The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)

The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)

~ Adelia Hoff

 

I mean this:

When you see me again, it will be in the desert through the low-res camera of a errant traveler, hunched over the remains of an unidentifiable piece of roadkill, looking like a ghost. I will be tranquilized by a Park Ranger who mistakes me for a too-brave cougar and when they check my dental records they will find a dead man’s.

 

__

You were like something out of a fever dream-

An angel in sapphire and silver

That night, as you walked towards me, arm outstretched

I remember wanting nothing more

Then to let you utterly consume my immortal soul

 

__

Life-drunk on a siren’s song,

Scrabbling at sun-baked soil

The sky is falling and the numbers, six-seven-eight meters, count up to go down.

Distortion of mirage and heat of sun bring revelation of acceptance, promise of knowledge,

Look around.

What would you save?

What could you save?

 

__

Some nights I cannot sleep.

One time I heard a screaming outside. It could have been a coyote.

Every so often I remember the parable of the scorpion and the frog, and I wonder: am I the scorpion? I am not naturally high strung, but I am self serving and strong willed. Do I hurt people with that I cannot control? Do I really care if I do?

The coyote, if it was that, yelled twice during the night.

There is a gentleness that seizes you at dawn. The uncanny can be a comfort, strange as it may sound. That which has not been explained yet could be anything.

Does the coyote care who it hurts?

Was it ever really a coyote, or just a phantom of the self?

Do I really care?

 

 

__

The elk bellows,

“Oh king, oh captain, oh lover of mine, where are you?”

The forest whispers back,

“They are not here. Search as you will, but only echoes will come to you.”

 

__

The Reflection

 

I found you pale and afraid –

selenic and blind.

Should I have left you there?

I cannot say.

I am a selfish creature.

Then again,

so were you.

 

__

Sometimes it feels like driving for too long and listing to the same song on repeat for hours and when you finally get out you have to remind yourself how to be a human again

And sometimes it feels like getting pulled under by a wave with the immediate reconciliation that if you must go at least your body will be claimed by the ocean and that’s okay because you didn’t really care for the thing anyways

And sometimes it’s on the precipice of desert rain when you smell dust and creosote and the animals are quiet because the water here is no lifegiver

And sometimes it’s mania and the realization that there is no higher power or meaning and that means nothing can stop you from becoming something cosmic and holy and irreverently profane and powerful but you can’t bring yourself to carve away the undue flesh binding you to this condemnation

But most of the time it is simply the knowledge that something isn’t right and no one else can tell but you can and it could and would drive you mad if you payed it any more heed but that’s okay because you’ve gotten used to ignoring things and are pretty good at it at this point

So the numbness continues and the panic continues and you scream let me out let me out please please please I don’t belong here I’m not meant for this I can’t go on like this anymore but you have to keep going because the rest of the world won’t stop just because it’s too much and you can’t handle it

And maybe just maybe it’s not you that’s the problem

Personhood isn’t for everyone

 

__

I do not love you.

Yes, I care-

But love?

 

Never.

 

I adore the kitten, with its triangle tail and toddling steps.

I admire the wind, strong and unyielding.

I devote myself to knowledge, the true currency of power.

 

But I do not love.

 

 

__

This world is cruel

and unforgiving

to all soft things

So is it really so surprising

that being good

and gentle

and kind

Is inevitable replaced with jagged edges

(protect me, the thing inside cries)

(please, please don’t let me get hurt again)

(i might just break this time)

 

__

[you’re floating somewhere below the suface of the ocean. there’s nothing around you in any direction, and you’re not entirely sure how you got here.]

[you’re out camping in the mountains. night is coming. it’s probably the most content you’ve been in a while.]

[there’s a low fog over the city as you look off a tenth story balcony. you can feel a storm brewing in the distance, but for now you can’t tear away from the feeling of being above it all.]

[you’ve been traveling for days now. whose turn was it to drive? haven’t you seen this road before?]

[there’s whispering in your head. rationally, this should be a cause for alarm. you’ve come to the realization that you’d only be alarmed if it stopped.]

 

darkness outside

About the Author:

Adelia Hoff is a student studying the freshly dead. When asked about her personal life her only comment was, “I’m just visiting,” whatever that means.

 

From Juliette:

Thank you so much Adelia for sharing your words. It is an honor. Truly it is. You know I’m going to be asking for more in the future.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Dark Waters

Dark waters

Behind glass

Dark shapes

Covered in spines

And slime

As cold as death

No pretty tropical pets

Are these creatures

From my nightmares

They tap the glass

Until it breaks

And wakes

Me from my

Cold blooded nightmare.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Chaos and Mistletoe

Marsha stomped the mud off her boots, threw her coat on the couch and stretched out her leathery wings. Fuck winter. Fuck Christmas. Fuck everything jolly and nice. Fuck peace on Earth, and all goodwill to everyone. Fuck Will, whoever the fuck he was.

She brushed back her hair and noticed a snag in her black Cashmere sweater. Damn it all. Her tail whipped around and hit the side of the Parson’s table she’d put in the entryway last week. Damn it. That hurt. Tears welled in her yellow green eyes.

Nobody understood how hard it was sometimes being a Demon. Nobody. Especially this time of year. Even the Vampires and Werewolves were making merry and bright. Damn them.

She poured herself a tall glass of twenty something year old Scotch and plopped down on the couch in front of the TV. She clicked through the channels. Three hundred Christmas movies showed up. How many fucking Christmas brides can there be? For Hell’s sake. She could watch one of the five thousand British murder mysteries on Netflix but they ALWAYS found the killer. What fun was THAT?

Looking out the window at the tiny yellow and brown song birds Marsha felt a little twinge of envy. You can spread your wings whenever you want. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees you. You don’t have to hide your tails. Then she wondered what they tasted like.

She guessed she could have gone out again and stirred up more trouble, and made people more miserable but she didn’t feel like working. It had been ages since she’d had a few days off. Everyone else was taking time off so why not her.

There was a knock on her door. Marsha was sure the doorbell worked. Why wouldn’t people ever use doorbells? Putting down her glass she answered the door.

“Hey baby,” said a voice as smooth as silk and the best chocolate ever made.

Marsha’s bad mood left her. Oh it was a rare event when she wasn’t feeling like she wanted to kill something.

“Ace,” she whispered his name and pulled him inside. Everyone called him Ace but his real name was Azazel, the fallen angel. Marsha didn’t care if he was one of them. She was alone and off the clock.

Ace stretched out his slate gray feathered wings. Damn, it took up almost the entire entry way. He was so hot.

Later that night she lay entwined in her lover’s arms. She almost felt happy and content. She almost wanted to wear a sundress and go to the beach. She almost felt like she was in love.

“What are you thinking?” Ace asked as he stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.

“I don’t know. I was thinking what it would be like to be a Christmas bride.”

“Well, you’ll never know now will you,” said Ace.

“You’re such a dick,” said Marsha.

“Merry Christmas baby,” said Ace with a long hollow laugh.

Marsha closed her eyes tight then opened them wide. “And a nasty New Year.”

And they fell asleep as a carpet of black mold grew over their dark souls, and they dreamed of chaos and mistletoe.

~ end


Call and Response

At 4:00 a.m. in the pre-dawn morning

the owls sing their songs

like a call and response in their oak forest cathedral.

A tiny bat speeds across the sky in front of

my bedroom window.

The cat sits on the window sill

watching beside me.

In a few hours

I’ll be at the museum,

sort of my own cathedral.

Yet, the woods are also mine.

A place of others.

The creatures of the night.

Those who do not create beauty,

but are beauty.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

A Walk in the Woods

Lightly we tread in the woods

Along a muddy path

Fog blanketing the lake

I hold my skirt

To keep the hem dry

You take my arm

Your hand is warm.

 

So I pull you close

Whisper some lies in your ear

I see mistletoe

You believe me

And then

I do what all good Vampire girls do

And kiss you

 

Well, with a bite too.

So I’ll be warm

And happy despite the mud

While you

Scream out in the woods

Only to be silenced again

By a final kiss…

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vm night woods blue

 

Note: Short Story Sunday will be posted later today. Have fun.

Comforts of Darkness

Darkness isn’t necessarily evil.

My 18 year old son Garrett has had an increasing sensitivity to light, mainly sunlight. It is expected but it is difficult.

He has a good attitude. I try to explain that it isn’t a medical problem. It is just something one has to adjust to and work around. Vampires are masters at the work around.

College starts at the end of September at a university on the coast. He requested a dorm room that faces either North or West. Randy, Garrett’s best friend will be sharing a room with him. Randy isn’t as light sensitive but he still has to be more cautious than their warm blooded friends.

I’m not worried about either one of the boys academically. They’re smart and engaged.

Their charm and sense of humor will get them through. As Vampires that guarantees they’ll never go hungry. Hey, that is important to a Vampire parent.

I seem to have spent most of my time here on earth with work-arounds. I am generally a rule follower, but rules don’t work for me. It isn’t exactly rules but more than the laws of physics and time don’t seem to apply to me at all. Electrical things don’t work for me. At the same time I can get odd things to work and nobody can figure it out. I can fix a computer or a car or figure out a mathematical equation and never know how I got there. Don’t ask me to duplicate it. Despite all of that I am good at process. Trial and error. It is like a puzzle.

When I look at most things in life as a puzzle it saves all sorts of frustrations and in the end I can usually figure it out. If not, it wasn’t worth figuring.

Relationships, whether academic, professional, or personal don’t fall into that category. When something works in that area it is more of a sort of magic.

How can one explain that old friend you don’t see for 20 years yet, when you meet again it is like yesterday? That doesn’t happen with just everyone.

Garrett and Randy will make those kinds of connections when they go off to school. There will be others of their kind there – other Vampires. They’ll all be from different backgrounds with different points of view. At all hours of the day and night they’ll talk about everything under the moon and stars. They’ll solve the problems of the world. They’ll argue and debate. They’ll laugh until their sides hurt. And there will be times when they lend a shoulder for each other to cry on. Or they’ll just silently listen.

Garrett will bring his guitar. Randy will bring his mandolin, keyboard. They’ll both bring sketchbooks and a few art supplies. Randy’s mom and I found some beautiful heavy goblets for the boys to bring along with some fireless candles. They’re Vampires, so sometimes they need something nicer than mugs and plastic red beer cups for when they splurge on a bottle of blood or don’t feel like going out and getting it direct from the source.

The college they will be attending has one of the larger Vampire populations so they’ll be in good company.

Tonight as my husband I went for a walk down by the lake we talked about being young and starting out. The sense of discovery and adventure is always grand. The first heartbreaks and disappointments sometimes seem overwhelming. Then there is the in between where it is closer to discovery and wonder, but in a calm way that sometimes even makes sense. There is hope for the future and room for dreams. It isn’t always easy, but I encourage parents not to say that too often. Let them try and feel and learn for themselves. It is scary. And I mean scary for parents.

We walked in the dark. We’re always in the dark in a way. It isn’t a bad thing.

The kids came after us, along with the dog. They told tall tales of another school, a rival school, where the big thing was girl fights. We had a full description of the fights complete with epic hair pulling and nail scratches. Then they talked of surfing at night as the cool night air came up from the bluffs off of the lake. The conversation moved to the girl at their school who does body piercings and the teen tattoo artist (who is getting really good or so we were told.) Then 15 year old Clara told Garrett that she was going to miss him when he goes off to college. He said there would be more Vampires there. She said it was going to be fun to visit him. And so it will be, if they both promise to behave – but they will. They always do.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Deep in the woods

Deep in the woods

 

Only 72 days until Halloween!