no ballpoint pens, but pencils

he slumped into his chair and slung open his notebook.
what to do but write, he thought.
a night without words is like a morning without birds chirping; winter’s cold grasp was setting in more swiftly than it had ever seemed to before.  the leaves had changed from yesterday, he was sure.  one moment they were green and the next, reds and yellows ruled the color spectrum, you could say; the grass being the only thing left green and even that was strewn with signs of the season.
oh, how the wind was biting.
he still went out to smoke.
oh how the rains whipped.
he still took his walk.

drenched and freezing, he slumped into his chair.
he slung open his notebook.
what to do but write, he thought.
time without sentences built with tension; lines without meaning… the notion cut into him like a blade would into the freshly tilled earthen soil of a newly devised garden whose bed lain rightly, waiting to be sown with seeds of strawberry, lettuce, celery, basil. still, to go about digging.
his mind raced with the possibilities of a way out of the works.  he grappled with a mindset like a cobbler does with the onset of arthritis.
he couldn’t move like he used to.
his knuckles cracked.

sore, but barely broken, uneased and doubtful, he slumped into his chair.
he slung open his notebook.
what to do but write, he thought.
a pattern to be found. a search to be had.  and to be begun from the beginning like any endurance runner should tell you is the place to start.  there’s simply no meeting the competition halfway through, he might say.  even so, would they not still point and shout curses. a cheat! they’d say. he would turn up his tired.  he would fall or be felled; stoned or be stoning.
he wouldn’t be able to raise his arm much less force an object from the grasp of his fingers. he’d know very well the distance he hadn’t come.  and so he’d run away. run back toward the beginning. like anyone could. he would cringe when he saw not the smoke from the starters pistol.
he would have long passed by the last of the crowd still hurrying toward the shortest way to the end – who wouldn’t want to see who’d win?
maybe he’d give up.
maybe he’d join them.

defeated and desolate, destructed and demeaned, he slumped into his chair.
he slung open his notebook.
what to do but write, he thought.
a will to be laid forth. an intention to make good on.  a perfection to be found amidst the unending absurdities of this imperfect world.  like feet across the dance floor, he would move his fingers back and forth along the keyboard, but their tips wouldn’t touch down. the motion was there, he was sure of it.  and yet they roamed free of his persuasion like gamblers refusing to pay.
too many metaphors.
analogous behavior of the mind.
still, he couldn’t reach the keys.  and so he leapt into the sea whose waves then took him.
he brandished his life preserver and wrung out his hands.
i am not a swimmer, he thought.
i cannot swim.

gasping for air yet still high above the water, he slumped into his chair.
he slung open his notebook.
what to do but write, he thought.
what to do but write. what to do but write. what to do but write.
he couldn’t breathe. he hunched forward onto his desk and began to shiver.  the cold fist, the hand of god clenching, squeezing the life from this upper midwestern city.
he’d go outside, he thought.
he should smoke again.
he should. he should.
he should stop smoking, he thought.
he should just keep writing.
keep writing. keep writing.

he hadn’t written a word, either boldly and bravely.  so eagerly, and with a certain degree of nonchalance, he slumped into his chair.  he slung open his notebook and wrote his masterpiece.  prose of pure genius.  he left himself in a personal awe never felt before.  he read it over and over and still couldn’t believe he had written it.

he slumped into his chair. he slung open his notebook. he closed it up again.  he put it back on the shelf.  he walked back outside to smoke another cigarette, the words repeating over and over like the chorus of an overplayed song: tiredly but with precision and a certain tone of thankfulness…

“i have but words not, nor a rhyme to be gotten the same.
lies aren’t broken with benevolence; my breath whispers and retracts and i, in a daze, slip in.
knowing little of which to be certain, but:
he who holds profit to gain of the like, couldn’t bare to be witnessed a fool.
and so we characterize ourselves as by a collection of our discoveries made in the letting go of swords, stabbing.
all the better for it.
for even as we falter, we know of only fiction which has finished first…
and so, with just a melody to dance with.
and our thoughts to meet us halfway,
they either will
or they won’t.”

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