“Congratulations,” I feign as thoughts make ‘parasite,’ ‘leech,’ and ‘fetus’ synonyms.  So, rapidly reproducing cells make both cancer and babies.  Babies are born with blue eyes.  Blue: sky, feelings (sometimes) water.  Running water is the most destructive force on Earth.  Oceans, rivers, floods, melting polar icecaps.  Polar bears are on the threatened species list, but have no fear: zoos will save them, unlike poor Woolly Mammoth.  Early man killed Woolly Mammoth; early woman made him stew or steak.  Steak is stabbed, eaten with knife and fork.  A fork in the road, a road where animals are killed: roadkill.  Sorry Little Animal, Rest in Peace…Rest in Pieces.  Pieces, like in a puzzle.  Puzzled is a dog cocking his head.  In my head was her comment on how I’m “nothing but a dumb bitch behind a counter.”  I was angry.  Anger is red.  Colors = abstractions, why?  Abstractions/distractions.  Distracted from work when I text, distracted from sleep by crickets outside my window, distracted from everything when he’s shirtless in the doorframe saying my name in his deep voice.  His, him, he.  He embraces my cheek with his palm, I smile.  He is warm sunshine on my face—yellow.  Sunshine, sunlight.  Sunlight—the source of all life.  Photosynthesis allows me to breathe.  Breathe.  Take a deep breath to calm my brain.  Brain racing…is the speed of thought faster than the speed of light?  Now thoughts and heart racing, who will win?  Winning denotes competition.  Competition, combative.  Combative Thinking: one of the thinking errors Doc said I have.  Thinking combatively, I “view the world as a combat stage.”  Combat, war.  The pastor’s wife believes “children are our best defense in the war against Satan.  They are our arrows.  Have your quiver full of arrows when you battle Satan.”  Little cherub babies wailing, hurtling through the air, exploding bloody bombs splattering Satan’s army with last goo-goos and ga-gas.  Blink and shake my head, but the image is stuck with glue.  Glued images in my brain = memories.  Memories of a time before war.  Hell is war.  War is hell.  War in Iraq, Afghanistan.  I miss you, Josh.  My heart breaks for you; thank you, Josh.  Guy who sang Johnny Cash while smoking a cigarette.  Guy on his second tour.  Some grand tour.  Do Middle Eastern sands feel different from sands at home?  Home is where the heart is.  The heart resides under the ribs protected by the chest.  Treasure chest, but where is the treasure?  An unstable economy prints more money.  Multi-trillion dollar debt.  Debt is new money.  Put it on credit, credit at Astronomical Percentage Rate, APR.  Acronym—how’s this for an acronym: BS.  Bull. Shit. Shit happens.  Is it happenstance?  Is there happenstance or is it preordained?  Ordained by whom?  Your god, his god, her god, their god?  People, real people, were tortured in the name(s) of god(s).  People like me, people like you, maybe our ancestors, were mutilated, forced open, and murdered for a god.  A god who offers salvation.  I don’t need that type of salvation.  I need a modern day Robin Hood; we all need him.  I could believe in a Robin Hood, trust him.  Trust is important.  The three most important things in a relationship are trust, communication, and sex.  Anal, oral, vaginal—clinical terms for sex.  Kisses, tongues, fingers, breath, flexibility, and little Kama Sutra = a formula for exploding and collapsing, panting, in his arms.  Pleasure, the purest form of it; I know about the origin…here’s that formula: an orgy of colliding space matter + hot friction + density= the Big Bang: the Big O: the orgasm resulting in the ever-expanding universe.  Will the universe sleep after such an explosion, sleep after the orgasm?  Through sleepy eyes, I look at his face.  Fall asleep in the crook of his arm; we fit together like a crossword puzzle.  I was never good at crosswords, but like him, I love to do ‘em.  I love you too.  Too, also, as well.  Doing well, thank you; how are you?  I don’t listen to the answer.  Does anyone?  We go through polite motions but no one cares.  We care about ourselves.  Every man for himself.  (What about women?)  Survival of the fittest.  Would Darwin be proud?  Pride unswallowed means stubborn as a mule.  A mule is an ass.  Ass For Sale.  For sale by pimps, hustlers.  Hustler, Larry Flynt Productions.  Larry Flynt protected my first amendment rights.  Imprisoned speech.  FREE SPEECH!  Mr. Flynt did not deserve to be shot.  Gun control.  People kill people; well, guns kill people too.  Are you ready to die, Punk?  Punk.  Ingenious punk rock.  Greg Graffin wrote the brilliant “A Punk Manifesto.”  The Communist Manifesto.  Communism: a wonderful theory which turns to shit once combined with the human element.  Humans are greedy.  Curiosity killed the cat and stupidity will kill the human.  I once heard a man say people, humans, are inherently killers.  While I wanted to disagree, I’m inclined to think it’s true.  What is truth?  Somewhere between one side and the other.  Aren’t we all in between something?  Between life and death.  Being in between makes us truth.  Whose truth?  The truth is in your hands.  Hands, metacarpals, veins—carrying blood, circulating throughout my body.  Poor circulation makes for cold metatarsals, toes.  Toes on the bank of the creek as I help look for Indian beads.  I’m of no use, no help at all.  Cool water around my ankles.  No anklet.  “An anklet isn’t the type of thing you get from a sister.”  Audrey Hepburn—a graceful beauty on screen and stage.  Break a leg.  Good luck.  Luck be a lady.  A lady curtsies.  Curtsey as a kiss lands upon my outstretched hand.  Romantic.  Romance is dead.  Chocolate and flowers are “romantic.”  Chocolate makes me fat and flowers die.  I will too…someday.  Someday soon or maybe not.  Before Someday, I want to learn as much as possible.  To learn is to be educated.  Education is knowledge.  Knowledge—the only thing that can’t ever be taken from you, unless it’s Alzheimer’s or a weird, scary governmental conspiracy.  Conspiracy = controversy.  Controversial like abortion.  Pro-life or Pro-Choice.  Pros vs. Cons.  Convicts.  One in ninety-nine Americans now incarcerated.  Conjugal visits are allowed, but not pets.  No Pets Allowed.  Look around, desperately hoping for a sign, any sign, but only seeing signs of the times: Do Not Enter, Buy One Get One Free, Speed Limit, Going Out of Business, Detour, Rocks Falling, Wrong Way, No shirt, No shoes, No service.  Service call.  Call of the wild: in the wilderness.  Wilderness is nature, nature is green.  Jealousy is a green monster.  There’s a monster under my bed.  Scared of the dark?  Night is dark, day is light.  Moon vs. sun.  Sunny side up is how I take my eggs.  Chicken eggs.  A lot of vaccines come from chicken eggs.  Chicken pox, shingles.  “Sat on the roof, kicked off the moss,” I’m a geek for Elton John.  Sir Elton.  Respect and admiration.  Radio made it possible.  “Video killed the radio star.” Television rots the brain.  Evolved to color, Technicolor, from black and white.  Areas of grey, but mainly black and white.  Everything’s black and white?  Race.  Toni Morrison said America is based on race.  Sad, to hate because of color.  What have we become?  We could be so much better.  Fresh air can make you better; no smog, no pollution.  Soon there will be no ozone.  What happens when Mother Nature begins to pout?  *A crinkle in my forehead*  We will need a stronger SPF.  Lather on sunscreen to bake and hope there’s a breeze.  A breeze: spring days driving with windows down.  Music loud, put it in reverse.  Reverse engineer these thoughts…oh shit.  Shit am I crazy?  Crazy like a chemical imbalance.  The universe needs balance.  Balance like Yin and Yang, necessary balance, required, needed like on a morning with a hangover.  Sickness in the morning.  Morning sickness.  Coming out of the pink is a newborn babe.  Life is cyclical.  Cyclical like the circle of an iris in an eye.  An eye of blue.  Recall from biology the only genetic outcome of two blue-eyed people having a baby is a baby with blue eyes.  Recessive genes.  Genetic code.  Human Genome Project.  DNA.  Double-helix.  Amino acids, cells, nuclei, protons, electrons, neutrons, revolving like a carnival ride, spinning, circling, evolving, orbiting, rotating…

 

 

Ali Vlahos is a master’s student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville pursuing words.  She is the director of a creative writing workshop with incarcerated youths.  She is working on an amalgamation of nonfiction essays titled The Politics of Emotions.

Photo by Stephan Eickelmann, used by permission. Visit his website to see more of his work. 

Filed under: Nonfiction

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