Friday, October 5, 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.

So, yeah. I got this monkey on my back and he won’t shut up. Flat out refuses. He just keeps telling me things I don’t want to hear. Stressing me out - day to day, year to year. I saw the best mind of my generation become craven with desperation and fear. Methadone don’t do what it’s supposed to do. Not really. Not if you’re banging black tar on top of it.


I love the monkey as much as I hate it. And part of me thinks: we tried to help – you didn’t want to be helped. And part of me thinks I should get into the car and start driving and not stop until I’m close enough to smack the shit out of you. You’ve been stuck in one posture so long, you’ll break if you try to move.

I get it.

Thing is; we had plans. And I know you didn’t bail on those plans on purpose, but I also know you bailed and the reason ain’t all that important. What’s important is that we had plans. You fucked those plans. And there but for the grace of God … Lord knows, I don’t believe in God, but I realize I got lucky. Doesn’t change the fact that I’m raising two beautiful daughters while waiting to get the phone call that one of the people I’ve loved most in the world is dead.

Why can’t you get it through your thick, fucking head. Brain shot? Get some backbone instead.

What you can’t do is doable. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve seen it too many times. You’re still living like you’re nineteen, but you got a forty year old’s body. Something is going to give sooner or later. I don’t know whether sooner or later would be better.

Keep standing in the rain. You’ll just get wetter.

And me? I’m gonna keep realizing I’m doing what I should be doing and hating myself for it. Remember that screenplay we were gonna write? I didn’t go anywhere. And part of me thinks I should call you up. Bolster your spirits. Get working. But I know you can’t get anywhere near it.

So, spin in circles. Try to pretend that the pose you wore in high school still fits. I’m not mad at you. Fuck that. I am mad at you. Furious. Because you didn’t let go. Hell, we were both curious. I’m mad because I love you and you wasted so much. Lost so much.

Sometimes, I try to blame myself for it. Doesn’t pan out though. Sometimes, I try to excuse it because of the things I know. That’s doesn’t do anyone any good.

You can be as hungry as you want. Can’t nobody feed you if your mouth is closed. If your mind is closed. If you still put up the same band flyers and wear the same clothes. You put your life on heroin pause, and that shit lasts a LONG time. Sometimes, the show stays paused until the TV dies.

It will break my heart. But it won’t be a surprise.

#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. Something different today. Winter Tangerine posted a prompt for 'write a love letter to a monster'

    Lift Me, You Brute!

    Do they miss you,
    those dwellers on
    the Island of Skulls?
    How they lived in terror of you,

    fearing your power,
    while you battled for them,
    slaying monsters from nightmares
    blacker than your sable fur.

    Their wooden palisade,
    reaching to the skies,
    massive timbers
    and crossbeams.

    Did they imagine
    their encircling wall
    could resist you,
    your strength?

    Your arms, thicker than
    their tree trunk pillars,
    your chest broader
    than their gates of folly.

    As if you could not
    have swarmed
    up and over
    their jungle ramparts.

    You conquered the towering
    Empire State
    as murderous buzzflies out of time
    chopped holes

    into your magnificence.
    Your ebony skin ran scarlet,
    and you tenderly
    set me down.

    As if I wished to escape,
    to face this new world
    outside of your titan’s grip.
    out of view of your mahogany eyes.

    I would rather rejoin
    the ground below
    by your gentle savagery.

    Lift me, you brute!
    Take me back
    within your hand’s caress.
    I cannot bear

    to watch you fall.
    Lift me,
    you brute.
    Lift me up.

    1. Damn. This is SOLID. Which is a weird critique, but I mean it in a good way. Balanced and powerful.

    2. What an awesome prompt, and your poem is beautiful and primal... it calls to all of us, and our need to be held and protected. Really well done!

  2. Some nights under blue skies with falling stars, I lie awake and and dream. Before the moon rises, I can see not the mountains but their silhouette, where the stars cannot shine.

    And the stars aren’t yellow like I colored them when I was a kid. They are red and purple and blue and green. And a few are yellow.

    The Milky Way wanders from horizon to horizon, and it makes me think of California oceans and surfers under full moons. I wonder if there are fantastical creatures that ride the crests of galaxies.

    And I think of our camping trips, of mornings with coffee with grounds and ashes and nothing Starbucks sells will ever taste as good. I remember making meals for a week and storing them in plastic bags so all we’d have to do was boil water, and how you laughed when you found out I wasn’t lying when I told you I couldn’t even do that.

    Lord, the things you taught me. Names of constellations, planets, wildflowers, and rocks. Poems you’d memorized and whispered to me on cold nights with our sleeping bags zipped together. And when you ran out of those, you made up poems and stories until we fell asleep.

    I never understood what you saw in me; the klutz, the unrefined, inexperienced slob I was, but I never asked. I learned that from you, too. Letting go of “why” and holding on to “now.”

    We never made love, though I wanted to. I wanted to show you what it was like, something I was good at. I knew, from the start, that you weren’t “that way,” and I never wanted to change you. One night with someone who loves you doesn’t make you gay.

    The years came between us, and geography, and you had a family. God, the kids look just like you.

    I hope you take them camping. I hope you tell them the names of stars. And I hope you tell them that you love them.
    That’s what I think about, some nights, under falling stars.

    1. Wow, Leland. This is gorgeous. I would highlight the lines I love, but it's perfect. Every bit.

    2. Oh, that's so lovely. Every word.

  3. And now for something completely different — a song, written for a friend who died last year...


    Sipping dirty martinis
    Watching girls in bikinis
    And strumming on my Les Paul
    Albert King ambles through
    Riffs ‘I’ll Play the Blues for You’
    Man, I really got it all

    It’s a dream vacation
    No place I’d rather be
    Yeah, a dream vacation
    Not sure where I’m at
    But it suits me

    Checking out pics
    From my Exakta 66
    Can’t believe what I see
    Don’t remember all those
    Sometimes, that’s how it goes
    A penguin, potato and a bee

    It’s a dream vacation
    No place I’d rather be
    Yeah, a dream vacation
    Not sure where I’m at
    But it suits me

    The java is great
    And there’s Vanilla Coffee-mate
    To go in the really good joe
    Well, I should wrap up this letter
    Things just couldn’t be better
    Thought maybe you’d like to know

    CHORUS (Instrumental)

    BRIDGE (spoken)
    Here it’s always four-twenty
    No rush, time is aplenty
    And the Mary Jane is so fine
    I musta passed St. Pete’s test
    Whadya know, I’ll be blessed
    “HEAVEN” reads the neon sign

    It’s a dream vacation
    No place I’d rather be
    Yeah, a dream vacation
    The weather’s always fair
    And we’re all carefree
    Yeah, a dream vacation
    Look at where I’m spending
    My eternity ——— Just sayin’

    1. That’s beautiful! And what a way to spend eternity!

  4. When Toby’s girls were younger, sometimes the curiosity in their eyes scared the crap out of him. Their endless questions flowed like a river of why. “Why are the trees so tall and the ants so tiny?” “Where did the dinosaurs go?” “How did the two men who live in the house down the street have a baby?” He’d tried his best to answer as plainly and honestly as he could, appropriate for their ages. He vowed not to be the kind of parent who told convenient lies to change the subject or said “ask your mother,” or kicked the really hard questions down the road. Like his parents had done to him, and their parents had done, all the way back to wherever the dinosaurs had gone.
    But as he listened to the news that morning while he dressed for work, he wasn’t sure what to tell his girls anymore. Already, the questions had been getting harder. “Why are there bad people in the world?” “How can you be right and wrong at the same time?” “How can God let good people die?”
    He didn’t know how he was supposed to tell them about this. About men taking advantage of women, and why their aunt Suzanne was suddenly all over the news. He took a deep breath as he selected a tie—a purple one the girls had given him for Father’s Day—and decided to let them lead the way. But on this, he couldn’t bear to. Maybe if his parents had been more proactive, instead of either waiting for questions Toby and Suzanne didn’t know how to ask, he wouldn’t have spent five years in therapy and she would still be talking to him. “Stupid,” he said to his reflection, straightening the noose around its neck. He couldn’t change the past. He couldn’t force Suzanne to return his calls. All he wanted to say was that he was behind her, and he believed her, and if she wanted help she knew how to find him, and he’d left those very words on her voice mail, when it wasn’t too full to take messages.
    When he came out to join his daughters for breakfast, he saw in their little girl faces the young ladies they were growing into, far too fast, and he had to sniff back a tear which he quickly hid. Easily enough, since they were play-arguing about who had the larger bowl of cereal. Suddenly he couldn’t bear the thought of dropping them at school today. He wanted to hold them tight, keep them small, kill with his own two hands anyone who would hurt them. Kill the man who’d hurt Suzanne.

    “Girls, there’s something we need to talk about.”

    They both looked up at him expectantly with those big, lovely eyes, so like their mothers’, and he couldn’t bring himself to make them grow up any faster than they had to. At least not that day.

    Bethany, the older of the two, gave him a world-weary sigh more suited to the teenager she’d become in a frighteningly short few years. “Daddy, if it’s about Auntie Suzanne, she already told us.”

    Toby blinked a few times. “She...told you? When?”

    As if on cue, and at the same moment he noticed the open suitcase in the living room, his sister stepped into the kitchen. In an oversized T-shirt and looking unbearably small herself. “Last night,” she said, her voice breaking. “But maybe we all need to talk.”

    1. Timely, and from a believable character. I remain in awe of the characters you build and describe in so few words. Thank you for this.

    2. the conflict of a father - I understand it, and you captured it. Well done.

  5. They were going to make this public, live on cable news and all the networks. Facebook and YouTube.

    All pretence had been abandoned, and men in dark religious garb thronged the periphery.

    A small, black-haired woman with olive skin, barely covered by a white cotton slip and thin as a wishbone, was led in shackles to the stage.

    Since there was no one else left to tell this story, she took them up on their token offer of final words. Two minutes were all she had left in the world. She leaned like a nightclub singer into the mic, her manacled hands behind the swanlike curve of her back, a doomed ballerina.

    “If I hadn’t stood with my placard at the last protest, you wouldn’t have been able to tell I was any different from you. And in many ways I’m not.” Her voice shook like the tiny aftershocks of some long-abated cataclysm, but she continued. “I eat and breathe and love my family and my friends. Loved, that is…” Again, she hesitated, a look of abject sorrow passing across her delicate face, so forlorn it silenced the auditorium more than her words.

    “Fuck your feelings!” yelled someone in the crowd.

    She breathed in deeply and straightened her posture, a frail young woman wishing she was a warrior, and she continued through the shouted insults: snowflake, cunt, libtard…

    “But they are gone now, as you no doubt know. Everyone I loved. And I know you don’t love me, and even revel in my pain. And that, my tormentors, is where the true difference lies. You were playing to win, as if there were scorecards and touchdowns, baskets, runs, and goals. You grew to hate us when we defended successfully or attacked with passion and skill. Even when we played fair. Especially when we played fair. That seemed to enrage you all the more; perhaps you mistook joy for piety. But here’s something: we weren’t playing a game. We were doing it all to improve the world, to make it better for our friends, for our children, for our neighbours, and for those who had been given fewer chances than others. And also for you, had you but realized that. They’ve played you. This heartless sociopathic coward who was born on third base and even then had to constantly cheat”—among the officials, the elderly white senators and representatives gathered by the stage, there was a brief flurry of activity at this, but she refused to be distracted—“has somehow turned your heads, and you’re now all that’s left. It will be a joyless, determinate world you’re left with, the last of its love leaching away to mingle and be tainted with the toxins now allowed—encouraged, even—by the last futile industries. We wanted to stop all that, make things better. Share the astonishing beauty with our children and theirs, forward into a dream of a future we might have fashioned from our sisterhood, our brotherhood, our commonality, our better angels. You saw it as a game, and you won. But what did you win? Really, what did you win?”

    “Enough!” came a voice. A youngish man, prematurely bald, eyes baleful and hooded as something best left in a cave, stepped forward and smirked at her without humour. “Your time is up, in every sense. Your kind is gone from the world now. It is done.”

    At some subtle signal, the clergymen advanced, faces hidden, gleaming swords and deadly knives raised.

    The trembling woman closed her eyes, thought of wheeling star fields on summer beaches, and of a single moment with her little sister—something about a dispute, a cream cake, and a sudden forgiving smile.

    “Glory be to power. Power is great!” rang from vast speakers on all sides, and the bloody execution began.

    1. Entirely too believable and horrific. So real it doesn’t feel like fiction. It’s October, and this is a horror story. Really well done. I wish it were fiction and not prophecy.

    2. sad, and bravely written. I wish it were beyond all of our imaginations.

  6. The dog barks, at nothing you think. But she’s making that snuffling noise like she smells something. You try to ignore her. She is persistent.

    You stand up and walk to the window she’s looking out of.

    Your eyes adjust to moonlight. There are no streetlights this far out in the country. You see a shadow. A man. Just standing there. No, wait. He has a cigarette. You see it glow red as he inhales.

    You try to settle the dog. She is furious. The barking grows louder. You open the window far enough to shout, “Who’s there?”

    First there is silence, between the barks, and then a laugh. A loud laugh that turns into an extended cough.

    “Who’s there?” you ask again.

    “You don’t remember me?”

    Even between the barks, you know. Your spine turns to ice. “No. It can’t be you.”

    “But it is. It is me. It is I. Isn’t that how you used to say it?”

    Your heart beats fast, too fast. The dog has stopped barking and is now staring at you.

    “Go away. You’re supposed to be in prison.”

    “Oh, I was. I was in prison, but I got out.”

    You remain silent.

    “I died. And now I’m here. With you.”

    The dog stares out the window. You do, too. There is nothing there.

    Icy fingers touch your shoulder. Cold air touches your ear. “Together forever, just like I promised.”

    And you dare not move.

    1. sparse as the last leaves on the trees at the start of winter - wonderful halloween tale

    2. Thank you kindly! I figured it was the right time for spooky.

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