Colder Side of Hell

I don’t want this silence anymore

No, it is deafening and pleading

I can taste the stale rage

And feel the power of madness in you

No, this silence is looming;

I feel shut in a closed room

With only blank walls

Silent –

And spreading its thin

Humorless smile all across the ceiling.

No, I don’t want this silence anymore

The heat of your rage subdues mine

And the steely silence of yours

Makes me feel

Like I am right now

Standing in the colder side of hell.

Trekking the Bend in the Road

My mom was widowed at twenty. As she went from place to place searching for somewhere to live, I tagged along beside her. It was difficult to find a safe shelter to stay in since we were part of the “lower society.”  After a long search, an ashram that offered shelter to homeless people decided to take us in. Despite the peace and safety it provided us, we were in turmoil. My mother agreed to run small errands on behalf of others to make money, as well as do odd jobs to earn a living. Life was not easy and there was little dignity. We would both pray for a miracle each day. My mother had said that if you wanted something – really wanted something – the whole universe would conspire to make sure you received it. So I would close my eyes and pray for a better life.

I was three when it happened. I was playing with my friends when I saw some people who looked like they did not belong to our community entering the Ashram compound. They looked strange – like people from another planet – wearing shirts and pants that were crisp from ironing, held together by real belts with silver buckles. They fascinated me. I wondered what business they had here when they turned and started walking towards me.  They asked me a few questions, which I answered hesitantly. They smiled warmly before going to talk to my mother. They were people from Shanti Bhavan, a home and school for some of India’s most deprived children. They handed me the opportunity to a good education.

Every day after that, right before I could close my eyes and fall asleep, my mother  would whisper to me silently that a miracle was coming to fruition. She told me that I would be in a safe place and that I would grow to be a clever girl. She spoke to me of being a great leader and living a comfortable life. As she spoke, her dreams became part of mine; I imagined myself in a college, then a job, and lastly, in a big house with her.  All too soon, the day came for me to leave behind the Ashram and move on to the next chapter of my life. Shanti Bhavan was a new beginning.

The long road ahead rose in dust as we creaked to our destination. The area around us was sparse in vegetation, but crowded with desert-like features. The graveled road under me was bump; the turbulent ride tossed us around in the cramped jeep. I held onto my mother’s hand, my palms sweating profusely while my fingers twitched nervously. This was something unknown. I waited anxiously for Shanti Bhavan to appear, desperate to believe that something new was actually happening. The jeep turned the bend on the road, and it was then that I saw it – the “miracle” my mother told me about. It was not at all what I had expected. It was different, yet somehow very familiar. I rubbed my eyes, feeling that I was living in a dream, unwilling to accept that this could actually be happening.

Even after opening my eyes, however, I could still see  a beautiful place in front of me. We entered a large building, faintly smelling of fresh paint, surrounded by lush trees. I looked around me, trying to take in everything in one breath. I wanted to go and explore my new surroundings. My mother then called out to me, so I ran to her. She bent down and pulled me into a hug and said goodbye. I knew leaving me here was killing her. I felt sad about her going away, but put on a brave face, smiled broadly and said, “Bye mummy. I will be a good girl.” Then, I slipped out of the hug and ran away before she could see my tears.

As a small child, I would sometimes miss my mother and longed to be back with her. But then, I had many beautiful people taking care of me as if I were their own child. I felt very special. I had an insatiable passion for learning and expanding my knowledge of the world. Wonderful teachers, administrators and volunteers taught me not only what was in the books, but also virtues like honesty, integrity and kindness.

This learning was not contained simply within the walls of our school building. On the playground, I learned to play soccer, basketball, tennis and baseball. As a young adult, I also started learning how to play the guitar. From the diversely talented volunteers who would come to Shanti Bhavan, I have learned many different types of dancing, from ballet to break dancing. People have volunteered from all around the world at Shanti Bhavan, and each one has left us more enriched.

Now I am a girl of seventeen, in the twelfth grade, studying the science track. I am fascinated by the origin of life and the intricate working of organisms. For this reason, I want to be a genetic engineer and find cures to lethal diseases. I want to grow up quick and change the lives of others, the way mine was changed. At this stage in my life, I am ready to believe that my life was lived in a “miracle” – the one that my mother had told me about when I was still a little girl.

In so many ways, because of Shanti Bhavan, I have become a changed person – from a poor, uneducated girl living in atarpaulin-covered house, I have become an intelligent, articulate young woman living in a ‘haven of peace.’ From my time at Shanti Bhavan, I have learned tolerance and respect for all who I encounter. From my experiences back at home, I have learned persistence and determination. I am now a confident, optimistic girl who enjoys challenges.

From overcoming adversities at home and winning basketball games at school, I constantly try to succeed in everything I do. I want to change this world for the better and bring peace and prosperity to my friends, family, and community. I want others to be happy; I want to make my mother proud. Shanti Bhavan has provided me the stepping stones to success; as I look forward to high school graduation and the future, I know I still have a great deal to accomplish. As Robert Frost once said, I have “miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Running Away

The moon spread its evil grin over the forest, its rays leering and poking fun at me. I turned away, and there by me lay the tired Kathleen. The reflection of water played against her face. Yes, she is very pretty. But still I had no hope of surviving now. Looking down at her face, my memory went back to the same scene once again . . .

Being the youngest in her wolf pack, she was always given a lot of attention. When I looked at her, I fell head over heels in love with her. In my pack, I was supposed to take over because my dad, who was the best and most courageous leader in the pack, died. So then I decided to make Kathleen my wife.
That was a BIG MISTAKE.
Her pack and my pack were never very good since we trespassed the territories during hunting. But when my pack went hunting one day, I pulled her off into the bank of the river. The starry night was very beautiful, and the moon drifted lazily among the clouds. I could hear my pack howling in search of me, but I did not bother. I proposed to her. She said that she would get married, but her pack would not let it happen, so I then went and called my best friend Avery. He wedded us secretly under the glassy moon. The last part of our wolf wedding was to exchange a blood oath for our marriage together.
When she laid her beautiful paws on mine, my pack saw it from a distance. But quickly Kathleen bounded off, and by the time my pack arrived, she was gone from their sight.
That night I made Avery swear that he would not breathe a word to anyone about our marriage. In the morning the nights’ sightings were forgotten by most except one wolf named Shaggy who I despised very much. He kept a very close watch on me.
One day, Avery and I were fighting for a piece of meat. Being stronger than him, I won it fair and square, but Avery was very angry, and accidentally let it slip that I was wedded to Kathleen. Immediately, Shaggy bounded upon me and slapped me. He then broadcast the news to my pack. They decided not only to hurt Kathleen, but also the pack.
I went to find her and saw that the pack too had found out, and Kathleen was already injured badly. Carefully I attacked the pack from behind and pulled her back and raced from the pack. I took her on my back and raced to the hill where I jumped from one cliff to another (which no one else could do) and carried her safely to the bank of another river. I slid her off my back. Now I stand here guarding her life because . . . a gift of love . . . that’s what she is to me.
Now I will start my own pack with her, and we will live happily together. Then I know the thorns of this life will fade away into a beautiful rose, and I will be able to live with her forever.

I Remember Clearly!

I remember;

I remember clearly

The day my father died.

He was hanging like a piece of cloth from the fan

I remember clearly – 

The rancid stench of his stale liquor breath

That clings to him like a desperate child

Tickling my nose

And mocking his dead eyes into red.

I remember clearly

The turmoil and confusion.

My mothers eyes paled

And her lips trembled

As in front of her eyes her whole world came crashing down.

At first

Silent tears streamed down her face

And silence was dead

But with a low guttural sound

Like an injured animal

My mother fell down far below those numb suspended feet

And bawled her eyes out.

I remember clearly

The nonstop tears flowing down her face

Like the water leaking from an unclosed tap\

All i could think to myself was

“My god!”

Her eyes are black and blue

Her eyes are black and blue cringing with the horror of reality

While she holds on to his legs and demands,

“Why the hell did you leave me without telling good-bye?”

Like a goodbye could have made me painless

Or not made her weep her heart away with his dead body.

I know that as well as i know my own name;

I remember clearly

To another time, another scene

My mother was sprawled on the cold, bare cement floor

Her lips bleeding

And her breath panting

Over her stood my father

His eyes filled with murder like a homicidal maniac

Holding a thick branch of bamboo

Soon to come crashing down on my mother…!

I closed my eyes –

I heard a noise;

SMACK!

Silence…

I opened my eyes

My mother sat in the corner

Hugging her own legs

While my father lay drunkenly unconscience

And the stick lay loosely gripped in his hand

This is what it was to live with a man

That god labelled as my “father”!

I remember clearly

The day my father died – 

He was hanging like a piece of cloth from the fan.

Fire And Ice

Fire:         Oh! If my cursed innocence could only

Dwell in that blessed Acheron. Since the

Curse befell upon my foolish heart

I have yet but walked all the lands on

The heath, consuming upon the dry and wood,

Growing dimmer by the sun’s bright face and

Brighter on the moonlit ways, looking

Searching, seeking . . . (sighs)

For my Chalice, but to no avail.

[Indistinct singing, fire moves closer to hear]

Ice : (singing) . . . Fly to who holds thy heart

You’ll be free and happy as ever

Walking under thou love’s love.

[Ice looks up and sees fire]

[Both lock eyes]

Fire:         Do I see right? Do my eyes behold me

Wrong? Oh tell me sweeting, is there such a thing as

Love at first sight, or should I dare again, for a

Repeated many moments, walk by you again

For you to love me too?

Ice:          Could it be true, are not thou my knight in

The burning armor, the angel of

My dreams? Oh! So long and hard have

I looked for thou; where were you?

I have grown hard and cold waiting under

These many moons, for thy arrival.

Fire:         Could it be true, art thou my cure, my end

To this burning immortality and

All consuming murder? Yes, it must be

Cause thou art the very same like he said it

Would be, the scent so pure and innocent,

Yet tinged with guile and sharpness, and yes

Thy face so white and clear, that it

Could lure the devil from hell. Am I that devil,

That dares loiter around these gates of purity?

Oh! As cursed as I am I but cannot

Make you mine, I will free myself of this

Omen and maybe many lifetimes later

Thou and I shall meet, uncursed and just

Meant to be.

Ice:          No, no, thou cans’t mean thy death, thy forever

Vanishment! I’ll not take it, I love –

Fire:         Forget me in haste, do not linger here

In memories so little and sweet, I’ll

Come hither to thee, and sink my teeth, my

Burning tongue, yea my parched throat in thy

Medicine; Forget me, dear one, cause in

Haste I came and in waste I shall go.

Farewell to thee maiden, my pretty ice girl.

[Fire bites ice]

[Fire dies]

[Ice melts]

Ice:          Oh no! It cannot be true! Look there, he

Is disappearing into the wind and

I can see him no more. And me? He has

Freed me from my jail, my hardened shell. Oh,

My dear knight, don’t fret at all, I swear

To you that each and every one of my drops of tears

Will take any form it can, like that unseen

Vapor with the clouds, or that monstrous sheet

Of rain.

I will travel the world and the underworld too

If I must, till you are back, here with me

Where you belong. Wait, my love, I’m coming

For you.

[Water flows away]

To Be Continued…

For all those people who this rejection is the end of it!! Its not, its just the beginning…. 🙂

Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Blog

By Aaron Hamburger

I’m an avid tennis player, so last summer when one of my partners canceled our game at the last minute, I thought I would get some extra practice by hitting shots against the wall of a nearby handball court.  Yet, after a few minutes of hitting, I became frustrated.  The reason?  I couldn’t tell whether my shots were any good because there was no net.

While in the middle of a heated tennis match, I don’t exactly feel warmth for the net, particularly when it snags a ball that would have been a brilliant winning shot against my opponent.  In fact, in such cases, I have been known to give that net a good hard smack with my racquet.

And yet once the net was gone, I keenly felt its absence.

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