Six word stories: Letterbox

Unopened letters piled at the door.

Six word stories: Crowds

With others, he stood within himself.

Payday

The day the money
Left us feeling so cold,
Stuck on the sofa,
Everything sold.

Eating the same meal
For days on end;
Hoping that the money
Would return again.

The end of the month
Brings something, like a smile,
And the money drips back
If only for a while.

The week is now dead
And the change is all gone
And the next three weeks
Will feel three years long.

In cycles of poorness,
We lie to ourselves;
Whiskey wet wishing
We were somewhere else.

Wet nights

Breathe to me,
Words of whiskey wetness,
the love you have felt
For the past hour or less.
No lights please,
Just dark presses and scrapes
Until the night leaves us
In unromantic shapes.
Remember me tomorrow,
When you roll back into your mind,
As that which you once loved,
If only for a limited time.

Cold nights

All night we lay –
Broken –
In moments of elbows
And awkward arms
And tucked knees;
“Move over, please.”
Take the covers
And expose me
To a coldness,
Your hunchedness,
You – curled up
Inside yourself –
Tucked up and fucked,
Lying somewhere else.
Show me all your distance:
The inch-long mile
Which separates us
From our next smile.
Hours of ceiling eyes
Whilst my skipping brain
Asks of you, wordlessly,
What of us remains?
The nights are quieter now
And cloaked in touchless darkness.
“And I don’t know how -”
“Sleep, it’s too late for this.”

Interventions

Today I decided to begin writing about the things that have been happening to me and my family. Well, by decided I mean I was guided to make this decision by my clinical psychologist. She thinks it is good if I do the majority of the leg-work to ‘cure’ myself. Empowerment, she says, is the best way of helping me help myself. So, if I’m honest, she does very little. I don’t feel ’empowered’, I don’t feel right. I feel like I’m asking for solutions and being told I already have them. I wouldn’t ask if I already knew the answer. So I’ve stopped asking. Sessions last as long as you might expect it takes for us to get to a point where we have scratched the surface. Then the session ends and I’m told to ‘work on this’. Then I’m given a time to next meet; I always have to reschedule the time as it clashes with school pick up times. I need to pick up my brother; my mother sure as hell won’t. I hate rescheduling these meetings as I often feel that this is a bad thing to do; as if I’m ‘disengaging from a useful service’. 

I am 16 years old and I have a social worker. She is nice, but she took my sister away. And regardless of how nice she is I will always remember that. I want to talk, but her questions are stupid and this makes me feel like she thinks I’m stupid. ‘How are you today?’ I’m great. I have a father who’s in prison and I have been left with a mother who blames me for telling on her husband. Every time she asks a question I feel like she wants to ask a different question. She’s scratching the surface. Just barely.

We are poor. I know this because I live it. We are unfortunate and due to this need help. Decisions had to be made, I guess. Some decisions I liked, some I didn’t. The decisions I didn’t like were the ones that broke us up. The decisions that made the most change. The decisions which destroyed what I thought was ‘normal’. I don’t blame the social worker, she did help and is trying to continue to help. However, I still do not know why Lucy was removed whilst my brother and I were left here to rot. Dad is in prison now, but he was only part of the problem. There was something at the core of our family which led to this mess and removing family members does not resolve it. The social worker has mentioned the phrase ‘permanency planning’ a few times when we have asked if Lucy is coming home, however remains very vague about this. She has never told me straight: ‘Yes, Lucy will definitely be returning home.’

Since the event, mother has changed. She doesn’t talk to me much anymore. In the mornings she’ll pour a cup of tea just for herself. I’ve noticed this and I think my brother has too. The scripts have changed and mother refuses to read from them. We’ve had a number of family group conferences, but all they do is prove to everyone how fucked up my family is. I hate these meetings. My dad’s a perv. My mother’s a coward. My brother’s depressed. My sister’s finding it difficult to settle in with her foster family. I, apparently, express my frustration through ‘transference’. These meetings just shine a light on our darkness. We all know it’s there. We just don’t want to admit it, especially to ourselves. We’ll all be sat staring at each other, thinking about all the things we can’t say, thinking about the things we shouldn’t say and thinking about the things we don’t want to say. Then a man walks in. The man has glasses, a posh sweater vest and a notepad. He is a ‘family therapist’. He will then ask really intrusive questions from behind his notepad and we are expected to provide answers which promote ‘progressive discussion’. Sometimes the questions don’t make any sense, as if they were intended for another family – or every family. The man is vague, like the social worker, and will scribble and scribble on his notepad until I start arguing with my mother again. It’s the only way I can get some words from her. I call her a bitch, she says I am a horrible child, my brother cries a little, my social worker tries to intervene, the man nods his head and says ‘uh-huh, yes, interesting’, the door slams and then I’m out of there kicking chairs in the corridors.

All I know now is that I want Lucy back. I want my mother back. I want my dad to have not done those things. I want my life to have some sense of groundedness. Although, I don’t make it easy for my social worker, I know that our family needs her. Someone needs to help us restore some sanity to all of this. Speak about everything that is not being said and causing us all so much pain. I just hope that she can do it whilst we remain fixable. Whilst we still hold on to the idea that we want to all still be together.

Christ, I’ve rambled too much. I suppose that writing all this down has helped a little. I won’t tell my psychologist that though. I can’t stand the thought of her thinking that she has figured me out. I will, however, continue this diary. If I keep exploring myself, I never know what I might find – perhaps a decent human being.

Until next time,

James

The boy with wheels

The green grass was pressed

into two wandering routes

as the little boy rolled away

toward the trees and their roots.

A voice without words

inside a rigid little frame;

“that boy, he has wheels, mummy”,

diagnosis: his own name.

Caring hands push him onward

to live as much as any other;

a boy who loves what boys love;

a son, a nephew, a brother.

Difference stands between us,

and the child is left unseen;

It defines him and reminds him

of the boy he could have been.

Parallel, he lives

against what he wants to be;

yet he smiles, nonetheless,

the little boy by the tree.

Sober thoughts

Wine box memories

and a blush of cheeks

are what wash the mind

in these recent weeks.

Find a dark place

and you’ll create;

Find a light place

and you’ll contemplate

and rework words in a context

of outside noises

and assumed ideas

and guided choices.

We delude ourselves,

ignoring that which we see

through through a lens

of bias and history.

We are drunk and mad

on what feeds into us;

Sharp and narrow

with a crimson blush.

Decorations

We were young,

much too young,

to see the man

swing in the sun.

A hissing wind

pushed past the leaves,

a rope pulled tight and

moved with the breeze.

Paleness and redness

and a stretch of limbs;

there was a note of sorry’s

and a list full of sins.

Speechless, we ran,

no space to breathe,

from the haunting shape

hanging from the tree.

The empty home

“I don’t know,” she looks away, “home isn’t where it used to be.” My fingertips move to her arm. She shrugs me off. Again. And, in a moment, I become a spectator in my own life. I see her and I see me. We are characters on an invisible screen. We are paused, playing statues. The space between us is more evident than ever. Say something, I plead to myself.

“Please, you need to stay.” My hands interlock behind my head and elbows make sharp shapes. She used to move with my words, but now the air remains still. Vacant. Then she turns to face me. A half smile which fades as soon as it arrives. No words leave her mouth. She says nothing and everything.

Moments like this define love. If two people love eachother and are meant to be together one of them will fight. In this moment, one of them will say something. Anything.

Years passed as we stared at eachother, but neither of us had enough of anything left in our hearts to break up this break up.

She was gone and then she left. All that remained was a shape of a man I used to know, casting shadows against the walls of a small empty room.

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