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Some Fictions

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Of Atoms, and Other Things We're Made Of

 

“I looked through the window at the palm tree standing in the courtyard of our house and I knew that all was still well in life. I looked at its strong straight trunk, at its roots that strike down into the ground, at the green branches hanging down loosely over its top, and I experienced a feeling of assurance. I felt not like a storm-swept feather but like that palm tree, a being with a background, with roots, with a purpose."- A Book.


I had a rush of a feeling, as I read and reread -and reread- that excerpt, a feeling resembling a nostalgia for something I've never experienced. Like a homesickness for a 'home' that's never existed... It's strange, being human.


I've always been a little envious of those who seemed inextricably connected to something bigger than themselves, of those who related to a background or have taken it upon themselves to embody a culture; a series of customs, things that 'must' be performed, ways in which those things are performed, people to whom it all made sense. I've always been a little envious of those who have a predefined, concrete meaning of 'home'.

Well, envious of and annoyed with.


Why do we feel obligated to act in accordance to a set of predesigned morals? Is it the convenience of fitting into pret-a-porter molds instead of undergoing the existential anguish of being your own person?


What if I identify as that storm-swept feather?


It is fascinating, how the notion of roots fluctuates sometimes between feelings of suffocation, paralysis, and repression and those of warmth and acceptance. But really how accepting is conditional acceptance?


Perhaps it's the image of a 'security blanket' I'm occasionally a little envious of; the feeling it generates; that you are an inseparable molecule, woven into something that predates you and will continue to exist long after you have ceased... perhaps in a way that is the closest we get to immortality. Perhaps it's the closest we get to not being alone.


But in a time where everything and everyone seem to be swallowed by a system or another, and we seem to no longer ponder the meaning of things, I'd rather stay a storm-swept feather. Free, light, wandering. However forgettable I may be, I am still ultimately an inextricably intricate part of an inextricably intricate ecological system that does not bother with who I am or how I look or the concepts I choose or those I reject; and when my bones decay and I am one with earth, my atoms will mix with those of trees or scatter as dust, and everywhere will be 'home'.


 

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The Grind

What makes the world work? I do.

And let me tell you a little something. It isn't conventionally pretty.

I do my rounds covered in a sheen of sweat, a film of oil, and a glittering of brass dust and iron filings. They all coat my curls, bristle my beard, and line my lungs with a sort of reverberating, constant cough. I cough like pistons strike. I croak like gears grind. I rasp in whatever the pneumatics hiss out.

I live for work. If I stop, you stop. If I stop, we all stop. So I work. I work.

It's crimson-gold down here. It's blood and molten gold. It sparks in 3/4 time. It's waltz, rococo, chiaroscuro, and it looks steampunk to those who don't know any better. There is no counterculture, no counter-clockwise turns here. This is the belly of the world and it does not care if you are dapper. It just works, because I work and I suck in all the mess life levels.

I am more rag sometimes than engineer, but that makes me twice as vital.

Life is a messy machine, after all, in constant need of delicate repair.

Prompt: via writeinspiration

Rapid Prompt - The gears of the world.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking prompts, feedback, and your attention.

 

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Pull

(Prompt: This image by piper60, via picturewritingprompts)

Closed doors aren't all that new to me. I've been pushing all my life.

Inside, I can hear them. Sometimes, they're singing holiday songs. Sometimes, the only noises are the gnashing of something fleshy in between jaws, maybe the slosh of milk or wine. Sometimes, they're shouting. Sometimes, they hit each other, but that doesn't scare me.

We hit each other out here, too. Some of them don't know when to stop.

Inside, I catch all kinds of smells. Some good. Some bad. Some weird and rank and vile, like potpourri. Who's idea was it to dry out flowers, to ruin them in such a way, to fill the air with a sort of sun-scorched rot? Still, that doesn't scare me, either. Sometimes, it smells nice in there.

We get smells out here, too. Some of them remind me of too many things. Some of them just remind me of too much. Most aren't good.

Inside? I like to think they keep futures in there. It's silly, I know. They keep futures in banks and bedrooms, not in the foyer where I might see them, scent them, hear what one sounds like. I could have been a poet.

We get poets out here, too. After. Always after. It isn't pretty, not one bit.

I've been pushing on these doors my whole little life. And yeah, I know. They've got those kinds of handles. They're not push doors, they're pull doors. Still, I can't stop my palms, the sides of my arms, my shoulders. I push and push and push, and I think I know why. I don't want in there.

We get them out here, too. Some of them need to stay in there forever.

Some of them should never be let out.

If I pull? That kind might just pull back.

It's not so bad out here, is it? Nah.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, as always.

Last: Unprompted - Come One and All

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There is something tragic and beautiful about falling in love with a ghost, the unspoken words of experience that lingers in the air, and I was good at it.

I turned moments into poetry.

You can't help loving a poem.—  The embodiment of things that can't be fully explained, like love. Like falling in love.

My first experience of love was meeting in the midnight hours, laying in the cul-de-sac and looking up at the stars. It was notes tucked into trees by the lake. It was being given a book of love poems, with a page marked with the words meant for me. It was giving my journal, myself, in written form to someone else and having it returned with a page that said "I LOVE YOU".

What else is love than having someone accept you for who you really are?

But it wasn't real.

And then like the Santa Ana winds it disappeared seemingly without notice. Because at the time, love, to me, was a fairytale. It was moments made into poetry.

I lived inside the poem and not the moment.



I have honed my craft in building structures out of words.

Surrounded my heart with a structure built on heartbreak, graffitied the walls with every broken promise and lie. Boarded the windows and nailed them shut.

I built a maze of hopes winding underneath but always leading back to the same heartbroken home.

I have been living in a world of yesterday's and tomorrow's possibilities but never the moment.


My heart is aching for a demolition.



-Melanie Hamblin

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I?

There once was a Pierre Janet (French psychologist and philosopher) who defined the subconscious as a powerful awareness lurking underneath layers of critical thought. There once again was a Freud who thought the term subconscious was rather confusing and preferred the 'unconscious' instead, which he divided into two entities: the preconscious; latent yet dynamic (only descriptively), and the unconscious; the repressed layers of thought, where we store traumatic experience and socially unacceptable ideas. There are two kinds of worlds, according to Nietzsche: 'the true world', and 'the apparent world'- which is what we hold as truth, buried layers deep into our subconsciousness, and which he considered 'instinctual'.

There once was a girl who tried to make sense of it all.

To sum up the aforementioned boggling, winding, tangible psycho-philosophical conclusions- simply put, us humans are analytical creatures; by analytical I mean that our brains are constantly processing and analysing given data (do I turn left or right? is that green or yellow? is it hot or cold? etc). We also act as sponges, meaning that what our brains don't need to process for immediate use, they store. Unconsciously so. Feelings, trauma, concepts guilefully sneaking into our heads while we're distracted and defenseless... all coming together to form an intricately weaved 'mental' blanket; our own conceptually vivid chaos.

Behaviourists say it starts forming from infancy. We are born a blank canvass and everything we go through is an added brush stroke. Could it be hereditary? Can I say I inherited my meticulousness, anxiety, perfectionism, and passion for written words from my father and my relatively low self-esteem, and good faith in others from my mother? Do we necessarily 'inherit' behaviours and concepts or is who we are the product of infiltrating unconsciously processed information a long, long time ago?

Debilitating low self-worth being the key phrase. Why are some people more confident in their personal brand than others? Were they hugged more? Were they brought up to believe they're great? Or have they simply mastered the art of persuading oneself? Does it truly come from 'within' or does it spring from whatever it is we do which -we believe- deems us valuable in the unforgiving eyes the world?

At what point does a notion, an idea become fact to us? And when does its source become a blur? When does it start to slowly morph; eventually deceiving us into believing that we are the mastermind, the real origin...

More importantly, could we control it? Could it be possible to paint over the flawed painting and fool the keen eye of that latent creature? Broadly speaking, it is exactly like that film, Inception, except there are no little men expertly working their way down the deepest, unpathed strata of our minds- not literally, at least.

Sometimes I think about the apparent world Nietzsche suggested we unconsciously design and live in. Our own unique truth- or perspective of it, and I wonder if we are really who we've always believed ourselves to be. I wonder what happens when 'apparent worlds' overlap- which projection of me is the actual me (but that line of thought leads to Jean- Paul Sartre's existentialism and really there's no need to wake sleeping dragons at this time of night).

I wonder what the 'true world' looks like, beyond the confines of the mind and its house of mirrors.

I wonder if perhaps the thoughts are greener on the other side of the subconscious.

 

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nowhere in particular

I would like to disappear, within the curves of the letters of a second hand book, or behind the lines of one fresh out the printer. I want to be the meaning, the abstract, the molecules; a gentle breeze or a harsh ray of sunlight.

Our souls are grander than our bodies could possibly encompass, and that is -perhaps- the epitome of our human conundrum. I don't dare venture into the depth of the philosophical, nor can I summon any scientific support to my endeavours; I am but a dot swallowed by the vastness of existence.

I, like many, have a body. One that is restrained, labeled, ranked, and classified. One which time and circumstance have shown, show, and will show no mercy. A body restricted by the bounds of name, descent, society, and culture. A body judged aesthetically- more unsolicited than not. We have but to step out into the world for it to hail upon us its labels, for it to classify and rank us from a single stare. 

We have bodies, but we are souls.

I am a soul.

I would like to disappear, into the noise, or within the music; disintegrate in the chaos, or dance along the calm. I want to be the warm touch, the cold shoulder, the feelings that flood or those that soothe.

I want to be the freedom, the waterfall, the drizzle. I want to be the elements.

My soul transcends me, outgrows me. My soul is the universe; it is everywhere, it is nowhere...and I, too, would like to be nowhere in particular.

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unsheathed

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Frankie’s whole body was shaking- her arms, her legs, the hand holding the gun. She ejected the empty magazine and dropped the handgun. It clattered on the ground.

"Holy shit, Colin- what the fuck- I… Did you SEE that guy?" She doubled over, taking a deep breath. "Damn, he came out of freakin’ nowhere!"

Colin nodded and walked over to the man’s dead body. The man was older- fifty, probably. He had a black backpack and the knife he had rushed at Frankie with.

"Pick up your gun," Colin said.

"Sorry-" Frankie knelt down and picked up the gun. She inserted a full magazine and sent the slide forward.

"We’ll take his backpack- and his knife. God willing he has some more ammo on him. That was a little excessive back there," Colin said with a frown.

"I didn’t empty the whole magazine," Frankie protested. "There were only three shots left."

"And you used all of them," Colin said, glaring at her. "You only needed one."

"And… we’re just taking his stuff?" Frankie stared at the dead man, at the sticky blood stains blooming across his shirt. He had been quick- almost too quick. Frankie only had just enough time to scramble back a few feet, grab her weapon, and shoot three rounds- two had hit his stomach, and one had hit his chest. And now he was dead.

"Look, Frankie," Colin said, exasperated. "He’s dead. He came at you with a knife, and you defended yourself. Believe me, he would have killed you if you hadn’t. You think he wouldn’t have taken your stuff?"

Frankie didn’t answer. She clicked on the safety and put her gun away.

"Things are going to get worse," Colin said. "A lot worse. People are scared, people want to survive. It’s not going to get any better. Now grab the backpack and the knife. Let’s get out of here."

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A Patient Blue Vespa

Silently I sat in the store's parking lot, it was a cool spring day. Across the empty spaces before me, I noticed a light blue Vespa. It was peculiar in color, a Robin's egg hue. In my thoughts I mused, who this interesting Vespa's owner might be. Thoughts of a fashion friendly young woman, with tall boots, and slick-straight hair came to mind. I thought of, too, a young man eclectic in his tastes.

As my mind whirled on, an electric cart wheezed out to cross the white-lined threshold that laid before the store front. The soft electric churn caught in my ear and my attention drew, there, to the frail man making his way out. His basket full of groceries, I thought it strange no one followed to assist him to his car. His demeanor exuded pride, self-reliance, even as his feet were protected with slippers, well worn with time. I watched on, my eyes trailing the slow buzz of his transport.

He came to pass the front of a paler red pick-up, and I felt a soft smile begin to form upon my face. Well aged, I found it fitting that this might be his truck. As he passed it, I felt my smile fade and my brows become an indicator of confusion. It was then I felt my heart squeeze in the center of my chest.

The buzz quieted as he came to a halt before the awaiting little Vespa. My expression changed into one of wonder, while I watched on intently. He gathered himself, setting the cane that rested between his legs out onto the pavement, to rise steadily from the electric cart. It was the first moment I noticed the cane, a bamboo like structure in a deep, tasteful mahogany. The curve of the cane was a sophisticated bend, much like the bend in the frail man's back-- a dedicated C for courage.

With a determined hobble and slow purpose, he pulled from the Vespa's little front pack, canvas bags and short bungee cords. My disbelieving eyes followed his every movement. With the bungee cords, his coarse hands worked steadily to make saddlebags for the little Vespa.

He attached the hooks of the bungee cords to the handles of the canvas bags, and tethered the contraption across his seat. Once he was satisfied with his work, work he labored on for almost fifteen minutes, he turned his attention to the cart of groceries. He searched through the front basket of the electric shopping cart for a moment, pulling out the heaviest of items. Juice was set in one bag, on one side of the Vespa, and milk was set in the other bag, on the other side of the Vespa. He carried on, slow and steady, distributing the weight evenly between the bags. I was awe-struck, debating between thoughts of offering help and allowing him the right to succeed on his own. With one bag left, he shuffled his slippered feet towards the front of his Vespa, his cane loyal at his side. He reached for a little white helmet that hung to the Vespa's handlebars by its straps. Moving to rest his cane on the light blue paint, he pulled the helmet over his head, and snapped the straps securely under his scruffy bearded chin. Well into the half-hour mark, he was near departure.

Shuffling back to the cart's nearly empty basket, he pulled out the last of his groceries. It was a bag that held a carton of eggs beneath a loaf of bread. Leaving the electric cart stranded, he placed the last bag carefully on the floor of the Vespa, and with his cane to aid him, made his way onto his ride too.

As he shifted himself onto the seat of the Vespa, I know I was grinning from ear to ear. I watched as his slippered toes pushed against the pavement, his body lunging forward to release the kickstand that held the Vespa so patiently. How I wished I knew this man, so delicate in stature, but with a mind as determined as any ox. As my thoughts took hold, I heard the Vespa's motor. He was gone, and in his dust, he left the puttered out shopping cart as my only witness.