Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Waning Gibbous

What is it called when a smile erupts upon hearing a story of H2O molecules detected in the debris of a crashed probe signaling the possibility of life on the moon because your mind makes the leap from that scientific discovery to holding his hand under a moon, two-thirds full in the mid-morning sky, and you wonder which lunar phase looks like an oval handkerchief not quite tucked into a pocket, and then remember him say, A little bit in, and you suppose, that’s a good name for it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing Prompt: Coffee Beans

The aroma of Jamaica Blue Mountain brewing in the kitchen must have infiltrated her dream. Her subconscious mind alone could not have conjured such a scene. She was behind bars again – a caged animal on display at the zoo. Usually, in these recurring dreams she'd pace the floor, look beyond the bars, past the photo-snapping tourists and ogling schoolchildren and focus on the object of her desire. If she focused long enough her animal paws would morph into human arms and legs and she could walk past disappearing walls to the thing she knew she needed. Years ago when she lived in Los Angeles, the onlookers were always the last celebrities she saw on the late night talk shows before drifting off to sleep; the object was always food, water or some other basic necessity. Those dreams stopped after she moved to another state. She figured she had found the freedom she craved.

Last night she was that caged animal again, but this time only he stood watching her. She paced the floor staying toward the back, wary of his presence. Then he reached through the bars, coaxed her closer with his treat – chocolate covered coffee beans. She ate them one by one from his left hand oblivious to the diamond-studded collar he placed around her neck with his right. She felt the collar clasp around her neck, constrict her airway until she could no longer breathe; she woke up gasping. She stared at the two carats on the finger second from the left and wondered if she had made a mistake.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Million Dollar Subway

Posting my nephew's English assignment. I enjoyed reading it so much I just had to share!

If I had 10 million dollars to improve the subway stations, I would focus on changing the appearance of the station, trains and the people that work hard for the MTA. First thing I’ll do is get rid of the metro cards. Nobody likes paying for these annoying little cards. So I would have a biometric system that scans your fingerprint. If the machine reads “access granted” you’re free to go but if it says “access denied” then you have must have some kind of weapon on you and will not be allowed to move on. If so, a cacophony would go off throughout the station. Then the weapon would appear on a projector screen so it’ll be easier on the police to know exactly where to search.

Once you get through, you don’t want to walk into a hot station. So, I will make sure every station has air conditioning. Also, I want my stations to be a convenience for everybody. I will achieve this goal by inserting elevators and/or escalators in the subway stations. This is purposely for those who have any kind of leg problem or are physically disabled.

Another improvement I would make is to the trains themselves. You can’t go into a beautiful station and walk into a disgrace of a train. So, I would make all trains state of the art. I’ll have computer operated trains. My trains will be up-to-date with the latest technology and be so comfortable you’ll think you’re in your own living room.

Rush hour is horrible in the afternoon. What I decided to do is make the station much taller and a little bit wider. This is because I’m going to make the trains double-deckered. It might put me over my budget but whatever it takes to satisfy the people, I’ll try my hardest to make it happen. If the trains become double-deckered, twice as many people can get on, making rush hour much calmer and relaxed.

However, while making all these brilliant changes. I still don’t want to interfere with people’s workspace. I don’t want to take jobs away from anybody especially from those who’ve been working for the trains for about two decades. I still need to be fair to everybody else.

Now some people might be wondering, ‘Well, exactly who’s going to benefit from your brilliant improvements?’ I have one simple word for those who are still a little apprehensive…Everyone! Everyone from average Joes to multi-million dollar making celebrities. Once again, change has come to America.

--By Jabari Clarke

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autumn Feeling

I mistook the feeling for a cold.
My loss of appetite and fatigue symptoms
of germs acquired through casual contact.

Maybe because October started on a Thursday,
without the dread a Monday brings
or the predictable end of a Sunday.

After the accident, I tuned out
all reminders of my father,
even the pennant races he loved,
which I loved because of him.

But this infection waited for crisp, autumn air
to stir up leaves that had fallen away.

In loving memory of Louis Stevenson Taylor, Sr., August 30, 1946 - October 8, 2003

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dreaming to NPR

I am dressed up, excited.
A class trip to Barack’s and Michelle’s house
to watch the stars on the south lawn.
I walk through the market
searching for…a gift? A snack?
A rutabaga and strange fruit
weigh down my basket.

I ask a foreign lady where to pay.
Her detainee bracelet blinks green
then turns red when we go to the register.
I hold a cup in my left hand,
something clamped to my side.
I stand in line…waiting to pay?
Waiting for fried apples? Waiting for…

A train arrives at the platform.
A young man walks to the front,
shows the conductor his comic book, then boards.
I pull out the comic book tucked under my arm
and do the same. A sea of excited faces
looks back at me. They are all Black.
I overhear some students say
the school board voted out diversity.

I walk in the dark rain, my head down.
That cute boy from school bounds across the street,
lifts my chin with his finger.
We won the Nobel Prize!
He breaks out in song,
“I Love a Rainy Night” and I join in.

The NPR stories that must have influenced this dream:
Astronomy Night on the White House Lawn
Immigration Detention
Voters Reject Wake Schools Diversity Policy
Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Jane Lynch from "Glee"

I Like...But I Never

I like that girl on the bus, but I never get a chance to talk to her. It's like fate is trying to warn me–she snores, has unresolved daddy issues, is batting for the other team. I could deal with all of those things, except maybe the batting for the other team part. But then again my sister, Paula does too, so I could introduce them. But I don't think she does, or rather, Paula doesn't think so. I had been talking about the mystery girl on the bus so much, Paula drove me to the stop in the morning to see if this girl warranted being the object of my obsession. It didn't take Paula 15 seconds to declare my girl was not part of "the family".

"She does seem–how can I say this nicely–out of your league, Jeff."

I must have had that deer in headlights look Paula says I give her when I don't quite catch her meaning because she continued.

"Let me give you an example. You like wine, right Jeff?"

"Sure I do."

"Well, she's more of a Cava and you're more like a two-buck Chuck."

I sat silent for a moment trying to absorb the meaning in the metaphor–and then I got it!

"So you're saying we both like wine, but our tastes might be different, and I might like a wine she does not like and vice versa, but if that's true, at least we have our interest in wine in common and can use that to build a successful relationship."

Paula smiled weakly, patted my shoulder. "Jeff, the bus is here. You'd better go before you miss your chance."