Welcome to the second of 4 post slots from our creative in residence for April- Ben Cooper who, over the next 4 weeks, will be sharing some of his pieces with us. .
My eyes are open, but behind my eyes lies dark throbbing splinters, embryonic nightmares, lustful whispers. My joints complain as loudly as this bed. I wipe the sand from my eyes. Or is it sawdust? Does it really matter at this point?…creaking bed, creaking bones, creaking life…
It’s funny the way we attach ownership to things. I think of this as my window though countless others looked out of it. The sun has barely crept up through the trees, from the lip of the world, pinking the sky.
The clock quietly asks at me ‘n my strings get caught up in another day ‘n I’m dragged along. Once I was a creature of entertainment, children laughed at the antics of me. It was never my doing, my master pulled my cords ‘n I got the laughs. I just dumbly followed…I had words pushed into my mouth the way a little girl feeds cookies to her favorite doll.
Unlike Pinocchio I never wanted to be a real child, they’re soft things with a perplexing amount of disgusting substances that come out of them. I just wanted to pull my own strings ‘n explore. So when my master wasn’t looking I snipped my twine ‘n went out into the world. The world caught me, my oaken heart smoldered to ash. I walked on my own two feet, but my strings kept catching on things; bills, meetings, money, work…’n people they kept trying to pull me in so many directions…I swear I’m a minute away from being kindling…
A matron pops in her head ‘n chirps…Group. Sweating, slowly skirting awake, I try to navigate a fading wilderness. Dreams, eels wriggling in the corner of my head, slipping from my grasp…
Look. I’m a real boy, all my strings are invisible.
Group time is mandatory, all of us yawning children sit in chairs as stained ‘n worn out as us. We talk about our plans. Our plans are crumbs…do our laundry, make our beds, shower. Blackness shrieks at the back of my head. I see it in the others too. We squirm with discomfort ‘n try not to look at where we sit. Maybe these chairs are haunted. Maybe stains are memories an eye can see. No matter how dirty the chair is, we all want to sit where the sun is. A clouded eye in the ceiling tiles sometimes let’s a shred of sunlight tumble onto us.
There are plants here that are supposed to cheer us up…sickly hothouse palms that have only eaten whining florescent light…drank water from paper cups ‘n that have never felt a breeze…
One of the bright spots of the day here is the walk. The matrons take us beyond the cement of the yard out into the garden, outside the walls for a bit…
I don’t get to go out on the walk, my doctor hasn’t yet said I could. Pleasant things need the doctor’s permission; drugs, coffee, walks outside.
In the grass you wandered, picking flowers from their brick beds whenever the nurse’s back was turned. You walked in with flowers in your hair smiling at the matron’s scolding ‘n gave me a flower to put behind my ear. Your smile brightens this beige poorly lit box.
Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.
Ben will be back on Tuesday 22nd April with another piece of his writing. Tomorrow, we have some more great Book 14, Transformations poems. Hope to see you there!