Tuesday, September 13, 2016

THE BALLOON SORTER



 











Something cool brewed in the thick gray clouds. Specks of dust swallowed in a liquid shell swelled with great weight until one by one each fell. And suddenly it began raining. Logan didn’t like the rain. It wasn’t the dampness but the sudden and radical change that turned everything over. The air pressure rose and dropped, the temperature cooled, the light receded, and all the sounds of nature were replaced with the static crash of an army of drops.  It was all too aggravating for a child of great structure, like Logan, who became overwhelmed by such change.


Like most rainy days, Logan stayed in and watched TV with his headphones on under his heavy blanket to ignore the blatant defiance of nature. But today was different. Today was Logan’s brother Lucas' birthday. All morning while Lucas was out, Logan had been setting up ribbons and banners to prepare for the evening of singing and eating cake . As hard as Logan tried his best to block out the rain, the promise and excitement of a birthday party was ever present in the corner of his eye, holding his focus where he didn’t want it. All Logan could think about was how the rain would ruin his older brother’s party. Frustrated, Logan began to chant “Rain rain go away, come again another day.”


The rain continued to tap the roof more loudly than before. Logan continued chanting, this time a little louder. “Rain rain go away, come again another day.”


The wind shook the house with playfulness, but Logan didn’t want to play. Instead his frustration grew ever stronger, loudly singing  “Rain rain go away, come again another day.”


It was then that a bold wind pushed in the door. Logan pulled off his headphones and yelled “GO AWAY RAIN!”


As he shouted, the bold wind took hold of the balloons and pulled them out into the open world. Lucas couldn’t come home to a party without balloons. Logan wanted to yell. He wanted to cry and break things. But most of all, he wanted to get those balloons back.


The boy rushed out the door and chased his brother’s balloons, grabbing hold of the group of strings before being lifted up into the clouds. His feet dangled above the rooftops as he ascended higher and higher, until all at once he stopped.


Somewhere beyond those thick gray clouds, above the rain, the balloons became caught in a net.  It wasn’t just Lucas’s birthday balloons either. Thousands of balloons had been taken up into the sky and held on the opposite side of the cloud. Each balloon was  unique and wonderful, with it’s own special color. Logan could hardly contain the rush of excitement at the sight of something so wonderful. He wanted to touch them and to find a place to keep them all.


Before he could even devise a plan, he began sorting the balloons. Diligently the bright boy worked, putting his favorite colors red and purple on the ends and green in the middle; making sure even the oranges, yellows, and blues had their place. Everything had it's place within the wonderful spectrum.  He continued to stack the balloons downward, creating a path back to the surface of the earth far below him. Balloon after balloon, stack after stack, the rows of colorful bodies bowed until finally reaching Logan’s home. The rain had all but settled, and the light gleamed off the mist suspended in the air. Logan looked up at his work and smiled with satisfaction that he created a rainbow for his older brother. It was truly something worth celebrating.


THE TALKING STONE

 





Not too far from Atherstine’s little house on her little street, is a little field lined with stones and flowers. Every day after school, the long yellow bus would drop Atherstine off and she would walk through the field of stones and flowers to make her way home. All the stones have different shapes and different names but Atherstine liked Eugene the most. The stone was heavy and strong and unlike the other stones, Eugene would speak to Atherstine. So,  as she passed through, Atherstine made a point to walk by Eugene and give flowers she picked up.

 

“Good afternoon! These are for you.” Atherstine smiled.

 

“Good afternoon, Atherstine. Thank you very much.” Eugene responded. “How was school?”

 

“It was fine.”

 

“Only fine?”

 

“Well, I got in trouble because Becky and Lindsey were passing notes and  Ms. September caught me trying to read them. I had to sit by myself during lunch and wasn’t allowed to play during recess.”

 

“I see. Did the other girls get in trouble?”

 

“No. Ms. September didn’t know who wrote the notes and I wasn’t going to tell. Becky and Lindsey are my friends.”

 

“Good for you. It takes a strong person to protect their friends.”

 

 Atherstine lay on the ground next to the stone and stared up at the big puffy clouds, layering in such a way as to show the infinite depth of the bright blue sky. A soft breeze pushed the grass on the field and swept over the girl and the stone with a slight whistle.

 

“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Atherstine smiled.

 

“Oh yes. Quite beautiful.” It was a beautiful day

 

“Do you know what’s up there?”

 

 “Rain.” Eugene answered kindly.

 

“You think?”

 

“Yes. I’m nearly certain of it.” Just then a large drop of rain fell right on Atherstine’s hand.  She looked into the bright blue sky, curious which puffy cloud the rain could have fallen from .

 

“You should probably go home.” Eugene urged the girl.

 

“Okay.” Atherstine said, dusting the lose grass and dirt from her dress. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”

 

“I’ll be waiting.” Eugene whispered affectionately.

 

Atherstine skipped a bit before stopping suddenly to rush back to the stone to ask, “Can I take you home with me?”

 

“I’m sorry  but I have to stay here. But you can visit me anytime you’d like.”

 

 “Okay. And you’ll always talk to me, right?”

 

“You’re growing up, Atherstine. One day you’ll forget about me and I wont be able to talk to you anymore.”

 

“That’s not true. I’ll never forget.”

 

“You will, and it’s okay. But I promise, I’ll always be right here, waiting to listen to you any time, day or night.”

 

“No matter what?”

 

“No matter what!”

 

The girl looked down sadly, thinking about the day she won’t be able to listen to the talking stone’s kind words.  “I miss you, Grandpa.”

 

“I miss you too, my little apple.”

 

Atherstine ran home to avoid the rain, and the talking stone waited there, just like he said he would.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

CAN YOU SEE IT?




I have no face of my own.
Instead, I wear many faces;
Even yours.
Can you see it?

I am transparent.
I am reversed.

Nothing is as it seems.

There’s something underneath.
Something that prevents you from looking right through me.

Something that stares back.
I expose all.


I’m fixed…
I’m fragile...
I’m cold.
Can you see it?

To hate me is to hate yourself.
Strike me and I explode.

Dangerous in fractured rage.
Ever watching.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

MOONSHINE



You are my moonshine.

Cold and intoxicating.

Your soft glow is clothed in stripped darkness.

Your midnight hair flows like silk as one thousand black lashes veil your eyes in gothic lace.

You are strong, challenging, and unattainably beautiful.

 There can never be enough of you.

TO: BY: TWO

A love poem I wrote for my bride October 2013.


If I could only reason
To see what I could see,
To learn what I could learn,
To be what I could be.

I might have taken chances,
Found new worlds to explore,
To love her and be loved
Cherished and adored.
 
Letters would be sent
To: By: Two they’d be penned
Two byes too they’d be signed
Sincerely yours, truest love of mine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

STRINGS




Julie in a trance
Watched puppets who danced
Twirling so high and fair.

Curious she springs
To see who pulled strings
Encountering nothing but air.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

EXTRA LIFE

Original photo "1986 by Matt Leunig"




Matt was bored… and when a clever child becomes bored, they often create mischief.


 “Quit it” cried Danielle running from her brother who raced after her as a madman.
 

“BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!” Matt yelled with a ghoulish inflection, pulling his wild curly hair.


Matt was a brat. He’d do anything for a thrill. Tease his sisters. Eat candy instead of dinner. Play music really loudly. He loved being a problem, which was probably because of how smart Matt was. He was excellent at solving puzzles and mysteries; acutely memorizing details and keeping an array of factors in mind as he pulled together the most reasonable solution. For Matt, nothing was off limits. So when Matt’s mom and dad punished him by taking away all his video games for being bad, being bad was all that was left to do.


“MOM! Matt is doing it again!” Danielle screeched

 
“No I’m not.” Matt called back as he continued to chase and corner his sister.


“ MATTHEW… STOP IT!”  Their mother commanded.


“BWAH!” Matt continued his assault in plane view of his mom.

 
“MATTHEW!” She yelled. “GO TO YOUR ROOM!”
 

“BWAHAHAHAH!” The boy laughed with defiance stomping up the stairs to his room.


If there was one quality about Matt greater than his cleverness it was his pride. Even when Matt lost he had to do so on his own terms. If he was going to be in more trouble than he already was, he was going to make sure he it was worth it; laughing all the way down the hall and slamming his door.
 

He could picture the anger his mother held back ash she clenched her teeth and it made him feel victorious. But the cost of victory was freedom. Now Matt was a prisoner in his room. He had to escape… But how?


He pulled out his video game system to sneak playing, but his mom was also clever, taking the controllers and games, leaving only the console to flicker without input. Matt, not willing to be defeated by his mother, kept flipping the switch on and off as he thought. Suddenly, a new screen came up on the TV. It was a game. A game Matt never saw before. A mystery, as if built into the console for the sole purpose of reaching the one child who stumbled upon it. Almost prophetically the game scrolled the words “It’s a secret to everybody.” Then the title rose with flashing gold… “THE LEGEND OF DILECCE”


Matt could tell at first sight it was an adventure game, filled with puzzles and mysteries to explore. Unsure how to play, Matt desperately started looking around his room for an extra controller, hoping his mother didn’t take them all… But the game didn’t say “Press Start” as most games did. It said “Enter to Play”.


“Enter?” Matt thought. “Enter what?”


It was then Matt noticed the door on the console was open with a hole just big enough to fit his hand inside. Inspiration and intrigue overcame Matt, as if all at once realizing what he was to do. He placed his hand in the console, pressing down on the spring mechanism. In that moment the game took him.


He was there, inside the game, among the trees and caves, embarking on a quest with a sword in hand. The situation was startling, as monsters began to crowd around. Fear rose and sank in a single gulp. It was a new challenge, one that Matt decided to embrace.


“Game on!” Matt shouted before chasing the monsters with his ghoulish laugh “BWAHAHAHA!”
 

It was a new game. A new chance at adventure. An extra life.