I walk alone among the stones, Their names worn away By time’s embrace. I lift my face to the midnight mist And sea kisses sweep across my lips, Tempting me to the tide. Silhouettes from another realm, Dance demonically across the sand; The rhythmic darkness swallows me. Waves soak my shoes; Shadows hold my hand, As I stare into infinity’s abyss. A vessel cuts a sharpened shape, Separating from the stars; My mind plays tricks, While my heart beats scarred, For I know you float Upon that ghost ship, So near, And still so far.
Welcome to my Friday afternoon paint chip prompt. There are other paint chip prompts out there, but they’re very precise in what they ask for. Mine is open ~ write a poem, a story, a memory, whatever you like. Take your inspiration this week from Valspar’s “sea kiss” and/or “ghost ship.” Tag your post Paint Chip Friday, or PCF, if you wish. Prompt will continue until December 31.
I heard the music as I entered the room, but all that remained was ashes from the fire. I closed my eyes and drifted into the memory of our wedding day, with you at the piano in your bridal gown. When I looked again, the walls had melted away and the tune played on. I felt compelled to walk through the fog to find you.
The rocks were slippery with mist and the closer I came, the more my heart pounded in fear. I wanted to leave this ghostly place, but I kept moving forward. Your lacy white dress floated around you like a cloud as the haunting notes surrounded us. Your dark hair twisted down your back like snakes. I’m so sorry, I whispered, and you began to turn…
No! I screamed in terror when I saw your ruined face, your eyes aflame with rage. You knew what I had done.
Dear Mr. Smythe, I hope this finds you well and you’ve had a pleasant holiday. I don’t mean to disturb you unnecessarily, but the strangest thing has happened. Last night, I had trouble sleeping and heard scratching noises coming from the garden. I pulled back the draperies in the great room, and I swear to you that my mad cousin Edwin stared in at me. I nearly died of fright! Of course, I told myself not to be silly and it must have been a trick of light from the moon. But I can’t shake the feeling today that something is wrong. Would you be so kind as to ascertain that Edwin is still locked securely away in the asylum, under constant guard as the judge decreed? It would put my mind at ease if you would send me such a statement at your soonest convenience. Thanks ever so, Lady Jessica Tarleton
“I wish I had received this letter sooner,” Mr. Smythe said to his wife. “I certainly would have done as she had asked immediately. The poor woman.”
Mrs. Smythe shuddered. “Lucinda told me at tea that the maid was in hysterics and had to be sedated. I can’t even imagine finding a body in such a… state.”
Mr. Smythe reached for his brandy. “It is too horrific to be contemplated.”
“But they say…” Mrs. Smythe paused to take a deep breath. “That she had been partially… consumed? By her own cousin!”
“Yes.” Mr. Smythe confirmed. “Edwin somehow acquired the taste for human flesh. You know he traveled to odd corners of the world in his youth.”
“But where is he now?” Mrs. Smythe pulled the edges of her dressing gown closer together. “Why hasn’t he been captured?”
You were warned to take care, Not pry into secrets, And leave the upstairs alone. You were told to stay out Of the moldy old bedrooms, Their doors creaky and cold. But you had to be nosy And uncover my bones, So now you will pay The price of your soul.
At a time when most people were struggling for wealth and/or glory, Bob felt content with his quiet life and his paper route. He subsisted on beans and toast, while others dined upon steak and champagne. When that rich food and decadent lifestyle began to kill them, Bob stayed slim and fit. He would never crow about his good health however as death and despair hovered over the wealthy, for he knew he could get hit by a truck tomorrow. He greeted each day with a smile in fascination over simple things like flowers and butterflies, never troubling himself to read the articles in the news he brought to others.
They were not sentimental people, and they had many differences. He grew irritated over her lack of interest in the arts; she snapped at him for being so unhelpful around the house. They didn’t bother buying gifts for each other. You would never find them exchanging Valentine’s Day cards or candy. In another era, they might have divorced, but they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary before she died. When he moved into Assisted Living, the attendant asked his secret for so many years of togetherness. He said: “Find the most beautiful girl in the world and make her happy.”
No one would buy the house. No matter how well he cleaned or how many white sage candles he burned, it was always the same. They’d walk into the girl’s room and that ghostly, ghastly aqua prom dress floated at the window, with rose petals scattered on the floor, and blood spattered on the walls.
Finally, he gave up and moved into the house himself. Months passed with nothing, but one warm April night she showed up in his bedroom, music wafting behind her and a knife in her hand.
Pat Benatar sings “Love Is a Battlefield,” which always rang true to me. A minefield, in my case. I was always tiptoeing around so as not to offend or cause an argument. I constantly capitulated to another person’s opinions to smooth things over when disagreements occurred, and then ended up feeling bitter and resentful, just counting the minutes until I could walk out the door. Every time I got involved with someone, it was always about their wants and their needs, never mine. You may have noticed that I eliminated most “dating stories” from my blog refresh. This is because the whole thing is too depressing to think about, and it’s also why I hate the Wayback Machine and how they’ve screenshotted some of that shit forever. They told me how I can request deletion, but it’s a big PITA.
So anyway. For Jim’s prompt today, I wanted to use a song about an actual mine ~ “My Darling Clementine.” This is another song I used to play on my paint-by-number organ, and I have fond memories of belting out “IN A CAVERN, IN A CANYON, EXCAVATING FOR A MINE, lived a miner forty-niner and his daughter Clementine…” Off-key, natch. But every version on YouTube sucks so much I can’t bear to put it here.
What’s really strange is that it’s often listed as a children’s song. Wtf? It’s about a girl who drowns in a river! Granted, the lyrics are amusing, but in a macabre way, not for a happy singalong imo. But even the adult versions sucked, and yep I include Bobby Darin’s in this group. Sad. I guess we also find “Running Bear” funny, but it’s not. Rivers be dangerous, yo.
Side note: I discovered while poking around for this song that there was a 1946 movie called My Darling Clementine, starring Henry Fonda. The film includes the song, but the lyrics don’t track with the plot at all except for the girl’s name. It’s supposedly one of the best westerns of all time, so maybe I’ll watch it if I can find it.
By this point, you must be wondering if I’m actually going to post a song with “mine” in it or just jabber on about irrelevant stuff forever. Well, it’s my blog and I can be boring if I want to, so there! Pffft. Just kidding. I have a song, but it isn’t about romantic enslavement… it’s about a place.
“L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home New York’s home, but it ain’t mine No more”
That’s right. We can always rely upon good old Neil to have a song with a word in it, lol. I present “I Am, I Said,” from 1971, by the ultimate gem himself, Mr. Diamond. Enjoy!
Melanie notes that this month has flown past. I agree! Here are my responses to her Share Your Word questions today…
1. Are human beings required to better themselves and will doing that make them happier?
Required by whom? If you believe in a supreme being, then you may feel required to “better” yourself, whatever that means in your particular belief system. Some of us have internal voices (aka “consciences”) instilled/installed by our parents, teachers, whomever that nag at us to do “better,” which could mean many different things, such as making more money, being kinder to others, cleaning up the planet, etc. Also, some of us have various forms of OCD which compel us to do certain things we may feel are better than not doing them, such as arranging things symmetrically. Yes, this makes me happier! LOL. Actually, messy/disorganized spaces make me unhappy, so putting them to rights simply resets me to “normal.” Gosh, I have a lot of scare quotes in this answer! Anyway, I can’t answer for others about what may or may not make them happy. I think that doing the “right things,” however you define them, goes beyond a transitory state of happiness and is more about feeling good about oneself and one’s place on the planet.
2. Is it easier to love or to be loved?
Again, I’m only speaking for myself here ~ neither. I find both to be extremely difficult. I love my children, grandkids, and parents (RIP). By extension, I love my sons-in law. After that, things get murkier. Do I love my cat Gatsby? I say I do, but when he really annoys me, I’m not sure. I still take good care of him regardless, so maybe that equals love. I don’t know. What about friends? Hmm, also foggy. It’s easy to say I love my close friends, but what would I truly sacrifice for them, if necessary. Again, I don’t know. It hasn’t come up. Don’t even get me started on romantic love because I’m not sure I ever loved any of them. I certainly wasn’t willing to sacrifice much, if anything, to make those relationships work out. As far as being loved? My children love me, and my parents did too. That’s all I know. I’m not sure I’ve ever really been loved in the romantic sense; all the men who said they did acted only in their own self-interest, which is not love in my book. It’s easy to proclaim love when everything is going well, but when it comes time to give something up or make uncomfortable changes for the other person’s well-being and/or the health of the relationship, they all failed. As did I.
3, Outside traumatic brain injury, can memories be completely erased?
I don’t know. I think they can disappear, especially trivial ones, but if you “focus” on trying to forget something, it’s more likely that memory will persist. I’ve forgotten tons of stuff, but I do remember emotionally eventful times. It’s the nature of the beast. I’d rather remember sweet, peaceful moments, but there’s nothing “sticky” about most of those; they just drift past like fluffy clouds. The storms stay with me however.
4. Is there such a thing as a good death?
Sure. My Aunt Lily had a good death. As far as I know, she had a happy life, felt fine, and passed away in her sleep at 80-something with no fuss. Anything sudden and painless over age 80 counts in my mind as the best I could hope for. I’m not expecting that however, due to already feeling crappy every day plus my parents’ medical history. I guess there is another type of “good death,” which is dying for something you believe in, like a war or saving a whale. But except for immediate family, I can’t imagine sacrificing my life for any type of cause these days, since it’s hard to know what is true. Not saying other people’s sacrifices weren’t valid; I simply can’t picture that for myself.
5. What do you imagine is inside a baseball?
Oh, that’s easy. Hot dogs, apple pie, the American flag, blue jeans, summer nights, fireflies, and spongy grass.
Feelings are like trains— I heard someone say. They aren’t you; They’re just passing through. Or maybe I’m the train, Traversing a landscape Of heartbreak and pain, Soon to give way To green fields some day. The thing to remember Is that emotions Aren’t permanent– They don’t define us. We leave them behind Like an empty track And unwatered grass. We will move on. Someday, we’ll be gone.