Friday, February 17, 2017

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.

Sorry, crew. I'm calling in sick. Y'all will have to #breaktheblog without me. Give me some good stuff to read. oxox, JD

#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...

39 comments:

  1. Rats.... hope you feel better soon!

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    1. Oh no, Dan. I'm so sorry you're feeling badly. Take care and get better soon. It's not the same without you.

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    2. Get better soon, man. Fight the good fight!

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    3. Aw, phooey. Hope you're feeling better soon!

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  2. Once each year, in the hollow between winter’s expiration and the resurrection of spring, I lock the doors, turn off the phone, draw the drapes, and ascend the ladder to the attic.

    The footlocker waits for me there. Your footlocker. My footprints from previous years in the dust of memories lead me to it. I approach it with trepidation, with reverence. I sit on the floor, and I reach for the key, on a chain with your dogtags, where it rattles against my chest every day. The key fits into the lock easily, as easily as our hands fit together. The click is loud in the silence of this space.

    I lift the cover. My hand covers my heart and I hear myself gasp as I see your cowboy hat, mostly white, but with stains from your sweat. I touch the hat on its crown. Gently I touch it. Your voice from years ago tells me never to wear a dead man’s boots or hat, and I put it over my face, smelling you or the memory of you, I’m never sure which. My eyes are closed but I see your face, the hazel eyes, the cleft chin, the one-sided smile.

    After a moment or an eternity, I open my eyes and put the hat down. There is your knife, a ka-bar, that you carried in desert wars, wars that kept us apart, but you swore called to your sense of duty.

    I examine the knife, wondering if you ever used it for anything other than cutting food, cleaning fish. You never talked about killing anyone. I never asked. When others did, I saw your eyes go to a different place, a different time. I take the knife from its sheath, put my finger on its sharp blade, making sure that time has not dulled its edge.

    One of your uniform shirts is next. Your voice reaches out from the years gone past, “Blouse. Marines wear blouses. Don’t laugh.” And of course I did. It’s been laundered, so it does not smell of you, but my fingers glide over the rough fabric, remembering when it held your body, remembering how it felt when I rubbed your back through it.

    I do not open the little box that holds your medals and ribbons. I know each by heart, and know the emptiness I felt as you earned each one on the other side of the world.

    Neither do I open the scrapbook this year, with its fading pictures of you, of me, of us, and of strangers I never knew. The colors of my memories are stronger than the photos, and I look through them instead, as I do every day.

    You in high school, long hair and never smiling. You and your mother. You and your father. You in your football uniform. Junior Prom with a girl whose name I never knew. You graduating from boot camp. A glimpse of a smile there. Us on the beach where we met, a photo taken by a stranger. We look like an ad for toothpaste. One from the Marine Corps birthday ball, you in dress blues.

    I blink, and in the nearly empty footlocker, there is your pistol, its empty magazine nearby. All the lectures you gave me on gun safety. The days we spent at the range, so you could be sure I could defend myself when you were gone. Feeling your body pressed against me from behind as you helped me aim. I try, but fail to touch it. Something invisible, something warm, shields it from my touch. Somehow it, or maybe you, will not allow me to handle the instrument of death, the last thing you touched before you died.

    I weep and cry out at the injustice of it all, of the gaping hole you left in your head and my heart with that last bullet. I rock back and forth on the dusty floor among the talismans I use to try to conjure you. At last the tears are gone, and I remember to breathe. I mechanically replace them all in the footlocker, and lock it.

    My husband, my hero. One day, one year, I will join you. But not this year, not today. And I return, through the dust of memories, to the life below. It’s nearly time to pick up our son from school.

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  3. Heart rending. So beautifully said, especially this...
    The colors of my memories are stronger than the photos, and I look through them instead, as I do every day.
    Not fair to make me cry so early in the day, but how could one not? There's so much more I want to say but I'm weepy so I'll just say, thank you Leland.

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    1. aw, I'm sorry... thank you for the kind words!

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    2. You see? I was so affected, I put my comments in the wrong place entirely.

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  4. The Curtain Falls

    The curtain falls with passions spent.
    A living death that won't relent.
    Each page once read is torn and faded,
    Script once a spark, now worn and jaded.

    Wait for the wheel, it yet may turn.
    Phoenix to rise as embers burn?
    A holy boon if granted peace,
    A soul consumed with small surcease.

    But chapter's litany of verse,
    A play near done, a life to curse.
    To rail and rant each bitter pill,
    Tears overflowing heartache's spill.

    The sound and fury overwhelms,
    Escape to long forgotten realms.
    Reality comes with a price.
    As darkness slinks, meant to entice.

    A glimmer lights the stage to strut,
    Will all hope cease once ties are cut?
    The final act's upon us now.
    Who will remain to take a bow.

    -Tamara McLanahan

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    1. I'm in awe of rhyme and structure... my mind doesn't work that way, so it impresses me all the more... this reminds me of classical poets... well done!

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  5. From a WIP...any and all comments are most welcome.
    Lexi sat down heavily on a bench in the center of the Mall. Leaning her head back, she watched the decorations for Easter as they sparkled from the eaves, pinks and blues, greens in pastel colors. Eggs and bunnies dancing together as air vents spewed out a cooling breeze. Yes, Heidi was right, she knew that. It had been too long but the project she was working on was so important. Vital to her burgeoning career. And why had she worn these shoes?
    Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a pair of leather Coach flats. Easing the high heels off, she slid her feet in and groaned with relief. Stowing the sexy Blahnik’s of narrow toe room back into her bag, she turned and took Heidi’s hand.
    “I’m sorry, I’m a horrible friend. I haven’t seen you in weeks and here I am, doing nothing but complaining. I’m really sorry. In my defense, though, if you’d clued me into the fact you wanted to come to Potomac Mills, I wouldn’t have even considered wearing these high heels. Any mall that has Neighborhoods to keep one from getting lost, well, I would have worn my Nikes instead,” as she winked at her best friend and gave her hand a squeeze.
    “See? All better, my feet no longer hate me and I’m rarin’ to go!” Lexi shouted. “Except maybe could we stop at the Food Court here and grab a slice of Jerry’s pizza? I’m suddenly starving,” and she took off at a brisk pace, only a slight hobble due to a burgeoning blister.
    Settling back in her chair, a large pepperoni slice and a Starbucks coffee to sip on, Lexi smiled. She was feeling much better and Heidi had cheered her considerably. So easy to get caught up in everything and forget to take the time to relax and rejuvenate. With a contented sigh, she bit into her pizza again.
    They finished their lunch and continued shopping. Soon finding themselves standing and staring in front of a dress store window and watching as the merchandiser slid a stunning dress onto a stylized mannequin. Lexi was usually slightly creeped out by the faceless ones currently in fashion but it was the dress that had her riveted. A jade green, v necked sheath, a slit up the side, shot with gold threads throughout. Under the store window focus lights, it shimmered and her hands itched to try it on, slide it over her hips, run her hands over breasts covered in the slinky material.
    She closed her eyes for a moment, imagining a grand ballroom, dancers swaying seductively to the music drifting on the night air, hints of jasmine and bougainvillea mixing with the myriad tapers and wax candles that dotted the room in crystal holders and ornate wall sconces. Muted light from chandeliers dripped down onto the dance floor. Looking to the right, she saw an open balcony window, white sheers billowing out as the breeze caught them. Candlelight flickered on them, casting shadows but she could make out a large potted plant sitting near the railing, with a silhouette of a man just to the left. He seemed deep in thought, what she could see of him. Hands clasped in front of him, head down slightly. He seemed sad and was just about to take a step towards him when she was abruptly pulled from the fantasy, a hand gripping her arm.
    “Lexi! Do you really want to run headlong into this nice woman’s display? For pete sake, I think you would have bloodied your nose if I hadn’t stopped you an inch away.”
    She turned to see Heidi’s concerned look but not before catching the eye of the lady inside the store window, a strange look upon her face.

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  6. I thought you were my Seth, but it turns out you’re just another asshole. I shouldn’t be surprised. I always have known how to pick ‘em.

    Don’t get me wrong—I don’t regret the days we had. Some of them were good days. You showed me a new way of looking at things. You changed my life.

    And then, when you no longer needed me to hold you up, you were done. You just weren’t there anymore. No more birthday phone calls. No more random chats. You could barely even disrupt your routine enough to call me when my whole world fell apart on an otherwise perfectly nice Wednesday.

    I was angry. I was sad. I felt hurt. Sometimes, I still do. But the only way through is forward. The only way forward is to let go. So I’m letting go.

    I wonder if you’ll bounce when you hit rock bottom.

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    1. Ouch... and this perfectly captures a feeling I have known... thanks for sharing

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    2. Spot on, and I too had a Seth with much the same results. I'm just not sure of the day of the week my world fell apart. Not that it matters anymore. But rock bottom is a long way down. I hope they don't bounce. They don't deserve it that easy. Well done.

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  7. You stir, cough, roll over and peek one-eyed at the clock signaling in garish mini-sunrise that it’s 6:30 AM.

    Kicking off the covers, you swing to face the wall while your feet search for slippers hidden in the coolness of your bed’s shadow. Scuffs beneath your feet, you shuffle to the window and pull back the curtain just a crack to see the consequences done of the overnight snow.

    Eyes blink their reconciliation with the alarming alchemy cosmically metamorphosing the black-smudge base metal of yesterday into the platinum of a new day. Wedding cake duplexes and cupcake SUVs suspended from the clouds by steamy exhalations surround the cul de sac as gray dawn doesn’t so much rise as just happen.

    Crows, calling in cacophonous amity, scratch away the comforting blanket of bedroom quiet. Four inches? Six inches? Does it matter? You still ache from pushing aside Thursday’s storm, so what’s to come when you eventually step into the subarctic day is just another pile of potential, frozen and tossed upon your front step like a million Sunday papers.

    You crack your back, grab some socks and head downstairs. Weekend’s come and it still feels like Thursday.

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    1. so many beautiful turns of phrases... "wedding cake duplexes and cupcake SUVs" "cacophonous amity" and "platinum of a new day" are my faves!

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    2. Agreed with Leland. If I were to highlight all the lovely phrases, it would look like a patchwork quilt. I particularly like..."Eyes blink their reconciliation with the alarming alchemy cosmically metamorphosing the black-smudge base metal of yesterday into the platinum of a new day. Gorgeous. "Black-smudge base metal...into the platinum of new..." I keep re-reading that. Wonderful. Thank you.

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    3. Thanks, Leland and Tamara. Afraid I let Poet-Joe a little too off his chain in this one. Time to dial back the pretty and amp the gritty, as far as my fiction goes.

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  8. I wrote something this week! Okay, not today, but this week... :)

    IT'S GONNA BE GREAT
    A backward poem for backward times

    The president is doing great
    Only a fool would think
    Otherwise
    Most everyone believes
    We should trust him
    There is no cause for concern
    But some are saying
    The country is in danger
    People are scared
    Nothing could be further from the truth
    Everything is going to be fine

    Now read from the bottom up…

    * * *
    © 2017 by M.P. Witwer • All rights reserved

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    1. Brilliant. I can only imagine how challenging it is do this. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. *challenging it is TO do this. (Pretty darn challenging when I can't even avoid having a typo in my response) LOL

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  9. To be continued (probably on my blog later)...
    ____________________________________________

    Before they hit the bars they agreed to meet and eat at TGI Friday's.

    The evening was liquid. Streams of colored light reflected on roads teeming with mingled fluids, wished-for outcomes made manifest.

    Her friends had eaten all the cheese-covered nachos. To hell with them, she thought. I will be the virtuous one and eat a plain chip without cheese or sour cream or even guacamole. When she closed her eyes and placed the chip in her mouth and let it sit on her tongue, she was suddenly twelve again, and she heard someone whisper, "Body of Christ," to which she murmured an earnest, "Amen."

    As it softened and dissolved on her still tongue, she tried not to smile.

    She wore the piety of her own awkward holiness like a costume halo until the priest cleared his throat and shot her a look, as if saying, "Don't overdo it. You can't stay on your knees forever, girl."

    Ironic advice from a priest. Advice she had forgotten until now. (But he hadn't said it, had he?)

    ***

    Migrant. An emotive word, though not like refugee. Maybe I hear the blare of controversy via the high thin line I can trace to my family's story. A story not all that different from any other: history, herstory, theirstory. But it sings to me the gravity of movement. And of banishment. And of irony.

    ***

    I drank it all. Turned it up to eleven. Poured every taste into my gaping hunger. Insatiable. Daubed oils on a canvas, smeared from it a story. Inhaled a hundred women. Soothed them, was soothed by them. Concocted new and bloodier Caesars. Dropped from sheer cliffs into a tumult of surf. Reckoned with the surging waves. Made of their concussions a prayer cycle. Shucked oysters, eyed tide pools, gripped a woman's hips before my face and breathed—lustful, littoral, deeply consensual.

    ***

    The sky ain't right, and people have lost their minds.

    Hand me that guitar, and I'll try to calm them.

    Three chords: Em7, D/F#, G. Capo on the second fret. Pick or strum, I don't care. Be playful.

    You got a phone? A landline? Flat black. Most retro. Or maybe sensible. Listen. Phone your people, let them twitch their isolated minds and cry their goddamned brains out.

    ***

    You rode that dusty Mediterranean train north. Watched the parched lands fall behind the multiscratched window. You had no money, having squandered it on ouzo and women and lukewarm moussaka while the islands dreamed like ignorant children, of pale olive groves and hot white stasis. You boarded the slowest train. Hunger in your belly and boredom in your brainpan, dwindling memories of a killing. Athens, seed of anise, dark abandoned Albania. Each time it pulled into a station, children ran along the dirty platform, desperate to sell water or bread or newspapers or beer. You also wanted those things. But each time, you sat staring like an ancient exiled wolf as the slow train pulled out and continued north, feeling the outlaw clench of your slattern ribs grip your ailing heart. Athens to Belgrade to Venice to Cologne. Retracing your earlier steps, your lighter ones. Seventy-two tender and stupefying hours. Stripped to essentials. Across from you: a multilingual man teaching fellow-travelers tricks with ping-pong balls, juggling and swallowing them, sequestered in a compartment all his own, and begrudged by no one.

    You recall the squat moustachioed man below the Acropolis, bending steel bars, his wide stance outlandish under such duress, beside so iconic a browbeat of history. His short legs like dwarf trees, his facial hair dark as a painted gasp, his grunts like the croak of goats amid the soft winsome reek of leather.

    All passed now into memory.

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    1. Your words always take us on such an incredible journey. Such imagery and substance. I almost always read them a second time because I pick up nuances I missed on the first reading in my rush to consume them. We drink it all in happily. Thank you.

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    2. You are so kind, Tamara! Thank you. Here is a link to the whole thing.

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  10. "Hi, Dad," Cait called out as her father passed by in the hallway.

    He turned back and poked his head in. "Heya, Squirt!"

    "Please don't call me that." She was exasperated by the demeaning use of the name.

    "For I have put away childish things, eh?"

    "Something like that." She turned back to changing the diaper before her.

    "Don't you realize what it means when I use that nick-name?" he asked with a frown.

    She looked up with a sigh. "It means you can't seem to understand that I'm an adult with kids of my own."

    He paused for a long moment, making her look at him.

    "It means 'I love you'."

    She looked up with a jolt as he turned and walked back out the nursery door.

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    1. A lesson to never overlook the real meaning of an endearment. Very nicely done. Thank you.

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  11. "Marie," Cait said to her coworker one day. "You have two brothers, right?"

    "Si. Jose and Jesus. Why?"

    "I was just curious. One of those 'getting to know people' urges. Do you have any funny stories of your childhood? I mean, we didn't grow up in the same neighborhood, so you must have done things that were fun, but not in the same playgrounds, right?"

    Marie smiled a sunny smile. "You seem to be the perfect person to tell this one to," she said slyly, glancing at the little golden cross hanging around Cait's neck. "I think you will appreciate it. My father is Anglo. He has always said we were blessings in his life, as well as trials. we came along in just the right order for my mother to give us all good Catholic names that made a family joke."

    "How's that?" Cait asked, genuinely curious.

    "When my father got frustrated or angry with us, we gave him a reason to blaspheme."

    "You don't mean - "

    "Indeed I do!" Marie laughed. "He would yell 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph!'"

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    1. Perfect. Yes, who couldn't smile and appreciate this.

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  12. HA! ONE minute fiction! 60 seconds of fast typing!

    Conversations on a Park Bench

    Mind if I sit down? Thanks. Feels good to sit. Saw you with your paper and pen. A writer? Not many folks still use good writing utensils. They’re all using that electronic shit now. Don’t let me interrupt you.

    I was a writer once. Even published a few times. The only one that mattered, though, was a book of poetry I wrote. Don’t think it sold more than 100 copies. But it felt like I was planting something. Like casting seeds to the wind, never know where they’ll land, where they might take root. Some of ‘em might even grow up to be flowers.

    Where do I live? On the street, mostly. A few years ago I decided I was tired of walls. And I wanted a ceiling of stars, real stars, not the kind you paint on plaster. Kinda liberating to be homeless at this age. At least I know my kids won’t fight over what I leave behind when I die. Naw, I’m kidding. No kids. Thought about it once, but decided I’d be a bad influence.

    Well, I oughta stop bothering you so you can get back to your words. Pleasure talking with you.

    Here, I just happen to have a copy of my book of poems. I’d like you to have it. No, really. Thanks. It’s good to know one copy will be with a writer, with someone who appreciates words.

    My name? My first name’s William, but my friends call me Billy. But the last name is real. Funny, I always used to get teased. The other kids always called me Shakes.
    Now, dear lady, parting really is sweet sorrow. I bid you adieu.

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    1. How delightful. And indeed, those seeds grew and grew and now they cast a huge shadow and smell ever so sweet, be they roses or something equally dulcet. Inspiring and encouraging those who have that love of words. And as a requiem, that's pretty darn good. For both of you. I've no doubt you'll be sprouting flowers of your own, Leland, for many years to come.

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  13. This is going to go on and on and on, but here's the first part:

    Anya woke, heart pounding, sweat soaking her nightgown. She’d had the dream again. The one where hands brush her long blond hair and a rich alto dances up and down a melody. She didn’t know the song or the language, and several times, she’d rolled over to her notebook and pencil on the nightstand, aiming to write down the syllables, but they dissolved into the mist even before she could get them on paper.

    She thought of asking her father about the dream, if he knew the song, but she didn’t dare. Mama died giving birth to Anya, and Papa always felt responsible, no matter what the doctors said. Even simple questions could sometimes make her father’s face crumple with guilt and heartbreak. Sometimes she feared that the memories were slowly killing him, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

    Besides, this was crazy. It was crazy to believe that Anya’s nights were being haunted by her mother’s voice when she’d never heard it. She’d probably made the whole thing up, wishing so hard for a mother’s comfort that her dream imagination had supplied it to her.

    No wonder she’d reached out for love and comfort. Because in some other house, in some other anxiety-ridden bedroom, a man was waking, maybe from his own strange, prophetic dream, and by this evening, they’d be married.

    “I can’t do that, Mama,” she whispered to the water-stained ceiling. “How am I supposed to spend the rest of my life with someone I’ve never met?”

    An echo of the song returned to her then. It wrapped around her shoulders and squeezed her tight. In that moment, in the embrace of something she couldn’t describe if you gave her all the big, fat books in Papa’s library, she knew one thing. She had to leave.

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    1. ohhhh.... yes, you're right... this is a novel waiting to happen!

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    2. What a lovely flow and great beginning. Please do, go on. We want more.

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