My life is like a rope dangling from the ceiling
Unstable, Flexible but the flexible part NEVER seems to suit me
It’s a hill next to another hill, but the other one is incomplete
NEED of someone
Need of you
Inside, it feels like a ghost against the wall
Searching for a gravestone to slide in
My big smile vanishes at NIGHT like a truck that fell on its side on the road
Can’t get it back right up
NIGHTMARES would follow me everyday
Entering my house with NEGATIVE thoughts
Making my mind NAKED
A NAIL through my heart
Making my body NUMB
An upside down hill shaking NATURE out of me
Two parallel lines that never seem to meet together
Never will part
We’ll always be together
The whole universe
Couldn’t keep us apart
Don’t know what for.
I’m waiting for something.
Maybe for my problems to be fixed.
Doesn’t matter what I’m waiting for.
Just matters that I am.
I wonder if something is going to happen.
Should I make something happen?
That would be exciting.
Then I would know something was happening.
Maybe I should try.
Maybe you should too.
Let’s try together.
When I was shot, it was very bad I was sent to a hospital in the U.K. because of what I needed. Now i’m treated and i’m well now, but nothing feels the same not after what happened to me. When I was still in the hospital and doing ok, I liked to read when I could. This wasn’t often but it did happen. I remember sitting there with my white and pink teddy bear that my family had bought me, next to all my thank you cards reading. It was great to finally do something I liked, and know I would be ok. I also knew I was 14 and most people 14 don’t always have a teddy bear but this one would always be with me. I named it Malalai after me and strong pakistani girl warrior. who inspired me. Even now I still have my teddy bear Malalai with me. I also know I will be 40 and still have this bear. It gives me a sense of comfort when I see it. It helped me get through rough times so it’s so important to me. During this times there were three things that made me feel most happy, and good; my family, books, and my teddy bear Malalai. So this moment was one of the best I had in the hospital reading a book with my teddy bear Malalai and thank you cards next to me. I will never forget this moment or anything through such a rough path I went through. I had one card that stood up it was my favorite, it was from my family. I was a soft lavender with flowers and it said “Get Well Soon”. It was so pretty and of course since it was from my family it felt like they were always with me. I held my teddy bear close by my side and I was so into the book, when they took a picture of me I didn’t notice. Of course until they told me. My parents visited every day and my brothers visited mostly everyday. As I said I was so into the book, I would have never stopped but my family, my brothers too had came to visit me. So I stopped to enjoy them. I will never forget this day, my thank you card, or my teddy bear Malalai. Infact Malalai has been with me during this whole entire story and my card is on my table.
other people are talking around us but we don’t care
because we’re talking.
it doesn’t matter what we’re talking about
whether it be clothes or school or the holidays
but then he comes
and he grabs my wrist and pulls me
but you can’t see him
only i can
but my face loses color
and i can’t breathe
and you’re asking me
are you okay? are you okay?
and i’m trying to tell you
he’s taking me
but you can’t hear me
and you can’t see him
and i can see the confusion in your eyes
and it doesn’t matter what we were talking about
whether it was clothes or school or the holidays
because i’m terrified
but i can’t do anything
and he drags me away
and we never speak again.
Calmness, Darkness, Peace
Rest, Relax, Recover
Falling, Landing, Total Blackout
Amazing, Obsessive, Love of My Life
Undeniable, Irresistible, A Must Have
Covers Cutting off the World, Pillows Inviting You to the Shore of Sleep, Blankets Forcing You to Slumber
Then Oh No, the Alarm has Sounded, Quickly Hit the Snooze
Until the Evil Enters the Room, and Off to School you Go, Until (at last!) the Bell has Rung
Running, Flying, Racing,
Leaping, Jumping, Tearing
Rushing, Writing, Studying
Quick Review, Turn in the Work, HW is Done
Then Slip Upstairs, Enjoy a Bath, Into PJ’s You Dive
and Thus, Once More, into those Loving Arms My Consciousness Has Fled
Enveloped in that Delight of Delights,
“Commander!!” the cry rang out into the night. Jean slid over to the soldiers on the North side of the civilian hospital building they were protecting.
“Keep your voice down!” she hissed. “What is it?” One of the men, the one who had yelled out, silently pointed down steep slope of the incline that the hospital rested on. Jean squinted through the darkness and saw flickers of movement, flashes of light, just the faintest whisper of voices drifting upward on the night air. And she saw the weapons. The rifles would have made most people’s heart wrench with fear, but to Jean Comlish, a commander of the Navy in the Afghan War, weapons, blood, and death were nothing new. She had first arrived as part of the Navy Nurse Corps, and during her first year pleaded to the heavens every night to let her go home, somehow, before she went mad from all of the death and destruction - all the soldiers that she hadn’t been able to keep alive. But, little by little, as she advanced in ranking, her heart had hardened - enough that now, she felt only a small flutter of worry as she gazed down at the darkening hillside.
A knock wakes me up from my nap. I slowly make my way toward the door. Opening it, I am surprised to see a group of school-age-kids standing outside, carrying tape recorders, notebooks, and writing utensils.
“Good morning ma'am.” says the one in front, a young male with glasses and curly, deep red hair. “We were wondering if we could interview you for a school report?”
“Be my guest,” I respond, cautiously. “Although how I can help you, I have no idea. Please, come in.”
Once I have them all seated, I ask, “What is your report on?”
“We have to pick an event from the Cold War and do a research project on it,” starts a girl with thick, waist length shiny black hair and pale skin.
“My mom told us you worked for the government during the Cuban Missile Crisis, so we decided to choose that. We were hoping to ask you about what happened, to get some first hand experience to enhance our project,” adds a boy with messy, pale gold hair that seems to eternally be in his eyes.
I am shocked that they thought of interviewing someone to get a first hand account. I smile. Maybe all of today’s kids haven’t been hopelessly lost to video games. “At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was the Secretary of State in President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's cabinet. Dean Rusk had gone into temporary retirement three months before due to a boating accident. The public hadn’t been notified of the change in who was holding the position because Rusk was expected to be back before Kennedy’s term was over.”
I looked at the group to see the untidy haired boy taking notes and the first girl holding what appears to be a tape recorder. I frown for a moment, wishing that they had asked for my permission to record this interview, but I decide not to mention it. Instead, I lose myself in memories.
“At the time we are talking about, I was unmarried. My name was simply Beverly Rose Claron. My parents, Florence Ethel Manson Claron and Frank Edward Claron, were still living in in the same place I spent my childhood, Tallahassee, Florida. I was thrilled to have a chance to be part of the federal government, even if it was only temporarily. I felt like my career in politics was finally starting. But, enough about me. I’ll start with what you are here for.
“Kennedy was passing by me on his way to a brief meeting about what was going on in regards to the U2 pictures on that first day. He stopped looked at me and said, ‘You’re the new girl, the one who’s subbing for Dean.’ I responded, ‘uh’ and a series of quick nods. “Good. Why don’t you come with me. Dean was always helpful in this sort of situation. Who knows, if you do a great job, you might find yourself as a permanent employ of mine.” Kennedy gave me a strained smile.
“Uh, Yes sir, Mr. President sir. Right away sir,” I was surprised that I was to be involved in such important doings. Imagine me, an unannounced substitute for a very important government official, being invited into a meeting about Soviet, nuclear missiles in Cuba! And invited in by none other than our President JFK himself! I never would have thought that I would be part of something, so… major.”
“Excuse me ma'am. Could you tell us about the missiles, and who the Soviets are. Where they another, what’s the world superpower?” the redhead interrupts.
“Well…” I pause, trying to figure out how to address him.
“Oh, my name is Cody. That’s Jennifer, Brian, Taylor, and Angela.” he points to the black-haired girl, messy haired boy, and one who hasn’t talked yet, a tan brunette, and another girl, this one with blonde hair, in turn.
“Thank you. Well, the missiles were put there by sovi… You did ask who the Soviets were?” I stop mid word, Worried about what I thought I heard.
“That is a question, is that a problem?” Angela speaks up in a hesitant tone. She stared at me, concern etched across her face.
“Do you know anything, about the Cuban MIssile Crisis... or the Cold War?” I stared at them, now more than a little worried about this situation.
“The world was blown up by mushroom’s.”
Those are the responses I get. I stared at them, wide eyed, wondering what American education had come to.
“Or was it ferrets that destroyed life as we knew it?” the last kid adds, the one who I think was introduced as Brian.
“Oh my gosh! They’re coming for us!” Taylor’s first words are hysterical shouts of terror.
“No! No! No! Ferrets, mushrooms! What are you talking about? No one is coming for any of us! The whole reason that you would study the Cuban Missile Crisis was because the US managed to avoid a situation that would have destroyed humanity!” Taking a deep breathe, I regain control. “Excuse me for a minute.” Jumping up, I quickly slip into my kitchen and began bustling around, checking the fridge and pantry, peeking a jar here and there, and searching through storage. Within five minutes I am heading back in the living room.
“Would anyone like sugar cookies or lemonade?” I offer. The response is unanimous.
Treats have been divided without too much of a scuffle and the floor is mine, emptied of any distractions.
“Now let’s see… where to began explaining the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis?” I ponder that for a moment, but then the words come.
“After the defeat of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and Hirohito, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union grew and grew. The two superpowers were competing not only to see who was number one, but also to spread democracy and communism respectively throughout the world. However, since the countries never directly attacked each other, the time period of their clashing philosophies was known as the Cold War, The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major stand off in this rivalry.
“It started with US spy planes taking pictures of Cuba, a country under the USSR’s communist control, that showed Soviet nuclear missile bases being set up. The following thirteen days was an intense period of time, filled with fear of a nuclear war beginning. President Kennedy had to decide whether to respond to this threat by invading Cuba or a naval blockade of the waters surrounding Cuba. There was some talk with foreign ministries in the many meetings to decide which option to choose. As the days passed, the quarantine was chosen as the best option and measures were taken to prepare, including talking to former presidents and alerting the public to the situation. As the plan fell into place and the ships arrived at their positions, another issue surfaced, soviet submarines. The world then waited in terror as the both Kennedy and the Soviet president Khrushchev had a tense period of communication. The two sides finally came to agreement in which the USSR would remove their missiles under the watchful eye if the UN and the US would agree not to invade Cuba and to eventually extract their own secret weapons from Turkey. Citizens were able to let out a sigh of relief and relax. The Cuban Missile Crisis had come to a peaceful end.” my voice fades at the end, as my mind is filled with images of photos, letters, speeches, locked doors, anxious faces, all things I saw during my part in those stomach churning, mind boggling, world changing thirteen days.
“So, that was a brief overview of the Cuban Missile Crisis?” asks Angela, pulling me away from my thoughts to get a nod.
“Excellent!” she responds with a smile.
I gently pick up a small leather bound journal from the tale, my diary from those terrifying days. “Would you all like to hear more about my personal experiences?” I question, quietly.
“Yes please!” exclaims Cody.
With a smile, I open the book and prepare to fall back into some of my most interesting memories.
This was supposed to be a christening,
here I am in my white linen.
How tight the buttons are,
for I have never worn this dress before.
Baptize me in the unfamiliar waters,
like the priests.
Icy, bone chill.
Eyes open under the water,
I didn’t think it was supposed to look this dirty.
Oh! I did not know this was a funeral.
My hair is still wet.
Whom shall I apologize to?
Out of the holy waters I have come,
cleansed, face no traced lines of grime.
Still, my family persists in my wearing of mourning clothes.
Oh! I did not know this was a funeral!
The church candles burn upside down.
This was supposed to be a christening.
Who spilled the wine chalice into the baptismal font?
Now water and blood look the same.
Shadows drip from beneath my eyes.
Have I been crying?
Just a trick of the light.
Could it be because of the cracked stained glass?
Just a trick of the light.
Should I have come wearing black instead?
Just a trick of the light.
oh, you bird - you feathered, foolish bird.
go fly away while you still can.
have you yet to learn that your life is not a game?
do not listen to me
for i, a mere human,
have yet to learn how to fly myself.
caught in cycle after cycle of foolish human games,
within the seemingly endless misconception of tomorrow.
show me your ways
teach me how to live
the way you live.