Friday, February 6, 2015

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Impatient rain, intrepid, but inconsistent - it is this rain that will wash the blood from your mind. It is reckless, not the rain of quaint films. This is no Hollywood trickery, this rain sprints toward the welcoming earth like it is late for a bus. You can relate. You have tried to be like the welcoming earth. 

You could give a fuck about busses. 

You trip the switch that grips the glitch, some twitch - your eye seizes and you think, "well, that can't look good..." - but it's like the rain, no time to be vain, no time to wrangle with your epidermal armor. There is no time to wonder why sometimes you flinch when a gentle hand is placed on your shoulder. Hands can do so much, be so unpredictable - they are like the rain, and you remember ... hands, hot and wet and frantic. Fuck those hands, though they are already decaying. They will always live if you let them, the rain can't wash you clean.

This is a cataclysm. This is the slow, steady drip of copper down your throat. This is the vague fear that lives in the space between your ears - and will for years and years. It was all blackness, but it came back in drips and splashes, and there's no stopping rain - no stopping pain.

Let the rain come, disguised as beats from vacant drums. Take it as it comes. That sound on the roof is the sound inside your skull. It is the sound of an unstoppable force that can bring life, death, carve stone, destroy lives. You accept it or you don't. 

Or you move to Palm Springs, but who the hell wants to do that?

Thanks for stopping by! I will be in and out all day but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time, so check back. Post your pieces on your blogs, telephone poles, passing pedestrians, etc. if you like...it's a fun web o' writing.

#2minutesgo

281 comments:

  1. A brilliant rendition of MaderRap(™)! Rain is good for the soul, and you made me feel it.

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  2. "If he continues the retroviral..."
    "He's been symptomatic..."
    "Any opportunistic infections?"
    "PCP, thrush, a few others..."
    "Any reaction to the..."
    "STOP!" My shout brings silence to the doctors surrounding me in my hospital bed. "If I stop treatment now, how long will I live?"
    "Well, I really can't be sure, but..."
    "What's your best guess?"
    Eyes looked at eyes looked at eyes in a merry-go-round of medicine.
    "Maybe a month, if you're lucky."
    I closed my eyes. It was time. "I'm feeling lucky. I want out of here."
    And that was the beginning of a lucky journey.

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    1. I really like this piece. Such a frightful thing - I've been fortunate that I haven't watched anyone go through it for a while, but I will never forget. I like the simplicity of it. It would seem odd dressed up. And the hope in the last line clinches it.

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    2. There comes a time to let go, to stop and embrace the inevitable. Few have the courage to take that step. I watched my dear mother-in-law come to acceptance when no one else in the family but me could allow her to. It was a peaceful thing. You captured it perfectly.
      Well done.

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    3. I'm remembering the birthday of a friend who made that choice... one of the courageous ones. And what an awesome time he had in that month...

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    4. "A lucky journey." Love it. May we all be so lucky when our time comes. :)

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    5. I'm playing with ideas for a novel built around this... we'll see where it goes.

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    6. Made me think of the boy with cancer who raised millions

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    7. My youngest, dearest brother lived with HIV for 30 years. On the drugs and off. He buried his whole peer group practically. And lived. Survived staph, thrush, that particular pneumonia; a gut thing; liver failure, 2 heart attacks, 3 car accidents, a near drowning, kidney failure,alcoholism, recovery and god knows what else.People talk a lot about heroes and courage and luck. He was all 3 and we all just couldn't believe it when he died, because he had LIVED so fiercely and well. Passed in his sleep with no warning, no viral load--nuthin. Had just booked a trip to the islands. Devastating, to be sure but a blessing in its way. I guess the reaper had no choice but to kinda sneak up on him. And I have heard that the greatest souls leave quickly.

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  3. Never notice me. Never listen to me. I wander alone through the dark. The smells are overpowering. Can't they sense it? The glow of the moon on the starry banks of snow. I want to feel the cold on my feet, breathe in the air from a century of cold. Run with the wind in my hair with ancestors wild and free. Pay homage to the moon with howls primeval. What's wrong with them. What's wrong with you. You miss the magic, the mystic, the mojo of the night. Voodoo, hoodoo, and pixie dust await out there.
    I howl through the glass. You are just a human. I am dog, I am wolf, I am wild.

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    1. Open the door. :) I can feel his urges.

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    2. Oh, I like this one tons. The rhythm and mystery - such a strong grip on the senses, too. Really well done, brother.

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    3. Love this...and that last line...

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    4. Now *I* want to run in the moonlight. :D

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    5. Thank you all... and the moon is just past full... I encourage a run, or at least a walk, in the moonlight.... with or without canine...

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    6. I am doggie! Love him. Like the 'mojo of the night' and the voodoo play. it's different and dark.

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  4. The blanket lay heavy on his chest, cozy and warm. The even tick, tick, tick of the clock soothed him. Beside him he heard the even breathing of the woman he loved. He smiled as he heard a light snore from her - in, out, in, out. And that rhythm, that must be the beating of her heart.

    But what was that shouting?

    No clock, only the drip, drip, drip of the icy water coming through the beams and boards that crushed his chest. That beating - his own labouring heart, that noise the back and forth of the saw as they tried to free him from the rubble. Beside him the mangled body of his lover. No snores, no breathing, no heartbeat.

    Then, above his head, she beckoned. Come. Come with me, my love. See the light? Come.

    He took her hand and the shouting receded, They glided into the light, together forever.

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    1. Ahhh.... beautiful... and an invitation to imagine more. Well done.

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    2. Wow! This is an epic piece. I love the switch in recognition. Really deftly played, Yvonne.

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    3. A well-earned release. Nice job, Yvonne. :)

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    4. I like! Didn't see that coming. Like the transition and then you see what's going on. Has cool rhythms too.

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  5. The last day began with a whimper.

    Dawn turned over in her bed, her eyes still gummed up. The light through the window seemed odd though. Kinda off, somehow.

    Rolling into a foetal position and then to her hands and knees, she pulled the bedclothes about her and then, trailing them behind her like a robe, she stumbled to the window, pulling the curtains aside.

    Outside, the sun was already high in the sky, it's colour and brightness muted by a thick layer of smog. That wasn't usual. Not at all. She twisted her neck to see up and down the road, noticing the footways and the cars were all covered in frost. In July? Really?

    Skipping her usual routine, she bumped down the stairs, her sheets catching about her feet as she stumbled to the ground floor. Ignoring the entreaties of her wild-eyed dog, she pulled back the security chain and stepped directly out into the street.

    And then the earth shook beneath her and the street lights all began to come on...

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    1. It's the end of the world... inspired by the thought of a Friday without #2minutesgo? Seriously good stuff in here, with the sensory descriptions, and Angelo approves of the addition of the dog.

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    2. How most will face the apocalypse - only half-aware. Well done.

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    3. Yeah, agreed. So vivid. Amazing imagery, elusive truths. I love the way you do these pieces.

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    4. I'm thinking there's aliens out there :) And that dog needs to try harder to stop her!

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  6. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
    A rhythm of your feet finds itself as you walk through the snow, the snow that is lit from above and within by a host of matching stars.
    Somewhere in the distance, a coyote howls, maybe hungry, maybe claiming territory, maybe finding a mate. For the moment it is just the two of you. One foot in front of the other. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
    Above, the stars begin to twinkle out, pink light from the promise of dawn takes their place. The snow sparkles less, but changes from blue-white to rose, to the color of blood diluted by a thousand raindrops frozen in time.
    You finally round the mesa, and you can see it. The vermilion moon, full in its roundness, just about to hide behind the mountains.
    And on this day; this bloody, cold, blue and white and rose and moonlit morning, you remember the words of your mother, her last words.
    "Go. Live."
    And that's what you're doing, as best as you can.

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    1. Man, this is awesome. This sentence: "Above, the stars begin to twinkle out, pink light from the promise of dawn takes their place." and this: "And on this day; this bloody, cold, blue and white and rose and moonlit morning, you remember the words of your mother, her last words." are so beautiful. The whole thing is ace, but those two lines dance.

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    2. Thanks so much... that makes my heart sing!

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    3. What Dan said. Great imagery. :)

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    4. It's very poetic. I love the colours. Love it when pieces are using more than one sense. And love the ending - the message. He's noticing the details in every little thing. As he should!

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  7. "Go. Live." That says it all. I could feel you doing just that.

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    1. Right. And the period makes such a huge difference. "Go. Live." vs "Go live."

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  8. I don't know much about quantum physics, but I don't really mind. I'd read a book about, but I just don't have the time. There are games to play and words to say - words to type, so what, they're trite?

    And who gives me the right to judge me anyway, it's like a carousel, but the song won't play.

    I'd like to live in a velvet box. But I tried that and it turned so quickly. The comforting, gentle darkness becomes a terrifying expanse - a night with no end. No mourning. You learn from your mistakes. Or you don't. I like to think I did, but you? You just hid.

    And what gives me the right to judge you? Well, shit, you won't, and somebody's got to.

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    1. you took me to a childhood memory... of a jewelry box my mom had... and I always wondered how the little dancer knew when to stop dancing.... not a carousel, but the little ballerina spun in circles... and now I know how dark she felt in that box. Thank you.

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    2. Wonderful! I loved those music boxes, too. Still do. Thank YOU. :)

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    3. Nice play on morning/mourning. You do have a way with words, dude. :)

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    4. With the velvet box I thought of claustrophobia. This piece made me laugh but then made me sad. The velvet box crushed!

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  9. Shylocks in pin-striped suits had Walter over a barrel of money rapidly dwindling. Every Wednesday he’d grit his dentures. Pay Day for the vig guys who made their expectations crystal clear: Walter paid for the week or they took turns breaking Walter’s bones. It was a strong incentive to fork over whatever they demanded.

    A funny man, a comedian at comedy clubs, Walter had lost his shtick months ago. More than too often he had stood up audiences who’d paid top dollar to nearly wet their pants laughing at the humor in his shows. Walter’s penchant for gambling had black-magically transformed him from a barrel of monkeys to a barrel of depleting green stacks. Tapping that barrel to pay off loans he needed to finance his poker losses meant soon he’d be scraping its bottom and the big boys would snap him like a human pretzel, then toss him into the East River without paddle or barrel. Not so funny at all.

    “I love you, Walt, but –– “

    He tried holding onto Lora’s arm. “Please! I swear I’ll change.”

    “I love you, Walt, but –– “ She left anyway. Walt’s promises were worthlessly repeated too many times. She left him at the door and raced as fast as those chorus girl’s legs could carry her. He stood there looking at a far-off sundown and wondering when his light would go out, how he’d feel facing death without her.

    Wednesday came and with it the shylocks in darker shades of sharkskin suits. “Whatcha got for us, Mr. Funny?” Two brutes holding out their massive hairy mitts. Walter stood there on E. There was nothing left to give. He’d gambled everything. He had let the chips fall into the pockets of luckier men. He shook his head. Shrugged his shoulders. They had broken his left leg months back. The right one now? A kicked-in head?

    The shorter of the two collectors, the one of very few words, showed Walter his silver gun which he now aimed at Walter’s chest.

    The last thing that filled Walter’s head was an old Johnny Mack Brown movie clip where somebody named Black Bart got blown away through the swinging batwing doors of a Wild West saloon.



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    1. Ahhh... what an ending. I love when writers know the classics, and use them. Well done.

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    2. A familiar slide, told with penache. Great imagery.

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    3. Agreed. I love this whole piece. So many archetypes twisted and played beautifully. And this: "black-magically" - dope.

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    4. Yes, that -- and "Walter stood there on E." Great image.

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    5. Fave line is the human pretzel! Lots of atmosphere in here.

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  10. As the sun began to rise, he looked skyward. The jet contrails were in their usual places. That one, from east to west, always at 6:51. He knew neither origin nor destination, but the sky paths had a daily rhythm. There, from west to east, at 6:53.

    But then unexpected contrails from the south, and the north. These were not part of the rhtyhm? Military? Maybe, they were flying fast. BOOM. Sonic boom. Hadn't heard one of those in a decade. BOOM. Another! And then one from the south met one from the north in midair. The orange plumes and smoke filled the center of the sky. Another collision.

    He ran home, turned on the radio, and thanked God he studies Russian in high school.

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    1. STUDIED, dammit, not STUDIES. Gah.

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    2. Never mind. It works. That last line pulls it all together. :D

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    3. Yup. My fingers are typo-y today too. I love this. The ending is great as Yvonne said, but the jet trail "sundial" is pure brilliance.

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    4. Not a medicine wheel I'd care to see in the sky, to be honest. ;)

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    5. It's something I think about out here in the middle of nowhere... with Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain to the North, and Los Alamos and some other government and military things to the south in New Mexico... Anybody who thinks I'm in a good place for the day after the end of the world is sadly misled.

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  11. I was born there, I can say it. It's not something to brag about - it just is. It sounds natural from my mouth. From yours? It sounds like ingratitude and fakery twisted by a trash compactor.

    I died there, so I know all about it. You just visited, and that doesn't count. I'm not bragging - I'm just saying there are some things you can't fake - even for "authenticity's sake."

    What am I talking about? So many things. Because it's all the same, a game - you play by your rules, and I'll play by mine, but don't try to say you know when you don't. It makes everyone uncomfortable.

    (Note to self.)

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    1. Unless you're writing fiction. And everything we write is fiction.

      Still a good thing to consider. And well-written, as always.

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    2. Thanks brother. The whole world is fiction. We just get that better than some folks, I figure. ;)

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    3. We, who strive to be authentic, can feel when others do not. This shows it so perfectly.

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    4. That reads like I'm going around and around in circles. Felt myself going around and around with the rhythm of confusion :) Confucious says confused! :) :)

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  12. The geometry of making love can be a complicated thing. Hypotenuse there, base here, altitude somewhere else. Bisecting circles with parallel lines. Whispers of proofs and theorems yet to come.
    Dawn's light casts a non-Euclidean shadow over us, and I look up into your Isosceles eyes.
    And I wonder, Did Pythagoras have a right-angle lover?

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    1. Now I know why I don't get Picasso. :D Love it.

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    2. Thanks! I have no idea where it came from... and I'm okay with that.

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    3. haha! I just hope they don't get out the protractor - painful - or the ruler, which could be insensitive!

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    4. I LOVE THIS! and guys of any persuasion what makes one guy a boob man and one guy a leg man and another an ass man? Women look at hands and eyes. Me? I look at somebody with SHINE. Just thoughts for next week...

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  13. She had achieved little that day so she decided to take a walk before another day was buried leaving nothing worthwhile behind it.
    Besides, the house felt claustrophobic and crowded with ghosts picking at the scab of her memories.
    The landscape was as bleak and morose as her mood and the chill in the air warmed her frozen heart a little.
    She trudged on and pretty soon the ghouls who had accompanied her seemed to be swatted away by the strong wind like annoying gnats.
    It wasn’t long before other thoughts, equally unwelcome, flittered through her mind.
    How had it come to this? When did she become too young to be old yet too old to be young?
    Why was her life so full of people yet she was still so alone?

    She reached the base of the hill. It seemed to cower beneath the umbrella of smog which concealed the summit.
    The weather held her knees prisoner in its freezing grip and the wind had beaten her cheeks ruddy.
    She had lost her appetite for climbing and turned on her heel back the way she came.
    The sky was dark and swollen, threatening rain.
    Deflated she lumbered on, wearing her failure like a cloak.
    “What’s the fucking point?” She raised her eyes skyward and bellowed.
    “Well? Can you answer me?” she shouted.

    A ray of sunlight suddenly slashed the belly of a cloud like the finger pointing the way forward.
    She swiped away a single tear, sniffed loudly and returned home.
    Her lips curled with a tentative smile as she entered.
    The ghosts were gone but the house was full of longing and still no one to love there.

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    1. Love that ray of sunshine. All it takes to begin a turn-around.

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    2. Wow, you're on fire, lady! Jeez. I love the way you break these pieces into bites, too. Super effective. Old/young. Man, I feel that so often.

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    3. Very, very powerful. And thank you for the ray of sunshine.

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    4. Sometimes hope is all you've got. And sometimes that's all it takes. :)

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    5. Yeah, it's like the human condition. Ghosts of the past, present and future. Cool

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  14. The cab dropped them off at the front gate of the cemetery. Luke turned to Mark, asking a question with his eyes. Mark answered with a shaky voice, "Okay, I'll wait here." Overnight, a light snow had fallen. Nothing more than God's dandruff, truth be told, but it was enough to change the dying field to a kind of white, with only the hieroglyphics of the resident squirrels to punctuate.
    It wasn't far, really, to the grave he sought. Not in terms of steps, anyway. But it took him back a couple of decades as he remembered the one who slept there.
    Slept. Bah. Rotted there. All that was pure left that body at death. Only that which putrefied remained. Still, the visit was important.
    Luke knelt at the grave, brushed the snow from the name on the stone, traced the letters with his finger.
    With eyes closed, he uttered three words: "I forgive you."
    His ears wanted but knew there would be no reply. As he got to his feet, a single ray of light pierced the gray clouds.
    Perhaps a reply after all.

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    1. Another single ray of light. And a familiar story - for those brave enough to make that journey. I'm still working on mine.

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    2. Yeah, me too. This is a strong piece. The questioning eyes sets the whole thing so firmly. Awesome.

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    3. "Putrefied" -- man, that's golden. Just like the ray of light... ;)

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    4. Thank you... I specialize in golden putrefication

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  15. Tyrone stood in front of the mirror, shirtless, proud of his dark skin and what it meant. He was trying on phrases in his mind - you want some? Huh? Bitch? You want some of this motherfucker? His eyes were glazed and his skin slick. Who you looking at, punk? I'll set yo teeth right...

    Tyrone's tattoos were sloppy, but he liked them that way. These were not thousand dollar Koi fish pieces. These were tattoos born of India ink and needles. These were 'you got a problem, blood? I'll bust ya ass' tattoos'. Don't look twice. Fucking people looked once at tattoos like his. Look twice? Better brace yourself, bitch.

    Tyrone heard a low chuckle behind him, and he smiled. Teeth white and straight and clean. He turned to flash them at Chris, who lay naked on the bed - white and straight and clean.

    "You done playing tough guy? You look like an angry Basset Hound."

    Tyrone laughed.

    "You want some of this Basset Hound, bitch?"

    "Yes, please!"

    They spent the day in each other's arms, safe from the world outside. The world where they were forced to hide or run. Or scramble for hard words that were never quite fast enough to stop the faster fists.

    Still, it was enough. For both of them. This room. A sanctuary. And the box of bills under the bed.

    They were halfway to California in their minds.

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    1. Wow.... this is good. The posturing is picture-perfect, the unspoken dreams, the painful memories. And the box of bills, perfect tie to reality, contrasted with the dreams.

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    2. Wow. Love this. So unexpected and redeeming.

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    3. Sanctuary and escape, all in one. Nice job.

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  16. The 'G' string never stays in tune, but, fuck it, it's a big room - and we aren't talking about underwear. We're talking about blood, slick on flat wound strings - the heaviest they make. Pound them, grind them through the distortion press, the 'G' don't matter - especially when you only play the bottom strings.

    The kids in the front just want to hear the cyclone wail. The kids in the back are huddled in corners, shrouded in smoke. The kids in the bathroom are huddled, turned against the corner of bathroom stalls, shaking, then suddenly slumping against the graffiti in a sated lump of glorious misery.

    So, screw the 'G' - fuck the broken snare. No one came here to hear a symphony. They came here because there wasn't enough room out "there."

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    1. Oh yeah. And that is truth. "G don't matter" and "glorious misery" are the phrases that will stay with me, but I'm really glad we're all in here, because there isn't enough room out there. I love this place.

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    2. Me too. :) And I don't care that the G won't stay in tune.

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    3. Good one. Especially that last line.

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  17. He loved trains, ever since the first Christmas his dad ran a ring of baby track around the tree. It had tiny wooden cars on little wooden wheels, and he pushed it along, making chug-chug sounds as he crawled beside them. Later he graduated to real model ones from the hobby store, bits of metal track and liquid smoke and chalky green fake landscapes in the basement, his mother tsking at the mess and smell and why didn’t he go play outside, already? So he did, plopping his engineer’s cap on his small, sleek head, but that was never as much fun as playing conductor. He thought about that as he climbed the stairs into the Metro-North train, bound for home after a long day, and claimed a seat in the first car, so he had a better view of what lay ahead. It made him feel like he was young again, pushing those little trains around, playing at the God of Conductors. While the other passengers disappeared into their electronics or newspapers or conversations, he leaned against the window, sinking back into those early days, imagining the feel of one piece of track clicking into another, the drip-drop of the liquid smoke in to the engine and how it puffed white exhaust as it chugged along. And then he saw it. The lights up ahead. Was that….a car? Sitting on the track? Why…? He barely got his head around the question when the squeal of brakes split his head apart, his last thought of those tiny cars, the dancing lights of the Christmas tree, the engine rounding the corner, trailing smoke.

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    1. I have a crush on this piece. So rich. And the ending is so unexpected. And, man, do I remember those little wooden trains...

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    2. This is so beautiful and evocative... and I love how you take us from his childhood joys to an adult pain in such sweet, beautiful steps... you brought back a lot of memories... and I still love the smell of that fake smoke in model trains. Thank you!

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    3. Thank you. A train crashed this week and someone I knew from high school was aboard. So I tried to give him at least a nice last memory.

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    4. You honored your friend beautifully.

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    5. I knew exactly what you were referring to when I got to the part about the car on the tracks. Sorry about your classmate, Laurie. :(

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    6. My son was described in the first part. He is still a model train buff. But then it got serious. Well played.

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  18. Snow squeaks beneath her inadequate footwear as she trudges from store to store, and once again she questions her decision to stay. But she’s here and has made promises and doesn’t have much choice in the matter, so she sucks in a deep breath that makes her nostrils stick together and vows to at least try to become one of those cheerful, rosy-cheeked people who roll their eyes at the weather and Make Do. They stamp snow from their thick, warm boots and grin at the way the sudden entrance into a heated diner fogs their glasses. They slap you on the back and say things like, “Yeah, but it’s a dry cold,” and talk about how many inches they’re supposed to get, as if it were an offering dropped down the chimney by Santa. She keeps waiting for it to become fun, to be happy about building snowmen and drinking hot chocolate by the fire, but nearly all she’s been able to do lately is sit at the window watching the flakes swirl and fly sideways and pile up in the garden, thinking about springtime, counting the days, hours, and minutes until green things start shooting up through the snow. As she’s leaving the bookstore, she sees the sign on the next building and gets a thought. Maybe she can do this. Maybe all she needs is to duck in and get herself a pair of decent boots. At least it would be a start.

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    1. My feet were cold. You are brilliant. "Make Do," capitalized is a whole lifestyle where I came from, and I love that you honored it that way. I love the despair and the hope of this piece, and i hope she got good boots!

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    2. It's true -- the older I get, the less fun winter is. Glad she's found something to get her through it.

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    3. Man, you can work so much intricate detail into a short piece. It astounds me. The nostrils stuck together? Seriously? I don't know how you do it. So good.

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    4. I'm with Lynne. Winter is becoming harder every year. Those boots will help, though. Great piece.

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  19. That song was stuck in his head again, playing on an endless loop. It wasn't even one of his favorites -- it was some doo-wop thing from ages past. Even after he cranking up Pandora on a channel that was *so* not doo-wop and listened to it for hours, it still kept coming back. It would pounce on him, taking him unawares, until he realized he was humming the tune. Until he wanted to take a plumber's helper to his memory banks and vacuum the damn thing out permanently.

    Because of course he remembered the last time he'd actually heard it: the night she'd dumped him. She'd told him she was tired of his crap. Made it all about him. As usual. God, but he hated it when she did that! No wonder he took that poke at her.

    And as she lay on the floor of the bar, glaring up at him in defiance while blood dripped from her nose, that damn song came out of nowhere: "Big girls...they don't cry-y-y...."

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    1. Whoa! THAT was a brilliant last paragraph... and thanks for not making me guess the song!

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    2. Thanks! There's been another song stuck in my head, same vintage, for about the past week. So I thought I'd write about it. Of course, when I got started, I couldn't remember what it was. :D This one came up in my head instead, so I went with it.

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    3. Wow, that ending is killer. The whole piece is good, of course, but there is SO much in that last paragraph/sentence. Wow wow.

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    4. Wow. Brilliant. Did not see that coming.

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  20. I tickled his chin gently.
    "No. Sleep. Wanna sleep."
    I tickled less gently. His eyes opened slowly and stared at me.
    "Wake up, sleepyhead."
    "How can you always be so cheerful in the morning?"
    "Because it's all about beginnings."
    "Maybe you could begin to sleep in? No, seriously, I've never met anyone who was so into mornings. Why?"
    "When I was a little boy, I came across the word 'despair' and I didn't know what it meant. I asked my mom."
    "And this has to do with mornings, how?"
    "She reminded me the story of Adam, and how he was created whole and as an adult, all in one day."
    "Uh huh."
    "And she asked me to imagine how Adam felt when the sun went down. He had no idea that it could come back up. As far as he knew, he had just experienced his one and only day. She said that was what despair felt like. And then she asked me what I thought the opposite of despair was. I told her 'joy.' She nodded and asked when I thought Adam felt joy for the first time. My guess was the first morning after his first night. She agreed."
    "And that's why you're a morning person?"
    "No. I'm a morning person because I felt despair after I broke up with Brad. I didn't know there would be a second love, there would be a 'you' entering my life. And each morning I wake up beside you, it's like my first sunrise, it's like joy."
    "Oh."
    "Also because I'm evil and I like making you suffer. Here's your coffee."

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    1. But not too evil to make him coffee, I see. :D

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    2. SO good. I love the gentle beauty and recollection and the whole concept - and then you go and nail it with that last line, pulling us back to the reality of love and friendship.

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    3. Thanks! and I've always been the overly, too talkative, too cheerful person in the morning... only the dogs have never complained

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    4. This is so touching - and so real.

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  21. After twenty-five years, he finally had an answer to the question his now-dead father asked. "Why can't you be a farmer or a doctor? Feed people, make sick people well. What good is a writer?"
    He'd struggled with that question through unpublished novels, through rejections slips the color of innocent blood, through starvation and despair. He'd tried, God he'd tried.
    As he put the last paragraph together, of this novel, the novel where the hero died and shouldn't have, the answer came to him.
    "Dad, writers take the world's beginnings and endings and make them work, make them make sense. Nobody else does that, except God."

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    1. Love it. Could you please have a conversation with my dad...

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    2. LOL, thanks... and Dan, you might not want that to happen.... or you might want to video it if it does.

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    3. Thank you... you're very kind!

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    4. My dad, on the other hand was always encouraging. When I published my first novel, he said. "It's really very good for a WOMAN writer" Crosses to bear, kids, crosses to bear....

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    5. LOL, Teresa, well, bless his heart for encouraging you at least some...

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  22. Prompt - the rain, of course!

    The rain will never stop
    if I can help it
    where I wander
    nothing grows
    nothing meanders
    nothing tells a truth
    when nothing else is needed
    so I flow
    as a river in June
    rushing forth
    caressing stones
    polishing
    making the dull shine
    casting up a mist in my wake
    as a mirror shines
    reflecting the true self
    so I carve a path
    anew
    where the dog laps
    and a robin trills
    I bring life to it all
    Before the coming
    Of the rain.

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    1. Awesome. Such intricate weaving - rhythm and assonance - it's just hypnotically lovely. Kudos.

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    2. What you do with those tiny phrases... it's like appreciating shimmering pieces of glass in a mosaic, then you step back, and POW, you see that the beauty is there on a large scale as well as small. I think i could listen to your poetry for a very long time... have you ever considered doing an audio book of it?

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    3. Thanks, JD. I'm trying to stick to the 2 minutes and just leave the words as they are. Without going back and editing them or tidying them it's weird what falls out. Anyone who likes rhyming poetry will turn in their grave! I was thinking of a river. Thanks, Leland. I haven't thought about audio. You know, Ed mentioned that once cos he makes such amazing music and he did some music for a poet once. I do sound about 12 though and I have a London accent!!!!! Thanks for thinking it's beautiful. Love the mosaic image. I'm chuffed. Going to eat my pasta with a big smile and return later cos I haven't read any stories yet. This writing thing is great for me cos I've been lapsing lately.

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    4. I don't think sounding young would be a bad thing at all for poetry, but if you don't like your voice, you could also have someone else narrate it...

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    5. Funny cos I keep thinking about readings lately. Finding somewhere where people speak their poems.

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  23. Prompt - blood

    Her

    Blood red
    Dripping
    Cascading into pools
    I dip a finger
    Scoop it
    Lap it up
    Tasting the evidence
    The thrill of it all
    This caresses me
    Sends a rush
    Where none would dare
    I did this
    I, alone
    The achievement of
    My life’s undoing
    Where I stand
    Here in this kitchen
    Oblivious to all
    Except her
    Lying prone, uncovered
    Eyes open, staring
    And I stand alone
    The last man she ever saw
    I drink every last drop
    Of her.

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    1. I'm shivering... Nice job, Vickie.

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    2. Wow. Metaphorical, real, or otherwise, this is powerful...

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    3. Woah ... this is an amazing piece. I honestly can't even think of anything to say except 'woah' (in a Keanu Reeves accent even). Dope.

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    4. hee hee I'm coming to get you, Lynne!!! Thanks and thanks, Leland. I was thinking of this guy who stalked and murdered someone. Nice!! It was the blood prompt in Mader's intro. I've just got home from work - maybe the Tube made me murderous! - and just cooked pasta so going to eat while watching The Good Wife to chill out and I'll be back in an hour or so to read everyone's stories :)

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  24. Time was always the enemy and always the inevitable victor. It didn't matter how many brittle smiles landed on her - they were like the bones of a small bird. Beautiful in their ability to maim. She'd never fed a dog a chicken bone because she knew. About bones, about smiles, and now she was learning even more about bones and what was inside them and what that could mean and just how horrible it was to have to explain over and over...

    She sent letters and wrote emails and made phone calls and called old enemies, inviting them to a hatchet-burying ceremony. They resisted at first. Then she'd mention the bone marrow and they'd grudgingly accept. And she'd smile, thinking how they'd show up because they were forced by moral obligation. And she'd smile, thinking she was still strong enough to bury the hatchet inches into the back of their hypocritical skulls.

    Sometimes, she chuckled and the doctors smiled, nodded. She had something in store for them, too. When she was too weak for the hatchet, but strong enough to wield a scalpel.

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    1. Your first sentence is brilliant, and it just gets better from there. The use of the brittle bones as a symbol is AWESOME. And I never stand close to anyone with either a scalpel or an axe in hand.

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    2. I like the 'beautiful in their ability to maim' and the fact they're all hypocrites. I was thinking maybe she's making up the fact she needs bone marrow!

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  25. The thunder and lightning flow around me, like magic, like power, like light and darkness it lifts me higher and higher. I feel my hair electrified, and wonder if my horn, my one single horn, could act as a lightning rod and then I forget all about it and close my eyes and fly... tiny ant people on the ground... I can hear their oohs and ahhhs and I open my eyes to see I am flying through a rainbow.
    My name is Dan Mader, and I write only about unicorns and rainbows.

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    1. (this was supposed to be a funny riff on something Dan had on his timeline.... )

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    2. haha! I was thinking it was a man playing a horn until the end.

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  26. A short radio skit I wrote in homage to George Burns and Gracie Allen, one of the greatest comedic duos of all time... (It did take me more than two minutes, I’ll admit.)

    GRACIE: George, come look at this and tell me what you think.

    GEORGE: I think I don’t know what I’m looking at.

    GRACIE: It’s my new collection, silly. I’m going to enter it in the county fair next week.

    GEORGE: This isn’t a collection, sweetheart, it’s just an odd assortment of items.

    GRACIE: Yes, that’s right. My collections are known for their eclecticity.

    GEORGE: Ah...eclecticity? Are you sure you don’t mean eccentricity?

    GRACIE: George! Now you’re calling my collection peculiar!

    GEORGE: No, I just meant that eclecticity isn’t a real word. Since you mentioned it, though, I’m not sure how a thimble, a bottle opener, a partly filled book of S&H Green Stamps, an old tobacco pipe, a necktie and an empty Maxwell House coffee tin can be considered a collection. A collection has to have a theme, a common bond.

    GRACIE: It does! These are all items we thought were lost, but I found them while I was doing the spring cleaning.

    GEORGE: I see. What are you calling this collection?

    GRACIE: Amazing Grace.

    GEORGE: Do you mean to say you named it after yourself?

    GRACIE: Oh no, it’s named after the hymn. You know, “I once was lost, but now am found...”

    GEORGE: So the theme is found objects. But what do you have to say about the fact that eclecticity is not a proper word?

    GRACIE: Well, if it isn’t, it ought to be...just like electricity and eccentricity.

    GEORGE: [Pauses] Come again?

    GRACIE: The vacuum cleaner is powered by...

    GEORGE: Electricity.

    GRACIE: Howard Hughes is in the news for his...

    GEORGE: Eccentricity.

    GRACIE: And my collection is known for its...

    GEORGE: [Resignedly] Eclecticity...But Gracie, you can’t go around inventing words.

    GRACIE: Who’s to say I can’t? Writers have made up words all through history. Chaucer did it, and Shakespeare did too.

    GEORGE: Now, kid, I don’t mean to cause offense, but you’re no Chaucer or Shakespeare.

    GRACIE: Well, I’d say they’re no Mrs. George Burns.

    GEORGE: [Chuckles] That’s true. You’re incomparable.

    GRACIE: Indubiously.

    GEORGE: Indubi... Oh, never mind. Say goodnight, Gracie.

    GRACIE: Goodnight!

    GEORGE: Goodnight, folks.

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    1. This is adorable, and funny as all get out! Thank you for bringing back some fun memories!

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    2. Yup. This is awesome. And fabularious to boot.

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  27. The trees of the forest once plump and voluptuous in the summer now stood tall and skinny yet unashamed in their nakedness.
    A carpet of moss clung to the mulchy damp ground.
    Without the riot of blooms and rich foliage to guide him , he quickly lost his bearings.
    Everything looked the same. Fungi leaned at crazy angles from the trunks like abseiling experts.

    He paused and glanced around absently rubbing his jaw.
    A fallen tree, rotted to the size of a large log caught his eye and he ran over and scrutinized the area a few yards beyond it.
    He stubbed his boot on the tip of a metal spike protruding from the ground, hidden now by by dead leaves.

    He sighed with relief and wiped the perspiration from his brow.
    He knelt on one knee and gently laid a red rose beside the rusted spike.
    “My darling Rosalind, I almost didn’t find you,” he smiled.
    He went on, “It all looks so very different from the last time were here. Do you remember my dear? The forest was a riot of colour and sound and oh, how you loved the bluebells darling.”
    He bowed his head and took a moment to think back to that day last year. How beautiful she had looked in her pretty summer dress and eyes so green he almost expected to see mermaids swimming in them.
    They had grown black with fear when he had touched her though, black and huge and ugly.
    “My dearest Rosalind,” he said. “You had no reason to fear me, I loved you. I STILL love you.”
    He stood and shook his head slowly, “Even after you rejected me, I still proved my love for you. That’s why I buried you beneath the Bluebells my dear Rosalind, I knew they were your favourites.”

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    1. Ohhhh... the dark poetry of this is awesome! Rosalind beneath the Bluebells.... nicely done!

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    2. Yeah, I agree. Goosebumps. And more awesome imagery. Go lady, go!

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  28. She’s too impatient to ride the bus uptown and gets off at the next corner, where a man plays three-card monty on a folding table in front of the bodega, eyes ever shifting for a sign to collapse his enterprise and move on. He follows her with those quick glances, deciding if she’s a mark or a narc, calls out something about the appeal of her walkaway until she can no longer pick his voice out from the crowd. She snaps up the pace, checking the time on her phone, doing the mental intersection of coffee shop locales versus blocks to pound, decides on a straight shot to her next meeting, where they will probably offer java anyway; they always do. Some impossibly young woman offers a choice of beverages, finds a way to make her feel old and dowdy even though they are in the same demographic, the same universe, the same team. Faces blur as she navigates corners and magazine stands and tourists; the syncopation of cab horns and subway rumbles and multilingual conversation is the jazz soundtrack of her life, and she can’t imagine how anyone could live anywhere else.

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    1. Magnificent snapshot of a day in the life of... and this line: "the syncopation of cab horns and subway rumbles and multilingual conversation is the jazz soundtrack of her life, and she can’t imagine how anyone could live anywhere else." That line deserves a book written around it.

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    2. Yup, that line is some powerful shit. Jumped out at me, too. Do me a favor. Write something shitty. Just once. It would make everyone feel a whole lot better. ;)

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    3. Love it. Really poetic in its rambling way. It streams along full of images and I've no idea what a mark or a narc is, but that makes it more unique. I love the snapshots of people. Very unique.

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  30. Thomas Mayhew didn’t believe in God or the government. Or love at first sight or that life was like a damn box of chocolates, either. Right was what mattered; the right of a man to control his fate. Oh, and endings. He believed in endings. He’d seen the cancer take his parents; his brother at the mill. And when they’d given him the settlement, he decided against the headstones and bought some guns instead. Now his arsenal filled the basement and most of the space under his bed. There was cash and gold in a box that he’d buried in a corner of the yard under a sycamore. Its white bark glowed in the moonlight like a human skin and reminded him it was there. He had seeds stored up from the garden and two\three years of canned goods and water piled up in their old bedrooms. Thomas knew all about endings, especially the one that was coming. He spent his days walking his acres a good 30 miles from the nearest town, thinking about how things would be after it was done. It wouldn’t matter then, about the girls. He could let them out then and they would re-seed the world. The law wouldn’t matter when there wasn’t any. He’d survive was all. Him and any of the girls who had sense to see it. He’d only done what he needed to. It was only right. Of that much he was pretty sure. He was prepared, could make a gas engine run on plain water, and taught himself to sew. He smoked fish from the river in the shed out the back and had a whole library of books to remind him of how things used to be. So he never thought once it was fear that tightened its fiery fingers over his heart that morning. Or recognized God when he rose from the table and knocked over his coffee, his vision gone soft in a way that stripped the edges off things and sent Thomas hurling toward a blistering light. He did not think of his canned goods or rifles as his soul rose up out of him and he saw his camo clad form in a heap on the floor. He was not sorry, either, for the way he’d let the world deceive him. Instead, he was finally free.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, there is SO much in this piece. I love it. The answered and unanswered Qs. And the prose is lovely. This: "Its white bark glowed in the moonlight like a human skin" is awesome. Well played.

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    2. This is wow material. And I really really like the way you take the tangible (yet unfounded) fears and make them so real, and then you take us on a ride to judgement day for his soul.... full of contrasts and light and darkness. thank you!

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    3. Thank you. I have another idea for next week. Play with it. Anybody up for a themed prompt week? The ghosts of Gettysburg. I dunno. Those battlefields are haunted and I'm just thinking: what if YOU were the spirit of one of those guys and all of a sudden these hundreds of modern, freak-ass re-enactors come along in costume with tail gate parties and treat the whole thing like a damn game? Just a thought :)

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  31. Joe was too old for the world. He no longer understood it. He watched the kids with their phones and computers and he felt a panicked sense of superiority - momentarily - soon replaced by the feeling that he was standing still and watching the future explode around him.

    He remembered, vaguely, when he had been the world-spinner. When old men in suits and hats had shaken their heads at his fashion choices, cursed his music, mewled about the 'state of the world' - how he'd laughed.

    He did not speak to the youngsters because he knew he had become the kind of man who used words like 'youngster' - and of course it was RIGHT. Natural. It was the way of the world. Natural order. All that.

    He dragged piles of clothes from his closet and threw them behind him. Anne was gone, the kids were grown and largely apathetic. And Joe was done. His hand closed around the walnut stock and he smiled. It might not be able to send an email, but it would get the job done.

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    1. "Mewled" is EXACTLY the right word... and this is an awesome piece. There are some few days that I know exactly how Joe feels. (And Joe probably has the same problem I do with hitting the right Reply button instead of Add Comment)

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    2. Thanks, brother. And fuck buttons. They're confusing. That's why I wear western shirts. ;)

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  33. I don't really give a shit about your notions - I used to; that was before I got tired of the same refrain, reframed. There's only so many times you can smile and be supportive and say, 'you got it this time, man, you got it...' - a heart can only break so many times.

    I get it though, I do. I want you to know that. Because I know you're out there, and I know you read this shit - I also know that it hurts, but I can't do a thing about that. Grave. Dig it? I stopped digging and you kept going.

    It's an awful thing to think about a man who shares your ink. It's hard to face up to the fact that I can't be the man I wanted to be. It's even harder to face the man I thought you were going to be - he visits my dreams. It's straight impossible to face what you've become. Even if I'm wrong and the fat lady already finished her song.

    I'd say sorry, but I don't know what I have to be sorry for. But I am. For both of us.

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    1. Pain in a nutshell: "It's hard to face up to the fact that I can't be the man I wanted to be. It's even harder to face the man I thought you were going to be - he visits my dreams." And when the two walk in different directions, it's all the more painful. If this is rooted in life, I'm sorry for your loss.

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  34. So last week I started writing a piece for this blog, and it kept on expanding like Kanye's ego, until it turned into a bona fide short horror tale. I'll post a short extract here, but on the off chance anyone wants to read the whole sordid tale, here's a link.
    _______________________________

    There was a moment as they climbed the logging road when Max thought they were in trouble. They had rounded another corner when Jasper hunkered in confrontation and bristled and growled with excess zeal. Max stopped and squinted, his heart jackhammering past normal exertion, eyes fixed on the twisted, gnarled stump beside the road up ahead. For that was all it was. Not a black bear. Especially not a murdered hiker. Just a storm-blasted old stump.

    His released breath was all the border collie needed to also relax, and the two companions continued their hike over the loose, broken shale logging road that switchbacked all the way to the mountain's summit. Although it felt like midsummer heat still, it was in fact late morning on the day after Labour Day, and as a consequence he'd barely seen another person since they'd parked a couple hours earlier, down in the rainforest shade. His boots and his dog's paws kicked up the sweet, dusty berry scent of a late Canadian summer.

    Max was hot. His water bottle was below halfway, already tasting like lukewarm sweat, and he knew Jasper was possibly more thirsty than he was. He decided to keep going to the next large twist in the road, a good distance up ahead but clearly in the cooling shade of a stand of cedars, after which he'd make a call about continuing.

    They trudged on, the gradient climbing, everything blasted and bare. Jasper, his blacks and whites blurring into greys, slunk wary and busy. Max too stayed on high alert, watching all things. Bone dry coyote shit like scorched braids. Faded du Maurier filters. A gleaming black corvid feather beside a rusted can of Molson Canadian. Spent and flattened shotgun casings. All light-peppered with the dust of a parched season. A tiny infant forest sprouting from the descending incline to their right, baby spruce and fir like hopeful stubble on an ailing face. Beyond, the hazy valley entire, with its veiny, shimmering roads, swayback barns and bright pastures, its silt-gagged sloughs and cedar-shingle roofs, tree farms and dikes, and all the women, horses, crows, coyotes, men, bears, cats, otters, children, chickens, dogs, rats, cougars, goats, geese, raccoons, and cattle that made of this flood-prone land at least a temporary home.

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    1. The link doesn't show up too well - stupid my blog. http://www.the-migrant-type.com/blog/2015/2/6/je-reviens.html :)

      As always, excellent piece. And I like the voice here. Stark, but still rich. So much vibrant detail and tension. Awesome, brother. And you made it JUST in time for the FB shout outs. ;)

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    2. It's cool. Fave line is the hopeful stubble on an ailing face. As I was reading, I kept picturing Leland and his doggie trudging along! Lots of things going on and rich description.

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    3. You had me at Border Collie... and you forgot to add the link... of course I want to read more!

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    4. AHA! The link IS there.... Thanks!

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    5. Wow.... the excerpt AND the story are great! Angelo gives his seal of approval, too... you have a devious mind....

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  35. There’s a yesterday in the morrow, but I can’t fathom it. Shuffling through the yellowed pages, these things matter none to me. Everything finite. Everything used, forgotten, recycled, jaded. I wonder at the meaning of things with no sense. The reason to forgive it all is a joke in itself. This wandering. Of wondering. I mean where will it end? With a treasure map, a fallen hero, a harp plucking its own strings til death takes it? I stoop in this darkness among the stricken litter where the liquor man lurches, singing his midnight blues. I feel nothing for him. Who is he to me? The ghost walking at my back? Blowing this cold breeze down my neck? I forget. The urge to remember fails me as I fail myself. Who am I if I am not he? Lost on the wind in the company of these ripped-up pages, only an echo of yesterday. A taste of the tide.

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    1. This is beautiful, Vickie. Absolutely jealous of this piece. In the best possible sense. :)

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    2. Really? Thank you! Huuuuuuge compliment :)

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    3. Yeah, it's gorgeous... "a taste of the tide..." sigh... Someday, I wanna write like you.

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  36. Midlife Haiku: Nods to Janis

    What to leave and what to take?
    Crazy husband or
    My hard won Mercedes Benz

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    1. I love haiku and writing haiku! This made me chuckle.

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    2. Leave the crazy man,
      Take the Mercedes auto
      A new man costs less.

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  37. "Get up, boy."

    He turned his eyes toward the large man and smiled. Everything was glowing, quivering. He knew in the deepest part of himself that he had finally gotten his last beating. He'd prayed for it for God's sake. Now, there was something broken in his brain, and it would never happen again. And the old man would carry that with him. He wanted to sing, he was so happy. Instead, he turned his head and vomited, the world swirling around him. There was a sloshing in his skull. He knew. Finally.

    "Boy, I said get the fuck up."

    There was no getting up. He didn't know how he knew, but there was no doubt. His vision was clouding, narrowing - he could see the man's face change. He hoped his own face wore a smile.

    "Boy ... get up ..."

    The rapture of it. Oh, sweet Jesus. He hadn't believed the prayers would work - now, he could hear his mother's footsteps on the stairs. And he looked at the man one last time. His face was white. Stricken. He smelled blood, tasted it. He could no longer hear, but he could see his father's lips move, eyes scared now:

    "Boy ... please ... just get up."

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    1. Ahhhhh... and I hope that sonofabitch gets life or worse. This is a story that wreaks every last drop of beauty from a sad life... thank you.

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    2. :((( It's really sad. The irony. The tragedy. There was a sloshing in his skull. Fabulous in a grim way. I want to dial 999.

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  38. Comes midnight in the garden of good and evil with the angels sleeping atop their stones. When the angels sleep, the devils come out to find their homes. Comes a raven knocking at a marble tomb, none come to answer, the raven is too soon. too soon. Comes a candle carried, a priestess mumbles words. Parts she carries come from unstrung birds. Comes a raven, comes a priestess, comes a candle... comes a mausoleum soon emptied, emptied of its burden, and angels sleep with birds.

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    1. I want to redo the lines in a poem as the rhythm sways to and fro, to and fro. Love the raven coming knocking too soon. It's deceptively simple and has a sweetness to it.

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  39. Forgive me

    If I count the hours
    Will the light come quicker
    Squeezing the endless dark
    Until it has no breathing space?
    I need more than a flicker
    To gently remind myself
    The knowing is meaningful

    Is this a jail sentence
    This whispering in my ear?
    Criticism upon witticism
    So insincere and damning
    Or solely the creation of my fear
    I need this light, only a little
    I need this morning to arrive

    If I ignore the hours
    Will the dawn come not at all
    Offering me a final escape
    From myself, the only one to blame
    For my rise and my foolhardy fall
    I pause, awaiting the hour to bring forth
    The hangman dressed in black

    If you forgive me all these things
    Will it render me sane?
    Or will the tide drift further
    Tugging me to its farthest reach
    Away, where agony is my true bane
    These minutes grate on my soul
    Tearing the skin from my bones

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    1. This took me longer than 2 minutes! Maybe 10 and I forgot to add a question mark after fear. oop.

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    2. darn, and a question mark after fall! I'm off to bed now as it's 10 minutes to midnight! And I'll turn into a pumpkin. I think I read everyone's stories. Thanks guys! Happy writing!

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Please leave comments. Good, bad or ugly. Especially ugly.