36 Views of My Room pt.5
With all that zombie crap out of the way, I can get back to these poems all’y’all love so much…
View 15: Sashaying Lights
I used to never see them.
The only light that would enter my room
Was that of alien spaceships.
I would watch them from a window seat when I couldn’t sleep.
But we moved from nowhere to somewhere and all of a sudden my room would get bathed in light whenever someone would drive a car past our house.
It was creepy at first, the shimmer that started on one wall
Would, like a Doppler radar, slowly swing around my room
Until my other wall radiated eerie light.
Usually they were fairly swift, but every now and again
The lights would swing part-way around
And then just stop.
Obviously it was a driver wanting to murder me.
But I got used to them, and now that I live in the city,
In the heart of Lancaster, you’d think I’d see ‘em a lot.
But living on the third floor of a townhouse doesn’t
Catch much in the way of stray light from the street.
By Jacob Gehman
Zombie’Pocalypse (pt. 3—final!, tentative title)
It took me three days to be able to go back to the house and actually go inside. The living room was chaos. The TV was broken on the floor. The blu-ray player was gone, as were the couch and rocking chair. Blood stained the floor, tracked in—I hoped—by the shoes of the SWAT team.
Anything valuable had been carted off by looters, but I wasn’t looking for things of monetary value. (Though, being a practical man, I would have considered taking anything worthwhile.) No, I was looking for the sentimental items—burned CD-Rs of family photos, the artwork that Abby’s shaky hand had colored with crayons, that shark-tooth necklace my wife had bought me when she visited the Museum of Natural History.
Unfortunately a lot of the sentimental stuff was kept in the basement, which was transformed into an ocean because the sump pump hadn’t been powered since the apocalypse. And rain had been recent enough that it was still quite flooded.
I did find the burned CDs, though, in the computer room.
I was about to walk out the door when I remembered that my wife kept things under a loose floorboard in the kid’s bedroom, just in case. I never even bothered to ask her what she squirreled away under there, though did mention that it shouldn’t be anything the kids would be tempted to take, should they ever find it. I mean, it was their room… and kids will be kids.
The wooden floor in the kid’s room was naturally ambiguous. I stomped around for a few minutes before I had the correct board figured out. Which, as it turned out, was the easy part. I swear, I nearly broke the blade on my Swiss Army Knife trying to pry that stupid board up. I tried one end, then the other, but it wouldn’t budge. With waning enthusiasm, I stomped on it one more time—this time with the power of someone wanting to bust right through.
And bust right through I did. My foot went right through the board, particles flying everywhere. Wriggling, I pulled my foot free and reached down into the floor, poking about with my hand. One-by-one, Noah’s ark-style, I pulled the treasures up and lay them in a row:
1. the twistie bracelet that Ellen had made for my wife for her birthday.
2. an envelope marked “Ellen” which contained a lock of Ellen’s jet-black hair.
3. an envelope marked “Abby” which contained a lock of Abby’s mouse-brown hair.
4. The kindergarten grades sheet for Ellen.
5. The clothes hanger clip that Ellen had transformed into a fridge magnet at Sunday School.
6. A page torn out of Abby’s Narnia coloring book and scribbled over in Sky Blue, with my wife’s neat handwriting reading: “To the Best Daddy Ever, love Abby.”
The tears were dry by the time I got back to the hotel, though even now I still can’t remember how I got there. It’s like one moment I was staring at the stuff on the floor and the next I was laying on my rented bed, staring at a tv program I wasn’t seeing.
It hit me hard, not for the first time, nor the last, that I would never see any of them again.
By Jacob Gehman
Like I said before the first part, I love a lot of my scenarios in this short story… but I don’t think it feels complete as a whole. I just have no idea where I could take it from here—I suck at plots. :-/ In any case, I hope that even in its rough shape it has been enjoyed by at least one of my readers.
36 Views of My Room, pt. 4
View 12: The Up-Step
I have four doors on my floor.
One separates my bedroom from my living room.
Two belong to large closets where I store anything and
Everything except clothes—I have piles for those.
And one belongs to a small closet
Where some ancient contraption stands.
This small closet door has no window panes,
Just holes where they should go.
The windows themselves are ridiculous for an indoors door,
An effect doubly so by the absence of glass.
It has no door knob, and I’m sure
the keyhole wouldn’t unlock a thing.
There’s no latch, anyway.
And perhaps most curious, one must step up to get in.
It’s like having a front door to a tiny closet steam-punk world.
View 13: The Hanger
I hang my towel oh-so elegantly on the top of my door.
It is spread out all neat and tidy so it won’t be damp
The next time I require its assistance.
I think my mom washed it wrong, many-a-moon-ago.
The nice, Crayola-approved forest-green towel
Has become mottled—making my forest towel
Look like its been attacked my a serious affliction of strip logging.
But at least it still dries, and I can carry it around
And look exactly like a man who knows where his towel is.
View 14: Spot
We were the best of friends, you know.
And now you lay forgotten on the floor,
Beneath my bed where the dust collects.
It’s a shame.
I named you spot, even though you never ran.
(Not that I saw, anyway—that’d be
Pretty abnormal behavior for a stuffed dog.)
I had other animal pals to play with us,
But you were the Woody to my childhood toy story.
The other stuffed dogs have disappeared, so at least
You remain within arms reach.
by Jacob Gehman
36 Views of My Room, pt. 3
View 9: From Outer Space
Debris in my mind?
More like in my room.
Here a pile, there a pile.
A sock, a baseball.
A guitar pick the same color as my carpet.
Food in boxes like Dr. Seuss foxes.
In and out and all about.
Cans rolling and bags floating.
Cranberry sauce and meat sauce
And spaghetti I’m not sure I can cook.
View 10: Sheep
Sideways? Not quite.
The bed tilts, sure. But it ain’t sideways yet.
Every few nights the mattress needs re-shifted.
But it is better than sleeping on the floor.
My pillow is flat. But that’s how I like it. Fluffy pillows make my head hurt and so I resent them. This flat pillow is sometimes too thick, even. So I then throw it onto the brown carpet and sleep with nothing between my head and the bare mattress except for the thin, balling sleeping bag I got for Christmas 5 years ago.
View 11: The Corner Above My Bed
There is a spider up there, I’m pretty sure.
It mocks me while I sleep, spinning myself
Between the layers of my sleeping bag.
I stare until it moves—I’m pretty sure it moved—a dark mass of hideous legs.
An indistinguishable blob that mingles with its shadow.
I’m pretty sure.
The off-white wall and the same-toned ceiling makes it
Stand out, stark and menacing.
I have many fears in this life, but few as poignant as spiders.
And so I toss and turn as I imagine ghostly fangs plunging
In and out of my body.
by Jacob Gehman
36 Views of My Room, pt. 2
View 6: The Grime
The snow in Moscow is so cold,
I can feel it falling here.
The light outside my window
Shows the desperate dash of flakes downward
In nature’s own suicide pact.
But maybe it is only the grime on my window pane
Sparkling when I shift my head.
View 7: The Leaning Tower
Pisa has one popular tourist attraction that leans.
My room has six, or more.
Most are perilous piles of movies, carefully stacked to not fall,
Yet too precipitous to be neat.
But one pile is that of my rabbit cage, upon which rests rabbit food, a rabbit bed, overpriced hay, a rodent water-bottle, and a dirty food plate I was too lazy to take into the kitchen.
The other thing that separates my leaning towers from that at Pisa is mine are more like tourist detractors.
View 8: Mrs. Bunny
I named her Kitty,
More-or-less because I like cats.
And Kitty is a great name for any animal
That isn’t in fact a cat.
Kitty quivers underneath my futon,
Because rabbits are born scared.
But the more I feed her,
The less scary I become.
Maybe someday I can even pick her up.
By Jacob Gehman
The 36 View of My Room, pt. 1
I started writing 36 poems all based on my observations of my section of my apartment, which is basically my bedroom and a personal living room area. Here is the first segment of poems:
View 1: The Carpet
See pine, white and yellow
Mingle with brown thread.
And in some places obscure completely.
View 2: The Wall
The curve is like the hips on a woman.
It would be sexy except
It always makes me bump my head.
View 3: The Reflection
It was my great-grandfather’s mirror, I think.
It hangs on my closet door by a piece of twine.
My grandma though I, as the oldest of my generation,
Should have it, but I hate mirrors.
So all it shows now is the odd angle where wall meets ceiling.
View 4: The TV
Lupin’s hair like a bowling ball
Keeps getting obscured by a flying insect.
Drawn to the light it must be,
But that doesn’t help me see the tv.
View 5: Near the Stairs
They go down, sure.
But Stephen Hawking guards
While pretending the love of Marilyn.
Coca Cola and Stella Artois act as towers
Lining the path, giving modern nobility
Of which Hawking can only dream.
By Jacob Gehman
A couple of those are, I think, good… and a couple not as good. But I also think some really good ones are forthcoming.