The Patient

The Patient

A Sestina

 

The scent of the room was sweet and sick

Time flew by, spun in circles and landed in my hands

My veins pulsed with liquid energy

She came to see me once or twice, in a dream

Best wishes to you and yours

Her smile was loud, reverberated throughout me

 

Ripping out the pages of books, words crawled over me

Let us help you, are you sick?

So are we. Our dosage is much like yours

Fists clenched, room as dirty as my hands

I longed to sleep, longed to dream

Sat for years and watched life come and go without energy

 

The ebb and flow of energy

Did not take long to infiltrate me

Can the others tell reality from a dream?

I ask around the hall, fluorescent lights shining on my frail face, showing I am sick

Once a woman tightly holds my hands

She says, “Once my skin was as clean as yours,”

 

Anger is an IV stuck in my arm; my emotions are no different from yours

I walk away, finally gaining the courage and energy

Thoroughly wipe my hands

Her ragged voice is all over me

She is nothing but old, nothing but sick

I push her into the deep end of my brain, stay out of my dreams

 

Oh, but I dream and dream and dream

She tells me, “My hair was once soft like yours,”

The words are following me, they are the reason I am sick

And they love the taste of my energy

Drink it all, leaving holes within me

I reach up to the sky, clouds kissing my hands

 

The sick and outcast ones search for a key to unlock my tight hands

The nurse sings to me, she is a gift-wrapped dream

Empty beings say hello, that they’ve come to visit me

They politely claim “Best wishes to you and yours,”

They think flowers will grant me living energy

They are just as sick

 

Just as sick as the rest of us, just like me

My hands clamp together with one more dream

I find myself calling out to false gods like yours, just to steal their energy

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The Breakfast Club Characterization

Claire

Claire’s hair fell in semi-sweet licorice curls, framing her ivory face with a few wisps falling over her forehead in a perfectly imperfect manner. She wasn’t familiar with this environment whatsoever; she felt as though she had been catapulted into another world. The air was stagnant and warm within the library in which detention was held, inclining her to remove her coat and hang it on the back of her chair. Her adornments stayed quite simple that morning, diamond earrings settling on her earlobes and shining with taunt at the others in the room; everyone had a precedent set for her persona of the “rich girl” and she had no intent of proving them wrong. Her casual lunch of sushi and soy sauce was enough to give away her facade of wealth, perfectly plucked eyebrows rising on her face with impudence as the boy next to her questioned her decision with a comedic tone.

 

Bender

A raggedy flannel hung over the boy’s particularly intimidating frame, the leather gloves covering his hands enough to make one cower in fear with a single approach. His attitude was apathetic that Saturday, a result of his routine conformity to detention. Unkempt, stringy hair outlined his distaste for personal grooming. The crowd sitting in the room knew of his prickly nature, therefore they all remained silent throughout the day; Bender wouldn’t settle for a Saturday in detention without a little “fun”. His definition of fun comprised of sarcastic remarks and mockery toward the other students joining him.

 

Allison

The tired and tight-lipped girl always knew she was very different from the other attendees of her high school. Dark discoloration rested beneath the skin around her eyes in order to match her clothing, along with her personality. She hadn’t said a single word to anyone that day, or really ever, and she intended to keep it that way throughout lunch. A boy that everyone seemed to know well threw a Coca-Cola toward her and she thanked him in her mind yet didn’t bother to in the real world. She had trouble separating those two things at times. She painfully felt every set of eyes rest upon her as she disregarded the sandwich her mother packed for her and made a little invention out of it, the single fun thing that she’d done so far that day.

 

Andrew

Anxieties had been flooding throughout Andrew’s veins the entire morning, worrying constantly about his father’s scattered view of him after this odd day and his questionable spot on the football team. His letterman jacket and jeans made him indistinguishable within the hallways of the school during any usual day; today, he stood out like a sore thumb. He suddenly recalled how important it was for him to eat in order to build muscle on his current scrawny frame. A bag bigger than his head was pulled out from underneath his chair and he made a point to ignore the taunting stares of his detention mates.

 

Brian

He’d singled out a green sweater that morning in hopes of protection from the other detention kids. He’d always been a sort of wallflower, paying more attention to his classmates actions rather than his own. He ignored the paper bag settled in the seat next to him and focused on the people around him, particularly Allison, who had managed to create a concoction he hadn’t even thought was possible. Brian’s small body practically jumped out of it’s seat once Bender slid right next to him smoothly. His sullen expression was forcibly lightened due to the possibility of violence that Bender always seemed to carry with him. A bony hand ran through his double-washed hair nervously as Bender spoke, attempting to make his face reflect something other than his true feelings.

School Lunches

Before the entryway of the cafeteria opened and an earthquake of children erupted into our little home away from home, all of us lunch ladies stood in a long line. Snarky remarks about certain children we disliked were laid out on the table, spilling from our inner built up discontent with them after catching them stealing once, maybe twice, or spilling milk on the floor and carelessly leaving one of us to clean up after them.

We stood in this line, and anyone who looked at us would’ve thought we were readying ourselves for war. In a way, we were. A high school cafeteria is not much different from combat. But are we the warriors, or are they?

When the kids came piling in, some ran toward us in order to get the first serving of food and a convenient seat near their friends in the cafeteria. Others walked straight over to a seat, lunchboxes swinging to and fro by their legs, their noses curling up at the aroma and sight of the food we prepared. Their favorite conversational topic was how disgusting cafeteria food is and how they’re so glad their parents pack a lunch for them.

Most lunch ladies ignored the kids overall. I, on the other hand, enjoyed watching them and taking in bits and pieces of gossip each day. It was like my own personal soap opera, really. All of the lunches sat in groups and it was rare for us to find a person sitting alone. When we did, I silently rejoiced in the fact that an outcast was present, a possible protagonist. It was as if an author were writing a story directly before my eyes.

The story unfolded much like this: Jim broke up with Kate, Alex spilled milk on Gabe, Casey had cigarettes hidden in her purse. Many don’t know this, but lunch ladies have a sort of secret code during the day; knowing eyes and simple smiles. We don’t often snitch about the things we hear, which is wonderful, because we seep into the background of the students’ everyday lives. All they receive from us is food; they ignore us, we ignore them. Or, at least, I pretend to ignore them.

Gloomy days much like this one are a paradox, clouds hanging from the sky close enough for us to touch. Fog seeped into our thoughts and actions. Yet somehow, it brightened my mood to stand underneath the fluorescent lights in the cafeteria and watch the well-known girls flutter around the cafeteria from table to table, healthy snacks tucked under their arms along with whichever boy they chose this coming week. No matter how gloomy the weather, smiles stayed plastered on their faces; they were invincible, and had no idea. Brand new rain boots sloshed and squeaked around the floor, creating a secret dialogue of who is “in” or who is “out”.

As the line shifted forward and kids handed over crumpled dollar bills and dirty coins to me, the other lunch ladies catapulted into their usual daily routine of making a joke out of how I was “too nice” to the kids. I got to know most of the ladies well throughout the year, others didn’t say a word to me the entire time. The ones I conversed to seemed to be very pessimistic, addressing the students as if they were pests rather than people. As a result of this, my line was always stretched out much longer than the others. I didn’t mind.

Yearly, there were usually a couple children that managed to hold my attention extremely well. Being the sole highlight of my days, they fluttered around the cafeteria as though it were their home. However, upon the year of my current tale, there had been a sort of drought. I found myself hanging on the edge of every word that framed a story of newly dyed hair and orange spray tans. There was an immense lack of specialty, and I was desperate to find entertainment in the form of cafeteria life.

Upon this particularly slow and dismal afternoon, talk of a new student swirled around the room, between tables, through the lunch line, eventually reaching my ears. She had come from a big city, much unlike our own, and her father was somehow well known among the students. Sounding like quite the character, a sense of excitement aroused in my brain and I stifled the urge to ask one of the students when she’d be arriving. Answers soon arrived at my doorstep, seeing as within three days she was punching in her ID number and sliding her tray along my line, numerous people ogling over the simple sight of her.

Koalas!

Treetop relaxation

All a koala could ask for,

That soporific sensation

 

Eyes lit up with an inner mighty roar

Cute on the outside

On the inside, much more

 

The forest is far and wide

Here he stays

Taking each day in stride

 

With his koala friends, he says

“There’s nothing like sitting in the trees!”

With the branches he sways

 

He greets the snakes, he greets the bees

A nice pal to all

Sharing his feast of leaves

 

Yet sometimes the trees are too tall

The koala, he frets

He longs to sit in them all

 

What he wants, he gets

He climbs up fast

His friends making bets

 

The entire forest is aghast

Who knew he could be this brave?!

Hopefully he doesn’t end up in a cast

 

He reaches the top, his friends in a rave

He waves down to them

Their day, he has saved

 

This story has come to an end

Goodbye we wave

To our good koala friend

 

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Honeybee

A Haiku Series

1

A difficult job

Her work is a breath of life

Overlooked greatly

 

2

Dip your finger in the yellow

Smooth, powdered sugar

Cough, sniffle, sneeze

 

3

Whizz, whir, buzz along

Swat and shake

Drop of venom, their life you forsake

 

4

Their sense of community

More than we know

One down, hundreds to go

 

5

Sweet syrup they provide

Face value little to nothing

Subtle gold

 

6

Rays of light shine down

On this little god

Floating through what they create

 

7

Our effect on them

A dusty, delicate hell,

Know not what we do

 

8

Life has one meaning

We spend years searching

For our own, dazed and confused

 

9

Yet for these humble creatures

What they do is all

They can do, giving

 

10

We ignore the death we cast

Push it back in our minds

Back, gone, live on

 

11

They fly on,

Solemnly unaware of us

we unaware of them

 

12

Continue to live in gratitude

Sun shining bright

A dusty day

 

13

Soft love upon flower tops

Whiz, whir, buzz along

Small yellow givers

 

Haiku as Syllabics

11:48

Flowers bloom in her veins

Soft smile, in a daze

 

1:07

Afternoon light shines

Fingertips on the windowsill

 

3:21

He wakes slow, drowsy taps

Sandpaper fingers, faint words

 

4:34

Toast and tea, tendrils of love

Rosewater dribbles on

 

Yet still they part

Dainty fingers up against the window

He drives off

 

The walls hang over her

Feeling them push her skin,

Eyes shut, breathe deep, rest

 

He comes again

Although he goes each time

Shifting in and out of rooms

 

Her lips part with

A soft voice, words unheard

Bells sound, chimes ring, birds sing

 

Therapy is long gone

Mundane waters flood their home

How was your day?

 

Teeth clenched, fists tight

They spit flames in the eyes of

Secret tunnels within

 

Like a snake

He sheds his old love for her quick

Tears it apart with hate

 

Her diary is antedated

Recollection of him

Go on

 

Winter wind inhibits her bones

Tear stains, one crease

Feather the last page

 

One last word

The story is through,

Leaves her here, wishing for more of you

 

The Villanelle

Hiding her dark insides with a lie

She ties cherry stems sweet and pure

Her bright eyes look to the sky

 

As the days pass by and by

Life she cannot endure

Hiding her dark insides with a lie

 

He is smooth yet sly

Yet his words are unsure

Her bright eyes look to the sky

 

Spreading week old jelly on rye

Could he be her cure?

Hiding her dark insides with a lie

 

The voices, they multiply

She only wants to feel secure

Her bright eyes look to the sky,

Hiding her dark insides with a lie