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parallax:01

the hallway stretched for miles. spare a small path, various books covered every visible inch.

for every step i took, the hallway would rotate slightly clockwise. the reverse for taking a step back. a bullet in a barrel.

the books were only dislodged by interaction. the present ceiling held onto every piece yet was gracious enough to allow you to remove a single item carefully. otherwise, the sheer weight of every chapter, volume & series would crush.

glancing to the right, i noticed a rather thin book covered in small, green leaves. i reached for it delicately and using a single finger, pivoted the book from the wall.

my fingers gently ran across the cover, brushing aside foliage to reveal a polaroid. a wooden picnic table amongst tall trees with a small clearing where the light could find a way in.

both lying uncomfortably on the table, we looked towards the sky drenched in hesitation.

“i really like it here” i spoke as i turned my head towards her.

“me too. i used to come here quite a bit during high school.” she replied as she turned towards me, smiled, and looked back towards the tops of the trees.

my line of sight shifted slowly from her to the sky, only to return to her shortly after. i repeated this process for a few minutes inconsistently. i could see her eyes paying attention to my visible uncertainty.

“what are you thinking about?” she asked, focusing on the clouds above.

“the usual” i confessed & shot my gaze to the sky.

“really though, tell me.”

“i am afraid to.”

“don’t be.”

“why?”

“because you never know what could happen.”

after a moment with my eyes closed, my hand lifted from the table and set itself on top of hers. her expressionless face blended into a smile. she looked towards me & rotated her hand under mine until our fingers interlocked.

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there there

there there

i opened my eyes and found myself on my back, looking up at her as long hair drifted across my face. there were sparse rays of light throughout the room.

“where are we going?” I asked quietly.

she supported herself with her arms pinned against mine, holding me to the ground. with the only source of light being the moon at her back, i couldn’t make out her face.

“where we always go” she replied.

behind her were three open windows with sheer curtains moving in response to the wind. her hair flowed with them in perfect parallel.

“why won’t you just reveal yourself?” i questioned.

she looked away and pushed herself off of me. standing up, she glided to the windows and put her foot on the ledge. i could hear her begin to whimper.

“because you aren’t ready. you can’t handle it yet” she answered.

i sat up and brought my knees to my chest. i could smell salt in the air. i looked from side to side and noticed i was wearing a wool hat that covered my ears. i smiled to myself and looked up.

“fair enough. are you ready to go?” i asked as i brought myself to my feet.

i walked over slowly, took her hand and looked out at the water. seven to eight stories up with nothing but water visible underneath. we leaned forward and gazed down & at each other. even with the moon illuminating the surroundings, she was still only an unintelligible figure.

“you can make it” she assured me.

as we stepped off the ledge simultaneously, we fell upwards and away.

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parallax:00

parallax:00

everything was going to change. at that specific moment in time.

the quick glance which blended into an eternity. disregard for the static & constant stimulus. the entire spectrum was shouting at us. trying to grab us back and gain our attention. we stuck it out just to grasp at this new, exciting feeling for a moment.

the teacher rattled on as my neck strained from tug of war between my heart & mind. look forward. look again. stop this. keep going.

you were everything that i’ve always wanted and everything that i didn’t need. you are everything that i knew i would want later. but not now.

things are as they should be. you can’t regret the past, they say. you can’t live in your history, they say.

we all know that it follows you everywhere you go. popping into every situation & shaping your every move.

let it come and let it be.

we pulled into the bluff & parked.

clutched together in the closest you can come to darkness. light from my stereo immersed your body in blue and danced across your face while our eyes anchored each other again.

the windows fogged up slightly, not due to the stereotype. heavy breathing. we were desperately holding on to every second. it is only when you become comfortable with your ecstasy, you let it slip through your fingers.

i traced every wrinkle on your neck with my fingers. gathering as much information as i could before having to find my own way again.

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depths

The most depressing part of my day occurs when I’m doing something that I love to do.

Every day I stumble across something new musically. Through the aid of Pandora, blogs, news, hearsay & my due diligence in finding what I need to keep going, I am constantly surprised by the quality of certain tracks and their beauty.

So what’s the problem? I’m constantly finding little gems hidden throughout society. I understand this is subjective, but I’d like to think I have enough experience to be able to pick out melodically sound compositions & above average production value. Whether that is true is not for me to say but I try my best. Regardless, the key word here is “hidden.”

Once a night I am intrigued to learn about an artist. Or even just the song itself. I’m mesmerized by what they did & how they put together this piece of art. So I go searching. Most of the time I can find something on the artist or the track. Random songs do not get submitted to Pandora without a bit of screening.

For the times I don’t find much on them, I continue to dig further. I check Discogs for information about what they have done. Once in a while I will stumble across a Wikipedia page about the artist. One with no links or any information about the individual(s) that created this work. Vague references to what they’ve done. Maybe a 100x100 thumbnail of the album artwork from 2001.

It pains me to hear something that strikes such an intense chord and then fail to find more information about it. Did this go overlooked? Is it just me who enjoys this? Why didn’t this get bigger than it did? Was it ahead of its time? Was it too late for its time?

I want to find these people, physically shake them with my hands and tell them, “You are amazing. You are amazing at what you do. I am so sorry.”

And yet, I have to turn on the radio and listen to the same 20 songs on rotation for weeks. And weeks.

I know this will come off as condescending even when I don’t mean it to be. I just wish that people could open their eyes to the wonders that are out there. I wish they could see what others have seen. I wish people would stop letting music be delivered to them aimlessly, but rather help the cause and find it yourself. I would even say that I wish that everyone cared more, but this is naturally a false hope that cannot & should not be enforced. The joy it brings me is overwhelming and I just want to share it.

Moral of the story: If I have to fucking hear “Starships” one more time by Nicki Minaj, I’m going to drink bleach.

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Skeptic

Funny how the same problem I had when I was three getting yelled at in supermarkets resurfaces.   I can’t look without touching.  Unlike you, my defects are quite well hidden, rotten strawberries carefully shifted to the bottom of the container.  Maybe they would play nice with yours, I don’t know I don’t know

I don’t know.

I don’t think you know the meaning of demons.  You ever find yourself crying on an examination table to a doctor who insists you're only sad because it's winter? (I’m sorry. I don’t mean to dismiss your past like my skeletons are so much more violent.)

Who are you?  Convince me that staying is more cost effective.  I have examined you all over and still can’t find the price tag much less the return policy.  Convince me to give up every other possible future of better hands and softer highs.  Convince me I can handle the sewing mistakes, colors that run in the wash, the less than stain-resistant.  Rock-paper-who-is-more

fragile.

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reunion

It had been years since we’d seen each other but as soon as I pulled into the driveway I remembered it all. We used to stay up playing video games or reading or talking about boys.  Even when her dad woke us up at six in the morning to help clear his land down the road or go jogging ( After a couple visits, I was no longer excused from doing chores or training for cross country), we stayed up late into the night. But every second was worth it and there were quite a few times when I felt more like a long lost sister than a best friend.

I didn’t even knock on the door. I wanted to surprise her by showing up a day early. I walked right in and plopped my stuff down in her room and yelled for her down the hallway. I think she almost had a heart attack when she saw me but we were all hugs and grins for the rest of the afternoon. We walked around outside for a bit and drove the four wheeler around for a while, and when we got back to the house supper still wasn’t done. Her parents believed it was good to fend for yourself every once in a while and since we were too lazy to cook, she pulled down a couple MREs from the pantry. 

And everything really was like old times. Her dad came and talked to us about hauling firewood back in the morning and asked us if the MREs tasted any good. She argued with her sisters about using the TV and lost. With that option out of the way (and the fact that it was already getting late) we decided to go back to her room. Suddenly the twin bed we used to share at sleepovers was a little bit too small for two full grown bodies, but we giggled and decided to squeeze in for old times’ sake. 

We sat in bed eating peach rings and talking. We discussed plans for college and complained about people creating drama. We giggled over boys and high school relationships gone bad and how for some reason some people don’t get over their middle school awkwardness, ever. She asked me if I had a boyfriend yet even though she knew the answer. I was a student far more concerned with grades than having a boyfriend, and besides, no one at my school met my high standards. I informed her I’d probably have to go to college without even having kissed anyone. I moaned about being pathetic. I told her I had a couple guy friends I’d thought about kissing just to get it over with, but I was too quiet and shy to even suggest such a thing.

And then, she got a brilliant idea. A brilliant idea. An idea so crazy and ridiculous, an idea so her I didn’t take her seriously. What if we kissed? We were best friends and it would be out of the way for me and fun for her. All the boys said she knew how to kiss. She could teach me! I laughed. I got shaky. I told her it wasn’t going to happen, that it was crazy— 

But she shut me up. Out of nowhere, out of the dark, I felt her grab me and press her lips right over my open mouth. I was stunned. But then I relaxed, let it happen. Her lips were soft and plump and she tasted like peaches. I felt clumsy and awkward, like my tongue was too big for my mouth. Our teeth clashed together a few times. She bit my lower lip hard and twisted my hair around her fingers.  It was exhilirating. It was crazy. It lasted forever and no time at all. After a while she pulled away, but laying there in her arms I could feel both of our hearts pounding. We giggled nervously. There wasn’t even any alcohol to blame it on. 

We had an unspoken agreement, afterwards, not to mention it to anyone. What happened was between us and for us only. A secret. And a hell of a lot more than her teaching me how to kiss.

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Bee Stings

Holy shit.

Don't move.

It's on my arm.

Yellow and black and full of menace.

It's exploring. Trying to figure where to sting me.

I am afraid.

I fear the pointy end.

I would sweep it away with a flick of my wrist, but I'm froze in place.

To wrest my body free of the paralysis that has taken hold, I must think.

 

What is there to fear?

The stinger. It sharp, nasty stinger. Look at it. Waggling its abdomen. Waving its stinger. Rattling its saber.

I fear the pain. My skin trembles at the thought.

Why do I fear pain?

Because it hurts.

But I have experienced pain before...

And I do not wish to experience it again. I have experienced enough. Cuts, bruises, breaks and sprains. Heartbreak, heartache, depression and emptiness.

What is a sting compared to that?

...Nothing, I suppose.

After what I've been through, what is there to fear?

The pain will not last. I will forget it within the minute. It will leave no lasting scar. No painful memory. It will not leave me with an illness, nor a disease, or as an emotional wreck.

What is there to fear?

Nothing. What discomfort it visits upon me is only temporary. A fleeting moment of pain.

 

Fear looses it's grip on me. I have movement once again.

But I do not swipe the bee away.

Instead, I watch it.

 

I am brave. I am unconcerned. 

It is a bee and I am a human.

I will survive.

 

You're only power is fear.

Go ahead and sting me.

 

by Daniel Prior

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kildeer

Your house smells like cedar and cigarette smoke and I don’t mind. It’s like going back in time. My aunt’s house was a mixture of this and lollipops from Valentine’s- sickly sweet strawberry/cherry glazes under our noses.

We were met with syrupy gazes when we tried to run away.

We shot snakes with bb’s from the safety of the four-wheeler while mosquitoes bit us (nature’s own blood-sucking vampire) and left the scars of childhood summers prominent on our arms and legs.

Do not scratch, my mother says.
Do not open until Christmas.

Months away we’ll be ok but today is punctuated by young girls who don’t mind where they are walking and step in front of pick-up trucks and fly so high they later dream they survived an airplane crash. Of course, none of this is of consequence.

None of this has anything to do with you or your house until you have something to do with me.

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WHY YOU WILL NEVER BE THE FIRST TO BOARD THE PLANE

The order of boarding a commercial aircraft has evolved into a high art that would astound the most caste conscious Brahmans and impress even the snootiest of protocol counselors at the Court of Louis the XVI.  With the merger of American and USAir and United, and Continental, boarding priorities have refined and consolidated. Here’s the transcript of recent boarding announcement for a flight I took from Ft. Lauderdale to Washington, DC.

At this time, we’d like to announce the pre-boarding* of the following:

• Galactic-Triple-Titanium-Stratosphere-Billion-Miler-Club members
• Super-Ultra-Elite-Double-Premier-Associates
• Uniformed members of the armed forces with two or more infants requiring assistance
• Sub-Elite-Million-Mile-Pilots’-Club members with oak leaf clusters
• Uniformed members of the armed forces with one uniformed toddler
• Senior citizens with Junior Executive Extra Lucky Double Bronze miles
• Seniors requiring life support
• Titled nobility
• Nobel Laureates and French Existential Playwrights

• Families of ten or more requiring heavy sedation
• Zone 5
• American Girl Visa card holders (ruby or emerald level)
• Pewter level Avis club members
• Kenny Rodgers Roasters “Lots of Cluck” meal card holders
• Steerage plus

At this time we’d like to begin our general boarding with passengers seated in:

• Zone 9
• All other zones may now board.

We know you have a choice when flying so thanks for flying with USAmerTedNental.

*Pre-boarding is a made-up term devised by cynical airline executives who would have you believe that no boarding is actually taking place.

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no nothing, know nothing

“I know you, I know you,” says an empty face. Its fingers wander up bare bones and the air dries to cement in your lungs.

“Maybe you did, stranger. Maybe you will.” Shivers and tingling, singing organs. Home is far away, and it is never pleased.

“Will I find you when I stop looking? Need you when I no longer want you?” It journeys further. Warm hands dare to claim virgin spots and souls, but you will never let it touch your mind. 

You sit up and begin to redress yourself in old skin. “Pluck an answer from my ashes. Whichever you like. The phoenix will never miss it.”

I know you,” it insists, and tries to put you back where you belong.

“I… I don’t remember,” you fumble with words and your other disguises, then turn around and run out into the ocean.

It sighs. ”You should have learned to breathe by now…”