Poem: The Sound of Death

This week in school we had to write poetry. I’ve never been a big poet. It feels too short and I’m long-winded (haha, at least I own it). This week was tough. Not only because I was in the hospital, but also because there was a school shooting right down the street. I moved to Highlands Ranch with my family in 1991. I met my wife at Highlands Ranch High School. I graduated from Highlands Ranch High School. And while the shooting wasn’t at my High School, it was right down the street. My wife and I moved to Parker in 2004, but it’s still in the same county (Douglas County). My kids go to school in this county. My wife is a teacher in this county. It all hit too close to home and I’m not happy about it. I had to write three poems this week. Given my ER trip and the school shooting, they all were in the theme of death. I had an idea for my third poem and approached my son. I asked him what he was feeling about the shooting and we chatted for a few minutes. He is very lyrical (creates his own rap music) and I asked him if he’d collaborate with me. We sat down for a couple hours and created the below poem. I haven’t really edited it, but I wanted to share it. Please feel free to give us feedback.

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The Sound of Death

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

It used to be we went to school

We learned, we had fun, we lived life,

Empty minds, we followed the rules,

Not knowing the impending strife,

The thought had never crossed our minds,

This moment, a cut in our time,

It has to change, now is the time,

What will you do, government minds?

 

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

A normal day, sitting in class,

Listen to our teacher ramble,

Biggest thought was letting time pass,

Alarm sounds, nothing flammable,

So many sounds, screaming abound,

Bullets whiz by, fear for my life,

Loud crashes, bodies hit the ground,

Now I won’t live to ninety-five.

 

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

I feared for myself, my friends gone,

A battle ensued, yet I stand,

I’m still stuck here, but they moved on,

Too many fell due to one man,

As I remain, I recollect,

They’re on the ground, their souls have left,

Another mind that’s left unchecked,

So many lives we all bereft.

 

We missed our chance to cry for help,

Without a thought for our own health,

We didn’t run, thought we had stealth,

As bullets fly, their sound is death.

Short Story: That Particular Sunday

Sharing another short story from school. The prompt was that particular Sunday and we could do it in any style.

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Sundays were a ritual for me: my day of solace. I’d wake at the crack of dawn and walk the trails through my neighborhood with no destination in mind. It’s the silence and being alone that kept me going. In my hectic life, these are the few hours I have to myself. Until last Sunday that is.

Long before dawn, I threw on my clothes, kissed my wife on her forehead, and walked outside. The air smelled fresh, like the previous night’s rain washed the Earth clean of its sins. The wind tickled the back of my neck and I wished I’d brought along a jacket. I could always return and grab one but knew I’d get hot before too long.

Luck was on my side this Sunday morning. There were usually a few other walkers out and about, but today I had the trail to myself. The sun wouldn’t make its appearance for another hour or so, but already it painted the edge of the horizon a light orange. I welcomed the sight.

In the dark calm of the early hour, I spotted a soft flashing light in the distance. It was peculiar. The flash hid behind the tall trees crowding the smooth pavement of the path. If I were a wise man, I would’ve turned back right then and there. But I’m not and I pressed on.

The flashing grew brighter and I noticed the light’s rhythmic pulse, mesmerizing, and I fell into a trance. Shaking my head to get my wits about me, I crept closer, making sure I stayed behind the trees. There was a large pasture normally filled with cows, but this morning, the thick grass hugged the edges of a ship. Several thin, humanoid shapes stood out against the flashing light. The ship wasn’t large but filled the emptiness of the pasture. The humanoids busily went about their tasks. A shiver traced the curve of my spine and my mouth dropped open. I was transfixed, unable to move.

For several minutes I stared, watching the creatures pack up, readying themselves to leave. One stopped and looked at me. I wanted to duck behind the trunk of the tree, but couldn’t. Its gaze penetrated my soul and I froze. It stared at me for over a minute before nodding its head and flourishing its hand. It climbed the ramp and disappeared inside.

In a manner of moments, the ship lifted off and disappeared in a blur across the sky. In a haze, I returned home. I haven’t been right since. I’m hearing voices and always feel like someone is following me. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was crazy. But that can’t be. I know what I saw. It’s burned into my memory. Or is it? Each day that passes, the details grow murky. I can’t bring myself to walk the trails on Sunday mornings, and my sanity is slipping further away because of it.

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