Thursday, January 31, 2008

Somerville Renaissance

is accepting
for an upcoming
book titled
“The Somerville

Young artists we want
your poems,
raps, song lyrics,
short stories,
essays, journal and diary entries,
photos and drawings!!!

Submit your work to
be included in the first ever book
the Somerville youth experience!!!

Get at us for more information and submit to...
Web Site:

Books on Wheels

If you see the J-Rock Publishing customized PT Cruiser around your block be sure to hit us up for some cool stuff. In the trunk of my ride I have a bookcase which houses the entire library of J-Rock Publishing products. That’s right, a bookstore on wheels. If you want to know more about what we do, what we are about and how you can get involved, get at us when you see us on the road.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Short Story-Blind Tracks

After another long day at school a college sophomore by the name of Ely Hook made his way down the urine stained stairs which led deep into the underground. It was a Friday afternoon and Ely was left contemplating another confusing week. Ely was yearning for something good to happen to him, or least something different. The daily robotic routine of his life was starting to weigh heavily on his soul. He felt as though he was traveling in circles for the last few years without any satisfying end in sight. All he wished for was some type of reassurance, some type of sign to make sure he was traveling down the right path in his life.
Ely walked the long subway platform kicking crumbled papers along the way. He passed a man draped with dirt asking for spare change and a extremely heavy woman playing the violin passionately. He proceeded ahead until he could go no further. Using his books in his backpack which extended out of his back about two feet, he propped himself up against the wall as comfortably as he could. As everyone else’s head was strained to the left looking and listening for the train to come, Ely had his eyes fixated to the right viewing the blackness of the tunnel. There was a rumbling which made a few people spring off their benches because they believed the train was coming, but any true subway rider does not listen for the roar of the train on the tracks, but rather for the faint whisper of wind which creeps closer. Anyone who rode the train frequently knew there was another train line which ran directly above which made it seem like the train was arriving when it really wasn’t.
While Ely continued to wait for the train he witnessed the movement of a shadow cast upon the subway wall. At first, Ely thought his eyes were playing tricks on him after another long day of boring lectures and lack of food. He turned his head away believing it was nothing, but it appeared again.
There was someone or something lurking in the subway tunnel. While Ely’s eyes were focused on trying to figure out what was in the tunnel, he was startled by the loud thunderous bangs of the train car arriving. The train stopped in front of him and the doors opened. He stared in and saw a homeless person and his dog passed out in the corner as well as the blank leisurely looks of the rest of the people sitting on the train. They looked like sardine zombies squeezed together side by side. Ely decided he would not board the train today. The doors closed, the horn blew and the train vanished into the darkness of the tunnel.
Ely saw that the platform was empty. Ely decided that he was going to find out what was down there. He did not hesitate.
At the end of the subway platform there was a gate which sealed off a small set of stairs scattered with litter that led down into the tracks. Ely swiftly kicked open the DO NO ENTER sign and tiptoed down until he reached the bottom surface. The nervousness of the unexpected was racing through his body. Making sure not to step on the third rail, Ely continued on. Surprisingly, the further Ely ventured into the tunnel the quieter it became.
Ely suddenly stopped in his tracks as he felt a slight rumbling which began vibrating at his feet and worked its way up to his kneecaps. He looked over his shoulder and witnessed little white lights starting to illuminate the shadowy subway tunnel. A train was headed straight towards Ely with no apparent crevice to duck into to avoid it. Ely tilted up his baseball cap and wiped the sweat off of his brow. He stood as flat as he possibly could up against the wall hoping to elude the speeding train. There was nothing he could do except await his fate. His bones turned brittle, Ely had to use every ounce of life he had left inside of him to stay plastered up against the wall.
He shut his eyes when all of a sudden he felt two large hands dig into his shoulders and forcefully pull him out of the train’s way saving his life. Ely was totally awestruck from almost getting crushed by the train and encountering this figure in the tunnel. Cloaked in complete darkness Ely and the mysterious man stared at each other not saying a word. Ely realized he was still intact by seeing a faint portrait of himself inside of the man’s sunglasses. The man turned his back on Ely and headed to what appeared to be an abandoned subway car. As the man walked away he made a gesture over his shoulder signaling Ely to follow.
Ely rose to his feet and had no choice but to follow this mysterious man. The man slowly stepped forward lunging all of his weight onto some sort of cane. Ely noticed that the man appeared to be blind. As they got closer Ely could start to see the man more clearly. He stood about 6’4” and had long dread locks which were a mixture of black and gray. He possessed a good sized belly with a long black and grey beard. He stood at the entrance of his domain holding that cane which had a silver skull with ruby red eyes carved as its handle.
The train was broken down, dirty and old. It appeared to be an old green line model that very well might have been one of the first ever to run underground in the city of Boston. All of the doors were propped open and most of its windows were shattered. As Ely made his way up the train stairs trying not to step on large rats, he noticed all the seats had candles on them which lighted the interior. Strangely enough, the man had a large collection of plants which were covered in cobwebs. He also seemed to have a few pet pigeons concealed inside of cages.
In the far corner lay a pile of possessions, mostly debris that was thrown and lost on train tracks which the man seemed to have collected throughout the years. Everything from cans, gloves, hats and burnt out batteries. There was also a chess set located on one of the chairs which contained 32 beautiful hand carved wooden pieces.
As Ely walked forward he noticed scattered throughout the long subway car, painting materials such as brushes, paints, paper and easels. As Ely looked on the sides of the train where advertisements once hung, he was astonished. Beautiful paintings dangled in the air suspended in all of their glory.
The man sat quietly in a seat as Ely viewed his artistry. As Ely continued to gaze at his paintings, he noticed there were notebooks everywhere! It looked like a library, an underground museum! Ely also noticed unique figures that seemed to be sculpted from objects which people threw on the tracks.
“Would you mind if I read one of your notebooks?” Asked Ely.
The man did not answer. Ely slowly and carefully reached for one of his notebooks and gently opened up one of the pages. The pages were musty and dirty and made a large crackling noise when Ely tried to separate them. The man moved his head slightly as he heard the rustling of the pages. It was poetry.
As Ely continued to read the man spoke his first words.
“You can borrow that if you like. It’s one of my favorite books I have written, though, you must promise to return it,” said the man.
“How did you know which book I was reading?” Said Ely with an inquisitive look on his face.
“I might be blind, but I’m not stupid. I know where everything is on this train. I sensed where you were sitting and I knew. Let me take a guess, is the title Shadow Painting?” Asked the man.
“It is. I know I haven’t read much, but from what I’ve read it’s really good, I really relate to it,” said Ely.
“Then take it with you. You’ve had a draining day, why don’t you head home now,” spoke the man.
“What about you,” said Ely
“This is my home,” said the man.
“I’m not quite sure how to get out of here,” said Ely
“If you found me, you can find the light of day once again. When you are finished with my book you can bring it back to me and let me know what you think. You are welcome back, but only if you come alone and unannounced like you did today. Do not let word of me spread to the surface, because if you do, you will never see me again,” said the man.
Ely assured the man that he would not let the world know about him. As Ely exited the train he turned to the man.
“What is the name of the man who saved my life?” asked Ely.
“I go by the name Shadoe.”
Ely found his way safely out of the tunnel and back up to the subway platform. Instead of taking the train Ely decided he was going to walk home. He walked back up to the snowy surface pulling up his hood as the wind was blowing the snow right in his face. He trudged home in the bitter cold reminiscing about what he had just experienced. Wondering about Shadoe, the mysterious blind painter and poet who relocated to live underground.
“Why?” asked Ely silently to himself.
Ely returned home looking like a snowman. It was so windy that mounds of snow formed in the back of Ely’s hood as well as in his pockets. Ely lived with his grandmother who raised him for a good portion of his life. His father had left when he was only two years old and Ely has not talked to him since. His mother had struggled with drugs her whole life and was currently doing time on a four year sentence for heroin possession.
Ely’s grandmother Lilly was a very strong woman. She raised him for most of his life and provided Ely with all she could. He continued to work very hard to try and make her proud of him. Times have gotten very hectic lately, his grandmother Lilly found out she has breast cancer. Ely has spent a lot of time over the past few months taking care of her.
“My God Ely, you are soaking wet and freezing. Go ahead and change your clothes.”
After Ely finished a cup of cocoa while watching TV with his grandmother, he headed straight for his room to start reading Shadow Painting. The first poem of the book was titled Dark Dungeons of Despair and it immediately drew Ely into Shadoe’s world. The next poems Glass Vision and Aftermath of the Accident informed Ely about Shadoe’s haunting past.
Shadoe had lost his vision in a terrible car accident. He was driving drunk with his son in the car. He swerved and lost control of the car when a truck tried to cut him off. His son was killed instantly. Shadoe was left with glass lodged inside of his eyes.
Ely finished reading Shadow Painting all that night. It was one of those books, one of those stories that drew you inside of it and you couldn’t put it down until it was finished.
Monday came and after classes Ely ventured back into the subway tunnel making sure he was not noticed. He reached Shadoe’s lair much easier this time as he remembered where the unmarked door was located on the wall.
Ely walked up to the train’s door and knocked.
“You act like I don’t know that you have arrived. A blind man’s hearing is amplified 100 times greater than a man who can see,” said Shadoe.
“Sorry Shadoe.”
“So, did you get any reading done?” asked Shadoe.
“Yes,” replied Ely.
“I assume you have questions?” Asked Shadoe.
“Yes,” replied Ely.
“As do I, said Shadoe. Since this is my house I get to ask first. Tell me about yourself, you were pretty courageous to come down here. I respect that, that is why you are welcome,” said Shadoe.
“I’m just a confused college student who is attending school in the Boston area. I am a freshman in college who is just trying to find my way in the world. I have a hard time fitting in at college because I don’t look like, act and speak like the rest of my classmates. You see, I haven’t had the luxury of being educated at private schools like most of my classmates. I don’t have the luxury of having my parents pay for my education. My mom is in jail and I never really knew my dad. I go to school full time and work full time. I am not from the suburbs like the rest of my classmates; I am from the tough streets of the inner city,” Ely responded.
“Lately I have a hard time trying to focus on my schoolwork, my grandmother has cancer and many of my peers which I grew up with are living on the edge of insanity. I am the only person from my crew or my family who has even attempted to graduate college. Most of my childhood friends are doing time in the jail, on drugs walking the street like zombies, or selling drugs waiting to get arrested or shot. My only family is my grandmother, if something happens to her, I don’t know what I would do,” said Ely.
“That is a very impressive story. It seems as though you have a lot of weight which you much bear on your shoulders and that you have been chosen to lead and evolve in both your family and your society,” said Shadoe firmly.
“Yes, but that is something I never asked for!” replied Ely.
“Sometimes son, we are not asked, we are anointed,” spoke Shadoe.
“So, what about you Shadoe, if you don’t mind me asking?” said Ely.
“Ely do you know that you are the first person besides myself that I have talked to in 31 years. I ventured underground when I was 24 years old, only a few years younger than you right now. I am now 55 years old,” said Shadoe.
Shadoe slowly put hands upon his face and grasped his shades. He moved them slowly from his face and placed them on his lap. Ely’s eyes bulged open as his eye brows almost touched the top of his head. Tiny pieces of glass were still lodged inside of Shadoe’s eyes. Deep scars adorned many of his eye sockets.
“After the accident which you read about, I came directly down here. I didn’t know where else to go. I had killed my son, I could barely see. I just wanted to exist in the dark. To see nothingness. To live in an environment which was similar to my mind and my heart.”
“I was a young kid. I couldn’t go to jail for the rest of my life. I couldn’t try to exist in a world where I would be reminded of my son everyday of my life. Down here I still think of him all the time, but this is like my punishment, my hell. To live alone for the rest of my life with the rats as my only company.”
“Do you understand?” asked Shadoe.
“I do,” said Ely
“You have a chance to lead a great life and do wonderful things, do not screw it up like I did. I know you are looking for meaning in your life and a purpose, but sometimes it cannot be defined right away. You do not always find out your meaning in life, sometimes it finds you,” explained Shadoe.
“I understand,” said Ely. “I have to get going to work now. Thank you so much for the talk and for letting me read your book. It meant a lot to me,” said Ely.
As Ely and Shadoe embraced shaking hands, there was a flurry of little white lights which looked like fire flies that were appearing in the distance. Ely rose to his feet while Shadoe stayed silent. Shadoe’s underground museum had been discovered. “Listen up!” Hollered one of the offices. I don’t know what the hell you two have going on down here, but you’re both under arrest for trespassing.”
The officers were kneeling down circling the abandoned subway car with their pistols drawn.
“We have two options here. You can come out peacefully with your hands in the air, or you can come out of here in body bags!” Yelled the officer.
Ely began to speak when Shadoe quickly took his cane and pressed the silver skull firmly above Ely’s Heart.
“This is not your fight. Wait here until I say so Ely,” said Shadoe. “I have been waiting for this day for over 30 years.”
Ely pleaded his case upon deaf ears. Shadoe confidently crept down the stairs one by one.
“Stop right there! Yelled one of the officers. “Don’t make us shoot.”
Shadoe stopped dead in his tracks, illuminated by the bright white lights of the police and by the red dots from the sniper rifles that covered his body. Shadoe stood firmly in place leaning on his cane for support as the tails form his long black leather jacket were flapping slightly from the gusts of wind in the tunnel. Ely looked out of the train’s window nervously. A loud roar from a train passing by deafened the area, Shadoe reached his left hand into his pocket.
“Fire!” Shouted the officers.
Ely screamed and ducked, “no!”
Repeated rounds of ammunition struck multiple areas of Shadoe’s body. He fell to his knees. Shadoe removed the sun glasses from his face as they and his body dropped to the ground at the same moment. Silence again filled the tunnel. Spotlights cut through the thick smoke like the sun’s rays on a foggy day as they were shining on Shadoe’s shot up frame.
The cops hovered around Shadoe and witnessed the blood, bullets and glass that covered his body.
“Get the boy,” screamed an officer.
A few officers ran up into the train and found Ely laying on his back shaking. They picked him up and handcuffed him.
“Hey Sarge, you’re never going to believe the crap that’s inside of this train, said an officer. It looks like some sort of museum.”
A month passed and Ely found himself standing in a real museum in New York City at the unveiling of Shadoe’s art gallery called SHADOW ART. This wasn’t one of your typical art shows where a lot of people dress up, sip wine and talk about how much they know about art. This was different. There was much anticipation around this event and the blind man whose underground art finally rose to the surface. In a short period of time Shadoe has been recognized as one of the most unique artists of the 21st century.
The layout of the gallery was set up like a train station. When you first walked in there were wooden tracks and rails that were laid down on the floor. Each room took the form of a subway car and each painting was another stop on the journey of one of the greatest rides you could ever take. Galleries like this one displaying Shadoe’s work started to appear all over the world.
Soon after Ely finished college and buried his grandmother, he came to be known as a great painter and poet in his own right. He wrote countless poetry novels and painted beautiful pictures that now hang in people’s houses all across the world. Ely however could never shed the guilt for Shadoe’s death. He missed his blind mentor which was the only man who ever showed him the vivid way to view the world.
One day while staring into a mirror Ely took his fist and slammed it into the center shattering and splattering glass everywhere. Ely stared at himself inside the pieces of the broken glass and it reminded him of staring into Shadoe’s eyes. He took two pieces of glass, each about the length of his finger and squeezed them in the palm of each hand until blood started dripping into the sink. He took one last deep breath and gouged them deep into both his eyes!
“Ahhhhhh!” Screamed Ely as he fell to the floor and blacked out. This would be the last time Ely would ever see the light of day again. No one has seen or heard from Ely in over 2 years. However, throughout cities all across America, particularly on subway benches, books based on the technique of Shadow Poetry continue to pop up unannounced capturing the minds and hearts of young readers everywhere.
The next time you’re down in the subway and you see a crumbled piece of paper blowing around, pick it up off the dirty subway ground. Make sure to un-wrinkle it and read it, because it might end up being one of the most beautiful stories you’ve ever read in your life. And the next time you’re walking above ground, look down and remember this story and think of all the mysterious things that have yet to take surface and show themselves to the world.

Short Story-Creator of the Night

My hundred pound hand shakes as I tap my cigarette over my ashtray. I wake as rays of sunlight paint my shadowy cave. I often compare my lifestyle to that of a vampire. I am a creator of the night, that is where I make my killing. I only come to your house when I am invited, there are never any exceptions. God is not a part of my life anymore; in fact it makes me sick to even think about his existence. The rosary beads my mother gave me lie at the bottom on my bathroom bucket underneath tampons, toilet paper and yellowy q-tips. There is something about the night, about the darkness in the city which makes people react differently and engage in activities they normally wouldn’t. Loneliness is an emotion which flies through the blood stream like a taxi cab.
There is a rumbling at my front door that sounds like someone is going to break it down. It doesn’t even startle me.
“Patricia, I know you’re in there! You have one more week to pay your rent or you’re out of here! I mean it this time! I am done with giving you chances!”
I lay on my couch with my blanket pulled up to my neck as I watch the smoke from my cigarettes create a creepy fog which hovered throughout my living room. I finally muster enough energy to walk over to the cabinets to check for something to eat, my blanket dragging behind me like a wedding gown. At the end of this long walk there is no one waiting for me. Sloping dusty shelves inside my cabinets and refrigerator stare back at me. A half empty container of mustard, a dented box of cereal and a half gallon of milk which seems to have turned into cream at some point, are the only signs of nutrition in my home.
I slam the door in disgust as the unwashed dishes in the sink tremble.
I hear little feet running behind me as they stick to the floor tiles with every thrust.
“Mommy, are we having anything good for breakfast today?”
“You’re going to have to settle for the little bit of Captain Crunch which we have left, Alexis.”
As I sat there and watched my 8 year old daughter grab pieces of cereal out of the box one by one and smile every time she made a large crunching sound, it made me sick to my stomach. I was working long shifts at night I was not able to give my child the finer things, let alone the necessary things in life.
I was sleeping with about three to four guys a night, bringing in hundreds of dollars easily. Sometimes I don’t believe how fast it disappears. Paying my pimp. Paying my rent. Paying the babysitter. Three or four packs of cigarettes a day. The countless trips to McDonalds to feed Alexis breakfast, lunch and supper.
Around five o’clock I usually call my neighbor Jack to come watch Alexis for the night. He’s a very simple man that doesn’t talk much. He just came back from the war in Iraq and is not ready to go back into society yet. As long as I leave him the remote control and the TV guide, he’s set for the night. He thinks I have a job as a bar tender. Poor kid.
Before I leave I stuff a lot of my clothes for the night into a trash bag. I take a class at the local community college every night at 6 pm. I’m a senior this year and my goal is to become a school teacher, that has always been my dream. I am planning on moving down to Florida when I’m finished, probably in the Orlando area. I have promised Alexis for the past two years that I would take her to Disney World. I am a girl who keeps my promises. I always show up for work on time, and I can say that I always give the customer what they are looking for.
I grab my trash bag full of my superwoman accessories and my text books. Dragging the trash bag along the floor as the tiny blue streams in my arms emerge, I say goodnight to Jack. He gives me a slight nod as he always does to let me know he has things under control.
I yank open the back door of my 67 Chevy Nova. It takes me about three pulls before I usually get it un-wedged. Everything about this car seems to come in three’s. It only has three doors that open, three windows, one has a bag duck taped to it, three radio stations that work and it takes me three times of turning the ignition and swearing before it finally sputters on.
I attend this three hour long American Literature class which is interesting at times, but after the first hour I have to keep catching myself from falling asleep. The teacher is a man well into his 40’s. He’s kind of handsome for a professor. He wears these nice vests which show off his nicely shaped chest. I have thought many times about trying to seduce him for an A, but I’m not that desperate, at least not yet.
On my way back to the car I get a call from Lester as I do every night around this time. He wants to make sure I’m doing all right and to make sure I am ready to make him some good money tonight, but he really doesn’t care about me the way he says he does. I have been his number one girl for about five years now and all he cares about is his slice. I guess he has been good to me though, after I ran away from home he took me in and raised me.
I grab the trash bag and head back into the woman’s room inside the school. This is where I get ready for the night. It’s not exactly the glamorous dressing room I have always hoped for, but it does the job. First I do my makeup. I put my lipstick and my eye shadow on in the same careful manner as I would coloring books with Alexis. I spray some hair spray on my long blonde hair, it sounds and looks a lot like a fire extinguisher, at least that’s what Alexis tells me. I then brush my teeth. I always end up forgetting my toothbrush at home, so I end up smearing the tooth paste on my finger like relish on a hot dog.
I head in the bathroom stall and close the door behind me. I slide off my jeans and take off my sneakers. I make sure I have my high heels there waiting like two stretch limos so I don’t have to touch the nasty floor.
I take everything off until I am standing tall in my high heels, bra and thong. With my butt pressed up against the door so it won’t open with the breeze from the broken window, I stare at the pissed stained toilet seat and toilet paper stuck on the walls like flyers on telephone polls.
My phone started to vibrate on top of the toilet paper dispenser.
“You’re going to be heading to 125 Highland Ave. Apartment number 6”
“7:30.” Said Lester.
I knew right away by the addressee that I was going to be heading into a shady area, but that comes along with the job. My little black glittering purse stays packed with the things I need to survive. I keep a five inch switch blade. A can of mace. Twenty condoms. Lotion. Tissues. My cell phone and a few single razors just incase I need to get secretly slick on someone.
I pull onto the street hoping that everyone is not looking out the windows at the sound of my Nova. I usually park a good ten houses from the addresses I am supposed to head into. No matter how many times you go through it, you still get butterflies in your stomach. You never know who or what is going to be standing there when they open the door. As my heels echo off the sidewalk drowning out the sounds of sirens and horns, I arrive at 125. It’s a tiny little space located in-between a sub shop and a magic store. I stare at a whoopee cushion in the window before I press the buzzer.
I grunt as I push the glass door open. The odor inside the hallway immediately smacks me in the face. It smells like a mixture of dirty socks, sweat and syrup. The carpet is covered with deep dark stains that could be from anything to coffee to blood. Taking deep breaths as I step up the light blue carpeted stairs like my heels were getting stuck in quick sand, on the third floor, I see a door swing open crumbling a piece of the wall as it slams against it. A heavy set man wearing a dirty wife beater and khakis comes storming out swearing and spitting. He is immediately calmed down by my presence.
“Hey baby, looking for some action?.” he said.
I ignore him and his remarks as I continue my ascent up until apartment number six. With every door that I pass by I wonder, what is going on behind them?
The number was broken off and hanging on the door so it looked like a nine instead of a six. I knocked as though I didn’t want anyone to answer. I heard the man’s feet inch closer to the threshold. He opened the door slowly until we both stood in front of each other.
The first thing I noticed about him was that his shirt was off and you could smell the body odor oozing out of him. His chest hair was so dark and bushy that I couldn’t even see his nipples. He also appeared to have crumbs hanging onto his chest and stomach hair which made it appear as though little people were walking through a forest trying to find their way home.
He was wearing a thick pair of glasses that made it seem as though he was looking in three different directions. This made it harder for me to try and make eye contact with him.
“Ha, ha, how are you doing?” he asked stuttering and bumbling his words.
“Please come in, won’t you?”
“I’m sa, sa, sorry I didn’t get a chance to pick up the place some ma, ma, more.”
I smiled at him and took a seat on his couch. As soon as I sat down empty Coke bottles came flying towards me as if I were magnetic.
“I just have to make a call real quick.” I tell him.
I always call Lester to let him know that I am safe.
“Lester, I’m here and I’m all set.” I say.
Lester made a little grunt as usually to acknowledge me.
The man stared at me, his head looked like one of those sports bobble head figures.
“So, do you have the cash?” I asked.
“It’s to, to, two hundred, right?”
“That’s the price my company charges just for me to show up.”
“If you want anything additional, it’s going to cost you.”
This was one of those moments where I was hoping that the man couldn’t afford my services. He opened up his wallet and about a thousand recites fell to the floor like confetti on New Year’s Eve. He pulled out two of the most wrinkled hundred dollar bills I have ever seen in my life.
“Will I be able to have sa, sa, sex with you for this?”
“Sorry sweetie, you are going to need at least 3 hundred for that.” I said.
The man got up out of his chair and trudged into a back room. His fat vibrated with every step.
I uncrossed my legs and was ready to spring out of the front door. The man came running out with a stack of dollar bills and an enormous amount of change resting comfortably on a broken pig’s glass belly
He came over and placed it all on my lap. A bead of sweat jumped from his brow and landed on my dress as he leaned over clumsily.
“I hope this wa, wa, will do.”
I looked it over and it appeared to be well over one hundred dollars in change and dollar bills.
“Yeah, that looks good. Let’s get started. You can take your clothes off now.”
The man stared at me as if I had 5 heads.
The man struggled to take off his shoes, almost falling over in the process while reaching down for towards his toes. He flung them across the room, they fell on top of a large pile of clothes. Next he took off his pants. Peeling the bark off one tree trunk at a time. He stood there in front of me, his big toe hanging out the front of his left sock and diapered in a pair of tightey whities that were covered with yellow spots. His balls were hanging out like two friends on a summer day along with large strands of pubic hair that stuck out like weeds.
I slipped off my tight black dress down around my ankles, lifting one leg up at a time to pick it up off the floor. As the man stared at me in my black heels, black bra and thong, I noticed a trembling in his underwear.
“Where would you like to go?” I asked.
“I wo, wo, would like to go into my bed room, if that’s ok?”
I followed him into his bedroom as I focused on his underwear digging into the crack of his butt. His floor was littered with clothes. The socks looked like fresh snowflakes on a city street that were not yet shoveled or plowed. He sat down on his bed, his fat engulfing most of his thighs.
“Go ahead, you can take off your underwear now.”
With his and fat trembling like the sea during a storm, he slid his underwear off and threw them gently to the side as if they were made of glass.
“Go ahead and lay on your back.” I said.
I looked at the man lying there on his back, his penis looked like a lone tree standing in a jungle. A mighty small tree at that. His glasses began to fog and this stupid smirk appeared on his face as I removed my bra and thong. I stood there naked in this man’s room, the moon shining on me like a spotlight.
I placed my knees softly on the bed and opened up the condom in my palm as if it were a piece of candy. I gently slid it on him, similar to the way my mom used to put my hat on in the winter, making sure to cover my ears. His back arched up in the air as high as it could, his belly completely shading his face. I stood up on the bed over him dancing and shaking my best parts around.
I bounced once, I bounced twice, I bounced for a third time, he let out a sound similar to a grizzly bear that was shot by a hunter. Just like that it was over.
“Where is your bathroom?” I asked.
“Right outside to the la, la, left.”
I cleaned myself up, picked up my dress and slid back into it like I was trying to put the peel back on a banana.
I looked at myself inside of this man’s spotted the mirror as his bathroom lights struggled to stay alive. All I could see was Alexis. I saw Florida, sunshine and I saw Mickey Mouse. I stormed out of the man’s bathroom. As he was trying to put his pants back on I opened his front door and left without saying a word. I have had enough of these fat slobs drooling and touching me. I have had enough of Lester controlling my every move.
I walked into my apartment. I shut off the TV, ripped the TV guide out of his disfigured hand and had a talk with Jack. I told him all about Florida and his eyes became as vibrant as I have ever seen. I went into Alexis’ room and woke her up.
“Alexis, come on get your stuff together. Me you and Jack are going on a trip.”

Short Story-Ormand

There was a gentle knocking on the front door. It was late and no visitors were expected. A door opened slowly and the glow of the porch light was illuminating a young beautiful girl who hovered like a ghost in the night. Nervous stares were exchanged. Her bare knees banged against each other as she struggled to speak.

“Excuse me sir, I hate to bother you so late in the evening.
Is your name Mason?’
“It is,” I said. “Can I help you with something?”
“My name is Stacey.
I am the daughter of Ormand.”
I looked at her as though she was telling the worst joke I had ever heard in my life.
“How is that possible?”
“To tell you the truth sir, I really don’t know too much about my dad. All I know is that he got my mom pregnant a few weeks before it happened. I tracked you down because I want to learn about my dad. I want to know what he was like as a kid. After my mom died in a car accident I was raised by my grandparents. Growing up I always remember my grandparents mentioning your name and talking about how good of friends you and my dad were. They have always kept my father a secret because they said I was too young to understand everything that happened. Well, I’m 16 now and I need to know.”
“My grandma is real sick now and I don’t if she is going to make it through. She told me to come and find you. She had told me that Ormand never talked about anyone the way he talked about you and that he idolized everything about you. She told me that you two were like brothers and that the most happiest times of his life were when you two were friends and hanging out everyday. She told me that she wished you and my dad had remained friends, because he would still be here today if you did. She explained to me how everything in his life began falling apart when you two started to drift apart. I want to know what happened between you and my father!”
I stared at Stacey marveling at how much she resembled Ormand. She most definitely had his eyes. She also has that same little smirk that Ormand used to have.
“Please come in. Go ahead and take a seat on my couch over there. You know what? The times I spent with your father were the best years of my life as well. We grew up side by side and figured out things about life together. Because I have always been somewhat of a loner your father was the closest thing I could ever say that having a best friend was like. I am an only child, but your father showed me what having a brother was like.”
To recall the story of how Ormand and I met, I have to start with a place called Lexington Park. If you look right out that window there, and look closely, you will see the remains of a park where we spent most of our time hanging out together.
Lexington Park was my home. The house that you are sitting in right now is the same house that I grew up in as a child. Everyday of my life I would head across the street and play in that park. There was this huge tire swing that everyone used to play on. The coolest thing about it is that when people ran in circles and pushed you around, there was this large hole which formed in the woodchucks. When it rained it used to fill up with this nasty filthy dirty water. Riding the swing over this water always made it more exciting because you felt you were on a boat stranded in the middle of the ocean. There were monkey bars and a huge fireman’s pole that would burn your thighs every time you slid down.
As I got older I gravitated down towards the lonely basketball hoop which stood by itself on a single half court. Because Lexington Park was unique in the city to have the only half court hoop, L.P. as we called it, was the home to some of the best 3 on 3 basketball games that ever took place. I fell in love with basketball and dedicated my teenage years to trying to become the best at it as I could.
Ormand had his own crew of kids that he hung with. They were called the Brown School kids because they were known for hanging out in the Brown School playground, which was a few blocks away. See, in Somerville back in the day you were known by what park you hung at. That is how you established your identity and kids who hung at the park whose streets surrounded it become your crew.
One day Ormand and his boys came down to L.P. to challenge me and some of my boys in a 3 on 3 basketball game. Now I can tell you this, Ormand was known for having one of the biggest, boldest mouths on the streets of Somerville. I never met Ormand until this day, but have heard stories of his trash talking and how he would even intimidate older kids, something which rarely happened.
I was covering Ormand and he was also sticking me on defense. I can still feel the sweat on my hands from touching his drenched white tee shirt. Being the two best players out on the court, Ormand and I went at it pretty physically. Elbows were thrown into each other’s backs. Echoing slaps left red welts on our forearms from driving to the hole. Butts were slammed into each other’s stomachs from trying to box out. Getting sent to the hard concrete was a given when the other person knew they might get embarrassed. We got up in each other’s face a few times and I had to stop my other teammates from going after him. He always appreciated that.
Ormand loved and was really good at both basketball and baseball. That’s how we spent a good portion of our early teen years. We would cut up broomsticks during the hot summer days and play stickball and during the evening hours we would play basketball. We never wanted to go home no matter how late it became or how tired we got.
As time went on and we became older we needed things other than sports to keep us occupied. I remember this one sweltering summer night. It was about seven or eight in the evening and it was still 90 degrees out. We were bored out of our minds and had nothing to do. Don’t ask me how, but we ended up at a local supermarket where me, Ormand and two of our other good friends Dubbs and YT bought a sack of potatoes. I had just got my license and my first car a few days earlier. We got back into my car I took the wheel, Ormand was riding shotgun and Dubbs and YT were crunched in the backseat of my black two door Saturn.
We started driving and from out of the sunroof we began to launch the potatoes into the sky. As the potatoes traveled through the thick city air like grenades they would explode onto someone’s car hood, bang! We never knew what it was like being in a real war, but riding in my car which at some point turned into a tank, we rode through the streets like soldiers pulling invisible pins out of potatoes, ducking and waiting to hear the explosion. The noise echoed through the night like a war. This one car we hit, we actually knocked off the chrome bumper and gave high fives as it lay lifeless on the ground.
As our battle ended the sides of our stomachs were sore from laughing so hard, we got quite a scare later in the night. We pulled into a parking lot and went to hang out at the local bowling alley for a little while. We played a little pool and tried to impress some of the older woman who came to this place hoping to find a husband. We left the bowling alley arguing over who had the best chance to get with an older woman, when we saw a police car barricading my car in. We were scared shitless. We thought someone had gotten the plate and reported it. We walked around the square for about an hour, checked back again, and the cruiser was still there. We were too nervous, but not Ormand. He walked right up to the cruiser to see what the deal was. It just so happens the cop was there for another reason and gladly moved his car so we could get out.
Potato grenades were just one of the crazy things we did for entertainment. One day Ormand dared me to pull the handle on this car. It was a brand new Mercedes which stuck out like a sore thumb next to the beat up Hondas and Corollas which crowded our streets. I pulled it and heard the most ear wrenching sound I ever experienced in my life. I was known for being a good runner in my day, but that day I ran as though I never had before. Ormand used to kid me and smoke came out of my Air Jordan’s that day.
Then there was this time when I went to pick up Ormand and he was eating a small box of Frosted Flakes, you know one of those little samples that comes in the mail. We drove down his street and seen the little white bags hanging on everyone’s doorknob. We looked at each other and had one of those moments where we were both silently thinking the same thing. We drove around in my car and stopped at everyone’s house and stole their free cereal samples. We filled up my entire trunk and my entire backseat with Frosted Flakes. We laughed until tears came strolling down our cheeks and we stopped once we had no more space left anywhere in my car.
Another adventure that we would embark on usually on a Friday or Saturday night, was walking down to Davis Square and trying to get some of the dorky college kids to buy beer for us. Ormand was always the best at this. His personality and charm could convince anyone to do almost anything. Ormand made a deal with these kids one night that if they bought us some beer that we had to go to the local store and buy them plates and cups for the keg party they were having. So we went shopping for them and they went shopping for us. We exchanged items and we were on our way.
You might be wondering why we stopped being friends. Well, it’s not that we stopped being friends, it’s just that we were never the same type of friends as we once were, we were never as close again.
We were over my friend Dustin’s house, this big mansion of place in Wilmington. I was playing Legend of Zelda with Dustin on Nintendo 64 while Ormand and this girl I was dating, Sharon, were hanging out somewhere else in the huge house. When we were done playing video games, we went to look for Ormand and Sharon. I found Ormand with his tongue down her throat and his hand up her skirt. The thing which enraged me was that my best friend would do this to me. I didn’t care about the girl, I barely knew her and hadn’t developed any feelings for her. I was just so upset because I felt as though Ormand set me up. She was a girl he knew and I assumed he had planned everything. I felt like it wasn’t just a one-time thing, but that it was on going for the few months since he introduced me to her.
After that happened we didn’t talk for a good amount of time. He started hanging with some new dudes while I just played a lot of basketball and stuff like that, laying low. The new people he was hanging with were into some bad stuff. There were using OxyContin and Heroin. They introduced Ormand to these drugs and got him hooked.
Form this point on, everything that I tell you about Ormand was not really him. It was not his true personality. It was the drugs. It had been a good six to seven months before I had heard from Ormand. I have heard these stories of how he was ripping people off, breaking into homes and stealing jewelry, giving drugs to girls and having sex with them while they were high. Ormand got so deep into drug debt and beefs that he couldn’t even go home because there were people waiting for him on his street to break his legs.
Then one day I got this call. Ormand had overdosed. He had not died, but was in a coma at Beth Israel hospital in Boston. As soon as I received the news I rushed over there. The anger which I had once felt towards him had disappeared and all I cared about was going to support my friend and help him get through this mess. I’ll never forget going in there for the first time and seeing my friend, or what was left of him. His athletic frame had dwindled down to the point where I could see bones sticking out of his body. He had so many tubes and wires sticking out of him he looked like a robot.
I remember going into the room with him and wondering if he knew I was there. Wondering if he was thinking about all of the laughs we had and if he was smirking on the inside with me. I went there every night for two weeks and stayed until visiting hours were over. One day he came out of it.
The first time I went to see him when he was awake my legs felt like Jell-O. I wondered if he would even be glad to see me, let alone recognize me from any of the possible brain damage he might have endured. I let everyone else go in before me, the people who were still in his life and the friends who turned him on to drugs. I was the last one into the room. We stared into each other’s eyes for the first time in which seemed like forever. As soon as he saw me his frail body jerked inside of the hospital bed. I’ll never forget that moment, the little smirk back on his face, my friend was glad I was there.
I went over and grabbed his hand, my skinny small hands engulfed his palm as I gestured for him to calm down. At that moment although how dreary the circumstances around us, the beeping, the IV’s, we both looked at each other and knew things were only going to get better from here. I was back in his corner and he was back in mine. We had made up and apologized without saying one single word.
One of the first things we did together during our new friendship was move this insanely big air conditioner out of his old apartment. I remember us trying to carry it down this winding staircase which seemed to have a pair of old smelly sneakers on every step. Halfway down we lost our grip and we tilted it too much to one side. Gallons and gallons of ice cold water poured down our pants. I remember us hysterically laughing while trying to get the AC down the rest of the stairs and into my car. Things seemed normal again, but that would be the last moment I would spend with Ormand.
I never got into Heroin or OC’s, so I can’t describe the hunger, but I guess the urge was just too much for Ormand to handle. I received a call a few days later from his sister that he had overdosed again and this time, there was no coming back from it.
Stacey stared at me, her eyes filled with tears. She came over to me and wrapped her young arms around my aging bones. I cried for the first time since I looked at my friend lying in his casket. I thought about Ormand everyday, but was never able to see all of our childhood memories as clearly as I did tonight.

Short Story-The Fading Moon

What they don’t tell you about working the graveyard shift at a seminary is how incredibly creepy it is. When I stroll through the campus at night making my rounds I feel as though I am the only person left alive in the world. Especially on a seminary where it’s quiet to begin with during the day, at night the loudest voices you hear are your own thoughts.
My shift starts at 11:00 P.M. I always show up 15 minutes early and I relieve the guard from the previous shift. His name is John Preeper. He is an old man well into his 50’s. When I walk into the break room there is a light fog from the odors which are leaking out of every crevice of his body. They have seeped deep into the walls and his scent keeps me company well into the night.
His glasses which look more like windows, cover up most of his worn down and wrinkled face. He has five pieces of shoestring hair which look like they are glued to his scalp, I count them every time I see him just for kicks. As every bone in his body squeaks when he rises from his chair, I wonder how it is that he is able to make it through his rounds at night and check all of the buildings which stand on this campus. He talks to me about Las Vegas as he does every night for a good 10 minutes. He always tells me the warmest stories, usually about some Vegas mobster who cuts people in little pieces and buries them in the desert. Talk about your bedtime stories huh? He grabs his large blue gym bag and heads out the door. I lift up the shade on the shop window and watch his light blue shirt disappear into the night. His night has ended and my night has just begun.
The first thing I do is grab this security device called a Deggy which is about an eight inch wand that looks a whole lot like a dildo. Throughout the various buildings on campus there are markers which must be scanned with the Deggy. When it scans it makes a reassuring sound to let you know you are doing a good job. The security company downloads information from the computerized dildo and downloads into their system to make sure you’re doing your rounds. I have to go through this process once every two hours from 11 P.M. to 7 A.M.
I’m off to making my first round. I have to go into dorm buildings, a cafeteria, a church, a library, the administration building and the faculty building. Most of these buildings have dates on them in the time frame of the1800’s chiseled into the stone work. During the day their architecture is something to marvel at, but once the sun is replaced by the moon, these are buildings which look like they were purposely constructed for a horror videogame.
As I’m on my way to my first building, the cafeteria, crickets are hidden in the shadows laughing at my trained way of life. My keychain with about 50 different keys on it clanks as I reach the front door of the cafeteria. The cafeteria is the most modern of the buildings and it is definitely the building that scares me the least, that’s why I always chose to go there first.
This particular building, Washburn Hall, has been closed to the public for months after a ceiling collapsed and injured some churchgoers. If that isn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what is. Immediately as I open the door I hear a bird chirping. Being a security guard, one of the superhuman senses you develop is hearing, I knew right away that the bird was trapped somewhere in the building. I closed my eyes for a moment to more accurately tell in which the direction the chirping was coming from. I stepped as if I were a thief not a security guard until I discovered the small baby bird still as a rock near a large glass window. The baby bird appeared so sad as it looked out into a world it knew it might not ever get a chance to return to.
I found plastic gloves inside of cabinets in the kitchen area and proceeded to confidently snap them on my hands like a doctor preparing for surgery. I approached the baby bird who has still not moved a feather, I kneeled down and slowly reached out my hands. I did not want to grab the bird, but rather guide it into the palm of my hand. The bird’s wings fluttered as my fingers made contact with it. Startled, I jumped back for a moment to catch my breath. I tried again. Even more slowly this time, I placed down my left palm onto the cold floor and with my right hand I began to guide the baby bird. I got em.
I walked slowly to the back door of the cafeteria and placed the bird onto the cigarette butt covered loading dock. Frightened, the bird glanced at his new surroundings. I watched it for a moment, then looked at my watch and realized that I needed to get a move on. I went to lock up the back door of the loading dock and scan the Deggy. I turned around and the baby bird was gone. I felt sad as though my best had just died because I realized I had just lost my only company of the long night. I headed down the loading dock stairs, next up, the library.
The library is a slightly older building than the cafeteria and is the largest building which I will venture into tonight. There are five floors, all of which are cluttered with thousands of theology books. The hallways are long and look more like tunnels than they do corridors. At the end of the tunnels are red lights that give me the eerie feeling that I am aboard a spaceship trying to find my way out. In this building there are a whole lot of noises that make you whip your head with the quickness to see if there is anybody or anything there, including an annoying hiccupping smoke detector which has needed to be changed for weeks.
They turn power off in the library when they leave for the night which shuts down access to the elevators, that means that I have to hike up and down the staircases. I really don’t mind walking though, I consider myself an active person and see any type of exercise not as a burden, but as a reward.
The last Deggy stop that I make on this trip is the one in the basement. The staircase leading into the basement has a gigantic 3D metal sculpture of Jesus hanging inside of a bunch of thorns which seem like they are reaching out and trying to prick everyone who walks by.
The spot which I have to hit last is located inside of a machine room that houses the huge air conditioner which cools the entire building as well as other little machines which seem to been out of service for some time. I walk past some half-drunken Coke bottles and a abandoned construction helmet which sits upside down staring at the ceiling. If you look closely enough, on the concrete floor there are tiny pieces of toilet paper which look like stars on the sky. A while back on my shift, the drain pipes got clogged up from a heavy downpour and all the shit that fell out of people’s asses that day returned from the depths of hell to see light once again.
Ready to explode from the scent of machinery, dust, must and shit, I inhale huge gasps of air as I slam the machine door behind me. I pass Jesus again giving him a nod on the way up the basement stairs. I quickly head for the front door of the Library. I check my celly, just as I suspected, I am running behind on my rounds. It’s already 11:50 P.M. As I leave the library it begins to drizzle.
I make my way through the faculty and administration building pretty quickly. Walking with a purpose, I have my Deggy in hand and I am swinging it like a nun chuck towards my targets. “Beep, beep, beep.” I’m in the zone now and finish up both of these buildings by 12:15 P.M. Everything is going as planned.
On my way to the church I make a quick pit stop at the bathroom. I strain my eyes staring through the night as I have to be on the lookout for the pain in the ass supervisor who makes surprise visits throughout the week. He usually just stops by to make sure I’m not sleeping and shit like that.
I rush into the bathroom. I take a quick glance at myself in the mirror as I undo my belt buckle and pull down my pants. I pull my underwear down and do not hesitate to sit down on the yellow stained toilet seat. The cold from the seat travels through my butt all the way up to my shoulders as I quiver. Piss shoots out of me like a laser beam as I can feel tiny sprinkles bouncing off the bottom of my butt. I let out a sigh of relief as I pull my underwear and pants back up and buckle my belt all the way to the furthest hole on the leather.
Before I leave, I stop in front of the mirror again. I take my cap off, undo my ponytail and shake my head to relieve stress and tension. I look at my oily skin, swollen eyes and crevices that have formed on my forehead from always slanting my brows. I dream about going home and taking a shower, but home has not been a peaceful place lately.
My mom has been arguing a lot with her new boyfriend, even more than usual. He drinks a lot and roughs her up sometimes. He has even tried to hit on me a few times while my mom was out shopping. That’s why I have been working so many hours lately, especially the overnight hours. It freaks me out too much to hear the squeaking of the bed and the moans. The thought of that hairy tattooed bastard having sex with my mom disgusts me to death. My mom has been struggling with heroine for a good portion of her life and was real lonely before she met him, but sometimes I wish he would just end up back in jail where he belongs.
I splash some cold water on my face, put my hair back up into a ponytail and put my cap back on, lowering it just enough so a shadow covers half my face. I exit the bathroom and make my way to the church. The rain is falling hard enough so that when it hits me, it paints tiny dark circles on my light blue shirt. As I approach it, I stare at the cross that sits up hundreds of feet into the air. I put my key in the lock, grunting while I pull the heavy wooden door towards me. Walking into this church always makes me think of what it might be like before you enter the gates of Heaven. On both sides of me, there are numerous stained glass windows. The moon shines through them creating tiny rays of light which all seem to be aimed at me like a large spotlight.
I proceed down the aisle towards the alter, the difference being for this bride there is no man of my dreams waiting and ready to commit to spending the rest of his life with me, only a Deggy marker I must scan. I finish the three markers in this building and check the time, 1:05 A.M. The night is almost over. I put the Deggy back in my pocket and breathe a sigh of relief as I won’t need it again for a while.
I enter a little side room that is mostly used for mediation. In the back of the tiny room is an extremely old spiral staircase which slithers all the way to the top of the steeple that stands tall in the night sky. I creep up the skinny staircase as I blow spider webs away which stick to my face. Sweat drips from my temples as I pop the brim of my hat up with my index finger to keep it from sticking to my forehead. The winding stairs seem like they are never going to end as I am now using my shoulders to propel myself up further.
I finally make it to the top. There is one lonely window up here. I take my hand and place it on the dusty glass and in a waving motion, make just enough of a streak so that I can see the moon. The moon looks so much more imposing and beautiful from up here. The window makes a hideous noise as I swing it open. There is a small platform which I slowly crawl onto.
Sitting down comfortably with my knees bent, I take my hat and throw it off the top of the church. I watch it slowly float down until it falls out of sight. I take my ponytail down and let my hair free. One by one, I start from the top and un-pop every button on my shirt. I bend my shoulders back and remove both arms out from the sleeves at the same time. I twirl it around in the air a few times before I toss it too. As it floats down, I wonder, that if a could ever fell from the sky, it would look a whole lot like my shirt which appeared as though it never wanted to land. It had stopped raining and the warm summer breeze gently dried my clammy and sweaty arms making those invisible hairs on my body stand up. I now sat comfortably in my black beater and black pants.
Slowly, I stood up and balanced myself on the ledge. I look up at the cross above me that is still out of my reach. I glance at my watch, 1:56 A.M. As I stare at the ground, I am only able to see the left sleeve of my shirt and only thing I can think about is whether or not they are going to pay me for the whole night?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Written in cemetery to help exercise drug demons

’Almost Forever’ written in cemetery to help exercise drug demons
By David L. Harris/ Journal Staff

Jasen Sousa has seen the underside of teenage life: the drugs, suicide and depression.

The 24-year-old Somerville resident has written four books so far, and all of them warn teens to get involved in the community, not drugs such as OxyContin and heroin.

"A lot of my friends got heavy into drug use," said Sousa, a Francesca Avenue resident who owns his own publishing company called J-Rock Publishing. "One of them ended up getting his girlfriend pregnant. In the span of two or three years, I lost a lot of friends around the same area. Somerville, for some reason, has gotten really bad with drugs."

Just a few months ago, Sousa released his fourth book and companion CD that are filled with poetry and prose called "Almost Forever," all of which was written exclusively in a cemetery. Sousa said the process was cathartic: he wants to bury a lot of his past experiences.

"Rosary Beads that Bleed," "Carrying My Own Casket" and "The Scent of Death" are just two of the poems he wrote.

Even though there’s no happy ending in Sousa’s book, Sousa’s life turned out more than OK. He’s soon starting a job at the Italian Home for Children in Jamaica Plain, and he’s been a Big Brother to various children.

"It’s just the process for me to continue writing to get my message out," said Sousa. "It’s my way of trying to find other ways to deal with it besides drugs. I used the books and writing for my outlet."

The details

Check out or visit Newbury Comics for a copy of Jasen Sousa’s newest book, "Almost Forever." It costs $12.99.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Somerville News Article

Somerville News Article

Jasen Sousa: A Young Somerville writer who publishes poetry inspired by pain.

By Doug Holder.

Jasen Sousa, 24, born and bred in Somerville, Mass, is no stranger to the "mean streets." He saw many of his peers succumb to the perils of drug addiction, and the dead ends that lie on the other-side-of-the- tracks. When Sousa was eighteen years old a friend of his committed suicide and he started to write poetry as a balm to the psychic pain he was experiencing. He wanted to write poetry about a part of Somerville that is distantly removed from the tony environs of Davis Square. He writes of gangs, violence, but also the search for identity and love.

To fund his fledgling poetry publishing enterprise "J -Rock Publishing," Sousa worked long hours at a variety of jobs, and managed to save $2,000 for his first collection of poetry "Life& Weather."

Sousa affects a Hip-Hop style of dress, but when he speaks he seems gentle, considerate and articulate. He told the News that he has been influenced by the late Hip-Hop artist Tupac Shakur, as well as Poe's dark poetry. His poetry tends to rhyme, and is sometimes read in the cadence of a Rap song.

Sousa feels that kids need to see a poet and writer who "looks like them." And indeed, Sousa has a boyish face that makes it easy for him to pass as a teen. From the revenues of sales from his four books; he takes several local kids to attend an annual poetry convention in Las Vegas. He said that at the convention his book sells extremely well. In fact, in four years he claims to have sold 5,000 copies of his first book; (convention sales and others), an amount that would make any small press publisher salivate over.

His poetry books include: "Life and Weather," "Almost Forever," and "Close Your Eyes and Dream With Me," and are sold at Newbury Comics in Boston and Porter Square Books in Cambridge.

Sousa said he wrote the poems for his collection "Almost Home Free," in cemeteries in and around Somerville and Boston. He needed the graves to inspire his writing about the losses he has experienced in his hardscrabble life.

Sousa says his family is as supportive as they can be, given that fact they are a traditional Portuguese clan, that are hesitant to talk about their problems and emotions in public, much less in a book. Sousa is an ambitious young man, and currently works three jobs, and is attending Emerson College in Boston. He just completed a course with the noted writer Matthew Pearl.

Sousa hopes that in the future he can create a large publishing concern that prints books for young people all over the world. Right now he is trying to compile an international anthology of children's writing. According to Sousa he has taken a different path than many of his peers, and he hopes to bring his art to the greater world, but still with an eye on his roots in the 'Ville.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update

To find out more about Jasen go to

Neighborhood activists organize b-ball tourney for unity
By George P. Hassett

When their friends were dying of drug overdoses, suicides and violence, Danny and Mark McLaughlin were frustrated. Now, just a few years later, they are working to address the pain and suffering they see in their city.

The McLaughlin’s, along with their brother Matthew and other neighborhood friends, started Save Our Somerville (S.O.S.) two years ago as a way to address the feelings of hopelessness among young people in the city. They say the group is meant to “speak for those who can not speak for themselves.”

“We started from (the deaths). We were pissed about losing our friends and seeing changes in the city we have no control of. We come from the same frustrations a lot of teenagers are going through in the city, so people know they can talk to us,” said Danny McLaughlin.

Last weekend almost 100 people showed up at Lexington Park, for the second annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament sponsored by S.O.S. Mark McLaughlin said activities such as the tournament are part of S.O.S.’s plan to offer neighborhood kids and young adults positive activities. He said S.O.S. is trying to transform the anger and pain kids in the city feel into positive pursuits such as art and political activism.

“We felt the same kind of anger that the kids who were doing graffiti in the park felt. But we wanted to take that anger and bring it to City Hall,” said Mark McLaughlin.

S.O.S. member Jasen Sousa donated all the prizes for Sunday’s tournament winners because he wanted to offer the younger teens in the neighborhood something positive, he said. Sousa is an author who runs his own publishing company J-Rock Publishing. He said he is working with S.O.S. on “The Somerville Renaissance” a book in which teens and young adults of the city will “tell their own stories in their own words.” Sousa said he and the McLaughlin’s are “linked together by positivity.”

Mark McLaughlin said he is in a unique position to reach neighborhood kids since they know he is genuine and he is coming from the same neighborhood.

“We have a lot of respect in the neighborhood, we’ve earned our stripes here. The kids know we’re for real and that we want to help. The politicians can say they care but they can’t care as much as we do, we’re the ones losing our friends,” he said.

He said most of the city’s major problems can be traced back to widespread drug use.

“Somerville has culture. It’s not like New York. It’s not like Boston. There is no place else in the world like Somerville,” said Mark McLaughlin. “But unfortunately, part of our culture has been drugs, violence and death. There is a lot of heroin in this city and that is what is driving the break-ins and most of the crime.”

S.O.S.’s next project is a plan to add four large panels to Lexington Park featuring artwork depicting the neighborhood’s history. Then, said Danny McLaughlin, it is off to other parts of the city to spread S.O.S.’s message of peace and unity.

“The biggest thing we miss in this city is the sense of community. We want to unite every aspect of Somerville,” he said.

The beginning of that unity may be painful, just as S.O.S came together because of a string of tragic events, Mark McLaughlin said.

“At the heart of everything is the loss. It’s sad but tragedy can bring communities together,” he said.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Excerpts from my fifth book A Mosaic of My Mind

The Long Walk Home

Forgot how it happened,
the detachment,
Finally letting go, escaping the entrapment.

The blades on the skin,
feeling caged in,
running forward without looking behind and waving.

Heart pumping,
feet on the concrete thumping,
running towards uncertainty, running towards something.

Listening to the wind whirl,
ready to hurl,
searching for a new world.

Being alone,
being on your own,
better than living in a broken home

Heart beats,
hearing whispering from the streets,
cardboard boxes, no more sheets.

Can’t escape the rain,
can’t escape the pain,
can’t escape your brain.

Drugs make you even more lost,
selling your body because you can’t afford the cost,
track marks on your arm in the form of a cross.

Harder to clear your mind,
fear that has no concept of time,
clean air makes you blind.

Slowly opening your eyes,
hope is again seen in the skies,
you know the truth because you wrote the lies.

Studying every word,
slowly getting over what occurred,
slowly getting up off the curb.

Realizing your life is a shame,
wondering about the place where you came,
wondering if it’s the same?

Steps backwards to move forwards,
blessed breaths from the lord,
back to the place you left, the place where you were first adored.

The day you return
to those who are concerned,
the day your life will turn.

Every addict dreams of this day,
yet to figure out what you will say,
during the long walk home, you vividly remember the way.

The Birth of a Butterfly Underneath a Bridge

The mammoth shadow of a city bridge
standing up on its giant dirty legs.
Covering all which mysteriously lives,
the homeless sleeping on their concrete cribs.
Darkness is avoided, the silence begs,
a caterpillar crawls inside steel walls.
Dancing desperately with death and decay,
getting pushed around by violent squalls.
The sound crashing on the ground when night falls,
lacking knowledge to fly into the fray.
Crunched in a cocoon, it’s time will come soon.
Adorned with armor, waiting to be reborn
under the magical mist of the moon.
The birth, twilights transformational tune
and the shape of its breathtaking new form.
No one taught the butterfly how to soar,
it learned of its special gifts on its own.
It built up enough courage to explore,
now part of the world’s beautiful décor.
Still yet to land, from the moment it flown.

A Jacket Torn

For days it didn’t move a muscle,
its life had taken a different path.
People hustled by it on their way to work
lying flat on its back, there it sat.

A dirty color denim
torn to shreds,
dark red stains, flowing veins,
signs that it once had bled.

Existing with its buttons missing,
stitches coming apart at the seams,
I wonder what it means?
Where are its matching jeans?

How many feet away could this jacket have walked?
Imagine the story this jacket
might have written inside of its pockets?
If only this jacket talked…

Its sleeves were reaching for help,
or they were simply wanting
to remember how skin felt.
The nameless frame which this jacket covered
and the soul which seemed to melt.

This jacket full of holes,
as empty and hollow
as a dreamer’s goals.

Taking its new form,
this lifeless jacket, dirty and torn.
Sitting on a concrete wall during a sunny day
or a violent storm.
More than just a piece of clothing
someone use to adorn,
a jacket torn,
by whom was it worn?

A Slightly Slanted, Slightly Enchanting Bench

On the outskirts of the city’s dirt and grime
is a secret place hidden by tall trees and twisting trails.
Put together with concrete bookends and rusty nails
is a slightly slanted, slightly enchanting bench that I call mine.
It stands there and waits for me to arrive
after my hectic schedule which ends and begins again around 5.
Painted with shadows, limbed brushes sketch over the sun’s shine.
Leaves fall slowly from the sky and never get a chance to say goodbye.
Every time I come back I hear the same bird cry,
it saves me a seat, it knows I’m on my way.
The perfect place to end one part and begin the next part of my day.
When society tries to leave me behind
the world moving so fast,
the bench is where I go to clear my mind.
A lifetime elapsed.

A Threshold’s Whispers

For at least a moment I yearn, to grab the knob and turn,
for just a peak, just a ponder, just a glimpse.
Afraid to stare at what might or might not be there, and in what form?
The door never opens more than an inch.

I don’t want to let it out, what’s still alive, what still survives.
The old chair still rocking, shhh, you can almost hear her talking.
Others come and visit, they can’t hear her sighs
or her weightless feet on the wooden floor still walking.

Nothing in her room has been touched, memories blanketed with dust.
This will always be the room where she will sleep,
guarding the gate to her legacy, to me, she has given her trust,
an honor I will forever keep.

Most nights I sit against the door and lean and close my eyes and dream
of her coming out dressed in her robe and slippers.
I press my face on the floor against the beam
and listen to a threshold’s whispers.

Two Unknown Lovers in the Nevada Night

The mysterious shapes of the numbers intrigued me deeply,
I was drawn in by the unknown.
Wrestling back and forth with the decision
as every organ in my body became overgrown.
I lifted up the phone and heard the loneliness of the tone,
it hung up in the air, almost to my ear, until I silenced the noise.
My fingers and hands were trembling, sweat stagnant on my brow,
this was going to be a night where I would be, one of the boys.
For long enough the decision swayed, the call was made.
In my mind the scenario continued to dangle
as I mentally explored it from every angle.
Lured by the curves of phone numbers,
someone had their hands around my conscience and started to strangle.

Alone in a hotel room in Vegas, my tools tarnished with rust.
10:29 the moment was mine, I heard thumps of weightless feet,
my blood began to rush, hush… Fingers massaging the door as
I gently opened, palms soaking from what I did meet.
In the stillness of the Nevada night I never witnessed such a beautiful, breathtaking sight.
Shook hands, skin warmer than the desert sand,
for years I swore off any personal pleasure
but for this one moment, I would remember how it felt to be a man.
In this Vegas dream, her skin caramel cream,
she undressed as I sat on the corner of the bed and gazed.
She strutted towards me, skin so firm, no waves,
pushing softly on my shoulder blades, her fingers grazed.
Touching every strand of me trying to find the man in me,
I stared into the eyes of an unknown strangers perfection.
Grabbing onto what holds the juices of life
and just like the Vegas strip, things began to move in an up and down direction.
Half of her body on top of mine, hands caressing her body like a pen does a line,
completely shut down, the wisdom which lives in my mind.
I searched her body looking for something I knew I would never find,
the lights of Las Vegas flickering and flashing, our oiled bodies shine.
Whether this moment meant anything to either one of us
is still undiscovered,
as my plane hovers,
the tale of two unknown lovers.

Swinging in Time

She sat down on a swing and listened to the birds sing,
her beautiful brunette hair flared through the air.
A young girl without a care in the world swung back and forth inching closer to the sun.
This young radiant fair maiden with a gorgeous glare,
her feet so light, never touched the ground after taking flight.
Sun submerged out of sight and fell into the night.

The sun rose like a flower, leaves sweaty from a nights shower,
the young girl rode the wind sitting on a morning breeze.
Never bending her knees, she kept gliding gracefully, innocently playfully.
Silent rhymes came from wind chimes dangling on trees,
I looked out the window at a young girl. Painting a picture with my brush
capturing a scene so perfectly lush.

The days passed, she continued to sway forth and back.
The material hanging from the bottom of her dress swayed, the sky grayed.
Sipping lemonade out of a glass, not aware the dead grass,
she stayed for most of her life on the swing, as everything around her decayed.
The swing slightly started to tilt, the flowers started to wilt, the swing started to rust,
the woman has now been diluted by a cloud of dust,

settling a little at a time as I peeked out my blind.
Startled by steam screaming from my tea kettle, in my direction, she stared.
The swing stopped swinging, the birds stopped singing,
gray hair, glasses, wrinkles and age spots on her skin is now how she appeared.
I looked down at my hand and saw the skin of an old man telling the tale,
an image of what time decided to steal.

The Fading Moon

Like a man without a home singing a sweet tune under the fading moon,
the center of my world is growling.
Heading underground hoping my ride will arrive soon,
my pupils looking for light pacing and prowling.

My life starts moving, conducted by a sound which has become annoyingly soothing.
Comfort is not part of my day, so I choose to stand
near a young man with white strings that sing, his eyes closed, grooving.
Clinging to a pole, my athletically, aging, elderly hand.

The dusty bolder like books in my bag make my shoulders sag.
My cluttered brain, how much more information can it retain?
My fragile, fractured, unfortunate frame I no longer wish to drag.
Inside the rumbling I hear a familiar voice, next stop, call out a familiar name.

The doors swang open loud to a gang banging crowd,
who greet you with spiteful, sweaty, stares.
Like a bull, making my way through the heap 1 by 1 as I’m allowed,
as I step over sections of a broken mirror, skipping up the subway stairs.

Not noticing how old I am becoming, the toll of all the running, I sigh without regret.
Slanting slightly upon my spot, back propped on a quaint wall, paint always freshly wet.
Standing alone next to a silhouette of a young couple dancing under an orange sky, and yet
no one else knows of the only place in the entire city where the sun will never set.

Men’s Room

Greetings, from a daily gathering of gentlemen
who conduct morning meetings underneath towers of dusty books.
A pristine perverse palace of pestilence to tidy up looks,
paved under permanent dirt is potential which lived way back when.
As you float through the door, feet fasten to the floor.
Above toilet gates are clouds which will not dissipate like fog on a stagnant summer shore.
Shaving in the sink, bathing un-bashfully without a blink, the rigorous resentful trend.
Tobacco wrapped white wet leaves, foliage which won’t flush in puddles of urine.
Sketched on stench soaked stalls are senile sermons,
tales of denial someone felt they had to mention.
Mirrors are purposely painted with filth so no one can see their reflection,
no one wants to be reminded of what is, what was and what might have been.
The little bit of life left lingering in a vagrants valiant veins,
in the Boston Public Library, a scene in the everyday life of homeless men.
Stains and the shame of unknown names is all what remains.

Long Sleeves

Lisa’s father went to fight in a war.
Home alone with her drunken mother, she tried to endure.

She would come home from school and find her mother out cold.
Lisa kept beautiful stories hidden inside, never told.

Pain bottled up, empty bottles swallowed into her mother’s hollow gut.
So much sorrow, without anyone in the world to follow, Lisa began to cut.

She changed her wardrobe and began to dress dull.
She didn’t want anyone to wonder, she wanted them to know her life was hell.

Her face pale white, clothes as dark as the night.
Gore became the color of life.

Every night with a knife she carved into her flesh.
On her knees, skin dripping tears, heavy breath, but not a wish for death.

Stress released with blood.
A ritual Lisa loved.

Never told her best friend, afraid she wouldn’t understand the blade’s feel.
It was about the hurt, but Lisa also loved watching it heal.

Sometimes Lisa would slice her skin under the stars.
Remembering how she felt looking at all of her scars.

Morbid memories of the pain in the past.
Cut all through high school and wore long sleeves to class.

No one bothered to ask, so Lisa never bothered to speak.

Time lines on her arms telling a gory tale.
Lisa will wear long sleeves until her heart heals.

Blood rolls, look, there it goes! A cover up with clothes.
Long sleeves, shadowing secret scabs that continue to grow.

The Perfect Present

It sat under a tree, a present no one bothered to see.
It was the holiday season and for some reason, this gift was not perfectly wrapped.
Its’ ribbon was torn, bent and broken, the present did not take a beautiful form.
It wasn’t decorated with holiday hues, no reds, no greens, the present was solid black.

One by one kids swiped pretty presents away, the ugly present was left to stay,
lingering until it was the only present left.
Under a beautiful tree’s gleam was the portrait of a present that looked so mean.
No one realized it contained 1 of the greatest secrets ever kept.

The lights on the tree dimmed, gone was the glow of the last child’s grin,
he believed the best gifts were taken.
What was on his wish list, in this little beaten up box could never exist,
but boy was he mistaken!

The gorgeous gifts were gone, a lonely child stood wondering what went wrong?
A Christmas song disappeared as the child looked to the heavens and stared.
He undid the ribbon, opening the only present which was never given.
He cheered! Amazed at what appeared!

A little dark box that when opened showed the world’s light, it changed the boys life.
The lonely child and the lonely present now share a special bond.
What was in the box? Never to tell the secret, so special a gift, the child will forever keep it.
A present that will last long after another Christmas has come and gone.

This sometimes peculiar looking present is patient, wrapped up and waiting
for all of us to find.
We must look past the nonsense, if we wish to see its wonderful contents
and open the perfect present, everyone else has left behind.

Bye Night

Bye night.
Morning’s light illuminated the pain,
yellow tape cautioned where not to step.
Plastic rope strangled hope
where the young man took his final breath.

12:59 a.m.
The estimated time his soul was slain.
If only the sidewalk outlined in chalk could talk,
it would tell of the murderer
who lived up the block.
A spirit screaming for help, help which never came.
His black hat walking down the street as the wind blows,
the spot where he was violently killed,
every day his mother goes, to see
flowers, candles and pictures of her son.
She breaks down and cries under these city skies
thinking about what he might have become.

The wind is still.
Grow up, he never will.
This is the he day a gun roared
over the voice of the lord.
A short lived life
too often ignored.

Jump Rope

the teacher stepped out of the room, a lesson
was being taught which would bring a young girl to her doom.

The students began touching her in the darkest places.
Mean faces filled a swirling room.
They tore her shirt and stockings, threw her clothes on the floor, until
she was wearing nothing more than sneakers laces.

Their flailing arms prodded,
her knees stuck together as she crunched down
to cover up all she was revealing.
A few girls half-heartily tried to help her,
most laughed and snickered
as the classroom lights flickered.

Cell phones
caught the scene on tape,
footage boys
would go home to and masturbate.

Held by her hair
sitting in the teacher’s chair,
feet now walking on air.
Nails scraping the board,
in a position where she could not be heard by the lord.

Fingers addicted
to her shape.
No where to escape,
wasn’t ready to give
what they decided to take.

The moment ended,
5 boys were apprehended.

Diminished her worth
while leaving memories
which could never be murdered
once they gave birth.
Full of blame,
full of shame,
boys who erased the pureness of her name.

Later that night in her room
leaning against her bedroom window,
listening to the soothing sound of rain.

Watching a leaf
slowly fall,
knowing she could never go back to school
and walk down those halls.
Couldn’t live with the guilt,
the only way to sleep peacefully
was to tuck herself under the earth’s quilt.

Hands underneath her skin
forever feeling her from within.

Tickling her throat with twine, underneath the moon’s shine,
the only way to remove the scene from her mind.
Tied one end of a jump rope
around a pipe on her ceiling,
left a note
trying to
what she was
She then
the other
end of her
jump rope
around her

The Sound of Color

is cast
aging ash.

are the only parts
left of you
to touch.

In my room
the shades
are shut
so I can never tell
whether it’s
day or night.
The body bag
zipped tight.

had smothered
assuring tears
would be shed by
your mother.

From what
you had
ended tomorrow.

of faded images
my only memories
I remember it like it was yesterday
standing in
the cemetery.

I remember
sliding into my suit
which was
solemnly stitched.
down roads
of dried up blood
which lined
my wrists.

Putting on
wondering about
the strange way
time passes.
I tried to
listen to the
priest speak
but became distracted
by mascara
streaking down every
women’s cheek.
Watching them
carry you out of
the hearse
standing in mud
which at some point
used to
be dirt.
spirits and lost souls
Eyes are closed
As they lower you
into the ground
over your casket
I held an umbrella.
On this day
I heard
the sound of color.

Audrey’s Assault

The family secret remains hidden, an act unspeakable, unforgiving.
Audrey keeps it concealed within her frivolous frame,
the hurt cannot be healed until it’s revealed, no one to trust, the truth of her father’s lust.
Once she was violated her worth was never the same, imagine the thoughts in her brain.
A father ignored the plea, halt!
Forced to keep emotions locked inside her heart’s vault,
it’s not her fault,
this is Audrey’s assault.

It started before she reached her teens, the father entering his dreams through her jeans.
Explained how no one would listen to her screams, still not quite sure what it means.
Audrey accepts what she has been given, started to believe this was a normal way of living.
The experience ends, left in the corner shivering, looking out the window at the moon’s gleam.
A father ignored the plea, halt!
Forced to keep emotions locked inside her heart’s vault,
it’s not her fault,
this is Audrey’s assault.

Told a friend about their romance, the father saying, I love you, while pulling down her pants.
Best friend told her, when you get a chance find someone to tell.
Audrey extremely nervous, her friend saying, you don’t deserve this!
Seduced by his sexual spell, the way he would yell, the way he would make her face swell.
A father ignored the plea, halt!
Forced to keep emotions locked inside her heart’s vault,
it’s not her fault,
this is Audrey’s assault.

As she got a little older, became tired of the lynching way he used to hold her.
Wished she could cure her mother’s cancer in order to find the answer she needed.
Went through this by herself, all day lying to herself, at night never lying by herself.
Leaving for school everyday feeling defeated, depressed, drained and depleted.
A father ignored the plea, halt!
Forced to keep emotions locked inside her heart’s vault,
it’s not her fault,
this is Audrey’s assault.

In a private journal she described how her father entered inside.
The internal pain she felt, every time touched, her skin would melt.
Mom terminally ill, father overpowering her with his will, stay still!
An image never to leave the mind, the way a father unbuckled his belt.
A father ignored the plea, halt!
Forced to keep emotions locked inside her heart’s vault,
it’s not her fault,
this is Audrey’s assault.

The Night Lost

5 kids in a car,
turning on the ignition, music turned up so strangers could listen.
Bottle caps on beer bottles started twisting, sipping and passing.
Everyone was having a good time laughing and joking, screaming with windows open.
Kids full of potential and passion never thought of the car crashing.
On the way to a party on Saturday night, each looking for a girl who was just right.
Passing a blunt in the backseat and like a track meet, the car started to go faster.
The driver didn’t want to risk humility, so he didn’t speak of his inability.
Everything became still at 3 a.m. as they drove straight to their disaster.
The driver lost control, the car wrapped around a telephone pole, 4 was the death toll.
In the midst of the summers heat, bodies lifeless on the concrete, none more than 20 years old.
Results from moving too fast, broken glass, alas, this night would be their living last.
At the accident scene the wind is reciting the story being told.
After the smoke cleared, 4 peers sinking into a cemetery, overhead raining tears.
The 1 survivor had to live with cold stares, every night the moment reappears.
The moment before they crashed, 4 kids with bright futures became part of the past.
Every time a young kid opens a cold beer, their souls are released into the air.
1 night of not thinking can change your entire world.
A bad decision left 4 no longer living and for 1, a normal life stops.
This is the night lost.

Urban Monk

In a crowded city it is so hard to breathe
trying to inhale air so stale.
Mixed in with the breeze
truth, lies, cigarette smoke and weed.
In a crowded city it’s so hard to believe.

Bare trees, girls on their knees,
the frail figures of drug addicts.
in a crowed city there’s not much room to grieve

Where does someone go to find inner peace in the streets?
Is there a place to experience tranquil thoughts?
I can’t concentrate with sirens, beeps
and the homeless woman who weeps.
Where do I go when I can’t escape my own heart beat?
Running from my problems, from a broken family and from the cops,
no matter how pure, into my soul the sickness slowly seeps.

Hard to not walk in the same shoes as earlier crews,
easy money to make, hard to refuse.
Peers trying to convince me to be the same, I’m trying to change.
The effects of pollution and poverty, look up at the sky,
it’s no longer painted with beautiful blues.
Everyday the papers are reporting the same violent news.
It’s in my brain, to fit in I have to wear gold chains
while gangs are my only real family.
I live in a society where there is little to gain and even less to lose.

It’s time to be serious,
this is no time to laugh,
if I don’t find a way out I am going to explode.
The cities wicked wind has me lost in its wrath.
This is the point in my life where I’m at…

While my friend is getting a gun to load,
I walk a different road.
I am an urban monk
who searches for a different path.

I Live in a Far Away Place

I’ll never forget
the way they rushed in
and intruded my space.
That’s why I live
in my far away place.

I’ll never reveal
the place where I hide
my far away place where I reside.
It’s a place
where I will never have to be alarmed,
those who harmed me, I will never have to fear.
I got in my car and drove
kept my foot on the gas
not knowing which way to steer.

in my rearview mirror, the city streets
which kept me walking in a maze.
Finally, on my skin, the long arms of the sun’s rays.

I have been on the move
for many days.
Not looking for my new home, my new home will find me.
A peaceful paradise
where the beauty will blind me.

The sadness, there’s nothing in my far away place
which will remind me.
A fresh start, a new heart.
When I first seen it, never would have been able to dream it,
coming from inside, the strumming of harps.

I arrived
just as it was turning dark.
I saw a blue jay sitting on a stone.
I live in a far away place
and it is the first time in my life I feel like I am home.

Tell Me What the Day Was Like

Could someone please tell me what the day was like?
Tell me if the sky mirrored the ocean’s reflection,
tell me if it was one of those days
when the sun shined in every direction with precise perfection?

Could someone please tell me what the day was like?
Tell me if it was one of those days when leaves stood still,
tell me if it was one of those days
when you could leave your house without a jacket and not feel a chill?

Could someone please tell me what the day was like?
Tell me if it was one of those days when sidewalks sparkled like diamonds,
tell me if it was one of those days
when you went to sleep under a summer moonlight shining?

Could someone please tell me what the day was like?
Tell me if it was one of those days when parks were filled with joy,
tell me if it was one of those days
that brings out smiles on the faces of little girls and boys?

Could someone please tell me what the day was like?
Tell me if it was one of those days when you wished there was a 25th hour,
could someone please tell me what the day was like
when you come to my grave and place down a flower?

A Boy and His Ball

A boy shoots his ball
long after everyone has went home, until no one else is around.
A boy bounces his ball
from when the sun goes up, until the sun goes down.

A boy cradles his ball
in his arm like a newborn.
The last thing he thinks about before bed,
the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning.

The ball could never be torn out of his arms,
the ball is there for his escape.
He kept shooting and dribbling
until he was no longer good, until he was great.

A boy and his ball together at the playground, it is his life,
to others it might just be a game.
It is how he is known around town,
the ball has given the boy his name.

While others are out up to no good
you will always find a ball in the boy’s hands.
The ball teaches and disciplines the boy,
it has helped him become a man.

He knows if he keeps practicing
he will be able to conquer all competition.
Throughout the neighborhood
the sound of swishing.

The ball is the boy’s sole reason for existing,
without his ball the boy would not be able to breathe.
Nothing else in the world matters,
the ball is the only thing the boy will ever need.

He shoots away his troubles until he is no longer upset.
His despair, with every dribble it seems to disappear
as the boy watches his ball, float
gracefully through air.