Word Prompts (S69): Sparkle

It doesn’t take much, just a glimmer in the corner of your eye, something that makes you pause. Makes you turn. Makes you consider: what if?

You are already an adult when this first happens to you.

When most children your age were off playing make believe, pretending to be superheroes or magicians or spies, you were content with staying inside. You learned how to read from the out of date magazines on the table of you mother’s nail salon, colors for you had letters and numbers. You grew up knowing better than to ask for the latest toy in the market, not when you were so keenly aware of how much (or how little) the salon made every month.

As you get older, you try your best. You help out where you can, sweep up hair and crunch the numbers and–when technology allows for it–boost the online presence of the salon, small though it may be. You run the accounts, try to give it an overhaul, but still the salon struggles.

You graduate and think: you don’t want it.

Ungrateful as it may seem, you don’t want the salon. It’s not your dream–hell, you’re not even sure if it was your mother’s dream, either–but it’s not something you want to take over. It’s your home, yes, and part of you will always love it, will always be nostalgic for tiles and walls and soothing nature sounds on loop, but you don’t want your future to be tied down to this. You don’t want to live and die here, chained to this anchor of a business that has always grounded you.

You are an adult and for the first time in your life you want to be something–someone–else.

You are an adult when, out of the corner of your eye, like a coin sparkling in the sun, you see a different path for yourself.

Reflections of another self,
skin still brown, but scaly.
Teeth become fangs,
nails become claws,
vestigial wings
jutting from my back.
Monstrous, miraculous,
I was born of dragons.

My mother, pale blue,
descended from healers and marines.
Ethereal, but powerful,
indomitable.
She called me her lucky penny.
I didn’t understand then.

My father, rich red orange.
Gleaming, vivacious, self-assured,
the sun in the sky,
the core of the earth.
I learned early on
not to meet his eyes.

My older sister, deep purple;
the color of royalty,
of poisonous flowers.
Everyone bowed to her whim,
and her talent unparalleled, too.
I stumbled in her footsteps.

My younger sister, yellow,
as bright as her personality.
Buttercups and bumblebees,
growth and spring and cheer.
I tried to clear a path,
then looked up to see her fly.

World on the cusp of war,
friction and tensions rising high,
words and talents slung around.
The weight of magic,
the sound of drums,
consequences hovering, waiting to fall.

Resistance, justice, freedom,
held fragile between fangs and claws.
Long forgotten disasters,
hidden traces of the ancestors.
In the mouth of the cave
waits the leader, made of tin.

I am not a brown dragon.

jacksgreyson, Copper (2017-04-16)

third wife to be,
or so you hope,
he loves you so.
(but love is not
what is wrong here)

he and first wife,
had been young then,
so quick to fall.
(as well to part,
they did not last)

she who came next,
may not have known,
or did not care.
(she thought the same,
and paid the price)

love is not all,
for what of faith?
he loved them, too.
(third wife to be,
learn from the past)

Someday is a dog,
shy and sad and scruffy,
but wise and full of hope.

Someday does not like new places,
but new people she is willing to trust
so long as they do not make her bathe.

Someday walks slowly,
sniffing at the flowers on her path,
greeting everyone that needs a smile.

Someday is content
with three bowls of food,
her pillow and daily pettings.

Someday is a literal dog,
who lays her head on my knee,
and looks at me, believing.

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-12)

we were unafraid,
for there was little, then, to fear.
our monsters easily banished,
with a flick of a light switch.
now our monsters are legion,
hiding anywhere, as anyone,
instead of being fearless,
we must now be brave.

may passion find a home within you,
may joy be a frequent guest,
may sorrow visit fleetingly
and anger, too, be quick to rest.

what did we used to say to each other?
one day, one day,
we’ll get out of here;
one day, one day,
we’ll be older, stronger;
one day, one day…
… this won’t happen again.

on silent feet,
down darkened steps,
she treads.
night has fallen,
the sun beings sleep,
time for her to wake.

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-10)

Untitled (2017-04-09)

“Come here,” your grandmother says, the same confident tone as always–that all who hear her, maybe the very world itself, will conform to her whim–the smallest gesture of her hand to punctuate the statement.

You obey immediately, walking forward and stopping just short of where she is seated, the dust and dirt from your trousers brushing against the vibrant blue and purple blanket draped over her lap. You can’t meet her eyes, locked on to your own intertwined and fidgeting fingers.

“I said, come here,” she repeats, reaching up towards your face–you crouch down to accommodate her. The grip around your chin is firm but not painful. She turns your head this way and that, inspecting, and you follow as she moves you. You lean into her hand, skin thin and cool and papery, bony and frail, and yet comforting.

When she pulls her hand away, it is wet with your tears.

You haven’t seen her in so long.

“What is with that hair?” she asks, and your immediate laughter in response is wet and nasally, clogged.

“It’s the style,” you say, “Asymmetry is in.”

“Hmph, I know that,” she says, “But it’s so messy! Don’t you comb it?”

You don’t own a hairbrush. It’s short enough that you can just run your fingers through it get rid of tangles.

You cannot tell this to your grandmother, who was a school matron and known citywide for her poise and etiquette.

“What are you doing here?” she asks, instead, patting the empty seat beside her.

You collapse into it, slouching towards her, never mind your terrible posture.

“I didn’t mean to,” you say in a quiet voice, small and simple and sorry, as if you were still the four year old that broke your grandmother’s prettiest tea set out of curiosity. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

You did much worse than destroy heirloom ceramics this time around.

She raises a hand to your face once more, but you close your eyes–you can’t bear to see the disappointment on her face.

Without sight, your other senses are amplified. The scent of your grandmother’s flowery perfume, the contrast of the chair’s upholstery against the scraping, crunching, of shattered glass on pavement.

The sound of sirens, fire flickering, metal and gasoline and smoke on the air.

“I didn’t mean to,” you repeat, and cry again.

More than that broken tea set, more than your messy hair and the dust on your trousers and your terrible posture. More than the cuts on your arm and the blood oozing through your shirt and what you think is a bone shard poking through your forearm.

More painful and shameful and awful than all that is telling your grandmother–who you loved so much, who you have not seen in eight years–that you didn’t mean to die…

… and her knowing that you are lying.

It was never about finding the truth,
never about finding passion,
or your purpose in life.
It was about surviving,
about scraping out an existence
and saying:
here I will stand,
here I will stay,
this is where I draw the line.

Sometimes your line gets smudged.
Sometimes your hands get tired,
aching muscles,
skin gone metallic and sweaty
from the hammer and chisel.
Carving out a mountain untouched,
far from the rivers and the seas–
no limestone or gypsum here.

Tonight you laugh,
tonight you cry,
tonight you remember to feel.
Music in the air, swooping and light,
bells, flutes, and piano trills,
punctuated with brass and playful drums.
Your body wants to dance,
though you don’t have the choreography.

What is today?
A friend you’ve not seen in ages.

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-08)

everyday, a bottle
thrown to the ocean
secrets and wishes written inside

i am here, i am here, i am here,

island slowly slinking
storm on the horizon
waves encroaching,
sand washed away

don’t let me drown

We were a series of missed connections,
meetings and encounters unaligned.
I could have loved you,
was halfway there,
until we drifted apart.

Across the room,
our eyes first met,
commiserating smile dimpling your cheek.
Listening to a fool,
and trying not to laugh,
I might have fallen in love with that smile.

A few days later,
the second time,
a spark of recognition and pleased surprise.
You introduced yourself,
hair dark against the pale pink of your shirt,
so sweet, the curve of your neck.

Third followed soon,
later that night,
lights dim, music thumping, glasses in hand.
The crowd pushed us together,
but you linked our arms and drew me close.
Head resting against my shoulder.

It would have been a beautiful beginning.

I couldn’t find you after that night.
I had your name but not your number.
I didn’t even think to ask,
hadn’t understood until it was already too late.

I might have seen you in the library, once,
separated by glass walls and a flight of stairs.
Breathless, reckless,
more falling than walking,
I tried to catch you,
and found only an empty desk instead.

Your name was a beacon,
I interrupted so many conversations,
a lovestruck fool.
Maybe you would have laughed.
But none of them were you,
and the months passed.

I could have loved you.

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-07)

Untitled (2017-04-06)

Like ringing in your ears,
or leaves rustling in wind;
Everything muted, untouchable,
but still real. Still true.

I follow the beating of your heart,
every step that much closer to you.

I am silver,
fragile and tarnished;
you are gold,
no rust no to fear.

And yet.
Wood rots, stone erodes,
but after the end we will still be here.

I do not love you,
then or now;
But maybe one day,
I will remember how.

Fingers rubbing at the shell of her ear, tugging on the lobe, nails scratching at skin. Nerves, frustration; futile, pent up energy and only this slow trickle of expulsion.

She walks, head lowered, eyes to the ground. Mindful of cracks and divots, the soles of her shoes scraping against concrete. Noisy, traceable, anchored down. She is silent otherwise.

Shoulders tensed, she turns and stops, daring the world to come for her. She drives too fast and eats as she pleases, ending every night furtively typing beneath her blankets.

She is risk averse and prone to a sedentary lifestyle, but in this case wouldn’t change be the safer choice?

~

A/N: Today was cloudy and rainy and cold and I LOVED IT.

Clearly this means I should move to, like, Seattle or something…

Sounds like a kind of sensory overload; everything too loud, too bright, too scratchy, too hot, too everything. And music blocks out noises, and rythmic tapping/stimming behaviour gives your senses something predictable to focus on instead. A kind of peace, as is evenly filtered light, coolness, and rain that takes away excessive smells, even if your nose wasn’t the main thing bothered,

Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way.

I kind of figured it was “reverse” seasonal affective disorder (or a reaction to everyone else recovering from their seasonal affective disorders and me being a dick and getting irritated at their rising spirits), but breaking everything down like that is pretty smart.

I was so exhausted from the day before yesterday that I literally slept for fourteen hours and didn’t find it weird to just spend the rest of the day in bed, and I feel so much better. I think it’s because, as you said, I could control everything–keep the lights to my level, the sound to my level, and there’s less dust and pollen or whatever in the air because I’m indoors instead of out on deliveries. And, also, no other people, so…

what does it say
that i am more
suicidal in spring?
that rain and clouds
rejuvenate me,
while sunlight
saps my strength.

what does it say
that waking up
before my alarm
always disappoints?
that morning sounds
only grate and
frustrate me.

what does it say
that i press my temple
rhythmic tap tap
imagining
that i rattle around pills
shaking, enticing,
reckless driving habits

i bleed and calculate
the volume
of my music
deafening, blasting,
i want desperately
the end of spring

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-03)