Hour of the Muse by Marc Alexander Valle

I’d always play with those bugs that curl into balls. They called them roly-polys. I’d dig them up in the dirt and touch them with a small twig so they could roll up. I always wondered what it would be like in that ball, only seeing myself in shafts of light. Was it warm in there like when I’d stick my head into my winter jacket? Does he feel untouchable in there, safe and sound? Can he fall asleep?

I’d cover my entire body with the blanket at night so the zombies wouldn’t see me. If I can’t see them, they can’t see. This bed sheet, my midnight steel.

I’m a grown man and now believe that nothing is free from harm. Not my body. Not my life. Not my world. Not my dreams that can turn into nightmares right before I wake and throw off this thin bed cover.

But I still cover up completely even if it’s for a few seconds late at night, trying to fall asleep, and I wonder what all the boogeyman fuss was about. And maybe that was the Universe’s evolutionary plan with those roly-polys. Like the ancestor to the roly-poly lived in a world of bigger bugs, predators, boogeymen, and the only ones that survived were the cowards that curled into the ball.

I lie in bed waiting to feel dozy. Two hours will have to do. Just two hours.

When I wake, I will shed this bed sheet one more time to meet the day that will always arrive regardless of my fears, or what childhood I had, or how strong my daddy was, or what goals I’ve planned or failed to meet.

Just two hours. A few hours will have to do.

by Marc Alexander Valle ©2019

 

Nebe Nabe Veru ©2017 by Marc Alexander Valle

Jorge lied on the lawn face down, shirtless, feeling the funny feeling on his skin, thinking about how cows can eat grass but humans can’t, the sun blazing on his back. No parents home to say otherwise. No crying little sister. No older brother to call him weird.

And then the orange light shinned on the grass. He looked up as high as he could. A red orb floated before him. He froze. It approached him. His body shook. It hovered in front of him.

“Nebe nabe veru,” it said.

And the images flashed before his eyes:

His mother cut by the broken glass he forgot to pick up, cursing in Spanish.

His future wife.

His future children.

The catastrophic collapse of the world market.

His divorce.

His older brother’s incarceration.

His baby sister becoming a nun.

His mother’s final days.

His father’s heart attack.

His mother cut by the broken glass he forgot to pick up, cursing in Spanish.

Everything went black.

. . .

“Jorge. Get up,” his father said.

Jorge stood up, clippings covering his body.

“What are you doing?”

“Tanning,” Jorge said.

“What?”

“I saw it on TV.”

“On TV? Do they wash dishes on TV? Cause you’re grounded. Two hours we let you stay home and you can’t do abything around the house like we said?”

He peaked around his father. His older brother, David, stood smiling at him.

“Next time you go to church with us.”

“Damn it!” His mother walked onto the back patio, foot covered in blood. “I cut myself, Manny.”

. . .

Jorge and David sat in the hospital waiting room.

“Why you gotta be different?” David said.

“What?” Jorge said.

“All you had to do was go once and say it’s not for you. You think I believe in all that stuff?”

And then he thought about his brother’s future arrest, the wrong crowd that led to it, the drugs, the stealing, the lies to his parents and then the life sentence.

“You want to go looking for crawfish?” Jorge said.

“What?”

“At the creek. Remember we used to do that?”

“Crawfish? You’re thinking about crawfish?”

His brother stood up and started toward the bathroom. “You’re weird.”

Delicacy (Second Draft) ©2017

Words and image by Marc Alexander Valle.

The boy looked down at the worm, squirming on the backwoods trail. A ray of light illuminated its dark-pink hue and a warm breeze hit his face.

“Eat it,” she said. “I’ll kiss you.”

“No,” he said.

“Then no,” she said.

But he had wanted to kiss her all summer, floating in the deep end of the pool, bumping her hand at the movie theater as he reached for his soda, lying on the grassy field with the late-morning sun warming him enough to feel a sense of bliss.

He looked back down to the trail. The worm kept squirming and picking up dirt.

“It tastes like nothing,” she said. “Go ‘head.”

He thought of candy, then reached down and picked it up. He could feel the worm’s life force as it wiggled and expanded on his palm. “Candy would be pointless,” he thought, “It’s too fleshy.” He imagined roast chicken instead.

I’ve done it,” she said, “You won’t get sick.”

He popped the worm in his mouth.

He could feel it slither and contract.

The dirt turned to grim.

He attempted to limit the bug’s movement by controlling it with his tongue, the texture feeling like raw salmon, the taste reminding him of runny eggs.

He swallowed it and closed his eye. It slide down his throat quickly. He could feel it move. And like everything else he ate, the feeling disappeared just before reaching his stomach.

He opened his eyes and looked to her.

“Yuck,” she said.

He stepped forward and closed his eyes again.

His lips touched hers. But he felt nothing in return.

He held the kiss and waited for her to reciprocate. But he felt nothing in return.

He stepped forward and moved his face closer to hers. But he felt nothing in return.

He could feel nothing but dead lips, hear nothing but the cicadas and crickets chirping. Just the dead lips and live bugs and the hope of something in return.

She pulled away and jabbed his stomach.

“Gross,” she said, “I’m not kissing bugs.”

As he held onto his gut, crunched over, he could see her walk away down the path and out of sight.

The pain spread across his abdomen and he wasn’t sure if he needed to go to the bathroom. He could hear the birds singing and an animal moving in the brush. Sweat began to break out from his forehead.

He had to go home now. If he was late for dinner one more time, he’d be grounded.

Rays of light disappeared as a cloud rolled in. A cooler breeze hit his face. He inhaled a deep breath then let it out. He stepped forward onto the path.

Then he wondered what boy he’d get to tell first.

The Promise ©2016 by Marc Alexander Valle

Words and image by Marc Alexander Valle ©2016

They followed the jet as far as they could.

“You know time is slower up there?” Baskin said.

“Yeah?” Vinny said.

“And when he lands, we’re gonna be older than him.”

“Really?”

“That’s what my teacher said.”

 

The jet disappeared into the distance.

“Baskin, where’s it go?”

“A secret base. No one knows.”

“You wanna keep going?”

“No. Hangman’s on tonight.”

They turned home.

 

Neither said a word.

Vinny’s head pointed down.

Porchlights turned on. Fireflies danced. Streetlights flickered.

Neither said a word.

Vinny’s head pointed down.

“Tomorrow, Vinny.”

“What?”

“We’ll follow it tomorrow.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, fartface. I promise.”

“Cool.”

They walked inside.

Phenomenon ©2016 by Marc Alexander Valle

*A poem that I wrote 10 years ago. Also the image is mine, taken this year. 

Cowards are those with nothing beautiful to share

except the scent in the air

that represents something

running our life in the ocean

despite this great notion

that we are all one

sitting inside a small sun

that’s void of emotion,

exploding

inside of our hearts,

thinking how life really starts

without a beginning

and without our proud sinning

which makes us real hard

apart

from the fact that we gasp

as we run real, real fast

on our toes

and come to respect all our lows

in the past

fast

and curt when we learn

from this yearning inside of our mind

that we tend to remind

ourself in concern

firmly, but curtly like a flower

since we’ve only the power to blurt

all that works

like when we say in these hours,

“Cowards are those with nothing beautiful to share.”

Wormhole ©2015 by Marc Alexander Valle

A poem that I wrote almost 10 years ago. Another piece that I do not care to publish since it’s not on par with my current work.

Wormhole

Sometimes you have to call a day ‘a day’

before the day

is through.

Feelings of uselessness follow everything we do.

Yes, there are days

when even dogs get stressed.

I guess there are days

when even God can care less.

But my plight

is not one of morality.

It’s the sight

of my own mortality.

The fight

to control reality.

What’s right

when the heart knows no formality?

Because time is an usher

leading us to its exit.

And, oh, how I wonder

why must I stand next to it.

So what should I do when ‘to do’

is a mask to what’s new?

And what should I think when ‘to think’

will just last through a blink?

And how should I feel when ‘to feel’

is the last of what’s real?

And what can I be when ‘to be’

just gets passed by what’s seen?

Nothing.

And that would make it easy.

But then I’d be fronting

when something better needs me.

Cause movement moves

at its own pace.

And all you have to chose

is how to wait.

But guess at a certain age

you see that only ‘x’

amount of stuff will ever occur.

So you flip the page

and do your best

at every turn.

So, yes, the future is our harshest critic.

The rest turn to narcissist at the sight of what they’re living with.

So what I’m saying

is to please just hold on.

No way of taking

what we leave when we’re gone.

For the wormhole is wide

as it whines all its ‘whys’

as it’s wise as a rhyme

as it whips all in white

as it winds throughout time

as it eats you alive

as it ekes and it grinds

as it beats in your mind.

Life is sweet when you’re blind.

Cause ‘How?’,

is just a lie that’s denied.

So thank Tao,

for this cry deep inside

to fight the word ‘my’,

and never frown,

because the dark night always fades into the blue sky.

by Marc Alexander Valle ©2015

The Bargain by Marc Alexander Valle ©2015

A piece from 10 years ago. I don’t see myself publishing it as I don’t feel that my work from back then is strong enough.

The Bargain

If what you see is what you get

and what you feel is what you fret

then what you’re dealing with is death.

Right?

But first,

I will say it twice

that karma is the weight of the universe

wearing a mask called ‘your life’

that knows there is no worse

than living on the blade of this knife

that is a gift or a curse

hanging on the roll the dice.

Second, back to the top:

The human heart’s yearning can not be stopped.

Why?

Cause we are who we are cause we are who we are.

What more do you need to see the stars?

The ones beyond the wrath of Mars.

Is it possessions you need

or to see someone bleed?

Is it to want what you watch

or is it a life without a blemish. . .a blotch?

Is it a dignified name?

Maybe to drive your foes insane?

Is it to justify your grudge?

To justify the verdict of who ever you judge?

And is that all we’ve got?

A complex knot,

non-stop

saying how life is good with a lot?

Maybe.

But let’s suppose, just supposing,

that we were meant to go neither fast nor slow,

wisdom is loving what we’ve yet to know.

Let’s suppose we are toy soldiers

to gods, who push feathers and boulders.

And gods are merely metaphors

for a meaningful life when the weather pours

the world’s illusions after begging for more.

That would mean, greed is betrayal.

It’s what you decide to become when you fail.

to set sail

on the sea of your dreams. . .so you bail.

But this is what you call a hypothesis

and I am just an obnoxious twit,

who still believes that a Superhero-type God exists.

So I am not looking for converts.

Believe what you must and what you feel works.

But if you take any heed to this unproven theory

Then there is one more thing that I want to state clearly:

Choice is an extension of individuality

that, of course, comes with its own duality

where the world says, “I am your life’s totality,”

and the true self whispers gallantly,

“Know your heart and you shall know reality.”

by Marc Alexander Valle

Mixed Media Artwork by Marc Alexander Valle