Odyssey Part 5

This is the fifth edition in my series, published in Inhale the NightSleeping with Earth, an eBook released by Darcia Helle and Moments at Midnight.

Find part four right here. Part one here.

Odyssey

~

Stephanie

Bled out on

The tiled floor..

They had pushed each other

On the swing years earlier…

~

Jake

Lay disfigured with

A bullet in his eyes…

Odyssey had a crush

On him before

The world spun into

chaos…

~

Jacie

Was not breathing,

And Odyssey wanted badly

to feel

something

anything for her…

~

she slowly closed

her eyes,

surrendering

to darkness…

~

her last glimpse

of incandescent light –

an endangered species

like herself.

~

“Odyssey,”

 A voice said

Slowly rocking her.

“Wake up.”

~

“Mom?” she asked, her eyes adjusting to the light.
“No, my name is Doctor McCormack.”
“Are you here to arrest me?”
“No, I’m here to help you.”
“You can’t help… I had to stop him,” Odyssey told him.

“They’re calling you a hero.”

~

Odyssey reclosed her eyes.

The world was calmer without color.

She was not a hero

For stabbing a maniac –

She was only another survivor

Caught between a rock,

A hard place and

A broken game…

~

“I see you have your mother’s ring,”

McCormick said to break the silence, checking on her medication.

“It’s become something of a legend in the ICU.”

~

She hadn’t noticed, slipping it back on

Before she lost consciousness.

The ring had passed between

Three lives, two of which were gone –

If only Journey could have shared it with her.

~

“She would have had your eyes, you know,”

McCormick said.

“How did you?”

“I was going to deliver her.

But you know, she

Stays alive in you.

So, she’s never really gone.”

~

Somehow, Odyssey smiled

At the thought of them

Together –

Jumping ropes,

Destroying the patriarchy –

~

“Life goes on,” she mused.

And if not –

She’d sure as hell leave Death

With a black eye

And stitches.

~

© Ben Ditmars 2021

~

Explore The End of NightsJourney, and more.

Thank you reading.

Odyssey Part 4

This is the fifth edition in my series, published in Inhale the NightSleeping with Earth, an eBook released by Darcia Helle and Moments at Midnight.

Find part three right here. Part one here.

Odyssey

~

She looked away

Before tears betrayed her emotions…

Broken images, a broken family

Flashed through her mind…

She almost had

Her stillborn sister…

Journey

And not a loss

clawing at her throat

each morning –

a siren

broke the chaos

in her mind…

something had happened

in the hallway

a voice told them

to block the door…

they were underneath

their desks,

one moment and the next –

Mr. Lewis hit the floor

with blood across his temple.

Another shot.

Another victim.

Odyssey counted them

in horror as her classmates fell

beneath sounds of semi-automatic

fire –

was she next?

she felt helpless

like her mother left alone

inside the hospital..

battling coronavirus…

her hand closed around

the golden circle

of her parent’s ring and

grasped.. the pen…

tied with rubber bands

around a nail…

Leanne, her mother, wouldn’t hesitate…

and neither could

Odyssey…

the shooter turned his

back for three seconds

and she jumped

with everything she had

into the fire.

~

© Ben Ditmars 2021

~

Explore The End of NightsJourney, and more.

Or read Part 5.

Odyssey Part 3

This is the fifth edition in my series, published in Inhale the NightSleeping with Earth, an eBook released by Darcia Helle and Moments at Midnight.

Find part two right here. Part one here.

Odyssey

Image Source: Flickr (CC)

~

DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY

was scratched into her three ring

notebook –

it was her small way

of chipping at the ceiling

while Mr. Lewis

rambled on –

another man,

self-absorbed,

omnipotent in his domain.

he could have geometry

for all she cared.

Odyssey learned better

Without distractions

Of which, there were too many –

Her grandmother didn’t understand

A teenage girl or

Think to speak

Instead of yell –

It was painful to go home.

It was painful to stay.

Jacie tore up bits

Of her eraser and threw

Them at Odyssey

Forcing her to turn around.

“Stop!” she yelled.

The class laughed

In unison.

“Odyssey, is there a

Problem?”

Her teacher asked.

She mouthed “nothing”

And he quickly moved

From sines to tangents.

Odyssey took a deep

Breath as her mother taught her.

It would be okay, and if not,

She had a rubber band to tie

Around a pen and nail

for Jacie’s throat.

~

© Ben Ditmars 2021

~

Explore The End of NightsJourney, and more.

Or read Part 4.

Odyssey Part 2

This is the fifth edition in my series, published in Inhale the NightSleeping with Earth, an eBook released by Darcia Helle and Moments at Midnight.

Find part one right here.

Odyssey

~

The bell rang

As she rushed to

Fifth period –

Barely making it

Before Jacie,

Blond as she was popular,

Pushed Odyssey inside.

Mr. Lewis briefly

Looked but otherwise

Said nothing.

He always said nothing.

Like the memory

Her father left of a

Drowned body and

Ring left on the pier…

He remained as cold and lifeless.

She could feel the golden circle

In her jeans –

A gift her mother left

Before the virus got the best of her

Last June.

She couldn’t visit with

The hospital locked down

But she

Heard her voice crack over

Zoom calls.

Telling her:

“Stay beautiful

Like the light you are

And shine between us.”

~

© Ben Ditmars 2021

~

Explore The End of Nights, Journey, and more.

Or read Part 3.

Odyssey Part 1

This is the fifth edition in my series, published in Inhale the Night, Sleeping with Earth, an eBook released by Darcia Helle and Moments at Midnight.

Instead of writing every day for National Poetry Month, I thought I might give you this each week. Enjoy.

Odyssey

~

‘Her dad jumped off a bridge’

said the girl behind her back.

‘Her mother followed him

Crashing

with the Firebird’

Only half of it was true.

Her father jumped,

Leanne refused to follow.

She was immortal.

She was more than him.

She was the Firebird

reborn into a child

from the ashes –

skin and bones

a hungry heart

named Odyssey.

~

© Ben Ditmars 2021

~

Explore The End of Nights, Journey, and more.

Or read Part 2.

The End of Nights Part 5

I published a poem in my collection Inhale the Night called Dark Knowledge. It’s about a lost woman named Leanne who struggles after a debilitating accident. This is the final part of her story in The End of Nights. Find the last episode here. And the first one here.

The End of Nights

endofnights
Image Source: Flickr

She sacrificed
Her body on the stillborn
Altar– Gene had stayed
Because of pregnancy and
Little else concerned him
Or his lies.

Leanne glared at
Incandescent lights,
An endangered species
Like herself.

Her doctor and
The hospital slipped
Out of view, remained
Consistent for a spell of torture
On the whitewashed walls.

“Leanne,” McCormack told her:
“I know you loved him, but let go.”

“I thought he understood…
I fooled myself.”

“Men aren’t saints, Leanne,
The best of them will use you.”

“I knew that going in and
I accepted and embraced it
For so long…”

“He came here earlier today,
But they didn’t let him in.”

“I wish I hadn’t,”
Leanne said mournfully.

“He didn’t say much, but left a
Bill with the receptionist.”

“I imagine for the Firebird…”

“Gene also wants the ring.”

“He can have it,” Leanne remarked
“When he learns to swim.”

“So it’s with the car?” McCormack asked.

“Last I checked, but I had had
A lot of rum before I crashed with it.”

McCormack nodded in acknowledgment
While he checked her medication levels.

“It will be all right,” she thought.
“Winter and my life before have died;
Spring is morning and the end of nights.”

© Ben Ditmars 2015

The End of Nights Part 4

I published a poem in my collection Inhale the Night called Dark Knowledge. It’s about a lost woman named Leanne who struggles after a debilitating accident. This is a continuation of her story in a weekly serial, The End of Nights. Find the last episode here. And the first one here.

The End of Nights

Make Love Not War
Image Source: Flickr

She thought she knew
The gentle man who taught her
How to ride a bicycle without
Training wheels. But he had changed.

The medication and shock
Therapy did not help his
Nightmares or anxiety.

He lost hair and yelled, but
Never hit Leanne. She was still his
Little girl. Memories of war
Could never change that.

But they did. He hit her
With his self-destruction
And she couldn’t stop
His drinking or her guilt.
Explosions only eased with
Alcohol and unemployment
For another month.

There was no therapy
But alcohol and shock.
It helped him forget more than
It cured anything.

Her mother left in cigarettes and tears
And it was hard, but no less
Difficult than his slow suicide.

Leanne held on, learning
How to be a woman from
The Internet and MTV.

Her father rarely left the house. But she
Found couches willing to indulge
Her transience for warmth. Gene was
One of many on the davenport.

“You see,” she told McCormack,
“I grew up small.”

© Ben Ditmars 2015

***

Find the next episode here.

The End of Nights Part 3

I published a poem in my collection Inhale the Night called Dark Knowledge. It’s about a lost woman named Leanne who struggles after a debilitating accident. This is a continuation of her story in a weekly serial, The End of Nights. Find the last episode here.  And the first one here.

The End of Nights

hospital
Image Source: Flickr

She felt the barcode
Wristband and she knew
The softer side of hell
Had taken her –
Pain persisted
But Leanne could not
Voice frustration through
Through the breathing tube,
She wanted sunlight
And a normal life –
Whatever normal really
Was, she didn’t know,
Except, that Gene had
Never been a part of it,
Her past came back in flashes
Of vague light –
She saw her parents and
The men who never
Reached her: some had
Touched too deep before the thrills
Wore off, like morphine drips replaced
By emptiness and air
Doctors and police visited her bed and
She tried sleeping between questions
Sometimes during – Gene
Had taught her that in bed:
Feel pleasure for yourself
And leave the bare essentials
But now his car was at the bottom
Of a lake – she survived somehow
Against her will –
“Leanne,” a voice said shaking her.
“Wake up.”
“What is it?” Leanne feigned grogginess.
“You haven’t slept in days, so stop pretending”
“Gene?” she asked, her eyes adjusting to the light.
“No, my name is Doctor McCormack.”
“Are you here to arrest me?”
“No, I’m here to help you.”
“You can’t help me,” Leanne told him,
As she closed her eyes. The world was
Calmer without color. “I can help you,”
McCormack told her, “and I will.”
She didn’t argue or agree with him.
“I’m going to start you on antidepressants,
But before that, I want you to tell me everything.”
“Everything?” she asked him.
Everything and more.”
Thoughts of everything were
Overwhelming, yet she hadn’t
Cleared her mind enough
For crumbs since Beth and Jeanie
Crashed and left her –
“Leanne,” the Doctor told her,
“Start small.”
“I grew up small,” she told him
With a heavy smile.

© Ben Ditmars 2015

***

Find the next episode here.

The End of Nights Part 2

I published a poem in my collection Inhale the Night called Dark Knowledge. It’s about a lost woman named Leanne who finds herself in several relationships after a debilitating accident. She loves a man named Gene but can’t bring herself to end it with her other suitors. This is a continuation of her story in a weekly serial, The End of Nights.

Find the first episode here.

The End of Nights

city1
Image Source: Flickr

Jeanie texted Beth from
The front seat something
Cunning about Gene –
Tires left the road,
Leanne was thrown
Before the brakes gave out
Like games boys played
It was easier to die
All at once than slow
She found out near
I-675 to Madison, years
Later as the cigarettes
Turned ash – her friends
Had burned away like filters,
Chain-smoked in addiction –
Maybe she was better without
Gene: he was just another vice
And she had more than she
Could handle with nicotine and
Captain Morgan in her glove box
Underneath a registration with his name:
His last text said the Pontiac
Was his but she would sooner
Park it in the lake than give in
To his demands: she knew how
Gene got in the car: his whore would never
See the backseat of her Firebird.
The cruise control was set on 55,
Before the last drop of white rum
Pulled her under.

© Ben Ditmars 2015

***

Find the next episode here.

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