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Cast of Characters

Bitter Beatrice:  the scary woman on the left

Flat Fred:  the round-faced fellow

Introspective Ivan:  the owl with the long beak

Guilty Gordon:  the pig-faced creature at center

Fearful Felix:  the fish-faced guy on the right

Escaping Edith:  the long-nosed cat at the bottom

Depressed Daisy:  the squirrel standing atop her post

 

Landfill Of Souls

 

Between the silence among the trees

There is a path called Atheteo.

It winds and bends

Dips down and

Ascends again—

Sometimes smooth and sometimes

Crunchy with pebbles and

Interrupted by fallen trees.

 

 

The path is not so easy to find

But when your feet have felt it

They remember the way

During night and in day

They tread

And bring you along

So you must go there

With muddy shoes.

 

 

The mouth of the twist-filled path

Vomits into a marshy basin

Where moistened air

And drippy limbs

Hang solemnly

Like an umbrella with holes—

It lets in some light

But also the rain and the snow.

 

 

In the swamp there congregates a

Landfill of souls

Not trash but

Discarded—

Some of their own accord and

Some who are angry and

Some who are bored

But all rejected by souls beyond the path.

 

 

Roll is called on each new day

It begins and it ends in the same exact way:

Bitter Beatrice says, “Don’t come near.”

Flat Fred mutters, “I am here.”

Introspective Ivan and Guilty Gordon call, “I”

While Fearful Felix whispers, “Oh my.”

Escaping Edith purrs and then cries

Depressed Daisy murmurs a series of “Whys?”

 

 

First on the list is Beatrice

Offended one day in the springtime—

In May

In a year long ago and

She never forgave.

“He rejected my heart and

Bitterness grew

Toward he and the God who allowed it.”

 

 

Flat Fred comes next

His story is true,

“My heart was frozen with agony

Now every emotion is blue.

None of them high and

Not one is low

Rejection leaves me here in the middle

With no where to go.”

 

 

Lazing in the weeds is Introspective Ivan:

He blinks his eyes and

Clicks his beak together—

He has no fingers to tap.

“If only I knew what

Repulses them so

Inside of me and I and me and I

I could learn how to win their esteem.”

 

 

Guilty Gordon daily disappears

To escape the gaze of anyone near,

“I feel guilt for what I have done

And Shame for what I’ve become

Look away.”

His request is sincere.

He crouches below and

Sits still.

 

 

Fearful Felix makes not a peep

His silence he holds

Like a sword.

His eyes are wide

Searching for monsters

Not born in fairytales

But men and the women

Who abandoned him before.

 

 

Escaping Edith takes another drink

Then burps but she asks not excuse,

“Life is a pain,”

She says and then swigs,

“A pain like the screws

That twist inside bone

And like hell

And like being alone.”

 

 

Depressed Daisy holds a skull

With whom she discusses the meaning

And non-meaning of life,

“The weight in my heart

Is crushing my soul,” she says.

He answers, “That which is pressed

Eventually rises.”

But Daisy calls him a liar.

 

 

Their voices are low and

They talk to themselves—

Their lives are lived close but

Alone.

Cast aside

Cast off

Cast away they stay

Afraid to be shunned once again.

 

 

There is a path that is called Atheteo

Where rejection outside

Breeds rejection within

Where the crying souls go

When the oozing value they hold

Limps

Like a dog whose been shot in the cold.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem/short story was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s painting, Gangland 4.  http://heikomüller.de)

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