DWP No. 023

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR WEEK FOUR | DAYS ONE & TWO

Instructions:

  • Please use TWO days to complete 1,000 words of writing.
  • Attempt to submit 500 words on Tuesday (No. 022) and 500 words on Wednesday (No. 023).
  • You will have until midnight on Thursday to submit your work before the Comments Section closes.

 

WEEK FOUR | DAY TWO of TWO-DAY PROMPT

Use 1,000 words to describe a picture.

p.s. if you need to leave an actual comment about a question you have or whatnot, please use [brackets] to get my attention. this way, I can easily distinguish between your needs as a person versus your submissions as a writer.

30 Comments

  1. I did not take this picture nor have I ever gazed upon it without finding it riveting and interesting. I believe I would like this picture without having any background knowledge at all. However, this picture was taken on February 22, 2017 and I remember everything about this day, I was there. This was eviction day at Standing Rock.

    There are four people in the picture, all of them walking away from the camera unaware of it’s presence. Of these four people I have just met Tammy, 2nd from back and Tim Scott at the very back of the line. The person at the front of the line, heading into the fray first, is my youngest child Taylor, she is 22 years old and if she has ever feared anything, she hasn’t told anyone. Right behind Taylor is Joshua Scott, Tim Scott’s nephew and the young man who is destined to become a serious boyfriend to my daughter. Taylor, Joshua and I have driven out from Seattle together. We are all here to document the actions of the protestors and the government and to freely offer humanitarian aid.

    The icy blue, smokey haze of the image is so predominant that it makes you think of Instagram filters. But there are no filters in play, this was the smoke of fires set by the soon to be displaced (protestors, not natives). The icy blue haze was due to.., well, it was just that bone chillingly cold. I cannot help but draw correlations between the starkness of the picture and the history of our Nations First Peoples.

    It is more accurate to say that the land is covered in ice than in snow. The ground is hard. The trees are spaced like graying hairs on the landscape and even the lone weeds are isolated from each other.

    In this picture the medics team is descending from what is a gravel road, down into Oceti, they descend between a fire burning on their left and one of the few remaining tipis on their right.

    This event was one of the precursors of “fake news” allegations under our present administration and of course both sides contended that honesty was theirs. For the most part, the water protectors and Natives told the truth. The fire in the picture was undoubtedly set by a protestor, our government was not setting fires. Our government was actively trying to invalidate the concern for the land shared, by the water protectors and Natives by spreading rumors of environmental damage caused by the camps.

    In truth, there was a massive conservation effort which was being led by highly trained Veterans volunteering their time so that the environment would not be hurt. In a camp of 300 to 500 people which sprung up overnight with no water or facilities, sanitation was critical. Composting toilets, recycling and two clean kitchens were put together. This kept everything maintained for day to day living. Everything changed as the eviction approached and people had to move.

    There was rain and a bit of a thaw the previous week so in addition to hard frozen ground there were now quicksand style mudholes preventing many vehicles from being able to leave. When you think of cars on the reservation, think about a lot of 70s and 80s. They were stuck, people just lost their cars.

    There were 20 to 30 army Veterans with trucks there everyday to dismantle, recycle and haul off trash. They were doing this on their own dime, no cost to the government at all. Day after day, government contractors and officials blocked them from cleaning up. Once everyone was gone, they put it all into a big pile, got the photo shoot of the mess left by the “environmentalists”, set it on fire with no thoughts about contamination at all and they were able to do that for TWO BILLION tax payer dollars. Back to the fire in the picture, everyone on the ground knew what was going to happen and that taking care of it well was not going to be allowed, some people burned their own piles.

    Tipis like the one on the right side of the photograph had covered the open space there but at this point in time everyone who could get out was pretty much gone. None of the Natives ever had any intention of disobeying the law, they had tried to make the law work for them. With that having failed they were planning to hold prayers up to the end as a peaceful statement of disagreement. The deadline was 12 noon and at that time they would begin to walk out of the camp. We knew that they would be walking in the cold for almost a mile before they could reach help and we were allowed to give humanitarian aid. Tribal leaders met with Governor Burgum in North Dakota to address these concerns; there were very young children, elderly disabled people and the mile they had to traverse, all uphill, all of it. We knew that frostbite was a real danger. The Governor and other officials agreed. They set up a neutral zone, just above the camp, on the road, and gave the medic teams permission to drive in with vehicles load people up and take them to the Medics tent.

    It was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t do it after all. As the evictions started proceeding, Jacqui, another medic and I started to drive down to the neutral zone to get people that needed help. Someone on the government side had forbidden it after all and told us we could walk down there. We explained the need again, of course, and pointed out that it would really slow down our ability to get people out of the cold any faster if we were walking with them. The guards shrugged their shoulders. I don’t know who was responsible for breaking the promise made to the Tribal leaders, but once again, our government lied to them, made promises to them and broke them, again. All of the government officials who weren’t actually breaking the promises themselves, they knew who was and they din’t have the moral fortitude to speak up.

    At the back of the clearing, to the left of the tipi there is a little wood and stick building. It is the juxtaposition of White culture and Native culture. The tipi borrows the land, the wood and stick building claims the land. The tipi will be moved hundreds of times with each peice being used for other things when it just isn’t a tipi anymore. The wood and stick structure will stay in one place and become obsolete, and unwanted, it becomes someones trash to deal with. I was listening to a water protector on the eve of the eviction talking about how this was the beginning of a new community center school and library. I sat there not saying a word. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard phrased it humorously and accurately when she said, “It’s like they are little colonizers, they can’t help themselve, it’s like it’s in their DNA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so tragic yet also interesting to read your firsthand experience at Standing Rock. Thank you so much for sharing.

      A comment about the writing: I loved when you wrote of how even the weeds were isolated. It was a beautiful way that you were able to connect the tone of the setting to the struggle experienced here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. After the eviction I stayed and served on the reservation for another 16 months and it has effected me on so many different levels that I am only beginning to be able to process it now. I got back to WA in July and moved to Seattle in Sept.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. WC: 1187

      Copy and paste your writing into a word or google doc and then use the TOOLS tab to open the drop down menu, and you’ll see the option for Word Count. A little window will pop up to give you all sorts of statistical info about your document, word count, characters, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. But I digress. I really loved French with Mr. Crystal. One of the things that he always did with us was share French culture. He made us Bouillabaisse and Crepes Suzette. And he shared the art of the Louvre with us, this class of hicks from rural Long Island. The Mona Lisa was part of the art he shared. And I knew some day I’d see it.

    I expected Mona Lisa to be enormous, at least 6 feet. I expected it to be heavily guarded. I expected it to be filled with color and shades of meaning. I expected it to somehow speak to me, to remind me of Mr. Crystal’s admonishments to not be provincial country bumpkins. I expected to gasp from the sheer enormity of seeing THE MONA LISA, that bells would ring and carolers sing, and I would meet Mr. Right and all would be Right With the World.

    But none of that happened. The picture is small, maybe 2.5 by 4.5 feet. It is in a room that is heavily guarded on a wall by itself. It is plain. You are in this room with perhaps 150 other people, all vying to get a good shot with their cameras, with their phones, with their selfie sticks. It’s hot and crowded. People jostled each other and didn’t apologize. I craned my head, all 5’4”, trying to see over the tops of tourists., and slowly pushed my way to the front. And there she was. The majority of color used in the painting was brown. If Crayola ever added it to their 144 Color Box Extravaganza, the gift you always hoped you’d get for Christmas, this would be called Blah Blah Brown. The model’s skin was the color of heavy cream with a slight brown cast to it. She was not a pretty woman, at least not to me. The background was drab and brown. I like brown. But not like this. The Mona Lisa seemed homely and shy, whoever this woman was. She struck me as a bit proud that she was chosen to be Leonardo Da Vinci’s model. I also caught a bit of coyness in the slight turn of her mouth and the way her eyes looked down as if she was shyly flirting with the artist.

    The picture underwhelmed me. That’s it, I thought? This is the Mona Lisa, a small blah picture on the wall of arguably the best museum in the world? Yes, her eyes were fascinating as if the artist stuck a Kodak print there instead of bothering to paint them. But the picture did nothing for me. After 30 minutes I left.

    I found my bike still locked securely on the chain link fence just outside the Louvre. I slowly biked along the Seine and noticed an informal dog party in some grassy area, dogs and their humans enjoying a late day romp. I hopped off and leaned again the fence, soaking up the scene, so happy to be alive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Mona Lisa can’t be anything but disappointing. I had the same experience. I like the way you describe the brown and the crayons you used to describe it. The last paragraph was appropriate yet unpredicted.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I wanted to try to return to the idea of something giving me joy which is what I first described getting around Paris by bike in the first section and then to see this really depressing picture and get revitalized by jumping back on the bike and watching something so ordinary as people and dogs playing together

        Like

    2. WOW. The comments I mentioned that I had in our email … you’ve resolved them beautifully. If you don’t mind sharing your experience with writing this particular piece (if you did it in two sittings), I would love to hear all about it. I especially love the second and third paragraph description of your expectation versus the reality of the situation. Do you think there’s a larger story in there … a philosophy of sort? In those two paragraphs?

      Like

      1. I didn’t see your comments. I’d love to get them as this is definitely a draft of a draft of a draft. I cranked it out all at once because I knew I would be too busy to do it on day two.

        Like

  3. And then it was Silence’s turn to get to work on them. Framed in a deep cherry rests the stapled canvas slathered in paint depicting the scene of a small girl child seated cross-legged upon a deep Persian rug looking out toward the viewer, at something small on her left shoulder. In front and to the right of her, a kneeling male figure postured in a gesture of pleading or curiosity looks harmless. With only the back of his head depicted, knowing what he thinks remains impossible. They both exist within the confines of what seems to be the depiction of an attic space in a typical, early 21st-century, American home. From the top left corner of the frame through the depiction of a large window in the background, to the bottom right corner, a beam of light slices the canvas into triangular thirds. Flecks of glitter shimmer all over the top as the last gesture the artist made. Dark, the space is made entirely of light.

    Gently looking back at him, she continues, “If I leave, you will no longer exist.” He sits back onto his butt. “What?” “If I leave now with the ladybug, you will no longer exist.” “Why? How?” She takes a deep breath in. “Just tell him,” the ladybug insists with a slap to its forehead. “Silence,” she orders as Silence swoops in and lifts the ladybug out of the hole in the roof. She returns her attention to him, “You’ve been summoned here for the purposes of … education.” “From where?” “When,” she answers. “Where’s Wen?” he asks. “No, from when is what you want to know,” she explains. “What?” he asks again. She takes a deep inhale and a slow exhale, “Never mind.” “No, what. You have to tell me. I don’t understand,” he pleads. “It doesn’t matter. You won’t remember,” she states. “Remember what? This? My life?” standing now, he nearly screams. “Yes,” she states as a matter of fact. And with that, she makes green.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. And suddenly, without any real awareness of what the fuck just happened, I find myself here, apparently, at another time but in the same place, waffling hard and rewinding myself through any unsubstantiated opinions or painfully arrogant positions I may have taken before, now that I am achingly aware of what may have been the most marvelously diamond-in-the-rough-y type opportunity imbibed from yesterday’s drink of events: an authentic chance to engage, really ENGAGE, with a prime example of what has always elsewise been just a flippant idiom! These sorts of opportunities can’t possibly come around all the time (Can they?) and look what I’ve made myself do! – cavorting about the pages in my ridiculous court jester breeches trying to dust all off those pesky chips off the shoulders of my words, how could I not have foreseen my own toes wiggling under the leather as I slowly and calmly set the sights, polished the barrel, loaded my shotgun and took aim at the rascally pair of feet beneath me? I suppose this all serves me right, at least considering (this part, in fact, I’m not so ashamed to admit) I’ve always been one to make sure that there’s at least one mildly “deviant” pseudo-troublemaker occupying all the marginal, gray areas that surround and perpetually infiltrate most social circumstances, even if that meant it had to be me (but especially if that meant I was somehow bequeathed the opportunity to invisibly finagle the fine circumstantial details of some other unknowing volunteer so that he or she may unwittingly participate in my juvenile schemes as my projected representative.)

    Now it must certainly be (and I’m quite sure so as to not be mistaken in this vein, for I can feel the suffocating psychological weight of it entirely now, and thankfully it’s I that has been chosen to shoulder this burden and no other lesser individual) that all of this has indeed been some sort of manipulative literary test meted out to painfully bore into and extract core samples of my psyche and scrutinize them for who yet knows what demented purposes! And I suppose that all of you’ve been giddily revelling in your mutual complicity this whole time, always aware of the spotlight and colluding amongst yourselves to coordinate your movements and ensure the corralling of my self, my innermost, spiritual identity, that I’ve been so forthright and generous in sharing with you, firmly ensconced (or glued! As I’m sure you’d have it…) as the joke, opposite the head.

    Fine. Have it your way. Don’t forget to pick up all this trash and kill the lights before you sink back into my imagination.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. [Final draft: You can see the picture on my blog if interested]If Bleak Were A Picture: The Eviction at Standing Rock

    I did not take this picture, nor have I ever gazed upon it without finding it riveting and interesting. I believe I would like this picture without having any background knowledge at all. However, this picture was taken on February 22, 2017 and I remember everything about this day, I was there. This was eviction day at Standing Rock.

    There are four people in the picture, all of them walking away from the camera unaware of its presence. Of these four people I have just met Tammy, 2nd from back and Tim Scott at the very back of the line. The person at the front of the line, heading into the fray first, is my youngest child Taylor, she is 22 years old and if she has ever feared anything, she hasn’t told anyone. Right behind Taylor is Joshua Scott, Tim Scott’s nephew and the young man who is destined to become a serious boyfriend to my daughter and a good friend to me. Taylor, Joshua and I have driven out from Seattle together. We are all here to document the actions of the protestors and the government and to freely offer humanitarian aid.

    The icy blue, smoky haze of the image is so predominant that it makes you think of Instagram filters. But there are no filters in play, this was the smoke of fires, set by the soon to be displaced (protestors, not natives) mixed with bone chillingly cold air. I cannot help but draw correlations between the starkness of the picture and the history of our Nation’s First Peoples.

    It is more accurate to say that the land is covered in ice than in snow. The ground is hard. The trees are spaced like graying hairs on the landscape and even the clumps of lone weeds are isolated from each other.

    In this picture one of the medic teams is descending from a gravel road, down into Oceti, they descend between a fire burning on their left and one of the few remaining tipis on their right.

    This event was one of the precursors of “fake news” allegations under our present administration and of course both sides contended that honesty was theirs. For the most part, the water protectors and Natives told the truth. The fire in the picture was undoubtedly set by a protestor, our government was not setting fires. Our government was actively trying to invalidate the concern for the land, shared by both the water protectors and Natives by spreading rumors of environmental damage caused by the camps.

    In truth, there was a massive conservation effort which was being led by highly trained Veterans volunteering their time so that the environment would not be hurt. In a camp of 300 to 500 people which sprung up overnight with no water or facilities, sanitation was critical. Composting toilets, recycling and two clean kitchens were put together. This kept everything maintained for day to day living. Everything changed as the eviction approached and people had to move.

    There was rain and a bit of a thaw the previous week so in addition to hard frozen ground there were now quicksand style mudholes preventing many vehicles from being able to leave. When you think of cars on the reservation, think about a lot of 70s and 80s. They were stuck, people just lost their cars. They walked out of camp on eviction day with what they could wear.

    There were 20 to 30 army Veterans with trucks there every day to dismantle, recycle and haul off trash. They were doing this on their own dime, no cost to the government at all. Day after day, government contractors and officials blocked them from cleaning up. Once everyone was gone, they put it all into a big pile, got the photo shoot of the mess left by the “environmentalists”, set it on fire with no thoughts about contamination at all and they did that for TWO BILLION tax payer dollars. Back to the fire in the picture, everyone on the ground knew what was going to happen and that taking care of it well was not going to be allowed, some people burned their own piles.

    Tipis like the one on the right side of the photograph had covered the open space there but now everyone who could get out was pretty much gone. None of the Natives ever had any intention of disobeying the law, they had tried to make the law work for them. With that having failed they were planning to hold prayers up to the end as a peaceful statement of disagreement. The deadline was 12 noon and at that time they would begin to walk out of the camp. We knew that they would be walking in the cold for almost a mile before they could reach help and we could give humanitarian aid. Tribal leaders met with Governor Burgum in North Dakota to address these concerns; there were very young children, elderly disabled people and the mile they had to traverse, all uphill, all of it. We knew that frostbite was a real danger. The Governor and other officials agreed. They set up a neutral zone, just above the camp, on the road, and gave the medic teams permission to drive in with vehicles, load people up and take them to the Medic’s tent.

    It was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t do it after all. As the evictions started proceeding, Jacqui, another medic and I started to drive down to the neutral zone to get people that needed help. Someone on the government side had forbidden it after all and told us we could walk down there. We explained the need again, of course, and pointed out that it would really slow down our ability to get people out of the cold if we were walking with them. The guards shrugged their shoulders. I don’t know who was responsible for breaking the promise made to the Tribal leaders, but once again, our government lied to them, made promises to them and broke them. Again. The government officials who weren’t actually breaking the promises themselves, they knew who was and they didn’t have the moral fortitude to speak up.

    At the back of the clearing, to the left of the tipi there is a little wood and stick building. It is the juxtaposition of White culture and Native culture. The tipi borrows the land, the wood and stick building claims the land. The tipi will be moved hundreds of times with each piece being used for other things when it just isn’t a tipi anymore. The wood and stick structure will stay in one place and become obsolete, and unwanted, it becomes someone’s trash to deal with. I was listening to a water protector on the eve of the eviction talking about how this was the beginning of a new community center, school and library. I sat there not saying a word. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard phrased it humorously and accurately when she said, “It’s like they are little colonizers, they can’t help themselves, it’s like it’s in their DNA.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will echo Madeline here and say, Thank you for sharing as well. This was deeply meaningful and yet, you were still somehow able to set your emotions aside and capture the scene in a very pragmatic sense.

      I especially loved your descriptions of the people in the photo namely, “my youngest child Taylor, she is 22 years old and if she has ever feared anything, she hasn’t told anyone.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s the witching hour. As the resident insomniac, I’m doing nightwatch on the late shift. I have a U-lock in my lap, an improvised weapon, as I sit on a camp chair talking to an older woman, her hair gray except for the purple she’s died her bangs. Beside her sits a baseball bat. We’re guarding the back entrance to the camp, Occupy ICE. It’s in an industrial nowhere. Not far away another watch is set up. In my top pocket is a walkie-talkie but there’s some assurance that the other watch is just a shout away. I hate this part of the night. After 2 when the bars close is when the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis will drive through. They’ve already been through twice tonight. So far they’ve pulled guns, but mostly they’ve squealed off, doing a few manly donuts to have us know what’s up after we hit them with spotlights, the bear mace and bats we have at the ready but have yet to use. The blinding light has served us well. The peckerwoods who’ve rolled through are scouts there to scope the place out. If they don’t feel intimidated they’ll bring the numbers and there’s no telling what will go down. So far they don’t know how many we are or what we’re capable of. We want to keep it that way.
    It’s Grandma Dee that notices Maggie has been walking around all night, a blanket over her shoulders.

    “Are you OK, Maggie?” She asks.
    “I can’t sleep,” she says, “I was sleeping in the queer tent, but I’m scared they’re going to go after that tent first.”
    It’s easy to find the Queer Tent because it’s spraypainted on the outside.
    “C’mon, you can sleep in the tent I’ve been using.” I clean all my stuff out of a two-person tent that reeks of feet and make a bed of the padding and sleeping bags that were in there when I got there.
    “I have to leave in the morning, so you should take over this one,” then I give her a big hug, something I’ve never done before, “I’ll be back in a few days.”
    “Lies, Lies,” she mumbles sleepily.
    When I get back to the night watch, my arms full of my own bedding, Seth is talking with Grandma Dee. My arms are full of my own bedding and things. I throw them down angrily, and storm away.

    “Is this pissyness?” I hear her say over my shoulder. I let her think so, rather have her think it’s more camp drama, an immature temper-tantrum, maybe. That I’m so moved by Maggie’s fear, her inability to ask for help right away, that anyone should fear going to sleep in a tent marked queer lest they get jumped in the middle of the night. I can’t have them see that I’m crying. I walk a few yards away and pull myself together. I can’t have Grandma Dee or nightwatch see that I’m crying. Not tonight, not while shit’s real and could pop off at any moment.

    ***
    “MAGGOT!”
    “BOOTLICKER!”
    “YEAH, YOU! UP ON THE ROOF WE SEE YOU!”
    “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF? THAT WHY YOU’RE ALL THE WAY UP THERE?”
    After a long night, I wake to the same thing every morning. The sun shining into the tent before it gets hot again, the rising heat and the sound of occupiers heckling the guards. It happens every morning like clockwork before nine ‘o’ clock when they start rolling in. I like to lie in the tent listening to it, before I get up and start the day.
    The occupation is on a thin slice of lawn. The grass, usually, watered by sprinklers, has all died since Occupy set up camp, turning a hay-colored yellow. It’s an ugly, industrial wasteland. The ground itself is toxic, poisoned by arsenic. The water itself is poisoned. It’s sobering that we don’t have to drink it like the prisoners inside. To occupy is to expose yourself to this arsenic.. Us, the guards, the prisoners, we’re all exposed to the poison in the ground. It’s a superfund site. There’s little life anywhere. Just a square mile of warehouses interlaced with railroad tracks. Along this long stretch are tents and tarps we’ll hide under when the sun comes up. It’s been reaching 105 degrees and we’ve got no shade.

    Regardless, the spirits are high. Heckling the guards is a great morale booster. Namecalling is memetic, maggot and bootlicker seem to be the favorite things to shout at them. This whole thing might be useless. It’s hard to believe we have chance of abolishing ICE. We probably don’t. We’ve out here in the middle of nowhere doing this direct action and nobody really seems to know. The media hasn’t covered it and if they have it’s usually just to talk about how dirty we are because we’re shitting in buckets. It all seems so futile, but like many here, this isn’t about winning, it’s about fighting because it’s the right thing to do. We all know it’s a losing battle but one that must be fought. To heckle guards is a small redemption. And it feels good. It feels good to watch them jump out of their cars and scurry inside the prison with their heads down. It feels good to see the visible shame in their shoulders. The way they look at the ground. Many of them have stopped coming to work in uniform, instead, packing them in briefcases and changing inside. In a couple hours it will unbearably hot, but for now we got guards to heckle. It’s a small redemption but we’ll take it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really love how so much of the setting description in the daylight comes after the very honest and frightening reality of what the nights were like. Thank you so much for sharing. The emotion is raw and I appreciate this very much.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your ability to create a tactile sense (defined as your words trigger sensations in my brain that actually make me feel the surroundings you describe) through your writing is quite enjoyable. I wonder what a futuristic genre of this sort looks like.

      Like

  7. All of space and time was covered in a haze of blue. Fog hung heavy over the trees, begging to rest. Countless spires of conifers lined the cascading hills that were forever falling into the bottom of the lake. This place is holy.

    This is where sky and earth and water hold one another, blending bodies and blurring intimacy. The sun holds no weight here, under blanket of grey and chilled fingertips. Everything is imperfect as it was meant to be. The curves of mountains show jagged hip bones and sharp elbows. She is not awake nor is she sleeping, but somehow somewhere in between. There is a silence in the way rain falls and birds chirp and crickets sing when there is no one there to hear it but you.

    Wind rolls over the surface of the lake that shimmers wildly in the fading, white light. The closer you are to the water, the darker it becomes, giving you a glimpse of depth like a person who is too afraid to say it aloud but you know its truth anyway. Far off, the shore swells into the mud and the twigs and lost branches, asking them to come home. There is a frantic and subdued urgency in the way the water moves. There are no waves, but soft ripples. It seems as though the hills are resting the weight of their body on top and the lake is desperately trying not to show how bad it actually hurts.

    Infinity is a place that doesn’t exist anywhere and also exists everywhere. This is infinince. The sky is weightless but dense with itself in its purity, as if trying to kiss the cheek, that soft place just under the eye. Woven through the treebanks, exposing itself as soft and fragile. Resting like fingertips tracing lips. The feeling is in the tenderness; gentle enough to trust but not too afraid to touch. The trees stood like tickled skin in its affection.

    Everything is damp, glistening. Nothing is untouched.

    In the middle of the lake, at the end of the dock, three figures stood with their backs to me.

    Silhouettes of gazing and awe, thick wool coats, trousers and boots. They are perfectly still. They are creatures who are both wildly alien and simple enough to be organic. The tallest stands on the right with his hood on. The others, covered in headdresses of scarves. Some may think it seems important to see their faces to glean a feeling, but it is seen in the way they turn their backs. There are times when it is more important to keep eyes fixed like lens on glory. But we all know, pictures are false deities like blurred memories and faded feelings or not wanting to wake up from a dream and forcing yourself back to sleep. One could almost feel sorry for picture-takers, silent photographers. There’s always more than one way to die.

    The dock croaks with the gravity of age. The dark word is darkened the way a woman’s hair does in the shower. It is slicked with longing, homeward bound with soaking legs just like the twigs. It begs the question; what is the honest difference between a branch, a twig, a pillar? Part of it rooted in the bottom of the lake, a moss-covered baby cradled in the wintry chill of the water. The planks slope side to side, begging to be anything but stable or secure.

    A buoy rests far off in the distance, rhythmically bouncing with the rolling underbelly of the lake.

    There is so much one cannot see in this particular photograph. The frenzied flock of birds, fraught with roaming, that passed moments before. Their faces. The way their mouths rested slightly agape, unaware of how visible their breath is. How she began to cry and then laugh. How he had accidentally drugged her with a spliff on the side of the road, thinking it was a cigarette. How, the night before, she thought she had fallen in love with a stranger in a bar. How three scratched and clawed their way back onto the dock when the fourth swam the length of it.

    In the midst of winter, the darkest of figures began to strip himself of his clothing. He jumped first. The others followed. Counting to three, running and falling, pointed toes joining with the pillars of the dock to blur bodies in the lake. This, however, I am sorry to say, is not documented because they were living. Just as the dock and the fog and the twigs and the trees. A part of everything, finally.

    Four people stood, shivering.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you! Sometimes my own writing feels foreign to me. Like I’ve read it over and over and I start to lose the image, so it’s nice to hear how others feel about it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. All I can honestly say is … when can we write together? The imagery, the syntax, the defined rhythm (read here with such deliberate patience), it’s all just gorgeous. “… darkened the way a woman’s hair does in the shower.” Yes, I see it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I also can’t wait to write together and create our small, sweet community. I really appreciate when you comment on my work.

        Like

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