Perfection

shopping

When I hold you, you’re so soft I could melt
Into you and fall asleep. I feel safe and secure
When I’m with you. I don’t want to
Be awakened. But time keeps us apart.
Every morning I hate parting from you.
The way you beg me to stay
But I can’t I have to get work done.
Throught the day I try to focus, and keep
My eyes open, but I can’t get you out of my head.
Watching, the clock I jump with glee, when it’s
Time to leave. I return to see you-lovlier than the
last time bidding for my time.
After, dinner and a hot shower I slip into your
Covers. Finally we’re together.
At last my bed and I are united oncemore.

Faith

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Many throw the word faith around without understanding it’s true meaning. Seeing isn’t always believing. That’s easy to say, but hard to execute when you hit rock bottom, and all hope seems lost. Many non-believers and skeptics view faith in a creator for the weak. I’ve learned over the years faith is
a gift that not everyone has or will ever possesses. Being able to push forward in near impossible situations is a blessing. If it were not for my faith in YHWH I wouldn’t be here. Faith in him is what keeps me alive. The reason I breathe. Without my faith, I’m nothing, I have no purpose. Life is just a meaningless chain of events.

The Cab Ride

I wove through the congested streets on the lookout for a new customer, but so far not a prospect in sight. Then I spotted a young woman as thin as the lamp pole she stood beside, gesturing for me.

 The cab slowed to a stop at the curb. She squinted from the glare of the afternoon sun and shoved a gaudy, purse up her arm. The corners of my mouth pulled upward as our eyes met, and I unlocked the door, but her red, lips remained in a tight line. Her head jerked back as if she were looking for someone. She turned back to me, and pulled the door open, and dropped change in my hand. 

“Where to?” I asked

“The airport,” she said softly, as she smoothed the wrinkles out of her black skirt.

“How are you today Miss?” I asked. Her mouth didn’t move as her gaze stayed fixed ahead. I looked away from the reticent woman with the realization that there would be the sole sound of the radio blaring for the rest of the ride. She sniffed, which took me by surprise. “What’s wrong?” I glanced back at her.

“You wouldn’t care.” She shook her head with tears brimming in her honey colored eyes. Although, I wasn’t one to pry, the fact that I had gotten her to talk intrigued me. 

“Lay it on me,” I said, glancing back at her as she twiddled her thumbs.

“That’s what they all say” She laughed, although the timbre of her raspy voice oozed sarcasm.

“Well, I’m not the rest,” I chuckled. 

“Ah, fine.” She chewed on her bottom lip before her mouth parted. “I was supposed to deliver a package, but bailed at the last minute.”

“A package?” My brow rose.

“Six pounds of cocaine,” she said so casually, as if it were no different than a package of textbooks.

“Cocaine?” 

“Yeah,” she sighed, pushing her elbow against the window. In that moment I realized I had picked up a drug dealer on the run and just the thought had my stomach aching. What if one of her criminal friends caught me driving her around, and she had the drugs on her,

“You can have your money back. I’m not getting involved.” I said as my foot eased onto the break at the stop light.

“Please don’t do this to me,” she pleaded.

“Give me one good reason why I should get involved.”

“I’m trying to get out of town and live a clean life.” Her voice cracked.

“Oh, don’t cry.” I said. But her whimper resurrected memories of how I had failed my own daughter, when she tried to escape her abusive boyfriend that murdered her because I was too late getting to her.

“Fine” I sighed. 

“Thank you.” She perked up as I continued to drive. 

“So how long have you been a drug dealer?” I asked.

“Since I was fifteen,” she said.

“And how old are you now?”

“Twenty”

“Well, I hope today you can leave that life behind.”

“Me too,” she muttered. 

“Say what made you decide to deal drugs?”

“I needed to feed my son.”

“Where is he?”

“With my mother in Boston.”  The airport was coming into view, when I noticed a state trooper driving behind me. My pulse lurched as I tapped the break hoping he wouldn’t stop me for going five miles over the speed limit. 

I looked back at the woman. Her face was a blank slate again as she twisted her matted hair around her finger. When I glanced at the rearview mirror, I noticed the officer signaled to pull over. With a gulp, I stopped on the shoulder of the road just a block from the airport and rolled down the window. 

“Maybe you should tell him about your situation and he can help,” I whispered to her. She shook her head against it and I sighed at her unwillingness to get help. 

The officer hobbled around to the side of the cab and leaned into the window.

“Good afternoon folks,” he said. The edges of his dark hair were graying and his breath wreaked off black coffee. 

“Good afternoon” I said. She didn’t utter a sound instead she looked down at her dirty, sneakers.

“You know that you’re driving with your fuel door open,” he snickered.

“Oh, I am?” I laughed as beads of sweat trickled down my neck. The car felt as if it the temperature rose with each second the officer stared at me with his piercing green eyes, despite it being mild outside. 

“I must have forgotten when I pumped gas this morning.”  I said, remembering how I had been in a rush. The officer’s smile faded and his eyes moved from me to the woman in the back. Her eyes remained fixed on the window, ignoring him. 

“It happens to the best of us.” He laughed breaking the silence.

“Thank you for pointing it out,” I said.

“No problem,” he said then started to walk back to his car. I got out and closed the fuel door and waved at him.

“Nice day to you,” he said.

“Same to you, sir,” I hollered back as I got in and drove away.

“Why didn’t you want to get help?” I asked her.

“The less I talk the safer I am,” she said. Her words tightened the knot straining my stomach. 

Three minutes later I swung into the parking lot of the airport.

“We made it.” I smiled at her.

“Thanks.” Her mouth curved into a grin for the first time. 

“You’re welcome, and good luck…?” I paused as I realized I didn’t know her name. 

“Angel” she said, closing the door behind her. I watched her plod away, and I wondered what would become of her. Just as my hand reached for the gear shift, the screech of tires caused my eyes to tear upwards. 

A car with tinted windows was right beside her. She didn’t seem to notice as she meandered along with headphones in her ears. The windows of the car rolled down, revealing a group of masked men with guns drawn. A cry rose in my throat as the sound of gun shots led to her collapse. 

The car sped away, and hot tears filled my eyes as I rushed out of the cab and took her limp body into my arms. There was no response as she bled out. My head dropped as I muttered.

“You were almost free.”

Purple Blood

Frigid air whipped Cara’s skin as she flew backwards out of the glass, hexagonal window. A cluster of black, plastic bags broke her two story fall. She propped herself up, noticing a stream of purple blood oozing from her torn, faded jeans that wreaked of formaldehyde like the pile of body bags she laid on.  Her grey eyes shifted to the yellow sky. The sky’s hue signaled a coming storm. 

Ignoring the sharp sting in her right leg from being struck by an electric whip, she gazed off into the distance. The thick grey smoke from the pockets of labor camps seeded along on the hill curled into the autumn, night air. Such a sight reminded her she was on the wrong side of Chicago.   

 Cara motioned to stand but froze at the sight of the scaly red wings of the horned, serpentine guard woman. The same woman who had sent her flying out the window as she had attempted to scale the back of a warehouse. She laid down again, so that when the guard’s three orange eyes landed on her, she blended in with the corpses. A broad grin spread across the guard’s pointy face. 

“The trash has been disposed of,” the guard muttered to herself. When she could no longer see the guard’s large shadow, Cara sat up, glanced to make sure she was alone then climbed down the dumpster truck. She limped into the empty, street. A puddle of orange, water caused her to freeze. 

A young human woman with long, violet hair, and pale, deep set grey eyes stared back at her. She tore her eyes away from the façade sick of living a lie. Her focus shifted to the wooden lamp poles. Atop each pole were the stone heads of rebels from the last revolt. One of the heads was her father’s. His face was stuck in a terrified scream as Astor the leader of the reptilian army beheaded him.

 Her eyes twitched as her vision blurred from the silver tears forming in her eyes, but she swallowed them not allowing herself to cry. The laughter of a pink alligator couple walking their dog, alerted her, so she staggered into a dark alleyway, and leaned against a wall to gather strength. 

A warm, hand enclosed around her shoulder. Cara spun around so fast her wavy, hair blinded her.

“Shh,” a male voice whispered.

“Get your hands off me!” she said, pushing the figure away. 

“Cara, I want to help.” The low tone of the voice, and the scent of amber indicated it was her best friend Zane. They grew up together working in the labor camp, and bonded after being orphaned after the last revolt. 

She pushed the strands of hair out of her ovular face to see his spiky, blue hair displaced by the wind, and dark, brown eyes staring back at her. 

“Zane?” she said with a shiver. 

“We need to get out of here before the camp notices we’re gone.” he said, tearing the cuff of his black, leather jacket and wrapping it around her injured leg to stop the bleeding. 

“Thanks,” she said.

His square face pulled into a smile. “What are you doing out here anyways?” 

“They captured Mark after he left, so I went searching for him.”

“Alone?”

“What am I supposed to do? Continue to slave, pretending to be something I’m not, while the reptilians live decadent lives, and my brother gets eaten!” she said, shaking her fists.

“I know you want your brother back, but you could have wound up dead going in there,” he said. Cara rolled her eyes at Zane, while she loved him he hadn’t inherited the courage of his father who fought alongside her father in the last revolt.

“He’s all I have left.” 

“You should care as one of the last of your kind.”

“The same goes for you,” she said crossing her arms.

“I’m here because I saw you had left the camp, and I don’t want to lose you Cara,” he said. 

“You don’t have to worry about me, I’ll be fine.” She kept her gaze focused on the iridescent, glass buildings across the street. The lime green light from the moon reflected on the face of them. 

“Cara please, listen.”

“I’m sorry Zane, but I’d rather die trying to find Mark then live another day in fear of them.”

“If you fight, I’ll fight with you,” he said. She looked back up at him as silver tears gathered in his eyes.

The roar of motorcycles hovering through the air, casting pale, blue blight on the streets below caused both Cara and Zane to rush deeper into the alleyway.

A light landed on a human woman across the street as she crouched behind the same dumpster Cara had crawled out of. The motorcycles landed beside the dumpster, and the woman quivered as two muscled lizards with black spikes running down their broad backs pushed the dumpster aside, and ceased her by the wrists.

She pounded the street with her fist, busting her knuckles open. Purple blood spilled onto the pavement.

Cara gasped at the sight,”

“She’s one of us, we have to help her,” Cara said. Zane shook his head against it. 

“My, My Astor is going to love to know we found another one those bastards,” the officer said bringing down a whip on the woman’s back. She howled in pain.

Cara covered her ears. The crack and sizzle of the whip upon the woman’s back laced with her cry brought her back to the night of her father’s execution.

A few reptilian pedestrians including the alligator couple stopped to watch, pointing and snickering at the woman. The guards continued to whip her in the street, her back splitting into pieces of raw flesh until she stopped moving.

“Any takers?” The officer offered the reptilian bystanders. One of the reptilian men shook his head.

“No, that’s way past its prime to eat,” he laughed. The street erupted with laughter. Then officer, scooped up the body like a sack of potatoes, and threw it into the dumpster.

Once, the street had cleared out Zane motioned for Cara to follow him. 

They sprinted across the street, and crept around the brick warehouse.  To their surprise, the back door was ajar. 

When Cara peeked in her pulse drummed faster at the sight of the giant, blue crocodile dangling a man by the collar of his shirt like a slab of meat in front of an iron table of reptiles. She recognized the crocodile as Astor-her father’s killer. 

“Tear him in half!” The winged guard woman pounded the table. The black mold covering the concrete walls mixed with the scent of the man’s fear created a pungent odor that hurt Cara’s stomach.

“Please Master, I won’t try to run away again, the man pleaded. Cara recognized the man from her camp, he was one of the few red blooded humans who knew about her and Zane’s true identity. Her mouth started to open, but Zane covered it, shaking his head against it. Anger filled her how Zane could just stand by and watch such evil happen.

Astor tore the man’s body in half. His red blood sprayed the walls and reptiles’ faces. The reptiles licked the sticky contents from the corners of their mouths before snatching away chunks of his flesh, and sucking the meat off of his bones. 

As the reptiles were distracted, Zane slipped through the door. When Cara squeezed through, it squeaked as she knocked against it from her injured leg almost giving out. All four reptiles in the dining room, heads turned.

“I see Moe failed to do her job,” Astor’s long grey tongue flickered at the guard woman. Moe’s orange pupils constricted at the sight of Cara, and she shook her head, trembling.

“Boss, she went flying out a window and blended in with the carcasses in the dumpster,” Moe said.

“You should have checked again!” Astor slapped Moe in the face and her head collided with the table top and she grunted. The other reptiles slunk away from Astor as his orange eyes burned with anger.

“Where’s my brother?” Cara shouted.

“You want to see him, sweetheart? Millard why don’t you give the poor girl what she wants.” Astor laughed. Zane’s eyes narrowed at him.

A corpulent, yellow lizard hauled out a lanky man in chains with gashes all over his bare torso. A white bag covered the man’s head. He squirmed as he whipped him causing him to move forward. 

Astor withdrew the bag from the man’s shaved head, and his yellow eyes widened at Cara.

“Mark!” Cara shouted, but Zane held her back.

“You shouldn’t have come for me,” he cried. Before she could respond to her brother, Astor handed Millard an axe.

“Millard, why don’t you finish him off this animal, and the rest of them so there won’t be another insurrection.” Astor commanded.

“My pleasure,” Millard said.

“No!’ Cara cried as the blade rose to her brother’s neck. A rush of blood shot to her head, and a current of energy burst through her veins filling her with strength.

She pounced onto Millard’s back. He collapsed to his knees with a thud and the axe slid across the floor. Zane sprung forward to retrieve the axe. 

Cara squeezed Millard’s neck, gritting her teeth. Millard clawed at her hands, tearing into her skin. The scent of Millard’s weakened state fueled her, and she applied more pressure. His body stiffened, and her hands and clothes were covered in both blue, and purple blood.

Her brother dragged himself towards the door, struggling from the weight of the chains upon his back, but Moe stepped on him and he yelped in pain. Zane spun around with the axe and stabbed the grey lizard man in the tongue as it forked it at him. The small fragment of his mangled tongue drew back into his mouth as he garbled on a river of blue blood. He stumbled backwards, and Zane struck him with the axe again, this time deep into the lizard’s stomach. The lizard stumbled backwards roaring. Zane kicked the lizard in his face, and he dropped dead on the floor. 

Cara removed her sticky hands from Millard’s cold neck. She spun around just as Moe swung the electric whip at her head. Cara ducked, and the whip grazed the tip of her hairline. As Moe was distracted, Mark found the strength to turn over beneath her weight and pull her down. Moe fell to the ground, and Cara tore forward, grabbing the whip, and brought it down on her. Moe screamed as it fried her wings. Cara raised the whip again as Moe quivered, like Millard the aroma of her fear was so intoxicating that she could taste it, but Zane caught her hand.

“Cara, that’s enough, we don’t want to be like them,” he said.

“I’m afraid we already are,” she said, dropping the whip beside Moe as the last ounce of blue blood leaked from her tattered wings. Cara turned to check on Mark as he moaned in pain.

“Mark, are you okay?” she asked, taking his hand. He nodded with his bruised eyes half open. 

“We did it Cara,” he whispered.

“Did what?” 

“Continued what father started,” he smiled. Cara stared at him confused. Zane joined her to crouch beside him. She turned to see Astor slipping away.

Astor staggered out of the warehouse abandoning his fellow reptiles. As he pushed open the door a mob of humans with torches, and pitchforks surged towards him. 

From outside, she could hear Astor squealing as the humans dismembered him. She closed her eyes as a slight grin crept onto her face, but when Zane glanced at her it faded. They helped carry Mark out. 

When they stepped outside, cheers from a crowd of red blooded humans greeted them. The surrounding buildings were consumed by white flames, as the crowd paraded not only Astor’s body parts, but other reptilians.  

“The revolution has begun,” one man shouted from within the crowd. Zane glanced at Cara, and while his hands shook and eyes displayed fear, she gazed at the lamp pole with her father’s head on it. Rather than seeing a man who died in vain, she now saw a man who shared the same battle cry that rose from the pit of her stomach. 

It was only the beginning. There was still the rest of Chicago to retake, and beyond.

Pushing On


Electricity pulses through my veins

Like fire and ice leaving a sharp pain

My vision blurs with each darting light

Although I’m going blind I haven’t lost sight

Pushing on despite my bruised ribs and feet

Still standing for what I believe in not taking a seat

Even as my hair, nails, and enamel  thin 

I’ll remain steadfast singing a hymn

Ignoring the crippling fear and insecurity

That oppresses me testing my sanity

Haven’t slept well in days with this insomnia 

And extreme nausea

I’ll lift my voice to the sky

With a shout-my battle cry

Although I may be fatigued 

I’ll obtain the freedom I seek

Restless

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Squinting between the sun and horizon, a tumble weed scurries past my blistered feet. My throat aches from dehydration as I swallow the salty taste of the blood from my busted lip. Ever since I stepped foot in this godforsaken, wasteland, I’ve lost track of the days, alone so long that my tears have dried against my blackened skin. It’s a miracle I haven’t gone blind from wandering through the midday sun like a car with a broken GPS, past the dunes of sand and sparse wild flowers that give color to the homogenous setting. Although most of my hope is all but gone, there’s still a part of me that believes there’s an oasis ahead. Perhaps, my days as a restless nomad are almost over, and I’ll find a place to rest. A place I can call home.