Grasping At Straws

Children have drowned in buckets and toilets.

You are the straw that would break my camel.

Traversing the desert hundreds of days.

No food, no water, just an oasis.

Illusion of friendship always denied.

Grasping at, clutching an unreal image.

Abandoned when I needed forlorn hope.

The rest, they’ve forgotten. You’re not the first.

Only a parallel string universe.

My days are reminders of what I lack.

And my nights are relief until I wake.

I am falling behind, finishing last.

It’s time to be done; no future with smiles.

I’m so hungry, but my appetite fails.

Starving for fulfillment I’ll never have.

Embrace the end, there is nothing beyond.

Release will come when the coward is slain.

Learning how to let go, with no regrets.

Alleviate the pain and suffering.

Nobody sees the weight that crushes me.

Behind the wall of fake smiles and lies.

Internal reflections of what will come.

The calm of my descent from the living.

Consequences considered, not abrupt.

Minimize the disruption of impact.

For once I will be happy all alone.

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Invisible

The span of the San Ivan River is a rich wildlife habitat that some claim as the most fertile region in the world. Its source is a spring at the foot of Mount Pedro. It then runs south through rolling grasslands, drops off at the Caliente Falls, flows alongside flourishing towns and villages, cuts through the Cowboy Mountains, and finally empties into Lake Triste. Trails trodden by Indians going from village to village have created ideal hiking conditions for any aspiring outdoorsman. The trails are easily navigable throughout each of the regions four seasons. Travelers can navigate the trails any time of the year, allowing them to see ice-covered falls, flowering meadows, sandy beaches, or blossoming trees. There are even 100-gallon water station barrels along the trails, placed for travelers as places to rest and replenish their water supply with purified water sources. Guides are available to explain the history of the region, beginning from the when the river’s path was first dug out.

Pidurutalagala (Mount Pedro)

Decades later, plant growth along the river’s edges brought civilization back to the region. Families began constructing homes within reach of the river’s shores, grouping into settlements with other families, until the entire region became populated. Women would travel to the river and gather water, while the men improved upon their homes or worked in small gardens. Children would play around all of them, until they were shooed away, when they would go play around someone else. Some of the men even began expanding their gardens into sustainable farms once the minor irrigation systems were built. Of course, none of this would have been possible if not for the man who dug the river, and when tour guides began populating this river oasis, they learned that his name was Ivan.

Ivan was thought to live near Lake Triste, where he took baths. After the market was built at the northern part of the river, he was also known to visit weekly for supplies. The men who had seen Ivan said he was always smiling, offering generously to give a hand for anything, but asked nothing in return. He would offer to work their farms, build their houses, carry their water, and even clean the children when they came back from playing in the mud. He never asked for anything, nor did he ever explain who he was or that it was he who built the river. He was simply content to work, and that is all they ever knew. The husbands told their wives of this great friend that was a friend without sustained friendship, and this made the wives, and the gossiped widows and girls, suspicious, because they had never seen Ivan. The husbands told how he could be seen around Lake Triste, or on his hikes to the northern Market, how much he smiled around at everyone while at that market, and even pointed to him when he was working with them. But the women talked amongst themselves about their husbands, because the women never saw Ivan. So the men became more adamant, taking their families to the beaches at Crater Lake for family vacations. There, the men would stop and talk to Ivan as he was emptying sandbags, help him carry more down to the beach, and then return to their families. Ivan would smile, and the children would stare at him, but the women would only frown in his direction until he let go of his smile and returned to work. The men wanted Ivan to be recognized, so they would invite him to dinner after a day’s work, but Ivan would politely decline the invitations, smiling and waving before leaving their homes, while the children quietly watched him and the women glared at him as he walked out the door. Ivan became discomfited once the mall was built, because every time he would visit there, per usual, the men would walk up to shake his hand and make small talk while the children looked at him, but the women were never so kind, always shooting him dirty looks that sheepened his smile away.

Eventually Ivan stopped going into public in order to maintain his spirits, but the men were disappointed. No longer did they have the help or kindness that radiated from Ivan, but now they spent their days working alone, and would go home empty, subjected to the full wrath of their wives’ incessant nagging that work wasn’t being done around the house, and the children were becoming unruly. When the first husband killed himself, the men knew something had to be done. Intolerable lives led the men to lobby for Ivan to return. They met together at night in the Trump Tavern that now overlooked the river from the foot of Lake Triste. Ivan was contacted, and with regret he gave his first speech the next day at the funeral procession, called the ‘Funeral Oration.’ But Ivan immediately disappeared again, and husbands continued to end their own lives in desperation.

The men then named Ivan the pharaoh of the San Ivan River region. As pharaoh, Ivan returned to the public, if only to give speeches on the state of the region. His orations were held in the highest regard by the men that heard them broadcast all over the San Ivan River region, and lifted their spirits back to fulfilling, functional lives. His first speech as pharaoh was called, ‘On the Crown,’ wherein Ivan discussed the succession and ascendancy to pharaoh, naming any man worthy, provided that he had prior experience. The men rallied to the speech, finding an enormous sense of respect for this egalitarian man that they had named theirs. The men returned home to their wives and talked of their aspirations to the new throne, once Ivan’s eternal reign ended. The wives scoffed, and having not heard the speech, began to presume that the pharaoh’s seat was a way to keep them out of power. They met together and gossiped, but forgot about the possibility of preparing a plan to unseat the pharaoh. Ivan, in his benevolence, began to issue sermons for the morality of the children. His first was the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. Understanding that he was not a god, Ivan concluded his moral teachings with ‘The Farewell Sermons’, and thereafter allowed parents to guide their children’s own morality. Once the San Ivan River region was declared the only freshwater resource left in the world, Ivan immediately stationed troops at outposts along the river to protect the region from invaders. Prior to sending them out on the very first watch, he spoke to them at their fort, giving each a bottle of water from the San Ivan River that would heal any wounds sustained.

Following the war, Ivan found other issues he had to deal with. Taking advantage of the possibility of war, a group had formed against his administration called ‘The Troubleshooters’. This group identified problems with Ivan’s administration, but offered no solutions. They gossiped about it loudly in places about the city, but no action was ever taken. The group eventually disbanded because of a lack of leadership and splinter groups forming. As a man who despised inaction, Ivan did not let their actions go, but rebuked the group for such devious intentions with his “Ain’t I a Man?” speech. The speech was given in front of a large double-arched hotel in the middle of the city. At the end of the speech, as Ivan waved to the crowd and began to walk away, shots were fired. He ducked, and was rushed to cover by his bodyguard. The shooter was immediately apprehended by the crowd and handed over to police, while Ivan was rushed to the hospital. Ivan sustained no injuries during the event, and once released immediately held another press conference to announce his resignation, to the chagrin of his supporters. His assailant was put on trial, and eventually declared not guilty by a jury and released despite what seemed to be overwhelming evidence. Ivan allegedly retired to a treehouse he had built, and was never seen or heard from again. Some tour guides point out his possible location, labeled outside with a sign that reads, “no girls allowed.”