Posted by: quoththesparrow | May 22, 2016

Interview with Rap Artist T.Y. (Keen’a Dionte Ester)

When we think of a poet and philosopher, we may think of someone thoughtful, well-versed, and maybe even soft-spoken. We may also think of someone down to earth and observant. That would be how you’d describe recording artist T.Y. upon meeting him. Even the name T.Y. has a story – it’s short for Tyson Crookmind. As T.Y. puts it, “Tyson was a name given to me by older members of the neighborhood who recognized at a young age, my ability to defend myself. So they started to call me Tyson. And Crookmind came in later, for my in the closet insatiable appetite for books, for reading. Crookmind is linked to crook-minded Kronos from Greek mythology.”

T.Y. was born Keen’a Dionte Ester, on May 11, 1980 in South Central Los Angeles to Brenda Penny and Alonzo Dickie Ester. His father, better known as Dickie, was a night club owner of many, including the Dynasty Night Club in Inglewood and several speakeasy after hour clubs. “My relationship with my parents was attached, tumultuous, and adoring,” says T.Y. “I was fortunate enough to have both my mother and my father. I was very much attached to them as a child. I was always with my father. I was my mother’s first son. She was sixteen when she had me so I was her everything… Tumultuous in the sense that my father did end up going to prison when I was three [until eight years old]… Adoring, because I adored them. As I grew older, I really understood and appreciated everything they did for me.”

Primarily, T.Y.’s childhood was spent in South Central Los Angeles in the street areas of Central, McKinley and Wadsworth (The Fremont District). Growing up in South Central had its positives and negatives for T.Y. Some of the positives, he says, were learning to deal with practical matters and engaging with diverse people. “That’s why I’m a social person,” says T.Y. “I’m a quiet person, but I’m a social person. I like being around other people. I learn by being around other people. I’m a visual learner.” However, South Central did have its negatives, such as putting up with harassment from police, dealing with callous people, and being exposed to ruthlessness and horrific experiences. T.Y. explains, “Every decision made is based on survival. Even as a youth when you’re out there, every decision that you make is about survival.”

 

When it came to school, it was never consistent for T.Y. – he spent kindergarten at Miracle Baptist Elementary School, first and second grade at Crenshaw Christian Center, third and fourth grade at La Tijera Elementary School, fifth grade at Inglewood Christian School. Part of sixth grade he spent at Chapel Of Peace Elementary,  and the other at Highland Elementary in Inglewood when he moved in with his father. Seventh grade was started at Audubon Middle School in Los Angeles, but after being suspended for fighting, he went on to Bethune Middle School. For the rest of middle school, he attended, and graduated from Orville Wright Middle School. Freshman year of high school he started at Westchester High School in Westchester, California, but was suspended several times and eventually expelled. He finished freshman year at Fremont High School. While a freshman at Fremont High School, T.Y. was arrested and charged on suspicion of attempted murder. The case was investigated and dismissed thirty days after T.Y.’s arrest. However, he was expelled from Fremont High School. He moved on to John Hope Continuation School for two years, but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

“I was very bold as a kid, but I was also a loner, shy in a sense,” relays T.Y.  “I had a couple people that I could say were my friends. I wasn’t in a lot of groups. I was by myself. I think that’s why I got into a lot of fights.” Not that his family wasn’t disciplining T.Y. His father required him to do homework and household chores. But T.Y. did occasionally run away to his grandmother, Cleaster Penny’s, house. His father always found him and brought him home. When T.Y. would get suspended, his father punished him by spanking him with a wooden paddle. Once he even cut off T.Y.’s treasured curly hair. T.Y.’s parents worked, yet still made sure he had something to do, including buying him video games. Still, curiosity beckoned T.Y. “I’m seeing all this other stuff going on around me, and I was more interested in that, so that caused me to be a little rambunctious and out there, gave me fits of wildness. It was a lack of attention,” he admits. At school, T.Y. says he actually had fun, especially when it came to sports – a great outlet for an energetic kid like T.Y. “As far as academically, I wasn’t really interested in books [at that time]. I knew how to read, I knew how to do mathematics and all. I just felt like that was secondary when it came to learning and dealing in practical matters.”

As early as his middle school years, T.Y. had already been involved with street gangs and drug dealing. His freshman year at Westchester High School, he started selling drugs. He was 15 years old. After a couple years at John Hope Continuation School, he dropped out of school and became fully engaged in the street life – gang banging and selling drugs. T.Y. is a documented member of the East Side Family Swan gang. “Formally, to me, being in a gang meant a sense of belonging, a sense of camaraderie, and a sense of trust. Presently, however, to me, being in a gang… is a false sense of everything that I just mentioned. Don’t get me wrong. There are still people that I do trust, to a certain extent… that I do feel a sense of camaraderie with and towards. And even the belonging to a certain degree. However, that is not everything. I thought it was everything. I thought that everybody was a comrade, I thought everybody I could trust, only to find out that that’s not true. As long as you’re there and you’re doing the things that people think you ought to be doing, whatever that is, whatever led you into this gang life, selling drugs, shooting… But as soon as you take a fall, that’s over with.”

From a young age, T.Y. showed a proficiency in creating raps. During his teen years, T.Y. also actively engaged in writing lyrics and rapping on the streets of Watts and South Central Los Angeles. “Guys in the community and gals knew me as someone who was really lyrical and poetic. Even then, at a young age, rapping about what’s going on around me but actually making it make sense. My friends would be saying random thoughts.”

 

At the age of 19, T.Y. was arrested and convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to seven years in state prison. While serving his seven year prison term for armed robbery, new charges were filed against him for an unsolved homicide. If convicted, T.Y.  would be sentenced to life in prison. Then, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged him with another crime – a state prisoner in possession of a dangerous weapon or dagger. T.Y. now faced charges in two separate cases on top of the one that sent him to prison, making it three strikes, and a conviction in either case would result in a life sentence in prison. The dangerous weapon matter was critical because it was T.Y.’s word versus a state prison guard’s – there were no other witnesses. Jerome Bradford, T.Y.’s private criminal defense attorney, quickly negotiated a plea agreement resolving both the homicide and dangerous weapon cases. Over the next sixteen years, T.Y. spent time in California state prisons, including, Delano, Salinas Valley, Kern Valley, New Folsom, Corcoran and Lancaster.

During his time in prison, T.Y. matured as a person. After the initial shock of being ripped away from his family and the loss of any control over his own life, T.Y. expresses, he began to, “Pay more attention to the choices that I made, whether it was the words that are coming out of my mouth or my actions.” While T.Y. does describe the experience of being in prison as horrific, he relates that his time was not as grim as others’. He did get into fights a lot and had to be on his guard, carrying knives with him. A lot of the violence directed at him was because of where he was from. Many people in jail came from rival neighborhoods and gangs. “Those experiences are hard lessons because it was primitive, it was almost savage-like,” says T.Y. “But through it all it helped me to exercise more self-control and to be more conscious. It didn’t harden my heart because I still like to laugh, I still like to get out and do things and see places. I don’t think people are out to get me, people are racist, none of that. Actually, I’m better off now because of that experience. I developed a sense of self while in prison. Being able to be still and take the time out to explore me.”

While in prison, T.Y. obtained his GED and earned a certification as a welder. He also developed a love for books, particularly those that spoke to his situation and taught him compassion and, “not to prejudge but also to understand and be empathetic toward another’s plight.” Among those books, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher & The Rye, John Griffin’s Black Like Me, and Viktor E. Frankl A Man’s Search For Meaning. Not to mention a love for Ancient and Black History, Greek Mythology, and Shakespeare.

 

For T.Y., prison provided time for self-reflection, especially on the occasions that he had to do time in “the hole,” when he had no privileges, no television, radio, or communication with other inmates or any other human beings. “Prior to going to prison I was always on the move. In order to understand who you are and what your purpose is… You have to ponder on that and be still and really go in and dig deep… It’s almost like a river running or filling up the bathtub with water. While the river is running or the bathtub is filling up with water you can’t see your reflection. But once it stops, once the river is still, and you cut the bath water off and peer down in it, then you can see your reflection.”

One thing T.Y. did while in prison was he became very productive in writing rap songs and performing them in prison talent shows and on prison tiers. Of those songs, 26 were copyrighted before he was released from prison. The songs were based on his experiences on the street and being incarcerated. For T.Y. this was a major feat. He was so prolific that many of the songs he wrote in the beginning, only those around him at the time have ever heard. As he wrote more, he began spending more time on them, giving more care and crafting them.

On May 13, 2011, news reached T.Y. that his father was shot and killed in his Rolls Royce while pulling into the driveway of his home in Baldwin Hills, California. His father’s death was all over the L.A. media and there was a $30,000 reward for anyone who gave information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.  Because of being in prison, T.Y. was unable to attend his father’s funeral. T.Y. was devastated. Depression set in and to dull the pain he got high on weed and drank pruno – a prison-made wine. To T.Y., his father was his motivation. Like many a son, T.Y. wanted to show his father he could make it in the world, he could find his purpose. His father had always been there to support him in any way he could. “To be able to discover [my purpose] and my talent and to not have him around to see me go out and achieve that and accomplish that, that was my motivation. To show him I got it. All the whoopings, the punishments, I got it. I see why you were doing it now. Because you already knew that I was capable of putting these talents on display in a positive way. And he got snatched. He passed on to the next life cycle. It had me to the point I was like, what the fuck am I going for?” From 2011 to 2014, T.Y. did not write any raps. But during that time, T.Y. turned his focus inward and self-reflected.

“[My father’s death] helped me to develop a more profound respect and appreciation for time and memories.” One memory of his father was that he kept doing what he loved in life no matter what, and that inspired T.Y. to pick himself back up and want to live life again.

 

A year from his scheduled release from prison, T.Y. was involved in a fight on the yard of Lancaster State Prison. Charges were filed against him for possession of a deadly weapon and assault upon another inmate causing serious injury – both strike offenses. Conviction under either offense would result in him spending the rest of his natural life in prison. An offer was made by the Prosecutor for six more years in state prison, as opposed to life sentence. After consulting with his attorney, Jerome Bradford, T.Y. rejected the offer, saying, “Absolutely not.” The case proceeded to trail where a jury acquitted him of both felony charges.

On November 23, 2015 T.Y. was released from prison, and recorded his first song entitled “Trapped In” a week after being released from prison. For him, it was a surreal experience. He’d been practicing his songs for years, but suddenly, he’s free and recording songs in a studio in Torrance, California – the same studio where NWA, one of T.Y.’s inspirations, recorded their first album.

Rap music sparked T.Y.’s life as early as age seven or eight. One influence was his older brother on his father’s side, who would leave raps for people on their answering machines. T.Y.’s mother and father would not allow him to listen to explicit music. But his uncle listened to rap and when he wasn’t around, T.Y. would listen to his uncle’s rap albums. Artists who T.Y. was drawn to included NWA, DJ Quik, Mac Dre, E-40, Ice Cube, and Tupac. What impacted T.Y. was how unapologetically expressive the rap artists were about what they going through. He wanted to be able to do that himself.

Music, T.Y. has found to be a release. “A lot of things that I take in around me, visually, phonically, I probably wouldn’t just express it having a regular conversation, you and I. But when I have a pad and pencil, and not a lot of people are around and I have some music, I can release, I can let those thoughts out.” It also provides introspection for T.Y. “We move around so much daily as people. We rarely take the time to sit still and really pay attention to the things that are running through our minds. For me that’s what writing music is. It’s a form of therapy and self-reflection.”

And through the music T.Y. writes, he wants people to hear a message of hope and inspiration. He wants us to seek out knowledge of ourselves, to educate ourselves, and to believe in ourselves and believe that we have a purpose. “You’re going to see a lot of negative things, hear a lot of negative things, but that’s life. You take those things and you learn from them. There’s no such thing as a mistake. There are only experiences. Some of those experiences are good and some of them are bad, but it’s an experience nonetheless. And from that experience is something to be gained and learned.”

T.Y. wants people to hear his story because he knows that there are those who have gone through horrendous situations like his, probably even worse, and he wants you to know you are not alone. Just because you experience bad things, T.Y. says, “It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or you’re less than or subhuman, it just means that you have a bigger testimony than the next person who hasn’t been through it. You have more to offer and share.” And know, “Before you actually go through whatever situation you’re in, you’ve got be able to see yourself through it, you’ve got to be able to see yourself making it.”

His advice to those who want to be a rap artist is this: “You have to start, to continue, and refuel. To stop thinking and write about what you’re seeing, what you’re feeling, and what you’re experiencing. And as long as you do that, you’ll get better, because practice makes perfect. So if this is something you really want to do, just like anything in life – consistency, persistence.”

To T.Y., sharing your story is crucial because words actually have a huge impact on us. “Words are everything to me. Words and expressing them. The power in them. The ability to make people cry, make people laugh, evoke thought. Words are life. You speak things into existence… There’s power in it. If I didn’t have words, I wouldn’t be anything, I don’t think. Because nobody would know how I felt, what it was I was going through.”

Posted by: quoththesparrow | May 19, 2016

The Real-Life Dementor’s Kiss

Depression is like dementors. People often confuse circumstantial depression with clinical depression. If someone says to you that they suffer from depression that is a huge clue that it’s clinical. Circumstantial depression changes with the circumstance and can be beaten by a change in attitude or action. Clinical depression is much, much more. Clinical depression can be triggered by circumstances, but can also come on without reason. Depression is more than just sadness – it’s like having your soul sucked out. Imagine walking around feeling completely hollow inside and you have barely enough strength or energy to move. All hope seems gone and you feel like you’ll never be happy again. Your only chance for survival is to hold on to the truth.

Even before I’d heard J.K. Rowling’s life story I knew she suffered from depression just by reading The Prisoner of Azkaban. You cannot describe the experience of depression that accurately without having gone through it yourself. And those of us who suffer from depression are not weak. Rather, we’ve had true horror in our life, horrors you can’t even imagine. People who tell someone suffering from depression to simply cheer up, or get over it, or get over ourselves, show that they are ignorant. These are the same people who harshly judge those who commit suicide.

In the US we have a complete lack when it comes to mental health. Instead of digging deeper into the issue to move forward, people are burying their heads in the sand like ostriches, as though they want to remain ignorant. There is such a stigma on mental health and it’s only harming us. Most health insurance plans don’t cover counseling. And just because someone has a mental illness does NOT mean they are insane. Clinical depression is actually considered a mental illness. Going to a counselor doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us. In fact, it’s healthy. It means that we want to get better. Like going to the gym.

So, if someone tells you they suffer from depression, or even if they’re going through circumstantial depression, be quick to listen and slow to speak. Give them lots of hugs, and walk beside them through it.

Posted by: quoththesparrow | May 18, 2016

What Nightmares May Come

volcanic

It’s happening again. I wake in the desolate grey. Volcanic rock and remnants of scorched trees. Silence, except for the occasional whistle of a breeze. The sky is steel grey but there are no clouds. No one can be seen for miles, the loneliness crushing. But I know I’m not completely alone. It’s out there somewhere, ready to pounce as always. My pulse races and my body tenses from my nerves being on edge. All my senses are heightened.

As quietly as I can, I get up. Each pebble that moves causes me to jump and frantically search my surroundings.

I just walk. Anywhere but here.

Minutes pass and no sign of it. I start to relax. Maybe it’s gone, finally. Did I conquer it? But how? Do nightmares just go away?

Movement in front of me snaps me back, and my insides turn to ice. There before me is the creature. Several yards away, but I can smell its fetid breath on me. For a second I try not running. Maybe I can scare it away. A breeze whistles past us, rustling the rotten shreds of its clothing and the long wild wisps of hair. I try to look it in the eye, and my courage dissolves. It’s always the eyes. I turn and bolt.

I run as hard as I can, like always. But as always, the creature is not far behind me. Its growls are as close as though it were at my neck.

After a minute my chest burns and I know what’s coming. Everything goes into slow motion, except the creature. Within seconds it will be on me, and I will wake up screaming as always.

The creature’s icy, stinking breath is on my neck and I shut my eyes, preparing to wake. Except I don’t. Suddenly I feel its skeletal hands on my back and I am shoved to the ground. I open my eyes and turn to face the creature, my every fiber stinging with fright. The creature stares down at me, its skeletal face like the Cryptkeeper, smiling maniacally.

Somehow, looking it in the eye this time, I find courage. “Who are you? What are you? What do you want?”

A rumble comes from the creature’s throat and I realize it’s chuckling. “You don’t recognize me? You murdered me.”

“Me?! What? No!” But as I continue looking into its eyes, I do in fact find them familiar. Whose eyes they are exactly, I can’t quite figure out just yet. “How did I kill you?”

“You left me to die. One day you just didn’t want anything more to do with me. You gave up. I kept trying to get back to you. But without you, I withered into nothing…Murder by neglect.”

Carefully, I stood up, keeping my eye on the creature. It just watched me. The odd part was it didn’t look angry. It was…what?

At last I said, “I’m sorry. I still don’t know who you are.”

“I’m your dreams, hopes, aspirations.”

The shock froze me. Then a sick feeling welled up inside me.

I realized the look it had was hunger.

The creature spoke again. “You killed me, but nothing stays dead forever. Now I’m your nightmares. I will get energy from you again, but instead of giving you life, I will consume you until you die, too.”

And it lunged. I snapped back in time to dart out of its way. Then I did the only thing I knew how to do – run.

Before I had made it even a few feet, the creature grabbed me by the wrist and spun me around.

“No more running,” it snarled.

With its other hand the creature clutched my neck and pulled me close. Face to face, its breath was so putrid I wanted to pass out. I tried to wiggle free but the creature wrapped me into a tight embrace, but not a loving one. Its lower jaw dropped and it began inhaling.

I had to do something. My mind raced while my life flashed before me, all in a split second. Then it hit me.

“Wait!”

The creature stopped.

I took the opportunity. “What if I resurrect you?”

The creature cocked its head.

I continued. “You said nothing stays dead forever. You came back as this. I killed you by neglect. What if I resurrect you by giving you back the care you deserve?”

The creature made the rumbling chuckle sound again. “You can’t bring back what’s dead. It has to become -”

“-Another form. I know. I resurrect you as new dreams.”

The creature took that idea in. I held my breath, hoping, praying. After several moments, the creature returned its gaze to me. “That could work…Yes. It would…Actually, I think I’d like that.”

I laughed nervously. “Yeah, I’d like that, too. Being consumed until I die doesn’t sound too fun.”

A chuckle came from the creature. This time it was clear and out of amusement.

“I’m sorry I abandoned you,” I said.

Looking at me with pity, the creature sighed. I coughed, trying not to gag.

“It’s not me you need forgiveness from. It’s yourself,” said the creature.

The creature released me. It put its hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye. “The first step to bringing your dreams to life must be that you wake up.”

And the creature passed its hand over my face as though casting a spell. Everything went black.

For the first time, I woke with a sense of peace.

 

Posted by: quoththesparrow | April 21, 2016

Oddball Bob and the Very Starey Staircase

Oddball Bob

Oddball Bob hobbled up to the decrepit parking structure. He found the stairs and, grabbing his right leg with his left hand, slung it to the first step. Twisting carefully, he hopped a couple of times, then heaved his other leg up. Bob repeated this process all the way up the stairs.

At the top he scanned the expanse of cars of various sizes and colors of the rainbow. It took Bob a while to do this because of his stiff neck. His head only turned in jerky motions. Finally, there it was, the cobalt Chevy coupe. Bob tilted his head slightly so his lazy eye turned to meet the other and he could see it fully and be absolutely sure.

A rapid grunting emitted from Bob’s lips and he hobbled over to the car. There, he waited stealthily. If you call standing directly in front of the car with the streetlamp boldly shining on him stealthy.

People started coming to their cars and driving away. Soon, there were only three cars left, including the one Bob was standing in front of.

Sometime later a young man came walking toward the car Bob was standing in front of. When the young man was a foot away, Bob yelled, “Ha!”

The young man stopped, and sighed. “Hi, Bob.”

“I didn’t scare you?”

“Dude, I saw you all the way from the stairs.”

“Oh.”

“What do you want?”

Bob started grunting again.

The young man groaned. “Ugh, I hate it when you laugh.”

“I’m gonna get you!” Bob exclaimed, then shuffled forward, jerking his arms until they were out straight.

“Really. Okay, I’m gonna get in my car. I’ll probably be gone by the time you get to the driver’s side.”

Bob growled. Well, it was more like, “Yaaaaarrr!”

The young man sighed again, this time frustrated. “Bob, what do you want?”

“Youuu, youuu toook my pen!”

The young man laughed loudly.

Bob yaaaaarrred again. “That’s not funny!”

“Yes it is! You came all the way here, stood waiting for me for however many hours, all for a pen.”

Reaching into his pocket, the young man pulled out a chewed up Bic pen. Casually, he walked over to Bob and placed the pen in Bob’s shirt pocket, then patted him.

“There ya go, buddy. Hey, have a good night and don’t get yourself in too much trouble.” The young man winked while simultaneously snapping his fingers, then pointing at Bob. Then quickly he was in his car and drove away.

Bob stood there for another five or ten minutes.

“Oh, well, I guess I’ll go back now.”

And with that, Bob hobbled back toward the stairs.

Posted by: quoththesparrow | April 17, 2016

Sabotage

Desert_canyon_view

The desert continued to stretch beyond the horizon. Sun-bleached sandstone crumbling under the oppressive heat. But that didn’t affect the young man. With each step his confidence grew. From time to time he’d spot a unique rock formation and excitedly pull his book out of the backpack, flip a few pages and exclaim with joy when he found the image he was looking for. Then he’d bring out his map and mark his find. And then on he’d forge.

A little while later he found another formation. Again he brought out his book and map.

He punched the air excitedly. “Made it farther than any of them! I’ll find the Lost City…and its gold. I’ll be rich and famous and then everyone back home will see.”

Off he took at full speed. After a few minutes he’d winded himself and stopped, catching his breath. He took a water bottle from his backpack and drank heartily. When he had his fill he returned the bottle to his backpack and went on.

“What shall I do with all the money?”

A smile creeped across his face. “I’ll hire my family as servants in my mansion. They can sleep in the moldy, dark basement. Ha! And I’ll grind them down with the worst tasks ever and not listen to a word they say. Not one complaint or plea. See how they like it.” At that he laughed, not humorously, but spitefully.

The sun had made its trek across the sky more than halfway toward the western horizon. Shadows began leaking from the rocks. Then, in the distance the young man heard a sound that turned him whiter than the bleached wood he’d occasionally seen in the desert.

“No. It can’t be. There are none here.”

He stood frozen for a second, then shook it off. “Man, I really do have an overactive imagination.”

On he journeyed. A few minutes later, his eyes grew wide with epiphany and he laughed harshly. “The conference! The guys at work let me speak at the conference because they wanted me to get mocked off stage!”

He stewed for a little while. Then something else began brewing in his thoughts. “Let’s see how they like sabotage. I am their errand boy. I know all their secrets. How about I run up business charges in their name…I can change their proposals en route to the CEOs.”

Suddenly, he heard the sound again, this time close by. Instead of freezing, he bolted. Only, not a hundred yards away in front of him appeared the very source of the sound.

“Lions?! Here?! Really?!”

The lion roared and charged toward the young man. With all that he could muster, the young man scaled the nearest hill of craggy outcroppings. At the top he looked back and saw the lion almost to the hill. He turned away and ran.

Into the night he ran, stopping only to catch his breath. Time would go by without him seeing or hearing the lion. Just when he had hop it was gone, the lion would make its presence known and on the young man ran.

The sun rose over the horizon, breaking across the desert hills. Light began chasing shadows from the desolate world. Still the young man ran. He hadn’t heard or seen the lion for a while again, and he dared to hope again. Slowing to a jog, he passed between two hills. The sun was already warm and the shadows up ahead would be invitingly cool. Just as he jogged to the darkened patch of ground, too late he realized it was not shadow, and he tumbled head-first into the hole. He bounced and somersaulted until he hit bottom, some 20 feet below.

The hole was steep, like a well but with no water. His chest heaved as he laid on his back, his legs crumpled against the walls. As he stared up at the sky, the world spinning, the lion’s face appeared over the top edge. The lion grunted and the young man laughed.

“At least down here you can’t get me!”

With another grunt, the lion left. First, the young man checked himself for broken bones. Finding none, he slowly stood up, leaning against the wall as his head spun. Once he stabilized, the young man reached up, dug his fingers into the dirt, and tried to pull himself up. But the dirt crumbled and he slid back down. Again he tried, and again, and again. He tried putting each foot against a wall and hoisting himself up. But the dirt crumbled. So many ways he tried to get out of the hole, but no matter what, they always failed. The dirt crumbled and he fell. Finally, he collapsed and wailed.

“I’ve come this far only to die in a hole. This is so unfair!”

Hours went by and the young man continued to lament. The sun shone directly overhead and the hole was completely illuminated. And it heated quickly. Within minutes the young man had sweat through his clothes.

Above, the lion appeared again at the edge. The young man picked up a pebble and chucked it at the lion. He missed. The lion didn’t even flinch. In fact, it seemed to be smiling.

“Oh, come on!” the young man hollered. “Now you’re laughing at me, too?”

The lion continued staring at the young man. Its expression changed slightly. More serious now.

Incredulously, the young man demanded, “Are you judging me?”

A rumbling came from the lion’s throat.

“I take that as a ‘yes.'” And the young man thumped his fist against the wall in exasperation.

Minutes went by, the heat becoming deadly. The young man struggled to breathe. He looked up at the lion.

“Seriously? I have a couple selfish thoughts and I end up roasting to death. After everything everyone else has done to me? Where’s the justice in that?”

The lion flopped itself onto the ground and rested its head on its paws. Its eyes gleamed with interest.

“Okay, maybe I was a little more selfish than just those couple of thoughts.”

The lion cocked its head.

“You don’t believe me? Of course you don’t. No one does. No one listens to me. I wanted to show them up. I wanted to be better than everyone. Larger than life.They hurt me. I wanted them to feel the pain they made me feel.”

He kicked the wall, then howled in pain, clutching his foot. He glared up at the lion. It shook its head slowly. The young man threw up his hands. “What?”

He locked eyes with the lion for a few moments, than dropped his arms, resigned.

“I just wanted to feel like I mattered, that I was special.”

The young man banged his head against the dirt wall. “This is my punishment, I gather. I tried to repay evil with evil…I brought this on myself…But if I did, I should be able to get myself out. Only, I can’t. I can’t save myself.”

As the young man slumped against the dirt wall again, he noticed grooves and dents in the dirt that looked like claw marks and paw prints. Slowly, he turned toward the lion in bewilderment.

“You made this hole?”

The lion smirked and nodded.

“Then you’ve got me no matter what,” said the young man, resigned.

With that, the lion jumped up and disappeared.

The young man sighed, “Now even you’ve deserted me.” And he closed his eyes.

Minutes later he heard a noise within the earth, coming closer.It stopped just before the wall. Then he heard scratching noises, and the dirt began to crumble away.

 

 

Posted by: quoththesparrow | April 14, 2016

Meant To Be

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There once was a beautiful rose

Magnificent in color

Its leaves shiny and petals full of life

A sweet, sweet fragrance so alluring

Many people stopped to admire it

And breathe in its beauty

Then continued on their way

Yet, in all the admiration

No one thought to stay

And nurture the rose

After a while people stopped paying it visits

The weather turned

Rain fell

At first it quenched the rose’s thirst

But the more the rain fell, the harder it came

Soon it turned to hail

And stripped leaves and petals from the rose

On it bore down

Then suddenly, it stopped

A spot of sun broke through the clouds

A breeze trickled in, kissing the rose gently

Then the breeze blew harder

In a flash the breeze turned into a mighty gale

The rose was whipped to and fro

Only its roots held it down

The wind hurled on, unrelenting

The rose’s leaves and petals,

If not blown away,

Were ripped to rags

On the wind howled

Until the rose was almost spent

Then suddenly, the wind stopped

And the sun came out

The rays caressed what was left of the rose

The sun stayed and beamed on

Yet, the longer the sun stayed, the hotter it grew

Under the heat, the rose wilted

Until it was but a shriveled remnant

At last the rose collapsed

Shortly, it would become one with the soil

No one to know that a beautiful rose

Once stood tall and proud in that place

Winter came

The ground covered in snow and ice,

Where our rose once was, now a frozen waste

Spring came, melting the ice and snow

Watering the ground

The sun returned and warmed the land

One day a tiny green shoot poked through the soil

A little boy playing the mighty hero

Slicing through the air with a stick for a sword

Stopped at the sight of the little green shoot

He knelt and peered at it in wonder

Then he turned back and called,

“Daddy, what’s this?”

His father came and knelt beside him

“It’s the beginning of a new life.

It could be anything.”

“Daddy, I’ll pull it up and give it to Mama!”

“Oh, no, son. But wait.

I’ll show you what to do with it.”

His father left, then returned shortly

With a spade and pot

First he scooped in dirt, then gently dug up

The little green shoot with his spade

And placed it carefully in the pot

“We’ll take it home and plant it in the garden.

Care for it, son. Nurture it.

In time, we’ll see what it’s meant to be.”

Posted by: quoththesparrow | April 14, 2016

Leader of the Coat

mens_coats2

Two men stood at the precipice

The valley spread out before them

Behind them the rest of their group

“What do we do?” they shouted in unison

The men looked at each other

“Do you know?”

“I don’t know. You?”

“Not a clue.”

The one man look at the other

“Why, your coat is much more fanciful than mine.

You have good taste. You must be smarter. You be leader.”

The other man agreed

He took the path nearest them down to the valley

The others followed

Three days, then three weeks went by

Everything went fine

Or so they thought

One day they called a town meeting

When the man with the coat stood in front of them

He opened his mouth to speak

But before their very eyes

A child of eight years or so

Snuck up and snatched his coat

Right off his back

“Whose child is so unruly?”

“None of ours!”

The child taunted the man and waved his coat

The man chased the child but could not catch it

Suddenly the town was surrounded

By an army of strange children

At first the town laughed

“Let’s show these youngsters who’s boss!”

But the children rounded up the town

Faster than they could reach the children or run from them

No matter what, the town could not outsmart the children

Four days, then four weeks later

The adults work the land

While the children run the town

It is a prosperous place these days

Posted by: quoththesparrow | May 12, 2012

Can you guess what these are?

Posted by: quoththesparrow | May 12, 2012

Thought I’d share some of my other art forms with you!

Posted by: quoththesparrow | January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello World!

Yes, the new year has begun and with it those resolutions. Some people like them, others find them pesky, and still others like myself completely forget about them.

However, it is good to look back at what we’ve learned and accomplished over the past year. I have learned humility and gained confidence as my writing career has grown exponentially. I am loving being back in Columbus, Ohio and reconnecting with friends. Yet, even though I have returned to a place I know and love, no experience is ever exactly the same. And I don’t want it to be. I want my time in Columbus this time around to be different, in a good way. It’s a re-creation as I see it. Since returning I’ve already had articles published with a local magazine and weekly newspaper, and I’ve made some wonderful new writer friends as I’ve searched out writing groups for me to belong to.

I believe this year will be a good one, because I will make it so. Oh, there will be trials and tribulations for sure. But through it all I will hold my head high and the sun will eventually shine again.

Happy New Year to all!

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 460 other followers

%d bloggers like this: