Category Archives: Souls

Cold Hearted John Meadows

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My name is John Meadows, at least, that’s what it says on my birth certificate. At this moment, I’m not sure if that is even true.

I woke up in a bedroom. It was an unknown space. Except, as I lifted my head up off the pillow, I noticed a picture that looked familiar. I stood, walked over to it: it was flush with the wall. An outdoor moment in time. There was a man, and a woman. They held each other, big smiles on their faces.

The man leaned on a vast gnarled tree. Instead of branches, It looked as if seven tree trunks wound around each other, an abstract weave of latticework wood. The leaves were thick, a dark shade of green that looked almost like they were black. They hung over the couple like a frame.

The woman had her head resting on the man’s shoulder. His hair fell to his collar, so dark that at first, I thought it looked like it was cut out of the photo. Her hair was lighter, a mixture of golden brown and red. I remembered that it was called Auburn. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at first. Yes, Auburn-haired, long, it fell down and over his chest, making his torso look like it disappeared as well.

The photo bothered me. Her eyes sparkled when the shot was taken. His eyes held little to no reflection. I looked. His didn’t, even with the sunlight spotlighting where they stood. Her eyes, the tilt of her head, her smile: there was life. He smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. They were flat.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a free-standing full-body mirror to my left. It stood at a tilt near white folding slat doors. I shuffled my way over to it. I could not remember what I looked like, nor who I was. Maybe, I thought, looking at the reflection, things would come into focus. My heart began to accelerate, chest tightening, and it was getting difficult to breathe. I hadn’t been aware of breathing before this. I was now.

Coming into full view, I felt my head had received something smashing into it. It hurt like hell. I had to touch my head. It felt like bone shattered. I checked. It felt solid. But the pain. It was like a steel bar was slammed against my forehead.

A steel bar? Why did I…no, more a bat? Baseball? No, no. A baseball. Yes, a baseball hurtling to me, not even registering that I needed to move, to duck, do something. But it was too fast. I was too slow. I was up, then nothing. It felt just like that, although I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why I felt that way when I stepped in front of the mirror.

Yes, I was the man in that photo, even though I did not remember that. It was clear upon viewing, my eyesight was waving, no floaters, no film distortion over the irises. I looked at myself in the mirror, then over to the photo. Goosebumps paraded across my spine.

Turning, I took in the rest of the room. White minimalism in paint and fabrics. Same with my pajama pants. I noticed, then, that I had no shirt on. A look in the mirror traveled down; before, I was solely intent only on my face. My chest was hairy but not matted. Three parallel deep pink scars ran from my left armpit to just past the bellybutton. An inny. They didn’t hurt as much as throb. Noticing them did not help my rapid breathing and heart rate.

The next moments are still a blur. I know I looked around: the place had been tidy when I awoke. Now, drawers, men’s clothing, papers littered the white. All the bed linen was on the floor. The sliding slat doors were open wide, showing a closet that was only half full. I took this all in, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed. I felt something hard and looked down. I had a metal lockbox in my hands. My breathing shallowed, and I felt myself calm down to regular human beats. At least, what I thought were normal.

There was no lock to have to break into. The lid swung up with ease, showing the mound of papers it carried. I riffled through the envelopes, unfolded the various papers, and only stopped when I found a Birth Certificate. Mine, I have assumed, until someone tells me differently. 

My name is John Meadows.

If you are listening to this tape, then most likely I am dead. Or too far away for any meaning of living or dead is inconsequential. This is the story of what happened from that moment of waking, clueless to everything that had meaning to me. I know that the woman in the photo was Jean, my partner. I know she no longer…is here. Where? At this time, I still do not know how to answer that.

Whoever you are, whenever you are, do yourself and loved ones a favor.

Do not stand under the leaves of that massive, gnarled tree.

It is not the Tree of Life.

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

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Haven’t done one of these in quite awhile. I was nominated by Grace on her blog: The Life of a Teenage Princess. Thanks, Grace. What’s fun about her blog is seeing life through a different lens. I “think” i’m a little bit older than she, but I’ve been enjoying her passage and writing passions. Give her a look when you can.

What is

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award?

This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.

The Rules:

Anybody nominated can nominate seven (lucky number) other bloggers. Anybody nominated answers three questions.The questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions.

If any of the questions asked are offending or the nominee simply does not want to answer them, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award.

Grace’s Three Questions:

  1. If you could choose anywhere to go (with no expense in mind) to have the perfect day, where would you go, and what would you do?  Scotland. There is something about Scotland that has a huge draw on me. I feel I NEED to be there.  I’d go to Edinburgh first. Then, castles, moors, theater, music, and I’d try to find the non-touristy spots to explore. 
  2. What literary character from The Princess Bride would most likely reflect your personality?  Hm. I have never thought of a connection to any of the characters.  This is a movie I do love. Hmm. I’d say, at this moment, Miracle Max (Billy Crystal). “Have fun storming the castle.” Yeah, that character. 
  3. What is one thing you have discovered about yourself during Quarantine? I am more introverted than I had thought. No problem navigating my apartment. Plenty of Zoom, calls, texts, books, and writing.  I miss hugs, cuddles, and other human contact (get yer mind(s) out of the gutter) more than I thought I could want as much. 

My Seven Samurai Picks: 

There’s enough going on for many that this could be that ONE MORE THING!  So, if you are so inclined, go for it.  You can link this back to Tale Spinning, or not. I’d love to read your responses. Just answer my three questions (below). Cop out? Maybe, but I have a lot to get done before 4:30 (two hours from now. My apologies). If you feel you fit the criteria, go for it.

My Three Questions

  1. If you have had an epiphany that has changed/challenged/strengthened your life journey, could you please state what it was and its consequences?

  2.  What is your favorite food DISH, not the general “Italian,” Chinese,” “Mexican,” etc. What is the dish called?  Extra bonus points if you can paint a detailed picture for us so we all drool when we read it. Not the recipe, how you feel when it is set before you and when you take your first bite.

  3. What does your idea of Utopia look/sound/touch/taste like?

Grandfather Speaks

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1st Chime: Midnight approaches. I’ve prepared for the darkness, urging it to mask what is to come. What needs to be done. What will be.

2nd Chime: I sit in her favorite chair. I have never done that before. The dent of her body is etched into the fabric and padding. I do not fit.

3rd Chime: Time. Time is going too slow. It is out of my control if I ever had any. My palms are wet. A tiny rivulet streaks down my brow into my eyes. It burns.

4th Chime: I gasp. My mouth. It feels like I poured ground cinnamon into the chamber. I cough clouds of red.

5th Chime: Hurry. Hurry. I need to. No. Wait. I can’t. Wait.

6th & 7th Chime: My calves cramp. I hadn’t noticed my knees were jumping like pistons. It won’t obey me. It won’t stop.

8th Chime: All. It’s not well. Not. The walls are closing in. There is wailing from the floor, right under my planted soles.

9th & 10th Movement: I heard no chimes. I’m fixed on the second hand as he struggles for the next second. The grandfather is moving time on.

11Th Chime: My lips are cracked. As I use my tongue to sponge them, I get the taste of copper as it sweeps over the swollen bottom lip.

12th Chime: Here. It is here. The elevated heart rate hurts my rib cage. There is a sour smell surrounding me. It does not offend. I am dripping wet with perspiration. It is time. It is time. I reach over to the frazzled side table.

The grandfather clock ticks eleven more.

On the 12th tick, the gun barrel is in my mouth.

I…

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<     >>>>>>>>>>

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I host a writing group on Saturday mornings: Daydreamers Write! Prompts & Challenges. The above was from the challenge prompt: Strange things happen when the Grandfather Clock speaks. The challenge: Coat your piece in MOOD. Write in First-person & the narrator is not reliable. If you can, use all five (six?) senses. Some wrote prose, some poetry, and then…

The picture is ©Eric Freitas. If you want to see more of his work, the link is attached to the picture. His work is amazing, and Eric works on commissions. Check his website. 

 

Daydreamers Write! Prompt & Challenges  is a virtual writers group. We meet every Saturday morning (EST) from 10:00 am to Noon. Two prompts (2nd one holds the challenge), writing, sharing, constructive feedback, all in that two-hour slot. What I love about keeping this virtual is that we have members from both coasts in the US, and one from London. 

Click on the link, sign up for a membership, and then find the date you’d like to join in. Please send in the RSVP that is attached to that day’s invite. 

Any questions? You can leave me a message on the MeetUp page or direct to organizerdaydreams@gmail.com

The Dismissed or The Way

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I wondered why I was here.

Then you appeared

Keeping distant, but there

On the edge of discomfort

The need sweeping through

I wondered why

You appeared

Have you felt being stuck

Inside a dreadful memory?

Splinters of hurt

Aching enveloping

Drawn inwards

Trying to let it slip away

Holding onto it with desperate claws

“I’m tired” leaves the lips

Wafting out uncontrolled

I still wondered why

You appeared

After I have given up

You tell someone close

Thoughts of the fears

From your history, resurfacing

Wanting to be listened to

To be understood

“Just get over it.

Let it go.”

Platitudes of dismissal

Of what you say

For not fitting in with

How they live their lives

So you shut up,

Refusing to open more

Feelings and mindset are mine

But run over,

Sunk into the muck of expectations.

You appeared.

Dreading another rerun

Of relationships past

You appeared

A question of what if

Holds fast to the negatives

You

Hold too much hope

That this time will be different

Or will it dig a deeper hole

That embraces being tired

And you wonder, anew

Why are you here?

Why am I here?

Then you appeared.

 

Craving Discourse

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I am right.

You are wrong.

It is as simple as that.

I follow the truth path

My way is clear

Nothing you say has meaning

Nothing can change my mind

My enemies are legion

I count you among their kind.

You are wrong.

I am right.

There is no debate in that.

It is evil in your actions

Evil in your words

Closing yourself to reality

So it fits you limited terms

I gather with my like-minded

You’re not worth a second thought

I am Right

    No, you’re not

You are wrong

    No, I am not.

Let’s not agree to disagree

Let’s find some commonality

Let’s understand the price

Segregating into piteous hate

We are deaf along this path.

I am not absolute

Whether right or wrong

The danger is the division

Two sides talking to walls

I will listen to you; please tell me why

Please

Don’t shove your viewpoint onto me

Please

Don’t refuse to hear my questions

Please

Don’t shut me up with condemnation

             Please

Let us deeply listen, for all its worth.

 

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

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Singing Songs of Joy and Peace*

 

 

We know what strict is

In the counts of the missing

The missing found

Splatters of their former selves

Shatters of what memories we had

Pushing away the viewpoints of before

It has to be forgotten

Or drag us into the mud

Meaningful deaths, but not now

They graphically get pushed away.

 

The clarity of the season was here

Wintery chills drifting along open skin

Particles inappreciable in white shells

Ingesting the soot of the days and nights

The wet becomes us

Slogging through the cold

We’re nothing but walking icicles

Degradation in our feet

 

Mornings must start with songs of Joy

From barracks to fields

To lift any spirit that could be raised

Through enforced blockage of what’s to come

Songs of Peace enforced taking Joys place

Blaring out, amplified unjust

Home is dancing in the street

Yet no dance here; our patterns are strict,

As long as this weather held.

 

Mercurial temperaments of nature

Have no sense of staying put

Wished away, ignoring petty whines

Pleading prayers always unheard

Chilled or sweltering

We melted or froze

In the fullness of time,

The weather changed.

 

Of the frozen deaths

We revoked our hearts

Set to extra toils

Making up for the dead

Of our sweat drenched backs

We camouflaged our hearts

What was left of them, numb or dead.

 

As long as this weather holds

“This” becomes mythical

While we wait; We wait

Continuing to give up lives

Joining the unremembered in their weather passage.

The egregious screws are welded holdfast

As we sing songs of Joy and Peace

Nevertheless the vagaries of weather;

Nonetheless what clasps us to those songs.

 

March on.

Opposite actions enforced.

Strictly.

 

March on.

~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~

Author’s Note:

“Songs of joy and peace” come from Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song, River. I had listened to it only minutes before when I shut off my music app and tuned into that night’s writing group, River River Writer’s Circle. The prompt was “When the weather changes.” The above happened, was shared, and got the suggestion: “Think about expanding this out” (well, “stretching it out”). So, I let it sit, came back to it, and the above is the result.

Thank you, Ms. Mitchel. A sad, but integral song for many.  What I wrote is no reflection on her song. The fourth line of the first stanza stayed with me.

The opening stanza from Joni Mitchel’s River is: 

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Songwriters: Mitchell Joni
River lyrics © Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Obo Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp., Wb Music Corp Obo Jam N Bread Music

 

EDIT: Boy, am I dense!

Joni Mitchel’s River

RiverRiver Writer’s Circle. 

I just realized it. Not planned at all. Doh! Oy! :::palmface:::

 

 

 

RUN!

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RUN

© Vlad Gedroics

RUN!

SHE SAID RUN!

Shaking her head

Still,

SHE SAID RUN!

Her masking smile appeared

Magnitudinal weight dragging

As she

Felt her threads snarl and unravel

SHE THOUGHT RUN!

Tasting it.

Nibbling her way through

Dancing circles around

What

Gripped her and held.

SHE RUMINATED RUN!

Expanded

Drew in

Attempts

Withdrew

She

Escaped

SHE YELLED RUN!

 Keeping the pressure

Stoked inside

Flowing past self-built walls

Ripping away constraints

SHE YELLED RUN!

Running

Forward

Running

Freely

Running

Powerfully

Running

Until

She no longer had to.

She sings RUN!

As she

Passes the baton along.

 

⊇⊆ ⊇⊆ ⊇⊆ ⊇ ⊆ ⊇⊇⊆

Author’s Note:

I organized a new Writers Group: DAYDREAMERS WRITE!: Prompts & Challenges.

It runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to Noon, EST. 

No matter the level a writer you think you are, all are welcome. 

The two hours are split:

  1. 10 to 11 is the first prompt.

  2. At Noon: Another prompt WITH a challenge. It changes every week. 

  3. Both Sessions: 25 mins to write;  30-35 mins for Sharing & feedback

The above poem was the first prompt on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Most likely this group will remain in the Virtual World Community. 

Click on the above link if you would like to join in. Everyone is welcome. 

Stu

Samhain

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Samhain

by Stuart Nager, 8/4/20 ©

Macha opened eyes that were not hers.

She found herself walking. Surrounded by a small grouping of Cailes, eight in number. All were of strange dress, some masked, others showing painted skin, akin to animals she had only heard of. They chattered, giggled, hugged one another, ran, and chased. Five were on the verge of womanhood; three already had crossed that threshold. The body she wore was one of those three.

Yelling far ahead startled her, but for a moment, for it quickly turned to wild laughter. Macha the Virago, a warrior woman of deed, wife of dead king Nemed, held tight. These were the young of this land. These were not the noise of battle, cries of the Formorians advancing on her people with slaughter on their lips. This was not the call of her people to fight. They were not the sounds of their death throes. Those sounds invaded the soul and heart of the Caile she rode. As was her death. Macha was on the last of three intonations when the Formor sent a spear through her breast. Her body lay on bloodied dirt as the last word touched her lips.

Macha stopped.

Her breath, her heart, her body; nothing overtly stirred as her insides tugged at the container that she had invaded. A soft hand was placed on her shoulder. Looking over, this was a raven-haired Caile, whose eyes took her in. She spoke, whispered a name-twice-as Macha realized that was this Calile’s name.

“Dana,” she paused. “Dana!” Their eyes met. “Are you ok? You just stopped. Dana. Hey. Knock knock. Hello? You were the one who wanted to go trick or treating. Hey, are you ok?”

Macha caught every speeding word that…Ali. Ali churned out. Dana/Macha nodded her head. Her answer-Dana’s answer-staggered out of their shared mouth.

“I am. I’m. I’m fine, Ali.” Macha added a smile to Dana’s face. Ali’s face relaxed at hearing this, and her bunched in shoulders opened.

Macha winced as Ali threw her arms around her torso, pinning her arms. Her hands clawed in response, an intonation traveled from mind to lips. It stopped there, claws became hands, and Dana accepted the hug. She returned it.

“Hey. Go find a room,” the tall redhead called out as she walked towards the two. Jill. “C’mon. Halloween is here, babe. Let’s get some of the goodies!”

The word meant nothing to Macha as Jill and Ali linked arms with her, dragging her along. The three caught up with the others. Halloween. Dana was no help here as she was eating something delightful.

Macha looked up at the darkening skies as Dana chewed. She continued to be swept along from door to door, filling up the bag Dana had brought with her. As night truly arrived, all the girls started singing, walking to Jill’s house for the night. Dana didn’t know the words to a monster mash, so she stayed back a few steps from the others. Ali remained at her side, singing.

Macha took another look up to the stars. Her eyes twinkled. The smile on Dana was Macha’s. Ali took Dana’s hands, dancing around in a circle. They both would up laughing on the lawn outside of Jill’s home. Dana, then Ali, laid prone, heads almost touching, and stared at the stars.

Dana pointed to a group of stars that were still on the rise.

“The Seven Sisters.”

“What?”

“There. There, Ali, look. At the highest point. The grouping of stars. The Seven Sisters!”

Ali looked to where her best friend pointed, but couldn’t tell one star from another. She was just glad that Dana sounded like Dana again. Ali rolled over onto her side so she could look at Dana.

Macha didn’t notice. The Seven Sisters held her in their embrace.

“Samhain. All hallows eve. The dead shall rise. Halloween.”

Ali was asleep beside her. Macha shed tears, finding herself at the center of her life, in a world she would have to learn.

What better time of year to awaken. Macha the Virago: warrior woman; attle fury; The Phantom Queen. Macha died but has returned.

Woe to the ancestors of the Formorians.

Macha has returned.

 

 

Mind Full Dismantled

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MIND FULL DISMANTLED

 

 

 

A lifetime of perceived perseverance is draining

Far too many called it stubbornness

Negative and judgmental in any context

Sending one on a downward spiral

Until germination of persevering takes root again

Dismissal of

Having one’s voice heard

Acceptance of differing viewpoints

Acknowledgment that the now of you

Has surpassed the images of your past self

That others have held onto

It is a Sisyphusian task you live

Beginning anew, evermore

Almost reaching the goal

Believing that this is your path

Your purpose exposed

Yet derision erodes the journey

Brings you to your knees

Eternal punishment

Or so it seems

Cursed to continue evermore

Perseverance

Translated as stubbornness

Which sets off dismissal

The you that is now.

Persevere.

Stay stubborn.

 

Waiting to Perceive

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Nova

Look to the stars

Is almost a useless statement

For the trash eating machinery

The near-dead walking the streets.

Radiated metropolises obliterate the stars

Rendering their brilliance moot.

 

Look to the stars

In calm surroundings, still

Distant are the pollutions obscuring the sky

From obsidian to the deepest black

Stars are the show we can take in

Clouds endeavor to mimic city contaminations

Triumphant when they densely gather

One’s heart and mind should know

Time passes; change follows.

 

Look to the stars

What we see are their deaths

Or nearly so

White Dwarfs, Red Giants, Black Dwarfs

One, two, three

The brilliance of their passing’s

Are the pinpricks in our night.

The Earth rotates around

Our darkness meets others

Other’s eyes partake of their deathly light.

 

Look at the skies

Five billion years from now

Or so

Who will view our Sol’s death throes

As we blink out of sight?