Candace and Ivory, Prose by Kris Jordan

prose by kris jordan

(c) https://www.deviantart.com/yassou31/art/inner-conflict-387134576

Candace looked over at the passenger riding in her car. Her best friend, Ivory, had the same long blonde hair as she, but thinner, prettier features. Candace’s round face had never been something she liked, but rather caused her to watch beauty tutorials on how to apply shading to give her a more defined jawbone, making her look less young and cherub-like.

As if Ivory could read her mind, and maybe she could after all these years, she looked back at Candace and bit the inside of her lip before saying, “Why don’t you think you are pretty?”

“I don’t know. I mean, there are times I do. But, I’m overweight. My feet are wide. My front tooth is fake. My face is too round. My hair is too thin.”

Ivory laughed. “Do you think there is only one type of pretty? Like, have you ever met someone overweight who was also pretty?”

“Well, yes. But it’s different for me. Like, those girls know how to dress. And I haven’t seen them try to be sexy, or be naked. I bet if I saw them naked, I wouldn’t think they were pretty anymore.” Candace checked the rearview mirror – a habit she had learned from her dad who told her to always been aware when driving. She caught Ivory’s profile with her deep in thought, as she often was.

“Girls that are overweight aren’t sexy?” Ivory questioned.

“No, I guess they aren’t.”

“They are just lucky to be loved? The desperate sacks that are with them are just depraved?”

“Well when you say it like that, it’s shitty.” Candace shifted in her seat.

“What makes people love these fat girls?”

“I guess they have good traits too. Like more than just their body.”

“Are you loveable, Candace?” Ivory prodded.

Candace sat quiet. “Can we talk about something else?”

She was starting to wonder if it was the length of this particular trip that was having Ivory be so chatty and philosophical. It wasn’t meant to be a therapy session. It was just a drive to check out a college they were interested in. A long drive, past vast farmlands and through small towns, some which had gas stations and others that offered nothing more than a small circle on the paper map they had.

When her dad gave her the map, it seemed silly- after all, they had the Map App on their iPhones. However, the map did come in handy when the phones were out of range and the app wouldn’t load anything more than the blue dot that represented them. A useless blue dot on a nameless grid, or even a white background without a single line to show the road they traveled.

Ivory began to bite her nails. It was a disgusting habit, according to Candace. It was mostly done when deep in thought. The click-click sound of her teeth knocking into each other when they slipped from her fingertip made Candace cringe. “Can you stop?”

Ivory sat up, pulled from her trance. “Stop what?”

“Your noise. That noise you make when you bite your nails.”

“It’s no more annoying than when you pop the spit bubbles in your cheek,” Ivory retorted.

“It just bugs me.”

“Then put on music, Candace.”

“Why can’t you just stop?”

“Why can’t you just put on music? There’s more than one way to solve a problem. There’s more than just your way.”

Candace punched the button on the radio and remembered why she turned it off in the first place. The scanner just spun, from the lowest numbers to the highest, not picking up a station, or at best the disjointed beats and scratchy melody of a song that just wouldn’t get through.

She pulled her hand back when she saw her short, stubby nails, chewed down in anxiety. The polish she had applied was worn down, making them look childish rather than sophisticated, like how she wanted them to be. She hated being anxious. She hated being scared.

“What are you most scared of?” Candace asked Ivory.

“Not knowing what I think I need to know. Failing. Never being successful. Never making a difference or positive impact. I’m scared I’ll never be in love. That no adventure will make me happy. That passion is a lie.”

Candace sighed. “I don’t know if I’m more afraid of feeling or of not feeling. Do you think that way?”

Ivory turned to look out the window. “Yes.”

Candace hated that about Ivory. She hated that Ivory couldn’t just turn to her and give her a pep talk. She hated that Ivory, only in moments, would show this wild, warrior woman and rise up and pull Candace up with her. She wished she was always confident and full of hope and faith so she could be too.

In fact, it was Ivory’s hot and cold – so hot you would follow her into battle, sword on fire, dinner warming on the stove for when you returned, as you would surely return – so cold you wondered if all she was a glitter-throwing, mirror-bending, sunshine-making fairy who would disappear in the rain like dust on an unpaved road – that made Candace question everything. Was she real, alive, impassioned or was she aloof, disconnected, a liar and imposter?

In all these years, she had come to the conclusion that she was indeed both, but she liked the wild Ivory better. She loved being sparked into dreaming big, believing she could create anything she put her mind to. She loved being scared and on the lip of a boundary others talked of but never went towards. It was why she kept Ivory around. Those moments seemed to be the climatic highs that balanced out the daily low Candace felt.

She didn’t know if it was depression, or just being bored, tired, unhappy, or if it was just life.

“Do most people think about dying?” Candace asked.

“Yes. But not daily, like you do.” Ivory said flatly. “Not everyone thinks that at 7am the world is good and at 7pm they pray they don’t wake up the next day.”

“Are people really happy, or is it a show? Does everyone wear a mask?”

“I don’t know. I’m not everyone. But, I would guess, based on how many people are alive, and not just sitting around killing themselves…”

“But they are!” Candace interjected, “They smoke cigarettes they know are killing them. They take drugs. They are addicted to porn and Facebook and work and have affairs and abandon their kids in search of living. They are killing themselves in order to live. At best, they are numbing themselves to not feel the bullshit they feel in living.”

Ivory sighed. “Again, with your negativity!”

“It’s realism.”

“And how is that working out for you?”

Candace blinked, unsure what to say. “Well, I’m still here, aren’t I?”

The car was silent for several minutes.

“How much further?” Ivory asked.

“I’m not sure.” Candace answered, looking once again in the mirror, but this time Ivory wasn’t there. Only Candaces own eyes looked back at her.

Author’s Commentary

This prose was inspired by a long drive I took while traveling in my RV. Road trips can be a time for a lot of self-reflection. I often found myself “arguing” with my inner thoughts and in this prose thought about what it might be like if our inner self sat next to us, just as a real person would.

Share

Steak and Lobster

parental alcoholism

(c) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prose by Kris Jordan

Theirs was the worst kind of love. Dreamy and hopeful, sad and primarily one sided. He saw all her good and accepted her bad. And her bad looked like her passed out on the bathroom floor, her kid alone in her room, again. It was the nearest objects being hurled at him when she couldn’t take “it” anymore. He learned “it” was life, bills, sobriety, work, cleaning, eating… at any given time.

He fell for her hard. Played her the guitar and sang. She listened, eyes fixated on him in a way that he never felt before. Seen and saturated with the warm glowing light that only her heart could radiate. When she kissed him, everything in him melted. He burned for her. Ran his hands along the curve of her back, her hips, her thighs. Every bit of her feminine he loved. He breathed it in as deep as he could, hoping it would become a part of him, stored away for the times she was as cold as the northern glaciers.

During the day he worked, sometimes at the studio, sometimes on the yard. He was a peaceful and quiet man and considered himself the perfect balance, the yin to her yang, or visa-versa. He knew they were both light and dark. Everyone was. Maybe her dark was more visible, less socially acceptable. His dark included the cigars he would sneak, the steak lunches he would have when he knew groceries were needed at home. But he grew tired some days of hoping to come home to a hot dinner, or any dinner really, and making a sandwich. Her dinner was a glass of wine, or a pot of coffee. But it was still wrong, and he knew it. He said for better or worse; for sicker or poorer; in sickness and in health. He vowed and a lonely steak lunch that he relished- and did he- didn’t honor his wife. When he wiped the juice off his mouth, it felt no different in his gut then had he wiped a woman’s juices from it. And while he wouldn’t cheat with another woman, he would cheat with a steak. A fat, delicious, still bloody sirloin.

It seemed to bring him alive for those moments. Those twenty minutes of passion. The fire of the grill like the fireplace in Aspen all those times they made love when they were still young. When their bodies were fit and they had dreams of the future. Her blonde hair and blue-gray eyes were all he could see, despite the rich girls who slipped him their numbers when he played at the bar. Whether or not she was there. Whether or not she watched him on stage, she was the reason he strummed. She was the reason he kept rhythm. He imagined making love to her as the music, band and audience swayed. She became his song and moved through his blood.

He wanted her to bear their children. He pictured them. He pictured teaching them to read the classics and love great music and respect the earth and love the world. As it turned out, she came with a child already and wasn’t able to birth more. But he loved her, so it was ok. He adopted her daughter and raised her just as he would if she was his biologically. After all, the girl still deserved love, a dad, a family. The daughter was smart, gifted even, and took after him and when his wife left, not just the times she left for a day or two, but really left, for good, he took care of her and taught her everything he could. So what if she didn’t wear makeup? So what if the school nurse was the one to answer her questions about being a woman. So what if she came home to an empty house, lots of kids these days did. She was a quiet type anyway. She’d sit and read books. Her friends were characters in books, not in dangerous video games like those boys like- boys who commit violence.

He must have done something right, because his daughter loved him. He knew because her eyes lit up when he came home. It reminded him of her mother. Her mother who he still loved. His daughter kissed him on the cheek and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Let’s go get a steak,” he said. “And lobster too?” She asked. “Of course,” he answered. And they did.

 

Author’s Commentary

I was inspired to write this after I heard a man say that he used to play the guitar for his wife when they first met. Because I’m dark and cynical about love (lol), I of course made it sad. I also thought about the young girls raised by their fathers because their mothers aren’t available, for one reason or another. Because I identify as a ACA/Alanon, alcoholism and those themes resonate with me.

I love when fathers parent their children, biological or not. I love when mothers parent their kids, biological or not. Parents make mistakes, myself included. Some deserve to be forgiven because they did the best they could – successfully or not. Others don’t deserve to be forgiven and did very harmful things, sometimes intentionally. In these cases, we chose to forgive for us- for our own healing and health, to the best of our ability at any given time. Our forgiveness can ebb and flow, and that’s ok. Forgiveness and grief, (and fear and faith for that matter), change like the phases of the moon.

With love,

Kris

Share

This Small Town

americana poetry

Americana Poetry by Kris Jordan

This small town has a shower in the laundry mat.
A man, soap on his face and a towel around his waist
Walks across the tile towards the change machine for more quarters.
“Oh my” says a woman in cut off jean shorts
Her foot propped up as she paints her toenails red and gold
As she waits for her towels to dry
Within the cool air conditioning of the laundry mat
Rather than the 90 plus degree heat in her farm house
During a drought.
But it rained a little today
Just a few drops
Not enough for the corn or hemp or cherries or peaches
Or to soothe the fires that have the volunteer firemen wondering
If they should use the precious resource of water to stop the burning or to just let it go
Try to fight it with dirt, the red sand from Moab.

The Chamber sells tacos and baked goods and juice and booze
To raise money for the firefighters so they can have showers.
The auctioneer teases the crowd to get them to raise their bid cards
And the quilters display their beautiful handiwork beside handmade biscuits and lemon crème pies
While little girls giggle at the ribbons won from their cookies that they spent the morning baking with grandma
When they weren’t in the trough cooling off
Watching calves hopping around playfully and being butted by mama cow to keep them aware of the dogs on the other side of the fence.

The other side of the fence where Johnny shoots those damn prairie dogs
And further yet boys jump into the icy reservoir, water lower than it’s ever been
Looking for relief from the heat and
Old men throw their fishing lines looking for dinner.
And locals head to the bar
Over the train tracks
Past the coal mines and the dog that’s always on the corner
To the bar with beer on ice
A friendly poker game with
Grandma who carries a corn cob pipe
Junior who looks like he works harder than anyone
And smells like it too
Sue and Sue and Mary and Mary and Chris and Chris and Chris

This small town is America
But if you don’t take the journey, you’ll never know it

Author’s Commentary

Americana poetry has always been interesting to me – capturing a photograph or collage of American culture through written word captures our diverse heritage, economy, demographics and geography. The journey of discovering the nooks and crannies of our United States is in the hearts of most of us, pushing us to travel in any way we can. At the writing of this Americana poetry, I’ve been on the road in my travel trailer for several weeks. I am grateful for the life I have and look forward to the blessings that continue to come.

What does “exploring America” conjure up for you? What does “small town” mean to you? What part of history do you like to experience through Americana poetry?

Share

To Show Me You Care, Poem by Kris Jordan

To Show Me You Care

poetry (c) 2010 Kris Jordan

Reach for me
Reach for my hand
Keep an open mind
Listen
Don’t tell me what to do
Think of me and show me you did
Tease me
Wink at me
Smile at me
Make me laugh and laugh
Surprise me
Tell me about yourself
Hug me
Whisper something to me
Learn my favorite things
Initiate fun
Be honest
Have passion about something
Look into my eyes
Tell me I’m beautiful
Love my mind, body and spirit
Respect my time and space
Ask me questions
Think about me and tell me you did
Wash my car (and never my laundry)
Spend time with me
Fight for me
Reach for me

 

Author’s Comentary

Communication is crucial to relationship building. Without it, we make a lot of assumptions.

This is one of my older poems and it’s really more of a list I had created when my partner asked me what he could do to show me love. I orginally posted this on Facebook and asked others what they would add to the list. What would you add? Anything you would take away? Could you make a list and share it with someone you love? Could you ask them for their list as well?

Recently, I began working with at-risk youth again after taking a few years off. One of the biggest frustrations is that of communication. These young adults are in a funny situation. Some of them have language barriers because one language is spoken at home and another is spoken at school, work, retailers and more. Some of them have communication issues because they don’t have a phone or computer or access to one at home. Some of them have communication problems because they don’t feel like they have a voice or can speak up.

Communication is a skill we can learn and develop regardless of our age, past or former competency. Hopefully, this poetic list opens up another way you can use to communicate to those you love.

Share

The Warrior and the Dandelion Queen Poem by Kris Jordan

The Warrior and the Dandelion Queen

Poetry by Kris Jordan (c) 2015

I am a warrior and I will fight for her

Her, with the wild morning hair,

eyes that haven’t been fogged by hurt,

a heart full of wonder,

beating in rhythm with me,

fully intact.

 

She need not be locked up in a fridgid marble castle.

She is free to run

with bare feet

on the cool ground

and in the warmth of the sun.

I am a warrior and I will protect her.

 

That’s why she created me.

She created my flowing purple cape.

With a spin and a flick it changes me into any creature

imagined or real

or, with a snap, create a perfect boundary

of air

or distance

or concrete

or rose petals.

 

She created my scales, my feathers, my oversized eyes like those of an owl

so I can see more of everything

tangible or perceived.

 

I will fight

for her dreams, vibrant with hope

For her ears, not rusted form stinging salts

For her fingers that fashion crowns of dandelions.

 

I will fight

for her belief she can be anything

for her playfulness

for her joy.

 

My sword will be drawn on those who arrive with malice

those who tempt her with doubt and fear and comparisions

Those who seek to put out her light

 

I become a dragon and incinerate them

all of them

to protect us

to protect me

to protect the Dandelion Queen

 

Author’s Commentary

I felt very empowered writing this poem. The concept was this little girl, yes even my inner child and a guiding force I name “Krissy”. She is innocent and should always be. She is a creator. She creates a shapeshifter who is her warrior- one who can keep her safe from the world, internally and externally to keep her creating, as she was intending to do.

I also loved the idea of the boundaries she can create- those invisable, those of distance, those of concrete, and those that are lighter, like rose petals. I think as we move through life we need to know with whom to set the right type of boundaries, not being too soft or too firm, but trusting ourselves.

Who is your inner child’s warrior?

Share

In Love with You Poem by Kris Jordan

In love with you

Poetry by Kris Jordan (c) 2011

 

I don’t read romance novels

have no silly ideas from those

no longing for gushy stories

 

so why,

when I listen to John Cougar Melloncamp on the radio,

do I think of us?

do I think of Little House on the Prairie

and the romance of a simple life

the passion of ending a hard day

with only you

and a quilt I made to keep us warm?

 

When I met you,

sex became making love and passion became more than lust.

Hurt became hurt like never before

and tears became a reality,

not just something seen on TV.

 

You woke me up, made me alive

I’ll take the pain with the pleasure

because I am thankful to be here with you.

 

I don’t watch love stories

have no thoughts of kissing in the rain

no wish for midnight serenades.

 

so why,

do I dream of a cowboy; my long hair whipping in the wind

and think of us?

do I think of your stinky boots

and my love affair with angst and struggle

the passion of ending a hard day

with only you

and a quilt I made to keep us warm?

 

When I met you,

love songs began to make sense and colors appeared much brighter.

Hurt became hurt like never before

and tears became a reality,

not just something seen on TV.

 

You woke me up, made me alive

I’ll take the pain with the pleasure

because I am thankful to be here with you.

 

why does it make me think of you?

 

Author’s Commentary

This poem felt more like a song to me. When I wrote it I was feeling this emotion of love, but I was reflecting on the nostalgic feelings of it more than the emotion itself. I had a feeling that love felt rugged, full of angst and struggle and I wasn’t sure why I saw it that way. While did I feel like being in love was like being a homesteader?

To me, love is passionate and yet feels like hard work, yet is worth every bit of pain.

Share

Cheater Poem by Kris Jordan

Cheater Poem by Kris Jordan

Poetry (c) 2016

Cheater

How do I stop the brain and start the heart?

 

I’m not present as I kiss her lips

Don’t feel their softness because I’m not thinking of her

The rock in my stomach has me thinking of another

Thinking

Always thinking

I don’t feel her tongue’s movement against mine inviting me to more

Instead wondering if I will ever succumb to my heart

Stop running

Be here

Right here

 

When will I no longer succumb to my dick?

That little tiny pea sized dick

Between my ears

 

When, in bravery, will I shut off that damn switch?

Those dark dim thoughts

Let that lightbulb drop into my chest

And radiate courage

Love

Rather than this cowardice

 

How do I stop the brain and start the heart?

When will I trust her

Love her and dance with her

And finally leave the other

No, not leave the brain behind entirely

After all, I still need it

To drive. To do math. To choose which investments to make.

But to leave the judgment

That bitchy harsh critic

To let go of all the thinking

To be present with the being

Let go

Allow my feelings to be here

Right here

And love me

 

Really love me

 

Author’s Commentary

Self love demonstrated in a poem about a “cheater”… In this poem I use the metaphor of a physical affair to show the disconnect between the head/brain/ego and the heart. I also play on the concept of masculinity (the brain) and the feminine (heart). I wrote it because often I find myself fighting between what I feel is smart, logical, informed and the passion of desire, flow, and presence.

We can’t and shouldn’t completely cut off that linear side of us, our masculine that allows us to analyze and process data. We need it. Our left side allows us to survive and trouble shoot. AND we can’t and shouldn’t completely cut off that creative side of us, our feminine that allows us to feel, know, be. We need it. Our right side is needed to thrive and love.

When we understand and embrace all we are- both masculine in feminine- we can see the value they bring, the balance, the attraction we create from it, the contrast we have with each other, and can grow not only in love for ourselves, but for others as well.

Share

Hello Gorgeous Prose by Kris Jordan

Hello Gorgeous

prose by Kris Jordan

Intellectually I know my beauty doesn’t change day by day. But I still look in the mirror to judge it.
Some days, I am rather impressed.

I see my reflection and push my shoulders back, smile and say, “Damn!”

My confidence radiates and shakes the ether.

Other days I see my reflection and divert my eyes with disgust and wonder how anyone could ever find me attractive.

The mirror isn’t having a bad day. It never does.

The only thing it truly shows me is my perception.

I can’t control my mirror.
But, I can choose my perception.

Hello, gorgeous!

Author’s Commentary

I think this poem is pretty straight forward. It may be considered prose because of that. If you don’t feel you are a poet, or can’t write poetry, you may want to consider prose. Here is a simple graphic that explains the difference: Poetry vs. Prose

Prose and poetry are both ways to look differently at life. It gives us time to reflect on something happening and summing it up through examination. Sometimes by putting our feelings on paper, we gain objectivity we don’t have when we allow it to spin through our heads. For me, writing is a form of therapy, and there are lots of therapuetic methods that use journalling, writing, and other creative expressions to help us process and move through something that is or has troubled us.

Many times I believe we are attracted to songs for this same reason- they give us a voice that pin points our feelings. We may like the beat and sound, but often the words draw us in. We get to sing or say what we haven’t expressed, try on a new point of view, pretend, identify and more.

What words have had an impact on you- whether poetry, prose, or song? Do you or have you ever used journalling for therapy or reflection?

Today, I issue you a challenge to sit and journal about something that is bothering you. Pretend you are someone else going through the problem. How does this character solve it? What advice do you give him or her?

How does this objectivity support you?

Share

In Her Shoes Poetry by Kris Jordan

In Her Shoes

Perspective Poetry (c) Kris Jordan

I’m here, dripping sweat down my nose, working hard. Scrubbing the floors, the counters, the refrigerator shelves. Burning off this damn energy.
Thinking of you.
Wondering why I did you wrong.
Slamming the vacuum into the corner. Cussing as I roll over my foot. Kicking my ass for hurting you.

That cobweb in the corner.
That burnt out lightbulb.
How long have they been like that? Guess I didn’t notice them either. Left you, and them, sitting alone in that dark, dirty room, letting you rot.

I’m sorry for forgetting your heart.
For words left unsaid and those words that came spilling out so carelessly like cockroaches scattering towards the shadows where they belong.

I’m sorry I turn off.
Disappear inside my head. Become as warm and loving as the underside of a rock on the top of Pikes Peak where we rode the Cog Railroad and laughed and talked and you told me your dream. Your dream of helping hurting children.
You do that. Because your heart is so beautiful. So pure. You can heal them. I believe in you.

I don’t believe in me.
I don’t know how you manage to pump blood into my heart, bring me to life, invite my sense of adventure out to play. I don’t know how your magic kick-starts my breath as you cause me to gasp for air, inhale, breathe you in, fill my lungs.

You make me pant for more of the love you give.
In those moments when the sweat drips down my nose and your moisture drips down your leg, I am free. In those moments when I am present with you, my heart attempts to break through everything holding it down.
I want you. I want you. I want you.
I love you.

Author’s Commentary

This poem had several layers for me, and as often writing and/or poetry do, I didn’t discover it until I read it again. That’s the beautiful thing about life- we can take a different perspective at any time and see a situation differently. For example- read the poem through the eyes of one lover to another. Then, read it as the writer’s perspective of herself.

Many times our reflection of ourselves shows up in our relationships. Many times our reflection of others shows up in how we treat ourselves.

Consider today how you might change perspectives and learn something new. Talk to yourself as though thrid person, as though looking at your relationship with yourself like it is external. What changes?

Share

Shirley Temples and Long Island Iced Teas

Shirley Temples and Long Island Iced Teas

a poem by Kris Jordan
(c) 2013
*this was orginally published in Anything Prose and Poetry, Too! (Anassa Publications, LLC)

Our date was on Saturday morning
I skipped cartoons to seal my hair back with a barrette
Wiggled into a ruffle trimmed dress
You wore cowboy boots and the smells-good I bought you for Father’s Day
You look pretty, you say
And I feel sugary swirly sweet- an exclusive gift from you

We went to the Garden of Eden where
they give everyone a balloon twisted into an apple
that
sits precariously in their hand
Under shaded lamps, baked apples are served beside every pork chop
My small fingers are hidden in your hard working
construction plumber baker strong hand

My thick short glass magnifies tiny bubbles resting on syrupy cherries
Yours is tall in a glass that stacks the ice to the lip
Not like the beer I see you drink
Not like the cans that
Litter our home, cause you to sleep, make you as recpetive as concrete

Sweat lingers in the creases of your forehead
You become irritable at the waitress
She brings you another tall glass
That’s what you wanted
A sexy, tall woman not a thick goofy child
She brings a third, maybe more
And I enjoy my food more than I should
Filling my round belly
Wondering if I’ll ever be satisfied
If I’ll ever be pretty

We get in to your truck and you spit us out into traffic,
shouting
Barely missing cars in either direction
You look at me ashamed
Sad
My knuckles grasping the door, my knees clenched to my chest
I’m sorry, you say
But I don’t believe it
You’ve said it too often

 

Author’s Commentary

One day when reflecting on my childhood and my relationship with my dad, I had this memory of a father-daughter date that went awry due to his addiction to alchol. In it, I saw my addiction to food. I thought about the different tools we use to cope with our unexpressed feelings, and that sense of not being in control, not feeling safe, and that desperation in feeling so scared.

For so many kids, growing up in a home with addiction and/or alcholism is very common. We must be able to recognize the children in our life are victims of circumstances outside their control and they need support. They need to be heard. They need to know as adults, they can choose coping strategies and life tools that allow them to grow past old ways of self preservation.

For you who have hurt in this way, I send you love and peace. I encourage you to do a search for Alanon or Adult Children of Alcholics or Celebrate Recovery or Addiction Support Groups and see if any resonate with you, and follow that prompting.  You have been impacted by addiction, but you can find tools to support you now. I love you!

Share