A forlorn stare, a hand full of butter
Unsure on whether there’s a top, he begins climbing
The one thing left of him is revenge
Although his poker face is impressive he knows he’s not up to grade
He never stays long, for he’s but a tourist
He continues the journey, heart pounding in his ribs
He remembers the children, their endless ribs
His confusion consuming all but the melting butter
His thoughts are scattered, even in his own mind he’s just a tourist
But no matter, for he keeps climbing
Despite the challenge being of the highest grade
He endures, thinking only of revenge
For what deed is he seeking revenge?
He knows not in his mind, but in his rib
He finds a small alcove upon reaching the latest grade
There’s nothing on his mind but Her
Tired and with chafed hands he ceases his climbing
Alone and in an unfamiliar place he once again becomes a tourist
He hates this, the uncertainty that seeps through every aspect of being a tourist
He stops for a moment, he ponders his revenge
He wonders why it subsides along with his climbing
He realizes that his heart is no longer trying to burst out of its cage of rib
Frightened by this, he clutches his chest with a hand soaked in lukewarm butter
If for nothing else but to distract himself, he resumes the climb up, and up the grade
With each endless step he traverses the grade
Scared of the uncertain fate that comes of being a tourist
He slides up the terrain with clammy appendages of melted butter
Every step brings him a small bit closer to his revenge
But his desire wavers within the small lump between his ribs,
And for the first time he questions his climbing
His purpose forgotten he stops climbing
But as he slides down the uneven grade
He notices that not moving at all equals moving backwards and
Something odd swells up in his rib
Another unfamiliar feeling, another moment as a tourist
But as he slides downward, his revenge all but forgotten, His head collapses into hands and in the
space between fingers flows a stream of tears and viscous butter
The Children create stories about him, about the climbing tourist
About his revenge and the grade he climbed
About the feeling in his ribs, and the hands inexplicably cloaked in butter
Like the rising of the sun in all hues,
In the morning people are born anew;
Beautiful violet, orange, yellow, red,
It’s the trade of life, living for the dead.
Yet there’s a sad fact about human life,
Full of love but they’re often filled with strife.
They come so quick but then die all too soon
As if it were the setting of the moon.
But don’t look down be on the bright side now,
The middle of life is a radiant plow.
Cutting straight and pure, defiant to faze,
It’s unfailed as its sun shines through the haze.
The life before you is dark and narrow,
Fear not my love, your sunlight is your arrow.
Hand in hand, steps in sync, we skipped towards the moss encrusted pond.
As Lily pads surfaced, frogs followed suit, springing effortlessly to and fro.
From the iridescent waters, we could glimpse at Nature’s Medusa,
Her marigold rays shooting out of her spherical edges.
And beneath the draped vines of Weeping Willows
Were an assortment of stones turned steps.
The three of us, with picnic baskets and checkered blankets,
Bounded towards the edge of the crystal pond.
Suddenly, I felt the weight of two stiff palms
Jolt my shoulder blades towards the shades of Aegean.
While desperate whispers emerged from behind,
My eyelid veins were engulfed by saline tears.
Between blurred pupils, I saw their smugly pursed lips.
Hands I had once held- plunging my face towards desolate depths.
(Jerry pulls on Elaine’s arm, trying to bring her in a certain direction)
Get the hell off of me, Jer.
Lainey, why you doing this to me?
What Jerry? Doing what to you?
(Just between them)
Elaine. Look now. You know I hate yelling. And you know it reminds me of my ma. Now, I want you to put a smile on your face and pretend like we ain’t so bad.
I can’t do this Jerry. I’m too scared.
Sure you can. I’ll help.
No way. I’m not going in there.
Come on. I’ll hold your hand and lead you in.
Shut the hell up Jerry. It’s not like it used to be and I don’t. Care. About. Fixing it. It’s like beating an old horse. You know, we all know how this would end… “Lainely I love you. C’mon don’t walk away on me like that! We were making progress!” “Jer, you should’ve said you loved me eight months ago.” (Closely and quietly) Jerry, I can’t keep trying. For real.
I ain’t believing “for real” Lainey.
No Jerry. I mean it.
Why you scared. Why’s it different this time?
Jerry, I’m scared because I’m losing myself. And walking in there and sittin’ down for another two hours with that woman who don’t know shit about us is just makin’ me feel like a stat these days.
A statistic. Just another girl who’s been comin’ here tryna’ work things out. Just another girl who didn’t have problems until the first slap or the first hit. Dammit Jerry! I ain’t someone who puts up with shit like this for so long. I don’t need this weight on me so much. It’s all reminding me of the worst parts of us and that’s all I think I am…A girl with a fuckin’ issue.
Ok. Ok so what’re we doing next then? This obviously ain’t workin.
Let’s just start walking. (Pause) Thanks, Jer.
I am going to my first college party.
You know, the kind with those men
Ogling and drooling over some girl’s dress,
Offering to buy her a drink,
Seduce her onto the dance floor,
Awkwardly jumping to the heavy beat of the music.
We enter, and take it all in: the deafening music,
The size of this crowded club party,
The flashing lights on the dance floor,
The gleam in the eyes of these men,
The counters cluttering with empty or abandoned drinks,
The number of sequins on just one attention-seeking dress.
I myself was wearing a sequined-dress,
Not really paying attention to the music,
When someone handed me a drink.
Here, at this pointless party,
I was offered a drink by one of those men,
And now I am being seduced to the dance floor.
It starts to feel warm, so I drop my coat on the floor,
And now of course he is only looking at my dress.
I tried not to think about stories involving these men
And focused on the blaring music,
The few people that I should probably know at this party,
And the bit of white powder on the rim of my untouched drink.
While he (rarely) isn’t looking, I secretly empty the drink
Onto the feet of those bouncing around on the cement floor;
Suddenly sick of this college party,
Of how this man seems to be doing a case study on my dress,
Of the incessant reverberation of the music,
And of my taste in college men.
I mean, I have friends that are men.
Relenting, I let my guard down and drink
Until I can’t anymore, leaning close and talking loudly over the music
I toss my shoes aside and feel a chill as I put my bare feet on the floor,
Only slightly giddy and wishing I had at least tried to dress
Daringly to fit in, trying to remember the last time I actually went to a party.