By Andy Copeland
I sleep, the world is turning
I wake, my mind is burning
Through my life I’m always learning
Don’t follow every yearning
I’ve almost seen Satan’s face
And I heard all ’bout Jesus’s grace
I’ve been everywhere between, seen
All the sights that can be seen and
I can tell you not to follow
‘Cuz no one thinks
I’m in the world around me
The sights and sounds surrounding
Did you hear the music sounding?
I can feel my heart a-pounding and
I just know I need a fix
I throw it into my daily mix
My mamma taught me right from wrong but
Here I am, singing this song and
I just don’t know where I’m gonna go
But it ain’t too good and that’s for sho’
Ain’t too many roads for me to take; and
I don’t know how far one man can make
By Andy Copeland
It’s kinda’ chilly outside tonight. Despite our being in Oklahoma, the mid-February weather has given me an excuse to sport my brown leather jacket. I’ve got this girl in front of me, okay? She and I are pretty good friends by now, but don’t get any ideas; I’ve only tried to kiss her once—behind a curtain, right before we had to go out—and she turned her head to the side and kindly took my sugar on her beautiful, soft, left cheek.
It’s gotta’ be only Tuesday night. Everyone at the house has had at least a few beers by this point. We don’t have but maybe one informal rehearsal tomorrow afternoon, so we decided that we could allow ourselves to let loose a little tonight. What the hell, right?
It’s not my first time to drink. I’m not that lame, okay? The first alcohol I ever consumed outside of communion at my grandparents’ Episcopalian church was a glass of Champaign the night before. Four of us each had a glass before we sat down and ate. The next bit of alcohol I had was from a can of beer earlier tonight. Fine, I’ve never really drank before tonight, but so what? I grew up to be the good Baptist kid. Since I left for college, I’ve opened my mind up a bit.
So anyway, this girl and I are outside having a couple of cigarettes. I pull my Zippo out to light another one of Rachel’s shitty menthols. She bought two packs of them for like five dollars. Pretty good deal, I guess. I grab her bottle and pull a good-sized swig from it while I watch her watch me with those gorgeous, giant, green eyes. She makes a comment about being cold—the striped cardigan she stole from me last night wasn’t providing much warmth—and moves up against me. While I hit my cig and wonder if this will go anywhere, she snatches the beer back from me.
I don’t know it yet, but my mind is about to be blown.
After a couple of drags she mentions the time I flicked her sensitive nose and demands that I kiss it. Cigarette between my fingers, and without a word, I take Rachel’s small face into my hands and lean in to plant a small kiss on the bridge of her nose. The second and third kiss each last longer than the one before it. The next thing I know, I feel her smiling, playful breathing against my mouth.
Eyes now shut, I close the gap and kiss her thoroughly. After a moment she breaks it to set her bottle down and throw her cig across the concrete (I guess I must have dropped mine). Now she has one hand on the back of my neck and the other on my chest. I move mine to her back and waist, pulling her small, slender body even closer, and our mouths meet again. I can feel lovely warmth seeping from her body, from her lips, from her breath. I want her and I know she wants me. The whole time we’re both smiling.
She starts talking between kisses. “You know we shouldn’t be doing this,” she says softly.
“Doing what?” I mockingly retort.
I say nothing and continue to kiss her.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Rachel finally says.
I continue to play stupid. “Hurt me? How?”
Now she pulls away for a second and puts her finger on my chin. “You know how. I don’t want you to get any ideas or anything. This isn’t real.” She has this really intense look on her face, the one that reminds me of the face she makes during a high point in our scene. I could lose myself in those eyes.
Not exactly sure how to respond, and too turned on to hold back, I lean forward to recommence kissing her mouth. “I know,” I finally say. “That’s why I like it.” We kiss more and I speak again. “I’m just having a good time.”
I’ve moved my right hand up the side of her waist. Now the base of my palm is lightly touching the sideswell of one of her small, perky breasts. I take her face back into my other hand and pull her closer to mine while I kiss her harder. I think I just heard a small moan escape her throat. I wonder how far she’ll let this go. I wonder how much more I need to push.
Someone is turning the doorknob in an almost respectfully warning manner. “Shit.” I back up.
The door opens just in time for Cylie to see me hand another cig to Rachel. After I get one in my mouth, I simultaneously light both of our cigarettes.
“What are you two doing?” Cylie asks as if it’s any mystery at all; we’ve probably been outside for thirty minutes.
Rachel giggles and says something charismatically awkward.
We all laugh.
I tell her that Rachel and I will be back in after we finish smoking these last ones. Cylie shrugs and goes back inside. We say nothing but only look at each other. After a moment, Rachel ditches her cigarette, kisses me on the cheek, and hurries in with a gleeful smile.
By Andy Copeland
Sometimes, when I smoke a cigarette
The tobacco so bold
Smoke so smooth
I take my drags sparingly
You see, the nicotine
Delivers my blood
B.S. is one of the abbreviations I pencil in the margin of prose I’m reviewing –my own or a client’s. It stands for Be Specific, though it evokes a different two-word expletive that means much the same thing.
The best way to be specific is to know what you want to say – and sometimes that takes several meandering drafts. Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish in a scene or a post, a chapter, a story or a report, you can guide your reader to understand you clearly with specific language – with words.
Words can be general, like the word food – the fuel that sustains life. A general word fails to give your reader much guidance, leaving her to imagine grapes when you imagined roast beef.
Words that are more specific are limited in scope, like the word snack – which is…
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peace can never exist, it will always remain an impractical abstraction, a word without true form or definition. peace has to disappear and become part of being itself. like the quote imparts, “the way is not to peace, peace is the way.” just as from the human perspective, so as to distinguish ourselves from other creatures, we say we have agency, that is, self-awareness. we don’t challenge this, we don’t think about it, we know it, we LIVE it. peace has to be experienced under these terms to happen; therefore, it will never happen.
once peace can be thought of objectively, alternatives can be considered; once the purposes for these alternatives are understood, any number of circumstances could result in any number of these purposes and thus can be used to justify an alternative (peace is much more than just the absence of war, and although its exact opposite is…
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