Friday, May 19, 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.


My eyes won’t open. Why won’t my eyes open? I keep telling ‘em. I say, "eyes, open the fuck up." Ain’t nothing getting done if you don’t. But it ain’t like I can’t open my eyes. Not like can’t can’t. You hold a gun to my head, and I’ll get those eyes open. But I won’t see. You can’t make me see, no matter how many ways you try to do it. 

My brain is on fire. I feel the heat. I don’t like any part of it. Like that red-cheeked shame you get when you smile at a girl and she whispers into her friend’s ear, laughing. 

I tried to climb the mountain, Sisyphus got me. The rock got me. I rolled it up, but I never got anywhere with it, so I sharpened this stick. See that point? Like a dagger. Now, you hold it still. I’ll pry my eyes open and you can jab ‘em right out.  We can cook them like marshmallows, watch them drip into the burning resonance of shame. 

#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. Mailman

    He was born small, and no one said anything about it. Moms didn’t want to discuss it. And we sure didn’t want to say anything. What are you supposed to say? Gee, Mom, wonder if it was those cigarettes you smoked? The one beer you were allowed to have. Hell, the doctor recommended it. I think he was thinking ‘can’ not forty, but…

    The cards came in two varieties. Some were covered in flowers and crosses and talked about blessings and new beginnings. Some were condolences. And I was like, what the fuck? You’re sorry my brother got his brains twisted? What kind of shit is that?

    Even the mailman didn’t know what to do. Not even when I had him by the throat. He was shaking, one pant leg wet and dripping. I could smell his teeth. And I said, not one more fucking card. You understand that? Not one. Ever.

    And he stopped bringing the cards. My Moms found God and somehow that made it OK for her. Didn’t make it OK for me. But I got the mailman on the way home from school and asked him for one of those change of address things.

    And then I got my brother and bailed. I’m sure they sang hymns about it. Some joyful and some of the ‘sorry your thug son stole your retard son’ variety.

    Me and Tyrone? We sang songs about big yellow birds and frogs that talked.

    And we never went back.

    1. Thank God for the big hearts of delinquents... this is really a powerful piece, my friend.

    2. It is, indeed. And I love the first one. I love a good Sisyphus reference.

  2. The Bus

    It’s yellow and it smells like vomit. Come on kids, you can all climb on it! We don’t have seat belts, but we have this fancy little stop sign that swings off the back like it’s goddamn magic. Freezes cars right where they sit. When you got a magic stop sign, seat belts don’t mean shit.

    The guy driving the bus? He spent the last five years in a mental institution. Before that there was a guy with tattoos on his neck. Billy asked him once: don’t they do background checks on you guys? And he just smiled. Yep, but it don’t mean shit if you never got caught.

    You ever seen a school bus wrapped around a telephone pole. I have. Nothing funny about it. Kids with blood and glass all over them. No more bottles of beer on the wall. No more wheels going round and round. Just a bunch of scared-ass kids.

    And a bunch of parents scratching their heads, saying, “they STILL don’t have seat belts?”

    1. This is what a horror-story looks like, not those slasher-flicks with Freddy and Jason but real-life, kids-get-hurt-by-stupidity shit.

      You excel at putting truth into pretty words.

  3. Restless

    I didn’t know if she awoke before I did or I before she. I only know I could feel her eyes upon me.

    Just not her touch.

    "Yes, another restless night," I said.

    "No, you didn’t keep me awake," I lied.

    The ceiling did. Consciousness did. Worry did. Old truths did. Fantasies did. Longing did. Guilt did. I did. But I couldn’t tell her that.

    "No, I didn’t know I kicked and thrashed all night," I said. But the covers lying in disarray on my side told a different story. One where if looked as if I ran and swam and crawled my way across this No-Man’s-Land searching for somewhere to tuck in until the barrage lifted. But dawn lifted first.

    I looked over at the clock and, as it has for the past weeks, it taunted me with a left-hand number less than six.

    "I don’t know if I can make it today," I said, sensing that sinking feeling in my chest again, an emptiness like it had been crushed dry. But I knew I had to get up and bump my way through another day, fighting off the sleep that never quite came last night.

    "No, I haven’t dozed off again, just…gathering myself," I said. I’d been locked in another bout of the woolgathering inattentiveness on the daydreams that substituted those I never had at night anymore. Night had become a wasteland of artillery flashes, reds and yellows and whites cutting through the darkness, after which the colors of days were smothered by the darkness of exhaustion.

    "I wish I knew," I said when she asked why I’d had another rough night. But she knew why as well as I did.

    I took a deep breath, sighed it away like I’d sighed away another restless night, filling the room with wordless exclamations, near-silent calls for rescue. Sighed it away like I sighed away the covers on my side. Sighed it away like I would this day and the last and most likely the next.

    But before I pulled myself from the ravaged percale plain upon which we lost another hope without a dream to support it, I kissed my fingers to reach out and touch her, to let her know one more time. But they came to rest upon her empty pillow with which I shared these nightly battles between damned consciousness and blessed oblivion.

    1. Ah, you've broken my heart... and you've done it with skillful use of words... the fact you didn't give her quotations was well-done... and so was the litany of dids. Thank you for sharing this.

    2. Beautiful. Love this: "a left-hand number less than six."

  4. I don’t dream.

    But tonight, I bolted upright and shouted “No,” drenched in sweat, heart pounding, shaking like I had fever chills. I had a nightmare and I couldn’t remember a thing about it.

    My wife, Cody, popped up, too, frightened by my reaction to my hazy nightmare. She switched on the bedside light.

    “What is it, Rich? Are you all right?” Cody said, placing a shaking hand on my arm.

    “I think so. I don’t know what happened. I think it was a dream, I guess a nightmare,” I said, still pumped and confused.

    “What was it about?”

    “I don’t know. I honestly can’t remember.”

    “Will you be all right?”

    “Yeah, I’ll be okay. I’m gonna go get a glass go water and calm down. You go back to sleep. I’ll be back in a little while,” told Cody.

    “Okay, Rich. You sure you’re all right?”

    “Yep, fine. Get some sleep, okay?”

    Cody turned out the light, rolled over and pulled the covers back atop her shoulders. I headed to the kitchen, grabbed a drink and ran the faucet on a dish towel, wrung out the cold water and put it over my eyes after I parked myself in my desk chair.

    What had scared me so much? Did it really matter now?

    I wasn't fearless in the blank darkness of the hood it places over me, of its smothering dark hand. Darkness had always been my friend, my forever bedmate.

    Always, the dreamless monster steals my night, robbing me of sense and senses, sending me to stagger through another day hating the Sun for dropping from its apogee, a golden chanticleer crowing the dawn of another dread sundown.

    My every-night nightmare had become a killer of men, of knowledge, of thought. It hid in the darkness of my slumber, the destroyer of light, color, joy. It had come to affect my work as a writer. I’d come up dry on my last two manuscript attempts. Publishers don’t like contracted novelists who don’t provide them books to sell. I hated what I’d become, too.

    This nightmare is a dreamless night that tears at the dreams of my day. I pulled the compress and stared into the darkness, wondering why I even bother to close my eyes anymore.

    Each evening I climb under the covers, fluff my pillows, kiss Cody good night and lay my head on the pillows in hope for what everyone else slept like. Instead, I blink once and night becomes day.

    My weak flesh craved to have its raveled sleeve mended, even knowing my true nightmare monster of dreamlessness rips away the threads, stealing all my hope of a healing night’s sleep. It had driven me mad, no doubt.

    And here tonight I had a dream, one so vivid, frightening me so much that it woke me in a state of breathless terror. And I couldn’t remember it. A fruitless fright, another empty night.

    So I decided to kill off my dreamless monster by killing off the sleeper. No great loss. What good is a writer who cannot dream? It would be my ultimate creation. An anti-creation.

    I sat and wrote it all out for myself, for you, a 600-word bit of flash fiction——or non-fiction, I couldn’t tell anymore——of a man finally achieving his dream. I started to write my note to Cody. But I stopped when I realized she’d left me a year ago. She couldn’t take my depression, my walking-dead wandering through life, my violent outbursts because I didn’t understand awake, asleep or in between.

    Then I took all the pills.

    Here it is, my first and final dream, a lyrical piece of sweet release. My good night after all.

    1. Ah, you enter and describe the dark places so well... and the ending wrenched my heart.

    2. What Leland said. Man. Love this: "Always, the dreamless monster steals my night, robbing me of sense and senses, sending me to stagger through another day hating the Sun for dropping from its apogee, a golden chanticleer crowing the dawn of another dread sundown."

  5. Around the world, wars rage, some with bombs and some with words, each devastating in its own way.

    Inside, wars rage, as well. AA guns fire hope and determination at bombers loaded with frustration and despair. Creativity struggles against self-doubt. The need for self-actualization is locked in ceaseless combat with the lower-level needs of food, rest, and security.

    Every morning the battle begins anew, and every night—if we’re lucky—our brains call a ceasefire for a few blessed hours. Some choose to lay down arms. Some have that choice made for them, fueled by factors beyond human control.

    Not everyone wins the war. The important thing is to keep fighting. Keep hoping, keep dreaming. Keep creating. Keep pushing back against the oppressor. Maybe it won't let you win the war, but maybe you can at least call it a draw. And maybe, just maybe, it'll help someone else find their way to victory.

  6. “Will this rain ever stop, Grandpa?”

    “Always has before, child. I imagine it will again someday soon.

    “Why won’t it stop today?”

    “Because it’s not in God’s plan, I guess. We have to have faith that He’ll take care of us in our time of need.”

    “Then why would He want to flood our fields and drown Mr. Bennett’s cows? That doesn’t seem like taking care of us.”

    “We don’t always understand the ways of the Lord, Lizzie. Like I said, we’ve got to have faith.”

    “You said that last year, you know.”

    “Said what?”

    “About having faith, about God taking care of us.”

    “Yes, and I believed it then as I do today. You should, too.”

    “You said we had to have faith that God would make Mama and Grandma well again. But he didn’t. He let them die. Like he let that tree fall on my Papa. I hate God now.”

    “Don’t you say such a thing, Lizzie. The Lord has blessed us beyond reason and your mama and grandmother were just called to His side in His own time.”

    “I think God needs a new clock, calendar and almanac then, Grandpa, ‘cause his timekeeping is bad. And I still hate him.”

    “Don’t blaspheme, child. Our faith in Him will pull us through. Just you wait and see. Now, come over here while I read you some scripture to help you understand and believe.”

    “Will reading the Bible again help keep us from drowning, Grandpa? Will it keep us warm again until the rain stops?”

    “Not exactly, Lizzie, but come sit on my lap beneath the blanket and I’ll read to yo something St. Peter said that might help you understand why we need to keep our faith that the Lord will provide.”

    “Awright, but I believe in a warm fire and a boat more than some God who’d kill off people I loved and trapped us in our own house like we missed Noah’s Ark.”

    “All right, Lizzie. You bundled up? Here’s what St. Peter says in his first letter to the Romans:
    …who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

    “See, Lizzie? Our salvation’s coming if we have faith. Aw, the poor little tyke’s gone to sleep. Probably for the best in this God damn cold and this God damn rain, in this godforsaken piece of Hell. And now the God damn fire’s gone out and what little kindling we have’s still soaking wet.”

    With that, Hank Beene laid his granddaughter on the little bed he prepared for her near the fireplace. He walked to the window and saw nothing but gray and black in all directions though the wind-driven torrent. In the distance, a black line dropped from the clouds to the ground.

    He turned and took his wife’s old rocking chair in hand. He pulled it’s rockers and legs off, separated the slats from its maple seat and placed them all in the cold fireplace. Hank looked about the room for some tinder to touch off what little wood they had left. He went back to his Bible and ripped out the page he’d just read. Lighting a match to First Peter 1:5-9 he tossed it beneath the last physical memory he had of his Elizabeth, whose faith had sustained her to her grave. Who believed so hard that even a tornado's funnel cloud was God writing his plan on the land. Ben crawled next to his little Lizzie and gave her a kiss and hugged her close as a sound like a locomotive came closer.

    “God’s plan, my ass.”

    1. Ah, the children ask the hardest questions... and bless the grandpas and grandmas who do their damnedest to find the answers...

  7. And when the storm is over, you'll open the door and sniff the air and wonder at its clean scent, and you'll wade through rivulets of tiny floods washing the streets clean of all the dirt we humans leave behind. The dog next door will poke his muddy nose out from under the gate and you'll say "Hey, buddy," and you'll skip down the sidewalk like the little boy you once were and you'll remember to look to the sky as the sun comes out. And if you're lucky, if the gods are pleased with you, where there was a storm, the technicolors of Iris will smile at you, upside down, but you'll know it's a smile.

    1. You've cast your poetic net over the sensory markers out there after a rainstorm, Leland. I can see hear and smell them from here.

  8. Some heroes are brave, or daring, or give their everything. He was not that sort of hero.

    He was, in fact, the picture of average. Nothing was black or white in his life; there were only shades of gray.

    He was not a fireman, he was not a soldier, nor was he a loving parent. He did not volunteer at an animal shelter or anywhere else.

    One day, though, one day by accident, he picked up a pen at a thrift shop, and took a sheet of paper from the desk, the desk he never used, and he closed his eyes. He listened to the voices that filled his head, the voices he'd shut out for years.

    When he opened his eyes, he watched his hand take the pen and he began writing, and the words flowed like rivers in springtime floods.

    He was that sort of hero, a hero to those whose stories needed to be told.

    1. The ultimate journalist, finally turned loose from his own inhibitions by the cries of all "those whose stories needed to be told." This one I can relate to.Not that I don't to so many other of your works, Leland.

  9. The mists were rising from the water when he heard the voice. Indistinct. Distant. Definitely feminine.

    He had awakened shortly after midnight, and he daringly walked barefoot and naked to the edge of the lake from the borrowed cabin. No one for twenty miles, his friend had told him when he got the key. He felt goosebumps on his body.

    There was the sound of splashing in the water, distant, too. And the voice.

    The grass was wet under his feet. All at once he wondered if there might be snakes. He shivered at the thought.

    He concentrated on the sounds, on the mist, hoping to see some movement, but the moonlight could not pierce the fog.

    At last he heard the words the voice called.

    "Daniel, come to me..."

    He shivered again, this time not from cold but from recognition. It was his name she called.

    The mists parted, and he saw her, like Venus, swimming toward him, with her long hair. She swam like she was dancing ballet, not a wasted movement.

    Before he realized, he was walking into the water to meet her. He knew her, but did not know her; she'd been in his dreams for as long as he could remember.

    Despite the chill of the water, her hand was warm when he took it. When she squeezed his fingers back, it was with surprising strength. He looked into her eyes, only for a moment, before their lips touched and the sky filled with stars and the mist was gone. The moon illumined two strangers who were not strangers as they breathed life between them.

    When she pulled back, she whispered, "Come home, Daniel, come home."

    They swam in a path of moonlight, in still waters, toward a star that had no name, and Daniel Carruthers was never heard from again.

  10. In the dark stillness of night, the old clock ticked. Three ticks and the dog snored. Three ticks and the dog was silent. Three ticks of snoring. Three ticks of silence.

    He'd never noticed it before, the timing. And that alarmed him. He noticed everything. And he remembered everything he noticed.

    If he met you, he would observe the color of your eyes, whether or not you wore contacts, the shirt you wore, the brand of your watch, the number of wrinkles in your forehead. And if he met you again in a decade, he would recall it all, and note the incremental changes.

    He remembered useless things, things he'd learned forty years ago. That there were six-point-oh-two times ten-to-the-twenty-third molecules of a gas in twenty-two point four liters and at what temperature. He would remember that if you were traveling at sixty miles an hour that translated to eighty-eight feet per second.

    When he was a boy, his parents were first proud of his abilities, then alarmed. When he was six, he told his mother she was pregnant because he didn't sense her monthly cycle, and he was right. They took him to the first of many shrinks. Shrinks, not doctors. If they were doctors they should be able to logically determine what was wrong with him. But they couldn't. They may as well have been chanting around an open fire, whispering incantations to invisible gods.

    One day, he realized why they couldn't figure it out. It was because there was nothing wrong with him. He breathed a sigh of relief and carried on with his analysis of the world, the universe. He let the doctor visits be games, but no longer expected answers. The games took the place of chess, which no one would play with him because he never lost.

    By the time he was twelve, he'd read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica, and nearly half the OED.

    While his classmates experienced the emotional traumas of puberty, he analyzed the impacts of hormones on growth and emotions. He did not understand why mixing saliva or other bodily fluids from one individual with another's was erotic or attractive. He understood its biological necessity, but he maintained his focus on cause and effect, and finished Einstein's theory of everything.

    And now, at age fifty-seven, he listened to a canine snore in the night, and a clock tick, and tried to find causality.

    And the clock stopped. He, who forgot nothing, hadn't wound it the day before.

    And the snoring stopped.

    And the rivers of logic rose to drown him.

    And nothing was--or ever would be--the same after that.

  11. Words on the page.

    It’s been quite a while since I was able to spend the time like this.

    To just write words on a page.

    I’ve lost the need to write, it seems. Or rather, I’m no longer able to find the need to document my thoughts. It all began with the day I pressed the wrong button on the elevator. The day I was distracted and just jabbed at the panel, knowing I’d hit the usual button.

    I don’t know why I missed the button for the sixth. Maybe I was tired and was just slumping a little. Maybe I was carrying more weight in my case than usual and the extra load I was carrying dragged me down a little more to one side. Or maybe it was Fate that guided my finger that day.

    Damn Fate. It gets us all in the end.

    It didn’t occur to me that anything was different that day. I stepped forward when the doors opened and continued into the office, head down, my face on my phone. It was only when I looked up again that I noticed something was wrong. The reception desk wasn’t there. There was no smiling Janice. There was no cup of black coffee waiting for me to drink it before I’d took off my coat.

    There was nothing familiar at all.

    Of course, I turned around. I’d expected the doors to be open, to be able to step back inside once more. To be able to correct my error with the minimum of fuss.

    The doors were closed.

    The doors were wrong.

    The doors weren’t at all how they ought to have been.

    For a start, there wasn’t a button.

    The fifth floor was open-plan like the floor above but with none of the usual furniture. No desk for the reception area. No reception area at all, in fact. Just boxes, stacked in piles, as far as I could see.

    The door to the lift stayed shut, of course.

    1. Dark, frightening, and foreboding... I've had nightmares like this... if I have them again tonight, I'm blaming you. Well played!

  12. I sometimes see him on my way into work. Hunched over his walker, not old but ancient, and holding the leash to a dog as decrepit as he. He stands under a big tree in the park across the street. He tapes cardboard signs to his walker. They change, nearly every day.

    “Homeless Vet.”

    “Help if you can.”

    “My dog is hungry.”

    And today, “Save the trees.”

    I don’t know why, but I stop and say hello today.

    He nods, and says hello back.

    I ask him why he wants to save the trees.

    “I sleep under them. And I planted a lot of them.”

    He dares look at me, with eyes filled with cataracts. Me, in my suit and tie. I look at his feet, in shoes held together with duct tape.

    “They’re pretty big trees, must have been a long time ago…” I’m not entirely sure I believe him.

    “I was a young man then. Worked for the city. Parks and recreation. They planted trees back then. Now they cut them down so the views aren’t blocked for the high rises.”

    I work for the city. He’s right. A lot of the trees were planted in bad places. Block the view at intersections. And the views of expensive condos.

    “Times change, old man. If I give you twenty, will you go get something to eat and get out of here for the day?”

    He nods. I fork over the cash, and I am astonished at how little it takes to buy someone’s silence. I watch him shuffle down the street, dog and all, and when he crosses the street, I take out my phone and call my assistant.

    “Katherine. The tree across the street from the office. Is it scheduled to be cut down?”

    “It’s on the list, but not a high priority.”

    “A change of plans,” I tell her, I don’t know why, but I do. “I want it taken down this afternoon.”

    And I cross the street, and take the elevator to my office. Times change.

  13. The bakery wasn’t even open yet when Johnny came by and knocked on the window. Ten seconds one way or the other and Maureen wouldn’t have heard him, his little tap-tap swallowed up by the growl of her mixer. Maybe it would have been better that way. He’d already made it clear that he was leaving, what good would another useless volley of words have done? Patsy McCann was marrying someone else and there was nothing he could do about it. Nothing anybody could do.

    “Croissants will be coming out any minute. You want something for the road?”

    He shook his head. “Nah. Just you know, saying goodbye.” It was ridiculous. She knew it. Everyone in town must have known it. Huffing off like a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. But then again, what happens in those movies to the guy who doesn’t get the girl? He limps off into the sunset, unremembered. Maybe Johnny was just trying to disappear before anyone could unremember him.

    But she couldn’t stop herself. “You don’t have to do this, you know. This isn’t the old west. This town might only have one newspaper, but there’s plenty of room for the both of you.”

    A familiar scorn filled his eyes as he hitched his duffel bag higher on his shoulder. To anyone watching this scene, anyone who cared to notice—Jake on the corner opening up his coffee shop, Ernie sliding down the door of his delivery truck—his impending departure might look pretty final. What was more final than a duffel bag and a knock on a bakery window at five thirty in the morning?

    “I got plans,” he said. “I’m gonna have a life and color outside the lines and make something of myself, and everyone in this goddamn pisshole small-thinking town can fucking go to hell.”

    Maureen pursed her lips. She knew he meant to shock her, one of those small-thinking-town girls who wore white cotton underpants and blushed far too easily. But maybe he was right. He was never meant to stay here. He didn’t belong, like a giant pokeweed that starts growing out of the geranium bed. There was something else she knew about him, though. It was the way he’d looked at Patsy McCann, ever since they were all kids. Like the sun rose and set in her eyes, in the toss of her golden brown hair, in the crumb of attention she’d deign to toss out. While all Maureen could do was watch and hope and, later, cry.

    “She’s not worth it,” Maureen said.

    He scuffed the toe of his boot against the sidewalk. He kept his head down while he mumbled a few words she couldn’t catch, but his voice was broken, and he sniffed.


    He raised his eyes to meet hers. A challenge in them. “Yeah, what? Like I said. I got plans.”

    If she didn’t go now the whole batch of croissants would be ruined. “Just…wait right here. I’ll bring you something to eat. And maybe we can talk.”

    “Talk. You want to talk? I thought you said you were done talking to me. Unless”—the challenge turned into a dare, the corner of his mouth inching up—“you want to come with me.”

    1. That coy manipulator... you drew me right in... and you set it in a place of warmth and good things, and then he came along... you told their story well!

  14. I might finish this later on my blog. One of those inexplicable bursts of words that you just have to let flow like snowmelt in the big river.

    A wounded moon, she tries to escape her orbit and arcs her way starward in some fruitless bid for independence. Hunkered down in a Tacoma apartment, listening to Sleater-Kinney, for six weeks she shares a rough cube with roaches and rodents and silverfish. And mildew. Until a day when she ventures out and finds a nearby farmer's market and spends so many hours overstaying her welcome. Smiling at strange men with stranger facial hair. Lusting for expensive ink. Pretending to flip quarters into the hats of buskers but tossing only bottle caps.

    Can we climb the hills outside town? Eclipse their occasional gravity? They're not far, and the sounds of our celebrations echo from their striated flanks. The faraway choir cries, "Tom Hardy," and we all think of the actor. But some of us suspect they meant John and think of Leadbelly. Either way, doesn't matter. Pick me up like flakes of iron, like metal shavings, don't let us grow beyond our suicide lines, our creosote dreams.

    "I want you to succeed," she said.

    "Seems you forgot I was Canadian."

    "I did. Indeed. Nothing is for free."

    (Really? Not even torn pantyhose? Not eroticism? Not rebellion, scorn, fugitive dreams?)

    At what point did the blurry wraith steal into the mall and wrap its cold persuasion around the wrists and throats of enough teenagers to undermine the morale of this place? Repurpose our world? I pledge to stand in recalcitrance.

    Stir that iron pan of rice and ground turkey, mix in spices, garlic, add your desolate tears, and dream of the woman you once loved who gives you not a thought. Maybe barely a thought. You damn well wish. Eat and make your slow way coastward. Scratch off the layers of dirt in that abandoned place, that atrium, that cloistered dome drenched in the hesitant grey dreams of voyagers. You will bow to me. Deflect the lightning. Swallow the juice of stupidity dripping from the vain tenements of some tossed-off American balcony. Goddamn it.

    A faulty dream? A glorious sin? Scornful, doubtful gestures?

    For a moment it looks like Iowa. Sioux City. For now I might dismiss it as Wisconsin. Far from the Madison crowd. It's all shimmering and lost. Loved, even.

    Your heart is amethyst, your mind
    is adamant. Your mine bores
    deep inside this hillside. Why
    not drill yet farther? Why not
    get in line, aspire to coruscant?

    1. As with last time, I see no one has commented, and I do get it, even though I feel stupid and lonely. Not especially popular writing, right? But just for completeness, here's the rest. I know it's probably not obvious, but I do put a lot of myself into these pieces, yet clearly for diminishing returns.

    2. I'm slow to read these some weeks, but I really love your writing. The words are sumptuous.

    3. wounded moon... creosote dreams... eclipse their occasional gravity.... your juxtapositions of disparate pieces of the world is a sort of magic, and I savor your writing... your skill humbles me, and leaves me in awe. Please don't take my slowness in response for diminishing returns... I want these stories you craft to be out in the world... I want them shared, for other connoisseurs to enjoy...

  15. Skaters Heaven Part I

    Growing up I lived at the north edge of a valley bowl in Southern California. There wasn't much north of Rinaldi St. but for some horse properties and wide open spaces in the surrounding foothills. They were great for us horse girls and the dirt bike boys we loved. At least once a year the horse girls and dirt bike boys would make their way to Three Trees for an overnighter that involved lots of drink, drugs, and anywhere from inexperienced to torrid sex. Consumption of illicit substances and teenaged hormones were at their peak, sort of like Three Trees was just below the foothills highest peak.

    This is not one of those stories.

    The town father's knew that with the valley floor filled, the foothills would be the next target of the ever expanding subdivisions. Urban sprawl at it's most obscene realization. In anticipation, they built wide boulevards (4 lanes plus a center lane) to satisfy their avaricious dreams. At the time there was nothing but open space on either side of these roads to nowhere. Tampa Ave. 2 miles of smoothly paved asphalt that dropped in a 6 to 10 percent grade from top to floor. Sesnon Blvd. came after with it's gently rolling 2 1/2 miles of asphalt.

    This was decades before skate parks were even a wet dream in some entrepreneur's eye. And that 2 mile empty "freeway" dropping to the valley floor was just screaming for a skateboard downhill run.

    Sleepy town at the time. Cops had nothing better to do than chase down a bunch of kids that just wanted to push that envelope between life and death so if you wanted to survive Tampaland, you didn't start until 2ish maybe 3 AM. That's about the time all the patrol cars were done with bar closing time and fueling up on caffeine at Denny's.

    This is when the Daredevil's crept to the top of the hill. Super organized. Overloaded vans to ferry us up the hill and vans stashed at the bottom for a return to the top. This is a major operation. This is SoCal surfer/skater culture at its finest. We are BADASS. We know if the man puts in appearance, there is plenty of California scrub brush on either side that will prevent pursuit.

  16. Skaters Heaven Part II

    Standing at the top of that hill with your buddies, foot on a board and your heart in your throat...nothing beats it. You're closer to the cradle than the grave and you are ready to fucking fly. Are you going to ride that adrenaline wave to the shore or are you going to eat shit on the asphalt and acquire a road-rash badge of honor?

    I'm one of the few girls that participates. I know that reaching the bottom unscathed or even losing it on the way down will put me in higher esteem with these guys than all their pretty blonde surfer chicks waiting at the bottom of the hill. I'm a 70's version of Gidget. I'm desperate to be accepted. Typical high school angst.

    Most nights I stay within my skill level. I'm not first to the bottom but I take pride in not being last. Until one night...

    I'm not sure what got into me. I kinda have some slight amnesia about the preceding events (which may very well have involved alcohol or green leafy plants---could have even been a head slide into a curb). Whatever it was, I just wanted my hair plastered back and the wind snapping my clothes against my body til it hurt. That coffin screaming slide in here bitch; die young.

    The first third of a mile is a gentle build up leading to a steeper drop. The key to survival when you hit that steeper pitch is to slalom across all five lanes to keep your speed under control all the while watching ahead and behind for headlights. Cars and Cops in cars cruise Tampa.

    There are also obstacles. There are rocks, twigs, branches, and leaves. Parts fallen from POS cars, slippery-ass painted lane dividers, and trash blown in the wind or tossed by some asshat that doesn't give a shit about litter.

    For me, tonight's ride has nothing to do with caution. When I should have been controlling my speed I have a fuck it moment---and do the narrowest slaloms I can to keep my speed up. I have passed everyone I started with and I am higher than any drug I could ever take.

    My arms are spread, jacket snapping in the wind. I've left the bounds of this Earth...when I hit the ?rock? What the hell DID I hit? Thrown forward I at least have the sense to roll in mid air so I don't face plant on the pavement.

    I will never forget the sound of nylon windbreaker zinging across the ground. The heat generated from that speed. The smell of burning rubber as I desperately dig my heels down to slow my progress towards the intersection at the bottom that may very well have cross traffic regardless of time of day.

    I've NEVER felt so alive. Never.

    1. If interested, you can see a map of these roads here:

    2. wow... you took me right along... I can hear the nylon... adrenalin rush!


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