Everyone Creates (Spoken Word)

Everyone creates…
Everyone draws, speaks, paints,
And you may be saying to yourself that you aren’t one of those people that can place lead to a page and create the next “Scream” or pastel the canvas or the sheet or the sheen of the marble that sits as waiting potential, potent to potentially, irrevocably alter the perception of someone standing near who would gaze upon that work and with a singular tear, say softly to themselves…
Now that is art.
Everyone creates,
You see, from a young age we are taught with our hands to create, doodling, drawing, tracing, painting, the kindergarten class is a petri dish of artistic passion. But there is something missing which makes that environment so conducive to learning…criticism cant penetrate, and you were free to create the very masterpiece and medium you’ve mastered with the piece of that proverbial peace of mind.
Until you reach a certain age and those lines you’ve drawn must then fall in line with all the others which have been grafted, a box of passion which cannot be expanded, or excelled in any medium until you become a medium to the spirits, screaming for your artistic desire back but the cry has been quelled by the lines you must now fall into…like graph paper, everyone is the same size, shape, and diameter, all another block that makes up the sheet of our lives, flat without purpose because they have coerced us into a regimented, restricted, constricted lifestyle. Snakes in the garden weren’t always so hostile, they led us astray with sweet talk and denial but now that its two-thousand and fourteen, those snakes are worthwhile because they tell us that they have walked the miles and until we fall into their shoes for a trial run, we cannot expand our knowledge.
So art is dead, or on a ventilator at least, gasping for the creativity to return.
Everyone creates.
You see, maybe you aren’t great with the physical, the original inception of artistic strength. Maybe instead you spin webs of lies, of tricks and ties to other forms of artistic size, the story of a world in which nobody ever held you down. You revert to a point in the past when this restriction wasn’t in existence and with that moment, the words they flow onto the page, a story for any step in one’s life; a break from the monotony of monogamous society, an introduction to the abstract.
Your words, they flow like a river, driving deeper and digging that grand canyon metaphor, stacking imagery a top the stream of language which permeates the being of believing to take stock in what you say…to create. Your words dance like so many tin soldiers, only your purpose is the positive, the release, the cathartic. Not the control. Not the filibustering ancient who hides behind the laughs of a society bred through greed and unoriginal behavior and which thrives on the remix, the quick fix, the self-induced lobotomy of reality tv, never understanding the need to be free…
From…
Captivity.
And so you create.
And this creativity is not always positive. Some instead create the lies that hold us in, deprive us of the healthy mindful way in which one could process information. You spin your web, you lay your trail, we follow through like animals on the scent of the truth, only…it has been constructed, the truth is subjective. You create a tapestry of lies and deceit, but you create it so artfully that the artist fully feels that they believe in what you preach.
And herein lies the dilemma
Because everyone creates and everyone destroys and if creation can destroy than can destruction create? That answer is elusive but can also be conducive to abject thought and plausible deniability.
You see, the people in charge like to destroy, like to tell you that it’s impossible, that art is dead and that societal means mean to societally link you to another drone, another absent minded pawn in the chess game that is the world stage. Where unless you hang back and hide in the shadows, the consequence will be dire, and so you fail to inspire even one shred of social, creative dignity.
A great man once said that people should not give themselves to brutes, to machine men with machine hearts and he was right because in that aspect creativity dies. We’ve been blessed by something, whether faith or science, which inherently gives us that capability to create, to be introspective, introverted, existential beings with which the simplest idea can flourish into more than what it could have ever been before when we were living on the graph paper, a flat a-ffect to a flat existence, ready to sail over the edge.
Don’t let that creativity die because it is life. Everyone creates life and although you may feel alone or trapped or scared, your creativity is always there. It’s always there to be spread and shared and to give the creator a sense of completion and gift to the censure, the present solution to their problems because in the end, regardless of where you fall into the realm of passion with which I’ve professed so much love, inherently your spot is yours to claim, and if left alone it will eventually atrophy into nothing.
Everyone creates something.
What have you created? Will it stand the test of time, the weathering skies? Will it crumble and you will pick a cubicle life on the flat sheet that will become your marker, your number, your place?
You are not a number.
You are a person, part of that great collective known as “everyone” and in the end the saying is true…
Everyone creates something…what will you?

Stars (Poem)

We laid beneath the stars
on a hill of soft autumn grass
Staring into the void
And seeing the future stretch out before us
Nothing but emptiness and possibilities

I try to tell myself that she’s gone
That this night isn’t that night
But somewhere, I can sense her
Staring down from those same stars

Drawing me into a future of possibilities

They Have the Night (Poem)

And when the night screams
The raven will answer
A call as shrill as the winter wind
And as biting as the snowy air
It sings to the moon in all its glory
Lulling a flashback to past requiems
A night like this shouldn’t be wasted
A night like this happens only once in a great while
So this time we must enjoy all that the dark has to offer
And break the dawn with our silhouettes
For not everyone will make it through this night
And those who don’t have a hard road out
But those who do, they have the night

And that is enough for anyone searching for…… 

Sleep…… 

Peace….. 

Serenity… 

Those who search………

 

They have the night.

An Excerpt from “There’s Something Happening in Luray.”

The road spread out much as it had the uncounted nights that spread into the past. The lines blurred, the minutes ran together, and the feeling of never-ending night opened out in front of him just as it had before. Tonight was different though. There was something strange about the way he felt. So tired……

So unbelievably tired.

The road began to bob in his vision, bouncing up and down as he tried to remain conscious. The last few days had stretched his mind to the limit and the prospect of another forty-five minutes in the beat-up black blazer made him want to swerve into oncoming traffic.

He looked to the left and again to the right, scanning for any deer that might be present in the countryside he was driving through. The clock was ticking slower and slower….taking more and more time….slowing his trip to an unbearable drag…

His eyes snapped up to the road…

How long had he been out? Thirty, maybe forty seconds? It didn’t matter because he was now as alert as he had ever been behind the wheel. A shape passed in front of his car, standing in the middle of the road up ahead, out of reach of his headlights but still bathed in the moonlight. A small, frail shape, covered in mud, or so it seemed, but what it was, Grey couldn’t quite distinguish.

As he got closer, Grey realized it was a young boy, naked and covered in clay or mud…something from the mouth down, splattered across his painfully pale skin. The boy wasn’t moving as the blazer approached. Grey slowed down to round a sharp curve and when the vehicle corrected itself, the child was gone.

My mind is fucking with me Grey thought but he couldn’t pull the image of the naked child from his head. Grey afforded himself one more glimpse down at the clock, just to reassure himself that he was awake and when he returned his eyes to the road….

The child…

Grey swerved hard, left and around the child. The car jerked against the sudden change in direction and lurched back when he tried to correct his veer. The old SUV couldn’t take the spontaneity of steering taking place and it buckled under on one side, rolling over and again until Grey and the blazer landed hard, upside-down in the middle of the deserted country highway. The spray of glass and the scrape of metal were simultaneously assaulting his body and he cringed with the grating of metal on asphalt.

The blazer slid to a halt, some twenty yards from where the boy was standing. Grey shook his head, trying to dissolve the film which lay over his eyes. He slowly lifted his arms and shook them slightly, checking to make sure they were still operational. His toes wiggled and, although he was bleeding from his head and it was throbbing terribly, he was aware enough to hear it.

A child’s laughter…

It echoed over the empty road and made a course for Grey’s ears. He could hear it as well as the pitter-patter of little feet, coming closer to the overturned vehicle. The giggling increased in volume and Grey began to notice that the sound, while at first appearing childlike and innocent, had a darker edge to it…almost menacing…

Grey struggled and finally freed himself from his seatbelt, causing him to crash hard on to the ceiling which was now the floor of the SUV. Just as he began to move toward the exit, he heard it again….the laughing…

He looked toward his shattered windshield and could see small feet skipping along the front of the vehicle. The child was softly singing something, a melody that Grey could almost place, would almost enjoy if it were another setting…

Interspersed throughout the song would be moments of laughter; slow, haunting, childlike. The child gradually circled the car, making his way toward the driver’s side window which was lying in shards around Grey. He watched the feet skip slowly toward him and then, just as they had reached the window, the singing and skipping ceased and all that Grey was left with was a pair of feet posing over him, just out of sight, and the only sound was the wind whistling through the newly crafted holes in the vehicle. The child bent down, staring into the car…

He was covered in blood, smeared from his nose, down across his navel and finishing in a spraying pattern over the rest of his naked body. Grey could not make out the eyes. It was too dark and he was still a little woozy from the accident. The boy stood there staring for some amount of time, but the procession of minutes meant nothing to Grey. He was transfixed by what appeared to be sadness in the boy’s features.

He felt he needed to comfort the poor soul.

Grey extended his arm, slowly at first, but faster as his elbow unfolded. It was almost a palpable need to touch the boy’s face and when he moved, the boy stood motionless, waiting. Grey looked over the naked visage in front of him, the blood looking rusty and brown, caked on in what appeared to be more than one layer.

Grey lightly touched the cheek and the boy’s eyes went wide. His features twisted ever so slightly so that Grey wasn’t sure if anything had actually changed, and then, almost instantaneous with the touch, the boy crumbled. They body dissolved into a fine dust which filtered down onto the asphalt flowing easily through Grey’s hand as if he were building a sandcastle. The air was silent and Grey was speechless….

In the distance, he heard a car approaching and he thought, possibly, a small giggle from a distance not too far off.

Untitled and Unfinished

Something…

Something has happened.

We need you home now.

Love, Mother.

The letter came to her in the mail in an unmarked manila envelope. Chris originally thought it might be something from her school but the college had been unbelievably silent in the weeks since she had mailed her grad application. She had never seen a letter written this well, especially one that was sent from her mother. Chris’ mother was great at numerous things but of them handwriting was not one. She phoned but there was no answer…in fact, after the third call, the ring turned into a busy signal.

Something must be happening. Chris thought. I need to be there.

The following morning Chris boarded the passenger train that would take her back home to Luray. The small mountain town was something she tried so very hard to escape but things were always pulling her back, whether it be her sister’s graduation, her father’s death, or whatever was currently burdening her already dwindling family ties.

Always calling her home.

The ride back to Luray did do one thing for Chris. It let her mind wander to memories she had of her hometown; Luray.

Sheltered in the nook of the Blue Ridge Mountains, home to bobcats, bear, deer, and the occasional town drunk; She lived here for the first twenty years of her life and by the time she was of legal age to drink, she ran as far and as fast as she could. Small town life didn’t suit Chris. She was meant for bigger things. At least that’s what her father told her. He always told her to get out.

Too bad he made it before she did. She wishes he was still here, that he could have escaped with her. Instead, the cancer ate away at his body while her mother slowly ate away at his soul. In his final days, there was nothing but anger and bitterness in his heart, and Chris couldn’t bear to remember him this way; she refused to.
A sharp jarring woke her from her day dream. The train had entered the last tunnel before Luray. She was only a few minutes outside of town and the mountains and valley were finally beginning to meet. The granite and limestone shot up around the train, a wall around the town that was almost impossible to surpass. Chris knew this. It took her 21 years to get outside the wall.

When her train docked, Chris called a cab to take her the rest of the way. She had no use for a car in the city so years ago she had opted to sell her old Lumina and use that money as a down payment on her apartment. She got along fine as long as nothing required her to leave the city.

The cab drove through the winding country roads. Chris’ house was about two miles outside of town, in the midst of seas of corn and wheat. The landscape looked as though it was painted by Katharine Lee Bates. It was as open as you could want but at the same time, just as suffocating. Finally, after a bumpy ride through an area the state had been promising to fix since before Chris could drive, the half mile driveway appeared.

The ancient farmhouse loomed in the distance with the long, gravel drive accented by apple trees the entire length of the lane. Chris paid the driver, said her thanks, and turned to the direction of her childhood home. With her backpack of clothes slung over one shoulder, Chris began to make her way down the drive, the subtle crunch of the gravel underfoot was accented by singing birds and sunshine but the nearer she became to the house, the less welcoming it became.

The house towered over her, not so much physically as mentally, a constant reminder of her captivity…of her mother…of her childhood.

Something seemed off about the area surrounding the house. She couldn’t put her finger on what but something seemed amiss. There were no birds singing close to the house although the symmetrical granite birdbaths on either side of the front door were loaded with sparrows and robins. The birds simply sat on the edge, staring sightlessly at the house, seemingly unaware of Chris’ presence. They did not budge, frozen in place. If it weren’t for the occasional feather ruffle or blink, Chris would have been certain they were statues.

Clouds had begun to form in the sky and Chris could smell the approaching rain. That was something she actually did miss about home. There was always something about the scent of rain in the country which permeated everything and made life feel less like a mosaic. In the city, the rain only intensified the smell of urine and trash. In the country, the rain and air circulated through the fields, spreading the scent of wildflowers, grain, and the Shenandoah Vineyard a few miles to the east.

Chris made her way to the oaken front door but before opening it, gently reached out and grazed the knocker. It was an ancient piece, one that was older than the entire house. The weathered copper had begun to oxidize and green was becoming a more noticeable hue. Her fingers lightly played along the outside of the wolf’s mouth which held the knocker itself. When she was little, the wolf knocker was something to be feared. It looked as though the eyes glowed and the teeth, which were exposed in an almost snarl, were the subject of nightmares for Chris. As she looked at it now, she noticed for the first time the beauty that the object possessed.

She extended her arm further, grasped the rusty handle and pushed open the door. Immediately she was hit with the smell of something. She couldn’t exactly place it but it smelled heavily of sulfur. It was as though someone was burning well water.

“Mom!?” Chris called out, but the only sound that followed was the echo of her voice.

“Mom!” she shouted again.

Where is she?

She walked through the foyer and into the sitting room. It was like she had taken a step back into her childhood. The olive green, flowered love seat sat against the stairwell, still as ugly as ever. This room branched off into the living room containing only the baby grand, silent in the far corner. Its music died with her father…Chris’ love of music died that same day. The fireplace, cold and silent, sat below the huge cherry mantle adorned with pictures of Chris and her sister Jess.

The pictures mocked her, showed the world that here was a loving mother. A lie perpetrated successfully, but after years of trying, Chris gave up fighting that image. Let her have her lie…Chris knew the truth.
There was something out of place here…there was at least a solid quarter inch of dust sitting stagnant on the mantle. Her mother was nothing if not clean. Chris had the scars to prove it.

“MOM!?” she shouted one last time but once again, nothing. No sound…except for the quiet ticking of the grandfather clock which sat caddy cornered, across from the stairs. It beat along like the hear t of the house.

Chris turned and went into the kitchen but she was suddenly pulled up short. There was a man…a very large man…in the kitchen

“Can I help you sir?” Chris asked, quietly but with an edge. She inched herself back toward the arch of the sitting room, fumbling blindly to reach for her father’s walking cane which still stood in the umbrella rack just inside the door. Her mother left it there when Chris’ father could walk no more, like an unmade bed in the room of a deceased child; it reminded her of a better time.

No answer. No reaction.

The man was huge, probably pushing seven foot with his top hat on. Long thin sideburns descended from the hat and dipped into the high collar surrounding his throat. His coat was a duster, black, and stretched to his knees. It was buttoned up almost entirely, but Chris could just make out a black shirt and tie tucked underneath. His arms seemed…too long for his frame, unsettlingly long, but the most disturbing thing about this visage were his eyes.

They were shielded behind small framed, wire sunglasses. She couldn’t see anything through the tint.

The man stood there quietly, seemingly appraising the situation, but then he moved. The movement appeared almost awkward considering the man’s size. He reached his gloved hand into his coat and retrieved what appeared to be a manila envelope. Placing this softly on the table, the man nodded and began to move toward the door at the back of the kitchen.

“Wait!” Chris shouted. She received her first and only reaction from the man. He turned his head slowly, and, looking down his nose at her, shook his head slowly from side to side. Chris could just make out that there appeared to be nothing behind the glasses, emptiness, but she shrugged it off to shadows. Before she could react again, the man exited the door and the house grew silent once more.

Chris ran to the door and flung it open. She was met with a harsh wind and rain biting at her from beyond the porch but…no man.

He was gone.

They were surrounded by fields and a gravel driveway but he was gone.

PLANG

Chris jumped. The piano in the living room…something slammed on the keys.

She sprinted through the kitchen, through the sitting room and into the living room. The baby grand sat in the corner, lid open just enough to touch the ivory, but the room was empty. Chris made her way over to the instrument but, just as with the mantle, there was a thick layer of dust. The keys themselves were even covered in time and age. Chris did notice something strange…

There were no spots on the keyboard. The dust looked entirely undisturbed.

What the hell is going on here?

“Hello? Is someone here? This is not funny, seriously. I’m calling the police if you don’t show yourselves.”

Chris tried to keep a strong timbre but she grew shaky. Something about the house seemed to close in around her and she could hear nothing at all. The silence was deafening, wrapping around her like moist velvet. All except the clock…It still kept that same, droning rhythm.

I’ve had enough of this shit.

Chris turned from the sitting room but as she did, she heard the distinct sound of white noise. It was unsettling and invaded the silence like an unwelcomed guest. She turned back to the television.

Snow…all that was there was snow.

The room was still empty. Someone was fucking with her. It had to be that.

“Hey! Listen up asshole. I’m calling the police.”

Chris reached into her pocket for her phone but the square shape was gone. Shit. Tears began to blur her vision and she turned abruptly, flopping down onto the old leather couch. The dust exploded up around her, clouding her vision and engulfing her in an even more suffocating air. This couch had been in the same spot for as long as she could remember and the cold, rough feel of the material brought her a strange sense of belonging. It was as if the couch recognized her. It was strangely…comforting.

Chris heard something; a skittering on the wooden step, just outside the doorway to the living room. It didn’t sound like a mouse or other pest. The skittering almost sounded like children’s feet.

A giggle.

A childlike giggle emanated from the steps, dancing down the stairwell and into the living room. A shiver ran down Chris’ leg. There haven’t been children in this house since her sister left two years ago. Children didn’t belong here.

Chris’ worry had begun to crawl toward full blown panic. A heavy shuffling of feet overhead had Chris on her feet and sprinting in the direction. A door slammed somewhere upstairs. This house, a large plantation house, was always overwhelming to Chris and never more than now did she feel as though the house was watching her in its omnipotent, ever-standing eminence.

Chris began to climb the stairs.

One. Two. Three. She began to count the steps to herself, something she had always done when she was younger but had grown out of when she left this place. It was a tick, a nervous habit she developed when trying not to wake her mother in the night. The counting let her know how close she was to safety and silence. It appears the house had kept that habit safe for her return.

Seven. Eight. Nine. Darkness had set in over the valley and the last few remaining rays of sunshine barely made it into the rooms of the house, let alone the central staircase. The darkness began to surround Chris, to cover her in a blanket of night. She stopped for a moment. Her heart was beating out of her chest and, with the overwhelming silence, felt as though a stampede was thundering through.

She peered up toward the second floor, only eight steps more, but there was something hiding beyond the light. Chris shook her eyes. It had to be just her imagination but she could swear there was something hiding there, watching with curious eyes. Chris moved again and her step was accompanied by a loud squeak.

There was definitely something there; something beyond the pale of the room, shifting its position in the black of the second floor landing.

Chris held her breath, closed her eyes, and counted. Another habit the house had brought back. When she was on the wrong end of her mother as a child, she would hide and count. When she reached fifty, she would emerge and usually the woman had calmed down…most of the time.

She counted still, eyes closed so tightly that there were bursts of color exploding behind her eyelids.
At fifty, she opened her eyes…

A pale face stared at her, empty eyes glaring at nothing…at everything. The visage crumbled like a stone mask, the cracks descending into the night like a cloak. She didn’t stir, didn’t breathe. The face floated as if without a body…the lips stretched back in a smile and opened slowly. The tongue slipped out from between the gap, licking suggestively at the crumbly stone face.

Chris closed her eyes again, tight, and counted. Every ten she would flutter open her eyes, and the face would be closer. Chris remained as still as possible, hoping that the image would disappear. At fifty, she opened them again…

The face was nose to nose with her….

It screamed a low, trembling scream that roared through the stairwell and shook Chris to her bones. It trailed off into a rattle that lasted for minutes…

Chris screamed again, stumbling back and slipping down three steps. When she opened her eyes, the apparition was gone; she was alone.