hellabella speaks

words from a chick more demented than us

what the hell AM i doing here?
i listen many times with no response
then sometimes it hits me
sometimes it smacks me around
i bleed a little bit on the salty ground

trying to conserve, reserve myself and observe
the rules of the game of
Normalicy Society Propriety
a fallacy

what the hell am i doing here?
i think sometimes i've got it nailed
my windshield is clear
and the sun lights my way
i drive slowly forward
and try to stop
for pedestrians

and i smile
and i shine
and inside
i am trying
to conceal
how i feel
i'm so tired

and i bow
and i bend
and i really pretend

i acquiesce
i regress
i undress
and retire

im a really shitty poet
and i know it
but i figure
what the hell
if you're reading
im succeeding

aimlessly she strode about
sowing seeds wherever she felt
she made a trace and left her mark
and thought not twice about what she dealt
she had learned this from her mother
she had seen it all her days
educated to be blind
she never thought to change her ways
carelessly her path was taken
happily she met her grave
but in her children's eyes is felt
the price her mark was meant to pay

i peered between the bars of the cage apprehensively. it was so dark in the room that i could barely see two feet in front of my nose. Careful not to make a sound, i sniffed the air of the small, cellular room. it reeked of mildew and and the slow but steady decay of cement. the floor was damp beneath my feet; the iron bars were slick with cold and burned into the bare flesh of my back.
my body was wet from the sweat of my fever and the moisture of the floor. leaning against the freezing bars, hugging myself with bony arms, i closed my eyes in deference to defeat and allowed myself to be lulled to sleep by the steady clacking sound that reverberated from above.

sighing and crying
sighing and crying
stopping occasionally
for denial and lying
knowing that trying
to cease all the sighing
would probably leave me
closer to dying

smoking and choking
smoking and choking
stopping occasionally
for banter and joking
incessantly poking
cleaning and poking
the fodder
for more of my
smoking and joking

dreaming of big city lights while staring out at starry nights
this small town homespun country life
slowly makes
through half closed eyes i try to dream of streets of gold i've never seen
towers and bridges and cityscapes gleaming
dappled with
of edison's
the sweet sweet air of nowhere
the proximity of nature here
the dark dark nights
bejeweled with lights
cannot compare

the ink
in the pen
of my mind
has dried
the passion
in my view
of the world
has resigned
the expression
has left
my hands
and my eyes
what is left
is not

took flight
on a cool
august night.
fall slipped by
as a sigh
in november.
winter remained
till april's
heavy rains
washed it
then june's sun
cooked through
and everything here
new. the end

Really Strange Things

Herbert Woosh was a very peaceful man. He had worked as an accountant for the same firm for the past thirteen years. He had been married to the same woman for sixteen and was a stable if sometimes bland and out of touch father to two young children. On December 19th, 1997 the boy was 8 and the girl 10. Herbert worked late hours in December each year. The holiday put a marked strain on the family's otherwise decent income. He had taken to coming home at nine and ten o'clock, sometimes sleeping at the office and not returning until the sun woke him up early in the morning.

Lily Woosh never worried about whether Herbert was actually at the office. She wouldn't have thought to, because Herbert wouldn't have had the foresight or the cunning to design the lies necessary to deceive. He was an honest and well-meaning man, if boring at times, and distant. Lily noticed a slight change come over Herbert in the weeks before the holiday. It happened somewhat every year, but she had ceased to worry about it. Christmas was always so lovely that it seemed to make it alright, and Herbert always felt fine once January rolled around.

Herbert didn't question his role during the holiday season. Just as he didn't question going to Maine during his only two week vacation every July to visit Lily's sister Marge and her husband Jim.

On December 18, 1997, Herbert had gone to work at six in the morning. An hour early to make up for one missed last week. He had accidentally fallen asleep and was late in the morning because he had to rush home and shower. On the 18th Herbert drank coffee all day long, and on his lunch break ate in the car while making a quick trip to the jeweler's to pick up the ring he was buying for Lily. He knew she wanted a diamond very badly, and he wanted to make this holiday memorable for her. It required excessive hours at the office, but he felt that it would probably be worth it.

On the way to the jeweler he swerved while trying to put the burger wrapper into the little brown bag. It frightened him significantly. He adjusted his glasses, straightened up and made his way very carefully from that point on. He worked straight through five oclock without a break. He had set a goal for himself to complete three accounts in the afternoon. He was determined not to go home until they were all finished. The Starsky account turned out to be extremely cumbersome and complicated. At eight o'clock Herbert realized that the work would take at least two more hours to finish. He took a short break and ate a bag of pretzels, never getting up from his dim little cubicle; the light on his desk the only one illuminated in the very large room.

Herbert had underestimated the work load at eight o'clock and did not notice when the hands on the clock slipped past eleven. Herbert had stopped drinking coffee at six, not wanting it to keep him awake all night. Herbert did not notice when he fell asleep on top of his desk. He did not notice when he drooled on the paperwork.

At six thirty in the morning Herbert sat straight up in his seat. His glasses had fallen off in his sleep. He did not pick them up. He did not grab his jacket and he did not tie his left shoe. The world outside his office was a pale grey. Only a hint of rose lay on the horizon. Henry stiffly stepped into the car and did not put on his seatbelt. There were only a few other cars in the parking lot that early in the morning. Herbert didn't see them. He had driven the route to work so many times he often thought to himself that he could do it blindfolded. On the morning of December 19th he tested that hypothesis.

There were not too many cars when Herbert first got on the road. He glided beneath each light, lucky that they were primarily staying green. He drove a little recklessly down the major road, lucky that there were no police on patrol at the time. He stayed in the lane however, and headed straight for his home. His family lived in a reasonable suburban community on the outskirts of the town. It took about thirty minutes to make the trip with no traffic on the road. As he neared his home he began to encounter people leaving for work. He sped past them, seeing nothing save the images in his mind.

Herbert was flying over the ocean. He wore large black wings and used them to sail and swoop in the salty ocean air. The sun grew warm upon his back, and it felt very nice as he flew above the waves.

Herbert did not see the flashing yellow lights telling him to stop. He did not see the four little kids walking across the road to get on their schoolbus. He did not hear when his wheels crushed the bones of the children into the ground. He pulled into his driveway with a little smile on his face. He woke up in the front yard, drool crusted to his chin. His wife was screaming frantically in the street; children were crying and banging on the windows of the bus. There was blood in the road, and Herbert thought he saw his daughter's bookbag. He saw one of the Nike shoes that had been so important to his son in September, worn by a leg lying lonesome in the ditch.

Herbert Woosh remembered flying. He only remembered flying.

on a bus in burma
morning light brings mandalay
from the fiery plain of old pagan
temples glittering beneath the shimmering
scorching heat of the summer sun

on a bus in burma
fabled but forgotten land
suffocating in oppression's hand
sweet and sad and precious place
bittersweet each burmese face

today we call it myanmar
or else we call it not at all
with orwell gone, and kipling too
i think old burma is gone too
we've forgotten but she lives on
in the fiery plain of old bagan
and the hustling bustle of new yangon
and in the eyes of everyone
who make the golden land their home
who arent free
like me
to roam

midnight bus in burma
bouncing this warm night away
and i dont know what awaits me
and the morning light
in mandalay



the adventures of a failed writer - 2003
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