We sat in the backseat of my friend Sam’s car, Vanessa and I, outside the apartment of a girl whose face I could recognize and name I could tell you, that being the extent of my acquaintance with her. All of us were waiting, all of us being my friends Jason and Sam in the front seat, Forrest between the left-rear door and Vanessa in the middle. There was another car, and inside there was only one person whose name I could tell you, again, the extent of my acquaintance with them. The two cars were side by side, waiting for the girl, both cars with windows down so that arms could stretch between enclosures. The other car handed over a notebook filled with drawings and doodles by an artistically competent person, probably someone in the other car I didn’t know, of a friend of ours, a name I recognized with a face attached, even a personality and humorous anecdotes. The doodles were cartoons, exaggerated sketches of this particular friend killing himself and being sexually used in various ways, all of it so intricately focused with intent by the haikus and mock journal entries that sprung from the same melodramatic, over-emotive teen stereotype. He was like this, I was told, but I looked at Vanessa and we rolled eyes in a classically diminutive way, hoping it wouldn’t register with them how much we wanted to move, get going. We were impatient with hunger and the journal seemed harsh, a going away present as the mutual friend left to study in the UK. They told us he laughed, which must’ve been why he left it behind.
“Do they have food at the Amana Colonies?” I heard Vanessa’s stomach rumble so I put my hand to it, hoping to catch it again.
Sam looked back, at first perplexed by the question, “Heh, yeah, you can get food there.”
My notion of the Amana Colonies was different than Sam’s, his notion having the advantage of being based on empirical evidence. There were certain words that, living in the Midwest, elicited a Pavlovian, impulsive fear in me of any destination they were used to describe. “Historic” was one, “Handcrafted” another, both were used to describe, in some capacity, the Amana Colonies of Iowa. Middle-aged women fighting over who would pay for lunch and a piece of tan glassware, that’s what I saw. My friends invited us along, headed to the breweries and wineries that made the town distinctive, a potentially collegiate destination. I couldn’t drink, underage, and so was Vanessa, the only ones of the group.
The girl came out, apparently, and got in the other car, but I don’t remember her doing so or us finding the highway. Vanessa and I were listening to our bellies roar indistinguishably and letting our heads loll o
On the third floor of the courthouse is an empty reception desk and several chairs, all filled, a girl of college age studying medical terminology, two old women making the polite and tense conversation that bespeaks the hope that other people can make time and service pass more quickly, a man of somewhere around sixty reading a TIME magazine with the President on the cover, a boy in thick black glasses with a moleskine notebook and a suit-jacket covering his untucked flannel shirt, his stonewashed jeans, his well-kept loafers, his hair a dark and mussed mat over his skull, a woman speaking, loud, barking, commanding into her phone that the price of something be higher, that a deal should be negotiated, the tapping of all of our toes on linoleum and the hot and atmospheric breathing of sighs that concentrate at the center of the room on a man, at the desk, his hands palms down on the counter, no line for him to lead, swaying from foot to foot, weight shifting, a denim jacket and sneakers, the hair on his knuckles covered in sweat, like ours and like mine, slapping the countertop exhaling, harsh and audible, punctuated and deliberate, not wistful but pointed, his distended lips and the tips of his teeth to try and tempt some progress towards him. We follow the doors as they open and the clerks come out. We step in line quick and ordered with our summons in hands outstretched, our numbers memorized, our birthdate and our names set to priority recall, our license plate numbers, the makes and models of our cars. A man near the back of the line watches the windows and watches himself, watching the line diminish segment by segment and then the floor, chin downwards. The chat and the conversation continue, louder, less tense with action, movement gracing their discussions, spontaneous warmth - warmth and interest - the opening of personalities and the exploits of sons and daughters, the studies and the sacrifices, this morning of their judicial participation, this usurping of their routine and conquest of patterns and daylight, this moment that they’re missing, what they’re wrenched away from, this patient and that student, their line of work, harrowing peril, loss of leisure, the sweat beading at the top of their spines and wiped off their foreheads. They call off numbers and names and send us to the courtroom. Our voices echo. The walls of the room are high, ornate designs on the ceiling and the walls, the wood of the banister dividing the court from its audience pristine, sanded down to marble smoothness. The chairs are all that same wood, all ordered and perfect. They do not creak or bark with the clash of their joints. There are the two tables with glass tops, water glasses, judge and witness stand, podiums, televisions, demonstrative chalkboards and diagrams, projectors, at the center an empty space and to the right the chairs, twenty-four in total, the impending place of imminent judgment. &nb
One day you will be only a memory. But for this day, and every day, until the day, that night and day will be no more for me; yes, that day. The last day through the last night, I will be with you that day. That day; the day that I die.
Today's writing prompt: Write two pages of being too tired to stand up.
That’s it; I’m done for, I thought as I gave a weary sigh. My work for the day was complete. It had all started a little before 6:00 in the morning and finally, at 7:00 PM, it was the end of the workday for me. As I pulled myself to into the car after locking the warehouse up, I allowed myself to just sit there for a moment. There seemed to no longer be higher brain functions. Mentally and physically I was a rag doll and perfectly content with that. As I stared dumbly at the steering wheel, I numbly considered how apt my thought of me being done for seemed.
A few moments passed. My limbs were completely limp and if not for the car seat supporting me, I would not be able to keep myself in a sitting position. Not that the cloth seat was comfortable, by any means. Right now that just did not matter. I was reveling in the fact I was no longer standing. There was no longer concrete under my feet, I did not have to walk anywhere, I did not have to pick anything up, there was nothing to stack or restack it. No one was calling my name or asking me questions. There were no other tasks that needed to be preformed. Now I only needed to get home.
Instead of lifting my arm to put the key into the ignition - the all-important first step to getting home - I moved from contemplating my steering wheel to staring, unblinkingly, at my steering wheel cover. Thoughts drifted across my mind in a sluggish, sad sort of way. One could almost pity the effort they took to be acknowledged by my conscious self. The most prominent one at the moment was that this was summer. Summer was supposed to mean a break from school, a job to try to get some cash stored up, time with friends, relaxation brought about by no homework. Not this. Not 10+ hour workdays. Not less sleep than what I got in the weeks leading up to exams. I was supposed to be in a position to enjoy the sunshine, to frolic and dance through the flowers. Instead, I was working two part-time jobs. My mornings began about the same time the sun decided to come up: the butt-crack of dawn. I got up this early to make breakfast for kids attending the local summer camp. Arriving early, I spent the 7-hour shift on my feet; first to make breakfast and then to get lunch started. For this, I was paid a combination of real money and what I had dubbed “Jesus Brownie Points.” Working for a Christian church camp means you are doing a service. So I served the food and got a little bit of money for my efforts.
I liked the job well enough. The people made it worthwhile. But slaving away in the middle of July over a hot stove or in front of a hot oven was far from relaxing. When 1:00 PM rolled around, it was time for me to leave. I had completed my mission of serving campers and counselors to the best of my ability and with the best ingredients the limited budget allowed me to purchase. Usually, it was an edible meal. From there it was off to the next job.
My second summer job was possibly hotter, stickier and more grueling than working in a kitchen. Where I could
I was 19 years old when I was sent to Nam, It was the most grusome war I have ever been thrue. Or did I make it through??? TO BE CONTINUED!!!
evinced only by the stimulation in a sway,
in an eventual chafe;
the short-lived breath of renewal passing through.
inoutinout — the wounds reminisce.
they smile wide in nostalgia
and weep a salted pink.
serein, and she remembers.
he had a likeness to sand, slipping
like time; she had a soul like a soldier,
still going, searching back
confidant lost in combat:
I'm making a choice to be out of touch...leave me be,
he said, he said, he said—
but the essence burrowed deeper than realization
could dig, than acceptance could seep;
it stole away like an infidel,
as a memory withstanding
the rotted, pungent stench of
as a hope doused in impossibility, still kicking.
its place of seclusion pernicious to the touch and
thumbed only when honesty supersedes sensibility,
a phantom ache where you did reside:
soulmate, dry your eyes
you were my shadow and now
I walk unbalanced,
the sun ceases to exist as its evidence
and you have outlined my convictions
knuckles colliding with wood, fissures of relief. short-lived and the complication is raw: tangled, knotted, red, like this fist. like this fucking sorry heart.the friction rises, flesh inflamed; slowly purpled as a sunset, slowly darkened like my horizon, the future splayed. I reel, surreal, come down I spill and fall. fool. and you wonder why it frayed.juxtaposed and incongruent; I've tried to sate this expectation. he sits in a ribbed cavern, purging out into this hole and I thought it had been sweetness, swore it was a medicine. it rots, allergic to this imitation: this. this. affirmation, all my second plans, all the fall-back-never-should-couldn't-be is left. disappointment seeps, softens all the skin until a simple breath can bruise. a simple fucking implication wounds.you will laugh and I will too, the salted streaks. you will roll your eyes at me and I will rub them until they bleed.
personified by widened eyes
shutting slow & liquified;
hindsight an accompaniment to
lighten chest & shorten breath,
a calm perceived by susceptibility
and while surrender evolves into
an orchestrated act
(the motions predisposed,
the words set in stone)
memories of endings always remain
history repeating &
fatalistic reasoning, a suture pulled
drawing fro the curtains to reveal
an organ of mythological proportion
beating in&out& faster now
like a prodigal child shoved onto stage;
widened eyes, shutting not & petrified
he knows the lines, mouthing in
you don't see through my eyes...
Whether you use the XRIVO.com workshop function to revise and get feedback privately or share with the entire community, you’re taking a very necessary, though terrifying step in the creative process. The XRIVO feedback process is modeled off those workshop courses to give you the ability to thoroughly respond to work. Now, through XRIVO, you can get and give line-by-line feedback on any piece. All you have to do is highlight what you’d like to comment on and type away in the “Comment” box. As the author, you can filter what feedback shows up by user to make the comments easier to peruse. All you have to do is run your mouse over the comment to see what they’re commenting on.
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the paint is
spread uneven and
left to be assumed
no bulwark no
strategem can occlude
the treacle they
descried is not
aromal on the surface,
mephitic on the
forward they encroach,
an anabasis toward
the mire with
in which you
and I are
prostrated and in
in and in
and in they
the cleft I
mistook for a