of aggravated sentiment.    She seemed to sink into her self, as though she were being made smaller, as though she were shrinking into the miniscule size of her soul.    It was as though she were hiding in plain sight.  It’s what he saw now, as she slowly lifted up a spoon full of white mash and placed it deliberately in her mouth.   The way she slowly withdrew it and slowly chewed with her mouth open.  Her expression was blank.   Every movement calculated to have the least amount of movement or impact.   Every movement thought upon so that it wouldn’t offend the man at the head of the table.
Thomas cut his steak as his mother instructed, and was quite pleased at learning the new skill.  He smiled at himself as he cut up the whole larger piece into several smaller squares.  He took the time to decorate them on his plate in little rows and columns.  And then he stabbed one with his fork and deposited on his tongue, and chewed it with his mouth closed.
“You’re something else kid.”  The man said as he tilted the beer can up to its highest degree sucking out what little beer deposited against the lid.   “Goofy ass grin cuz you learned to cut your meat.”   He put the beer can down and pointed over to Thomas and said to Kayla, “He’s a real genius this one.  You teaching him some mighty fine schoolin during the day huh.  But he don’t know how to properly eat his steak.”  The man laughed at himself and took a napkin from the centerpiece and wiped his moustache clean.   “Do you know how to change the oil on a truck?  Or brakes?  Can you fix the furnace if I aint here?”   Thomas kept his head down at the bombardment of questions, and he ate another square.   The bastard reached out a hand and smacked the back of the boys head and demanded, “Can ya do any of those things?!”
Thomas shook his head.
“It’s yes or no.”  The man said heatedly, “Stop this head shit.”  He demonstrated a nod and a shake of his own head with a look of pure irritation.  “Bet if your sister had lived she’d be less of a half wit than you.”
“Eddie.”  Kayla said in hurt protest.  An announcement that shocked even her as she cast her eyes back down when Eddie’s met hers.   Thomas ate more but let his eyes peak up to his mothers and her’s collected moisture as she circled her potatoes with her spoon.   She should have stayed silent like she normally did, but for some reason she stopped circling and looked up closing her eyes shut tight and said, “I lost her.   Eddie.  I did.  You weren’t even around then.”
The man was shocked.   He grinned dumbfoundedly.  It didn’t take long for him to rise from his chair even though he wasn’t quite sure if he’d been wronged by her words or not, but the fact that she spoke up at all was enough of a slide to him.   “The fuck you say to me?”  
“Nothing.”  Kayla said with a passive wave of her hand, as though that would defuse the situation.
“That wasn’t nothing.   That baby was ours.  Not yours ours.  If truth be told she was more mine than yours anyhow.”  He wiped a palm down the length of his face and it stuck slightly to his lip as he passed over it.     Then without any provocation he violently used his arm to wipe the beer can and empty plate from the top of the table.   “I slave out there every damn day.  And you have the gall to tell me my child is yours?  Just yours?”
“You know what I meant.”   She said in another voice of surprising defiance.  She turned to Thomas, “Why don’t you go outside?”  Thomas made to stand.
“Sit down!”  The man commanded.  Thomas sat.
“Without me you’d be dead.   I feed us.   I pay the bills to keep this house in our name.  Keep the electricity on so you can use the computer and teach this retard his ABC’s.  Keep the goddamn tank filled so you don’t freeze to death in the winter!  Your body or not it’d be rotting in the middle of a field doped up on whatever the hell it is you have me get you week to week.  No baby’d grow in you.”   His face turned red and a terrible thought entered into his head which he wasted no time to speak in poisonous words, “You killed her anyhow.”
Kayla’s tears began to escape all at once, and her face turned a dark frightening red.  Her lips quivered and darkened as well.  Her tight face contorted and grimaced and her nose sniffled and she cried like Thomas hadn’t seen in a long while.   He made to stand but the man marched over to him.  “Keep your ass in that seat.  You are excused when I say your excused.”  He gripped Thomas’ right wrist in a severe pinch, but although Thomas felt the pain he kept any audible irritation to himself.  Eddie continued talking to Kayla, “Cry, do it.  Its not like I haven’t seen you do it before.”  He mocked the expression on her face, “Poor you.  Poor you.  You know what fuck you.”  He let go of Thomas’ wrist and marched back toward his own spot.
What happened next Thomas was never sure why.   But the plate that had sat before him found its way into his hands, and he threw it across the table at the man his mother called Eddie.   The throw was accompanied by a defiant scream but the plate never hit its mark.  Its nearly full contents splattered  on the floor, and Thomas was as shocked as anyone else.   There was this brief moment where father looked at mother, mother looked at son, and father did as well.  When the whole world froze for a collective moment of reflection.   As the unexpected sprang out of the unexpected person.   Thomas’ eyes met the mans and they held their for a moment, as the red pooled into that bastards expression and Thomas leapt from his seat and behind his mother and toward the living room.
The man gave chase, but Kayla was up from her spot as quick as lightning and stood in his way only to find herself shoved to the ground.   It was unfortunate for Thomas that his hands had been so small that he could not get the front door open in time before the man called Eddie was lifting him up by his waist and then tossing him to the floor.   The boys knees thudded against the laminate and he grimaced and looked up at the man in defiance and anger.  His eyes were slanted and his mouth pursed and his nostrils flaring.  If he had known how to kill a man, and if he had been stronger and had he been older he would have killed the man right then in there, but as it were he could just show him that he was unafraid of the pain that bastard would bring.  
Kayla wouldn’t allow it though.   She stood over the body of her son and kept her body between the man and her offspring.   “Don’t touch him.”
The man scoffed into a bewildered grin and looked around him as though there were onlookers, “You saw what he did.”  For once Thomas felt maybe he’d deserve what was coming.  After all the times he had done nothing to get beatin.  After all the moments he’d simply spilled his drink.  After all those minor infractions he felt as though this would be one of the few things he would deserve a whipping for.    As it were it was also inclined to be the worst he’d ever gotten if it were to happen.  He was not keen on receiving the punishment because it would not have fit his crime, as it never seemed to.
“He’s sorry.”   She said, and then to Thomas, “Say your sorry baby.”
“I’m not.”  Thomas said.
“Thomas!”  Kayla said.   “Say it now.”
Thomas caved in, the anger and defiance he had felt impressed him but he had to relinquish it, because it was his mother who had asked him to.  His mother whom he loved so dearly.  “I’m sorry,”  he said to the man he wanted to beat with a tree branch till he was unable to beat anyone again.
Kayla kept her eyes locked on her husband and said with them that the man should be satisfied by these words.   But Eddie looked at her with a complete lack of being convinced.   Then he said to his wife, “And that’s supposed to make everything alright.  That’s supposed to make him throwing his food at me, his father, alright?”
“No, but –“ She began but he struck her across the face with the back of his hand.  With a palm on the wound she turned back to him.    She shook her head, “Don’t.”
“Don’t?”   The fury in his eyes continued to build.   “Don’t!?”  He screamed into her face so that his hot breath could be felt against her nose.  So that his spit flew onto her cheeks, so that his rage could be known.   And nearly a centimeter from her, nose to nose he said, “What are you doing here anyways?”   He smiled, “Shouldn’t you be off some place by now?”  she looked on into his eyes with utter confusion, and still held her palm to her cheek.
“Do you know where she should be, Tommy?”  He said to the boy tilting his head so that his face could be known over the woman’s shoulder.   Tommy still looked on with his nostrils flaring, but something in his demeanor began to soften.  The boy started getting scared.   As much as he loved his mother for standing up to him, as much as he could love her in those moments for being his knight, he feared what may become of her.
And in an instant the bastard called Eddie softened his own expression.  Took a step back and rubbed his nose, and marched off with a small chuckle to himself.
Kayla Roads turned around to her son and he saw the red mark upon her face from where he had struck her and he wanted to kiss it better for her.   She wrapped her arms about his little eight year old waist and hugged him.   In that instance he was safer than he had ever been.  Within that embrace he could have no harm done upon him.   In that small hug he felt as though he’d never be alone again in the universe and that this was the moment of change for him.   That from this point on this embrace, hug, entanglement of love and affection.  This steely wall of protection would stand and life would be different than it was.
Then the man came back.   Thomas saw it first the clear little tube like item that rested between his fingers pressed against the fabric of his blue jeans.    Then Kayla saw it, the syringe full of an off white liquid.   “Eddie, what are you doing?”  A lone arm left that warm hold and held up a palm to halt him, and then when the man’s fist wrapped itself in a tuft of her hair and yanked her down the other arm was lost too.   He dragged her then from the spot behind the couch, and around it till they were centered between it and the coffee table.
“Stop, stop, stop.”  The boy screamed with fists pounding at the man’s back.   He continued saying this again, and again, but nothing happened.  When the man finally released the woman he turned and slapped the back of his hand against Thomas’ face and he fell back harshly against the wood floor.   Kayla made to stand but he quickly stepped over her and stepped so that he straddled her body before sitting down on her.  
“Stop acting like you don’t want this.”   He moved one of her flailing arms so that it was tucked under his leg and then grabbed her other arm and readied the syringe.   “Go where you belong and let a father do what he’s supposed to.”  Those were the final words before he violently jabbed it forward and pressed the plunger down.
Thomas watched on in a heart broken horror.  His mother tried to hit at the man as much as she could but it was done and soon she was gone.  Lost in her world.  And he alone with him.
Kayla was left on the floor and Thomas in his father’s arms as they pushed out of the screen door into the nearly pitch black night.  The moon was partially obscured by a thick cloud so that only a small ray of its light shown down into the clearing.   A little pale yellow light coated that dead strong white tree, as Thomas watched the ground beneath him pass by as though he were gliding over it.   Carried by a omnipotent being, carried beyond his control as if by the wind, but with a fiercer hold.   “You bring this on yourself.”  The man said in heated breaths.   “Stop squirming,” he commanded as he squeezed the child.   He walked heatedly into the dirt and gravel of their driveway.  He carried him to the spot of grass and pass the white tree.   He was brought passed the graves he’d dug for his twig shovels, and he was brought back over more of the gravel and dirt of the circular driveway.   Then before him was the small dirty brick red pick up that the man took to and from work, to and from the bars, to and from hell and back as far as Thomas knew.
He opened up the door that took a quick violent pull to jimmy lose as it was constantly sticking aagainst the frame.   And he put the boy inside, and then slammed the door shut.  The truck had always worked as a trap when Thomas was younger, and he had never tried to leave it as he got older and more capable of opening the door.  It was as though he were compelled and conditioned to remain in his spot.   It smelled thick of cigarette smoke and on the passenger side floor were empty beer cans smothering more empty beer cans.  Random bags from random fast food joints.   Various receipts and napkins.   Thomas could barely see over the steering wheel, as he looked up toward the night sky.  The anger and defiance he had felt slowly subsided, and his thoughts went to his mother slowly falling into her trance.   Her body as though dead on the floor as her mind was a million miles away. 
He heard a branch break and snap and his neck quickly turned his head to investigate as the man marched back to the truck with a new branch.   He hadn’t even bothered with the one that was in the house, the other white thick branch that rested between the refridgerator and the counter.  It was an all new hurting tool that was gripped in an iron hold, and the truck door opened.
The man pointed the stick in the boys face, “When I’m done here you are going to go inside and clean up that mess up off the floor.”   He waited for a response, and Thomas nodded and said, “Yes sir.”  It didn’t matter now, he could fight but he’d lose.  He could challenge but he’d be struck down.   There was nothing he could do.  All his anger and all his defiancewas useless, and Thomas himself felt useless as an entire entity.  What could he do with his little hands.    With his limited mind.   How could he change his circumstances when he couldn’t even change this.   The stick came down sharply.  Thomas didn’t block it, and it hurt.  It came down again, dragging against his skin where a broken little twig once rested.  The wound stung.   He looked on up at the sky and saw the moon disappear behind more clouds, as if unable to witness.  Another blow came on the other thigh.  The boys mind was numb.
“Why do you hate me?”  He said absently.
The man stopped.  “I don’t.”   He said in a mild irritation.   There was only that slight moment to speak and then the branch came down again.  Thomas didn’t understand how the man couldn’t hate him.   If he could fathom love he could indeed fathom hate.   He assumed that love was his mothers embrace, that warm all encompassing safety net that soothed his mind.  This was hate, it hurt, at leas that’s what he assumed.   Was love still supposed to hurt, was love supposed to scare him so.   He felt the blood pooling up in his stinging flesh as the branch came down terribly hard and broke against his thigh, and this time the tears came.  At that blow he fell as though his leg was ripped apart, and was now simply gone.  
The man raised the branch up again but the boy curled into a ball and sobbed.  The boys eyes were shut tight and the man brought it down with half of his strength this time then tossed it aside.   He looked over the boys bloodied legs, and wiped away the snot from his nose, and the sweat from his brow.   He dropped the branch, and tapped at the boy with his foot.  “C’mon now get up and clean up.”  The voice was softer.
The boy obeyed and pushed himself although the pain made him want to stay.  It was a challenge to raise himself up, it was a challenge to stand, and then he limped on toward the house.   The man walked in front him of him, and the boy limped on.   He limped over the gravel driveway and onto the grassy circle, he limped on passed the strong and isolated tree till he was back to the driveway on the other side.   He stepped up each and every step as though it were a small mountain to climb.  There was a heat coming from his thigh, a burning pain that was unbearable but he ignored it.   The man opened the screen door and held it open, and said calmly, “C’mon.”
Thomas cleaned up the steak and potatoes and dropped them into the trash can.  He brought his plate to the sink and rinsed off the clinging food, and left it there in the sink.   Unrolling the paper towel Thomas ripped off a sheet and used it to wipe up the food that was stuck to the floor.  Then he heard the man crying and when Thomas looked he saw his father laying his mother on the couch and hugging tightly against her body, and the man cried.   Thomas blood crusted against the length of his leg as he went to his empty room with the blank walls.   The boy climbed into his bed and curled himself into a ball and pressed the side of his head hard into the pillow as he squeezed his eyes shut.  And the man cried, and the boy tried not to listen.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Boiling Points in Painful Nightmares

The killer is here
Demanding them forward
Calling off each name
Checking the box on the list
Thanking the devil for his slaughter
Contemplating the next move
The coarse and unrefined ways of his art
But it isn't over
He pulls back the hammer
And fires a shot
Listless feelings enter in his mind
And he wakes up to discover
He is only a child
With only so much to go on
Little known facts about the big bad world
Fitting his place in the grand cog machine
Fathoming the end results of simplicity
That maddening idea of content
Finding a solace in the ordinary
And flailing his arms to and fro
Observing everything from an outisde window
Watching his mother a milk white widow
Wither away and turn faulty
As he cries a small cry calmly
As he remmebers his ridicule
As he remmebers his idealism
His worshiping idols
Shooting down ideas
Fatherly retribution served fiercely
He the killer in his dreams
Erasing the pain and the hurt
With well mannered shots
With heated ambition
With imagined horror
Slipping back into his head
So that who was there is all but dead
when the morrow comes.