Friday, March 16, 2018

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.

1,2,3,4 ... you are chicken.

You could feel their eyes on you. Hear them whispering. He won’t do it. He’s chicken. C’mon chicken – on the count of four. One, two, three, four …

And then it was red and black. Eyes closed tight, but the sun shone through. You jammed your fists into your eyeballs to add some sparkle to the red and black background. You could still hear them. You did not close your ears. Even if you could, you would still hear the voices.

One…two…three…four…YOU ARE CHICKEN!

And it hurt. And you didn’t like it, but you looked up at them and made the clucking sound and then they were laughing. Somehow, the laughter hurt worse than the teasing, but at least it seemed somewhat normal. Look at me! I am a human boy with people who must be my friends because I clucked like a chicken and they laughed.

You didn’t buy it. But you didn’t deny it. Pantomime shit. It got you through the night and it was everything. Getting through was everything. Bobbing and weaving and dodging what you could. Taking most of it straight to the brain. To the heart. Hearing them counting.

One, two, three, four…

Why are your pants ripped? What happened to your hand,? How come it’s all purple? Why do you flinch every time I talk to you? Are you getting in trouble at school? Do I need to call your teacher?

One, two, three, four…

Maybe you should just cluck at everyone. The kids at school. Your mom at home. Just own it. Become the chicken boy. Pluck your own feathers for fun. Let them plunge a knife into your breast. Something Shakespearian in that.

The Bard knew all about bullies.

Smart chicken.

#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. this line - "I am a human boy with people who must be my friends because I clucked like a chicken and they laughed." That bitter realization that so many of us know. Strong words.

    1. That's the line that hit me, too, coupled with the bit at the end - Maybe you should just cluck at everyone. Own it.

      Right in the feels, as usual, Dan-o.

    2. I love the ending with the Bard. He was smart. It's sad and real. I hate bullies. I hope karma gets them in the end. They're the real chickens.

    3. I love (as in, feel the deepest awfullest sadness) the darkness of this: "Become the chicken boy. Pluck your own feathers for fun." This hit home, my friend.

    4. Oh, man. The ending. The lines David plucked out were the ones I did, too.

  2. Another structure experiment. Comment, criticize, complain or compliment - I crave feedback.

    her neck bears an ancient wound.

    her skin flinches from me.

    his fingers abuse her.

    he violates her still.

    my gentle touch.

    I withdraw from her.

    1. I'm not the poet around here by any means, so take this with a grain of salt. For me, the structure is a little jarring - or maybe it seems too simple given the complexity of the imagery and intent?

    2. Maybe it's meant to be jarring? The heaviness of the subject versus the simple structure of minimal words? I'm guessing this guy is in a new relationship with this girl, but she was abused in the past and he knows, and it's wrecking their relationship in both of their minds - he feels guilt and shame even though it was someone else who hurt her and he doesn't know how to touch her because of it. That's what I read into it. But everyone could read something new.
      We've been workshopping in class. And we've been learning about revising and redrafting, which I never used to do... but I'm digressing...

    3. Vickie, that's how I read it too! I actually like its understated sparsity.

    4. thanks for the feedback, each of you! It was intended to be jarring, and I also agree, it is a very short piece to cover such a complex subject (and right on target Vickie & David with the understanding).

  3. A song came on the radio. One by Survivor. The one from one of the Rocky movies. She wasn’t sure which movie. She’d never seen any of them. She wasn’t sure how the song fit it, either, but she imagined it was the soundtrack for a training montage. The hero skipping rope. Punching a bag. Running along a street or beach, shirtless and sweaty. She is not a hero. If she tried to run or skip rope, she’d probably trip and fall and break something.

    The song doesn’t stir her. It isn’t because it’s an old song, though it _is_ an old song. It’s held up well enough. It still has a driving beat and a scrappy attitude. And it isn’t because she’s heard the song a thousand times, though she probably literally has. It isn’t because she doesn’t connect with the song, either. She does.


    Just not today.

    Today she is tired, from the inside out. The images of throwing punches and skipping rope that the song conjures make her more tired. She isn’t capable of surviving a training montage today, thank you very much.

    But then it hits her—that’s her fight. Not hopping in the ring with a contendah, but getting through the one day of weariness and stress that is all that stands between her and the weekend. Her challenge is keeping her head up and her temper down.

    She resolves to come out on top, no punches thrown, and when she climbs out of her car and heads into the office, there is the slightest spring in her step.

    Maybe the anthem did its job after all.

    1. very relate-able. Days like that are tough.

    2. Agreed. And I like the tie-in. Sometimes survival IS winning. Or if you're one of the members of Survivor, well, then writing that one song was winning, but for most of us it is more about staying in the game and playing our cards the best we can. <3

    3. I didn't see that coming. I thought she was in the army or doing some sport or something physical challenging... we all need the Rocky theme going into work sometimes :) I like the images, so it feels like you're watching movie clips, cutting in and out of the pictures of things like skipping the rope etc. You can see them. And I like the tie-in with how she won't need to pull any punches.

    4. These guys said it. I can't add to that, except that I loved this.

  4. This Might Even Be a Poem

    Grief falls like the gentlest of snow on the hedgerow. Shalista drives alongside.

    Bye, Felicia, Calissa, Moesha, all her sisters in the rearview as she steers the rented Fiat along an Irish backroad, wipers stiff and punctual as metronomes. Trombones in the tightest horn section.

    Grief is each snowflake and all the snow. Tune the radio and listen to a man with a butterscotch voice recount atrocities. That there is our precise, our lurid century.

    Endless carmine-purple heads of fuchsia bowed beneath the steady weight of white. And that is not a metaphor. The shame of colour underneath a steel-grey sky, wishing for something else, wanting the comfort of some other, to find some way to hide.

    You are camphor, an aroma, a bitter blessing offered by a wraith.

    Find a place to sleep. Some quiet B&B. An old barracks. Banagher, Ballincollig, Bantry Bay. Where no bad things happen, no boys playing football in a sunshower field in June are murdered for wearing the colours of the enemy. No one is raped or robbed of breath by power. Of agency bereft. You, my dark and blessèd swan, are an American woman. You too have ancestry. Some things you may never discover. But most you surely will. Welcome, Shalista. Welcome, love. Tread tenderly. Listen.

    Look at your amazing things.


    She's heard all the names a million times. The ones aimed at her heart. The casual ones half-barked in passing that once in awhile still stop her in her tracks. Words for her race. Her gender. Pitiful slingshots of the boilerplate bigot. At times she wonders if this world's some godawful dream, created on some steamy bayou, sweated by some reeking white man while he rakes his humid ballsack with yellowing fingernails.

    Then there was that moment she found a cousin on the internet and almost thought she might escape.

    Ireland. Where black ain't black and white ain't white, and everything is forty shades of emerald.

    To Eire is human. The map of our journey is traced in random fibres, some of them divine.


    She pulls into the car park of a pub, Róisín Dubh. The gravel under her tires is frost giants crunching ice. All is cold as a witch's hole in January, her breath as she steps from the rental the traceried ghost of the world's tree. However dark our skin our bones and breath are white. This Celtic place, these Nordic dreams. All our tormented, discordant ancestry.

    What a woman does is know her kin.


    They take you in. Things quickly fall apart, grow terrible.

    "Shalista, love, just eat your food."

    "Ain't ever ate no horse, but I already know I hate it."

    "It's not horse, my girl, it's liver."

    "The hell? Meet mother Africa, bitch-ass fool."

    The melting snow uncovers something worse.

    Your eyes peeled and your ears on twitch.

    Radar, antennas, the very edge of the apocalypse.

    You or they won't easily or ever forget this.

    1. To Eire is human. - I love that. It's loaded.
      There's lots in this, as ever. It would take a few readings to get everything out of it or even just half. You do wonder what's going on with the world sometimes, and then is it better not to wonder and dwell in ignorance? All this ignorant behaviour and the people who get wounded by it. It's unsettling and you capture it all.

    2. And strangely this story grew out of an actual dream I had. The name of the pub is gobsmacking to me, as I don't speak Gaelic, yet my subconscious must have remembered the phrase, from songs, maybe?

    3. Woah. This is a cool piece. I love the poetic feel and it's kind of like being on mushrooms. In the best way. Sorting out pieces and reflecting and having everything reflected back.

      And that's the weirdest ball scratching description ever. ;)

    4. Ha ha! Apologies for that image. I think I said on my Facebook that you might need brain bleach after that one, lol.

  5. Look!

    Waves, mountains, flowers, rocks,
    A set piece we can readily disregard,
    Aimlessly wandering our streets with
    Scant regard. Mesmerised by our phones,
    Nodding heads, muttering beneath our
    Breath, never noticing with whom we collide,
    Like blind men following; mice racing
    Around our little cages, stumbling into the
    Gutters over life. This selfie rocks me, this
    Total makeover, splice of tune, the shock of
    A moment savoured – read this news, revel
    In this fake news; see this vision, yes she’s
    Naked. Who are you? Who am I? We collide
    Here, not noticing. I graze your hand so close
    Yet you don’t even look up, so intensely
    Following what you’re reading, what you’re
    Staring at – what you’re not looking at is life
    And it’s passing you by, winning the race,
    Leaving you way behind, whistling a happy
    Tune, the accompaniment of your boredom,
    As you stumble into the road and oncoming

    1. This is like a rock slide or something, tumbling off a ridge and gathering speed. Quiet at first yet increasingly calamitous. I love it.

    2. Yeah, that's a really good way of putting it, D. You get caught up in the scree. The "looser" structure of this one somehow makes it read tighter and more urgently for me. Really did this one.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Again, I like the structure a lot. Those last three lines are fucking epic. The whole thing is great, but that ending felt like a solid punch.

  7. Been a day of death and taxes, Inevitable bills and short on joy
    Got my first forsythia, blooming on the bough
    One lone blossom, branching out of the gloom
    But I can’t smell it coming yet, those pheromones of spring
    Where the earth opens, warm and wet and celebrates the moon
    And the brave stalks push through the ever stubborn earth
    I can’t smell that sweet sex, spring wet, no, no, not yet, boy it wants to, though
    But I know it’s coming, coming soon, that season of the Equinox.
    Meanwhile we got frozen dinners cooking in the microwave. Flu shots and pot shots, March Madness on the tube.
    We got our old grudges to nurse again. We got our old axes to grind.
    I listen to their litanies and watch my seeds like a greedy bird, waiting for those eggs to hatch.

    We wait for their direction
    We wait for the light to turn green.
    We wait for the next storm that’s coming.
    And remember that spring’s gonna come again.
    I pray to the moon and watch the stars.
    I ache for the losses we’ve seen.
    But nature forgives and I am learning
    Those signs of life that show me how.

    1. This is an interesting piece. I like it a ton. It's a lovely bit of poetry with an echo of old country songs and folk music (for me). Especially those first four lines. Something hypnotic - inviting and combative.

  8. (This is just a start. I can't write short to save my life lately. But some familiar characters wanted my attention.)

    Trudy took her coffee in the living room every morning at seven and ticked out her chores on a yellow notepad with a blue pen. She never felt quite right with a black pen or a red one, or God forbid, launching herself into day without her list, and she never felt quite right if, during that coffee-sitting time, she didn’t see Eugene walk by with Wyeth.

    The last few days Eugene’s hobble had been slower than usual, to the point where he was practically dragging himself behind his cane. And that dear Irish Setter, who knew his friend so well, adjusted his pace to fit. It broke Trudy’s heart to watch them shuffle along. To know the pain they might both be experiencing, to know how empty that bungalow might feel when they returned to it.

    Yesterday, she got through two cups of coffee and her whole list, and didn’t see Eugene at all. Which wasn’t completely surprising, because the weather was damp and cold, not at all good for aching bones. She’d even had to give herself a pep talk to get up and moving. Certainly she expected him today, with the clouds gone and sun shining, but still, no Eugene.

    She simply could not let this go on. She took two loaves of banana bread out of the freezer, threw on her powder-blue coat and marched over to his house. And paused before ringing the bell. Her daughter had scolded her about her penchant for butting into people’s lives. But this was hardly “butting in.” What if he was seriously ill or in a lot of pain and couldn’t tend to himself? Or poor Wyeth? No. You just don’t do that to neighbors. This is why you have neighbors. Especially in a small development such as theirs—seven houses built on one curving road amid an abandoned orchard. And that is what she’d tell her daughter about that.

    So, banana bread in one hand and a bundle of his mail in the other, because his box was getting full, Trudy rang the doorbell.

    Nothing happened. She thought he might be painting, and then she started to feel bad that she might be disturbing his work. After another press of the button, less vociferously than before, she heard the light scrabble of dog nails along the floor, followed by a small whine. Wyeth was not a barker, nor one to get too excited in general, but she thought she heard something in that whine. Perhaps “I was looking forward to my walk but Eugene wasn’t feeling up to it. Maybe you’ll take me?” She would gladly do that for him. The dog was an absolute love. Quiet, kept to himself, a lot like Eugene, but nice company for a stroll along their evergreen-lined country road. Then the tap-tap retreated. Maybe he’d gone to fetch Eugene.

    She started feeling silly, standing there with the thawing bundles and his mail, but it was too late now. His cane began a slow thump across the house. The door opened.

    Eugene, in his usual plaid overshirt and khaki trousers, raised his eyebrows, but his watery gray eyes still had that pinched, tired quality, and when he smiled it did little to make his face more welcoming. A flush rose into her cheeks, and she wished she could make herself disappear. Maybe her daughter had a point after all.

    She forced her mouth to move. “I—well, I made some extra banana bread and thought you might like some.”

    His gaze dropped to her arms. “And you thought I might like my mail as well?”

    As she nodded, and mumbled something about the box filling up and how that could look to any malcontent who happened to be driving by, his face looked like it had made a decision. Like a dog who suddenly knew he could trust you. And the smile reached his eyes. “Come in, then,” he said, holding the door wider, extending a hand for the bundle of mail. “And thank you.”

    1. Right in the feeling parts. I'm glad you wrote this and that I read it today. It was what I needed to read. And now I want banana bread. And neighbors who give a shit. ;)

  9. The woman that stepped out was not the one that had disappeared moments earlier. Barclay shook his head, as though he'd got something loose inside, his reasoning being that to do so would restore Janet to him and return this surrogate to where she'd come from, but the stranger remained, even though he then shook it a second time. The woman was here, and Janet had gone. There was no disputing that.

    Barclay stepped back from the apparatus, seeking to distance himself from both it and the woman. The Door looked as it always did, a pale grey frame standing on a plinth, and there was nothing to suggest there was anything wrong with it; no red warning indicators and no buzzers or sirens sounding. In fact, it seemed completely normal. There was only the matter of the substitute who'd emerged.

    "Oh, hello."

    The woman seemed calm and un-phased by her situation, Barclay noted. He stiffened his jaw.

    "Excuse me, but who are you? And where's Janet?"

  10. She snarled in my face, her mask animated by the spirits possessing her.

    “No,” I said. “You will not pass!”

    Tiger crouched on her haunches. The tightly-fitting silks she wore hugged her as though they were her true skin. She was power, and I was restraint. She carried the sword and I had the baton of control; that was always the way of it.

    “Come close,” she said, sinuous and lithe. “You know you seek what I have. We could unite, become partners, share the prize you protect. Otherwise, there will be nothing for you but humiliation and your eventual defeat.”

    Her mention of the prize reminded me of the worth of my duty. The Cuirass of the Ancients and the Spear of the Forgotten were too powerful to be held by anyone but the Purest. Even I, the one chosen to guard them dare not place a hand on either of the ennobled artefacts for fear of their potential wakening something impure within me. That was why they were kept in cases as a further protection. That was why they were surrounded by a rope barrier that even I was forbidden to cross.

    The sword blurred past my face, raising sparks as it struck the granite of the wall. Instinctively, I rolled to the inside of the blade, placing myself closer to her unprotected body. I raised my stiletto and pressed it to her throat.

    “We have a stalemate,” I growled, my words low and animal. “Desist or I will end you.”

    “No,” she said. “Kill me. Do it!”


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