Penguins From the North

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EX

  I dreamt of her last night, the first time in years. It felt so real. The cadence of her voice, and the way she looked at me with those eyes of sad pity, it felt familiar. It all seemed innocent, almost normal. 
  She called me unexpectedly and said she wanted to see me, was quite persistent, and I didn’t think to ask why. It didn’t seem so strange at the time. I agreed, and that’s where the dream begins to shift between private and public moments like slides out of order. 
  We first wandered Sheppard St. at night, hand in hand, headlights from stray cars streaking the road like long-exposure photography, the white and red glowing instead of the street lights overhead, dipping beneath that small bridge lined with graffiti. 
  Then we were somewhere different, a public park, bright green with life, lush like the first few weeks of spring. It was daytime, a cloudless expanse of blue, and again we seemed to wander aimlessly on paved paths of tar cut through the lawn, talking warmly of the past and the few times we actually smiled. There was always the feeling that we were moving forward, towards something. 
  It turned again, and we were lying in a bed, over a thick white comforter, white walls, a white night stand with an old-timey alarm clock of gold, it shined brilliantly. Light filled the room but I could see no source. It was not a bedroom I recognized, and the mood had shifted, the room was filled with anguish and regret, as we both explained things that were better left unsaid, miserable confessions that hit you in the joints, an ache, the splitting of marrow. 
  It all fell apart rapidly from there. The last turn, a different city, a small town, standing outside a red brick house, white shades drawn, a lifeless room behind, and I held her in my arms, pressed close together. As I looked down into her eyes, I told her I had missed her, I told her how slow time had moved without her, and the way everything still felt of her, but she began to cry, her body trembling as she shook her head, pulling away from me, holding her hands over her face. She kept saying,”I’m sorry.” I tried to get close again, but she only moved further. Suddenly the words began to pour out of her, frantically, as if they hurt as they left her lips. She had only wanted to see me because she needed something from me, some papers to be signed as if we were a married couple. She didn’t want to hurt me, but said it was the only way I’d agree to see her. She had been seeing someone new, said his name was robert, a family friend or something. She couldn’t face me as she told me all this, ashamed, or maybe she didn’t want to see my face as the words hit. I grabbed her shoulders rather forcefully at one point, so that she looked right at me, her eyes beet red, miserable, but she could only repeat that same tired line, “I’m sorry.”
 She left me there on the street. It felt as if my heart had been torn again, that rekindled hope smashing against the concrete like glass. The words played over and over in my head, stirring another ache, a pain deep in my chest that didn’t move, only ate away at my soul. It was horrible. It stayed with me through the morning. 

— 1 day ago with 2 notes
#creative writing  #short story  #prose  #poetry  #dream  #spilled ink 
For Sale

The first time I saw the for sale sign planted in the front yard, I was not entirely surprised. The way he cursed at his wife was unbearable, it rattled through the walls like thunder. Their late night fits would often spill out into the street as if challenging the rest of us, all listening from behind drawn curtains. But now the street is mostly quiet, and the house always looks cloudy. The lights are out, the power is cut. There are no bicycles in the driveway, and no one is smoking on the steps when I get home from work. It’s kind of sad.

— 1 week ago with 1 note
#poetry  #prose  #spilled ink  #creative writing 
Skin

she twisted her hair into curls
turning over the years we’d been apart
they passed through her eyes
specks of light like stardust
holding me to the man I used to be
but she could not see
that I am so much more 
than skin can possibly portray

— 1 month ago with 2 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Afternoon Driving

the long ride in
traversing canals and
old steel bridges that take us in
green orchards
peaches in the soil
red ribbons in the trees
wind mills and still propellers
the airport painted light blue like the sky
rust climbing the hangers like ivy and
two-seater planes that keep low
as if afraid of the clouds
dusty parking lots
and ponds of algae
that grow from turtle shells
slow walks along the coast
as the sun falls behind the green belt
there is talk of times removed and time wasted 
but it all harkens back to one thought
this feels like home

— 1 month ago with 1 note
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Dawn

dawn breaks cold blue over northern lakes
threads of morning light sleep in the tree line
yawning from the window
I see only what I’ve left behind

— 1 month ago with 1 note
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Notes From the Road (II)

She buried her face in my shoulder as we started to talk of the future, of separation and sorry goodbyes. I didn’t realize at first that she had started to cry, but in the passing moments that trickled by, her tears had soaked through my sweater. They felt warm against my skin. They stained my sleeve a deeper shade of grey. I could feel their slow progress across my cheek, trailing down my neck.  I didn’t know what to say. Typical words of condolence ran through my head, but all seemed to fall short of this incredible sadness that was now welling up in our chests. Those petty words wouldn’t be enough, and my imagination was staggered by her sudden outpouring of emotion. So I squeezed her tighter, and told her I loved her with as much conviction as I could muster. 

— 3 months ago with 5 notes
#poetry  #prose  #spilled ink  #creative writing 
Notes From the Road

It felt so liberating just being there atop the world, looking down upon a valley of spruce trees. I sat on that bald summit hugging my knees. It was all I could do to keep my soul from leaping out of my chest. 

— 4 months ago with 4 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink  #travelnotes  #prose 
Tether

we share local weather and the same 
bewilderment before the enormity of our
environment, full of man’s preoccupation
towering overhead in dizzying 
arrays of concrete

— 5 months ago
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Tulips

spots of sunlight fill
tiny drops of morning dew
the meadow flattens in the wind
as if a hand lightly brushed the earth
and you are somewhere underneath
sleeping in a mess of purple tulips
that soften your bed, and colour
your freckled cheeks

— 5 months ago with 2 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Trout Fishing

you still keep a line nearby
and know just when to pull it
you must see me coming from 
a distance, my head held low, 
following the flow of water

— 5 months ago with 3 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Insomnia

the couple upstairs have started
fighting in morse code, lonely thuds
against the hardwood floor
it shakes the wall next to my bed
I haven’t slept in a week

— 5 months ago with 3 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Gentle Night

  The wheels beneath the chair dragged over the rough shag carpeting as I pushed away from the computer desk, planting myself in front of the only window in the small corner bedroom. I leaned back in the chair, it groaned loudly in protest, and placed my legs up on the wooden windowsill, as some chips of flaking white paint fell away onto the carpet. 
   I kept the lights off in the room, but the walls glowed a cool translucent blue from the idle computer screen. The streets outside were just as dark, and strangely bare, but the night gave them strength, and the black gaps between street lights grew brave and mysterious.
  I reached down to the short coffee table I’d made from broken cupboards, and pulled out my black faux leather journal and one of the many pens I kept close at hand. I first ran a finger along the edge of the book, feeling the worn bent corners, then pressed the pages close together, and guessed at how much space I had left to fill. It didn’t seem like much. 
  I opened up to a blank page near the back, flattened it with the palm of my hand. I uncapped the pen, and drew a line down the left column, judging carefully how well it moved across the page. The ink first ran very thin, then expanded like water on a paper towel, the line losing definition and growing fat on the ink. This pen would do. 
  I then waited, as the point hovered above the page in anticipation, shaking slightly like a hungry man before his meal. It was eager to get the first few lines down, to feel as if we had accomplished something together. But the words didn’t come. 
  I continued to watch the window closely, intently, as if searching the empty expanse for some undefined feature. I noted the way the hills rolled over the valley, still evident in the darkness, dotted with the warm yellow lights of families gathered around a kitchen table or the living room television. I saw them as candles set upon the rooftops, markers for imaginary watchmen waiting over the sleeping streets. I could see the street lights tucked comfortably beneath the ragged winter foliage, florescent fires burning slowly in the neighbor’s yard. I could not see the stars, nor the white virgin moon, only a grey swell of moody clouds that never seemed to set. 
  This was a gentle night. 

— 6 months ago with 3 notes
#poetry  #prose  #spilled ink 
Goodnight

her feet crunch in the melting snow
I am fixed to the street
heavy steps
and the way her body struggles
in the short crossing
she stops half way
astonished by her sudden independence
and the black holes cut out of the lawn

— 7 months ago with 2 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Horizon
your mother’s house adorned with
red streamers and silk ribbons
the bedroom of white lace
local streets steeped in blue light like still rivers 
yellow sand stuck between your toes
tiny insects buzzing through green brush
america waited as we warmed the northern horizon
— 8 months ago
#poetry  #spilled ink 
Jeans

we stitch our jeans together
while speaking of plain expectations
that taste stale on the tongue
snowfall settles outside
slumbering between blades of grass
I watch the clock as the
minute hand ticks eleven
inside dusty archives
ignite like fireworks
I quietly rejoice
you turn cold
a blue complexion
express contempt for romantic idealism
brush off our youthful attachment
and years of reverent wishing
as childish games
you wear maturity
like a fashion statement

— 9 months ago with 2 notes
#poetry  #spilled ink