Posts tagged prose

My Father

velvetblory:

My father had taken me out to sea one day when I was just a child. He stood proudly at the helm of the ship, gazing out upon the expansive horizon he was so desperate to claim. The wind swept away his features from my memory, but I can remember his face being devoid of emotion. He stood with his foot set sternly upon the edge of the boat as though he were a mighty captain. Sitting upon the floor, he had forgotten me there, and I was left to soak up the sea’s spill that had made it onto the vessel. I was only was able to see his romantic heroism burning away while his shadow covered a son he left behind.
We sailed out through hours that poured into weeks that stacked into months that all felt like the same day. We ploughed headstrong into the endless ocean, towards an uncertain destiny. On occasions, he would turn to me to yell something I was unable to understand, though something I will never forget. “This is what it’s all about, boy!” he said while his fingers grasped at nothing. “This! Right here! Can you feel it, boy? Can you?” He would soon turn back to the empty ocean and ignore me once again. His repetitious monologue instilled a despair in me I thought I would never shake.
We came finally to where blocks of ice pushed past our boat.
From the haul, I gazed up into the sky. The pale blue painted above me eased my mind. I plunged my gaze into the water’s darkness below. Between the two, the children of the sky and the sea lay frozen as floating masses, forming an everlasting and ever-changing landscape that chose to appear as it pleased. Drunk, maybe, from the icy sea air, my father turned to me and said, “In you get.”
Filled with uncertainty, I found his command to be ridiculous, but the tension was too dizzying for it to have been a joke. “Did you not hear me, boy?” his voice called again.
I suddenly wished I was not there. I knew I could either sit and be thrown in by my father’s irrational temper, or embrace his torturous will.
“Father, it’s freezing,” I pleaded.
His eyes looked hard at me.
“Nonsense. Get in. It will make you strong, and help you become a man. I want a big, strong boy, not a weakling for a son. Look at your father: he grew up in the mountains, out every morning in the snow before the break of dawn, catching rabbits for his father. He could swim laps in this water! Ha! Just you watch!” He chortled, but his eyes were harder than stones. I stood reluctantly and moved slowly toward the edge of the boat. “Not with your clothes on, stupid boy! You’ll get them wet!”
I removed my clothes to expose my skin to the merciless breeze. I looked before myself: the rolling rip curls concealed a black coffin. I thought he may have been right, and feeling the extreme chill might make me a stronger man and, stepping into the air, I let my breath be stolen away and let myself be flooded with shock and horror.
I could hardly scream or remember how to swim. I slapped the water in vain as the blinding, burning sensation filled me. In the few brief moments when I managed to rear my head, I tried to express the indescribable sensation by wailing before my father reached in and snagged me back onto the boat.
“There we go,” he said, and drew a soft towel that he wrapped about me tightly.

By J.H. Sageman

Superb.

Art, titles and meaning.

artoflovingme:

Artists go through phases with their work, and I’m feeling like maybe it’s time for me to switch phases. I don’t know what’s next though, so I’m waiting for it to strike me, I guess.

Anyway, part of my current phase is not titling my work because I’ve got this whole thing about people drawing their own meaning from what I do instead of me coming right out and telling them. Of course, my works mean things to me, but I’ve found that art speaks to everyone differently, and people often like their own meanings better than the ones I intend.

For the current show at the gallery, I was sort of forced into titling the pieces for the purpose of them being able to keep track of sales, which is understandable… but it was a really hard thing to do. I feel like some of the titles don’t really do the pieces justice, but oh well.

Anyway, last night, the piece people kept asking me about most was the one of the naked lady holding the skull. Everyone wants to know what exactly that one is all about… I titled it “Cradle” for the purpose of the show, though I’m not sure that’s a good name for it or not. Thinking too hard I suppose… Anyway, I’m going to tell you the meaning, and you may or may not like it.

Most of my work is metaphorical, in that it means something other than what it literally looks like. A lot of people seem to think it’s about a woman who has had a miscarriage or something, and I guess that applies, but that’s not where I was coming from with it. One of the common themes in my work over the past year has been about not being able to let things go. The woman cradling the skull represents someone who is nurturing something (be it an idea, a dream, a love, etc.) that has died, but they are unable to let it go. They don’t know when to give up. It’s about trying to keep a dream that has died alive. Trying to resurrect something that was once important to you….

So, there you go. If you read between the lines on what seems obvious, you can find other meanings in things, be they intended or not. I actually do think really hard about stuff, it’s not something that’s just thrown together to make a pretty picture.

Everything she said. Writing is an art too, and I’ve noticed phases in so many of the writers here. “…you can find other meanings in things, be they intended or not.”

When the wrong turn leaves you in the right place

epea-pteroenta:

The first time, I chose to love, as if I could create it. Everyone who looked thought it seemed right. It turned wrong slowly, as I was unwilling to admit I couldn’t fix it.

The second time, I chose to love, as if it would arise from the practice of being loving. Nearly everyone who looked thought it seemed right. It turned wrong quickly, as she refused to be loved or lovely.

The last time, I gave up on choosing, and Love chose me. Nearly everyone who looked thought it seemed wrong at first. All that has happened since is Love fixing us, and Love making us loved and lovely.

If the last time hadn’t come up, I would never have had the perspective to know what had happened the first two times. I would never have been able to see how two wrongs had left me right. Don’t let anyone tell you they can’t.

Recovery

riadovoidostoevsky:

In their last days was a burst of activity, a seeming recovery. They both recalled, his demented mother who became suddenly lucid for a few days before passing to eternity; her brother who stood and walked about, though bed-ridden for months. It was only… it was only that they didn’t quite know the recovery was for making amends, for finishing earthly matters and those around them did not know as well. They were delighted by the upturn and devastated by the death. It is some mechanism we cannot understand that returns some people to cogency in order to finish their business. The wise understand this temporary state, the ignorant but blissful enjoy a few energetic moments, the foolish squander it as they have their entire lives.

I was totally captured by this little piece, partly in awe, party in terror that it might just be true.

Family Photographs

s-tudiolo:

Years before, mother collects our photographs in a large, blue bindbook, and pastes cut out magazines alongside to make it look lively. After the great typhoon Ondoy which caused the house to be flooded halfway to the ceiling, most of the photos were flown by the flood. Some, like the ones I saw this morning resting on the sidetable in the living room, were saved yet ruined.

I took the stack and put them on my lap, a swarm of memories rushing through me, a childhood tender and lovely. My fingers held each carefully, as if any touch less gentle would tear them to pieces.

My sister is sitting on a red, metal-lined sofa in one, while she wrestles me on the floor on another. She has always kept her hair short, in contrast to my long one. I was wearing bangs which made me look pretty. I haven’t worn it since high school. My sister has a knack in remembering events that happened back then, but I seem to struggle in taking out the places from my mind. My younger brother has a lot of pictures— with Mom, with Mom’s student, with Aunt Tessie and Uncle Al, with the t.v., with the kitchen— and I’d like to think this is because he has the prettiest face back then. Now, 14 and standing inches less than six feet, he looks like a lost man. Mom has a few pictures, her hair cropped like it always has been before Dad died, and her eyes twinkling in the way happy women’s eyes twinkle. She was alive back then, more alive, funnier, healthier in all aspects, even when she lost all her hair to cancer and had to wear a wig, she exuded love and was given love.

There are a few photos of my younger self. Two during the junior prom where my partner was JD, my gay friend, partly because no one was brave enough to dance in front of an audience, and partly because no one asked me so I had to ask someone, anyone at all. I was wearing a white-topped gown, with the skirt of different hues of pink. I saw it on a magazine and had it tailored for me. On the same year, there I was with the whole family on Christmas eve, wearing a shirt that reminded me how I spent the night exchanging texts with a guy my senior. On the school’s Christmas Extravaganza, I gave him a furry keychain. He, in turn, gave me his cheap bracelet. Mom warned me about him, told me he’s up for no good. Of course, she was right. She always turns out to be right. And then my father was there, from my prep school graduation to my high school graduation, holding my hand as if I never grew. On several occasions he wore tiny medals around my neck, he was a proud father. I was standing on the rostrum, delivering a speech that made me tear up when the district supervisor revised it until it sounded less of me and more like a practiced, insincere essay to children who probably didn’t give a damn. I recited the original anyway. I was there, a thinner and youthful version, more present, more hopeful. Just more.

Now I look back at those times with longing. The years were harsh and I can’t remember the last time I felt like I belong to the family I grew up in. I don’t even know if I belong to myself. We all changed, made colder by the rough times, more vulnerable by our own makings. I want to take a turn sometimes, to when it was better, to when Dad would come home with take-out spaghetti, to when we were happier, to when we don’t lash out at each other like we’re hungry for war. I wonder where it all went, if it just simply died with my father, if it dried up like sweat after a year’s work, or if it just seeped to the deepest of our skins that clawing them out again would hurt us to the point of bleeding.

I put back the stack of photos on the table. I hope someone in the house decides to keep it. They are the only proof it ever existed.

This is a story about change. Everything changes. Big hearts for pieces like this that recall fondly years of the past and loved ones now changed or long gone.

What the Media and my Illness Never Told Me.

the-out-breath:

***tw: ED. Please do not read if you are vulnerable to ED triggers. ***



I didn’t know that the negative space between my thighs when my heels touched was a standard with a name until I was told.

I didn’t know that collarbones were supposed to be beautiful. I didn’t know that the hipbones that were holding up my jeans like the ends of a wire hanger were to be Gods that I bowed down to in the bathroom when no one was home. That I was supposed to be able to count every rib or that my stomach was expected to be concave. Until I was told.

But here is what nobody told me until after they guided a tube down my throat and counted my calories for me:

I. You won’t remember anything. You won’t remember what you loved to do, and you won’t remember how to do it. Your brain is dying. Your organs are dying. Your liver is scarring. Your hair will fall out and curl around the edges of the shower drain and you won’t have the energy to pick up everything that you are losing. Your face will become blue and white and empty. It is not beautiful.

II. You will refuse help. And as a result, you will be issued court-ordered treatment and will toe the line of death while you wait to be admitted. You did not choose to go so eventually, that choice was taken. You will not be at your lowest weight. It’s your blood levels that send you.

III. In treatment, the pain will be excruciating. Every forced meal will feel like a war you don’t want to win. The Ensure will make you so nauseous but don’t you dare be sick on it unless you want to swallow more. The chocolate flavour is more tolerable. They will watch you pee and shower and all your privacy will be ripped from you.

IV. You will gain weight, but not in the beginning. It takes months before your body is done burning up everything you force into it. It is trying to repair itself. You will feel like you are running a race, putting all your energy into reaching recovery and you will feel like you are losing.

V. You will begin to heal when you realise that becoming healthy is not a goal, it is a process. You will burst from your old clothes as though they were cocoons and you will sob as you donate them in trash bags.

VI. You will sob in Aeropostale. You will sob over French fries. You will have nightmares that you are pregnant though your reproductive organs have also shut down. You will pray for a period and when it returns you will celebrate like it is your birthday. You will thank god every time you have to buy tampons from that day on.

- The media never told me the cost of my bones. My anorexia never told me what it was stealing from my mind.

Recovery was a hell that opened my eyes. Every day is a struggle. And still every day I thank god for every fucking court-mandated morsel of food that gave me back my life. When I sing, when I paint, when I write - I thank God that I am still alive.

The Musician

blankspage:

I make the rain. It covers this town like the tobacco stains across my teeth. The raven pools on the pavement and in the gutters wear the skin of the streetlights. This strange gravity pulls me over them and I have to step into the gathered water, hoping to fall into the dream, but my boot only ripples the light and I fall further towards The Nightbreed Bar and Grill. I fall across this town, past the hookers in stilettos, their dirty mouths tough and taunting, their gasoline manes, their bruised limbs. I fall under the cracked sky, the edges alight by a hidden moon. Incognito serpent of witchcraft light. I fall past the gangbangers sitting on the chest of a Nissan Silvia. Wha ya lookin at, they ask me. Nothing but the hungry dogs in the skin of men. Nothing but raw desire to break bones to feel wanted. I fall through the town square, the statues of the noble dead, their names forgotten. I fall through the alleyways where the children throw up their courage, where their eyes roll back in their heads. They reach toward me as stumble past, a hand toward a stranger mistaken for a glorified soul. Sorry kid, an’t nothing here for you, nothing but broken dreams wearing beer stained jeans. I fall down Regent Street, beneath the grinning mannequins, the seraphs of this hollow land. I fall through the door of The Nightbreed Bar and Grill, into the bowls of this humid beast, the grumbling of the fellow fallen, the yeast stained carpet, the amnesia light and turpentine on ice. I fall to the mahogany veneer. I fall to the cup before me, and sing the requiem of the drowning man.

Citizenship

inkeddiaries:

Yesterday I took my grandmother to take her oath. She was officially going to become a Canadian citizen. There were 101 non-Canadians in total waiting for a piece of paper that would give them the freedom of our country. As each name was called to have their certificate handed to them, silence lingered in the room. There were smiles stretching miles on their faces as they got their paper. There were tears in their eyes. But there was something different about these tears; they never fell. Forced back by the relief of obtaining freedom. Holding back years of escape from blood and death. Abuse and starvation. Loneliness and despair. Time away from husbands and wives and children and parents. Time. Lost. Though the room was full of silence. The silence was the only thing that said it all. Freedom.

http://gretaroses.tumblr.com/post/81268153424/gretas-notebook-he-had-immaculate-hands

gretas-notebook:

He had immaculate hands. Mountaintops for knuckles, the ridges of his thumbs smooth like stone. Eyes wide as continents. He had golden hair. That’s how I remember him. Summer nights, Blacktop driveway slick with hosewater, freshly laid and still smelling of tar. Porch lights burning into the backs of my eyelids. Counting the days until the next full mooon; we only watched three of them together. He had immaculate hands. Civilizations in his palms. When I think of him, I hope he’s a woodworker. I hope he’s beautiful. He was. Immaculate hands. Lips like summer. I’ll never forget his name. Sometimes, I wish I could.

waxenneat:

I imagine everyone has this place from before the world was big. Before they stopped to breathe deeply in order to take a moment in. Before they felt, or knew to be, responsible for their life unfolding. I imagine I could tell several chapters of my life from this capture. It is incredible what a photograph can do.
I do not recall this particular day. I cannot tell you whether the sun warmed my toes or if I was cold. I cannot tell you how long I swam for and if I wore floaties. There is no way to know which relatives were there other than my Uncle Carl because Randy belonged to him. 
I can tell you that I did not like Randy much. He barked constantly and he rarely sat still. He scared me with how close he always was to my face, snapping away. It surprises me to see him settled so comfortably at the foot of my beach blanket. Have I remembered him all wrong or was this a particularly docile day?
My right foot is bent over my left, and my hand is pressed between the space above my knees, though. These are things I still do when I am sitting comfortably and every night before bed. I’ve also got my bangs and my perplexed face. Slightly bent posture and inquisitive eyes. Legs much longer than the rest of my body.
Some parts of this photograph remain timeless, even though my memory of the particulars of the day have not.
I have found lately that I want to reach for a map of myself to show to others. I want to point at certain landmarks and lines and tell them that this is what happened here and along here. This is a road I never go down. Here is an area I have never visited. Here is a place I went once. Sometimes I want a single photograph that tells everything so I can easily show someone.
Opening up is hard.
But I could tell you every last memory of this photograph and you still would not be able to smell the fishing lures and the cedar cabin behind me how I am able. You would not be able to know twenty-eight years with the woman in front of and behind the camera. Because not everything can be told with a photograph or a story or a map and maybe it shouldn’t be. 
Some things are only ours and it is okay to leave them uncharted.

waxenneat:

I imagine everyone has this place from before the world was big. Before they stopped to breathe deeply in order to take a moment in. Before they felt, or knew to be, responsible for their life unfolding. I imagine I could tell several chapters of my life from this capture. It is incredible what a photograph can do.

I do not recall this particular day. I cannot tell you whether the sun warmed my toes or if I was cold. I cannot tell you how long I swam for and if I wore floaties. There is no way to know which relatives were there other than my Uncle Carl because Randy belonged to him. 

I can tell you that I did not like Randy much. He barked constantly and he rarely sat still. He scared me with how close he always was to my face, snapping away. It surprises me to see him settled so comfortably at the foot of my beach blanket. Have I remembered him all wrong or was this a particularly docile day?

My right foot is bent over my left, and my hand is pressed between the space above my knees, though. These are things I still do when I am sitting comfortably and every night before bed. I’ve also got my bangs and my perplexed face. Slightly bent posture and inquisitive eyes. Legs much longer than the rest of my body.

Some parts of this photograph remain timeless, even though my memory of the particulars of the day have not.

I have found lately that I want to reach for a map of myself to show to others. I want to point at certain landmarks and lines and tell them that this is what happened here and along here. This is a road I never go down. Here is an area I have never visited. Here is a place I went once. Sometimes I want a single photograph that tells everything so I can easily show someone.

Opening up is hard.

But I could tell you every last memory of this photograph and you still would not be able to smell the fishing lures and the cedar cabin behind me how I am able. You would not be able to know twenty-eight years with the woman in front of and behind the camera. Because not everything can be told with a photograph or a story or a map and maybe it shouldn’t be. 

Some things are only ours and it is okay to leave them uncharted.