From Prose and Poetry

Do What It Takes

by J. Niziolek


We will not be defined by the struggles we are facing.
The distance between us has always been like a paper airplane.
It seems like the miles will soar on for forever, but soon we will find ourselves landing in the same spot we’re supposed to be before the air stops lifting the paper wings in the sky.

We will do whatever it takes.
We have a new direction, but the goal is the same.
You and me in whatever our forever will end up looking like.
We refuse to play with the paints of fantasy anymore; we will build something from the brinks and borders of struggles and adversities.

Painting our sky by the faith of the monarch butterfly a blue that even water would envy.

We know the work we have ahead of us to reshape the picture from dream to final reality will take time, but it will be time well spent.
Especially if it makes us a better, stronger partner to one another.

Doing whatever it takes is the hardest DIY project ever done.
Because reinventing a picture for two people meant to be with one another, is always a worthwhile challenge to embark upon.
When it’s love; when it’s real, you do whatever it takes.

The Clothes We Try On

by Vivian


The men and woman try each other on
Casually, like suits, rejecting those that do not fit.
The clothes that fit the body snug
Complimenting the curves and concave stomachs

He was here to stay, but only for the season
She found one that fits, one that compliments her eyes
He was just to wear a couple times and then

Forgotten. But at the end of the day, the clothes come off –

Get switched for a new set.
When she finds another suit, better and bolder
And when he doesn’t compliment her eyes anymore,
Not as much as her, she’ll switch him in

For the one that makes her eyes twinkle.
She’ll be happy with her new clothes for a while…
Until she finds one that makes her eyes sparkle.

Hunger Calls

by Vivian


As a child, they could not keep me from that cupboard.
During nights when the air is still, so dead you could hear a pin drop.
A slight crack in the door and out peaks a little eye.
The hinges scream in tune to the sound of floorboards moaning.
I float past those sleeping doors. As if one wrong move will make the floors disappear beneath me.

The glass cupboard towered over the marble counter–a high rise for a man trying to scale up the windows with no rope.
My stomach demonstrated a whale’s mating call, piercing the dead silence with a wretched rumble. Wincing, I clenched my stomach.

Searching around, I hugged the square box left over from careless cooks. I relished the cold metal handles that sent thrills down my spine. An overcast hung over the neighborhood as hazy light illuminated through the translucent curtains.

I savored the sight of dim colors that lit up as stray light struck the treasure inside the cupboard. I grabbed the smooth plastic bag, wrinkled with a stretchy soft texture. I unzipped the red ridges at the top to have a piece of what I came for.

I sink my teeth into the sweet, chewy consistency as it sticks to my mouth and warms my tongue. I eat what Tantalus could not. I yearn to relieve the desire and thank the darkness for keeping my secrets.


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Las Vegas Tales VII

The Poetry Contest


by Mark Kodama 


The travelers gathered at the Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles, California. An art movie house, once part of the old MGM Studios across the street, featured The Leopard and Sea Wolf.  A large granite stone statue of Julius Caesar cast its giant shadow over a small greenish copper statue of Thomas á Beckett. St. Thomas, the turbulent priest of Canterbury, open Bible in left hand and right hand raised to the sky, looked out from the center of the square.

Gentle April showers sprinkled the flowers with life giving water and made the water puddles on black asphalt street shine like little looking-glass ponds. The rain stopped and the skies began to clear.  A beam of sunshine broke through the clouds and lit the mitered head of St. Thomas in its bathing light.

The passengers – of all races and creeds in queue — climbed the steps of the bus and then sat down. The driver helped the passengers load their suitcases into the outside baggage compartments underneath the floor of the bus. The engine of the bus rumbled as the smell of burning diesel filled the air.

One passenger carried the Holy Book in one hand and David Hume’s An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding in the other. His t-shirt read Man’s Search for Meaning. A musician furtively peered through his granny eyeglasses and carried his acoustic guitar in a black case. A man in a motor scooter dressed in his green beret dress uniform was lifted by the ramp onto the bus.  

The smiling bus driver greeted each of the thirty-one passengers individually as they boarded the bus. When all were settled, the driver stood up, faced his passengers and doffed his beret. He then addressed each of them in his special way:

 

“Let our challenges be worthy of who we are.

Let our courage be our North Star.

If we use our gifts in service of others,

We will succeed in all our endeavors.

We must embrace life; not fear it.

No task is too great nor mountain too tall.

Let’s go forth with an optimistic spirit,

With the knowledge that love conquers all.

“The passengers are now on board,

Our Greyhound bus will soon depart.

My friends let us make an accord,

Before our adventure starts.

 

“Las Vegas is far from LA  

Let’s have a poetry contest,

To amuse us and pass the day,

At end, we will vote for the best.

 

“Who’s on deck and who’s in the hole?

Come drop a five spot in my hat.

Tell a tale new; tell a tale old.

Take your best swing when you’re at bat.

 

“Chaucer’s pilgrims told stories too

On their English religious fest,

We can make our poems anew,

On our American capitalist quest.

“I hope I do not sound untoward,

But I cannot resist to say,

The English pilgrims loved the Lord,

We Americans worship pay.

 

“My good friends call me Christopher,

I will be your good host and guide,

I am your faithful protector,

Under my aegis you will ride.

 

“Nine muses please inspire us,

To create works of great beauty

Tales to entertain and teach us,

Of virtue, justice, piety.

 

“Teach us the Nature of Things

What is the true meaning of life?

What does life offer, what does it bring?

Love, hate, courage, peace, strife.   

 

“I now sing the song I author,

Let the wheel of fortune spin,

God Bless good Geoffery Chaucer,

Let the literary games begin.”   


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Drifting Away

by Tylia L. Flores


Sitting here in my wheelchair,

Staring at our pictures on the wall,

Thinking about how much we’ve changed.

Drifting away like a boat out at sea,

I guess that’s what happens when you start to love young,

people change and their paths begin to change.

It’s hard for me to see you as the same

‘Cause I know we’re drifting away from what we used to be.

I don’t want to say goodbye but the more I look at you

The  more and more I know it’s that time,

‘Cause we’re drifting and things are changing  

And I can’t hang on anymore…


Summer Daze, Summer Haze

by Vivian


The sun blasts through the window.

Hazy rays of light illuminating

Through the translucent pink curtains.

Specks of light fall through green leaves and little eyelids.

Little legs run through fresh-cut greens.

Silky grass grazes through little toes and tickles little armpits.

The warm air kisses the tips of little foreheads and flat noses.

“Weeeeee,” yells Prince Charming as he slides down the yellow slide

That will take him to the Fire-Breathing Dragon:

A test he must past before he can rescue Princess Peach.

“Cha-Ching” goes the lemonade stand. “Splish-Splash” in the pool all day long.

And in one blink of an eye, the little legs run off to school for the first time, ever.

 

The sun blasts through the window,

Leaking through magenta curtains –

The ones with glitter and girly assortments.

Shadows cast on boy-band-covered walls,

Revealing the horrid of a mess from yesterday’s first make-up run

Dirty, brown makeup wipes on the dresser and uncleaned brushes.

Strips of light shine through the window on to hot pink Hannah Montana sheets.

The active legs run down the stairs into the backyard,

Glittery pink eyelids squinting underneath a lavender hat that reads:

I LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER

Walking down aisles of clothes, trying on new dresses that rumple-rumple with every move.

Flick, flick goes the red nail brush,

Coating manicured fingernails and pedicured toenails.

And in one blink of an eye, the adolescent legs run off to high school for the first time, ever.

 

The sun glares through the white curtains –

The ones with the floral décor.

Its disgusting brightness pierces through the tired eyes of a restless teenager.

And on the counter are polaroid pictures of friends,

Scratched out faces of frenemies, and encircled hearts of cute boys.

A bracelet catches light and shines like gold,

Bestowing promises of love and life.

As backpacks swing onto broad shoulders

And aching arms from yesterday’s rowing practice

Carry heavy books to summer classes,

The hours pass by like centuries, a voice speaking at the front of the class.

Something about Ernest Rutherford? Or was it “Earn this rusted Ford?”

“Ring-Ring,” goes the bell as the teenagers throw their papers,

“Crunch, wrinkle,” deep into the black hole at the bottom of their backpacks.

Was it the beautiful summer air that warmed all these stolen moments?

From the stolen kiss from a boy who said, “I love you,”

To the Lana del Ray sing-alongs.

And in one blink of an eye, they throw their caps into the air,

First time to be whisked away to new dorms and the Land of No Parents, ever.

 

The sun glares through the blinds, white and monotone.

Slightly bent, but not that broken from last Friday night.

The half empty beer bottle sits beside an e-invitation, as they laugh in pity at

The pile of returned grades beside a break-up note.

Rays of light illuminate from the curtains with the floral designs and

The familiarity hits of waking up in that old room with boy-band-covered walls.

Old memories of the warm summer air that used to kiss little foreheads and flat noses.

The warm air peaked its head out from behind the tree of leaves

Ran to greet its old friend, kissed the tip of a familiar forehead.

Once again, what lasted for only one blink ended,

As the suitcases rolled to the airport, belts got buckled,

And grumpy grown-ups got whisked away to Adult-Land.

The first time they’d wished to go back to the time of translucent pink curtains, ever.


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Fatal Attraction

by Vanessa Carter 


I don’t think he understands the hold he has on me, but then again no one does. And I don’t think he understands that the idea of me without him makes my stomach quiver uncontrollably, like the uncontrollable shudder your gut makes from what I imagine is your heart descending from its original position in your body.

I don’t think he can feel the void I feel from trying to fill him with my love and commitment, I thought–thought that if I could just show him what authenticity looks like and what devotion felt like–you see, I devoted myself to him and it wasn’t easy but with time I broke down my walls and barriers and chains. I let it all go with him.

He knows everything. Now I hate to sound cliché, but it was love at first sight with him. The kind of love that took my breath away with just a simple gaze into his perfect brown eyes.

I loved him.

At that very moment, he had me under his spell. It was a marked fatal attraction and I couldn’t get enough of his insatiable stare. I was hooked before we even touched. Before our bodies ever touched, I felt him inside of me,

He was a part of me and I, him. No matter how hard he tried to fight it, we were connected by something neither one of us understood and we couldn’t walk away

We tried.

I remember when I asked him how much he loved me and his response was: he would kill and die for me. That excited me, but why?

Attraction grew into addiction and addiction grew into obsession and he was all mine! Funny thing is, I loved him the way he did me and any time an enemy attacked our fort, I envisioned fatalities.

We were meant for each other, except one thing:

He never broke down his walls for me and he never exposed his demons under the confidentiality clause so it created a stagnant pause in our potential to grow, like how it was intended to be because he doesn’t understand all the good he has to offer underneath all his baggage.

I was willing to bear his burden, but he had a different idea of how he would release his pain and I would be the punching bag.

The first time felt like a dream, at least, that’s what I forced myself to believe because he loved me. We loved each other.

That gaze in his eyes was unrecognizable every time, so maybe I convinced myself that it wasn’t him. But rather, the demons in control because he didn’t trust me with them.

Now I know it sounds crazy, but I understood and could hear his cry for help with every blow. He needed me to live, even if it meant I wasn’t.

Ironically, I felt his pain when he inflicted that on me.

Breakdowns create breakthroughs and it felt like there was no alternative because I needed him to break through the constraints in his mind and finally let me in.

Fighting a battle alone can bring the worst out of the best people and unfortunately, an unnourished brain isn’t equipped to sustain the fight without destroying everyone else on the battlefield.

I don’t think he understands that this was a team thing because he fought me like I was the enemy and I thought–I thought I could just show him that I was ride or die.

I mean, the hood part of me screamed Bonnie and Clyde ‘til the end, but now the end feels nearer than I anticipated. So that’s what comes with fatal attraction. Someone has to die in the end, even if it’s just figuratively.

So just die. Let all of who you were die, and all of what you’ve been through establish a new foundation in life and take control of your destiny.


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