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Attributes, StoryPoem from Light-Years in the Dark by Todd Crawshaw


She was a woman of incomplete mind. She formed her thoughts then her words with deliberate care. The skill of communicating with a precise formula of letters and sounds did not come easy. By the age of thirty-six she had turned this detriment into an attribute and had become a talk show host married to her career, also to a husband, as well as being a mother of three children, and she still found time to promote her book, her life story which was to be made into a movie once the producers and her agent worked out the details of price and percentages. By the age of twenty-seven she had become a prostitute, and later succumbed to sleeping in doorways, prior to being knifed for the worthless possessions she kept in a shopping bag. She survived this ordeal only to fight for her life in another clinic to overcome her years of addiction to cocaine and heroin. By the age of eighteen she was a free spirit, abandoning any hopes her parents had once had of her achieving a higher education, quitting college and her music scholarship to accept a ride from the first car that stopped to pick her up, two men who drove her to Los Angeles where they raped her and dumped her in front of Universal Studios, a place she mentioned while telling them her dreams of becoming a famous actress, and they laughed, driving off in the rain. By the age of fifteen she was receiving top honors in school, had skipped several grades, had received numerous scholarships to colleges, yet was repeatedly teased by her classmates because of her physical immaturity and her inability to talk without straying to multiple subjects and getting lost while standing up to give a speech. Which was how and why she came to realize, in a haphazard manner, a disability described as a detriment could be overturned into an attribute if a person devoted time and effort to overcoming an inherent flaw. And, vice versa, attributes could become detriments if excelled unchecked, such as a gifted orator lured by words to deceive. Labeled a prodigy by the age of nine she surprised her parents at age six when she climbed onto a piano stool to toy with the keys and her mother walked into the room wondering who it was performing Debussy’s Clair De Lune. She amazed adults with her comprehension of words and numbers, thus attracting individuals who specialized in these matters to study her mind. She was more fascinated with these specialists than with the problems they presented – calculations leading to infinity, or the many alphabets that made complete symbolic sense, or the melodic vibrations on instruments which produced bursts of applause. And she wished, at times, she could recall then what she had forgotten now so she could inform her live audience and her television viewers by articulating exactly what it was they yearned to know – which would certainly help boost her ratings – if only she could. But she was a woman of incomplete mind.

Excerpt from Light-Years in the Dark: StoryPoems (see more)

photo-art design by todd crawshaw

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