By Erik DeLapp
“How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.”
–James T. Kirk
[ko-bay-osh-ee ma-roo] noun
1. A Starfleet training exercise designed as a test of character in the face of a no-win scenario: risk provoking intergalactic war, or leave hundreds of civilians to die. Either way, you can’t save the Kobayashi Maru.
2. A test of creativity. Consider: Kirk beat the test by reprogramming the scenario so it was possible to rescue the civilians (“cheating,” some might claim) from the Kobayashi Maru.
3. Any no-win situation. Tantalus reaching for the fruit; Sisyphus pushing up the boulder; or if you ever fall in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. Call her up, send her flowers, wait for a response –Kobayashi Maru.
4. Kobayashi: a common Japanese family name meaning “small forest.” Maru: a suffix for Japanese ship names. A ship off course. Dante’s dark forest, a place where any meandering will lead to a dead end without some divine guide to lead you through Hell with unflinching grace. So you can climb the mountain and look out across your world and know that however long you lived, you prospered. Kobayashi Maru.
Letters Between Ex-Lovers
photo © 2008 D. Sharon Pruitt (TAKING A BREAK FROM FLICKR) | more info (via: Wylio)
–Dear ex-boyfriend, you are looking pale and weak. You don’t look nearly as good as when we were together. My friend agrees. I said to her, he doesn’t look as good as when he and I dated, does he? She said, oh no, oh boy, oh geez. Don’t take this the wrong way. Just take care of yourself.
–Dear ex-girlfriend, I’m exhausted from all the sex I’ve been having. I think I threw out my back. How, you ask? It involved a handstand, a bungee cord and a bag of baked pretzels. I’ll let you use your imagination. Also, I have terminal cancer and will be dead in about a month. Don’t you wish you had been nicer to me? You take care of yourself as well. You’re looking a bit pudgier than usual. Maybe try laying off the brownies? Don’t take this the wrong way.
–Dear ex-boyfriend, I’m sorry to hear about your back. Things are great on my end – I smile so much my jaw hurts. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and find I’ve been smiling all night and my jaw is in terrible pain. I have to force a frown to stretch the face muscles. I think I’m getting wrinkles around my eyes. I’m growing my hair out. I hope someday you can be as happy as me.
–Dear ex-girlfriend, my hair’s all falling out. I tried a wig but it was too blond and too curly. It didn’t suit me. Take care of your jaw. Smiling a lot is wonderful – it shows the world your bucked teeth. My tongue had a strange obsession with those teeth (I’ll never understand it).
–Dear ex-boyfriend, I thought I saw you today on the subway, but it was just a hobo. He grunted at the crowd and said “fucking people” and I thought of you. I hope you’ve learned to be happy. Are you seeing anyone? I’m probably getting married soon. I’m not seeing anyone presently but I just have that feeling, you know.
–Dear ex-boyfriend, where are you? You have not written in some time. Let me know how you are and if you are alive or not.
–Dear ex-boyfriend, I got braces. I miss you sometimes. (Don’t tell.)
Dear world, today I read through other blogs,
stumbling across that of a teen girl, her rants
begging us to ask just why should we raise a brow?
Her boyfriend dumped her, her parents
took away her cell phone. She’s writing
five hundred words each day, telling us
life is hard . . . sigh. We know, but don’t really
care, even if she does use the ellipsis
to emphasize the dramatic pauses in her prose….
photo © 2009 Heather Dowd | more info (via: Wylio)
Dear world, maybe that’s harsh….
What separates her from a poet, anyway?
A thesaurus? Spell-check? Or something else –
empathy? Image? Should I imagine her grief,
loneliness, staring at a computer screen,
eating ice cream, waiting for someone to care?
Do I become a poet if I post a comment:
“Hang in there – you’re better off without him.”
I am not a poet. The blank page frightens me.
Dear world, a friend of mine was assaulted
while running. She put it on her blog.
She ran the next day on the treadmill.
It felt good to move and to sweat she wrote.
I sent her new shoes. Each shoe was a poem.
Slip in feet, lace up, pound out the pain –
form, structure, rhythm, love, all you need
are words. Something for your blog, no?
Erik DeLapp is a graduate of Knox College (’07), where he studied Creative Writing, and is currently an MFA candidate at Hamline University, where he served on the editorial board for “Water~Stone Review.” He writes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and is currently working on a YA novel.