Monday, August 29, 2016

Consumer Satisfaction Guaranteed

Here's a poem I wrote several years ago when I had a bunch of stuff going on in my life. As opposed to all the stuff going on now. Different stuff. I thought: here's a new and different metaphor. I read it several years later and was like, "hmm...this is kinda weird. But, hey, we all have those moments. I figure it's not just about sharing our most spectacular moments. So...enjoy. Or scratch your head and go, what? Or maybe it could be used a an air freshener advertisement. 

Consumer Satisfaction Guaranteed

He wasn’t looking for me.
He found me purely by circumstance While out killing time,
Drowning out the buzzing in his mind.

I caught his eye from my place on the shelf.
The frenzy of vibrant colors
That decorated my box made him pause,
Made him yearn for a passion that had long escaped him. So he took my sugar-coated cardboard box in his hand And pulled his wallet out at the check-stand.

He took me home, freed me from my box
And tossed away my novel-length factory warranty: Consumer Satisfaction guaranteed,
Or your money back.

He placed me on the mantel above the fireplace In an apartment too gray to truly call home. He’d become so used to the stale air of despair That when he activated my switch
The scent of pumpkin I released before his waiting nostrils
Took him by surprise, made his mouth water with the taste of pie And the memory of a time when he had a place to call home.

The next time he gently pressed my button,
Every infinitesimal line and crack
In his fingertips became embedded in my core.
I absorbed every haunting heartache he’d ever felt. In return I surrounded him with lavender:
Flowers in a field and sunshine on his back;
The tranquility of a nap in freshly mowed grass.

The palm of his hand cupped itself around
The soft layer of plastic that must be my skin.
I felt within me his life-line:
The strain of each breath of oxygen on his soul. I felt his heart-line: the pain of each beat.
So I gifted him with the sweet whiff
Of cotton candy and caramel corn

On a warm summer’s night:
The simple pleasure of a sugar rush Shared over the laughter of friendship.

Tears dripped from eyes that had seen too much, Drenching me in his never-ending
Pilgrimage of heartache and misery.
His pain ripped from my core the flavors of love: The mouthwatering scent of strawberries,

A tantalizing taste on the tongue Along with a sweetly seductive Hint of vanilla lingering on the Soft skin of another.

It was then that I knew I must be
The new and improved model.
I must be more than a product
Made in China designed to freshen one’s home. This soft material in my center

Covered in shiny glitzy plastic must be a heart, For it has swelled with every spritz of peace
I’ve given him; every tear I’ve dried from his eyes.

I’ve fulfilled more than the promises typed neatly on my box. I’ve freshened more than his home.
But now his touch is lighter:
An afterthought rather than a need

To fill his soul with bouquets. His tears are no more.

His breath comes in short spurts that can only be laughter. His awakened soul now freshens his home.

Dust collects on the thin layer of plastic that covers my aching heart. I deteriorate inside as I contemplate breaking my promise,
As I ponder ceasing my duty in order to protect myself
From what I’m not supposed to feel.

Whenever he leaves the window open,
I imagine letting the exhaust-polluted breeze Carry me away into oblivion.

But such musings are prohibited by my warranty. If I don’t fulfill my duty,
He gets his money back.
So still I sit, perched upon the fireplace

Waiting for him to have need of me. For that is the promise on my fine print. 


Hey, it would really help me out if you'd take a minute and like my Facebook page. K, thanks. You're awesome.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bleed--A Poem

This one just poured out today.


“How are you?”
“Okay. Fine. Good. Great. And yourself?”
“Doing well. Pretty good.”
 Smiles all around.
 Too wide, too open, too perfect.
 Too much.

I want to know what you’re really thinking.
I want to know what’s behind those words, what’s behind that smile.
I want to know why you went to all that trouble to style your hair,
to put on that makeup and jewelry and trim that beard.
I want to know why those clothes are so perfect.
I want to know what you’re covering for, what’s really going on
because I know you’re not
okay fine good great doing well pretty good.

How do I know?
Because I’m not either.

I want to crawl inside your skin
and feel the blood run through your veins like it were my own.
Not just you, but you and you and you,
and him and her and them and everyone.

I want to know what you’re hiding behind that too-wide smile.
I want to know about the promotion you didn’t get,
the date you got turned down for, the bad breakup you can’t get over.
I want to know about the death that left a hole inside your soul,
I want to know about the guilt that’s so powerful it makes you hate yourself,
the arthritis that makes you grin and bear it, the cancer that eats away at you,
the depression or anxiety you’re ashamed of,
the degenerative disease you’re desperately praying would stop degenerating.
I want to know the insignificant thing your partner does that drives you crazy,
why you hate your co-worker, how your boss is less qualified than you are.
I want to know that you hate your nose,
or that mole on your chin,
or how you hate the size of your butt, your breasts, your gut.
I want to know how insecure you are about the fact that you’re going gray at twenty.
I want to know it all.

And I want you to know that sometimes I put off important phone calls
because I’m shy and have an irrational fear of the phone.
When I order at coffee shops or restaurants I always say, “Can I”
Instead of, “I’ll have” because I don’t feel confident enough to assert myself.
I feel like I’ve spent my entire life going up on a down escalator,
and lately it seems like the escalator has sped up,
and I’ve slowed down.
I can’t help but notice that everyone I grew up with has accomplished more than I have.
I want you to know that my heart aches for my fiancé
who overdosed on heroin nine years ago.
I want you to know that I’m terrified of the future:
I’m afraid I’m not good enough, that I won’t make it, that I can’t do it,
that I’ll lose control.
I’m afraid of being alone.
I’m afraid of what will happen if or when I lose more people I love.
I want you to know that I have anxiety and depression and it’s weird and confusing.
I want you to know that I struggle with burning, agonizing chronic pain
and get little support from the doctors,
and I have these terrible migraines that make me curl up in a dark room—useless.
These are just some of the reasons why I pile on
makeup and jewelry and make sure my hair and clothes are just right.
This is why I smile and say
okay fine good great doing well pretty good.

Hey, it’s what we do, right?
You do it too.

But you’re on the verge of breaking down, aren’t you?
You’re on the verge of running out into the street and
falling on your knees and screaming and pounding the pavement
until you’re bleeding on the outside as much as you are on the inside.

When you finally do this, don’t worry.
I’ll be right there next to you.
So will you and you and you
and him and her and them and everyone.
Together we can cry and bleed
and hold one another’s pain and know
We are not alone.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Picking the Marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms

Because come on, don't try and tell me you didn't pick out the marshmallows. Those are the best part. Sometimes I just wanted to have a bowl of nothing but marshmallows. I mean, what was even the point of those, those--what were those other things anyway? Were they even healthy? Probably not.

The second best thing about the cereal was of course digging through the box for the toy. Even better, when you had to get out a big mixing bowl to dump the cereal in just so you could get the toy. And then your mom would come and get all mad about it. My boyfriend bought a box of Cheerios a couple weeks ago that had a toy from "The Secret Life of Pets" and I started reminiscing about this very topic. He informed me that he'd never done this. I was appalled, and insisted that we do it right then and there, but he refused.

Some people.

I just don't even know.

Anyway, you're probably wondering why I'm writing a blog to talk about breakfast cereal, and actually, I'm not. I intended to talk about a serial. Not serial killers. I mean, sure, there's plenty of interesting stuff to talk about along those lines, but I'm in a pretty good mood after thinking about that bowl full of nothing but marshmallows, and I don't want to ruin it. So instead I'm going to talk about web serials. Books. The reading kind. Books books wonderful wonderful books.

In case you haven't heard me mention it once or twice or eight hundred times, my YA paranormal "City of Secrets" is being released chapter by chapter on JukePop serials. In all of my excitement in getting it ready and hyping it up and promoting it, I'm not entirely sure if I fully explained exactly what a serial is. My boyfriend pointed this fact out to me. I was like, "Oops."

Serial fiction is not a new thing. Charles Dickens and his contemporaries made it popular. (I feel like I got smarter just by composing that sentence.) It sparked up again recently as sort of a cross between reading and social media. Some of the most popular sites are Wattpad and Jukepop. It's free to readers, and while most authors get to choose when they release their chapters, readers have the luxury of just reading one chapter at a time. So, it totally fits the fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century.

Mine's been up for almost three weeks (chapter 3 goes up tomorrow--hint, hint). It's going fairly well so far. I'm still looking into the best ways to advertise. I started out with the standard Twitter, Facebook, and blog, which I'm learning aren't the best. I think when people are on Twitter or Facebook that's where they want to be at the moment. They don't want to click a link to read a book. Or maybe they don't understand that it's free, or that they don't have to commit to reading an entire novel. I'm not completely sure, but those are my best guesses. So, I'm looking into advertising on more reading/book oriented sites. But it's a lot of work, in addition to the eight million things I'm already doing. But it's been fun so far, and I've started reading some of the other stories up on JukePop, and I've found some good ones.

I will definitely share more of what I've learned from this in the future, so you will all know what to do and what not to do in case you are thinking of following in my footsteps.

But definitely, have a bowl of marshmallows.

And also, read the first 2 chapters of "City of Secrets." You know you want to.  Oh look, the link just happens to be right here for your convenience.