Slippery Slope

Not penguins InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

 

Down the slippery slope

Of icy past

And current treachery

They go,

Balancing precariously

On the edge of

What to do

With what they know.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Slope

 

 

Unspoken

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Photo: Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

 

He couldn’t bring himself to tell her.

Instead he left breadcrumbs. Glowing pebbles on a midnight road.

Receipts. ‘Forgotten’ notes. His boots in the garage, muddy though the yard was not.

Liminal clues in hope she ask him where he goes …

Refugees sheltering in the woods.

Perhaps she already knows.

The mud this morning on her shoes.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: Liminal in 57 words

 

 

In Quotes

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Photo: Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

 

“Oh, wow!”

“I know.”

“Did they really decide you were threatening violence against others?”

“Aha.”

“You!??”

Sigh.

“But you weren’t!”

‘I know.”

“And you’re the last person I can think of who’d do anything like that.”

“Thank you. Indeed I wouldn’t. I was speaking out against the threat of violence … and yet …”

“Whoa.”

“Yeah.”

“So now what?”

“I don’t know. As soon as I saw they suspended me, I’ve appealed. I pointed out I was protesting false-choice and threats of violence against the helpless. That I was absolutely not promoting violence. I pointed out that I’d placed any graphic words in quotes exactly because I wanted to make sure it was clear that this was an example of what someone like a Mafioso, in their false-choices, might say. I told them that this was an analogy. That that’s why I put it in quotes. I was certain they’ll reinstate my account. Instead, they wrote back to say that they’d reviewed my appeal and ‘found’ me to have been threatening violence and therefore they won’t restore my account.”

“I can’t believe this is the conclusion they’ve reached!”

“Me neither. It hurts my heart.”

“But you were doing the opposite of threatening people!”

“I know. I abhor violence. Against anyone. By anyone. In fact, this was why I was pointing out the wrong of using violence as a threat.”

“Can’t they see that for themselves? Also, all they need to do is read some of the stuff you write and do and stand for. I mean, this is ludicrous!”

Sigh.

“You of all people …”

Sigh.

“Sheesh! What’s wrong with them?”

“Actually, I’m not angry they wanted to take a look. If anything even appears to be threatening, it should be examined. I’m okay with that. What does upset me is that even after supposedly reviewing this, they say I was threatening violence, when I was absolutely not. I’m dismayed that in spite of me pointing out that this was a quote (and yes, it was in quotes!) of what a mafioso might say to gain compliance, they don’t see this for the analogy it was. I’m upset they don’t believe me I was protesting, via use of the mafia analogy, the untenable situation others are currently facing. I was protesting violence, not promoting it!”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I know.”

“So now what?”

“I’ve re-appealed. I hope they’ll reconsider.”

“Now you wait?”

“I guess so.”

“And in the meanwhile?”

“I write here. I continue speaking against violence and injustice. I continue to trust people will do the right thing. I breathe. I don’t know what more …”

“Can I help?”

“You already are.”

“I am?”

“Yes. It helps that you’re listening. It helps to have you validate that you know I would not threaten to do harm to anyone. It helps that you’re here. It helps that you’re kind. It helps that you’re you.”

“Oh.”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: Oh

 

 

Metastasis

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Photo: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

 

It lingered, hidden.

It’s potential ever present

Yet hoped

To in deep sleep

Remain.

Till it found purchase

Someplace where the

Balance

Could not be

Maintained.

 

“It’s metastatic now,”

They said

And shook their head

And watched her deep breath

Rise

Along with the determination

From last time,

Returned.

 

It will be

What it will,

But even if equilibrium

Was difficult to

Attain,

She was going to meet

Life

Head on

Again.

 

 

 

Dedicated to those who are facing this challenge now: You got this. We got you.

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: “-tast”

 

 

Hold My Spot

Photo prompt: Na’ama Yehuda

 

The rain swelled and lessened, as did the line of people, standing dutifully in the raw, spitting day.

“How long?” A woman asked, leaning heavily on her cane.

“They’ll let you in,” I said, pointing. “You don’t need to stand in the long line.”

“What if they won’t? I don’t want to lose my place,” she fretted.

“Don’t worry,” a young hooded man motioned in direction of the building. “I’ll hold your spot.”

I smiled at him.

“Come,” I linked my arm in hers, round sticker prominent on my jacket “I’ll show you. I’m so happy you’re here to vote!”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s FridayFictioneers

Note: Thank you Rochelle for using my photo! 🙂 Yay hurray! (It was, indeed, taken during an election day, where people stood in the pouring rain for over an hour, as the line stretched along sidewalks and around the corner in my neighborhood. The above is a depiction of real events). If you are in the US and aren’t registered to vote yet, please do! And, when elections come – any election – Vote! Your voice matters. Don’t let anyone convince you it does not.

After-Party

Prompt photo: Pixabay

 

They were going to put them there to remember, they said. To frame the recollections of the community, so none of what had happened be forgotten. That’s what they said.

It was meant as a memorial of sort, they said. A referendum of the eye. Intended to draw the faces upwards and lend a sense of a somber chaos, carefully controlled.

Perhaps it was all that. Yet it was so much more.

For the installation was also meant to keep the chairs out of reach. To take away the possibility of seating. To have people stand and look and move on, rather than linger or make themselves oh-too-comfortable. Again.

Because it was the idleness – those in power believed but did not say – that had led to the gatherings and speeches and protests and that weekend party-turned-riot. People got too comfortable in using public spaces as if those were a right rather than a privilege. They sat. They lingered. They huddled together and began to think they should have the power to decide how they passed their spare time, where and who with they sat. Mutiny, it was.

The police were sent to squash it.

And put all the chairs up.

 

 

For Donna’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt

Read To Remember

Photo prompt © CEAyr

 

“I read to remember,” she said, her voice steel and quiver. “I read because he no longer can and because I know he was, most very likely, reading at the very moment his life stopped, evaporated, in mid-word. I read because mine almost stopped in the loss of him and in the enormity of the awfulness that took him and so many.

“I read to not forget. Because there is a bigger spark in life than in sorrow, and because he never would have left us, and certainly not this way. If it weren’t for the planes.

That September day.”

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the lost, and to all those who lost so much, and to all that has been changed — insidiously and indelibly for so many — on September 11, 2001. I was here. I remember and I understand why we remember and what we must remember about ourselves and about who we can be. May we hold truth. May we be the better, kinder, more humane version of ourselves.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Collateral Damage

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Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash

 

“They’re collateral damage,” he said, and gestured toward the flash of news images across the screen. “It’s not anything personal against them.”

He shrugged as if his words explained all of what happened. Of what continues to take place.

“They never should’ve put themselves in this situation,” he added, perhaps because he’d perceived my incredulous stare as an invitation to explain further, or perhaps because someplace, somehow, he felt ashamed. That is, if he was capable of shame, which as the evening dragged on I found myself increasingly doubtful of.

I glanced at Brenda, whose dinner plate seems to have become her world. Her absconding only made me angrier, but the boulder in my throat allowed no sound. I shook my head.

“Well, they could’ve stayed where they were,” he retrieved a comb out of his pocket and proceeded to slick back his salt-and-pepper hair, and the outrageously incongruous act against the reality of utter misery, somehow released my breath.

“They are children!” I choked on the word, but the rest tumbled out behind it as if afraid to become lodged again. “They could not make the decision to stay. They had no choice where to be born. Or who they were born to, or whether or not to put themselves in any situations.”

He continued to groom himself with the comb and I fought the urge to grab his arms and toss away the thing, one of the many things, the children were denied.

“Their parents should’ve taken better care of them,” he added blandly.

I took in a deep breath. “Even if that was true, which it is not in the vast majority of the cases, how does that make it acceptable for others to deliberately traumatize these children further?”

He raised an eyebrow in disdain to signal that my upset was the overreaction. “If their parents stayed in their own countries,” he stated sedately, “instead of coming here, the children wouldn’t get locked up. It’s simple, really. If a person doesn’t want their kids to suffer, they should not do certain things.”

“So now we’re talking like the mafia? Threatening people with harm to their kids?”

“Calm down,” he drawled. “Now that people know their kids wouldn’t have it easy here, perhaps they’d think before they decide to make their kids into collateral damage. If they did as they were told and stayed wherever it was they belonged, none of this would have to happen.”

I inhaled and glared at his wife, the colleague whose silence at the face of cruelty made her increasingly less of a friend. Her eyes scanned the wall someplace not quite behind my head.

“So you approve of terrorizing children,” I stated, my fingers groping for my purse. Her birthday dinner or not. I was done. “This is exactly what mafia does.”

He actually cackled. “They’re the mafioso. It’s their fault if their kids are cold and wet and getting hurt. What did they expect, crumpets and tea?”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing challenge: co-

 

Up Or Down

 

She could go up

Or down

On the path

Into town.

There the low road

Awaited,

Full of snarls and

outdated.

Or she could take

The high

With its twists,

Turns,

And sighs.

 

She could go up

Or down

On the path

Into town.

So she paused to

Reflect,

How to best

Course correct,

And decided it

Best

To give the high road

A test.

 

 

 

For Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Locked

 

Locked up AdiRozenZvi2

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

Life without

Possibility

Of parole.

Robbed of

Freedom.

Wingspan clipped

To the lock

At the end of

A chain

Of events.

Imprisoned

Without fault

But the adversity

And sorrow

Of its birth.

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Lock