Friday, June 22, 2018

2 Minutes. Go!

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.

If you knew what was good for you, you’d stay away from me. I’m not a bad guy – it’s not about that. I’m not a good guy either. I’m a vortex that will suck your hopes and dreams into a bottomless void. I’m passing out cynicism flyers. They come with a poppy and a punch to the solar plexus.

Help yourself.

I know what’s going to happen because I’ve seen it, sure as I see the raven sitting on the electrical pole, and certain as he sees me. You’re going to come into this thing all starry-eyed and sanguine. You’re going to leave disillusioned and the other kind of sanguine.

And I have more than enough sanguinity on my hands. Both kinds.

What I’m saying is don’t come to me for answers. Come to me with questions, and we’ll climb the mountain together, but don’t expect epiphanies. Expect a lot of rambling rhyme schemes involving trout and trees.

I aim to please.

You aim to put a bullet in me. Literal or figurative, I don’t give a damn. You’re going to put holes in my body and there won’t be enough fast-fingered dykes in San Francisco to stop the bleeding. And by bleeding, I mean complaining.


Because really. Boohoohoo. Life is tragic, and I’m sick of it. I want one afternoon playing kickball the way I did when I was seven. That’s it. One afternoon. But you won’t give it to me, so fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

I don’t want to go to your sculpture garden. I don’t want to watch TV while my arteries harden. I want to drift slowly away … ripples from a canoe on a still lake. I want to slither like a garter snake. I want my neck snapped; throw me in the trash pile and burn me. Watch the bullet casings glow like fireflies.

Shhh. Relax. It’s all just lies.

What are these twisted knots that I try to untie? Do I want to live or do I want to die? Or do I want a time machine so I could go back in time and say, “Hey, maybe you should wear a condom because the kid that comes from this is going to be moody as fuck and obsessed with the word sanguine.”

How pretentious can you get?

You want some sweet lies? I got a whole set.

But I don’t use them. Lies are like children. They grow, and I won’t abuse them.

And here’s where I tell you about the time I hit the game winning homer or scored the winning touchdown or touched the hottest cheerleader or stalked life like it was a hummingbird feeder. None of that happened, though.

I got lost in the ether.

#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...#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. And yet, your lies are truer than most things passing for truth. I like the structure and the rhythm of this, even as the core message depresses the hell out of me... because it's true.

    1. You're rants are like drinking gasoline and then chasing it with a flaming creme brulee (or however the hell you spell that dessert). You almost don't feel the fire at first.... Swoosh!

    2. What they said. Also, "don’t expect epiphanies. Expect a lot of rambling rhyme schemes involving trout and trees." <- not only is this perfect, it sounds perfect. Exactly what you need when you have questions.

    3. Whoa, hard-hitting outpouring of stuff. Love it.

  2. By the Light of the Moon

    The clouds are lit from behind by a nearly full moon. You see that the sky at night is not black or a uniform blue. A celestial wind pushes the clouds across the sky.

    On the horizon, you see a cloud lit from within by lightning. You count the seconds from flash to thunder and divide by five. You know now the storm is fen miles away.

    For a moment, you wish you’d brought your camera and a tripod. But you remember that that’s not why you are here.

    It is the night of the solstice. The shortest night of the year after the longest day.

    He hated the dark. And that is why this act must be performed this night.

    You hold an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels in your left hand. And in your right, no, you can’t even say the word, can’t form the word in your brain.

    He’d be ashamed.

    You force yourself. In your right hand, you hold the canister that holds his ashes. You say it out loud, "His ashes!"

    And just by saying it, you banish the fear, at least for a few moments.

    You think you hear his laughter, and then you realize it’s the creek, rolling over the smooth stones, stones smooth as his hands were in later years. Stones you both stood on when you crossed the creek for the first time.

    You put the canister awkwardly under your left arm and you use your right to open the bottle. You drop the cap somewhere in the darkness, and you don’t care.

    As long as you don’t drop him. His ashes, you correct yourself.
    You take a swig, and it burns your throat like it did the first time the two of you stole a bottle from his dad’s cabinet. Out of habit, you extend the bottle for him to take a drink, and you wait for him to take the bottle, but of course he doesn’t.

    And you take another swig. For him, you say to yourself.

    And like some timelapse video, forty years pass through your mind and your tears. Scouting, fishing, building, drinking, dancing, a dozen cities, both oceans, and the hospital. The film ends there, frozen on the white lights in the hospital, too bright, trying to banish the dimness from his eyes, his eyes which hated but knew too much of the dark.

    The moon is free now, no clouds, but the thunder is closer.
    One more swig. For you, this one, and you set the bottle on the ground.

    You take a step forward.


    You remove the cover, and you hold the cardboard tube skyward, asking the gods to bless it, bless him, and bless you.

    And deep within you, you find the strength, his strength and yours together, and you sift the ashes onto this ground.

    You say the only prayer you know, now I lay me down to sleep, and before you get to the end, the tube is empty, but your eyes are overflowing.

    And instead of amen you say goodbye and return to the bottle.
    Awkwardly, you wonder what to do with the canister, but you can’t just leave it here, so you keep it under your arm.

    You take two swigs, and then you pour the rest on the ground. Libations, for the gods and for him.

    You wait for the clouds to cover the moon again, and you walk back to your car in the faintest of light, listening, listening to his laughter in the creek, on the stones, on the stones where you stood together.

    And at last the tears of heaven join your own.

    1. Beautiful. And the details - both of the creek, and the cardboard tube, and what do you do with it. Amazing.

    2. Exactly what he said. Your details always pull me into the scene, even even I'd rather sit safely on the sidelines.

    3. Brilliant. Really clear and subtle. I like the idea that it's also the shortest night. As if he couldn't handle it if the night was longer (or it made me think that). There's just enough, so you know where the man died, how they had lived, etc.

    4. I agree with everything above. Also, the short paragraphs work so well. It's spare, but rich in detail like everyone said. And it feels so completely real. I can imagine it perfectly from the clouds to the bourbon burn.

  3. 7 and Bloodied

    "Blessed are the peacemakers," so saith the Lord.

    But He left out how tired they are. And how dogged they are, building bridges even as the bridges are burnt from both ends.
    But even peacemakers grow weary.

    Do you know what hell is for a peacemaker? It’s watching the world tear itself apart even when the factions agree on more than they disagree. It’s seeing hatred and fear in eyes you know could see shared beauty if they let themselves.

    Instead of a rose, they see thorns. And then they see the thorns can be used to wound.

    "Blessed are the peacemakers," for they always lose, but they keep on trying.

    1 consecrated; sacred; holy; sanctified: the Blessed Sacrament.
    2 worthy of adoration, reverence, or worship: the Blessed Trinity.
    3 divinely or supremely favored; fortunate: to be blessed with a strong, healthy body; blessed with an ability to find friends.
    4 blissfully happy or contented.
    5 Roman Catholic Church. beatified.
    6 bringing happiness and thankfulness: the blessed assurance of a steady income.
    7 Informal. damned

    Origin of bless
    before 950; Middle English blessen, Old English blētsian, blēdsian to consecrate, orig. with blood, earlier *blōdisōian (blōd blood + -isō- derivational suffix + -ian v. suffix)

    1. And you thought Mr. Mader's rant was depressing? And that number seven on the definitions....a caution to read to the end, folks.

    2. yeah, I know... I'm feeling kinda dark lately... and I had NO idea about the origin of the word when I started the piece...

    3. Interesting how blessed also means damned. I didn't know that. I'm not a religious person, so I find the stories on the subject interesting. The idea of thorns is fascinating. I like the contrasts between what things can mean. Fascinating.

    4. I love this line so hard: "
      "Blessed are the peacemakers," for they always lose, but they keep on trying."

      Really cool piece. I dig the dark. ;)

    5. The use of "blessed" meaning "damned" is usually a substitution, like, I hate doing laundry every blesséd day... Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Lately, this same dream comes to me every night. It’s a dream in which I’m treading water in the middle of a vast ocean on a night of the new moon. I rise and fall on the swells of this inky deep that fills the great depression beneath me. I can tell I’ve been in this water a long time because my fingertips are pale prunes and my eyes sting from the tear-like waters that splash my face.

    Occasionally in my dream, I sense a vessel approaching, but my voice makes not a sound, my words, my cries for help lie stillborn. I am silent, invisible, mere flotsam as far as they can tell. Often, I recognize the passing craft, perhaps as if I launched it myself or I once sailed with it in my younger days of even a great grey ship of the line bearing a USS (insert some President’s name here) on its prow.

    And as they drift by my silent kicking and stroking that keep my head above the dark void that would consume me, they toss something over the side. I always hope perhaps it’s a life preserver or line with which to haul me free. But it inevitably turns out to be more ballast that snugly tangles around me and smugly seeks to pull me down, down, down below the surface again. Sometimes it succeeds.
    But I’ve always had sharp teeth and a sense of survival and place to know in which direction to swim for the surface again. Lately, though, I’ve lost my bearings and the weights have dropped upon me all at once in a tangle of knots and cables I can’t seem to chew through. And I’m going down, down, down.

    The interesting part of all this dream scenario is that I don’t think of the things above, below and all around me in any concrete terms or even ideas. They’re all just vague faces floating around in the darkness that consumes me. It’s all dark clouds, but not in any poetic sense. Almost literally dark clouds is all my brain can conjure.

    And when I finally find the emotional and intellectual wherewithal to chew on something for a moment, it just gets covered up by all the other things spinning around me. This sounds scary because to me it isn’t scary anymore. It’s nothing. I’ve become nothing along with it.

    I believe I’ve gone under, disappeared for good this time. I'm alone, and the dark grows darker and I’m exhausted beyond words from the fight, and just as my breath is giving out, I close my eyes and let the nightmare take me.

    Then, with all hope lost that this dream will ever end, I finally drift off to sleep.

    1. Wow... this is like channeling someone else's dream... I feel like I was there in that dream... the chewing and teeth fuels my curiosity...

    2. "I've always had sharp teeth and a sense of survival"....what a great line!

    3. As a weak swimmer who can't tread water, it gives me chills a little. Also made me think of Jaws! I like the details and the imagery; you end up immersed in the blue. And sleeping could be like drowning, drowning in sleep and dreams. Fab.

    4. As a weak swimmer who can't tread water, it gives me chills a little. Also made me think of Jaws! I like the details and the imagery; you end up immersed in the blue. And sleeping could be like drowning, drowning in sleep and dreams. Fab.

    5. Damn, I like this. And I agree with Leland. And I know that feeling well. If I'm reading it right, which I believe I am. Super strong. There were a lot of lines I highlighted including the above, but THIS: "This sounds scary because to me it isn’t scary anymore. It’s nothing. I’ve become nothing along with it."


  5. I’ve never seen such a contrast. All smooth, comforting curves and sharp, exhilarating edges.

    Who would have thought a soul could look like that?
    Not me, and I’ve seen a few. Never one like yours, though. Never one with curves and edges that look like they might match up with mine.

    Not “match up” as in “matching set.” I’ve seen that before. You know who I’m talking about. So like me, and yet not.

    No, I mean “match up” as in complement, like colors on a wheel. As in fit together, like pieces of a puzzle. Complement and fit – making a brightly colored, joyful picture out of a jumble of sharp, curved pieces.

    Who would have thought?

    1. beautiful... I love the references both to the color wheel and to puzzles... it's how I believe love works!

    2. the sharp curves and edges...sounds a bit like all of us. I like this piece.

    3. It's lovely! Love the idea of people fitting together like missing pieces.

      The colours on the wheel - I really like that image.

      Also really like this bit:
      Never one with curves and edges that look like they might match up with mine.

      We can wish :)

    4. This is dope. Really, really like it. The concept and the writing. And this: "You know who I’m talking about." That Salinger style quick slip to the second. Love that.

  6. Ludmilla Took - An Anxious Trail

    The forest was quiet. It was unusual for the trail to be so empty and Ludmilla pulled her shawl close, looking about for the something which had spooked everything. Normally, she would have been wondering about her next meal but today she’d felt troubled, the remaining mutton pies in her pack now forgotten. Her attention was more on the trees and bushes to either side, each of them large enough to hide something threatening, creeping along through the undergrowth in pursuit. Even the day itself seemed out of balance, the sun lower than it should have been and with the light already fading fast.

    Ludmilla had spent the day by the Stock-brook, fishing for the shrimps needed for tomorrow night’s supper. Belba had been working in her place, filling flasks and bottles, serving elevenses and lunch. She would probably be busy now, laying tables and warming plates, visiting the pantry time and again, bustling about to put food out to be eaten, stopping only occasionally for a pipe. Ludmilla had her pipe with her now, nestling snug between the loaves and the pies she had with her, her tinderbox kept warm and dry against her breast. She could feel it there right now, sitting there, hard and square, offering her security and a way to build a fire.

    To her rear, a twig cracked, almost deafening against the silence, Ludmilla almost stumbling into a run. She pulled her arms close in beside her, sensing danger everywhere. Was that a great spider hiding in that cleft above that branch? Was that a crebain sitting in that tree, spying on her? All at once, the emptiness seemed full, with dark eyes everywhere, each of them watching and waiting for her to fall. There could be wargs prowling beside this trail, muzzles slavering and yellowed teeth sharp. They could be following her now, herding her subtly away from home, the noises they were making designed to turn her about. There might be orcs with them too– they were never far away, if there were wargs – waiting brutishly in the shadows for the light to fade away. They could be readying themselves, their cruel hands reaching out, keen to snag her ankle and to pull her to the ground.

    And then the forest fell away, rising up like a wall close behind. She could almost see her burrow – she was safe.

    1. Excellent pacing on this... and good writing! My favorite sentence out of all the many good ones was "All at once, the emptiness seemed full, with dark eyes everywhere, each of them watching and waiting for her to fall." I loved the contradiction in that, and the darkness.

    2. Not enough stories have mutton pies in them. Not even the ones with implied hobbits. This captures the way I feel going down into a cellar in the dark. What safety electric lights have given us...

    3. I really like the third paragraph, which everything before has slowly built up to. You can feel the tenseness and the fear. And I like the sentence about the forest falling away at the end. Like there is a gradual build-up, and then the climax and then the trailing off at the end and it echoes the safety feeling.

    4. I agree about the pacing and balance. It goes down so smooth because there isn't even a hiccup in the narrative. And it's vivid and visceral. Really well done.

  7. “You bastard.” She tore off the jacket and threw it at her husband. His expression fell somewhere between that irritating smirk and complete befuddlement as he attempted to catch it, but it just slithered down his body and landed on his expensive shoes. “You used me! You are always using me.”

    He calmly bent, which reddened his face, plucked up the garment and spread it lovingly across his office chair. It burned that she didn’t remember the last time he tried to touch her with such kindness, at least when the cameras were not on him. “You knew the deal, sweetheart.” He didn’t even look at her when he said it. Which made her even angrier.

    “What. That I am to be your weapon of mass distraction?”

    “If the Louboutin fits,” he said. She turned away, crossed her arms over her chest. He tugged in a deep breath and sighed. Made a kind of murmuring sound at her, like he was trying to make up. As if. This was going to cost him big time. And not just in his credit card. “Aw, come on,” he said. “It was a joke.”

    She spun toward him. “You. You are a joke. You think I don’t hear what they are saying? That I am some kind of...kind of...” The English words failed her. And that she wanted to make his fault, too. “Eva Braun.”

    There came the befuddlement again. And then a smile. If it would not spoil her manicure, she would punch it off his fat, orange face. Hell, maybe it would be worth it.

    “At least Eva stood by her man.”

    Was he again trying to be funny? Did she used to like this about him? She was finding it hard to remember. The money? Yes, the money had been good. But she could make her own money. She was not that poor, struggling girl anymore. “Eva Braun died by her man.”

    A pall fell over the room. “So, whadda you want?” He pulled open a drawer. “Tiffany’s?”

    “I want you to stop it.”

    “Can you be more specific?”

    “The children. Stop it with the children.”

    He made a rude noise with his lips. “Sweetheart. I know what I’m doing. They’ll cave and give me my big, beautiful wall and everything will be great again. Why don’t you let Udo take you up to Manhattan this weekend. Buy yourself whatever you want and leave running the country to me.”

    “Running the country...? You are running a shithole country.”

    He straightened and glared at her.

    She pulled herself up taller, glad that she’d worn her highest heels. “Yes, that’s what I said. A shithole country. You have no idea what you are doing and you have surrounded yourself with people who are giving you shitty advice. That is, even if you choose to listen. You will become one of those one-term presidents that people pity. Yes. They will pity you. They will call you a weak loser and they will pity you.”

    He stepped closer, his mouth tightening, his arms hugging themselves across his body. “I don’t like what you’re saying. What you’re saying sounds like a person who doesn’t have any faith in me.”

    “If the cheap suit fits.” And then she decided. But maybe she had already decided, and it took a few blows to her ego for it all to sink in. “Yes, I think I will go to Manhattan with Ugo. And I will stay there with him. At least he is nice to me. He doesn’t treat me like some kind of stage prop, to be trotted out whenever he wants the media to think he has a heart.”

    Then she turned with a flick of her hair and slammed the door shut, damn what his idiotic advisers would think. She might tell the National Enquirer herself. Maybe even write a book. But first, she had a call to make. She was certain Mr. Mueller might be interested in what she had to say.

    1. Ohhhh... an interesting twist on current events... they say no one knows what goes on behind closed doors, but they forget that fiction writers know all....

    2. I love this. Fantasy fulfillment fiction at it's finest. ;)

    3. fantasy fulfillment indeed. Anything to stop the nightmares that start when I wake up

    4. Yeah, it's great. Give it to his big orange face!!!!! :))))

      Funny how that jacket got so much news coverage!

    5. Yeah, it's great. Give it to his big orange face!!!!! :))))

      Funny how that jacket got so much news coverage!

    6. I'm with Laura. Please write more of these. It's therapeutic.

  8. I've been absent for a while, my apologies. I'll get the stories above read, but in the meantime, here a short poem that has been nearly fifteen years in the making.

    She was never mine,
    but when she was five or six,
    My heart borrowed her for a while.
    Took joy in her happiness,
    as she and my son played.

    Her eyes flashed open,
    Improbably blue.
    Cornsilk adorned her head.
    A treasured mug shows her holding my hand
    as she learned to roller skate.

    She flew down a curved slide,
    landed, and broke me like a thunderbolt.
    In that instant,
    all my doubts were gone,
    I wanted a daughter of my own.

    Not her,
    but she turned the key of the padlock
    that had rusted shut in my chest.
    When my daughter was born,
    I thanked Sam in my prayers.

    I wrote my second book for her.
    She had struggled with colors.
    So I crafted Elmo to teach them,
    on laminated pages,
    tied with yarn.

    I hope that book rests in a keepsake box.
    And one day, she brings it forth
    to read to her own children.
    Smoothes the aged yarn with her fingers,
    And thinks kindly of me.

    1. That warms my heart.... beautifully written

    2. I do believe my eyes have sprung a leak. Faulty things.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Super sweet and wistful. I like the line about her struggling with colours, in particular.

    5. Yep. The colours line got me, too. And I agree with wistful and sweet, too. We're glad you're back and this is lovely.

  9. I can write a conventional story. I swear I can. I’ve done it. They’ve been published. I don’t have to do this weird introspective wannabe street corner-rapping thing. But I find myself doing it. I’m going to knock it the fuck off. Bear with me. Let’s get some characters in this shit.

    Johnny. Of course we start with Johnny. He may end up being male or female, doesn’t matter, they all start as Johnny. Or Jane if I’m feeling really confident.

    I rarely feel really confident.

    So, Johnny does some shit. Or he has some kind of quest he’s on. He’s doing something. Going somewhere. There are going to be obstacles in his path and only some of them will be created by him. Some will be thrown there by angry trolls and misanthropes. Some will fall from the sky with no warning.

    I’ve already lost track of where this was headed. Someplace brilliant, no doubt. Someplace with imagery and colors and smells to delight the imagination. We’ll get there. Or we won’t. The whole damn story might get taken over by vampire unicorns. You never know.
    I don’t even know, and I’m writing the fucking story.

    But I’m going to keep on writing it. Because really, my fingers need to be occupied. I need something to do. I need so many things. Now I can’t remember if this story was about me or you.

    And the crowd goes wild.


    Goddamn. Where are those unicorns when I need them? Sucking the blood from innocent woodland creatures no doubt.

    Have you ever used a packet of apple sauce as a pillow? Me neither.

    What kind of idiot would do that?

    1. Just for the record, I love the Johnny stories you've told.

    2. Apple sauce as a pillow! I'm crying.

      Johnny can come lately - he's hilarious.

      Swagger to the unicorns, man!

  10. I grinned at "vampire unicorns" and loled at the end. There are some hard writing truths in here, but I like the playfulness. :)

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  12. The key

    You’ve lost your way, he said, but she has the key, and she’s holding on to it, and she’s never giving it to you. Instead you need to find the way you’ve long forgotten. Look for it in the dust patterns on the wall behind the fridge, rustling between the coats at the rear of the wardrobe, loitering beneath your bed where the worst nightmares of your childhood crawled silently in the dark, biding their time. Will you walk away? I tell you it’s still there. You just need to look harder, think less – trust your instinct. These things are never simple. These things are complex fissures burnt into the ground, ever evaporating beneath you, rocking the deepest foundations, the solid matter you take for granted. Feel it slant under your feet? I know you have; I know you do. I can see. I’ve been there. Take my hand. Use me as a crutch. Take a step. Find that faith in yourself. Screw stasis. You’ll never find what you’ve lost if you stay rooted in that chair. Look under the bed. I dare you.

    1. Hot DAMN! I love this. I can't even pick a line I like because the whole thing is straight FIRE!

    2. Yep, it's amazing, and kind, and beautiful. And a well-written reminder. Thanks! I'm really glad you're writing!

    3. 'you'll never find what you've lost if you stay rooted in that chair' - What a call to action!

  13. Pink

    Lily wondered why she didn’t feel the big things any more, only the little things. The way the newspaper could be folded when she didn’t want it that way. How a poached egg didn’t sit right, the buttered toast itself protesting how the yellow yolk was too hard and didn’t flow. No love juice for the bread. She reconciled herself to the mundane ridiculousness of it, like memories passing the glass in front of her. Bubbles cannot stay afloat forever. They pop and with them life ebbs away.

    In her youth she could chase crazy dreams as wildly as the next person, promise things she would never deliver, although she did within the confines of her mind. Thoughts can be powerful things. She had never wanted to tell the truth, constructing roundabout reflections of it instead, often laced with white lies. Who would know? If you construct an entire life of untruths and maybes, how can anyone tell when you say something real? And Jamie always wanted the real.

    How on earth could he still need her? This person created from nothing? Sometimes she wondered what she was made of. Were little girls made of pink and candyfloss or the darkest ink and sharp cuts? She didn’t have the answer and to be honest she didn’t know if she wanted it. There had never been a time when she knew who she was, when the features in the looking-glass swept together as a whole. And how it looked; almost invading her being. It should ask politely before staring so hard. This face was just lines and now she saw wrinkles replacing them. Her white hair needed a brush. It made her laugh sometimes, this eighty-three-year-old visage. Surely it was time to utter a truthful word? She had outgrown pretence.

    Lily turned away from the mirror and towards the papers lying on the pine table. For years, she had put off writing a will, but now it was time. The bubbles were slipping away. She might not even be alive, the little girl of hers, but it was time to try and find her, and leave her something. Forgiveness. It was a word she could try to have faith in. Times had changed and teenage girls were no longer locked away during pregnancy. No longer did they wake alone, their breasts desiring to feed the babe stolen away. Lily pulled out the chair. It was time. Jamie would forgive her. He just had to.

    1. Ouch...the reminiscing with a bite. And that tremendous phrase 'No love juice for the bread'!

    2. Wow. This made me really, really anxious. Which is in no way a criticism. Super powerful.

    3. Thank you. I wasn't sure where it was going :)

    4. Powerful indeed... the images, and the pink... beautiful. My favorite line was "Bubbles cannot stay afloat forever. They pop and with them life ebbs away." And its echo in the last paragraph.

    5. 'no longer did they wake alone' - this is a voice that must be heard, because there are those who would relish a return to those grim times and grimmer treatment of women

    6. Thanks Leland. I liked that image. You're right there Gry. I was thinking recently about all the women who lost children in that situation. Unwed mothers & teenagers.

  14. June

    Over the road she wanted to go,
    Where the light danced prettily and
    Moonlight summoned the night so
    Well. Visions stumbled, blue and gold,
    A razzmatazz of colour blasting the black.
    She stepped within a rustling hue of
    Lavender, smelled it rise around her,
    Inviting memory to initiate, counteract
    The stasis, this fading of desire, and in
    Her heart she pleaded for its return.
    Death could only feel this way. Skeleton
    Bones I will be someday, she thought,
    So my only option is to live now. Towards
    The bridge she skipped, the velveteen
    Grass leading her, caressing her ankles
    As she danced in crimson slippers, feeling
    As light as the swans mirrored in the lake.

    1. ah, so rich with colour and texture... I love this.

    2. Agreed. And I love the way it builds. The end is so strong and vivid, and you get us there so smoothly.

    3. the passive tense throughout works well for this piece. Wonderful!

  15. "I’m not afraid to die."
    He said that as I held his hand. I was careful not to squeeze too hard. The skin felt like 5e outside of a very dry onion.
    I cleared my throat. "That’s good. Death is a part of life." The words practically strangled me; they sounded so trite and inadequate.
    I thought he was choking and was about to press the call button when I looked in his eyes and saw a twinkle I hadn’t seen for months.
    "That’s bullshit. Death is the end of life, at least this one."
    I nodded, and forced a laugh. "Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, eh?"
    "You want to know why I’m not afraid to die?"
    I nodded again.
    "Because I’ve done more good than bad this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I’d done more, done better, but in the long run, I did okay."
    I knew better than to interrupt. He hadn’t talked this much for days.
    "I mean, I didn’t solve world hunger, didn’t win any wars, didn’t even get a Purple Heart." He breathed deeply and what came next was in a whisper. "But I built a few bridges, forgave a few wrongs, made a few people smile. And I loved."
    "That alone ought to be your ticket to heaven," I said.
    "I don’t rightly know what comes after this life. Heaven, hell, reincarnation, or maybe nothing. I mean, I believe in Jesus and all, but I think we spend too much time wondering what our reward will be in the next life while the days of this life slip like so much water through our hands."
    I looked in his clear blue eyes. He was blinking fast, still afraid to let anyone see him cry.
    "Anyway, I wanted you to know I’m not afraid."
    There was a knock at the door. A nurse. She looked at me, at him, and back at me. "It’s been approved," she said.
    I said thanks and held back a smile. "I’ll be back in a minute."
    And it was his turn to nod.
    I went out to the car and I brought back the best present I could think of.
    When we returned, his eyes were almost half-closed.
    He heard the jingle of Shep's tags and smiled. Shep looked up at him for approval, and then jumped up on the hospital bed and licked something that wasn’t a tear.
    Yes, he did. He did love, and he was loved in return. No wonder he wasn’t afraid.

    1. beautiful. Those animals...get me every time.

    2. Thanks... hoping it wasn't TOO sappy at the end... but there have been some news stories that just touched my heart about something like this.

  16. Woke up with eyes wet. Don’t know what I was dreaming, but it wasn’t about when we first met. And it wasn’t about you even if it was about you. It was probably about something I can remember, but snip before it blooms. Old man hands.

    I don’t want to know where they've been.

    I am a broken typewriter. My brain never did the writing anyway. Now, my fingers won’t cooperate. And I mean, I can write, but it feels like I’m telling the same story over and over and over. Maybe the tank has run dry?

    Where the fuck do I keep the tank anyway? Probably in the closet with my old cub scout uniform and weed. And skeletons. You can hear their jangling dance when the dark yanks your eyes open. Fuck beauty. I don’t ever feel better. Quit saying it. Schizophrenic?

    Maybe just a bit.

    How do you look at beauty? With golden skin and clear eyes and everything just open. Like I’ve earned it and you’ve dropped the curtains and I can’t start the show because the show would become everything. And who knows what would happen when the curtain dropped.

    Sure, I could make an argument for it. It might fix everything. It might bring the walls crashing down stained in blood and tears. I might tear me apart. It might put me back together. I’ll keep my distance.

    Play it safe.

    Look, man. I’m not some kind of prophet. I’m a fucking idiot. If you got something important out of it, good. I got an ache in my chest that never goes away. It’s like there’s a goddamn T-rex sitting on my chest, its tiny arms flailing ineffectually.

    I’m failing at affection, see?

    That’s what I’m trying to say though. In my twisted, roundabout way. I want to touch the small of your back, feel you move like a lazy-wind wheat field. I want to feel the charge before the thunder storm.

    I want someone to keep me warm. I want you to stay the fuck away from me so I stay cold.

    Who has my self-respect? I seem to have misplaced it. But I am strong enough. I can hurt myself that badly. I have before and will again. It’s my service to the world. I’ll leave you be, take it out on me. That soft touch on the small of your back which became a stab that left me slumped forward, laughing.

    1. Flashes of gentle with others, and of not-gentle with self... always with the self-blame. I've been there. And that lazy-wind wheatfield... that's a beautiful description... the whole piece haunts me. Well done!

    2. great piece - the image of the cub scout uniform with the weed though....exquisite!


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