Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Five More Poems

A Mistake is Made
by: L. Paul Fobert Jr.

Is there a reason it came to this?
She was telling me why now,
I wasn’t listening.
It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard on TV.

She had been fighting.
This wasn’t new.
Her friend was in the house
touching her things.

What did he do?
He did something.
He always does something.
Or maybe it was her.
I must have done something wrong.

It was my mistake.


Will he ever forgive me?
I wouldn’t were I in his shoes.
The spark in his bronze eyes died
when I told him.

The statement of certainty
as I confirmed his thoughts
made his pupils darken black.
He hasn’t spoken since.

I just finished moving her things.
He still won’t look at me.
How do I explain this to him
when I can’t explain it to myself?

This is my mistake.

by: L. Paul Fobert Jr.

Tan, peach, cream, rosemary white
crystals twinkling brightly,
all speaking to everyone, yet no one.

Tangy gold, bushy green
vegetation, ageing slowly
within the garden fence.

Fresh morning dew becomes
black magic night. Now all seems lost
when shadows are let loose.

A Dash ‘a salt, a pinch ‘a pepper
reminds them all of
A Witching Hour.

by: L. Paul Fobert Jr.

The rubber against my butt never felt good.
I learned to ignore it.

Inhaling and exhaling
I reminded myself there was no race.
Ignoring the dull throb of my ears
I started my piece.

My arms began to get tired.
Cramps were starting.

Stage lighting has its uses,
audiences do not.
Their major theme, make me sweat.

Recitals are nerve wracking.

Silence Is Golden
by: L. Paul Fobert Jr.

The best time of day is night.
It is a time for silence.
When all is lost, the empty
echoes of the moon are deafening.
Silence use to be golden.

When others are talking
the sound can be loud or soft,
but whispers of subconscious memories
are music to piercing ears.
Silence should be golden.

Bursts of loud noise are bad.
None worse than in areas designated quiet.
Why do cell phones ring in libraries?
If there are dual TV’s, why argue?
Silence can be Golden.

The resounding hours of silence
are betrayed by those who use them
for their own purpose. When silence is broken
the world has nothing.
Silence is golden.

The Bells and Whistles of Insanity
by: L. Paul Fobert Jr.

Bells going off and whistles,
signaling the start of something. Of what?
Bells and whistles represent the start
of everything.
Or is it the end?

Is the oven finished baking bread?
Did a sporting event just reach its conclusion?
Earth’s destruction is predicted
everywhere, every day. That’s it.
The end of everything.

The ringing, pinging and dinging
sounds hollow out strained ears,
no longer calming nerves,
instead they echo in an empty mind.
A crazy mind?

A bell goes off again. A gonglike sound
that doesn’t burrow inside.
This wasn’t imagined.
Down the street kids play with a
plastic gong and mallet.

A whistle sounds in the mind, not
ringing off any walls but the house.
This wasn’t imagined either.
Where did the sound come from?
It doesn’t matter. The crazy mind doesn’t exist.

The window of the house is a reminder of being
Alone in the middle of the woods.
No kids with a gong.
No manmade sounds all week,
only the whistle-ringing of a strained, hollowed-out, empty mind.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Last Day -Twelve Page Play

Last Day

(The curtain is closed over the stage. A BLACK ROBED FIGURE comes from behind the curtain on stage right carrying a red scythe, moving gracefully across the stage in front of the curtain before disappearing behind it on stage left. The curtain rises to reveal a living room. A couch and a love seat sit downstage left with a young woman in her 20’s, named SARAH, sleeping on the couch. A recliner sits mid-stage across from the two other pieces of furniture. A television sits in the backstage between all three. THE BLACK ROBED FIGURE enters from stage right and moves towards Sarah. SARAH snorts in her sleep. The BLACK ROBED FIGURE backs away a few steps, startled, then comes closer again and raises the red scythe to strike. An older woman in her 40’s, named SUSAN, enters stage right. She doesn’t see the black robed figure. SUSAN smiles and walks to Sarah. THE BLACK ROBED FIGURE backs away. SUSAN sits at the end of the couch. SARAH wakes up.)

Hey sleepyhead.


(The two women kiss passionately)

You told me to wake you up when it was time to pick up Jessie and Alex from their father’s. Still want to go with me?

No you go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.

Are you sure?

Yeah. I’ll just finish my nap. I’m going to need it once the kids are home.

All right.

(SUSAN exits stage right. SARAH lies back down and in a few moments is asleep. THE BLACK ROBED FIGURE steps forward and raises her scythe. A SECOND BLACK ROBED FIGURE, named JULIA enters. She is not wearing a hood and is in her early thirties with long cascading black hair as is revealed when she takes off her robe. Underneath she is wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans.)

I’ve harvested all my souls. What about you, Michelle?

(MICHELLE tiptoes over to the right side of the stage)

(Dark and ominous voice, whispers)
What are you doing here Julia? Go away.

I wanted to see how my bestest, best friend was doing on her possible last day.

(MICHELLE glares at Julia)

(Dark and ominous voice, whispers)
I haven’t gotten fired yet.

You will if you don’t kill…

(Dark and ominous voice, whispers)

…3821. And you better get a move on. The head office wanted her dead two days ago. You need to hurry up or-

(Dark and ominous voice, whispers)
I’ll have to go back to deskwork.
I know.

Take off that stupid hood you sound ridiculous.

(JULIA takes off Michelle’s hood. MICHELLE is a mid-thirties blond woman.)

It’s mandatory for all reapers when working, to wear their cloaks. You could be spotted otherwise. You should put yours back on.

So why’s it taking so long to bag Ms. 3821?

Her name’s Sarah…
...and I don’t know.

It can’t be that hard to just-

(A sound from offstage interrupts Julia. MICHELLE looks to Julia in panic. JULIA just smiles. She walks to her fallen cloak, picks it up, puts it on, and stands in the corner.)

You’re going to watch me?

(Dark and ominous voice, distinct from Michelle’s, yells)

(The booming voice awakens SARAH in fright. MICHELLE pulls her hood on in a panic. SUSAN enters stage right with a five year-old boy named ALEX and a ten year-old girl named JESSIE behind her. The two kids start playing tag on the right hand side of the stage. SUSAN sees SARAH shaking with panic and fear. She runs to the couch worried.)

Honey. What’s wrong? Are you all right?

I guess. I don’t know. Something woke me up. Did you hear anything?

Can’t say I did. But I just got home.
(Smiles playfully)
Did my poor baby have a nightmare?

Want to make it better?

(The two women kiss. ALEX and JESSIE stop playing.)

Ew. Gross.

(SUSAN and SARAH stop kissing and turn to the children smiling)

Girl cooties.

Girls don’t have cooties. Boys do.




(Scares everyone, including Michelle, with dark and ominous voice)

(ALEX scream and runs off stage left)

(Shouts after him)

(SUSAN, SARAH and JESSIE head towards stage right)

Who was that mom?

I don’t know Jess.

(SUSAN, SARAH and JESSIE exit stage left. MICHELLE and JULIA throw their hoods off. JULIA is smiling. MICHELLE stomps over to Julia.)

Why did you do that?

I don’t want you to get fired. I’m pushing you in the right direction.

Do you even know why the head office wants her dead? Do you know what they wrote down in her file? That it’ll be from natural causes. That’s a load of crap. I shouldn’t be a Harvester. You’re the one who’s good at that. I should be a collector. I can’t even decide how to end my first assignments life. I almost took it too soon and now I can’t seem to do it at all. That’s how nervous I am.

You’re making this too hard on yourself. Just do it quick. Like pulling off a band-aid. One quick jerk. Right off. And don’t forget we have these for a reason.
(Indicates her scythe)
Without it we’re nothing; we’re people dressing up for Halloween. Just tip the sofa over on her head, or smother her with something, or electrocute her or make a piano fall on her head. It doesn’t even have to be that fancy. Just cut her in half with it, or-

(Swinging her scythe at Julia)
Like this?

(Dodging the scythe)
Watch it. Without our cloaks on fully, we’re just as vulnerable as humans. You know that.

(Playful threat)
I do know that.

(MICHELLE and JULIA stare at each other for a few moments in silence. JULIA whips her scythe in the direction of the television and it turns on.)

Don’t you dare.

Next round.

(With another flip of her wrist, JULIA uses her scythe to turn the volume up as loud as it will go. MICHELLE and JULIA throw their hoods on. SARAH runs onstage from stage left followed closely by SUSAN. They look around the room, neither one of them see Michelle and Julia. SUSAN walks over to the television and turns it off.

I’m starting to think Alex has the right idea.

(JULIA starts walking towards stage left. MICHELLE stops her.)

Hiding under the bed?

Yeah. Do you think Jessie can get him out?

(Dark and ominous voice, whispers)
I wouldn’t bet on it.

(MICHELLE turns to see if Susan and Sarah heard Julia. JULIA passes by and off stage left at the Michelle’s distraction. MICHELLE sees her leave.)

(Shouts in dark and ominous voice)
Damn it Julia!

(SUSAN and SARAH look around in shock and fright)

The kids.

(Overlapping with above)
Alex. Jessie.

(SUSAN and SARAH exit stage left, running. MICHELLE puts her hand to her forehead in disgust at what she has just done. She starts moving towards stage left. A scream is heard off stage. She runs off stage left. The lights darken the stage. A large fight can be heard. The fight enters the stage. When the lights come back on JULIA and ALEX are lying on stage right, dead. JULIA is not wearing her black reaper robe. SUSAN, SARAH and JESSIE are gathered around the bodies, confused and crying. MICHELLE enters stage left still unseen by them in her reaper robe and holding Julia’s reaper robe, also crying. She walks over to get a view of Julia as she continues crying.)

Mommy? What happened? Why won’t Alex wake up?

(SUSAN cries even harder. SARAH hugs her.)

We don’t know Jess.

(JESSIE bows her head. The only sounds are the sounds of SUSAN and MICHELLE crying.)

Who is the girl? I’ve never seen her before.

We…don’t know that either. Susan…we need to call the police.
(SUSAN cries even harder at these words)
We can’t just sit here doing nothing. Here, let’s sit you down on the sofa. While I go make the call.

(SARAH guides SUSAN and JESSIE over to the furniture on stage left. SARAH exits stage left. SUSAN tries to collect herself. She looks at Alex’s body and starts to cry again. MICHELLE has bent down over Julia’s body and cries even harder. She lays Julia’s robe next to her body. SARAH enters stage left.)

I couldn’t-

(The stage goes dark. There is a lot of confused shuffling and panicked noise. This turns into sounds of a fight. The stage lights come back up. JULIA’S body is gone. REAPER # 1, with his or her hood off, has drawn his or her scythe on Michelle. MICHELLE has her hood removed.)

What’s going on?

(Dangerous whisper)
That’s what I’d like to know.

By order of the head office, under Reaper decree 54, Michelle Walker, you are hereby placed under-

Are you insane? You guys do know our hoods are down right. In front of mortals. That’s Reaper decree 1. And I didn’t murder Julia.

(REAPER # 1 looks at Michelle, not believing her)

This is your first day on the job, isn’t it?

And your last.

I didn’t do anything wrong.

What’s going-

Don’t. If we stay out of this we may find out who killed Alex.

Where’s the body?

Her name is Julia and I don’t know.

You were sent here to collect the soul of 3821.


What going on mommy?

Instead the Reaper Emergency Cleanup intercepted a phone call-

But I didn’t make the call. I couldn’t. The phone died on me.

Did someone else?

-a phone call to the mortal police. We had to step in when we realized you were doing a job here. We didn’t expect the body of 8833. He wasn’t supposed to be collected for another eighty-three years. We also didn’t expect to see the body of a fellow Reaper. What was she doing here? Where is she now?

I. Don’t. Know.

You’re lying.

Excuse me.

(MICHELLE and REAPER # 1 turn their heads slowly in synchronization towards Sarah.)


Could you please explain to us what’s going on?

I think I got it figured out, but this is my home and my son is dead. I want an explanation.

We’re Reapers. Mortals traditionally know us best as The Grim Reaper. Michelle was sent to collect the soul of one Sarah Davidian.

No, I won’t let you.

You can’t.

I was sent here to arrest Ms. Donahue for the murder of one of our own kind, a Ms. Julia Whitley. I’m sorry your son got caught in the crossfire. All evidence suggests that-

(Throws herself at MICHELLE and yells)
It’s your fault Alex is dead.

(MICHELLE swings her scythe at Susan. SUSAN stops in stunned disbelief. The scythe is buried in her side. She falls to the ground dead. MICHELLE pulls the scythe out with wide eyes. JESSIE shouts in anguish and drops next to her mother, crying.)

This isn’t helping you any.

(Overlapping with above; yells)
You bitch!

(SARAH throws herself at Michelle in anger. Instinctively MICHELLE swings her scythe again and the recliner tips over and crushed her head. She lies underneath it dead. The only sound is the sound of JESSIE crying loudly.)

(Off Stage)
I would have used the sofa.

(JULIA enters stage right. JESSIE gets up. REAPER # 1 smiles at her)

Thanks. I got it from here.

(REAPER # 1 exits stage right. JULIA picks her Reaper robe off the ground and puts it on, leaving the hood off. She waves her scythe around JESSIE’S head. JESSIE starts stumbling around the stage.)

I can’t believe you’re alive.
Actually I can.
(Swings her scythe at her)
What did you do that to me for?

Well I didn’t want you to be fired. The head office said to either find a way to force you to collect 3821 by the end of the day or to help you clean out your desk.

But look at the body count. And did you really have to fake you death?

Two of the perks.

Only two? What are the others?

(JESSIE stumbles towards Julia. JULIA waves her scythe around Jessie’s head again and she stops stumbling around the stage.)

I get to train a new Reaper of my choosing.


Who are you guys? Where am I?

(JESSIE looks around the room and sees the dead bodies)

Do you want to be a Reaper Jessie?

(JULIA starts guiding JESSIE towards the stage right exit)

Jessie? Is that my name?

(MICHELLE shakes her head and starts to follow)

Yeah. So what to you say?

(MICHELLE, JULIA and JESSIE exit stage right)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Location Play

What About Love

(THE SETTING is a park. Upstage left and downstage right are two benches. In the middle of the stage a merry-go-round sits next to a slide. TWO WOMEN in their twenties are at the bench on stage left. One of them is eating an ice cream cone. This woman, named JANIS, is sitting on the bench while the other, named CASEY, is standing.)

What about Jasper Collins? He was always good looking.

Janis. Everybody knows Jasper’s lacking in that department.

Well, How about Rick Trevors or Nelson Ruthers?

Rick needed work the first time around and I’d rather sleep with Nelson Muntz than Nelson Ruthers.

Casey. There isn’t exactly a huge list of people. All the good guys are either gay, dead or married. You know that.

Happily married?

(Shouts in frustration)

Fine. Fine.

(Puts down her ice cream cone)
Damn. If I’d known you were this picky about finding a guy…

What? What would you have done?

(A MAN IN HIS TWENTIES NAMED STEVE enters stage right with a novel and sits on the bench at that end. He sees the girls but does not pay them any mind. He starts reading the novel.)

It doesn’t matter. My best advise. If you want to get over Michael, go out and screw the first guy you see. Let’s get to the nearest bar right now.

We don’t have to. I just found the perfect guy. He gorgeous. Who is he? Do you know him?

I’ve never seen him before.

I need to know more about him. I should talk to him. What should I say? I don’t know what to say.

Do me a favor.


Quit acting like you’re in high school. Then we’ll go talk to him together.

(CASEY takes a couple deep breaths. JANIS picks up her ice cream cone. CASEY and JANIS start walking over to stage right. STEVE looks up from his novel to see them coming. He lets out an annoyed sigh. He gets up, closes his novel and exits stage right. CASEY runs the rest of the way over. JANIS takes a lick of her cone and keeps walking.)

(A Little panicky)
Where did he go? Why did he leave? Janis…

You’re acting like a high schooler again.

But why did he leave. I wanted, no, I needed to talk to him. He was a god. He was the one for me.

Maybe he didn’t feel the same way.

Why not? I’m appealing. I’m experienced. And I’m popular. Isn’t that what guys are looking for in a woman? Of course it is.

(Unbeknownst to either of them, STEVE enters stage left. He puts his novel on the bench before walking over to the merry-go-round, giving it a couple of big pushes and riding it.)

I still think we should head to the nearest bar to get you a guy. There’ll be alcohol. And I’m starting to wish I was wasted.

(JANIS and CASEY start to walk off stage right when STEVE lets out a loud yell. The speed of the merry-go-round became too fast to control and STEVE was thrown from the merry-go-round. JANIS and CASEY both run over.)

Are you all right?

(STEVE gets up off the ground and brushes himself off)

No harm done. I’m Steve.

Are you sure you’re all right Steve?

Yeah, because I wouldn’t mind nursing you back to health. I took a CPR class.

Does it look like he needs CPR Casey?

Do you want to go out with me? Tomorrow? Next week? (Pause) Today?

Sorry. No.

(CASEY looks at him in shock, horror, and outrage for a moment. She grabs the ice cream cone out of JANIS’S hand, who is currently taking a lick from it. CASEY shoves the cone, ice cream first, into Steve’s face before walking towards stage left. She sees the novel on the bench as she walks by and throws it onto the ground before exiting stage left. STEVE uses his shirt to start cleaning his face.)

Sorry about her.

It’s all right.

I should probably go after her. (Pause) But I don’t want to.

(STEVE and JANIS walk over to the stage left bench and sit down)

Are you going to hit on me too?

No. I’m just curious. It’s been a long time since a guy wasn’t interested in either one of us. So…

(CASEY enters stage left. She walks up behind the bench that Steve and Janis are sitting at. CASEY listens in on their discussion.)

Do you really want to know?

If you want to tell me.

I don’t believe in love.



Hello Casey.
Do you have something to say to your crush?

I’m talking about romantic love of course.

(Sits down on the bench with the other two)
I don’t get it. You just don’t believe, what, that it exists at all.

Love is lust in disguise. People have hands.
(Makes a jerking off gesture)
They don’t need some random nobody to make them cry.

So you don’t date at all?

Dating just leaves people broke and marriage ends in divorce.

Why all the theories.

Most people are born with these theories. It’s where cooties come from. I kissed a girl at the age of five and never changed the cooties theory after that.

I can respect that.


And I respect other people’s opinions on love, even if they’re not my own. But just because I’m attracted to you doesn’t mean I’ll give into it.


Just because I’m attracted to you doesn’t mean I’ll give in to it.

Haven’t you been listening Casey?

Yes I have, but I don’t understand how someone as attractive as you doesn’t want me! How can you say you’re attracted to me and not want to fuck me! I’m beautiful goddamn it! Take me!

(As Casey is shouting, A MAN crosses the stage from stage left to stage right. THE MAN catches Casey’s eye.)

There’s nothing wrong with my body! I…I…uh…have a good day Steve. I’ll catch you later Janis. Hey you! Wait!

(Casey follows the man off stage right. The curtain closes on JANIS and STEVE laughing.)

Three Person Conflict Play

Do You Love Me?

(THE SETTING is a dining room. The table sits off to stage left and the refrigerator, counter, stove and washing machine sit on stage right. AN OLDER WOMAN is cutting vegetables at the counter. A FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY NAMED ZACK enters from stage right.)

Mom? When is sis gone get here?

She’ll be here soon honey. Why don’t you go play with your Legos ‘til she does?

(ZACK exits stage right. There is silence on stage for a few moments while MOM continues cutting the vegetables. She cuts her finger and gasps in pain. She turns on the sink and washes the cut. A doorbell is rung.)

Zack, sweetie, can you-

(ZACK enters stage right at a run and exits stage left)

Don’t run. You’ll fall.

(MOM starts setting the table. ZACK comes back in a few seconds later with a twenty-one year old girl wearing bell-bottoms and sneakers in the style of the seventies.)

Hi mom.

(Without looking at her she continues to set the table)
Hi. I asked you to dress nice. You look like a drugged out hippy wearing that.
(There is an uncomfortable silence that ZACK does not notice as he plays with his Lego Man on the floor, while MOM finishes setting the table. MOM turns to Lex.)
How are you?

I’m good. You?

Zack? Baby? Why don’t you go in the other room?

Aah mom…

(Strangled voice)
Honey. Please.

I want to play with sis.

(LEX smiles a huge smile and picks Zack up)

I got you a new set of Legos to play with.

(ZACK jumps out of Lex’s arms and exits stage right at a running pace)

Bribe or gift?

Now Lex-

Why is it so hard for you to let anyone else get close to your favorite child? Why do you favor him? Why does Zack get pet names and I don’t?


That’s what I mean. We used to be close. So close that I never had to ask these questions. I never had to wonder at all.

(Walking towards the refrigerator)
Do you want something to eat? We should eat. Dinner’s almost ready.

Tell me damn it!

(MOM turns to face Alexis. She stays silent as she stares at Alexis. ZACK enters the dining room from stage right. No toys in his hands.)

What’s going on?

(LEX and MOM ignore him)

Do you love me?

I don’t know.

(The stage darkens and the curtain closes)

Two Person Conflict Play

Am I Cinderelly?

(THE SETTING is a fourteen-year-old boy’s bedroom. There is a bed, a desk, and a dresser with neatly piled and expensive comics of all kinds on it. THE BOY who lives in the room enters and slams the door behind him.)

(Yells from off stage)
Dougie! Don’t slam the door!

And don’t call me Dougie damnit.

(Yells from off stage)
Don’t yell! Oh, and before I forget, the trash needs taken out before dinner!

Do this. Do that. Take out the trash. Do the laundry. When do I have time for me? Just me. Is there anything around here I can do?

(Yells from off stage)

I’m coming!
Not like you care anyway.
Why would you? You haven’t called me Doug since before dad died. It’s always “Dougie” this and “Dougie” that. I’m the live version of Cinderella in this house.
(Sings to the tune of “Cinderella Work Song”)
Dougie, Dougie, Dougie, Dougie, night and day it’s Dougie, Dougie.

Dougie! Trash! Dinner!

Screw you!
(Puts his hand to his mouth and opens his eyes wide)
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Damn it. Damn it Damn it!

(DOUG pushes his comic books onto the floor. Pounding footsteps can be heard from offstage. They get a little louder with each stomp indicating that they are getting closer to the bedroom. MOM throws the bedroom door open wide.)

(Shouting in anger)
What did you say!?

Uh, sorry.

(Sees the mess and points at it)
What’s that? Your going to pick those up and then your going to go empty the trash like I told you to.
(DOUG starts to leave)
You’re lucky I don’t make you stay in here for the rest of the day without any dinner.

(Turns to her in anger and says lowly)
If I were sent to my room, the dinner wouldn’t get done. I’m the maid around here remember. I serve you.

(MOM slaps Doug across the face. DOUG looks at her in shock. MOM covers her mouth and widens her eyes in the same way Doug did earlier. DOUG leaves the room without saying another word. MOM quietly cleans up the comic books and puts them back on the dresser before sitting on the bed and crying. After a few moments of silence a loud bang is heard from off stage. MOM looks up sharply, but doesn’t move. A few more moments pass. DOUG appears in the doorway. MOM sees him. They stare at each other for a few long moments.)

Doug I-

Don’t say anything. Just go.

(Mom leaves the bedroom. The curtains close.)

A Play Without Words

Trying to Connect

The curtain opens on a twenty-year-old woman wearing headphones sitting on a park bench. She is bopping her head in time with the music that only she can hear. Two sixty to seventy-year-old women walk by behind her. They whisper to themselves as they stare at her. They both raise their chins and continue walking away. A middle-aged man walks by in front of her. The woman notices him. She stops bopping her head to the music. He gives her two thumbs up. She scowls at him. He smiles a huge toothy smile at her before walking away. She gives him the bird to his back before going back to bopping her head in time with the music.

A little boy the age of five and a little girl the age of ten run by. They are playing tag. The woman recognizes them. She smiles. The little boy stops. Slowly and shyly he walks over to the woman and hugs her around the legs. The woman removes her headphones before picking him up. The little girl stops running. She looks around in confusion before noticing what the little boy is now doing and rolls her eyes. She walks over to him and stomps her foot. The woman puts the boy down and the two continue playing tag.

The woman watches the children. Another woman of about forty comes up behind her. She puts her hands over the younger woman’s eyes. The younger woman smiles. She turns around and stands up. The two women kiss on the lips passionately. The two kids see this. The little girl pretends to gag. The little boy looks at the older woman and runs to hug her around the legs. The two women stop kissing. They look down and smile. The older woman picks up the little boy. The little girl stand closely next to the older woman. They all start walking away and as they do the younger woman sticks her hand into the older woman’s back jeans pocket.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Five Unrelated Poems


My grandfather is dead. I don’t know what to do.
Everything seems wrong. Hard. Different.
My mind was clean, now it’s littered with thoughts and emotions.

Weekly visits to his house.
Laughing at me when I first realized grandma could run.
His peculiar circling wave goodbye as the car drove away.

I wonder whether my sisters are thinking of the pet names he gave them.
They hated those pet names. I did too. I miss them now. He never gave me a pet name.
I wonder why. I never asked. Would he have if I asked him to?

My aunts and uncles are five again, talking of “Dad” like he walked on air.
Now dead they fight over his possessions like two kids over the last cookie.
Funerals change adults to children and children to adults.

Television portrays death as a way to bring loved ones together.
I must have very few loved ones. Grandma. My dad. My sisters.
They all know. They all care. Grandpa is dead.

At Dinnertime

Humming birds during dinner,
table hovering.
Wings like tiny drums
as they fight over sugar water.

My mom’s home is so boring.

The Drugs Taken Before Surgery

Rolling down a sterile hallway. Sit-bouncing on the bed.
Parents giggling. Their child had never been so happy?
Giddy and excited,
The boy doesn’t realize where he’s going.
He doesn't understand why he's there.

Understanding comes. Eleven years late.
His singing just won’t allow him to care.
Elvis permeates his private room.
There will be a record of him singing.
Hours from now he’ll care.

A Vision of Love

There is no such thing as love.
Romantic love is lust in disguise.
Barney knew this to be a fact.
He had seen too much.

He believed.

His parents had once “loved” each other.
With kisses and gooey eyes, they “loved” each other.
He didn’t have enough four-letter words
to describe how little he believed in their faded “love.”

Divorce was what he believed in.

He never knew why his friends
would hold hands
in school hallways one day
and fight by their lockers the next.

Friendship is what he believed in.

People of all shapes and sizes would tell him
how they lost their virginity. He never understood the point.
Especially when he was certain all relationships would fail.
Even the ones that lasted ‘til death do them part.

He believed.

A Wonderful Time

I open my eyes and wonder how much longer I have to wait.
Dad said I had to wait ‘til ‘twas light outside.
A long time. It’s winter.
I get up and peek out the window.
The sun’s not risen yet. The sky is still dark.

I haven’t slept much all night.
This night’s excitement always does this.
Two decades change excitement to calm for most people.
Not for me.
I read my new book. I am two hundred and fifty-three pages into it.

I look out the widow at page three hundred.
The sun is still not up, but the sky is lighter on the horizon.
It’s time. My parents would not agree.
Doesn’t matter. I run to their bedroom and jump on the bed.

I am a kid on Christmas morning.

Poems - Vampire Series

A Little Boy Impressed

“How long have you been twenty-one?”
No one has ever asked that before.
It amused me,
this little boy unveiling my secret.

“I’m Cornelius,” I tell him, “And I’ve been
twenty-one for over five hundred years.”
The boy is not impressed. I remember when
children were impressed with sticks and stones.

“Are you like Dracula?
You don’t wear a cape.”
Dracula is a fairy tale.
The only fairy tale I believe is me.

“Do you drink blood?”
I do not answer the question.
Why should I? He’s just a boy.
And I am more than human.

I don’t allow him to speak again.
With immortal grace
the boy is dead.
I wonder if he is impressed now.

A Sense of Feelings

“There is nothing different here,”
I whisper to myself
staring at my night’s fifth.
“She was just another meal.”

None of them are impressed.
I should know that by now.
Last night a boy asked questions.
Tonight the woman begged at my feet.

“There is nothing different here,”
I whisper again. Is it true? I don’t know.
The woman says nothing.
She shouldn’t. She’s dead, but so am I.

I seek revenge against religion.
The Holy Spirit touches me differently.
I turn to dust upon death.
Who am I?

Running footfalls make me turn
to see a man dashing away.
I don’t think.
Number six lies dead at my feet.

The Beauty

“Please let this work,” I murmur over the unconscious beauty.
Am I dark enough to do this?
I never have before. Making one of my kind is risky.
Myth says it only takes a bite. “That would be too easy.”

We both have to bleed and drink, like a ritual.
I was confused about that. Beauty was unconscious.
I sat on top of the deceased Billy Hennessey.
Only us three in the graveyard. “I shouldn’t have done this.”

I felt like the boy two nights ago,
too many questions running through my mind
with no end in sight.
Maybe she wasn’t the answer to my problems.

Faint laughter stabs the night.
Am I really a fairy tale,
the nightmare in the dark
scaring people from slumber?

Beauty moans and slowly opens her bloodshot eyes.
“Do it,” she breathes. A demand.
She knows. I can see it in her eyes. Death is near.
Does she know what she’ll become?

Born Anew

“Don’t you love it Cornelius?” I asked him.
Everything seemed new, now that I was new.
A woman came towards me.
She smelled good. Like copper and tangy honey.

“Rosemary,” Cornelius whispered,
my name spraying from his lips.
“You can have your pick of anyone here. It’s your birthday.”
Turning, I kissed him. He tasted of dirt and grass.

I hope to never forget that wonderful smell and taste?
Confined in the dark. It had been cold. I had been trapped.
Digging from my grave made my hands bleed.
My body heat would remain cold. I would smell forevermore.

My first meal increased those thoughts.
She was delicious. Tasted sweet. All happy meals did
if I ignored the copper. Like putting pennies in my mouth.
The hectic street was packed full of morsels.

It was Sunday. Church was starting.
The bell was ringing. We clasped hands and smiled.
“The lord giveth to all those in need.”
As one we walked under the cross into the church.

Better This Way

The building had fallen down.
We were really that good. We were really that distracted.
Cornelius had never bragged before. There never seemed to be reason.
Tonight was our first time.

Last night was about finding a feast.
This was the only rule Cornelius had explained.
The feast of churchgoers last night distracted us,
as well as another activity just as pleasant.

I don’t wish to wake him. I touched his cheek. He opened his eyes.
I whispered, “That was the best night of my unlife.”
He growled and looked at his sun soaked pants.
“I know how we could pass the time,” I told him.

It was rough and hard and fast. Not as magnificent as the first time.
This disappointed me.
The building was in shambles.
The blocks of cement had been ground to powder.

It didn’t matter.
What mattered was how disappointing he’d turned out to be.
There was only one thing to do.
At my hands Cornelius fell into the sunlight.

The Guilty at Work

Black, sooty ashes
tumbling in the wind.
The sunlight had lit my undead lover
like a Fourth of July celebration.

“Twelve hours ‘til sundown,” I muttered.
The groan in my belly told me I was hungry.
I tested the sun’s rays. My hand caught fire.
“Guess I really am trapped.”

Killing Cornelius hadn’t been a good idea.
I didn’t know how to survive.
I looked around and saw black silk curtains.
“Lets see how strong I really am.”

Tearing them down with my teeth and fangs
to make myself look Transylvanian was simple.
The last rays of sunlight were finishing the horizon.
“There. A true queen of the dead.”

I put on my new cape and stepped forward
to feast on the world. Darkness surrounded me.
Someone incredibly strong grabbed me from behind.
I struggled all the way into the sunlight.

Playing Pretend

The cape was in place. The white makeup covered my face.
Plastic, pointy fangs would have
glistened if they weren’t a movie replica.
I had a destiny to fulfill.

“Matthew Whittaker.” A voice called out.
We were dressed similar, but something about him seemed off.
“You need to come with me.”
His voice was so musical bells rang in my head.

His makeup was pale blue.
His cape only reached to his back.
His fangs looked better than mine,
reflecting off yellow moonlight.

“I answer to only Vlad the Impalor.”
The Living Undead Society was becoming lax in its admissions.
His voice, a beacon for me to follow.
Bells rang in my head again.

In an alley he removed his cape and makeup.
Bells rang and I removed mine.
A soothing ache at my jugular made me miss
ashes blowing in the wind.

A Drunken Walk

Why did the bartender
have to take his damn keys?
Why do I have to be the one
to walk the guy home?

“Watch where you’re going loser,”
A man on the street tells us.
Agreeing with a stranger, an abnormal event.
Driving him with anger seemed the superior option.

Is there a reason nobody
else could do this?
I’ve known the bum only a few days.
Dave has known him longer.

“What are you doing freak?”
His name no longer matters.
The bum’s leaning over me.
I hope he’s not gay.

Unpleasant lips do not meet my throat.
Opening my eyes,
I see a blonde walking away with
ashes swirling around her.

The Final Legacy of the Hunter

Being hunted is not pleasant.
I should know. I once was. By one of them.
The Nightwalkers. The Death Dealers. The Undead.
I didn’t want anyone else to go through that.

Some of them think themselves wannabes.
My blond hair and bright clothes
outshines the darkness penetrating their soulless vessels.
How can these creatures stalk the earth?

Rescuing the Goth vampire wannabe
and the drunk, I played victim,
begging for more to show up.
No place else to go at night.

Battling for my life. Five at once.
Didn’t know who would win or lose.
Death is such an easy thing to think about
when a person has nothing left.

They’ll all die. I’ll take them all.
My family is dead. I have nothing left.
The wood in my hand is comforting.
I don’t see the monster until it’s too late.

A Dinner Party

She was wearing clothes with paint on them. The volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity worksite must have painted today. Her clothes had fresh paint mixed in with the dry. Her jeans had a bright red patch of fabric in the shape of lips sewn onto the butt. She told me that this was her way of telling male construction workers to kiss her ass when they tried to tell her what to do.

“Hello honey,” my mom said holding out her arms. She asked for a hug even though she knew I hated hugging people. Hair always got in my face and in my mouth. My mom’s short blonde hair was no different. I came within hugging distance and let her wrap her arms around me, my arms hanging loosely at my sides. I hoped the paint was dry enough that it wouldn’t get on my clothes or skin. She smelled of new barkdust. She must have done more than paint.

“Brat,” she said as the hug ended.

“Where’s Rain?” I said taking off my coat. It felt good to get its weight off my shoulders. I laid it across the back of the couch.

“In her room.”

“You really need to get a new couch Mom. This one is just”

“Hi Max,” a Southern voice called from the kitchen. It was Robin, my mom’s boyfriend. I considered Thursdays this household’s weekend. It was the day I came over most often. It wasn’t always easy for me, but I tried to work it into my schedule as much as I could. That way it didn’t always look like I was trying to avoid them.

“He’s making homemade macaroni.” I jumped, startled. Turning around I saw Rain standing at the end of the hall. She had just woken up. Now at twenty years of age she could make nearly any male drool at just the sight of her. At the moment though, her pet flying squirrel was walking back and forth across the back of her shoulders, her shoulder-length brown hair was flat on one side and stuck to her face. She had the indentations of her pillow running across the right side of her cheek. She was wearing a white t-shirt and pajama bottoms with the Veggie Tales characters Bob and Larry on them. She took one look at herself in the mirror next to her and said, “Oh my god,” before running into the bathroom and slamming the door behind her.

Macaroni finally penetrated my sense of smell. It smelled delicious. Not that I cared what Robin made for dinner. Anything was better than cafeteria food. I went into the kitchen to find him and mom talking. Whatever they were talking about was cut off when I entered. “Set the table please,” Mom said. “Dinner will be ready as soon as you do.” I sighed. This was going to be a long night. “And when you’re done here, tell your sister it’s time to eat.”

“Rain,” I called out as I grabbed glasses, plates, and silverware from the cupboard and drawer, “It’s time to eat.”

“I could have done that,” mom stated.

Mom lit the candles and turned out the lights. It always surprised me that there were enough candles to see by.

“Then why didn’t you?” I started setting the table as Robin set the food out and mom opened a bottle of wine.

“There’s soda in the refrigerator. We have Root Beer and Crème Soda,” Robin said.

“Thanks,” I said. And I meant it. It was nice to know that in a family of casual drinkers there were still other beverages around for someone who didn’t drink. This was the first time I had felt happy since getting out of my car. Robin always seemed to be able to make me feel that way. Grabbing a Root Beer, I was the last to sit down. “Sorry.” I said. I wasn’t sure if I was talking about sitting down last or scraping the chair on the hardwood floor. I poured soda into my glass.

“To Rain’s first day of work,” mom said. We all clinked our glasses together before taking sips. I became moody again. Of course mom would toast Rain again. Rain was her favorite child. Just like Vita was Dad’s favorite child. Was I anyone’s favorite? No. Definitely not. Maybe that’s why I latched onto Robin, the unofficial member of the family.

“That wasn’t funny.” I heard Rain say.

“What?” I asked, coming out of my thoughts. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing.” Rain said, blushing.

“It was the story with Rain on the moving sidewalk in the airport,” Robin said with a smile. He looked younger when he smiled. With his thinning, gray hair and Hawaiian shirts, he looked to be in his mid to late forties, but when he smiled it took about ten years off.

I burst out laughing. That was one of the classic stories.

“When she was talking to mom about how someone falling at the end of one of them-”

“And then she does the same thing,” mom said laughing hard. Even Rain by this point was giggling.

“The group of strangers thought it was funny too,” I said. “And that was one of the stories you actually knew about,” I continued, still trying, and failing, to control my laughter.

“What does that mean?” mom asked, determined to understand what I meant.

“Oh please. You always used to say you knew everything, ‘Mothers know everything,’” I playfully mocked. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“This sounds interesting,” Robin said with a wide grin. I took the opportunity to take a couple bites of my dinner. I had almost forgotten about it and didn’t want it to get cold.

“When Rain was young and learning to open doors and following people around-” Rain growled playfully; she obviously remembered what I was talking about. I smiled, I was glad to be getting my mind off of who was the favorite child. “In a Pied Piper fashion I let Rain follow me up to the top bunk bed, knowing she couldn’t get down,” just the thought of it made me giggle, “I left the room and she was trapped for I don’t know how long.”

“Until Vita found me.”

Mom let out a surprised huff before giving me a glare. I was worried for a moment. I looked around and saw the smiles on everyone else’s faces. I realized she was teasing me, just like I was teasing her. Besides what could she do to me now? I was eighteen. And I wasn’t living with her anymore. She made sure of that when she divorced dad. She moved out. I retreated from those thoughts. I needed to keep things as light as possible tonight, otherwise I would say something I would regret.

Robin was the first one done with his dinner. “Rain? Is there any story about you where you don’t come off as clumsy or misused by Max?” He had a genuinely curious and playful smile on his face. I knew however that he was treading on dangerous ground and I was going to have to bite my tongue to keep certain comments to myself.

When mom finished, she put her silverware and glass on her plate.

“Yeah. There’s lots,” Rain replied.

“No there isn’t,” I argued.

“Yes there is.”

“No there isn’t.”

What was I doing? I should have been over this phase of my life when I was ten. It was incredible how Rain always made me revert to a child.

“Max. Rain is right,” mom said.

“Yeah, I know.” I said, trying to keep the mood light and hide my sarcasm.

“What was that? Max, is something wrong?”

“Yes, everything’s fine,” I lied, hoping she would stop prying. I didn’t know if I could keep telling her this lie much longer. I tried to change the subject but she cut me off again.

“If you’re sure.”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“You don’t sound sure,” Robin said. His response came out of left field. Sometimes he was so quiet I would forget he’s sitting there. He’s the way I use to be. It’s one of the reasons I get along with him as well as I do.

“They’re right,” Rain said.

Now Rain too.

“Please tell us what’s wrong Max,” mom continued.

I took a deep breath and released it. They weren’t going to let this go. I took another deep breath. “Mom. Rain is your favorite child. She always has been. I’m not being mean, I’m being honest.” I said this as kindly as I could. I could feel the frustration behind the years of holding the information in. It was boiling over as if it would explode at any moment.

The only sound that could be heard was Rain’s flying squirrel snoring. She kept the thing in her coat hood and it was full after being fed table scraps. The snoring was interrupted by a high-pitched giggle that sounded like a Christmas-elf. It was Rain’s phone. She had a text message. Slowly she got up and left the room to see who it was. The fight may have been about her, but it was between mom and me.

“What is this all about, Max?” Robin asked calmly. I had never seen him more serious before.

“I just told you what this was about,” I stated to mom. I was still calm, but it wasn’t as controlled this time. Robin may have asked the question, but this conversation wasn’t about him. I wasn’t angry with him, I was angry with mom. “Rain is your favorite. You can deny it all you want, but it won’t be the truth.”

“Do you need me to be here for this?” It was clear Robin was uncomfortable. I felt bad for putting him in that situation. He was a nice guy and would be there for my mom if she needed him to be. I respected him for that. She shook her head in silence, not taking her eyes off me. He squeezed her hand, said, “I’m here if you do,” and he followed Rain to the back part of the house.

“What makes you think Rain is my favorite child? I’m a parent. I love all my children equally. Rain, Vita and you all equally.”

“I noticed you mentioned Rain first,” I muttered quietly enough to not make the words understandable. I knew she would ask what I said so I went on. These were things I had been bottling up for a while and I was going to stay in control of this conversation. “Lots of things. Not the least of which is the fact that since the divorce I’ve had to listen to the both of your gossip turn into bashing. And you don’t even care that she does it, do you? You encourage it.” Mom tried to argue, but I cut her off, “That’s not even what bothers me most of all.”

“What does then?” Her voice turned cold. I knew I had better get to the point. She was on the verge of going full blown mom on me, eighteen or not.

“Remember when she was four and you blamed Vita and I for her throwing her vegetables on the floor. There’s no way that could have been her.” The sarcasm was thick in my voice.

“That was funny,” Rain replied coming back into the dining room.

“You don’t need to be here,” mom and I said at the same time. Well at least that’s one thing we could agree on.

“This fight is obviously about me. I have a right to be here.”
I didn’t like that. I could tell mom didn’t either. Odd thing is, I had no ill will towards Rain, just the way mom treated Rain as compared to everyone else, especially me.

I put all that aside and continued with the story, “Vita and I stood against that wall for two hours, except for a few chores, and the only reason it wasn’t longer was because I convinced her that you would never take her to Chuck E. Cheese again. If she hadn’t confessed out of fear of never going to that damn place, who knows how long Vita and I might have been standing there.” Both mom and Rain started crying. Great. This is why I didn’t want Rain in the room. Maybe I could get her to smile while still getting my point across to mom. It would be worth it, even if I lost ground in the argument. “I missed Ramblin’ Rod and Muppet Babies standing against that wall.”

Rain smiled briefly and rolled her eyes. The moody expression, however, did not leave her face. My heart clenched.

“Anything else,” mom asked. A tear ran down her face.

“There’s lots of stories where Rain should have been the bad guy, but I got the blame. There’s also some times when both of us should have been blamed. But it ended up being just me. I don’t want to get into those. I should, however, remind you of what you yourself told me about her when you were a volunteer at the public library.”

I didn’t need to say anything. Mom said it for me: “This one has a gleam in her eye that the other two don’t.” That phrase usually made the three of us smile. Not today. More tears ran down her face.

Robin came back into the dining room. He was wearing a red robe that was almost beyond its expiration date with a pair of black pajama bottoms on underneath. He quietly sat down next to my mother.

“What about the phrase ‘She’s younger. She doesn’t know any better.’ Does that sound familiar to you Mom?” I asked.

Rain snorted.

“It does to Rain. The first couple of times you said it, it made sense. But then Rain got older and did start to know better. She started using it to her advantage every time you said it.” Mom looked shocked. How could she be that naive? That’s right, by having a favorite child.

I felt drained. Without saying a word, I headed towards the bathroom. I needed to be alone for a few minutes. I washed my face. The white porcelain showed just how dirty my face was. I rewashed my hands and wondered why I said all those things to her. Did they really need to be said? What was any of it really going to accomplish? I left to apologize. As I turned into the hallway I heard Mom talking, “He’s right. I do favor Rain. I don’t mean to, but I do.” My heart shattered. I didn’t want to believe it was true. I knew it was, but to hear it being confessed was too much. I needed to leave. She continued talking, but I didn’t listen to the rest.

Without saying a word I walked to the couch, picked up my coat and walked out the door. None of them noticed me leave.

When I got to my car I let tears flow freely without concern. Why was I letting this get to me? Every parent has a favorite child. I knew she loved me. I just wished I knew why it bothered me that she loves Rain more.
That...she loves...Rain...more.

That was it. Whether or not it was true, that was the way it felt.

I started the ignition, drove out of the driveway and down the block. I pulled to the side of the road when I realized that I wasn’t going to get far if I didn’t stop crying. Would I ever get over this? There was only one way to find out and there had been enough confrontation for one day. I picked up my cell phone and called mom’s number. “Hello. This is Catharine’s phone.” I guess I upset her enough to not answer. “This phone lives in my pocket. Leave your name, phone number, and credit card number and I will get back to you as soon as I finish shopping.”

I started talking after the beep. “I’m sorry Mom. I can’t help how I feel in this situation, but I need you to know that. I will get over it and everything will be okay and I’m sorry. I just wish I had the courage to tell you this in person.” I pulled the phone away from my ear to hang up when I remembered, “Mom, I really like the message. Even if most people use debit cards nowadays.”

I hung up the phone and dialed another number. “Do it. I dare you,” the message said after four rings.

“Rain. I’m sorry I’m a coward and can’t do this in person. I’m sorry. I don’t hate you or Mom. I’m a little upset with her, but I’ll get over it. Please. Take care of her. You and Robin do a good job at that.” I hung up the phone. I sat in my Chevrolet with two questions. Would I ever really get over it and was I lying to my family when I said I would? I didn’t know the answers.