Friday, July 1, 2016

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.

Being loud doesn’t make you more important, it makes you loud. You should know these things. Like how you should know what a good banana looks like. It’s not that complicated. It’s like you’re always bound in this first-love confusion. Everything sly, and all an illusion.

So, you think that loud means something. I get you. You’re so soft inside. Like jelly. Quiet like a half hour after last call. You’re fucking ridiculous, repugnant. I’m incredulous. If there was justice, you’d be pumped full of High Life and never allowed to piss. For eternity. Plus one.

And loud can mean all kinds of things. Muscular. Pretty. Entitled. Apathetic. Mean. Petty.

There are plenty of ways to be loud. It would probably be best if you shut the fuck up.

No one is giving out trophies anymore. You don’t get to giggle when someone says a word you don’t know. You don’t get to shrug and go: erp, terr’rists. Then watch the Kardashians ego fuck themselves on TV.

Are you simple?

You’re like the runt puppy that doesn’t have the sense to come in from a hard rain. Just stands there, turning in circles and wondering. Getting all kinds of wet.

Except people like the dog.

The dog is cute.


#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...


  1. Yep... that sums it up... and it's well written. And it's scary.

  2. The room was gray. The walls, the floor, the chairs, the table. Somewhere midway between the white of good and the black of evil. He considered the shackles on his wrists and ankles. Dull, cold metal, stealing heat from his body. The light above flickered. An old fluorescent fixture.

    He waited. Alone. He knew the mirror was a way for them, for someones unknown, to observe him. He would not give them the satisfaction of trying to free himself. He knew the effort would be futile anyway.

    When at last the only door opened, he refrained from looking up. He heard the footsteps. He felt the air move. He only looked up when the chair across from him was pulled back and the man in the suit sat down.

    “Catching you was easier than we thought.”

    He remained silent.

    “Quiet, eh? I was hoping we might… negotiate.”

    Still he said nothing.

    “What is most dear to you, Mr. Bernard?”

    He cleared his throat, not because he was going to say anything, but because it was dry.

    The door opened again. This time he looked. A prison matron pushed his daughter into the room. A daughter who looked at him with curiosity. A daughter who had only seen chains and shackles in movies.

    “I think we may begin the questioning now. For every correct answer, we’ll give you one minute with your daughter.” The man in the suit nodded to the matron, who took the girl away.

    “Let’s begin. Why did you vote for Bernie Sanders?”

    1. Man, there is so much said well and so much left unsaid - equally well done. The build up of tension is perfect.

    2. I had to google who he is, after reading Teresa's comment as I thought he might be real! LOL. Love it, but I didn't come to Teresa's conclusion - am I missing something really obvious? Call me stupid!

    3. Interesting how differently this could be interpreted depending on someone's political perspective. Which I think is the point.

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  4. I didn’t have to look.

    When Father’s Day came around, as all those Junes ago did, I think I recall the Old Man doing what he mostly always did on any other Sunday morning. I knew he’d be there in the kitchen, the invisible trail of perking coffee preceding the cloudy footprint of his first-of-the-day Camel.

    And, above it all, the blessed aroma of smoke, sizzle and salt, the price some porcine martyr paid for the sins against the good health gods we’d soon share. It was Heaven.

    Years later, I might sit and talk with the Old Man, but almost never look him in the eyes, those once-scary glowing sapphires I wish I’d inherited from him instead of this III at the end of my name. I never got the chance to wish him a proper goodbye before he was taken from me, of course while making morning coffee.

    I think maybe that’s a good thing. I’d never want to trade his final olfactory portrait I hang here of cigarettes, motor oil and cans of Genny for some hospital room’s antiseptic memory of my Old Man. For that, I’m glad…

    I didn’t have to look.

    1. Ahhh... a beautiful remembrance...

    2. I agree. And I get it. Not having to look can mean everything. I love the inheritance of the III.

    3. The older I get, the more I become convinced that people die the way they lived. Great writing.

    4. It's very moving and nostalgic. The cooking and cigarettes made me think of my own dad.

    5. Beautiful sentiments expressed unsentimentally, which only makes them more poignant.

    6. I love all these sensory details. And the Genny.

    7. Love, 'those once scary sapphires'.

  5. Part 1

    We stepped out upon the frozen water, we walked upon the dirty snow. Me and my daughter, Rosa. We fell by the wayside, pitched into oily ditches, climbed again to the roadside. Clocked unlikely wrecks with steaming grills. Refugees passed us and we pushed against the flow, our sopping icy toques drawn low on our complex brows, our boots stirring rainbow swirls in the slush, each hour another day older as we left our dirty wakes by the highway shoulder, passing pitiless chains of mute and blameless busted chassis.

    What is it we expect? The ultimate horror is the ultimate sorrow. This we know. We shot at and wrote on off-kilter roadsigns to those who followed, sometimes lying, sometimes truthing, sometimes somewheres inbetween, dreaming of red things, equally of blue things, anything other than dirt-stained ice and the drainage swirl of oil and so many ills, such aimless shills, such hushed and Christ-abandoned lies and septic leaks and senseless backroad bloodloss…

    It won't ever scare us unless it scares the ape in us. Lifts the caul. Peers beneath the smooth veneer right into the queasy hollow.

    Weesht, girl, hush your mouth. I will avenge your exemplary death. This I vow.

    We are tricksters, all. Impossible. We once brandished tools and brought them swinging to bear on exposed skulls, winced as the blood and the bone and the hair flew in patterns, paintings and sculptures, a dark dripping collage of found things, foulness, moisture, and oil.

    Rosa is with me still, named after a sea rose: Rosa Rugosa. My sweetest girl. Bella Rugosa's dead. She sleeps with her eyes open, a shoreline demon. She lets you trace your fingers over her kelp fronds, demands you pay upfront even for a haircut. She drifts like flags of mist, catching on cedars, losing her grip, crying while the future silently offloads the past.

    Letters on a window finger-spelled in blood. Escapee emblems and refugee imprints. Displacement creoles and back alley squalls. Some bad things go forever unnoticed.

    Recall. She can raise her south paw and—due to some arcane configuration of digits and lips—conjure the most lascivious whistle, a single brow arched, eyes blazing like Dachau ovens. More and more, she compels my love, a furtive, wolfish, delphic, entirely frowned-upon tryst. Rhymes with Christ.

    Bad man helpless loving bad woman shamed, and violently. Wrapped in smoldering tarpaper shrieking pure hellacious profanities, a dreamworld headland Punchinello shitshow.

    Photo booths, voters, my willing coy hostess, and sweet, loving Otis. Bad things sure seem to go oddly unnoticed.

    Because I can never trust the cops, this is a true detective tale. Talk at length to anyone peripheral and gather the strands of truth. Arrange from sun-bleached driftwood a new kind of forest, fashioned from betrayals and ardor, from reckless surly bonds and rueful, shamefaced bloodlettings.

    Swipe your touchscreen like a blind communion. Tinder by definition is dry.

    Lately the orange tree started to flower, delicate starbursts all in a day or two, while tiny wizened oranges still dangle from its sticklike branches, minuscule jack'o'lanterns, and the aroma is pungent, not like the citrus-sweet of oranges, more like old sixties barbershop hair tonic, clean and human and cloying and quietly disreputable.

    1. Fabulous writing. You've really developed your own unique style of 'wording'. I love reading McCarthy cos his sentences fascinate. In the same way, I enjoy reading yours. You twist the words in a good way.

    2. Every word you just wrote makes me feel good, Vickie. It's such a challenge to love your influences but avoid pastiching them. I honestly think I'm only just getting to that point, so you recognizing it makes me a happy dude today.

    3. I'm running out of wording for this breathtaking twisty wordage, David. I keep highlighting things to paste here and then highlighting more and more and. Love it.

    4. More than stream of consciousness... the word connections and the story connections, in unexpected ways, are breathtaking....

    5. To say it's poetic is to lessen the weight of what is more of a filling buffet.

  6. Whatever happened?

    Inexplicably, the world erased Arvo Pärt. Who knew? Brothers, we are brothers. Sisters too. And we somehow forgot.

    A young man strides with the youthful gait of a vigorous America along a fog-softened street—signs on the sidewalk looming and fading, the chalky dreamlike colors of the nineteen fifties, all solid yet perplexing—and looks up at a sky whose exact blue will never be seen again by anyone, hops into the driver's seat of a 1954 Corvette convertible and swings it through a procession of likeminded chariots to go pick up his girl, at the very dawn of the age of cars.

    While Midwestern rain drips like tears from the nose of a lonely child, guttering into a rain barrel.

    Now, her wineglass is a lucid tulip, her redgloss mouth a trap.

    A young bear embraces the bole of a tree. We send essential signals to the satellites, tap out rhythmic code to a maiden ship on a glassy northern sea, all our warnings, squawks, all our bleak entreaties. Could our cynicism drop a notch? Perhaps. Release our stale breath and watch the flocks stream in slow processional rows of multiple V's, these great suspicious beauties, exotics, these, our choice exemplars.

    My Rosa flees from the black seeds, wraps her fingers around the railings of a caboose, hauls her urchin body on board, writhes within corridors of spittle and cigarette ash, feels filthy, stubby, furtive digits mining her seams, yet regales her fellow passengers with grave clandestine tales inscrutable with haunt.

    (Better get used to it, pedants, haunt is now a noun.)

    1. I'm loving the lucid tulip wine glass. Imagery fantastico.

    2. I love comparing things to other things! :)

    3. That. It makes my heart pump a little harder.

    4. Your language is like photography through a beautiful filter... and haunt has always been a noun! (It's one of my favorite old haunts)

    5. Bring on the courses to nourish our hungry souls. The it.

    6. Agree re: haunt! To paraphrase Calvin, I like nouning verbs. Wait, I just verbed a noun there. It's an endless loop!

  7. Part 3

    Imagine all our dimwit, heartfelt nations questing as ships in a proximate cluster, unblinking through the galaxy, trying to both dominate and keep up. China's vast, India too, and America's somewhat smaller, yet furious and bristling with turrets. Canada floats close by and feigns insouciance, knowing it all ends in heat-death silence while fervently wishing it didn't. France records the backdrop, smiles. Colombia awaits the onslaught. Chile decorates its space poets, while Malian koras unscramble sonnets. And England cuts its own ancient umbilical and tumbles behind all the unholy vessels of Europe, and I cry, because I lived a good half of my life on that star-crossed ship, and some of my friends are still on it.

    All ghost ships now. Somehow still going, eyeballing, outward from the center forever.

    Time to clue in the newcomers:

    This is not a finished thing, it's a project. If you squat in the forest and suck the water from the mosses you might live. But know your piss is fair game. It's cyclical, wide-eyed, recondite, droll. Go talk to your others about dragonflies. The bears sit neck-deep in the creek, patient as fuck. We endure the stark mockery of ravens. We can't even claim to have tried, but some of us have great vast kick-drum hearts regardless. A small boat crossing the sound, eagles drifting in thermals, worlds of indolence and wonderment, pure cryptic love, luck, and those alien erratic guitar tunings.

    New evidence hints at her killer. I reposition myself. It's true she kept running, hoping for a soft place to fall. Kept loving all the underdogs shifting beneath the ceiling fans and easily in earshot of the authorities, while scrawling protest signs.

    Unheeded, unanticipated, some dark parochial thing looms peripheral. Like a parliament [or research lab]. Or a genocide.

    Rosa says sorry. Solarplex it. Knowingly oversex it while looking for the exit. Oversells her dance on the oceanside porch and laments what can go so unspeakably wrong in a life. It ain't always a choice.

    Asks again what happened to the ape in us. What an answer: silence.

    Listen: when the bad dreams come, as with the terrible winds, there will be no shelter. Not sure you're ever prepared. Will the howling shoals and shores of murder make of anything a palpable tale? Does bloodlust ever resonate? Will the strangeness of our star fields render you indifferent? What are your names? Are we cold? Your own unearthly selves? Do we mourn? Love? Walk the flickering line of frigid northern light? Could, might, will you ever know us?

    1. God. Damn. Antrobus, you beautiful maniac. I would have to highlight the entire goddamn story to tell you what I like. No cracks. What sticks out? The rhythm and internal rhymes. So fucking good, man.

    2. Kinda like The Road on steroids, dude.But Beautifully done as always. Rosa, hmmm. I love that she's his daughter, but she puts me in mind of the Black Madonna, presiding somehow over the realm of "that which we sow does not come to life unless it dies."

    3. And yes, I'm on the good ship England-pop! Being a Londoner, I don't see myself as English any more. But moving swiftly on...

      Fave part is this section as it's classic:
      This is not a finished thing, it's a project. If you squat in the forest and suck the water from the mosses you might live. But know your piss is fair game. It's cyclical, wide-eyed, recondite, droll. Go talk to your others about dragonflies. The bears sit neck-deep in the creek, patient as fuck. We endure the stark mockery of ravens.

      It's sure got rhythm. Loads to see in this. God, I can't keep congratulating you today... or yes I can. Superb.

    4. Dan, as I wrote this I kept thinking it was straining to be a poem, so good catch!

      Teresa, Black Madonna! I like. And thank you.

      Aw, the good ship England-pop. :( Brexit truly hit me hard, perhaps surprisingly given the geographical distance, and yes, London and some of the larger cities up north, as well as Bristol, Leicester, and the university towns, that was about it as far as England went, wasn't it? It seems so sad. And hey, thanks for the congratulations. :)

    5. Damn. And this kept coming back to me: "Go talk to your others about dragonflies."

    6. Wish I knew where all this came from! That line made me pause, in a good way. It's the your others, I think. Like we're addressing something from some other world, and talking about things that no longer exist on this one. Something sad and final? That's what I got from it, anyway, but who knows? I'm only the channeler, lol.

    7. I'm all out of words... but dammit, keep going with this!

    8. Enjoyed the ship analogy because I didn't want to land.

  8. He thinks I’m simple. That’s why he picked me, why he chose me to be his wife. I overheard him tell someone recently that he likes how malleable I am. Malleable. What the fuck?! Who says that about their spouse? He likes how malleable I am?! He hasn’t got a fucking clue!

    I’m made up. I’m a work of fiction, and he has no idea. He thinks he is writing the story when I’ve been writing it all along. Or rather rewriting it. I didn’t start out with this face, this hair, this life or even this name. I’m a complete work of fiction. I made myself up. I’m not even sure I recognize the person I see in the mirror these days.

    I was born with a different name; I won’t tell you which one. That would defeat the purpose of changing it. No one who knew me then is alive now to care. Except for maybe one person. But it’s been more than 20 years since I left all that behind.

    Who am I? I’ve been asking myself that a lot these days. There were unintended consequences for making myself into the ideal trophy wife and PTA mother. I thought it would make me feel safe, and it did. For a while. Now, I feel just as trapped as I did before. Maybe more.

    I wonder how he would react if he knew the real me? The real me. Ha! Who the fuck is that?

    Brush in hand finishing up the final touchups before tonight’s performance, I blinked back a few tears and took a long hard look at the woman staring back at me. She’s maintained her figure for the most part even after a couple of children. Good skin. Nice hair. The overall package is well put together. He should like the dress.

    I heard him coming down the hall. “Honey, are you ready? The Petersons are meeting us at the restaurant, and we’d better get moving if we are going to make our reservation.” He stopped at the door and whistled. “Woah! Nice dress!”

    I smiled. I knew he would like it. “Thank you, dear. I’ll be done in a moment. I’m just touching up my makeup before we leave.”

    I took one more look at myself. Definitely not who I was. But I’m not sure I’m who I want to be either. I’m not even sure if I know who that is.

    I picked up my wrap, took a deep breath and walked out onto my stage for the evening.

    1. Oh, I love this piece. And pieces like this in general. Reflective, sharp, and powerful. I'm so glad you joined us. You better be back. ;)

    2. Thanks! I work most Fridays, but I'm off today so I thought I would join the fun. I'll try to make it more often if I can.

    3. Well done! Who hasn't looked at themselves from time to time and felt this way?

    4. It works. Really good. I like the opening - he's superior, thinks he has her figured, but no way - he's got a few surprises coming methinks.

    5. Stephanie, please come back again! This is sharp, as Dan says, and perfectly poised between sadness and defiance.

    6. It's beautiful... and I think there are truths that are found in front of mirrors that hide from us otherwise... please do come back!

    7. You wrote power into her heart. I loved it.

  9. I wanna be a narcissist
    I’m gonna change my brand
    And rock those affirmations and all that mediation, and never, ever stop to think to lend a helping hand.

    I wanna be a narcissist; I wanna seek within
    Fall in love with the reflection of my sweet, complete perfection
    Then come and tell the rest of you just what it means to win

    Oh, be still my bleeding heart!
    Weep not for those who lose!
    We narcissists always rise above
    Tossing dimes to the homeless with the power of love.
    It ain’t my fault. It ain’t my problem, you got drugs and booze and poverty
    I wanna be a narcissist and make you all like me.
    I’m gonna lose this empathy
    Be certain all the time
    That you have chosen your own path and I have chosen mine.
    None of this, for the grace of God, go him or you or I
    I’m gonna do what makes me happy, gonna do what makes me rich
    And as for all the rest of you
    Well, Karma is a bitch.

    Let’s make a deal, then you and I
    All the winners do.
    And sure I’ll lie
    But what the hell?
    You can always sue.

    I wanna be a narcissist
    Might even run for President
    Make this country great again
    Make this country proud
    You won’t mind a vote for me
    As long as we reach our goal
    And then, when we do it
    You won’t even notice
    When I come back for your soul.

    1. Yes! "I wanna be a narcissist and make you all like me." KaPOW!

    2. Love your poem! It jingles and rolls :)
      The narcissists have taken over the asylum over here!!

    3. Yeah, the rhythms are awesome.

      In the original myth, though, doesn't Narcissus self-destruct? Let's hope. And that they don't take others down with them. :(

    4. Beautiful... and I believe that in at least some versions of the myth, Narcissus turned into the flower that bears his name...

    5. Right! Doesn't he see his reflection and falls in love with it and can't look away or something? Maybe that's when he turns into the flower?

    6. Wow, that's a wonderful poem. Now I'm wondering just how a narcissist would do that. Do they know we have souls? Lol

  10. The women stood in a sharp, clean line, breastbones lifted, hands clasped behind their backs. Number Three had spent the last hour polishing the buttons on her uniform until they shone, ironing the white fabric into crisp perfection. She could could sauté and chiffonade with the best of them, but she needed that extra touch to stand out from the regular Janes. The inspector had told her to expect to be chosen, but Three had to make it look inevitable; she hadn’t come this far and given up so much to see their mission fail. The general had to be stopped. Her father’s house had been burned and her brothers had been forced into his army. And now she finally had a chance to do something about it.

    The inspector was late, though. She was never late. Number Three’s chest tightened in fear. Had they been found out? Or were the rumors true that the Agency was pulling its support?

    A door opened and swung closed. The air stiffened from the sudden intake of twelve pairs of lungs, from twelve spines tugging up straighter.

    There were two of them. The inspector, and a tall, bearded man she’d never seen before. The inspector’s cheeks were red, as if she’d recently been angered or chastened. It was not a look Number Three was used to seeing on the woman’s face. Normally the inspector was unflappable—fresh and clean as a walk-in cooler in a four-star restaurant.

    This spelled trouble.

    The pair walked the line, giving away nothing. And then they stopped, dead center.

    “Ladies.” The man cleared his throat. “As I’m sure you have gathered, this will be a very special service tonight. We will have important dignitaries dining with us, and nothing short of perfection will be required of you. I will need one of you to service our most important customer.” He squinted as he swept a glance across the line. “You,” he said, lifting a finger to the woman at Number Three’s right.

    Number Three’s thoughts seized, but then began to race. What could she do now? Was the mission to adulterate his dinner with the vial of slow-acting, untraceable poison in her pocket now scrubbed? Would they now let that horrid man get away with his crimes? It took every ounce of her will not to make eye contact with the inspector for further instruction.

    “Do you wish to say something, Number Three?”

    She opened her mouth, lower lip trembling, and for a moment, nothing came out. “No, chef.”

    “Then man your station. So to speak.” And he turned on one heel and left.

    Number Four was washing her hands at the sink. Three sidled up to her, to make a show of congratulations. But tears were running down Number Four’s cheeks. “I cannot do this,” Four said, wiping the back of her palm across her eyes. “His men raped my sisters and destroyed what they could not carry away. I don’t know how I can take the monster his food and set it before him with a smile.”

    Three leaned close and stroked Four’s white sleeve. “Then let me do it.”

    1. Oh shit. I want to read more of this. Really, really dope, Boris.

    2. Wonderfully done! Love it! and though a minor point at such a moment, I love the line "she could chiffonade with the best of them!

    3. I hope he gets his just deserts! There was a red herring when you mentioned 'service' as I thought you meant something else, so then I had to do a brain switch. Love it.

    4. Yes! I need more of this world. That last line is delivered perfectly.

    5. Thanks! I'm really getting pulled into this. I'm seeing something dystopian afoot.

    6. Dope is the right word... I wanna know more... the numbers instead of names grabbed me instantly, and the last line... whoa

    7. Hellas Kitchen on steroids. Yikes!

  11. July 1st 1916 – By the end of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 21,000 British soldiers and 8,000 Germans are dead.

    “You never do get used to it. Even one of them's too many, so when you've seen hundreds, many of them barely more than boys, each draw their last, you can't help but grieve for every one. I've held most of them for those last few minutes they had, least the ones I had the honour to comfort. And I'll never regret one man, even though the doing it tears me apart. They're each someone's father, or someone's sweetheart, or that boy they bore and never once stopped loving. They're every one of them brothers too; both in family and here in the ranks. They gave of themselves unfailingly, for our country and for the ones that meant the most. And I helped guide them all from this world to the next, easing their way, being the one here for them till their last.

    “They've called me many things. I've been 'That Lady with the Lamp', 'The Sweetheart of the Lost' and also 'The Mother for the Fallen'. And I've been their Pattie, Sue, their Sweetheart and their Mom. When you're laid out on a pallet and your light is almost lost, it doesn't matter whose breast it is that gives you warmth. The other nurses call me 'The Angel of Death', but they know me well, and each one knows the cost I pay. There's not a one of them would trade me my place. I both give and I take, in equal measure; either providing the sweetness for those whose journey is sure or a journey's end for those who're all but lost. But I do it all with love.

    “Though I wish they'd let me sleep one night in peace.”

    1. Dang. This one gave me chills, man.

    2. Chills? I was snivelling... There goes my 'guy' card!

    3. Lovely piece for the 100-year anniversary. I like the Angel of Death and no one wanting to trade places.

    4. Okay, where do I hand in my guy card?

    5. Sniffing here, too... well done...

    6. Amazing job of capturing a collective guilt and pain.

  12. Just relax. It's all gravy, baby. There's nothing to be upset about. Birds still sing. The sky's still blue. Sometimes. Depending where you are. Let's not talk the oceans. Hell of a thing. I feel like I'm standing on the top of something and I don't know how high it is. All I know? The wind is fucking blowing, man.

    Let's think of pretty things. The glint in a child's eye when playing a joke they think they invented. The flash of light in a beautiful woman's hair. The kind people who give when they don't have anything to give.

    I'm tired of apocalyptic bullshit. Tired of reading about bombs and guns and peoples' thoughts on bombs and guns. It's all getting to be too much. I'm sinking into some kind of dark, foul glop. And I don't like it.

    I'm gonna keep thinking about those eye glints and shy morning yawns. I'm going to enjoy what I have.

    Before it's all gone.

    1. Indeed. Cynicism, shut the fuck up!

    2. I've always thought of cynicism as soul death.

      But yeah, never miss the flashes of beauty. In fact, I suspect it's why we write.

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  13. The sun was just setting when I felt her hand brush against mine, wondered if it was intentional - I never have been able to walk a straight line. My throat was closing like the day, worn out and ragged. We heard waves crash and gulls cry. We were living a cliche that I wished for every day.

    Maybe this time it was real.

    We crossed the tan span of dunes and finally reached the point. The actual point and the purpose. I turned to her and my heart opened. I could feel my life leaking out of it. I leaned forward into a baseball coach hug.

    Sorry. I'm sorry. I don't feel that way.

    No, I'm sorry.

    No, the gulls are sorry, the world is sorry, fuck the beach. Yes, we're leaving. No, I'm not mad. I'm ready to get home. I'll drop you off. No, I don't think you should call me.

    I'm not that big a man.

    1. I don't know why but the end made me laugh, and it shouldn't, so I think it's cos it's perfect. I like how so much is summed up in the 'gulls' sentence - it speeds up the ending like it's coming down like a hammer-fall. He'll be okay :)

    2. It's such a human thing. "My throat was closing like the day" has that ring of authenticity, as well as the obvious poetry.

  14. She lays in pools of sunlight, laughing. Look Dadda! Look at the spots flying! I tell her that those are called dust motes, and she looks at me like I'm joking. I smile. Run my fingers down the side of her head, feel warm hair.

    Are they really called dust mopes, Dadda?

    I smile again. They sure are, babe. You see the way they dance. They're listening to music we can't hear. They can be guided, but not forced. I wave my arms and the dust motes swirl, but they do not obey. They react.

    I feel small arms around my neck and that little pat, pat, pat of tiny hands. And we twirl in the storm of sunlight and dust, a grand ballroom meant for two. She asks me if I love her, and I say of course I do.

    Then, she's running. And it's off to a new adventure. And I'm coming along for the ride. Every ride.

    Every ride.

    1. Totally sweet. A real pretty picture. Innocent and dreamy... that's not like you! !!! :)

    2. Aw. Well, I choked up again. But I already handed in my guy card earlier, so now I'm free. ;)

  15. Kenny remembered when it happened, just not what. It was late in June, hotter than hell and clear. He and Amy Davis were hanging out at his place. She was a neighbor who’d just moved in. She told him her air conditioner was on the fritz and he’d told her she could spend the night. She wasn’t his type, so he didn’t think about putting the moves on her, but it was funny with some girls. Sometimes they changed when you looked at them; the way a painting can change as the light moves around the room.
    So after a few hours of watching her look at her phone and play games on his Xbox, he’d begun to think about putting the moves on her after all. But she’d caught him looking and nipped that in the bud.
    “You got any tampons?” she asked him.
    He blushed for no reason and shook his head.
    “I mean, I forgot to bring any. And I don’t have it yet, but I’m thinking I’m gonna start.”
    “Uhhm” was all he could say.
    “Maybe we should get some. Wanna go to Walgreen’s with me? It’s a 24-hour one on Memphis Ave. Maybe get some Cokes?”
    Kenny had gotten to his feet, anxious to escape the turn of conversation. “Sure, “ he said. “I’ll drive.”
    It hadn’t cooled off when they went outside. The air, thick with humidity, hit them like something more solid as they headed to the car. He recalled, with a sort of preternatural clarity, how Amy had coughed twice as she climbed into the Tahoe; how white her hands were against the dark upholstery as she snapped her seatbelt into place.
    He’d known even before he pulled into the parking lot that the Walgreen’s wasn’t open. There weren’t any cars around and the interior lights were dimmed.
    Amy’s mouth formed a disappointed O. “I was sure this was the 24 hours one.”
    Kenny gripped the steering wheel as he tried hard not to sweat. “Maybe it was the one on Meadowlake?”
    They’d taken the thoroughfare across town to where it hooked up at Meadowlake road. At the stop light, Kenny had paused, staring up at the clear, moonlit sky. “See that? That pink star, close to the Moon? That’s Mars. It’s closer to Earth now than it has been for a hundred years or something.”
    Amy didn’t respond. And so he’d watched the sky for a moment, waiting for the light to change, fixed on the image of the fierce red star.
    As it blinked, or he did. And was gone.
    “What the fuck?” he said turning to Amy. But there was no Amy, either. And the road before him was dark all around, not a single light shining from the two rows of flat ranch house that lined either side of the sleeping street.
    Kenny squinted into the darkness as his dash lights dimmed, trying to catch a street sign in the fading yellow glow of his headlights.
    South Salem Road.
    “The fuck? He said again, conscious of the way his voice cracked and the sweat condensing on his arms and forehead like a fever chill.
    “I turned at the intersection on Meadowlake. I was watching Mars. South Salem is…fuck it, fuck it…NINE miles from where I was a minute ago? And that girl, Amy. She was here. Goddammit! I KNOW she was here!”
    He’d gone over it a thousand times since, staring at the city map, where there was no route from the one place to another without hitting a highway and only a gaping hole where his memory should be. He’d searched for her, too. Even went to the rental office in his apartment complex and given a description. But Amy Davis had never been there, either.
    They found the implant two years later, quite by accident. Kenny was working construction by that time. He’d fallen off a ladder and near broken his back. The surgeon plucked a tiny, triangular bit of metal from deep at the base of Kenny’s neck and plopped it in a tray while they stitched him back up, thinking it some bit of hardware from the windows he’d been putting in.
    He still reaches for that scar though, annoyed at the way it itches him, like some amputation. Never sure what happened in those long ago moments. Never quite convinced they can’t find him again.

    1. hee hee, I didn't see that coming. When you said how pale she was, I thought she was going to be a vampire or some monster. I didn't anticipate the twist at all. Could be the start of a cool story. Love it.

    2. Yes, more! Rich with detail. "Sometimes they changed when you looked at them; the way a painting can change as the light moves around the room."

    3. Yup. So good, I'm echoing. "Sometimes they changed when you looked at them; the way a painting can change as the light moves around the room." So nice. And cool twist into confusion.

  16. Tides

    I can get it right, I can get it wrong,
    Or I can sleepwalk the in between;
    Not to say it’s a pretence, lie or fabrication,
    Yet maybe it is.
    We set these things in motion,
    Let them raise their sails in earnest,
    Spinning haphazardly across the seas,
    Searching for the missing piece
    Lost in the land of ebbing faith.
    So here’s a sanctuary, if you’ll believe -
    Pure evidence of the found within,
    Rolled out upon a stone, dissected, serene,
    Opened up for your peeping leisure,
    Your ever-curious mind wrapped in stages
    Of beginnings and ends.
    Where goes the middle? Did you find it?
    This is the meaning in the happening,
    Where you miss the most obvious signs -
    Hear me now? See me here?
    I can afford to wait a while.
    So here I sit, dreaming of something more,
    Looking inside myself for the missing piece,
    Only to find it was always hiding there;
    No need to plunge into this dark despair,
    Just lift your eyes to the morning sun,
    Where the blackbird summons you to dream.

    1. Now it's my turn to congratulate you! That thing you said earlier, about finding our writing voice? I feel like you're finding your poetic voice, that it's distinct and wonderful.

    2. Man, I agree. I don't even like reading poetry, but I love your stuff. For reals.

  17. Dearly beloved

    He watches her drift into the light
    To take a pause upon the day
    Seeing how the time would begin
    Again, with the turning of the clock

    She knows the nature of the lie
    He tells with the brightest of eyes
    Spinning words into spider webs
    To catch her wits as morning dew

    It’s times like these she stumbles into
    The panic of this obvious betrayal
    The looks, the whispers, the signs
    Of something other than she believed

    She senses him watching her every move
    Tracking her as a hunter, so deliberate
    As if he smells her blood beating within
    Can taste her skin, peeled from the bones

    Sleepless dawn always shocks her into life
    Wrestling this marriage of convenience
    This husband laden down with mysteries
    His visage never succeeds to conceal

    The other woman she knows so well
    Pretends ignorance lest she raise his ire
    Burning inside him like a bitter fire
    Seeking revenge on his poor ancestry

    This can be the end or a new beginning
    She cannot decide – too much for now
    Whether to flee and become nothing
    Or stay to enter the realm of invisible.

    1. I love how this looks like traditional verse on the page, as if it would have regular metre and rhyme, but how it surprises us with echoes and scraps of half-rhyme and unpredictable rhythms. I hope that makes sense. It's kinda hard to articulate. It's excellent.

    2. I'm glad DA tried to explain it. I concur, but it's hard to explain! I love web/dew.

  18. It was all the Representative could do to not cry. He was uncomfortable even thinking about the fact that he would eventually die, but always supposed he’d die from natural causes at a ripe old age, in a hospital bed, surrounded by his loved ones. Not like this, on his knees, in the woods a few miles from home, at the hands of three young white men. They grabbed him off the road while he was out jogging, handcuffed him and frog-marched him out to a more isolated willow grove, explained why they were doing what they were doing. They were radicals, part of a diffuse network of domestic terrorists, intent on dramatically reforming the sociopolitical status quo of the United States, by whatever means necessary. They cited specific examples of his voting record. He was a Republican from day one, pro-life, anti-union, anti-gay, et cetera. And for that, they and their compatriots decided to make a grim example of him. One fellow joked, “I got a mind to make him blow me, first.”

    “Well, I ain’t gonna stop you, but not me. I ain’t no fag, this cock is ladies only.”

    “Me neither, just outta spite. And so when they do the autopsy, he’ll have cum in his stomach. That ain’t gonna look good for a politician who’s been hatin’ on gay people since it was still fashionable.”

    “Fuck that. This ain’t about some degenerate sex shit, this is about getting vermin like him out of office. We warned him to resign before something bad happened to him, he didn’t resign, now something bad is happening to him.”

    The Representative vaguely remembered receiving a few letters, phone calls, and emails, in recent weeks, ranging from vaguely to overtly threatening. He now wished, so badly, that he had taken them seriously. He had already tried threatening, begging, bribing; he would have said or done damn near anything to walk away from this terrifying situation in one piece, but his captors had already made up their minds. They had already taken the sixty-eight dollars in cash he had in his wallet, as well as his driver’s license and all his credit cards; they said they’d run those cards up as much as they could, then throw them away, because he wasn’t gonna need them.

    The local community was understandably shocked and horrified, when their congressional representative was found dead, after nearly a week missing. The body was clothed but had no identification or personal effects, with two neatly placed holes in the back of his head from .40 caliber hollow point bullets. The men who murdered him first heard the news the morning after; they were all tired and hungover, having been out drinking at a nightclub in Atlanta until closing time. They were eating waffles, fried eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns, and drinking lots of coffee. Thankfully, they didn’t seem to be the only ones in that Waffle House who didn’t care.

    1. That last paragraph really tied the room together, to paraphrase the Dude. The matter-of-fact itemizing of their breakfast somehow made it all the more grim and almost casually nihilistic. Powerful stuff.

    2. Yeah, I agree. Super strong throughout, but that last sentence nails it.

    3. Sure, y'know, that's what you have for breakfast at Waffle House, on a hungover Sunday morning. (I'm just kinda pleased with myself because I've lived in a Southern state long enough to have patronized a Waffle House. There's only like two of them here in Austin, though, they're not as ubiquitous as in Georgia and the Carolinas.)

  19. Hair today

    It was the way she wore her hair that made him stop in traffic when the lights shone green, inviting him to swerve across two lanes while horns blared. He parked the black Beetle haphazardly in a narrow alleyway, between bowing walls topped with iron railings. Coloured sprouts of washing billowed in the wind. It carried him. Between the home-cooking smells and the sight of her image again, his memory lost sight of him. Her. That tilt of her hips, the in-curve of her waist, the swing of slim arms, a slight kink of her elbows, the length of her perfect legs, the perk of that fruity bottom. Guy lost himself for a moment, hastening his stride until he almost hurtled along the pavement.

    The bobbing yellow ponytail swished back and forth, and she was across a distant road in no time at all. Catching his breath and cursing the few thousand fags he’d smoked in his not-so-long life, he tracked her, taking the nearest road at a fast bounce that Roadrunner would have been proud of. He smiled at the memory; a childhood favourite, except Wiley Coyote would have dropped an anvil on her head to get her attention. Something he wasn’t too keen on trying.

    The woman turned to the left and disappeared behind two squat houses. Guy broke into a jog, not trusting his body to cope with a full-on run. Two old dears in rollers and hairnets gawped at him quizzically, one giggling like a schoolgirl; a reception he was long used to, since he turned seventeen. Behind the houses, he spotted her, the sun glinting on her straw-coloured hair. She’d quickened her pace, he could tell.

    To hell with it, he thought, and broke into a run. His shoes padded more loudly on the concrete. She stopped and he immediately halted, afraid of frightening her. He wasn’t a stalker. He wasn’t a weirdo. It’s just that no one had ever made him stop in traffic before. The ponytail snapped back as her head turned to give him a look of curious panic. “I’m sorry, sir,” he mumbled, as he slunk backwards, his tail unfirmly between his legs.

    1. Like Laurie, I was entranced by the rhythm, and then I laughed for real at that one word: unfirmly. Ha ha! I'm still laughing.

    2. Word. ;) Sorry, I'm the just woke up dittohead.

  20. Love it! And the rhythm of your writing. :D


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