The Other Side

 

Two men crossed paths in a pub one night

Both worn from their wandering ways

They spoke nostalgically to one another

Swapping stories of the old glory days

With every drunken laugh and nod of the head

They slammed their cups down for more

Ale frothed over the top again and again

Until the bartender had no more left to pour

The two stumbled outside into the night

Blinking up at the hazy moon

For a moment, they stood, trying to regain their senses

That warm, cloudy night in June

One peered down the path on his right

An open, weathered and worn out road

The other looked to the left

Deep in the woods where few have ever strode

His fellow drunk followed his eyes

Into the blackness between the trees

“I been there,” he suddenly croaked

Then coughed and began to wheeze

The second man turned to the first

With a drunken, questioning look

The first man took a swaying step

Then pointed with a finger that shook

“I been down that path before

Even though I tried

I accidentally traveled down

To the Other Side.

It was dark and dirty

A place no man should go

Take my advice, old chap

And don’t go down that road.”

With those slurred words he tipped his hat

Then staggered down the way

His feet hit the beaten, clean path

Straight on, they did not stray

The second man watched with bleary eyes

Then, he turned and walked into the woods

Feeling empty and drained of pride

He felt he had no more to offer here

So he crossed in to The Other Side

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Tortured Souls

Every artist I’ve ever read – or heard – about has always been eccentric in some way or another. Some were introverts, some burdened with diseases, others broken hearts. They were all tortured or abnormal. But it all was ok, because they were artists. Being bizarre and peculiar was expected of them. I thought it might be nice to be an artist. That way, whenever someone inquired about one of my strange habits, I could just state, “Well, I’m an artist,” and they would nod their heads in a knowing way, and that would be it. No questions asked. I told Eric all this one day on the porch, while resting on the porch swing, bare feet grazing the decrepit wooden floor.

He turned away from his canvas to face me, and I noticed a smear of red paint across his chin. Somehow, he always seemed to have paint on him. Sometimes, when he would come pick me up to drive him to school, I would get in the car and his hair would still be wet from the shower and smelling of evergreen, but a flake of green paint would be stuck among his shampooed locks. My theory was that his room had so much paint in it, that some paint particles floating around in the air would just condense every now and then, and come down like snow to rest on him. That’s not scientifically possible, he would tell me, kissing my forehead in that way that I hated.

“You don’t want to be an artist,” he said dismissively, turning back to what looked like a bloody smear across the canvas.

“Why not?” I said, pulling my long legs up underneath me. I let go of the chain on the swing, taking notice of the rust stains on my hand.

“We’re tortured souls. Doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” He stepped back from his painting, then set his paints down and plopped down onto the seat next to me, jostling the swing into motion. Sweat glistened on his forehead – from the hard work of painting, I supposed. The weather outside was nice and cool, perfect for sneaking away to the lake on the other side of the woods, like Eric and I did when he first kissed me. He had discovered the lake while searching for inspiring things to paint, and I had discovered him while looking for people to write about.

He led the way to the lake, and I awkwardly followed, my long legs getting caught in everything, leaves collecting in my tangled brown hair. The moon was reflecting off the black, smooth surface of the lake. I could feel Eric’s presence behind me and on a sudden whim, I jumped into the lake, arms and legs wildly waving about. When Eric pulled me out, he looked at me as if he were trying to read a Calculus textbook.

“I don’t understand you.” He stated simply, as if it were a fact.

“Well, I’m a writer,” I joked awkwardly, showing off my sense of humor I didn’t possess, “We’re tortured souls, doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” For a few seconds he just looked at me. That was the first time I’d ever felt pretty.

“What are you painting?” I asked Eric, tracing rusty circles in my palm. He paused, then grinned.

“It’s a secret,” he smiled at my frown, standing up and walking over to his canvas.

“Wait, no,” I said, untangling my legs from beneath me and following him, “Now you have to tell me!” I grabbed his hand, so he couldn’t get his paintbrush. He just smiled and pressed my hand against the white backdrop, leaving a faded orange handprint.

If I Couldn’t Fail – Daily Post Response

This is a response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/daily-prompt-too-big-to-fail/

I know I really only answered the first part of the question. Sorry, folks!

If I couldn’t fail

I would sing on Broadway

I would tap dance and smile

And blow them away

I would learn every language

There is to learn

I would try to set fire

To something that won’t burn

I would teach an ant how to dance

I would build a house

I would do an impression

Of Minnie Mouse

I would write a novel

And have it sell worldwide

I would discover Oz

And become a tour guide

I would make everyone smile

All across the land

I would cure cancer

I would do a handstand

I would grow wings and fly

I would learn Braille

And then, lastly –

I would fail.

Geometry

To all you math haters – this is for you. 🙂

Oh, horrid, wretched geometry

Why must you mess with me?

I can take a square, that’s fine

But circles are where I draw the line!

Speaking of drawing lines, I can’t seem to

Draw a straight one when I need to

And who put x and y and k

All over my paper today?

Excuse me, teacher, I need a new sheet

This one doesn’t seem complete

Numbers are missing – look, see?

What do you mean finding them is up to me?

Darn it, I’ve messed up multiplying again

Soon, I’ll need a new pencil – my eraser’s getting thin

Why is the clock not moving at all?

I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall

Everyone else is almost done –

I’m still on question number one!

Oh, horrid, wretched, geometry

Why must you mess with me?

Falling

I could trap you

With the ropes of rumors

People have so willingly strung

Along the necks of others

Like a death sentence to a reputation

Tug after tug

The floor falls away

I could trap you

Permanently

Carved into your heart

Like the hollowed letters on my desk

Jordon and Hilary Forever

A threat

To cling to that rope

Twist it around my arm

Climbing up like poison ivy

And never let it go

Whispers pulsate through it

A steady, constant flow

Like blood in your veins

Needs oxygen

This needs spite

I could trap you

Or take a knife to the vein

And watch the blood spill freely

Dribble to the ground

So when the floor drops away

There is no rope to suffocate you

Just falling

Tasting the kind of freedom

That dances in your hair

Steals your voice

Nips at the corners of your eyes

The best kind of falling

Is absolutely

Completely

And utterly

Free