Golgotha Reborn

A.N. The last poem in the trilogy. I’m glad you like them. :.D Please consider commenting if you’d like to see more poems.
—Beatrice

How many times can the same person die?
Streak through the heavens, leaving clouds in the sky?
Death seems a glory placed far out of reach
The end of life’s lesson, the last thing to teach
We die many times while we dwell here on earth
We question our sanity, our purpose, our worth
At least, so they say, for I’ve heard it said
That people will worship only the dead
But I don’t want to die to see
The reason for my mortality
They said I had purpose; is that purpose now spent?
I know I can’t stay here; I am cursed and hell-bent
I know in the end, though their lips may lie,
There’s only one way each person can die
Each blow they deliver kills a piece of my heart
And every last word rips my body apart
Every final rejection, the dreams which they slay
Causes a piece of my spirit to slip softly away
And every time they turn and say good-bye
A piece of my heart starts to die
I can’t move my chest, can’t breathe without air
They’re mocking my life with their hardening stare
I’ve been here before, and I’ll come back again
To die at an altar in a crowd of strange men
They judge without knowing, they condemn with a glance
I follow them blindly. I walk in a trance.
I have no real purpose. Only death will suffice
And so they will kill me; we both know the price
A piece at a time, but there’s no turning back
My heartstrings have bound me to a railway track
I want to give in, but I don’t know which way
The winds will blow me at the end of the day
It’s terribly frightening, not knowing the odds
You’re fighting against in this game of the gods
But every time my heart starts to bleed
I stumble and fall, scraping my knees
I feel the pain flowing all through my chest
And tears sting my eyes. Yes, you know the rest
Yet softly I whisper, while wondering why
“There’s only one way each person can die.”

Advertisements

Golgotha Revisited

Each of my steps leaves no print on the ground
I move through the darkness, not making a sound
Everything reminds me of a terrible past
A tender heart ripped in a nuclear blast
A soul torn asunder by a ravishing wind
Crimson with memories of hatred and sins
This place is deserted; no lost man remains
To gloat or remember the screams and the pains
They caused when they turned on one called a friend
Or, at least, so it seemed to me at the end
They never really knew me; they knew only their thoughts
They couldn’t see the grief and pain that they brought
When I stood on this hill, and breathed in my last
My life flashed before me — the present and past
The blood from my body still stains the ground red
And no grass can grow in the places I bled
The stentorian thunder which bellowed my fate
A judge undercover who just couldn’t wait
To see my true colours before branding me
A sinner and outcast with one destiny
To perish in front of a heckling crowd
While overhead burnt with thundering clouds
They thought that they knew me, but I disagreed
And, for that transgression, they punished me
My body was laid out as carrion for birds
My soul was denounced in a multitude of words
My spirit flew on, and called from the sky
“Welcome to the place where dreams come to die”

Golgotha

The steps echo on the ground
I see the people all around
My head is high, but my body is weak
My tongue is moving, but I can’t speak
I know each step closer is a step towards Hell
The chains on my feet ring out like a knell
The hangman’s noose fastened tight on my heart
With every step threatens to rip me apart
I know where I’m going, it’s what I deserve
At least, so they tell me, though it seems quite absurd
I didn’t do anything, at least not what they say
But that doesn’t matter at the end of the day
The hill becomes steeper, and the crowd starts to thin
Their faces, triumphant, a kill for the win
They don’t understand me, they don’t know who I am
But they’ll never care, they can only damn
And now, I’m hell-bound, glued to the track
A one-way ticket to a nightmare in black
A place where dreams burn and kisses are cruel
A place where a memory’s an enemy, too
A place where you’ll never know who I am
‘Cause I’m not a human, I’m only a sham
Walk with me now, it’s a shameful parade
I thought I had promise, now, I’m betrayed
My own thoughts rebel in the order of life
I’ll never recover. No, not in this life.
The wooden steps clatter beneath my worn shoes
Which are promptly removed by those who accuse
Me of these things I don’t quite understand
Why must they hurt me? They don’t know who I am!
The wood has splinters, and they cut through my skin
But it doesn’t hurt me, not with the pain that I’m in
They guide me to the centre, ask to cover my head
But I refuse. I want to see to the end.
They still roll their eyes, pray to their god
Not the same one as mine, now, isn’t that odd,
How can they believe in someone so cruel
Who could goad you into dreaming, then take it away?
I hear the crowd gasp as the noose slowly tightens
The light in my eyes suddenly brightens
All of the colours then fade into black
Good-bye to this world, I shall not come back

The Fall of a Queen

Her name was Patty Picard.
You know the type. Rich, popular, and pretty, with painted nails and pleated miniskirts. Teachers love her, boys worship her, girls cling to her slang and fashion fads.
She was my worst nightmare in wedge heels. Was I the only one who saw her for what she was? A pampered princess who had probably never cracked a toenail in her life. She never did homework. She copied answers from her coterie. She never wanted for anything. “Darling Daddy” and “Dearest Mummy” gave everything she asked for, from the sparkle-coated red mascara to the bejeweled purple pumps to a white, tea-cup-sized poodle she named “Mercedes”.
And, in gym class, Patty Picard didn’t sweat, even though she could run two miles in six minutes. Her body never soaked her share of the gym towels. She never even had to deign to wipe a rebel beat of sweat streaking down her face. No, the world knew it well: Patty Picard didn’t sweat. She glowed.
It was insufferable. Us normal girls (whom she dubbed “wallflowers”) roamed the corridors with bent heads and red faces, hiding in the shadows from the Princess and her privileged bodyguards. They prowled through the school, decimating any soul foolish enough to show her face without hiding behind cakes of powder, rouge, and lipstick.
It took me longer than you would think to decide I had finally had enough. But, strangely enough, the last straw wasn’t another stolen piece of homework or hallway humiliation.
In fact, it didn’t even involve me. Or shouldn’t have, directly.
But I have a horrid habit of sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong. All in the name of Justice, of course.

Of course it began just like any other school day. Moments of interest cannot be heralded; otherwise, we would expect them, thus eliminating any element of surprise and, consequently, removing the interest.
I stood by my locker, feigning interest in a large ball of papers as Patty and Co. passed behind me. I felt something hit my back and knelt to retrieve it. Another paper missile to add to my collection. I was aiming for the ball to outgrow my locker by Christmas. I was, incidentally, well on track.
Muffled voices rose behind me, and I turned slightly, hiding my makeup-free face behind my locker door. Through the slits I could see Patty and two cronies towering over a smaller girl. Likely a freshman. Hair in two braids. Glasses. Braces. Freckles.
No match for Glitzy Red Mascara.
One of the cronies dropped Freckles’ glasses on the floor, crushing them beneath her feet. The girl whimpered, and I winced. Didn’t she know better? I had bought my first pair of contacts two days into high school.
Patty’s hyena cackle echoed through the hallway, and I squinted through the locker slits. Freckles had fallen on the ground.
And she was looking straight at me.
My breath caught in my throat. The girl’s eyes were supplicant. She was begging me to intervene.
But what could I do? It would be an uneven three against two. Freckles hardly looked as though she could manage a solid right hook. And Patty had prestige, money, and razor-sharp stilettos.
But I had my lacrosse stick.
Gently pulling it from the back of my locker, I fingered the net gently before stepping into the open field. Patty’s back was towards me, but Freckles sent me a small smile.
I nodded in acknowledgement before throwing the net over Princess Patty’s head.
“What the HELL!”
“RUN!” I called to Freckles as Patty struggled underneath the net. I gained no small satisfaction as I noted the disarray of her once-perfectly permed hair. “AND FIND HELP!” I added to Freckles as she disappeared around the corner.
Patty’s cronies looked shocked at my display before breaking into raucous laughter.
“Serves her right!”
“How pathetic!”
I saw Patty’s kohl-lined eyes fill with tears as she stopped struggling to untangle her hair from the net. “W-What?”
“Girl, it’s about time.”
“Word!”
“W-What do you mean?” Patty’s voice was more vulnerable than I had ever heard it.
“No one cares about you, Picard.”
“As if!”
“You think you have the school under your thumb, but everyone’s just too afraid to…”
“OMG! Is that…Patty Picard?”
“Who did that?”
“This is EPIC!”
“This is SO going on MySpace.”
“Lemme see that camera, girl.”
“Ooh! Ooh! I wanna turn!”
I stole a glance around me. A crowd had gathered to witness the fall of a queen. Turning back to my captive, I saw Patty Picard’s eyes glaring into mine. Her gaze was vehement, murderous. But all great empires fall. No one can last forever.
Not even Patty Picard.

Seeing the Future

Three weeks after I earned my license, I had my first accident. I was sitting at a side street stop sign, trying to enter the busy intersection. I looked left, looked right, and looked left again before pressing the accelerator, spinning my wheels to turn.
I forgot to look straight ahead.

The few moments after an accident are surreal. You are dazed, not fully understanding the scene before you. The glass is shattered, and you vaguely register the shouts and beeping horns, but, for a few moments, time stands still.
Then your heart jumps into action.

“Miss? MISS! Are you all right?”
Someone is banging against the passenger window. It is a body with two heads. I shake my head, trying to clear the rising fog. There is glass all over my body. Cuts on my arms and legs oozing blood. I look through the open dashboard to see the other driver. He is slumped over the steering wheel. His seatbelt hangs loosely to the side.
There are sirens, and the smell of smoke. More people bang on my window, but I can’t tell what they’re saying. My ears are plugged, and my eyes are sagging. I want to close them. I want to sleep. I want to feel frightened, feel worried, feel something, but all I can do is fight the rising mist, which is gradually drawing closer…and closer…
CRASH!
My eyes jump open, and I feel a pair of arms wrap around me. Another pair of arms is cutting my seatbelt.
“We’re cutting you out,” a voice behind me says. “Stay awake, okay? Focus on my voice.”
The man (for it was a man’s voice) began to talk about the paramedics and the firefighters arriving to the scene. He mentions something about water and ice, but the words begin to blend into each other. To fade.
The fog is rising again. I feel my body rising with it. Up, up, and out of the car. Where am I going? To the hospital? To the heavens? I see a million scenes flash before my eyes, linked by a thread of insanity. Where am I going? What is happening to me?

When I open my eyes again, I am in darkness. The unfamiliar sounds don’t help my anxiety.
“Ah, you’re awake.” A man’s voice by my head. I stiffen instinctively.
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
But I don’t see fingers. I don’t see anything, except my future. A dark, dull emptiness with no end in sight.
Despite its foreboding nature, I marvel at the sight. I’ve never seen anything so clearly.
And I never will again.

Soul Mates

They met in Athens, on the steps of the Parthenon. He was an Olympic athlete, the favourite for several cycling events. She was a reporter, straight out of school on her first big assignment. They were soul mates, though they didn’t realise it at the time.

When the Games ended, they left the city, never looking back. She returned home, got a promotion, and married a hometown boy, her best friend’s brother. He soon lost his job, but found another with a large, multinational corporation. Several years later, he was promoted and transferred to the company headquarters in London. She found a good job with the Standard, and the entire family moved to Streatham.

On the first day of her new job, she walked into the office only to find a very familiar face sitting at the cubicle next door. It was Him. The Athlete. Her soul mate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Mummy!”
Little Penny Pratchett ran to the door, struggling to unbolt the lock. “Mummy! Mummy! You’re home!”
The door eventually opened, seemingly of its own accord, and the girl threw her arms around her mother’s legs. “Mummy, I missed you!”
The woman looked down, surprise filling her eyes. “Home already, Penny? Did you finish school early?” And then, “Penny! What have I told you about opening the door to strangers?”
“But you’re not a stranger, Mummy! I saw you coming! And, besides, Mrs Townsfeld was watching me.”
The woman’s eyes travelled to a older lady sitting on the day bench. “Much obliged, ma’am, for watching my little girl.”
“Please don’t mention it, Helena. Penny’s a darling.”
After politely declining a cup of tea, Mrs Townsfeld was showered with thanks and praise as she returned to her house next door. The newfound lack of company left Helena Pratchett with nothing to do other than sitting at the kitchen table, resting her head in her hands.
“Mummy.” Penny crawled into her mother’s lap. “Mummy, you look sad.”
“I’m not sad, sweet pea. I’m just thinking.”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Adult things, sweetie.”
“Can I help?”
“Actually…” Helena thought for a moment. “Penny, lovey, do you believe in…true love?”
“Yes, of course!” Penny bounced in her mother’s lap. “Everyone has true love! Cinderella and the Prince, Ariel and the Prince, Snow White and the Prince, and you and Daddy!”
Helena’s smile disappeared as the last couple was mentioned. “Yes…yes, your daddy and I love each other…very much, don’t we?”
Penny frowned. “Mummy, have you and Daddy been fighting again?”
“No, no, lovey. Daddy’s done nothing wrong. Nothing at all.”

Helena Pratchett lay awake that night for a long time, thinking. The man snoring next to her was everything a woman could ask for. He was kind, gentle, and understanding. He had a good job, a good mind, and a good heart. A way with children, a way with words, and a way with, well, everything.
Why, then, did she feel this way?
Parry was safe.
But Manuel felt…right.
Parry was where she belonged.
But Manuel was…different. Special.
Perhaps they were siblings. Or cousins. That could explain the connection, couldn’t it? So she searched. She called older relatives. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. She looked at family trees. Visited genealogy experts. But there was no trace of any “Manuel Ortega”, or even any Spanish ancestry, in her blood.

But they were good together.
She told jokes, and he laughed. Parry never laughed at her jokes.
They could finish each other’s sentences, predict each other’s lunch preferences, even choose clothes and accessories they knew the other would love.
Parry could do none of those.
But what could she do? She was married. She had a small child. She was a good woman. She wanted to be a good wife.
So she did the only thing she could. She came home and cried. Every night. When Penny was in bed and her husband was asleep, Helena Pratchett would let the tears wet her pillow, drowning the soft down in a deluge of heartbreak.

This pattern continued for a few years, until, one day, Helena went to work only to find the cubicle next to hers was cleared.
“Where’s Mister Ortega?” she asked the only person in the corridor, a cleaner.
“He’s gone, Missus Pratchett,” said the man. “Said somethin’ ’bout seekin’ a fortune in ‘merica. Cleaned out last night an’ left.”
Manuel was gone. Left for a different country.
But what could she do? She was a married woman. She had duties. Responsibilities.

More time passed. Penny grew into a beautiful young woman. She went to college, earned a degree in English, and followed in her mother’s footsteps. Helena was proud.
At least there’s one thing I did right…

One day, Penny brought a young man home. His name was Toni.
He was a very nice young man, Helena thought. He’d make a good husband for Penny.
It wasn’t until the wedding that Helena realised why Toni Ortega was so familiar.
“I never realised you had a son,” she said to Manuel during the reception. “He looks a lot like you.”
“They’ll be happy together,” was the reply.
“Yes,” said Helena. “Yes, I think they will be.”

At Grandfather’s House

The beautiful night air whips across my face. The stars scintillate in turn as they rap out the rhythm of a song yet unheard in this world. I sing one of my own off-tune, my hands lightly fingering the revolver in my coat pocket.
It’s a grand night to be on top of the world, but, sadly, I’m not there. Yet. But I can fix that. I intend to, before the night is over.
There is a crash in one of the backstreets. A Havana Brown leaps into my line of vision, its wide, fluorescent eyes daring me to blink. I smirk, and the cat mews quietly before darting behind the wall.
Even the cats are afraid of me. There’s nothing left to stand in my way. Nothing but a few metres of potholes dipped in concrete, a mire of stagnant water, litter, and broken dreams.
I walk a few feet more, jumping over the potholes in the road. Some are deeper than others. Some of them are too wide, and I feel the concrete crumbling at the edges beneath my feet. But I don’t fall in. I won’t. I’ve trained too hard.
There is a beat, then the roar of sirens, cutting into the night. An amateur would hide, but I hold my place. The red-and-blue lights dance on the brick walls around me as the cars race by, filling my face with dust and exhaust. I hold my breath, not wanting to feel the acrid fumes burn through my chest.
The police are on a late-night chase. Fools. They’ll never touch us. We are far too careful, too clever. We entertain the cops and lawyers with the weaker links, disposable softies who would have been eliminated anyway. The dumb muscle, if you will. Everyone seems to want a job these days. Especially the ones who aren’t qualified for much of anything.
When I reach the door, I straighten my tie, adjust my hat, and knock twice. Almost immediately, the door is answered by a pretty, curly-haired maid. Her name is Maria, but we call her La Morte. Rumour has it she once killed an entire neighbourhood block by setting a gas pipe on fire.
“He’s waiting for you,” she says to me, offering to take my hat.
I shake my head at her waiting hand. “I’ll be quick.”
Climbing the stairs two at a time, I pause briefly before barging into the boss’ office. I don’t bother knocking.
The boss’ gray head is bent over his desk, and he makes no indication that he is aware of my intrusion. I clear my throat, and he looks up, scowling slightly before his face breaks into a grin.
“Flavio! How’s my favourite grandson?”
“I’m your only grandson,” I say. “Matteo doesn’t count.”
Matteo, my cousin, was two years older than I and currently “institutionalised” somewhere in America. He had reportedly gone mad after a drug deal went wrong. None of us believed that, of course; we knew he had sold information about the family to the police. Took three months to clear everyone worth saving and eliminate the rest. But Matteo didn’t care. He’s currently living the free life in Vegas. An embarrassment to the entire family. Mentioning his name is tantamount to murder.
Which is why, of course, I did it.
The boss’ eye twitch at the mention of Matteo’s name, but, other than that, he makes no acknowledgement of my statement. Strange that he should let it slide so easily. This new job he needs done must be horrible.
“To what do I owe this visit, Flavio?” The old man gestures to an armchair in front of the fire, but I remain standing.
“Romano mentioned something about a job.”
“Ah, yes. Job. Never have time to come and chat with an old man, do you, Flavio?”
“We have nothing to chat about,” I said pointedly.
“But you are my grandson! We are family. We are blood!”
I rest my hand over the revolver in my pocket. “We may be blood, tainted as that might be, but you are no family of mine!”
“Flavio.” The old man’s voice was hoarse. “You have to put that behind you. There was nothing to be done for her.”
“There was everything to be done for her!” I slammed my hands on the desk. “You gave up! You forced me to give up! You turned your back on the family! You betrayed our cause!”
“She was a traitor, Flavio. She was working with Matteo. She sold us out.”
“No, you’re wrong.” My voice cracks. “I read both of their testimonies. They don’t match. Matteo was lying. He was jealous.”
“Jealous of you and Carla? I think not…”
“You don’t think at all! Damn you, you’re nothing but a…”
“FLAVIO!”
The words die in my mouth.
“Do you forget where you are? Don’t test my patience, boy. I have more important things to worry about than your miserable love life.”
“More important things than me?” I say quietly.
The old man sighs. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Flavio.”
“I suppose it revolves around you?”
“Flavio…”
“Don’t ‘Flavio’ me. You took everything away from me! Let’s see how much you like it.” I pull out the gun and point it at the boss. “Keep your hands on the desk, old man. If you so much as blink, I will shoot you.”
The old man tilts his head back and laughs.
Of all the possible reactions, I did not anticipate this one.
“I’m SERIOUS!” My grip tightens on the gun. “I’ll shoot you, I swear!”
“Flavio, Flavio, Flavio…” The old man shakes his head. “So you shoot me. You’re next in line, you become the new boss. You’ll break your dear Carla out of prison, I assume, and live happily together forever as the mafia don and his wife. Am I right?”
My hand shakes. “She’s dead.”
“Eh?”
“Carla. She’s dead.”
“Oh.” The old man’s head drops. “Flavio…”
“You know who killed her?”
There is no reply, and I smirk.
“That’s right, old man. It was your order. Your signature. Her blood on your hands. Now, it will be your blood on my hands. That’s the way you always spin. Revenge. Power. Reputation. Prestige. Well, now it’s my turn.”
“You’re confused,” says the boss. “Grieving. If you’re the boss…”
When I’m the boss,” I correct, “I won’t kill innocent girls. ‘Specially not if my ‘favourite grandson’ is in love with them.”
“She was working with Matteo,” says the boss. “I had no choice.”
“There is always a choice!” I snap.
“Then you’ll understand why I have to do this.” The boss snaps his fingers, and the study doors open.
As three burly men hustle into the room, I stiffen. “Then I will make my choice.” I pull the trigger, only to hear a small click.
The barrel is empty.
“Maria switched your guns,” says the boss. “You really should be more careful when you’re entering your grandfather’s house…”