Friday and Hearts of Clay

Today, so far, has been another “Bad News” day.

Lately I have been thinking that being a golem made of clay has a lot of appeal.

A clay heart has its advantages, could be just what I’m looking for right now. (and a body that doesn’t creak audibly with each step down the stairs every morning would be a plus too.) I’m tired of feelings and failing to feel and walking into traps
set by lurking Internet pop ups and magazine headlines and people that just demand outrage / worry / acquiescence from me.

  I’d like a golem that I can send out to socialize and to job interviews and shopping. I will stay home and do….nothing? Something? Whatever I want. And I will do it in pajama pants. Not a bad deal. Until the golem turns on me and rips my head off. Well, there’s always a drawback..  

If you look up “Golem” the results are never upbeat or cheerful. Brutish, unfinished, soulless, heart of clay etc.

But why blame the golem for the heart of clay? That’s the creators fault. You may as well hang up a Van Gogh print and then blame the dimestore picture frame because you hate sunflowers.

I have checked amazon and ebay and there are no golems on offer.  The dollar store clerk refuses to wait on me anymore .

Golems.com doesn’t even have a contact us button.

So I guess I will just sit here and feel. Sullenly. 

 

It’s hard to know how to feel and even harder to know how much to share. We are in The Strangest Times ever. When people start comparing real life in 2020 to a game of Jumanji  AND THEY ARE CORRECT! you know that the world has gone mad….

Some people get very deep and philosophical and become beacons of light.

 I’m more the Chandler Bing type.

 

“I’m not great at the advice… Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment? ” 

 

But even my weird sarcastic bitter little heart hopes for Better. Hopes you, Gentle Readers all, are safe and well and happy. If being a beacon makes you happy….all well and good. But if cat memes and chocolate and a one piece wearable blanket (this is a real thing…called an Oodle or something like that. Sheer Genius)  are what makes you happy, that’s equally good. We must all take care of ourselves and each other the best we can. 

Happy Friday.

 

Peace,
Jaye

 




 
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Wednesdays and What is Real?

Wednesday rolls around like a relative who you only like at parties when there are other things (kids, food, game of bags) to distract you. But not the one you want to sit and spend close up time with. 

Wednesday is just the day before Thursday, which is just the day before Friday. When Friday meant FRIDAY, pre lockdown.

I think about these things as I sit at work. Then I write about them as I wonder why I still look forward to the weekend. (At work you say? Aren’t you busy doing…work? Shhhh I say) The weekend is obviously just a construct….Meaningless and Formless. Its original use was meant to distract us from what is Real. Yeah, I honestly think like this…. (No I don’t. that’s not Real)

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” ~ Douglas Adams

Things are never what they seem. That’s the saying and people say it, they say it.

They say it while nodding wisely,

in crowds and in front of the tv,

but they don’t know it, 

actually they have no idea.

What’s real is not always the same, it changes.

It evolves from one real to another kind of real. 

Take your pick: 

A more efficient real. A kinder, gentler real.

Or perhaps a more ferocious real, the kind that leaves nothing,

no trace or bones, behind.

The sun will always rise. That’s what they say, they say it.

But it actually doesn’t rise…

it escapes.

Death is not a cadaverous man with a designer axe,

and a black cape.

Death is an ostrich in a red hat with bells on it.

Taxes are paid or sometimes not. 

But the ones that matter are the ones no one is told about,

like the floorboard tax….

you are taxed for every defective floorboard. 

Which is why so many scary stories end with mysterious creaking…

it’s just the tax collector,

and a different 

type

of collecting. (More of a harvest really….)

Things are never what they seem. That’s the saying and people say it, they say it.

Never looking closer,

never wanting to acknowledge,

the zipper running up the beautiful saleswoman’s back,

the amount of teeth in the grungy loner artist’s mouth,

 the hands (always covered by gloves) of the strange old lady in the train station….

The monster in their midst.

(Who may be very nice

or may not, no one can be sure.

And he’s not sure of you either…)

“Things are not always what they seem.”  he says

all of his heads nodding wisely.

©jayetomas2020

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Five Things About the Night You (probably) Didn’t Know

In false sunlight,
 electrically charged,
the chatter surfaces, 
"the night is young...!"
The night knows better.


Patti sang that the night 
belongs to lovers,
but the night has an...
unusual 
manner of loving,
that no earthborn,
so soft and so easily peeled,
 wants to belong to.


Children of the night,
they call themselves,
but they are really just dabblers in the dark.
The night has no children.
Not now.
Not any more.


Sometimes the night takes words just for amusement
to itself,
knowing, 
that no one would go gently,
if they knew where they were going,
and there is not a "wholesome goodness" in good night.


The music of the night is not
the same as music to earthborn ears, 
there are no instruments, 
no discernible melody.
Just a madman shaking a dead geranium and the scream of falling stars.
The night knows the words but never sings them,
as it is never wise to call what you don't understand,
and an invitation once offered,
cannot be taken back,
even by the darkest night.

©jayetomas2020

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A Day Like Any Other Day

It was a day like any other day.

There was weather. Air. Time. 

Nothing remarkable or notable. If Oliver had stopped to think about it (which he didn’t) he would have decided that he felt the same as he always did.

It was a school day so he put on his blue shirt. Hoisting his backpack up he walked down the stairs half listening to the voices outside. If all three of his friends were there it meant it was getting late, so he hurriedly pulled a breakfast smoothie out of the refrigerator and sped toward the back door.  Lifting it to his mouth and yanking the door open at the same time proved a mistake. Bright strawberry pink smoothie geysered out all over his face and shirt.  “Crapsticks!” he yelled peddling his toes backwards out of the drips. His mom was going to have a COW…

Dropping his backpack he ran up the stairs pulling the drenched and sticky shirt over his head. There was no other clean blue shirt so he grabbed a peculiar acid green one out of the clean clothes pile and pulled it on.

He was breathing hard when he finally made it out the door. His friend Ryan was the only one of the group left waiting and was just walking away, only stopping when he heard Oliver’s running feet behind him. Ryan looked at him strangely. “What happened to you, why are you wearing that? Never mind, we’re going to be late. C’mon I know a shortcut.” Oliver didn’t have time to think about his shirt anymore.

Later that morning Oliver was in his classroom searching his desk for his pencil. His teacher, Ms. Collins, looked momentarily confused as she passed him, but kept going, handing out graded test papers to everyone but him. Oliver’s hand went up but she didn’t seem to see it. “Ms. Collins?” he called uncertainly.

“Yes, ummm…yes?” she answered looking vaguely in his direction. But before he could say she hadn’t returned his work, she walked to the front of the class and started talking about geography. Oliver slumped down in his chair abashed and puzzled.

Lunchtime was the usual noisy jumble of students trying to eat their lunch, or dispose of it without being caught by the lunchroom monitors, and make a dash for the outside to take advantage of the last few days of nice weather.

Oliver looked all around the cafeteria but his friends weren’t at their usual table. He half-heartedly ate a few bites of ham sandwich (the usual) and a few bites of apple (the usual) and rolled the rest up in a napkin. Out in the schoolyard he saw Ryan, Caleb and few other kids he knew playing a tightly controlled game of catch. He joined in and waited for someone to throw it in his direction. The bell rang and Oliver was still waiting. No one had even looked at him. “Hey Ryan! Hey Caleb!” he yelled as they all walked towards the building. “What gives?” He felt uncomfortably close to tears and slowed down to get himself under control. That’s when he noticed the strange man in a dark suit standing near the edge of the building. He was alone. He was definitely out of place. And he was looking straight at Oliver.

 When he realised that to get into school he had to walk right past the man (Mysterious Stranger! his brain yelled) Oliver went all hot and cold. He tried to project a casual, not noticing kind of air as he walked closer. He was taking that crucial last step over the threshold when the man spoke.

“Oliver.” That one word was all he said.

Oliver spun around, eyes wide and a mix of emotions warring together inside of him. The day had been so strange and lonely that he was partly grateful that someone, anyone, was speaking to him. On the other hand, this was a Stranger. And that was never good…

Oliver stopped and stared, mind and feet frozen in place.

“Oliver.” the man repeated. “Sorry to have startled you. There’s a problem with your story. I’ve been sent to help. I’m an Editor. Your Editor.

******

The hamburger smelled good and the fries were crispy just the way he liked them. But Oliver was too befuddled to have any appetite. The man (Editor? Mysterious Stranger his brain kept insisting.) sat quietly across from him with a large cup of coffee. His eyes and face were calm.

“You must be wondering about all this.” he said

Oliver opened his mouth but it was a while before any sound came out and it was difficult to make the words join up.

“Today.” he started. “At school. I mean, no one. I don’t understand. What’s an..? Why would I have an editor? Isn’t that for writers? I think I’m going nuts. I don’t understand anything.” Oliver finished miserably.

“I know. I’m here to help. It’s not the end of the world so don’t be frightened. We can fix this. I can fix this, that’s why I’m here.” The man spoke quietly but with assurance.

“Let me explain. Everyone has a story. Everyone. Everyone you know, everyone you don’t know. There have always been stories. And stories, like anything else, need to be managed. Yours has gone off track. Something was changed without approval, without any proper editing and now you have split off from it. Your story can’t find you. It’s my job to fix it, to get you back on track. To re-write you back in so that the storyline all makes sense. That’s what editors do.”

Oliver looked at the table thinking furiously. Comic book plots and adventure movies running through his head.

“You mean I’m not real?” he rasped

“You are as real as anything.” The man answered. “Having a story doesn’t mean you are made up. We just need to find out where you and your story parted ways, and why. Stories are like toddlers in a way. They like to run off sometimes but don’t really know what to do with themselves after that. There must be something that can point me in the direction of the fracture. Then I can patch it up, fill in the blanks and your life will go on, back to normal. You need to help me though. What went on today that was different, that made you feel…apart?”

Oliver thought hard.

“I was fine this morning.” He said slowly. “I was just going to school and then…oh! My shirt!”

The man closed his eyes,  nodded in satisfaction and held up one finger for the check…

******

It was a day like any other day.

There was weather. Air. Time. 

Nothing remarkable or notable. If Oliver had stopped to think about it (which he didn’t) he would have decided that he felt the same as he always did.

It was a school day so he put on his blue shirt. Hoisting his backpack up he walked down the stairs half listening to the voices outside. If all three of his friends were there it meant it was getting late, so he hurriedly pulled a breakfast smoothie out of the refrigerator ….and stopped. Frowning at the strange feeling coming over him, he put the smoothie back and grabbed a plain water instead.

©jayetomas2020

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What Can You Say About Thursdays?

What can you say about Thursdays? 

With the Covid-19 lockdown a lot of the emphasis on the upcoming weekend has been lost for many people. Some name the days just “Day” and let it go. But it’s still there and still named (even if we don’t bother) and still the most neglected day I think.  It’s the day we rush past to get to Friday. It’s leftovers day. It’s the “I still have to set an alarm one more time” day.

It’s supposedly Thor’s Day….which if I were the God of Thunder I would be pretty pissed about. 

This Thursday is no exception so if you were reading to hear how I changed Thursday into Excitement. – my apologies. 

It’s Thursday and it’s raining. Not hard, not a full on storm with exciting crashes and booms and lights and water sheeting down. Grey and …meh. Just enough to make me cold. But I’m a writer. So I, naturally, have the ability to capture this and turn it on its head. Make it dance. Resonate.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA 

 IT’S THURSDAY BLECH BLAH NOTHING TO WORK WITH

But I am no quitter. So let me tell you about my morning and add some embellishments (lies) to keep you interested.

She soaked up magic spells with her morning oatmeal.

Her bedhead reminded her of mountain ranges covered in snow.

As she walked to work her arch support gym shoes slapped the concrete like waves crashing….Oh I can’t even….


Enough. An ExtraLarge cup of tea is called for.

And some Abel Korzeniowski to feed my Penny Dreadful craving.
Happy Thursday to you, boring or not.

I hope you are safe, are coping, and find something to smile at /marvel/engage with today.

And as always,

I wish you peace.

jaye

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Retreat

Pale horse.

Pale rider.

Why pale? Death should be juicy

bursting with life,

overflowing,

full of color and salt,

redolent with incense and sticky with nightmares boiled down to an essence,

a thick rubydark Bordeaux…

I see her in the corner,

like a hole punched out in the light,

her hair matching the shadows ,

and roses where her eyes should be…

But I see her,

and she sees me.

I don’t want to know her name.

I don’t want to know her secrets.

It’s enough to be seen sometimes,

enough to be present,

without adding another page,

or another set of lines to remember.

Never mind how many times an angel can fall,

how many times will they jump?

Will the ending rewrite itself when I’m not looking?

I thought I covered my daydreams in diamonds but

when I shook them only bits of tin foil rolled out.

Small dreams,

small steps,

I’m too easily tired with smallness,

fed up with walking backwards down the same road and calling it a change of scenery…

But the storm that rises inside finds no egress,

do you climb a burning tree to escape a flood?

And I subside.

I may think I want a kiss from a leopard but

she’s there in every mirror,

roses and wry amusement,

in the slight shake of her head,

to remind me I am not one who tames.

And I nod,

retreating,

for now.

©jayetomas2020

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Weekends and a Nameless Horse

Weekends aren’t the same anymore are they?

I still get that “Friday feeling” (insert dancing dog here meme _______) but I don’t know why.

I am not going anywhere or doing anything. But I like easy Saturday mornings, drinking coffee / tea in bed, the usual “GETUPNOWANDCHANGETHEWORLD” guilt quiescent….for the moment.

It’s more a feeling. I’m probably still programmed somewhere deep down to expect Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

After a quick check on the family news I scroll until I’m bored and positive I haven’t missed anything essential and then grab a book. Or 2, or 3. 

One thing that never changes is feeling that my life is a continual struggle to get everything I need to get done, done, so I can achieve my ongoing / lifelong / neverchanging goal to be LEFT ALONE TO READ IN PEACE.

Sigh.

Adulting does not allow this often. I sometimes feel like the Horse With No Name….on a journey I don’t quite understand, in a place I don’t know. But still here. I guess no one ever asks the horse if he wants to go…


I feel I should be writing great things right now. Well, I always feel that but now I am trying to support the protests, be a voice for good. A force. Which would require a change in my usual ….dare I say Style (do I have a style?) of writing. Me trying to change, trying to write something profound always has the opposite result.

There is no way better guaranteed to get me to freeze, to eliminate all prosody, to reduce me to Dr. Seuss-like verse . Ba dum ba dum ba Dum.  


So. Here I am. Still just me, trying to be a Good Me.

But unable to quite grasp how. But willing….so very willing to be. I will just keep showing up. And hope that the small ways will accumulate, will eventually be enough to build on. Maybe it’s enough to be willing, to just keep trying. Me and the nameless horse will just stay in the desert until it finally fills with flowers.


The river monsters aren’t staying in the river anymore.

They are riding the swells of overflow and eating all the pretty shells,

all I’m left with in my pail is a handful of broken bits.

They used to hide,

ducking down,

blending into shadows,

motionless under drapes of seaweed,

but I guess they feel at home on the shore now,

with so many other monsters….

©jayetomas2020

Thank you for being here.

Be well, be safe. 

love,

jaye

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Helpers and Rest

Look for the helpers….Mr Rogers was reported to have said. And that’s very good advice. It reminds us that , for whatever reason, the sensational and awful seem to sell more newspapers than kindness. (I guess it’s like slowing down to look at a car crash. We are strange creatures indeed.) But I have made it a habit to look for those helpers. I find them. I find them everywhere….and never has a world needed them more. A season of rest was how I was – how I am – choosing to think of the covid lockdown. Rest. Not full stop….just a moment to breathe and take a step back. Re-evaluate. Trying to do the best for each other. And to help where needed, whatever form that help may take.

There has been so much to take in the past few days and weeks. Sometimes I feel like a coward for not being able to handle it all at once. My saturation levels are met and overflow pretty damn fast. I have to remind myself that it’s ok. If I get there slow….I am still getting there.

Giants in a circle telling stories,

 and the sound echoes across the young grasslands,

bouncing off root and rock.

“Just thunder…” the cottage dwellers remark comfortably,

as the stars sweep overhead.


Giants in a circle telling stories,

graniteheavy heads level with hilltops

and toes digging into ravines,

loving the coolness of the dark earth below,

and the sweep of the stars overhead.


Giants in a circle,

long silent now. 

The stories have been swallowed by their endings,

and a maddened wind scuds across the tops of the dry grass.

The circle stands under an indifferent sun,

trusting in the strength of their stories,

in the solidness of their graniteheavy hearts,

and waits,

resting,

watching,

as the stars sweep overhead…

©jayetomas2020

Thank you all for being there on the other end of this virtual line.

Be well. Be safe

love,

jaye

#kindnessoverall

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Where to Begin


Where to begin?


Fires, children in cages, plague, madness in the street,

needless pain,

needless death.

The reins of the world are in the hands of giant spoiled toddlers who refuse their naps just so they can howl longer…..

I had lofty expectations for the “couple weeks” (I thought) of lockdown. Catch up on housecleaning, do a lot of cooking, online courses, movies, maybe do a puzzle? hook a rug?

And best of all, Henry Bemis like, I thought I would finally have time enough at last to read….

And Write! with a capital W! I would kick this maddening writers blocks ass and take the time to ground myself, to be Brilliant and Deep and Sparkling. 

Witty even.

 I didn’t count on my brain shutting down. Or revving up ….it changed with the wind. Not cooperating is what I mean. And I argued with it. But no matter my beautiful logic, it did what it wanted with no consideration for the poor befuddled body underneath it. I couldn’t settle, couldn’t focus on anything for much longer than 20 minutes or so. Nothing appealed. I found myself watching FRIENDS bloopers. and taking “what kind of vegetable are you” surveys online. No proper sleep and anxiety about my family joined together and bought me a season pass to an insomniac carnival. Gradually it got a little better. I found a trace of my voice again and broke the back of the apathy. Humans can adjust to just about anything. I started feeling cautiously productive. Still grappling with outrage fatigue ….there is no end to the fuel these past couple years. But wanting to be a force not a silent bystander. Wanting to do…something.
And then George Floyd was murdered.
Now I’m blindfolded and groping around in the dark again, I just don’t know which way to turn. I know I’m not alone but can only speak for myself.And right now Myself is a bumbling mumbling mass of exposed nerve endings.

My nervous system screams at me to do nothing but pull inside myself like a turtle. Hunker down, be quiet until the vultures pass by. But I can’t do that. So I am here. Reaching out to all of you in my awkward way.

Hello. Be safe.

It’s all I can manage right now. But it’s a start. 

love, jaye.


#kindnessoverall

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The Vision

Wings most delicate,

cradling eyes of ebony,

the pupils lost in the darkling,

no flecks, no rings, nothing to break the boldness of the stare.

“Angel marked.” her great grandmother would have said.

“Demon spawn.” the old tales would have whispered…

 

The vision is like worshipping. 

You choose the things you hold vital and precious before you,

things you seek to keep always with you,

slipped into your pocket,

 or held secretly,

perhaps tucked away in a book.

Moving through the Vison,

the first moments,

are like you are carved from teak,

you watch the colors drain away,

and trying not to take the battering personally.

Afterward,

left with a hangover of lightning strikes behind your eyes,

you sift through the knowledge punched into your head,

and must decide what to do with it.

Let it drop like pearls from your pale and shaking hands,

wincing before a sad gaze before you walk away,

knowing you leave behind more questions than help?

Or decide a course of action, 

decide to “fix” this, get involved, knowing full well that this is an engraved and hand delivered invitation for trouble…

 

The first time it hit me I thought I died,

thought my strangemarked eyes had gone blind.

Walking down an alley, a shortcut to school,

 (I was always late)

when I was suddenly not there,

not,

anywhere.

I was behind someone else’s eyes,

Worried,

Anxious,

Full of dread,

and then I was back in the alley,

down on my knees breathing like I had forgotten how for a while.

And cold,

so cold.

 

I always acted like I was used to the stares,

the doubletake,

the floating questionbubbles from behind me;

“Birthmark? Tattoo? Is she one of those bodypainters…”

“I have something that will help.” said my college roommate holding up a bottle of Revlon fresh beige.

I don’t need help. Not anymore.

I stumbled into what my “bad days” really are.

(That’s a story for another night. It’s one that shouldn’t be told in the day…)

And accepted that this gift, this curse, this

Binding,

is not going away.

And so I move through a life, I fit in,

skittering along the top, smiling, playing Minecraft, ordering food, binging on Netflix…

Just a regular person.

While underneath,

where there be monsters,

I fit in there too.

 

©jayetomas2020

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