Dixit Writing Challenge Day 10-13

Day 10

This card depicts a boy on a horse about to ride a rainbow over a canyon

Moving forward is never easy. Somewhere over the rainbow is a dangerous place to go, and even if the grass is greener on the other side, you can’t help look back. They say not to, but maybe turning into salt is better than a lifetime with an inner chasm, knowing you can never return because the bridge had dissipated and you’ve grown too big to fit in the cracks in your old house.

Forward is the only option now, and it’s a leap of faith. Rainbows are nothing but fractured light anyway, so who’s to say this life thing isn’t all an illusion? The forest is darker when you arrive, even though you already knew that. Someone left a lamp for you, but it still only lights a few steps ahead and it had a tendency to flicker out. There’s an awful loneliness about going forward. No matter how many people have done it before, you always seem to be cutting a new path. And you always left some part of you across the chasm, forever waving goodbye.

Day 11

This card depicted a woman with an aquarium for a skirt. The result of my free write led me into a nonfiction piece about the Midsummer Festival in Lithuania, which merits its own post in a few days, so in the meantime:

Day 12

This card depicts a purse with a face like the cookie monster. It’s one of my favorite free writes this challenge has pulled out of me.

My purse is a monster! This morning, I thought I would use it to carry my lunch, my water bottle, notebook, lipstick, glasses, sunglasses, pen, pencil, and half a bar of chocolate. I think it was the chocolate that did it. Now my purse is eating my life! As I walked out the door, it sprang to life and swallowed the doorknob. It tried to take the entire door, but I ripped it away just in time.

I don’t know how I’ll get back into my apartment now. I tried to open my car, but it ate my keys, so I walked to work, my purse snacking the whole way there. It ate grass clippings, donuts, coffee from the hands of passersby, the hands of passersby, fruit stands. I’m sorry ma’am! I didn’t take your dry cleaning, my purse ate it.

It ate my neighbor’s cat, my boss’s car, and it’s still hungry. I can’t bring it into work with me. It might eat my co-workers, my boss. Well, that might not be so bad… I’m afraid to give anything back. If I reach down it, my purse might take my arm off. I think I’ve got a solution. I will feed it my paycheck, the source the holes in all my pockets. It worked! My purse has burned up. Of course, now I don’t have a purse… or a paycheck.

Day 13

This card depicts a daisy ripping off its petals.

I love me, I love me not. Some days, I can’t decide, so I will pull my petals out trying to remember. You’d think it would hurt to tear myself apart, going bald in search of self love. It doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m so used to little girls picking my apart like a daisy that I thought I would get ahead of them by trying it myself. Nothing hurts anymore. The pinch as my petals fall away is nothing compared to the weathering of the wing. The coming storm is a blessing. It washes over the sore spots on my face.

Dixit Writing Challenge Day 9: Trophy Wife

Today’s card has a cat gazing up at a bride and groom in a cage hanging in the night sky. My piece ended up containing references to several Sherlock Holmes stories, in particular, my favorite, “The Case of the Dancing Men.”

Trophy Wife
I married into a cage, trying to escape the monster in the shadows. I thought you loved me when you went in search of a code cracker to find the key to my heart. Then you hung it on the wall, just out of reach and drew blue chalk bars around me. You turned my family into a parade of dancers and hoisted me into the air to watch them by moonlight. When my brother looked up, you painted over the windows so they wouldn’t see me. It only takes a brick to break a pan of glass, but I wanted to shatter more than the trophy case you locked me in.

Dixit Writing Challenge Day 8: The Red House

Today’s card has a guy on a park bench reading a newspaper under a sky full of letters. The piece ended up coming out of this and talking to my friend about memories of the first house I lived in. It’s got more Neverland imagery, but I also felt a Shel Silverstein “Where the Sidewalk Ends” vibe in it (except “where the sidewalk ends” means something completely different in this context.)

The Red House
You cannot capture the Neverland. Its magic is so great the words fly off the page. How I’d like to fly with those letters, to chase them down a river of paint to the home of blackberry memories. I’ll come in through window at the top of the pumpkin house. Our faithful tree still waits for us, its branches dry and brittle. I hit my head on the door frame climbing down the grass stairs. This place used to seem so big. It had portals in the back yard, but someone bricked up the gate, so I take the caterpillar train back out of town.

The turtles have grown up and now their grandchildren run the pump, and they won’t let me have a drink. So I wait until their backs are turned and try to sway it with my words, but once I get the rusted thing on, it won’t turn off. The ditch fills and the water rises in the streets. As it reaches my knees, I search for an escape. My old spider web ladder hangs from one of the trees, but now it just sticks to me. Funny, the powers you lose when you leave the Neverland. Angry at my disobediance, the turtles drag me into the ditch I fight them off with boards from the broken swing, and finally resurface on the sidewalk, surrounded by chalk pictures, melting in the rain.

Dixit Writing Challenge Day 6 & 7: Sibling Rivarly

So, yesterday’s card had a couple playing chess with each other. My favorite part of this card is that their table and chairs are on black and white tile floor, like a chess board. But yesterday, I was busy looking into the possibility of getting a new car, so I didn’t get much time to do a free-write on it. Fortunately, today’s card has a stack of books and a fairy, and games and books have been themes in a poem I’ve been working on for a while, so I went straight to that. This is not anywhere close to done, and I don’t know where it’s going. But there are several parts I like:

Sibling Rivalry
It started with the Tube Game. The Tube Game is the ultimate mashup of all role playing fanfiction geekery in the universe. Each of us would transform into one character from any story ever written or ever to be written, and like MArio, would drop down a magic tube into some alternate reality: Middle Earth, Tortall, New York City. Any book was game. It never mattered that at seven years old, I hadn’t heard of orcs, or that, though three years older than me, you hadn’t witnessed the razor sharp wings of stormwings, they came for both of us, as did teachers on their way to work, pausing to laugh the bus stop avengers.

After you graduated to middle school, I tried to teach our game to others, but it turns out, our rules were not as black and white as a chess board. When others tried to dictate how many spaces we could move in which direction, we turned your bed into the Adventure, and together tossed the rulebook overboard.

The truth is, I wrote this for the same reason I read Dune. Because I have no way to thank you. You don’t accept hugs or handshakes, and you probably don’t accept poems, but if you remember any of this as well as I do, maybe I don’t need to. I still haven’t figured out how to explain to my friends that when the two of us say “Happy Hogswatch,” it carries more weight than every utterance ever of “as you wish,” but I don’t have to explain anything to you. Because we’ve been saving each other’s lives from the beginning.

aanndd lots of run-on sentences. Ookkaayy…

Dixit Writing Challenge Day 5: All the Time in the Universe

Okay, that’s probably not really going to be the final title for this, but my today’s card had a pocket watch with stars in the cover. (If anyone has played Dixit, they will discover that space is a popular theme for this artist). I don’t really have any thoughts on what I wrote today. See what you think of it:

The first time we kissed
I felt the universe down your throat
We were masters of everything
For six years, we danced
around each other, but that night
we danced among fireworks, that kiss
lifted us into the sky
where we could swing on a star
I fell asleep in your arms
like a hammock
strung between two planets
And the next morning
I cut the hands off the clock
for stealing our time
I thought I could stop it
stop everything at the moment you
became the center of my galaxy
But in the absence of the clock
my heartbeat kept time
and so man galaxies
have black holes at their centers
For six years, you consumed me
but I pursued you because my greatest fear
was freezing in the openness of space
without the warmth of your arms
But before you swallowed me
I turned around
and saw the light at my back
The last time we kissed
I slipped down your throat
to another part of the universe.
I promised myself I would still visit
my old galaxy, but with each unspoken word,
each unsent letter, each unanswered prayer,
that promise breaks a little more.
I feel us drifting further apart
a vast emptiness stretching between us
but getting any closer to you
could mean being crushed
My greatest fear now
is that there is nothing in between

Dixit Writing Challenge Day Four: Dune Haiku

Today’s card has an anchor sitting in a desert. I think of this as the Dune card because… well, I guess because deserts always make me think of Arrakis. Since I’ve been writing a lot about more serious topics, like dealing with anxiety and depression, the idea of writing a piece about Dune appealed to me. Ironically, it was a lot harder to get anything down than it was the last three days. I felt something kind of rhymey coming on, though it didn’t scan properly, and I ended with a couple of images I really liked.

As much as I love doing slam style poetry, I also like working on shorter pieces. It gives me the chance to switch from a more conversational, storytelling style and practice working with more dense imagery. And the last poetry slam I competed in almost ended with me in a haiku death match! So I figured I would keep this one around in case of a similar event in the future:

cinnamon sunlight
sparks off earthworm sailboats and
eyes blue as the sky

Dixit Writing Challenge Day Three: Four Lies

Today’s card is a die with a devil or sorts stretching out of the pips. I tend to think of this as the “Guys and Dolls” card because the the combination of dice and devils reminds me of the song “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.” Anyway, this piece doesn’t directly connect to the card, though you could say I explored some of my own demons with it. It’s a reflection on the religio-political undertones of my relationship with one of my oldest friends, Max.

Four Lies I Told You as a Child
1. The first time I went into your house, my mom had not given me permission. I don’t know when the lie became a truth, but I guess even at age six, I knew it never would it I waited for that to happen the traditional way. Gaining independence would always be a sequence of well placed silences.

2.When you asked me if I was a Christian I told you I had accepted Christ as my savior, and that wasn’t a lie, really. I had. I had followed you to church out of the promise of a father who always listened, but by middle school, I knew that gift would always sit two inches away from my outstretched fingers. I never told you that I spent years begging God to accept me into Heaven over and over because I was never sure he heard me.

3. This is not to say that I think church is a bunch of brainwashing horsedung. Every day, I watched God cradle you in his arms because your faith in Him and yourself and the goodness of the world seemed effortless. You could leap from a cliff knowing God would catch you, but most days, I couldn’t trust a chair to hold me. I learned I would never have the faith to believe in a God enough to see him, but I could never develop a lack-of-faith strong enough to see him nowhere. This is why my atheist friends and I so often argue. I have seen God, just not in myself.

4. When you found out the actor who plays Gandalf was gay, I said nothing. You thought it was gross, and like Peter Pan when he is bit by Captain Hook, you wore a look of first time betrayal. You had learned that ever the sweetest candies have rotten centers. And so had I. I didn’t want you looking at me like that.