Damned Words 8
Reflections in windows tease and haunt, showing what was, and what is no longer. Do not look at the glass! Damn, too late. Reflected before me is a tree. Its trunk, branches, and leaves, all on display. I want it to be real. I roam these empty streets. Searching, hoping, and praying to find someone; something; anything. People, animals, and plants are all gone. Concrete, steel and glass remain. I call out and listen, but only my echo replies. This city is dead; nothing lives. The sky is grey; no sun or clouds. Life has abandoned this place; abandoned me.
They watch and wait in everything. I can feel their hungry eyes and thrusting glares, pulling for the acknowledgement that would seal my fate. Stupid therapist called it Pareidolia.
Demons, creatures, faces and things of terror live in almost everything. Seeing them draws them into your head where they eat your soul. I avoided them until today, overcome by a single glance at a building, a window holding the tree and cloudy sky – all of them full. I heard them coming. Two ice picks saved me, one for each eye. With the windows to my soul ruined, I was free.
It reflects her suffering, an enticing apparition. “Ease the regret, press your fingertips to mine. I can take from you the memories, I can turn back time.” Its huge empty eyes drip in black streaks, it twists and sighs evocatively. She reaches for its ghostly hand but she pauses, her fingertips tremble, hovering just above the glass. The apparition buckles with rage, the glass rattles as it slams against the surface, begging for release.
“Not yet.” she says and turns away. She wraps on her coat and scarf and heads quickly out the door; she is late for work again.
Neighborhood kids told stories about The Hill, regurgitating false truths that their parents told them. Tall tales about what really went on behind the mirrored glass and towering brick walls, but I learned early on that most parents were full of shit, mine included.
My father told me they did ‘things’ to bad people on The Hill and I should stay away from there. My dad was an asshole, but he wasn’t full of shit.
He should have taken his own advice because they, I mean WE, really did some horrific things to him when he came to The Hill.
I look out upon all that is left. Sunlight scorches this land; with morning comes heat, an assault upon existence. With evening, a frigid wind; though still a brief respite. I squint as I glare down among those who wallow at my feet. My stone begins its grind, my furnace stokes; a rival to the blistering rays without, but only barely. Their faces turn up, beseeching. I watch as they enter my opening maw; again as they depart in concert with the tenors screech from my bowels. Stragglers dally, grubbing for scraps. Something needs fill the stone on the ‘morrow.
curtains brown, tattered and torn
reflections were once welcome
swatting away evening’s flies
light, life, color, have been exiled
I wonder to where they have fled
Dark shadows of night interpose
greedily they suck the last drop of day
beating away the memories of her, of us
“futile” I murmur
there is nothing left to hold dear
In response the fluttering starts to sneer
night’s sinister incessant chuckle
It loves to remind me
there may still be bloodied remnants
in swiss dotted fabric that the flies have missed
white now turned rusty
I tell myself “better not to remember”
Joseph A. Pinto
Nothing will stand between us; nothing will keep me away. The cruelty, locked in your silent world. All you hear is nothing, even as I shout your name. What see of you beyond the reflection of spirit-churned skies? What know of you within that haunted heart? I shall shatter your glass; recover your incarcerated soul. The cruelty, shackled in your listless words. All you think is nothing, even as I cry your name. What suffer of you behind bricked walls? You wait eternally; I say wait no more. Nothing will deny sky from its horizon. Angels of their fall. Nothing.
Fingers clutch at the crumbling windowsill. Outside, light spills across the apartment blocks and the gardens beneath.
He calls it a garden but it is little more than paving slabs on which she reclines and smokes and dies a little death each night. She loves cigars. Fat, Cuban things in her slim hands. The whole of her is slim. When she stretches out he imagines taking a stick to her ribs, beating them, making music with her bones. It is not enough, just to see. Beneath his practised hands, her bones could sing. A symphony of human sound, in harmony!
A picture forms in the panes of glass as it does every day before dusk becomes night. Clouds and trees tonight. Maybe an impending storm. Yes, that’s what I need. Evil must be displayed!
Even now the clouds twist and turn as they darken, and the trees are blown away from the glass portrait. The tranquil scene changes before me. An evil face forms in the glass, hideous in its deformity, mocking the world with its visual display of arrogant intent.
I walk inside and look in the vestibule mirror. “Dorian Gray, you look as young as ever,” I say.
I used to love the view. I’d sit by the sill, mindlessly picking at the cracked paint and I’d watch life happening on the street below; the hasty flow of businessmen scattering off to hard-earned paychecks, health nuts jogging in tight clothes with their leashed, oversized dogs, even the filthy down-trodden vagabonds that stumble from meter to meter—all symptoms of life’s intricate dance; of life’s beauty. Oh, how wrong I was! Now, I see the gritty reality. Ever since my wife hung herself in that goddamn tree, I’ve realized that the window shows the truth. It only shows pain.
A Trip to the Old Country
“That’s it right there,” Donal said, pointing at a four-paned window on the second floor. It was one of the few that still had glass in the barren building. The clouds had begun to darken and the air smelled like spring rain.
Finoula pressed her hand against his cheek. “If it’s too hard, we can go back.”
“No, I’m fine.” He kissed her palm. “Professors aren’t supposed to diddle their students, but some do anyway.”
“Bastard,” Finoula said, her gaze locked on the cloud-swept window.
Donal grinned. “You’re standing on him right now.”
He gave the soft earth a stomp.
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