Tag Archives: stream of consciousness

Motions

 

She was born a hundred years old on the edge of a cliff in a rainstorm. Her idea of happiness is walking under ladders and counting how many breaths she can muster before her last one. You’d argue she isn’t living but for her there is no more beautiful way to remember she’s alive than to paint notches on the bottoms of her feet: one for every lump in her throat, two for every laugh – the massive, guttural ones that make your eyes leak and your belly seize up – because they’re the ones you feel even after they’ve gone. She spends Shavasana dreaming up war and comes away with awareness. She practices a religion of cautious writhing, she wants to know the world with the consequences of knowledge. Shred up every vital part of her and watch her pour over every piece like some hellish puzzle. She’ll never remember where everything goes but she’ll be better for it. If you want to love her, tread with a full heart, but be sure to leave some room for her to hide. She is the most passionate tragedy you’ll ever know. Don’t try and chase her, she isn’t leaving. Even in the dark, even when she’s praying, she’ll be begging you to turn a light on.

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pretty soon

http://www.etsy.com/listing/113717613/at-the-end-of-the-day-8x8-conceptual (Please check out/purchase this girl's amazing artwork.)

http://www.etsy.com/listing/113717613/at-the-end-of-the-day-8×8-conceptual
(Please check out/purchase this girl’s amazing artwork.)

 

there is a sign taped lazily to her back that reads judge me,

swollen black letters that spiral out at every edge of the page

like beautiful wedding garland.

 

she is so perfectly aware

of the eyes that aren’t on her

it’s like they’re

all on her at once,

tracing the weakness of her profile,

having philosophical discussions about

the beauty mark underneath her left eye.

 

she parts the hand-stitched draperies

every morning

and steps outside to collect the milk,

to chirp good morning at the sun,

always dressed in golds and greens,

always dancing for her illusions.

 

on a scale of

one to twenty

her back aches three times her age

and when she isn’t sure

where to look

she stares at a finger, a shoe,

twirls a strand of too-short hair

like a telephone cord.

 

someone speaks and

when she opens her mouth

only dust comes out.

 

pretty soon she’s bound to

dig up something more than rubble.

 

pretty soon she’ll strike gold.

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Always Leave the Air On

stormy-winter-landscapeIt’s like those mornings you wake up feeling bare as midwinter. Everything smells like cold and there’s nothing to make you think of warmth. Your toes freeze even through those fleece socks, your nose shines cranberry red and the hairs on your arms stand like soldiers in the hallway. Don’t crack the front door, only fragments of last night’s storm will tumble in and quietly melt into the welcome mat. The twisting branches will remind you of his arms and you’ll feel guilty for not having the strength to shovel the invisible driveway. Keep away from the living room; the couch cushions are taut like a doctor’s office, not sunken from another long night of wine and airy conversation. There are still crumbs from a morning danish on the kitchen table. You lick a finger and pluck each one up, bringing them to your lips, pausing, wiping them on your pajama pants. That coffee ring is his, you know it. You stare but you don’t scrub it from the counter. You leave the left side of the bed slightly un-tucked. That pillowcase has not been washed, that single ornery thread still snakes out from a tiny corner. Don’t open the pantry, his red umbrella will jump out like child’s play. Crank the air conditioner in December. Kill off the last of his cologne scent in the bathroom. Still don’t wash the pillowcase. He always liked the warmth. Cook supper for one with herbs from the garden he planted you. Leave the air on when you’re gone. Wear an extra pair of socks at night. Leave the front door open, let the storm come in. Start a fire in the garden. Hang lights on the bare trees. Sleep on the couch and wash the pillowcase. Leave the thread. Put a lock on the pantry and buy a dozen danishes for breakfast. Leave the air on. Always leave the air on.

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Severance

The delightfully morbid Severance – by Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler –  has quickly become one of my favorite short-story reads. One of my writing professors mentioned it somewhere down the line of my college career, and the idea of recently beheaded characters sharing their final thoughts before the lights go out…well, obviously it sparked my interest. So I scribbled the book’s title in a corner of my notebook and searched for a copy on Amazon that day.

It’s a very quick and very interesting read, some characters real, some fictional, each story appearing almost as a poem. I’ve always been a huge fan of the stream-of-consciousness style, and at times even try to work it into my own writing.

Butler’s book was inspired by two concepts:

1.) “After decapitation, the human head is believed to remain in a state of consciousness for one and one-half minutes.” 

2.) “In a heightened state of emotion, people speak at the rate of 160 words per minute.”

So, of course, once each character is presented and their cause of beheaded-ness is explained, their final, headless thoughts are given to us in the form of 160 words. My personal favorites (with brief excerpts) are:

“Valeria Messalina: wife of Emperor Claudius I of Rome, beheaded by order of her husband, 48”

we are panting now we are the Circus Maximus we are the rush of wheels the wild breath of horses on the throne room floor the bright expanse of marble I shift my eyes and I see us both in the mirror of stone” 

“Dragon: beast, beheaded by Saint George, 301”

“my wings are still, I close my eyes and open them and all around are the quivery greentops and the great ball of breath above, I will fly up that high sometime but now I am in a peaceful dawdle that I don’t understand, full in the center and sweet heavy in my legs and fluttery of the wingtips”

Yes, there is a dragon. There’s a chicken, too. Butler even ends with himself! And so, laden with inspiration after reading these very interesting pieces, I’ve decided to try recording my own final thoughts.

Nicole Marie, decapitated by a crazed fan of her award-winning debut novel, 2014 (wishful thinking.)

but everything is so bright, turn out the lights and come to bed, I whispered, why can’t you hear me? it’s that dream again, the one where I’m running but not getting anywhere the one where I see you then I don’t it’s dark, it’s so dark and I can’t back out of this tunnel before the cold comes again the whiteness of the highway always bothered me, the clips that were supposed to keep us awake and now it’s Christmas and the fan is buzzing and my head is in your lap while you pull that blanket to my chin you kiss my forehead, it’s a bad hangover or something worse I’m nauseous that pit is in my stomach again why do I have to leave you’re transparent I feel the sweat on your face your jacket smells like fire they never were proud of me were they? i’m so proud of you, you said, get some sleep now 

 

It would be pretty awesome to see what you guys could come up with. Any takers? Post and link back? Anyone? Is this thing on?

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

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