Day 53 – Goblins and Ghouls

Goblins and ghouls
can only scare fools
a piercing shriek
only freaks the weak
a noose of rope
unnerves a dope
but none of that scares me

a stew of spiders and lizard tail
can easily derail the frail
the executioner’s sudden jolt
can terrify a silly dolt
a grim and gruesome work of art
can spook even the brave of heart
but none of that scares me

for nothing fills me more with dread
than the little voices in my head,
the horrors that torment my soul
so quietly beyond my control,
the constant doubt and agony
the shattering of my sanity

oh nothing out there scares me more
than me

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Gone to Hollywood

I don’t even know how I got here, I really don’t. It’s like suddenly catching a glimpse of a dragon on the street- you either stare at it with your mouth open and then tell your friends all about it later, or you snatch hold of it by the tail and see where that sucker goes. I rode, or rather, drove it all the way to Hollywood. It looked like a silver Corolla with a bearded fella eating honey-roasted peanuts in the passenger seat. Dragons can look like anything, really.

Nobody made me stop writing and nothing happened. I mean that nothing happened WHEN I stopped writing just as much as nothing happened TO make me stop. People will tell you that life gets in the way, but I’ll be honest: you just turn into different people. Multiple people, all the time. I was once a bartender who didn’t write, and I was a librarian who did. I was a hipster who wrote sonnets and a math teacher who didn’t. I drove across eight states and didn’t write down a single word of it. I didn’t want to.

I always thought there would be some great longing- if you were born to write you couldn’t last a day without feeling the urge, like missing an old friend. That’s not true, and anybody who tells you that thinks way too highly of themselves. I mean, Netflix is a thing for real and so is Texas barbecue and two-for-one drink specials and indie wrestling and waterfalls. Sometimes you want to write and sometimes you don’t.

The thing about Hollywood is that almost everyone here is forcing themselves to write, all the time. Everybody’s on the grind- they charge you $300 a class to tell you the more you write the better you’ll get. Everyone here is shouting. And when they meet you they say, “So what do you do?” and you’re supposed to say what you’re TRYING to do- trying to act or write or produce or hold a boom mic or whatever. I guess I could get a lot of clout if I said, “Published Author” like some so-and-so. But I enjoy to just say I’m a teacher and watch their wheels spinning while they try to guess how the hell I ended up here.

I don’t even know how I got here, I really don’t. It beats being where I was, and there are a lot of interesting things going on at all hours, so I’m not unhappy here. People always need help with things and they’ll let you join in with little experience- I’ve been pulling lights for improv shows and recording sets and voting at screeners and editing comedy sketches. You can always tag along on somebody else’s dream, especially if your own dream is to stay in the shadows.

Or perhaps I’ll keep playing chameleon for a while, save myself the $300, and find a bigger dream. Who knows.

 

Breaking: Couple Gets Green Light to be Surgically Conjoined

Hun and Bae Jenkins have long stopped using their real names, opting to be known only by their pet names for each other. The pair have grown virtually inseparable over the course of their relationship, so much so that they share the same friends, hobbies, workplace, and even clothes. Now they want to take it a step further, and doctors have given them the ok.

“We want to cement our love in a lasting show of commitment,” says Hun. “We thought about getting matching tattoos or having a child, but those seemed too mundane. We want something radical.”

The couple has decided to undergo a procedure which will surgically conjoin them together, rendering each incapable of living without the other. Although this is obviously the case already, they want to make it public and permanent.

But the couple is not immune to societal pressures, says Bae.

“We asked our friends on our joint Facebook account for their opinions, but the responses we got were overwhelmingly negative. I think some of them are secretly jealous, but that’s okay. Not everyone can have a love as deep as ours.”

The decision is currently drawing fire from those who think it’s premature, however. Those who oppose include their families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, pets, childhood acquaintances, and the mailman.

“I don’t understand why they can’t just get married like normal people,” said Hun’s mother. “Isn’t that enough of a prison sentence already without being glued together?”

Well aware that they will continue to be faced with this same kind of discrimination, Hun and Bae are ignoring the negativity and moving forward with the procedure. They are certain their relationship will stand the test of time.

“We don’t need phony labels like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to prove how we feel about each other,” responds Hun. “We just want to make it physically impossible for us to separate.”

“We’ve been together for over 13 months already,” adds Bae. “We like the same things and we haven’t fought once. We’re pretty sure it’s gonna last,” they assured us.

We here at CharNN wish them the best, while several reconstructive surgeons and divorce attorneys have offered their services when the inevitable occurs.

Breaking: Volunteering Voted “Biggest Waste of Time” by American Youth

A new survey of young Americans aged 18-30 shows that the act of volunteering is largely viewed as a huge waste of time. Participants were asked to rank common activities from most to least worthwhile, with volunteering earning the overall bottom spot.

“You just don’t get anything out of it, y’know?” responded one young man. “Like, what’s the point of doing something for no reason?”

A young woman agreed: “I know you’re supposed to get this warm, fuzzy feeling out of it, but I’ve got stuff to do and bills to pay. I don’t go to work to get paid in warm, fuzzy feelings. I don’t spend time with my grandma just for the warm, fuzzy feelings.”

It seems that even completing the survey was too daunting an act of charity, since participants had to be bribed with energy drinks and Steam points.

“Life is precious and we only get a certain amount of time to be alive. I want to make sure I’m prioritizing my time by not doing anything that doesn’tĀ benefit me. I want to make sure I die happy,” said another young woman.

So if volunteering is at the bottom of the list of priorities, what’s on top? Researchers revealed that activities such as “binge-watching Orange is the New Black,” “shopping for hand-carved gauges on Etsy,” and “replaying through Ocarina of Time again” scored high on the list.

Day 161 – The Poetry Rap

 

I’ve had this thing brewing
in my thinking cap;
I think it’s time to bust out
the poetry rap!
I can’t freestyle-
that’s really hard-
I labor over words
like they’re all tiny shards
of a great glass window
that I am making.
I know I’m not a rapper,
there’s no mistaking,
but I like a good flow
to communicate
that poetry is music-
let’s get that straight.
If you can’t hear the beat
in a poem, it’s bland;
the rhythm is what helps
the people understand
that you’re not just
reciting pages out of your diary.
The pace can take your point
and make it poignant and fiery-
that’s how you know when it’s a
work of art,
when something you wrote
touches somebody’s heart,
not by lecturing or telling them
how it should be
but by gently inviting them
to see what you see
and to feel what you feel-
of course they must be open-
but you must first be willing to show
how you’re broken.
‘Cuz nobody wants to hear an
arrogant poet,
it closes up your heart and your ears
and you know it
so an artist must strive to be
humble and honest;
you’ve got something to say
but you’re not here to flaunt it.
You’re here to show we’re all
fundamentally the same-
deep down we’re playing
the exact same game-
a game which requires us
to struggle and fight
but we don’t do it alone,
that’s why some of us write.
We’re leavin’ trails of breadcrumbs
to say we were here,
we found love and lost it,
we conquered fear
and maybe somebody somewhere
in the same boat
will find a little bit of comfort
from something we wrote.
And you could give a whole
crowd of people chills
if you take the time to
polish up your poetry skills
but you can still make a difference
a little at a time
as long as you’re honest
even if it doesn’t rhyme
‘cuz we can’t all bust out
with a flow like me
but we can allĀ have a part
in writing poetry.

Year 2: Day 120 – The Owner

There’s always somebody falling asleep, no matter what time of day.
The kids around here go around the clock, getting paper, making bank, and such.
The owner will bust you up if you get caught sleeping, if you get caught taking a nap,
so they like to wear long-billed caps and prop up books and gulp espresso.

There’s always somebody making a scene, causing a ruckus outside.
The kids around here absorb drama along with their Vitamin D, with their air.
The owner will throw you out flat if you start any trouble, if you pick a fight,
so they like to take out their aggression on bottles of beer in the parking lot.

There’s always somebody showing off with whatever talent they got.
The kids around here are so special, so filled with angst about their craft.
The owner will hand you a mic or throw your art on the wall but he doesn’t care
so they like to pretend he’s got taste, that he’s some kinda critic, that it’s a reward.

There’s always somebody grinning behind the counter, come what may.
The kids around here drive themselves berserk, so caught up in all their wheels.
The owner will sit in a booth and drink coffee and chat a while with you
so they like to pretend he’s harmless, that he’s not the only sane one here.

52 Flashes Of Fiction: Week 20 – Six Guesses

The trouble is this: whatever dots you put on the paper, someone will want to connect them together. Someone walking by will have the hardest time not stopping to ponder why they are there and what they mean. They will whisper to their friend that they see a bunny or a fire hydrant or a talk show host. And their friend will say something like, “That’s neat but I see a water buffalo or maybe a squiggly-looking radish.” And worst of all they will turn to you; they will look at you with their eyes that themselves contain many, many shapes that you’re not guessing and they will ask, “What is it supposed to be? What did you intend for us to see?”

And you’ll at first try to tell them that you really just enjoy putting dots on paper, and maybe a little bit because it’s fun to hear everybody’s guesses, and to think about why you can’t tell them it’s because they keep guessing that you keep doing it, because then they would never get it.

They won’t like that though, and you’ll get tired. You’ll have a magic number, like six guesses or so, and on the sixth guess you’ll yell out “Yes! Finally someone gets it! Oh wow, you are impressive!” And you just keep doing whatever you want and it’s easy, but also troublesome and lonely.