Letters to Somewhere: Part I

Dear Lilac Bush,

We seem to get locked into a staring contest at times, don’t we? You, rising over the cusp of the second floor window and swaying under snow or breeze. Me, blankly staring and hoping you will bequeath a measure of inspiration to me. You’ve always been there, curtains drawn or curtains pulled. On days when you are bare, or days where you dress yourself in blooming hues. 

It’s a strange relationship, you and I. Silent in your growing, the most I’ll get is a sway, or perhaps a breath of fresh flower. While I stare at your existence, hoping it will impart something to me. 

We do that, humans. It’s a rather strange habit we have at times. We stare off into the distance, gazing upon unique vistas with a numbered, rotating cast. There’s only so many plants, and so many seasons to stare at. Yet we keep doing it, thinking that somehow you presence will impart a spark upon us.

I’ve had some strange thoughts, the ones that percolate for ages in the back of my mind before coming to fruition in my pass time of staring. Unfortunately, the finale of thought in how you drive this process still has not come to me. 

Perhaps there is a measure to the sudden breeze of fresh flowers.

Your Most Humble Gardener,

Andi 

A Canvas

My Darling,

I write you a line to tell you that I am doing well. We depart for France on the morrow. From the talk I have been hearing, I expect to be home by Christmas. The war will not last long.

It is empty here.

White walls. A blank canvas.

Bathed in the crisp light from above.

Reflected in the polished floor.

I wonder if they will stop,

at least long enough to read a line.

My Dearest Husband,

I write you a line to tell you that we are doing well. The girls loved the postcards you sent back, and I keep your picture with me. I quite like the mustache, darling, you should keep it. My aunt says it makes you look like a young officer!

I wonder about the brush strokes

How will we portray simple letters

By those who were simply people?

How will we remember you?

As a collective,

Or by the single moments in a letter?

April 9th, 1917

Return to Sender

It was the only letter in the bunch I noticed.

Crumpled at both ends.

*

I wonder if people will notice it.

Among text panels

and facts

and the mechanized designs that tore landscapes apart.

In country and in memory.

I wonder if we notice the simple nuances

In that which we simply call History.

Overcoming History Barriers

 

 

Possibly the most heartbreaking factors of The Great War is the Living History Barrier that we now must cope with. The living resources that were once available to us, the real people who witnessed much of it, have been lost to the course of time.

History too easily becomes a subject to textbooks and scholars and multiple choice questions when we lose these people. We tend to forget. It is rather easy to do so.

So I am grateful that there are those who create content so people of younger generations may enjoy. May learn from, and may feel engaged when partaking in them. Video games are not just about first person shooters, and the short sighted approach that is often abused. There are moments when, just like a good book or movie, they make us laugh and cry and think.

These are the moments in which we take a long breath. The moment where we realize that the world is much larger than us, and yet it is shaped by the men and women just like us.

We are not so different than the history we immortalize.

Aside

There is a silence

between the gaps

A place my father warned me of once

A place we fill with thoughts of money, of appointments, of to-do lists

2:15 Doctor’s Office

It is a fatality of becoming an adult

A symptom of adulthood, of becoming mature

So they say

The trill of email notifications

                                             The honking of late horns

The supermarket checkout line

                                                                   I forgot the tomatoes…

                                                                    Was trying to remember if I paid the phone bill…

My father told my once

When life was still full of hues and lights and sound

To never let the gaps consume

That was the beauty of life

The balance of short gaps with long breaths

Sometimes the gaps consume

Other times they are just hiccups

But I try and remember the places

The places my father told me I was blessed with

Where hue and light and sound still live

And breath

And wait for me…

On days like these

When the lilacs are in bloom

And the air smells sweetly of summer

I take a deep breath

And my mind is full

Of that place

Of In Between

And Make Believe

I said I would come back

I always do

Keepers of Dust

We are dealers of death,

agents of once and forgotten memories.

The arrogance, and turmoil of this world

Is an essence of our work.

 

We stand upon that precipice

Between pride,

and sorrow.

 

Letter stamped “Return to Sender”

Unopened, never creased by hands,

Denied the pleasure of last words

But simply the reality of bullet wounds and disease.

 

We are spectators of history,

The interwoven framework of humanity.

How it clashes more often that crosses,

We see the grim fate beyond newspaper headlines.

 

What good do Honors do?

Packed into shelves, neatly tied in tissue.

Row upon row, it was unique to you,

And now, they are part of a collection.

 

A collection of death,

Of fading memories,

A place where you name still lives

Beyond the etchings of stone markers.

 

So many,

All they see is the machines that killed you.

The sensationalism of your death,

That you are just a piece of history.

 

But I held you in my hands,

I read the last letter to your mother.

I saw how young, and hopeful you were.

That you were someone like me.

 

The least I could do,

is tell your story.

Perhaps, then, they will understand.

Short Writing Prompts

In which my TA suggested I try short writing prompts. Not my strongest point, but one to work on!

 

 

Glancing up, my lips wrinkled to one side in annoyance as I noticed a stray hair out of place. Reaching up to push it away, it hit me; the door was transparent, not reflective.

 

“Daddy, daddy!” The voice echoed down the empty hallway. He couldn’t remember the last time he had heard that voice.

 

She turned the envelope over in her hands. Unopened. Stamped upon the front, in dulled black ink it read: Return to Sender. Deceased.

 

Musty was the smell of the truck cab. Fragments of disturbed dust floated from the cracked, and ageing dash. The cracks in the windshield reminded her of spiderwebs, clinging and spindling. Beyond them, she could still see the stars. She could not help but finally smile at their sight. Soon, they would not be so far away.

 

The voices churned like a river, crashing against the rocks that were his mind. Murmuring and roaring, dwindling and singing. Finally, like the collapse of a bloated star, the snapped inward. Into one. Echoing from the the fragmented recesses of his mind: “You are the payment, and the debt, dear Hunter.”

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Ripple

“Get rid of him! Before he crushes her!”

Those had been the words of the cleric as another clump of earthen debris slammed into a nearby wall, the stonework cracking and submitting to dust against the force. The Magi was becoming a force out of control. Alyssa was already stepping back, pulling the dagger from her shoulder as she tried to stem the bleeding. A stubborn woman, that was certain, but the situation was garnering worry as Urchin could feel the ground twisting beneath her — like the twisting of knots in her stomach. She had to focus on keeping her balance as each wave of the other Magi’s attempted magic seemed to pull the ground away from her, inhibiting her from feeling the foundations around her.
“I’ll help,” the young half-elf said finally.

With a shift of her footstep, she grabbed for what foundation she could still feel. Reaching her hands out, she mentally clung on for dear life. Like the roots of the trees, even the smallest fissure of crumbling silt, she held on tighter and tighter until releasing it out onto the enemy. He had barely a moment to realize that this scrawny half-elf could tear the foundation out from under him.
A crack resonated through the air as the ground beneath the enemy churned and immediately uprooted him, throwing him back with great force. Twisting and turning, the magi landed on his feet and set his eyes on Urchin. Growling in frustration at the loss of his companions usefulness, he gave a short nod turning to run.
“You bastard, get back he-”
Words of aggression were lost in the dull roar of the ground. Urchin felt almost as though her stomach had fallen out from her as everything began to shake. It was a swirl of chaos coursing through the stonework beneath her, and she stumbled to the forest floor — still staring at the backside of the retreating magi.

“No!” the little half-elf snapped in frustration, shoving herself to her feet as the ground still shook and groaned beneath all of them. Forcing herself into a run, she could see the magi hopping across floating stones over the ravine. They crumbled away into the ravine floor below, leaving mounds of earth that shifted the river into torrents and trickles.
She was not about to give up though. Grabbing the reigns of her horse, she managed to push the creature to the ravine edge, and over. It was almost a miracle getting the steed to step off the ledge and onto the barely passable stone arch the pulled in front of them. The pair plowed forward though, and descended into the pine forest.

It was not difficult to follow the trail of disruption. Urchin felt it permeate and pool strongly in certain areas, places where the roots of the trees twisted in protest from the malformation of magic. Pushing onward she could see the figure in the distance, scrambling up a slope.

Reaching forward, she almost apologized to the poor saplings that were uprooted as the lip of the slope crumbled away under the magi’s fingers. Slipping, he was buried by the loose debris.
It was for but a moment, as twigs, and dirt, and shrapnel of gravel flung outward. Letting out a curse to the little half-elf, the magi had most certainly had enough of her antics. With a violent gesture, the forest floor began to heave beneath Urchin. All she had was a moment to react before the ground fell out beneath her entirely. Scrambling, she barely managed to sink her fingers into the side of the sink hole. Hanging there, she could hear the screech of her horse as it fell into the darkness below, and she clung tighter to not meet the same fate.
A breath. Deep, eyes closed. The smell of must from upturned earth. And then she found it, the clinch between her and foundation she was clinging to.
Like a ripple, it spread from her, a flood of anxiety and fear. She could feel it surge through the foundations of stone before pooling beneath the offending magi. It simmered and gathered for a moment before trembling. She could feel the tremble amplify as she took another deep breath, and let it free.
The magi could barely let out a word as the ground around him exploded, a great force the threw the debris around him into the air. A sickening crack echoed with the dull roar of earth as a rock cracked into the magi’s skull.

His body fell limply into the earthen debris, and silence returned to the forest floor. It was a few moments of silence before Urchin managed to pull herself up to safety. Sitting in the mess of pine needles, gravel, and upturned earth she stared at the corpse. Reaching out with another deep breath, the ground began to shrink around the corpse. Covering, compacting, sinking, until only a solid boulder of stone sat before her.

She managed it, finally. She managed to control it.