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I can’t drive past a dead animal splayed and stinking on the side of the road in the summer heat without thinking of you. The tang you’d left behind inside your apartment is no different than a fucking stupid deer, rotting; we’re all animals, after all. The similarity is incredibly depressing. Makes my mind wander into the macabre. I can’t help but envision you hanged upside down and sliced open in some hillbilly pole barn with your entrails falling from your middle, and plunking into an orange Home Depot bucket.

I scold myself aloud: Don’t think about that!

I can’t help it. Intrusive Thoughts are a part of O.C.D.

You never knew that I live with this condition, and I’m glad I never told you. You had enough to worry about; you weren’t mentally equipped to handle this sickness that colors me dreadful.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: DeviantArt)

My husband is older than me by nine years and five months. When I was in sixth grade, he was a specialist driving a HEMTT for the United States Army during the Persian Gulf War.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Hussein refused to withdraw in defiance of the United Nations Security Council, so in 1991, the Persian Gulf War began with a U.S. led air offensive called Operation Desert Storm. For 42 days, the allied coalition attacked in the air and on the ground. By mid-February, air attacks shifted to ground attacks—troops headed from northeastern Saudi Arabia into Kuwait and southern Iraq. Over the span of four days, Kuwait was liberated; 120 miles west, the Iraqi Republican Guard defending the armored reserves was defeated on 27 February, 1991. On 28 February, President George H.W. Bush declared a cease-fire. By then, most of the Iraqi forces had either surrendered or fled. In accordance to the cease-fire and the peace terms Hussein had accepted, Iraq would recognize Kuwait’s sovereignty and get rid of all weapons of mass destruction.

It is estimated that 8-10, 000 Iraqi soldiers were killed, while ‘only’ 300 coalition soldiers were killed.

This war was brief—42 days. And the loss of American life was ‘minor.’ Is this the reason why the Persian Gulf War is overlooked in Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day recognition/celebrations? If not for my husband, I wouldn’t even (know to) ask.

Post-traumatic stress is a big thing with our service men and women. I know my husband suffers. He’s one of those guys who won’t get loose with his Army emotions. But one night recently, he broke down, and wept into my lap. I didn’t know what to do—his shoulders were shaking, and he just…sobbed. I’ve heard his stories about dead bodies—the smell of human death lining the sides of those desert roads. I’ve heard the stories about gunfire, and wondering if he’d ever get home alive.

My husband is a Persian Gulf Army veteran. He served his country, and he has lost friends. He has been afraid. He has been lonely. He lives humbly—the guy doesn’t take part in any kind of veteran program/discount/anyfuckingthing because he’s relatively healthy, doesn’t want to take advantage, and doesn’t feel the need to draw attention to himself—he chose to serve, and he would go it again if he could. That doesn’t mean he and everyone else who had served during the Persian Gulf War shouldn’t be recognized. It makes my stomach ache, watching these television programs honoring our military on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day, and the Persian Gulf is never mentioned among the wars.

But who am I to bitch? I’m just the wife of an Army Veteran who is proud as fuck that he served his country. And I am proud of him. Not just because he enlisted. But because he is a great man. My best friend…

The June Bugs are smacking against the window screen, and Melvin doesn’t mind. Cats of a certain age aren’t bothered; Melvin just keeps on sleeping with his nose pressed against the screen, happy for the warm spring air. He’s an indoor kitty—because I love him too much. Growing up, we had cats that were allowed to go outdoors, and they never lived to reach senior status. Melvin is fifteen! Though he has experience as an outside cat, most of his life has been spent indoors where he is safe and worshipped. Even Jim loves my baby boy. Jim pets Melvin, and scratches his neck—gives him treats and plays with him. That’s a big deal because Jim is a dog guy. His black lab was hit by a car like, fifteen years ago, and still the pain is sharp. Jim often says he hopes he’s reunited with Oliver when he dies and goes to heaven. IF there is a heaven. Jim was raised Catholic, and is one of those unpracticing who believe just enough, just in case.

 

It’s all about fire insurance, as far as I’m concerned.

 

I go between believing and not. My whole life I’ve struggled; sometimes I catch myself praying at bedtime. To be real, I prefer science. I don’t like the idea of hellfire. Because I fear I’m going to Hell. Because there are so many unrealistic expectations of the human race. I’m not talking about the big shit, like, don’t kill people…I was going to add “Don’t rape,” but that’s not even a commandment. And apparently, we don’t give enough fucks about rape to make it a sin.

 

So now, I’m not believing.

 

I recently started watching The Handmaid’s Tale. Holy shit. Yeah, as a side note, I suck because I didn’t read the book…

 

The truth is anyone, or any group can RAPE the word of “GOD” and use it to their advantage. Church groups can have camps that “Pray the Gay Away.” But where are the church groups that talk with kids who are legitimately mentally ill—being gay IS NOT a mental illness. For fuck’s sake!!

 

So now people reading this are going to be pissed off that I put God in quotations. As far as I’m concerned, “God” should be printed with quotations. GOD is not proven. Mental illness is proven!! Hatred is real. Irresponsibility is real. Parents aren’t paying proper attention to their kids. Parents aren’t held accountable for their kids’ actions—and they should be because they’re partly to blame for all this bloodshed! It can’t be all our governments fault. Because it ISN’T all our governments fault. YES, I believe our government fails our mentally ill. YES, I believe mental health care in America is a fucking joke. But when a kid goes nuts with guns his own father gave back to him after having been confiscated…WHAT THE FUCK?!

And now we have this kid who killed his classmates, the first one being a girl who rejected his love for her. Okay, so she embarrassed him, but does that mean she should have paid with her life? Does that mean other students should have died??? Duh, the obvious answer is no.

We need to be having other conversations besides “gun control.” Because the fucking idiots who equate “gun control” with gun eradication are running the joint.

 

It’s just another day in the life of trying to coexist with morons. Morons being the fucking morons who make up our government.

And my cat, he lives in bliss.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

 

 

Sometimes I imagine myself not plummeting, but falling slowly, spiraling uncontrolled into the black; the nonentity is dizzying and cold like outer space, unsympathetic.

 

So Dad opened the door to the dark January night. The sky was black as pitch and cloudless, the stars brilliant, perfect white dots. He picked up his suitcase, and he said nothing as he crossed the threshold, shutting the door gently behind him. Back then, Dad looked exactly like the Renaissance era’s personification of Jesus Christ.

 

I feel sorry for her because she doesn’t know. The last time she saw our house, she was watching it grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. But I have driven by nearly every Sunday afternoon since Mom and I moved away, and I have watched it decompose.

Our old house is a corpse. Maybe I should burn it down and dump its ashes in the lake.

 

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© Kindra M. Austin/cover design by Allane Sinclair

Available on Amazon  and Amazon UK.

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My face is lined with volumes you’ve never read; and yet my eyes speak to you? Trust me, they belie what lies beneath my wine cellar. Just ask him, the one who has actually pored over this flesh, and subsequently survived the fire expelled from these lungs. I was not fashioned for the pleasure of man; I am no honeycomb waiting to be tasted, and these eyes of mine are not the bedroom kind. Look harder if you must, but you’ll only leave perplexed. I am not a piece, but an entire book, epic, and you cannot fathom me.

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Pinterest)

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I’m no good a lot of times, because I’m human, cutting my own path. I often wonder how I can make my words more visible; how I can do better to widely inspire. I’m assaulted by generics daily, and I feel sorry for those who follow easy lines built upon clichés—I’m offended for every writer who bleeds each word they write. A real writer bleeds thick—so thick the words have a granular texture. So thick you gag on their truth, and question your own. A real writer inspires you to examine yourself, rather than telling you to smile and accept your lot.

I’m no good a lot of times, because I’m human, cutting my own path. That’s what makes me brilliant (?) I write confessionals in an effort to connect with others like me. There are countless others like me—deep. But I’m assaulted by generics daily—people who are popular because they post shit that’s pretty easily digestible. There are far more generics than there are genuines, it seems. And I’m not jealous of a pseudo-writer’s insta-success. I’m simply pissed-off because they’re so fucking simple, they have no blood to show for shit. Yeah, they have numbers, but those numbers are made up of dumbfucks who live for platitudes.

Platitudes = insincerity.

Just so you know.

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I dreamt I was miniature, traveling through a labyrinthine trailer park diseased with taupe colored muck, and flip-flopping mudskippers; pectoral fins glimmered in waves, despite the sunless, flat grey ceiling of a sky. My skin screamed at the loathsome goby touch, and my mouse heart beat savagely against its cage. Panic drove my legs, and then I was airborne, peddling.

I just knew I’d make it home.

Touching down in a blue sky town dressed in purple hued Victorian architecture, my height increased with every footstep; I kept growing until I reached 5 feet, 6 ¾ inches. I walked past a liquor store that also sold Native American art, and was reminded of you. The booze bottles displayed in the front window sparkled in the sunlight like your eyes did, once upon a time in another plane of reality.

Fade out…

Fade in…

I attend an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner. The grass is long, soft, and deep green—so lovely beneath my bare feet. A long table is sat atop a small hill; a plump, silver haired woman wearing a powder blue house dress is arranging place settings. I see your name card. Your plate has been set upside down, and your napkin, folded, placed at the left. There are no utensils, or chalice set for you.

Dead mothers don’t dine.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Rooster Magazine)

 

 

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Today my tongue tastes yellow, not like lemons, but like nicotine stained fingertips, or young pus on the cusp of turning pea green. That’s what it is—my tongue tastes like infection. Tastes like your moldering death and sticky linoleum. Tastes like November 7th, the day I learned you’d died in that goddamned apartment with no one to mourn you but your fucking cat. It comes out of nowhere and somewhere both at once, this yellow sick. It begins in my belly, and travels upward through my esophagus, coating my mouth. Bile, oil viscous. Yes, this is the taste of my grief.

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Congratulations to Henna at Murder Tramp Birthday for receiving the Versatile Blogger Award! Henna’s writing is fucking bananas, and I greatly admire her.

Thank you, dear heart, for nominating me.  ❤

So, the rules this time around are to write seven interesting things about yourself, then choose fifteen of your favorite bloggers to nominate.

7 Things You May or May Not Care to Know About Me

  1. I’m incapable of reciting the alphabet backwards.
  2. In my mid-twenties, I was a lector at my local Catholic church. I was most often hungover, or still drunk from imbibing the night before, but no one ever knew because I’m the balls.
  3. I partied with Gaelic Storm at a Holiday Inn hotel bar in 2008. I have photographic evidence.
  4. The kids at school used to call me Spock because of my misshapen right ear.
  5. In 2009 I was nearly thrown in airport jail at Heathrow. My passport is tarnished with an angry red stamp.
  6. I don’t have any tattoos.
  7. I dropped acid once, when I was seventeen.

As many of Henna’s fifteen nominees are my favorites too, I’m just going to add a few writers you should totes check out, dudes. (I know, I’m not following the rules.)

Damn, Girl

Free Verse Revolution 

Spo_oky

Silent Hour

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“We’ve eaten lots of breakfasts as a family, but this one is the most important to me, and that morning is alive too, sharing space with my guilt.

Strange how trivial things, the details of a single morning in five-thousand and some can so cruelly become the richest, most bittersweet of memories.”

–Magpie Carey


“The sun is shining colorless through layers of drifting clouds. I’m looking for traces of blue within the holes, but I only catch glimpses of a sky silvery white.”

–Magpie Carey