The broken hearted Octopus asked, "Why are you leaving me darling? I supported your writing, I lent an arm whenever you needed one and I loved you dearly."
His lover responded "I was only using you for your ink. Don't worry, there are plenty of fish in the sea."
Lyla and Ned,
although very dead,
had a love time could not defeat,
they lived a full life,
as husband and wife,
until their time on this earth was complete,
when they awoke,
they were heartbroke,
to find neither at the other's side,
and so they lurched,
and quietly searched,
for where the other, in death, might abide,
then one day,
Lyla walked Ned's way,
and they began to run as they grasped,
at one another,
each at the other,
and their boney, little hands did clasp,
their pale lips met,
and they couldn't forget,
their long life and the love that survived,
Ned and his wife,
in their afterlife,
proved that love can always be revived,
and though he is deft,
death was bereft,
as Ned walked away with his sweetheart,
their love, it is said,
is so eternally wed,
even death couldn't do them part.
“There aren’t many people here. Do you feel weird? I feel weird. There are like five people here.”
“That’s his wife!? She’s almost 80. Wow, he was a sugar baby.”
“You know, young, talentless people who use their good looks to use old people for money.”
“Do they have to perform sex with them?”
“Perform sex? You talk like an idiot sometimes. Yes, they have to “perform” sex with them.”
“That’s disgusting. Also, he wasn’t very attractive.”
“Yeah, but neither is she. Did she just say “Christopher”? Was that his real name?”
“I didn’t think he believed in God. Why are we singing hymns?”
“Are you checking your phone? At a fucking funeral! You’re terrible.”
“No we are. He just text me…..”
“Oh yeah, he just text you from the grave?”
“We are the biggest assholes. He’s not dead….”
“Apparently he’s still in the hospital, totally fine. Making a full recovery.”
“Then who the hells funeral are we at? And how the fuck did we end up here?”
“Damn. She pranked us again.”
“You’ve got to get a new secretary, man.”
“Want to get the hell out of here? This shit’s depressing.”
“Yeah, but it says something in here about a delicious feast in Christopher’s honor. Also, I didn’t buy groceries this week.”
“Well shit, let’s sing some hymns and eat a delicious feast in Christopher’s honor then.”
“Yeah, that coffin is heinous.”
This photo is about 3 years old. An acquaintance took the photo, I modeled, edited and cleaned it up.
It’s 105 degrees in this town but it might as well be 350. I’m suffocating in a confectioner’s oven full of dried out skeletons and evaporating dreams. My clock reads 5:30, meaning my shift ended 30 minutes ago but the next girl isn’t here and I’m the only decent employee in the place. A man smiles at me and asks how my day is going. “Wonderful, making coffee is my life calling.” I reply. He gives an awkward laugh and heads towards the creams and sugars. I motion my hands as if I’m shooting myself in the head and then point the fake gun at my coworker who finally walks through the door. She starts babbling about how her parents kicked her out again and she needs a place to stay. I grab my purse from underneath the counter and walk out without a word. I hop into my 86 CJ7, the only reliable part of my life, and drive away. Except this time, I won’t be coming back.
I ended up here because my mother broke her leg. She was passing through this place on the way to finer destinations, places where they serve drinks with colorful, little umbrellas and decorative fruit, when a man accidentally hit her. Enter to the picture my father, the man behind the wheel. He drove her to the hospital, offered her an apology and a drink. I was conceived that night. In the morning, the man left to go grab some coffee and never returned. My mother waited at that hotel for 3 months before she accepted he wasn’t coming back. At that point she realized I was on board, so she got a job cleaning rooms at the hotel and rented a little house. She never gained the courage to hobble out of this town.
In a town like this you know everyone and you hear the same stories on repeat like broken records. People get so used to familiar faces and stories that they unintentionally build a fear of change. Before you know it you’ve wasted your life hearing and telling the same stories, smoking the same brand of cigarettes and breeding with the same two families. Same, same, same, no change accepted. When a broken record becomes your favorite tune, a beautiful untainted melody can sound like chaos.
I never understood why my mother stayed here. Even after three months, you’d expect her to swallow the truth and get the hell out. But when she talks about him, I start to understand again. The way she tells it, my father had those ocean blue eyes that pierce right through you. His voice was deep and soothing, almost god-like and his tanned skin complimented his black hair and toned muscles. She says he had such a defined bone structure, yet his facial expressions were soft and calming. Even with her leg bleeding and bone sticking out, she had time to fall in love. She still loves him, even after all these years, left with the memory of a man who just wanted a warm body for the night.
It’s reflections like these that change a person. I look back on the stories my mother so lovingly told me about a man who didn’t give a shit about her and doesn’t know I exist. I look back on the years of recycled stories, aging skin and broken dreams in this town. I look back at the schoolteachers who weren’t qualified to teach but were the best this small town could afford. I look back on the broken asphalt we played recess on, lined with weed-filled cracks that closely resembled the morale of this place. I look back at memories of friends who once had a desire to escape these borders but found themselves pregnant, too afraid to move, or realized that their football career was the prime of their life. I look back in my rearview mirror and nod goodbye to this little quicksand town once and for all.
I drive for 4 hours before I realize I need some gas. I fill up my tank and grab a pack of camels and a green tea. I ask the man behind the counter where the nearest hotel is and he motions a direction and says, “Two blocks that way.”
I pull into the hotel and pull my backpack out, then start walking across the parking lot to the door. Out of nowhere, I’m on my back looking up at the sky with broken glass on my face. A young man jumps out of the truck that just hit me and he has the most beautiful ocean blue eyes you’ve never seen. “Damn.” I say aloud. He smiles and immediately starts apologizing. Nothing is broken so far as I can tell. I roll off of the hood, sit on the ground and pull out a cigarette.
“I’m Tyler,” I say to him.
“My name’s Tristan. I am so sorry. Truly, I didn’t see you out here because there are no damn lights in this parking lot. Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you to the hospital? Can I at least buy you a drink?”
I look back on the broken record story of my mother and father and tell myself I have two options. I can say no and walk away, free and clear. Or, I can say yes and make sure I’m the one that leaves in the morning and that I don’t end up like my mother. I don’t even know where the hell I am, there’s no way I’m settling here.
“Sure,” I say with a smile. I’ve got bad things on my mind, which means this can probably only end one way. But damn, if my mother wasn’t right about those ocean blue eyes.
We grab a drink at a nearby bar and before I know it we are back at the hotel. Our clothes fall to the bedroom floor faster than lightning and the entire time I keep telling myself, “You can’t live here.” The sun comes faster than I expected and he wakes up, shining those bright blue eyes directly onto me.
“Would you like some coffee?” He asks in an innocent, casual tone.
“Sure.” I say, knowing very good and well he won’t return. At least I’m prepared.
He puts his clothes on and kisses me on the forehead. I know this is a kiss goodbye but I tell him how I like my coffee anyways. As the door closes and locks behind him, I feel the love my mother always talked about. But I know better, I know better.
I get off the bed and start putting my clothes back on. Then I place my belongings in my backpack, check out at the desk downstairs and head for my car. As I’m opening my door I hear a voice yell, “Tyler! Where are you going?”
I turn around and those ocean blue eyes are staring right at me, and his perfect, dark frame is holding two cups of coffee. He walks towards me with a stature that would put Ryan Gosling to shame and I tremble in place. My broken record town, my mother’s hopeless stories, none of it prepared me for this, this moment.
He tells me he is headed back to Nashville. I smile and say that must be nice, I’ve only ever lived in a small town.
“You’ve probably never heard of it. The only thing that matters is that I left. It’s the kind of town where stories play on repeat, everybody knows everybody and change is the devil’s medicine.”
“Ah, I see. Well, where are you headed?”
“That’s a spectacular question. Only thing I know is I’m headed towards a city, I just don’t know which one yet.” I look around nervously, as if cities will start rising around me and I’ll have my pick at a concrete jungle.
“Well, Tyler, I have to admit I had an amazing time with you. Imagine, all of this from me hitting you with my car.”
He laughs and I say, “Yeah, you’d actually be surprised at how not strange that is to me.” He gives a little confused laugh and says, “Tyler, I know this sounds crazy but if you don’t have any particular destination in mind, you should come to Nashville. I could show you around. It’s a wonderful place, a little chaotic, but wonderful.”
In this moment, I have no idea what to do. I’m not prepared for this. This isn’t a broken record; this is a true beautiful melody of chaos. I pull a cigarette from my back pocket and before I know it, I ask the strangest question.
“Do you think that there’s somewhere in Nashville where I can get a drink with little, colorful umbrellas and decorative fruit?”
He doesn’t seem phased by the questions. He just keeps piercing me with his eyes as he says, “Tyler, there’s probably at least 20 places you could get that. Whatever you want, you’ll probably find it. Best part is, you’ll never hear the same story twice and the faces are always changing. Except for the faces you don’t want to change.”
I’m so surprised by this turn of events that I failed to recognize my cigarette is burned halfway down the filter. Tristan just keeps smiling at me and I feel like I’m melting, in the best way possible. All of the sudden I’m thinking of the “chaos theory” scene from Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblum explains how a drop of water on your skin will fall a different direction every time. I think about my mother and I, hit by trucks and love at the same time. There couldn’t be any event in my life more ironic or with a better ability to scare the shit out of me than this. But I’m not my mother and I’m pretty sure this situation, this is what Jeff Goldblum was talking about.
Tristan is still staring at me and I’m thankful he can’t hear the bizarre thoughts traveling through my head. I’m drowning in his ocean blue eyes at this point and I can see the question begging all over his face. He flashes me one more inviting smile and I take the coffee from his hand.
“Lead the way.”
Ashamed of ourselves, we took our memories and buried them beneath our chests. But the burden of our indiscretions was more than our stomachs could digest. Now we’re throwing up secrets and repenting of our wretched ways. The stench of our misguided acts has followed us for days. We were afraid the world would banish us or bury us in the ground, but from our shameful actions the unexpected was found. Instead of torturing us for the way we chose to live, they’ve given us a feast and a new word called “forgive”. We never thought our hopeless chains could be unlocked, but now we are relinquished by the very ones we mocked.
Our characters were tested and in our first chapter we failed. We were so frightened by our immorality that our emotions were derailed. We took the path most traveled on and the crowds were more than we could stand. We could barely breathe the polluted air on that overpopulated land. In the second chapter of our lives we pray we’ll pass the test. Imperfection is our human stain buried deep inside our chests. But greed, envy and selfishness are sins we no longer care to be. We lived life for ourselves thus far and it only brought us grief. Forgiveness lifts veils from heavy eyes and allows them all to see. I’m thankful for the open hearts granting a second chance to me. I’m still ashamed, remembering the days when our hearts were black. But in my memory I hold the monsters we were as a reminder to never go back. I’m not sure if a man can ever erase the monster deep inside, but even if I’m damned to Hell I can always say I tried.
(I didn't write the whole 10 minutes..I felt I stopped at a good place.)
I’m a lover magnetic,
An eccentric romantic,
Burn you electric,
I’m a violent igniter
A vehement writer,
Light you up brighter.
You're my favorite thing,
Lying under the sheets,
but it's a temporary high,
So the pattern repeats.
Buried inside us are cast iron veins. We’re mechanical men who enjoy our disdain. Our mouths are filled with spit but our eyes have run dry. Our hearts are filled with grit but our souls are starting to die. The only way we’ve ever known to live is alone, feeding off of cutting men down to the bone. Our faces are filled with fine lines and our youths starting to fade. This sun always beats upon us and we sure could use some shade.
The world made us tough but it didn’t make us strong. We’ve been roaming ‘round this desert and it seems we’ve done it wrong. But we’re sick of the weights in our throats and the dark masses in our lungs. We’re sick of holding our pain for years where it has hung. We’re dried out and rusted, but there’s life in us yet. We’re made of more than apathetic spirits, empty tongues and sweat. Our vocals may be more dust than chords, and our tongues may hang like wooden boards; but our cast iron blood kept us alive this long, so I’ll kindly drain myself of its weight with a song. It’s time for a change before this life gets our best. It’s time for a change before I'm laid to rest. Let’s quench our thirst and soften our hearts. There may not be much life left, but this is where it starts.
My bones are cold,
The sea got a hold,
And swept my soul with the tide,
My story’s long,
A sailors sweet song,
Of a girl who became the seas bride,
Beware my child,
The world is quite wild,
There’s many a men who’ve been torn,
But rest your head,
The devil is dead,
And he won’t rise again til the morn,
Rest, gentle sleeper,
The devil’s asleep down below,
Drink your fill,
Whiskey will heal,
Any sorrow your homesick heart knows,
When sun does rise,
A clever disguise,
For her light is a curse to your gaze,
The gulls will guide,
Your life on the tide,
You are destined the direction it sways,
Rest, gentle sleeper,
The devil’s asleep down below,
The ocean’s deep,
With secrets to keep,
But tonight you’ll keep warm by its glow,
My body’s weak,
The ocean’s mystique,
Is draining my life from my veins,
My life’s been long,
A sailors sweet song,
Unburdened by the beauty it gains,
Rest, gentle sleeper,
The devil’s asleep down below,
In slumber’s dream,
Your soul will redeem,
But for now, my dear love, I must go.