May 10, 2020. EYES

"Eyes" by Connor Orrico
I

eyes closed 
or open,
body still
or moving,
I have not 
woken up
in half of
a decade


II

elegies exit as
energy evaporates
through empty eyes
“Eyes” by Luke Fallon
"a lie i should've never believed" by Linda M. Crate
you mocked my brown eyes
said they were boring
for years and years and years
i believed you,
until something in me stirred;
and the tides
shifted and the oceans of me
eroded away your words
and i saw my eyes in the mirror and i realized
they were beautifulโ€”
you were just jealous
because your eyes weren't the
dark bark of a tree
or her deep roots,
the color of life giving soils,
your eyes weren't the color of the
bones of the forest;
and i realized there was beauty in me and these eyes
i tried to wish away all those years ago
because you had convinced me
of a lie
i should've never believed.
“Gypsy” by Christopher Woods
"The Quill People" by M.A.A.
Are we not lucky to possess the fortunate ways
of the lucky cunts who thought of better days,
who wrote many a script to be played,
who wrote to show what had been said,
yet left a lot unheard and unnoticed,
yet left a lot of what their minds bled,
none of it was ever made.
 
Looking closely into their gaze,
we can see through the haze,
but from the view of our times, some insist,
nonsense, for it is with their eyes we see
drunks still playing with their convincing lies,
nonsense, for it is their words we hear
gone men still hoping for future highs...

“Catching Eyes” by S.J. Saighead

            I move around the room, catches eyes as I do so, putting them in my pockets. In a place like this, the eyes are the only body part one truly can’t hide. No clothes to cover, no make up to conceal. The eyes tell it all. Well I hope they do, or I’m going to get another beating.

            I feel the bruise under my shirt, just below my ribs. It’s not sore, just tender. A reminder, be careful. Hit them first. Or leave, there’s always that. Though I don’t know if I could find the door. I’m fairly sure that’s the gimmick of this place. Fill them up with booze then make the music irritating and the door impossible to locate so the only option is to dance, fuck, or both.

            A haze had settled over the room, above the heads of the writhing mass. Possibly a cloud of sweat, or maybe it was pumped into the place. Dry ice? I’ve been coming here a long time and never really figured it out. There’s no one really to ask. No one talks. No one knows. There’s no one seems to run the place. It just exists.

            A nightly hub of insanity and alcohol.

            These eyes aren’t quite what I’m looking for. There’s nothing there for me. They’re distracted with others. They’re unfocused. I don’t see it. Whatever it is. There’s something, I’ve surely seen it before. I’ve seen it.

            In the eyes.

            Moving towards the bar is a difficult task. No one talks. They just dance. I don’t see it. I feel hands, brushing, Brushing past me. Touching, grabbing. Holding, no holding. They meant to hold something else. I was a miss, I’m sure. Grinding. Some fingers intwine in mine. They’re not it. You can tell with these things. They pull but to where I do not know. They don’t want me. They don’t know that yet. They would though.

            They’d learn.

            When their arms are in mine. Fingers through my hair, desperately clinging. Rubbing, holding, touching. Exploring every inch of skin. They’d feel it then. I’d feel it too. It would be uncomfortable. We won’t know why. This never happens. They’d go home dissatisfied. There was something wrong there. Maybe I was just bad? Maybe I was inexperienced? It wasn’t right. People don’t talk. They wouldn’t know what was wrong, but it was wrong. I was wrong.

            The fingers disappear. It wasn’t it.

            At the bar, elbows are on hard wood. People are waiting, having a look around or simply smiling at their friends. I catch more eyes, put them in my pockets. They’re not it though. Again, some think they are, but they don’t know. I’m just catching eyes, putting them in my pockets. Behind the bar is an impressively colourful display of various alcohol substances. Some you can mix with fruits to achieve a colourful sweet alcoholic for only the price of three weeks rent. These, however, are the best. They don’t taste like alcohol so one can consume vast amounts of them with childlike glee till one can’t see nor stand and the task of catching eyes and putting them in your pocket becomes impossible. This is generally when I find it’s wrong. Because wrong is better than nothing.

            That’s not true.

            I order something from the man. He demands payment and I comply. There’s nothing in his eyes. I don’t even catch them, I can see without even looking into them. I don’t want them in my pocket. The problem with catching eyes is that it involves throwing your’s. I don’t like mine to be caught. Not by some people. Not by him. My ribs ached. He might see. I don’t know how. He might see it. Sometimes I see it and they do too.

            They don’t talk here.

            I take the drink and move back into the crowd. It feels completely silent. I forget to catch eyes for a moment and let it wash over me. I take a sip. It stings the back of my throat. They don’t talk here. The music is so loud. I feel it in my chest. I feel the rhythm, along with my heart. The two rhythms afflicting my body.

            And there it is.

            I caught the eyes and nearly had them in my pocket before I realised. Before I knew. That was it. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. The song had change; suddenly the pace was even faster than before. I took another drink. They don’t talk here. I glace around. Catching eyes, stuffing them in my pockets. Did I imagine that? Those eyes, no colour. Not from here. They light washes them out.              

            I saw them. I caught those eyes, they’re in my hand.

            Bodies continue to move around me, ignorant. The night had suddenly changed. The vibrations were suddenly more frantic. They’re in my hand. I saw them. I move, trying to get through the crowd. They’re here somewhere. They don’t talk here. But I wanted to, badly. I wanted to scream. I wanted to grab someone’s shoulder and scream at them. Show them, show them what’s in my hand. Ask them if they too had seen it. Someone had to have seen it. I did. It is here. My night can only end well, if I can find them it’ll all be right.

            That’s not true.

            There they are. Closer this time. Brash as anything. To someone watching it might be staring but no, this is simply catching. These eyes, they’re making sure. Making sure I know they’re still there. A smile plays across lips. I wonder if I’m going to get the shit kicked out of me. They don’t talk here. My ribs ache. My head explodes. The music speeds up.

            The eyes turn, head to the back room. I wonder if I’m going to get the shit kicked out of me. That was it though. I saw it. I look down at my hand. Perfect match. I empty my pockets and pop a cigarette between my lips. I follow. Of course I follow.

            The back room is a smoking area. I light up as I pass the threshold. I breath long and deep. I wonder if I’m going to get the shit kicked out of me. The people talk here, but they don’t look. No more catching eyes. My pockets are empty. I see my eyes. I see the smile playing across lips. I approach. I wonder if I’m going to get the shit kicked out of me.

            The eyes, the smile. He takes the cigarette from my mouth and pops it between his lips, taking a drag. I smile, he smiles. I won’t get the shit kicked out of me. I don’t think so.  Not yet. The cigarette is tossed aside. My pockets are empty. I don’t need to catch eyes. They’re locked on mine. I move in. He backs to the wall. I pull him in. His arms wrap around me. We hold onto each other like drowning men. Running fingers through hair, exploring every inch of skin. I won’t get the shit beaten out of me, not yet. Not now. We’re lost. In the back room. The people talk here, but they don’t look. It’s none of their business. I put my hand on his face, feeling his jaw as his mouth moves in mine. The light stubble has grown, he shaved this morning. I take him in, his smell, his taste. His everything.

            And before it begins, it ends.

He pulls away. He smirks. He leaves.

I smile. I smoke. I leave.

NEXT WEEK’S THEME: CARE

Submit work to artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

Published by artisticdifferencescurator

My name is Seรกn and I am the creator and curator of the Artistic Differences Project. I started this project during the lockdown in Ireland due to COVID-19 in March 2020 as a way to get my friends and I creating during a troubling time. From there the project as gone from strength to strength and now we publish a new exhibition every two weeks.

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