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

sharon-mccutcheon-AuPRHJe8Mhs-unsplash

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

 

 

Voice Of Song

Lady Liberty SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

There is no

Place,

No space,

Without

Voice.

 

If the trees of our soul

Fall

With no ears near

To hear,

Silence deafens

Roar into

Lore.

 

Be the voice

Of your song.

Let the air move

Through lungs

Via cords

To record:

You’re aboard.

 

 

 

For the dVerse Quadrille challenge: Voice

 

Sun Set

Sun set AtaraKatz

Photo: A.Katz

 

As the sun’s last light

Paints mountains

Red,

May worry find a safe

For stashing

Dread:

That morning might

Not come

Again,

That homes might turn

From hope

To strain,

And children’s cries

Will sound

In pens,

As they wake

More memories

Of pain.

 

 

 

For dVerse Quadrille Challenge: Sun

 

The Blues

TheBlues NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Stand up

To the dimming of

The light

By cruel

Injustice.

Be the lone voice

If you

Must.

Hold tall

Against the winds

That wish to

Break right

Into wrong

And form

Wrong

Into common practice.

Behold the skies

In blues

And clouded

Sorrow,

Even as you keep

Fighting for

Better today

And a just

Tomorrow.

 

 

 

For July Blues

 

 

Lost Glory

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

“Did they tell you what you’d find there?”

Vince shook his head. His eyes sought the window and rose along the flagpole to its top. The silence lingered.

“No,” the Veteran said quietly. “We’d heard rumors, of course, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the conditions there.”

He took a deep breath. His hand tightened around his cup and his eyes remained glued to the flag outside. “People crammed into cold, bare rooms. Without necessaries. Not even a place to sleep. Frightened, sick children. Belligerent guards. I’m ashamed, Son. The flag I fought under now flies over American concentration camps.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Emperor’s New Clothes

the-emperors-new-clothes-3-coloring-page

Nata Silina at Supercoloring.com

 

“I expect loyalty,” he stated.

A silence followed.

Shock or perhaps because

There was

No honorable way to respond.

 

“I need loyalty,” he repeated

With the implication clear:

You bend the knee

Or you are gone,

Swear fealty to the man

Or you’re a traitor

And an enemy to be scorned.

“You will always get honesty from me,”

Came the measured return.

“That’s what I want,” twisted the retort,

“An honest loyalty.”

 

As if there was such thing

As honest loyalty

To one who deemed acceptable

Only what offers

Praise and supplication,

And allows no room

For truth,

Let alone for the calling out of

The Emperor’s bare bottom

Of the barrel

Governing

Or his disregard for honor

As he dons repeated sets of

Non-existent,

Yet much lauded by him,

‘New Clothes.’

 

 

Note: As it happens, the book I’m reading and which was right by my elbow as I read the prompt … is “The Mueller Report” (w/ commentary by the Washington Post; page 296 of the book, page 35 of volume II in the report).  … And the rest, well, is history. And what will be …? We shall yet see.

For Linda Gill’s SoCS: open book, point, write