He had taken to drinking a few bottles of Columbia Creek each day and reading Kierkegaard, only grunting responses. His inaction fueled her discovery. She was fearful of joining in his despondency, sitting here steeping in words and thoughts in low light.
(more) At the local library, she announced, "I only want to read really beautiful writing. I don't have time for anything else."
The librarian made a pot of coffee and tried to get an idea of what she wanted, but she couldn't describe what she was looking for. She just wanted something "beautiful."
The librarian sent her away with Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," his idea of beauty.
She returned the next day and said, "Hate it. I ask for beauty, and you give me a knife?"
He sent her home again with Michael Connelly's "The Reversal," hoping that she might recognize the elegance of perfect plotting.
She showed up two days later. "Hate it. Too clunky."
The librarian ran a hand through his hair in disbelief, and then he fetched "Lolita."
She came back after three weeks, and the book was near destroyed. She had literally read the thing to death. "I didn't know writing could be this good," she gasped, and with desperation said, "I need more like this."
"Well..." the librarian was stumped again. "There really is nothing else like that, not even by Nabokov. I could give you Joyce, but it would break my heart to hear your hate." He had been thinking primarily of classics, but a stray notion entered his mind. "You know, I'm still struggling to comprehend your concept of beauty, but I have a hunch that this book might be near the pinnacle," and he sent her off again clutching a copy of "Little Bee."
His movements are that
of an old growth redwood
Silent pumping beneath the surface
Life coursing through veins as thick
(more) He inhales the days and nights
two packs at a time
Unblinking eyes that see nothing
Moonbeams and light pillars
Dead grass and cracked robins eggs
Vodka and Tonic
Water and Whiskey
Television scenes too gruesome
He hears the ocean
filtering out the sirens
Looks to the gate
at the end of the row
daydreams about leaving
but he's become one big burden
A walker is his guide dog
Oxygen tank his only friend
She left with the Santa Ana winds
and he's been alone ever since
His children forgot his name
wandering the world
His brother lost his number
his sister didn't care
He'd spent his youth outdoing
both of them
in old age they walked on by
One day a friend called him
he didn't bother to answer
Due to his inaction
his porch is his cell
Life without parole
Micky was a cat who had more personality than many people I knew. At night he would sit on the bed, waiting for me to drag myself, bleary-eyed, away from the computer. If I took longer than Micky thought I should, he would come into the room and sit(more) in the doorway, fixing me with a purposeful glare, and say "Meow!" in an insistent, "Come to bed NOW!" kind of way.
When it came to bullying the neighbor cats, Micky was a holy terror. I tried to keep him in the house but he always found a way to escape, sneaking past my legs when I came home from work, or out the window and down the fire escape if I accidentally left the window open. Never mind that he was smaller than the other cats, he had no fear.
But everything changed the day I brought the kitten home. The kitten was a stray that someone had abandoned near my office and everyone knew that I was a sucker for cats. And so she came home to Micky and me.
The kitten was a miniature version of Micky himself. She would run up to him and push him aside while he was trying to eat, and he was so dumbfounded he would just sit there. His inaction would cause me to get up and rescue him, while rolling my eyes. "Come on, dude", I told him. "You're supposed to teach her manners, set an example." But he just looked up at me, like, "How could you?"
his inaction is much louder than his words
his words are soft and quiet
enough to lull you into the kind of calm
that accepts his inaction
(more) he never lets you see him sweat
if he sweats at all
though I'm unsure if it's intentional because
it looks so natural
sometimes he appears out of nowhere
smokey and almost-there
like a shadow at your back or a spot on the sun
if you blink he disappears so
don't close your eyes
he switches gears
quickly and unannounced
it's a struggle to keep up with him for most
unless you have that certain key
and once you catch on the rhythm equals out harmoniously
everyone is happy through his inaction just as he decrees
he thinks it therefore it is
and his inaction keeps the quo status
comfortable and sweater-like with a hint of fire
he can take me to Heaven and Hell and back again without moving a muscle
his inaction is
and while he is completely comfortable in his inaction
it eats away at me
nibble by nibble
yet still I do nothing but watch
and wonder at the twinkle
curious who put it there while forgetting it was me
because of his inaction I sometimes falter
anyone would you know
so when I say a prayer or wish upon a star
it is with the best of intentions
and the armour I wear is just a precaution
in the event the inevitable happens
so look upon me kindly
for when all is said and done
it's only the best that is acceptable
and if his inaction holds me hostage
it is a prison of my own making
it's the captive castaway in me that keeps him going
I have no experience with impulse or speed. I am slow: a condition rather than an action. A planner, I am in a perpetual state of preparedness that gets me ready to make the right decision long after things have already played out.
(more) My mother called me headstrong or stubborn, or just a little shit, when I was a child. My oldest sister seldom tattled, but when she did, she always emphasized that my offense had been Deliberate. That was true. I didn't engage in tit-for-tat but planned subtle covert actions that would unfold over time, unnoticed, unsettling, pointing out her own faults rather than mine. Cruel, but only occasionally.
Slow and deliberate and calculating, I found posts where I wanted them, on the school yard and in the professional world. Just as I tormented my sister, I would occasionally set plans in action that would blossom to my advantage, give me the story, the credit, the woman.
Slow failed me. I'd spent so long considering and preparing, I had ceased to access my own feelings. The rush of any unexpected action confused me, whether it was a neighbor asking for the name of a dentist while I was halfway down the walk, or a man asking for a part of me.
Believe me, it was not intentional. It was not even fear: it was fast. There is a place where there is no luxury of time in which to contemplate a course of action. A place where one cannot establish moral authority, where the numbers are changed each time you turn to face the water.
Slow has failed me; so has speed. My reflexes are no good, my plans cannot contain the possibilities.
I told him to yell at me. I told him I would like it a whole hell of a lot better if he would just get good and mad at me. I wanted him to throw some shit and cuss in my direction. Nothing. I tried to explain to(more) him that his lack of enthusiasm was close to intolerable. That he couldn't muster up a good reason to fight and holler pissed me off, all the more. I mean, he had every reason to lose it on me. Nothing.
1. Four shillings (he smiled as he laid them out, although they are of no use to us).
2. The contract, inked in the blood of four of the township's finest men and three of our women.
3. Good families full(more) of holes as moth-eaten wool.
4. Corn that thrives and thrives and thrives. We must harvest not only bent and damp in the heat of the sun, but by cracking ice with sledge-hammers. Life can be a curse.
5. Hunger: rotten teeth, bellies that swell like ticks, a new graveyard for the still-born. We fear to name them, because the things we name are the things he wants most.
6. Fat cattle. All with names.
7. Long lives for those who dare or are desperate enough to eat of the corn. Life can be excessive.
8. The slaughter. We prepare for the festival, pretending merriment as best we can, though we are not actors. He knows we are liars, but says nothing. I make mops for the blood.
9. Purpose. We were a township shrinking as our young stole away. We had enough, no less no more. We neither fought nor dreamed. We worked, we ate, we slept. Now we scheme against him and the contract he allows them to hold over the township. We dream of freedom and work towards it as one. I make mops for the blood.(less)
The mild-mannered man was prone to inactivity, interrupted by brief bouts of drug-fueled mania during which he did things like wash his dishes, build things out of wood, and repair broken electronics. You can usually find him spread out on his deep couch, like one more big stain on(more) top of nearly a decade's worth of smaller smudges of pizza grease and the shadows of spilled beer. He sleeps there, he eats there, and he hardly gets up at all except to go to work at the call center three blocks away. He works the mid-morning shift there and then walks home and settles back into the couch, flipping through the channels or reading a book. At work he is respected--as respected as one call-center employee can be amongst his fellows. He is polite to his coworkers and never loses his temper though many an angry customer has tried to provoke him. He can't be bothered with anger or passion. When the inactivity overwhelms him, he pops a few pills and moves for a day or two, but he always returns to the stained couch as though he's falling back into a lover's arms. (less)
He set his goals aside
and left them for tomorrow,
promising himself that someday
he'd get around to it as the
cobwebs began to build and
the dust settle on empty shells
(more) which gradually began to fade.
His memories turning to smoke
and ashes as he nestled in his
perfect bed, staring at the ghosts
of his inaction's as they replayed
over and over again... bringing him
to the realization that he had been
in state of hibernation for way too long
and alas it was time to awaken.(less)
I fell, once. One time, I was riding my bike down the hill and I was so happy I threw my hands in the air, laughing and smiling. Halfway to the bottom, my bike hit a rock, a can, a tree, I've never been sure, and flew into the(more) air. Head over wheels, my mind spinning, and I saw my father standing at the top of the hill, cell phone in hand. Talking about something obviously more important than the peril at hand. I felt my head collide with the road, the very moment of impact shaking my bones. I stared up at the clear blue sky for what felt like hours but was simply minutes, until the neighbor helped me up.(less)