I had put on this armor plenty enough
to know the weight of it.
And I say, I still say, that I would not like to take it off.
When I fall asleep, I wake up with bruises covering my back, my arms, my neck.
My legs chafe, and the press of steel against my body chills me.
I will keep it on
even in my sleep.
And no, it doesn't matter how much you ask,
because I know the pain of listening to someone
and realizing the consequences.
There are always consequences
and you are too young to
So I comb your hair
and plait the silky strands
until my chained fingers
smell like strawberries.
And I kiss your cheek
and tell you to do well in school
and to have fun
and come back home safely.
Every day, with my heavy armor, plaiting your lovely hair
kissing your cheeks and saying farewell, you grow and grow
and your hair is long and short at times but I plait it as best as
these clumsy fingers can manage
and you smile and kiss me on on the forehead and run off to classes,
before turning around and telling me to at least take off the armor
for a little bit.
And I might smile, but my eyes say no, and you sigh but let it go and are gone not a moment after.
Come home safely, I say.
I will, you reply.
Until one day
And I want to die
for being so careless.
And by the time I find you
the damage is done
and you are naked in the cold of reality
so I slip off my armor
and beckon you into it
and lean against these brick and mortar walls
as you cry into my arm.
This armor won't protect you, I say quietly,
it never protected me, after all.
but it hurts to know
and I slip a kiss onto your battered cheeks.
It made me feel safe,
but it never helped
and in the end I took it off, anyways.
a child who learned more of the world than I did
and took it by the heart to fight it just the same
a child who knew nothing until everything
was thrust onto her shoulders
and she was cold
and it was snowing
and she was alone
until her mother ran to find her
a little bit too much late.
a child who woke up faster than she would have liked
but was brave enough
to keep going.
Steel lays rusting
in the corner of some alleyway
a set of armor standing stoically
over the remnants of oblivion
waiting for the next child
who seeks shelter in its arms.
And your bare hand touches mine
and we step forward with naked feet
and our eyes hold fear but more than that
they hold hope.
Because the armor is an illusion of safety
and it took me long enough
this armor stands strong
by my side.
*photo (c) of Kaometet, flickr creative commons
This piece is part of an ongoing series, read Excerpt 1 here!
The light lit up her features, and caused her golden hair to almost glow in the darkness. I looked up at her, seeing her framed by the wind, the rain, and the lightning. Beautiful and somehow wild. A dangerous beauty.
Her voice resounded, and echoed, and doubled back on itself, causing a hauntingly reminiscent sound. Like a memory, but with an undercurrent of rage, or chaos.
It took me a moment to find my voice. I no longer felt the pelting rain, or the chill from the damp.
“I—I did. What do you want?”
She looked down at me, her eyes deep and powerful, sparking something within me. Lighting flashed once more, and again she glowed, as if she was a star from the very heavens.
“Eli, will you help me?”
I could’ve said no. I could have just walked away, and never thought about it again. But I couldn’t. Her voice, her beauty, the storm…
“Then follow me.”
So I did. Mesmerized by her pale and nearly transparent figure, I followed through the grass, liquid dripping from my hair and my face. At times I would loose sight of her, only to see her again at the next flash of lightning.
“Are you going to run from me?”, she asked, stopping her strange walk for a moment. She walked through the grass, but the grass did not move beneath her feet. I squinted at her, wiping away the moisture. Would I run from her?
“No…I won’t. Take me where you want. I just…don’t leave me. I want to stay with you. Every day.”
Her expression stayed the same.
“There is no time. No tomorrow. Come.”
We continued on, across the featureless plain, until a speck of black appeared on the horizon. A tree. Leafless and boney, stretching into the sky. Sure enough, she headed straight for the landmark. When we reached the base of the tree, I wrapped my arms around myself, and huddled my shoulders. I was beginning to feel the cold now, and my teeth began to chatter.
“We are here.”
I glanced up at the dark branches.
“Where? There’s nothing here.”
Her sad eyes bored into my soul. I fell silent.
“Eli. I am nothing more than a memory. An echo, of another time, another world. There is nothing here for you, but for me, there is a world, decimated and torn. As will be your world shortly. Look up.”
I looked up. The clouds were thinner here, as the storm moved on. A strong wind passed, and soon there was a patch of open sky. The stars twinkled, and the moon gleamed, and…what was that? A dark shape…
My head snapped back towards her.
“What is it? What does it mean?”
Her gaze didn’t waver.
“It’s a planet. Circling the earth, in what we call the planet’s last dance. After that, the worlds will collide.”
Collide? I tried to breath, and tucked my hands into my armpits. I was really cold now.
”Not a day from tomorrow, the world will be painted with flames, and it will end. It will be destroyed, just like my world.”
I blinked, unsure of the moisture on my cheeks now. Were they tears? Or merely the rain?
Check back next week to read the final installment of "Across the Storm"
I never thought I would like the Hunger Games series at all! When my friend got me to watch for the first time, I fell in love with it right away! All the movies are great and I can't wait to see MockingJay when it comes out. I love all the actors and the story itself. I went to the last Hunger Games party, and enjoyed it a lot. I had many great expierences and met new people. I encourage any and everyone to go! It's a lot of fun! This year will be great too. Hope to see everyone there!
5:30-8:00 p.m. Friday, November 21
Registration Required. Come in your best Hunger Games attire - we'll have a prize for the best costume. There will be plenty of food and drink for all.
Belmar and Evergreen teens now have the opportunity to utilize laptops through our new Teen Laptop Program. Teens may check out a laptop to use in the library for 3 hours, but first they will need to have a Laptop Agreement Form signed by a parent.
Recently Arra, Teen Services Coordinator, spoke with Bailey, Heather, and Heidi, members of the Belmar Teen Advisory Board, about this new pilot project:
Arra: How do you think you will use these laptops?
Bailey: I’m going read Fan Fiction.
Heather: Because there are lots of adults in the computer area I feel it is really judgey. I like that we can take a laptop into a study room or the teen area.
Bailey: This is going to be great for NaNoWriMo. Also, I’m having fun just clicking. I like the sound of the keys.
Heidi: How do we save stuff?
Arra: You can save to a USB or Google Docs or similar cloud storage. When the machine reboots it erases everything so please don’t save anything important to the machine!
Heather: Are there rules about downloading programs to the laptops? Lots of school projects require random programs to be downloaded.
Arra: If the machine will let you download a program then it is OK to use. There is security software on the machine that will block unsafe downloads, but if there is something you need to download for school, then please let us know and we will put that request in to see if it can be approved for the future.
The Teen Laptop Program was generously funded by The Jefferson County Public Library Foundation.
I bolt upright in bed, looking wildly around.
Nothing. Nobody. My face is wet. I reach up and wipe away a mixture of tears and sweat. That dream… Still shaken, I slide my legs out of bed, and sit on the edge of the mattress. I take a rattling breath, and lower my head into my hands. It was her. Again. I groan, and look around my room. Nothing. I almost expect her to leap out at me, her hair swirling, her eyes glowing. It’s as if she’s asking for something. Pleading for help. And yet…
While she terrifies me, she also draws me closer to her. Each night, a kind of fascination with her. The enigma.
“What is she?”, I murmur to myself, lifting my head to look out the window.
“Who is she?”
There’s a storm again. I stand up, and walk to the window to look out. Not much to look at on the ground. Just endless fields of grass. But the sky…
Something about the night, and the storm, just drew me in. The flashes of lighting, the rumble of the thunder, felt to my very bones, the roiling clouds. But I only stood there for a moment before turning away. I was cold. Wearing boxer shorts to bed hadn’t been a good idea. I slid on my jeans, and shuffled to the bathroom. After flicking on the light, I squinted at my reflection in the mirror. At least I still look the same. Sandy hair, blue eyes, big nose, and then the dark circles…
I rub my face, as if that would remove the lack of sleep from my appearance.
Jerking, I spin around, back pressing against the countertop. Nothing. But I could have sworn…
There was nothing here…that I could see. She was here.
“Who—what are you?”
I eyed the ceiling, as if she was floating above me. She could be anywhere…next to me, above me, below me…
I wanted to say no. I would have liked nothing more than to say ‘No, I’m done, leave me alone.’. But I didn’t. I pulled on a sweatshirt, slipped on my old broken down trainers, and went outside. Somehow, I knew she was out here somewhere. In the storm. I stood on the porch, and looked out at the fields. The grass was being blown about by the wind, causing a soft rushing sound.
Again, that voice…
I set off into the land sea, not even bothering to pull up the hood of my jacket. Searching for her. I hunched up my shoulders against the cold drops of rain, already shivering. Lightning dashed across the sky, soon chased by his brother, Thunder. Wading through the soggy grass, I keep my head in a constant swivel, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever I was chasing.
My whole body jerked, as if I had been struck by the very lightening that lit my search.
I turned in the direction of the corporeal voice, and plunged through the grass. I ran, the rain pelting against my face, and trickling down my neck. In fact, I almost missed it because I ran. The only reason I saw it was because of the lightning. It struck, no more than a quarter mile from where I was. The shock ran up through my bones, and made my teeth rattle. My soaked hair stood on end, and I tripped and fell to the ground. I was awed by the sheer power of the storm. Flattening my hair, I stood. And there she was, right in front of me. Her eyes were sad, and they stared into my very soul. I couldn’t bring myself to look away from her. Lightning flashed again, and the wind picked up, causing her hair to flow in streams behind her.
This is the first excerpt from Emma's short story, "Across the Storm". On why Emma writes, "The reason I write is because the world around us is filled with so much emotion, and all it takes is the right words to unleash it." Please check back to continue reading Emma's work.
*photo (c) PublicDomainPictures
Twisted personality -
Beauty and elegance
In its thin, delicate petals
And the vice of a thorn.
Waves of color
Adorning the headdress
Of this sweet rose.
The thorns -
Prepared for an attack
Best weapons at the ready
To protect the fair radiance
Of the princess
*photo redredrose (c) Sarah, Aug 24, 2008.
Audrey submitted these photographs that she took of still life moments in Colorado. She notes, "I've always loved taking more natural photos rather than something with people in them. So, I like to focus more on landscapes and nature photos"
If you love photography then the library has a ton of beautiful oversized books that feature photography and art...come in and get inspired!
he sits on the rim of the balcony
legs dangling over mismatched posts of
poinsettias and yellow roses
distant eyes fading out towards
the city lights. bright, they flicker out one by one.
the taxi cabs and flashy cars inch along
the streets spilling with fascinating people
he watches the tops of their heads
gold amber brown black gray red white hair
damp with rain. dripping, it falls ever so softly.
he stands atop these metal beams
staring forward at shut windows
glass panes covered in scented marker scribbles
the shadows of people conversing surrounded
by blurred yellow. muted, their voices nonexistent.
a cat pauses on the roof with lithe paws
its silhouette arching and shaking
the raindrops flick forth and fall onto the crowd
dirty tears of acrid city air and the weight
of the people. weary, they slip away into the sewers.
he lays against the rigid pavement
staring at gloating imprints of the stars
airplanes blinking unnatural colors and hues
the moon silently cradling his broken, broken heart
cut with pain. empty, it shivers into oblivion.
the lights flash brighter red and brighter blue
doors snap apart and buttery screams melt and fade
purple bathrobe soggy from scratched knees kneeling
she wraps him in her cold arms and wet tears
frozen in guilt. unending, they pool into her patchwork heart.
quiet, quiet, quiet, the broken boy
loud, loud, loud, the shattered mother
pulse, pulse, pulse, the watchful city
the clock strikes three.
photo (c) Martin Garrido, flickr creative commons, 2011
I Am Malala is the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. Malala's story starts with her father's dream of starting a school, which shows that her passion for education is genetic. Malala also ventures in to talk about her life before the Taliban, which is shockingly challenging, much having to do with her father's school. She talks about the beginnings of the Taliban in Pakistan, and how even before she was shot, she had a powerful voice through her blog and copious speeches. She addresses the mistreatment of women as the Taliban's power grew. In the concluding chapters, she gives third person details of her shooting, mainly from her family's point of view. The book ends with her miraculous recovery and new life in Birmingham, England.
I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I highly recommend reading it for book reports, however, it is a fun read all by itself.
Mykenna on her inspirtaion for her illustration...
"I wanted her to be a cute and spunky, shojo-styled girl."
If you love Mykenna's illustration you might check out the manga series, Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz. His name is Boris, and despite his human form and piercings and tattoos, he is not your typical punk teenager. For he is the Cheshire Cat, complete with cat ears and a tail, and a penchant for riddles. Boris is madly in love with Alice, and Alice is vulnerable and lonely. But will she fall for the Cheshire Cat?
*story synopsis from goodreads.com