Take A Pike

In the early 2000’s a yellow-paged book came into my possession. “The Last Vampire” by Christopher Pike slipped itself over the backseat of a traveling bus. I retrieved the soft cover novel and started reading about a five-thousand year old vampire, called Sita. In a matter of days the story came to an end. I passed the book back over the seat and waited for the next one to come through. 51WS2P2XR2L

Jackie, my dealer, supplied the novels to several people in class. A small group that used the books as inspiration for their own novels. We traded composition books full of vampires that lived in Egypt during a time before pharaohs, similar to Sita’s background. She lived in India where an evil spirit inhabited her dead friend and started the vampire lineage.

My version mirrored this heritage as the protagonist summons a spirit to revive her dead friend. This started the lineage of vampires to encroach the human world but without the promise of eternal life. A vampire would live the expected lifespan of a human but with superhuman powers, like telekinesis. I gave these stories to friends that gave them back with confused looks.

“If they don’t live forever then how are they still alive?” they asked, flipping to the front page of  my story. I saw that it began in modern day times with the same character that lived a thousand years ago. Somehow this plot-hole never occurred to me. I needed to revise the story.

I changed my vampires to infinite creatures of the night in exchange for their telekinesis. This allowed my protagonist to flourish with also a goal in mind. She needed to keep her life eternal while recovering her superpowers. I found something new and interesting about the story that kept me writing and reading stories.

Christopher Pike continued to inspire me as his characters often dealt with deadly matters. In the “Chain Letter” series, a group of friends submitted themselves to a mysterious contract that forced them to commit embarrassing acts in exchange for the send’s silence. This deal stretched over the length of three novels. I finished the last one in my dad’s car while on the way to high school.51YXS2N1PSL

At this point all my friends found different clicks of people to engage with. I ventured into the art department where I found the terror of commitment. Turning in a disfigured still-life embarrassed me more than an incomplete one. I turned in sketches of men with only half a face or two-legged elephants. Although earning a passing-grade they left me feeling ashamed of my inability to complete things, similar to Pike’s characters.

The unknown meant the unwillingness to find out the mysteries ahead. I needed to charge ahead through the gray between contoured lines and blank paper. I needed to stop fear with perseverance. This allotted my imagination to find a balance between the real and the unreal as projects completed themselves. Because the thing about art is that it only exists as it is made.

I still struggle with the ability to sometimes follow a professor’s instructions to finish a story. Sometimes my projects amount to nothing except fine detail and little character growth. These things matter little and a lot. Art needs time to grow , and I’m willing to make more deals with myself and others, in order to see that happen. After all, writers need readers as much as I want the next vampire installment from Christopher Pike.

 

The Aftertaste of a Dream

 

Four years ago I got rejected from art school in New York City. The experience left me stranded in the middle of Florida with two best friends. We gathered our strength together in order to help one another. A flock of hands lifted one us out of a broken heart and into the art studio, where they learned to give into their emotions with by studying them. A flock of hands pulled one of us away from a small town, where everyone believed that a medical degree led to happiness, and into the vibrant city of Orlando. Each of them found a way to believe in themselves again while I wondered where to start.img-thing.jpeg

I switched majors, from art to writing, but still felt aimless. New York City no longer appealed to me since Orlando became my home. Its craft coffee shops, literary clubs, and hipster bars resonated with my need for culture. I no longer felt the craving to taste other cities, but I still craved a dream.

One of my friends went on to graduate and moved to a different state. The other one got married and continues to study art at the same university that I attend. We still help one another get through the hard times. Although, not all hard times call for the attendance of friends. For example, I felt the bitter taste of rejection the other night and thought of New York City. After several seconds it dissolved into something sweet. My teeth grinded against one another in anticipation for the next sample of rejection. I needed to taste something like it again. Maybe I’ll go to grad school. Maybe I’ll intern at a radio station. Either way I need a dream again.

Grapefruits 

 

The boy that sits in the back of the class never says anything. I note his attendance by the flexing arms muscles. He came but never left the space within my head. I think about him sixteen hours later when I’m feeling lonely.

Would he climb into bed with me? No, probably not. Not even if he was single. His body and mine might inhabit the same room but not the same bed. Play dough can mold itself into a rock but it can never become an actual rock.3008888f770977e9ba0efe4bd7a4d634.jpg

I try to tell myself that this thought is unfair to my self-esteem. But the feeling of insecurity guides me to the bathroom mirror. I look in it and notice all the lumpy shadows. They gather beneath my chest and around my belly like an impenetrable ozone layer.

I sigh. They’ll never go away. Three months ago I began a new workout plan. Six days a week I’d push and pull weights in hope of transforming my body. The boulder-thick men at gay clubs garnered all the attention, and for once maybe that could be me.

Small grapefruits rolled down my arms whenever they bent down to pick up a pencil. I began to see changes but my dating life stayed the same. No one seemed to notice the grapefruit man.

This leads me to believe that no one cares about body image. The couple next door seems happy with one another. They hold hands despite his pregnant belly and her bloated hips. Love exists between humans and not within words.

I get up to look in the mirror. A different kind of man looks back. His gray skin glows beneath the bright lights. He wraps himself in a half-hearted smile. Tonight will be the best night ever.

I take myself out dancing. Twinkling lights spin around me like fairy dust. Hands pump up and down. A guy named Carlos dances two feet away. We close in the gap and feel happy.

Crossing Paths

I saw Phillip walking towards me from across the courtyard. He wore a grey shirt with matching slacks that made me envious. The clean-cut style never suited my scrappy nature. Frayed jean shorts and midriff shirts mesh well with the hipster places I like to visit off campus.

“I like your outfit,” I said to him. He thanked me before inquiring about my day. I told him about the hours spent prepping for a presentation. He told me about a job interview that would take place the following day. We continued this banter until the subject of love popped up.

“I met someone,” He said. cc9e8c9cc85ef28eb6d06bd717a43e2as

“On Grindr,” I said and nodded.

“No, in real life. Not everyone meets on Grindr,” He said and laughed. I felt a hard lump in my throat. Of course people met in real life because only shut-ins, like myself, rely on technology for romance. This might sound sarcastic but I assure you that my love life depended on both OkCupid and Grindr in the past.

In fact, my first boyfriend and I met in a chatroom. We exchanged flirty texts before exchanging emails. The fifty-miles between us seemed the length of a shoelace with modern technology. I spoke to him every day until the breakup happened. Then I switched to Facebook and found someone new to write to.

Fast forward to present day and I still rely on text-message-introductions with men. Meanwhile, Phillip told me about meeting this guy in a club via eye contact. The idea of two people meeting because of an energy exchange confused me.

“He saw me and we started talking,” Phillip said. The simplicity of this sentence made me feel envious. I swallowed the lump and curled my fists. We soon parted but I carried the feeling with me to work later that same day.

I served couples their food with a firm hand. Glass plates clacked against the tape tops. Silverware pelted against the wall above the dishwasher. The shift ended with me slamming chairs on top of one another outside the restaurant.

“Excuse me, is this place any good?” a square faced man said to me. He stood a foot away with another man behind him. I nodded and continued stacking.

“Do you think my friend’s cute?” He said. The other man laughed and walked closer. His bubble butt and thick arms interested me.

“Come on, he’s not gay.” the friend said. I rolled my eyes. This comment might flatter some macho-homosexuals but I’m fully aware of my flamboyancy. My graceful walk and soft voice come at the expense of being “outed” everywhere I go.

“Yes, I’m gay.” I said and stacked another chair on top. flirting.jpg

“Would you go on a date with my friend? He’s a great guy but he always goes out with assholes.” the square faced man said. I smiled and told them to come back next week.

“Is something wrong?” the friend said. I wanted to tell them that they both seemed drunk.  They kept touching my face and elbow. Only drunk or insecure men think I’m incredibly sexy. Of the which I prefer the insecure because then at least they’re being sincere.

“Oh my BMW just pulled up,” the square faced man said and climbed inside with his friend. They rolled down the window and asked me my name. I told them. They told me theirs.

The night ended like any other with me coming home alone. I logged onto Grindr looking for a conversation. Profile picture after profile picture zoomed by. No one said hello. If maybe I could learn how to play the game outside of this app then I would find someone. Someone a little drunk. Someone a little too touchy. Someone a little bit more than no one.

My Voice

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Essay and Photo by BoyKitsch

I’m trying to find my voice in the bright green trees of Florida. It loves to swing off  one branch and onto another during the day. The woods sigh with delight because no one ever pays attention to them. At least not the neighborhood people.

They sit beside television sets inside of their apartments. I look up into open windows and find blue faces. A cold sensation spirals up my spine. The image reminds me of the curly-haired-boy who once watched Netflix for four hours in my apartment. He felt happy.

A blue light disappears from one of the windows, so I turn back to the trees. My voice rustles the leaves as it climbs higher. The ascension seems easy but that’s because I’m standing outside of the action. I know that when my voice returns it will tell me all about the trouble it got into.

It will tell me about the thug squirrels that hid inside a tree hole. They threatened to kill it if my voice wouldn’t give them a song. My voice shivered beneath sharp claws before  spitting out a rhyme that lifted up greedy paws and escaping to the branches below.

“Sometimes danger happens but that’s how we learn about the world around us,” I will tell it. It’ll stomp and pout around the trees because I never taught my voice patience. When it stops I’ll say, “But most people would rather live through the danger than watch someone else live through it.” It won’t understand and go back into the trees while I listen to the distant laugh of an informercial somewhere above.

 

 

A Completed Story

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I started calling myself a writer this year. It happened after completing a short story. The two paragraphs explained how an alcoholic journalist could reconcile his addiction with art. Instead of drinking to forget about the past he painted it. This led him to a community where people use art to make political statements. In the end, he uses them to become mayor of a small town in Orlando.

This story made me feel good, like it healed a wound or cooled a burn inside. My fingers stopped twitching throughout the day. A story laid behind them now. They could carry on with their daily tasks while I thought up new ideas. A planet called California that harbored an evil stepmother. Mermaids that ate pizza. These things I looked forwards to the same way a runner looks forward to their next marathon. I am a writer.

“Don’t Wanna Fight”

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The band: Alabama Shakes

The song: “Don’t Wanna Fight”

Alabama Shakes is a band that I first listened to back in 2011. I was sitting on the living room floor at a friend’s party when Brittany Howard came on the television set. She sang “Hold On” and I remember feeling grateful. Grateful that somebody was talking about the struggle that comes from holding on to a dream. Today, the band’s lyrics continue to inspire me.

I’m just your local part-time server who is familiar with having a bad day at work. It’s the kind where the restaurant is full and only three servers are working the floor. Every guest wants, of course, their refill of coffee as soon as I am delivering another one’s eggs. I might be a fairy but there isn’t a wand powerful enough to make everyone happy.

“Excuse me, have you been helped yet?” I said to a table of four. They had been sitting in the corner of my eye for the past couple of minutes.

“No,” They said. I smiled and apologized before taking their orders. Even though it wasn’t a table in my section, I understood how it could have been overlooked. Attention is like a Sticky Toy Hand that a server throws in every direction during a Rush. Sometimes it pulls away too quickly because someone is shouting for more free bread.

Back in the kitchen I stood by the computer. On it I saw all the tables that were waiting to be delivered. Four red squares stared into the back of my head. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to deliver them all and hand out checks to the other tables in a timely fashion. My coworkers were just as busy as I was.

“Your food is up,” my coworker said from behind me. I felt my heart speed past the adrenaline rush and straight into panic mode.

“Can you help me, please,” I said. Drops of sweat were trickling down my backside. My coworker agreed while I handed out the last of my checks. As I headed back into the kitchen I remember feeling relief, like it was all going to be okay.

“There should be ten orders there,” I pointed out to my coworker, as soon I was back in the kitchen. They nodded just as another order popped up in the window. I told them to go on ahead while I plated this one. It was for the table of four that I picked up.

I counted, “One. Two. Three…” There were only three orders. I had forgotten to punch in the last one. I felt my arm wrap itself around my waist. My stomach turned like a waffle in its iron. I didn’t know what to do. It would take another five minutes to cook their meal. I checked the time-ticket and saw that it was already twenty-minutes old.

“I’m sorry. That was my fault,” I said to them. “It’ll be right out.”

The boy sighed. “We’ve all been coming here a long time and this is the worst service ever.” The three girls around him waited for me to respond. A cold wind blew through my open lips. I wanted to tell him that I had five other tables and one of them had ten people. I could have easily pointed this out to him except I couldn’t. My job is to serve him his food.

“I’m sorry.” I said again and made my way to the ten top behind us.

“How is everything?”I said. A woman in the corner waved me over.

“There wasn’t any bacon in my wrap,” She said. I apologized before walking to my manager’s office. I explained to them the situations at hand.

“I made her wrap and there was bacon in it.” They said. I rolled my hands into fists. I knew then that it wouldn’t make a difference what I had done. Each table was going to complain about something. Still, I had to deliver their checks with a smile. My manager walked out to check on each person before discounting their meals.

I followed him until suddenly “Don’t Wanna Fight” came on the radio. Brittany Howard’s wheeze perfectly described the frustration I felt. There was no explanation that I could have given to either person, because I wasn’t allowed to speak. I had to lay down my pride along with the check.

That’s exactly what I did, but at least I had Howard’s words in the background.

Noble Phoebe

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Dear Friends,

Today has been a delightful one. I am putting the final touches on my literary paper. It’s about the speaker’s self-discovery in “Theme For English B” by Langston Hughes. I’m having a lot of fun with it. Meanwhile, I’ve finished reading Catcher in the Rye for my pleasure reading list. It’s an insightful novel that most people get to read in High School or Middle School. However, my opportunity never came along due to a constant change in class scheduling.

Here is a favorite quote of mine :

Here’s what he said: ‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.

I love it because of how it compares the novel’s characters to the protagonist. Holden is forever criticizing the “phoniness” of the boys and girls he meets. I say that because they are consistently avoiding their conscious desires with meaningless talk. This to me makes them children, yet ironically Phoebe is the only one Holden prefers talking to. They talk about celebrities (The Lavender Bar), the theater (Sally), or avoid talking altogether (The Wicker Bar). Phoebe, however,  is the only one willing to ask her brother about his life.

I think this makes her a noble character and person. She is a ten-year-old that knows what she wants. She wants to be Benedict Arnold in her school play. That goal might seem simple but it’s honest. Everyone else trades in their desires for attention like Hollywood deals (D.B) and a normal life (Sally). I’m not sure where this puts Holden on my scale but I’m glad to have read this novel.

-BoyKitsch

2015 Bulletin Board

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Friends,

Thank you for coming back.

  • Since that time I’ve completed two college courses and am ready to start blogging again. I stopped writing it because I was concerned about its content. While my stories may have been entertaining they weren’t always truthful. Truthful to me means a direct play-by-play without any opinionated words to describe people. This is impossible for me to do so I must change the content of which I write.
  • Literary Theories, Paintings, Artists, and Music are just a few things that interest me. I love these things because of their impressions on culture. People can carry away many interpretations from just a single art piece. Yet, they aren’t always willing to share that influence with others. I’m one of those people because often times I feel overlooked. I am a seclusive person by nature but when I do speak to friends I don’t think they listen. In effort to overcome that insecurity I write.
  • I write because I want to reach people. I want to hear their opinions because that way mine can keep growing. Conversations, though, can only start after someone breaks the ice. Smash!  Maybe now we can talk about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao or Glee. I know that they both opened up my perspective on music and internalized racism.

-BoyKitsch

Morning Lion

In my bed I once awoke to find a lion sitting at the foot of it. My first instinct wasn’t to scream as perhaps someone, a less imaginative-someone, might have done. It’s golden mane was unlike any one I saw ever in my dreams. I didn’t want it to disappear so I forfeited sleep and comfort. I crawled slowly towards the beast. The bed seemed longer than I remembered it to be. Through tunnels and mountains my body tumbled. Even through an avalanche of pillows did I not take my eyes off the brilliant beast. It’s pearlescent teeth reminded me of a pirate treasure I buried beneath the ocean when still an adolescent. The closer we came together the more familiar our friendship seemed to be. I couldn’t remember the last time we met but that didn’t seem to be important. I knew that approaching it was not against the laws of nature. So I came as close to it as possible but still did not touch it, for there was still the fear of it being an illusion. I could smell oatmeal in it’s mane, the kind my father served me every morning before school. We talked for several minutes about Kindness before it reminded me that no one deserves solitude. I saw it’s paw shiver and that’s when I noticed the sun was beginning to leak through the blinds. I asked it not to go. It promised to come back. I hope so.