Writing Calisthenics

AvatarA collection of short stories, essays, and exercises to keep my brain from rusting between larger works.

Lake St. Clair

(Exercise info and explanation at the bottom)

    Swinging and swinging and swinging in circles his hands clasped tight around my wrists as he spun just above the surface of the water.  I was naked and small and light and the wind whipped through my hair and my legs bounced in the air as we spun and spun around dancing like angels on the tips of the waves.  Behind us the boat was pulling away and they waved from its deck and when he turned to look back, he let go. 
    Papa!
    He spun and spun and spun as I flew higher and further.  The lake turned black and thick like printer's ink and roiled and boiled with electric gilded waves spitting up higher and higher around his legs as he spun spun spun drilling deeper under the waves. 
    Papa!
    I flew further, and faster, and backwards, feet towards the shore as he spun spun spun, deeper under the waves, and sadness, sorrow and sadness covered his face, and he reached up for God's own hand to stay his death.  Like the razor lined maw of hell the water opened up to swallow him and I soared, unable to stop, unable to see his face, unable to help, too afraid to want to.  The sky turned purple and black and the waves grew.  And suddenly I was there, right there, and the blue green water closed over his head and down he went in a shower of bubbles escaping from his pockets from his shirt from his nostrils from his open gaping mouth, and his eyes were wide with fear as he tried to hold his breath and struggle to a surface that closed over his head, a sewer, a manhole cover of water water water.
    He breathed in, he choked he swallowed he spit he gagged and his eyes bugged wide until his chest lurched once and he was still.  And suddenly I was flying again, this time backwards bent at the waist, arms and legs trailing twisting in the breezy water pouring off me, yanked from that hate-filled lake screaming and cold and so fucking alone and angry and tired and wet.
    It started to rain and the boat shrunk to a dot and the sky turned black and black turned to night and night was split wide with lightning and shocks of thunder that threw my naked body around like a shoe in a dryer.  It bounced me around and laughed at me and tossed me towards the shore and passed me from cloudburst to explosive crackling burst as the shores of the lake - the edge of the city -  drew closer and louder and taller and pockmarked with light.  I started to run, my feet catching up to my panic as the ground grew closer and closer, preparing for impact, stumbling forward to catch my own fall with hands in the air hoping and hoping for help from no one.
    Seconds to the streets of Detroit, seconds until I could burn naked through alleys and streets and homeward with no idea how I'd get there or what would be waiting for me with my guardian dead and SLAM! the wind pulled the feet from under me and shoved me as it laughed and I fell, knees first skidding on the pavement, flesh grinding off exposing bone and SLAM! my face hit the pavement as I slid, and the skin tore from my cheek and chest.
    And my ribs burst open until I
    Stopped and
    Rested and
    Breathed as
    I watched my heart spill from my breast and
        slow to a stop
            on the dirt and road.


Exercise: Write down the first dreams you remember.  Don't mention they're dreams.  Objective: Remember that in dreams you can't be held accountable for making everything plausible.  Don't punctuate, just drift words and images together into a dreamlike stream of consciousness.

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