Friday, November 23, 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.

Her hands are always shaking. Broken skin and dry patches that rasp against wool sweaters - she is stuck in a slow atrophy. She has no interest in your contrived truths. She is interested in what the mail man leaves for her neighbors, but she only takes a peak. Shakes a package. Maybe.

Her eyes are always searching. Escape - she sits with her back to the wall and smiles a drywall smile. Her eyes are desperate, starving. Her soul is evaporating. She is a puff of garlic smoke on a gypsy's shawl. She is Humpty Dumpty. 

She is the wall.

Her dreams are violent, thrashing tableaus. She is drowning in the black sickness of the moment. She will crack the ampule because her teeth are vibrating - she is in a shaded bivouac where sleep pulls at the corner of her mind. She will always exist here. 

She is the fear.

Her voice is like Karo syrup, too sweet - it is a wheedling, needing voice. Her voice is an assault and an apology. She smells of camphor. She is slow moving, sloth-like. She is soft on the outside and crunchy in the center.

She will haunt you as long as you let her. You will never forget her.

She is the road less traveled by.

Let her be for now. She is resting. She will always be resting, but you will let her be. Your options are few and far between. She is joy and misery. 

She is free.

#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. I love the bleak hopelessness of this, but I'm a fellow disciple of the Void.

    I especially loved the 'drywall smile' and 'her voice is an assault and an apology', but it's all incredible. Well in, my friend!

    1. Oh, I love that. The pictures. The bleakness. Nicely and creepily turned.

    2. Ditto. Was gonna use the word 'love' too. It's very immediate and fiesty and graphic and raw and real. She's really here. And she screams for attention.

    3. Karo syrup and drywall smile did me in. I know her. And I want to help, but I know I can't.

  2. I think I’m in love.

    I never meant for us to be this serious, but things just changed. I don’t know how it happened or when it did … we began as two good friends, then we progressed, becoming closer, sharing more time together. We had so much in common, even then.

    Belle tells me I’m a fabulous kisser, way better than every man she’s ever had. She loves the way we just ease into it, the two of us, both of us becoming more intimate the fewer clothes we’re wearing. We just merge into one another, the subtleties of touch, the unhurried caresses with no intentions beyond each moment we’re together. Sometimes she kisses first, and I luxuriate in her, aware of the slow sensuality unfolding within us. The soft drag of her lips, becoming firmer when she smiles. The lightest pressure where she touches me, drawing her fingertips across my cheek when we’re snuggled closer than conjoined twins, seeing our breaths rise up above us into the morning air. It’s not laziness at all: it’s a celebration. We’re closer together than sisters could ever be.

    And in the middle of the night, she’s always there. If I cry out in my sleep, I know she’ll be watching, her hand already in mine when I wake. We’ll hug it out, then we’ll be quiet, reassuring one another until the night becomes the dawn.

    And although people say it’s unnatural, I know this to be the truth.

    I love her.

    1. The sensual details really drew me in. Well done, and in such a short space.

    2. Sensual descriptions indeed, and defiance at the end. Well done.

  3. Part 1

    Joel is having second thoughts about accepting Thea’s brief and cryptic invitation, especially to meet him in this place, a funky café in the basement of a former synagogue. He’d arrived early, and a good thing, because the place is packed with people less than half his age, people who don’t appear to care about the significance of their surroundings, as long as the coffee is good.

    And it is good, he finds, while he waits for her at a table beneath an old Torah, sealed into a velvet-lined cavern in the wall. The government has confiscated mosques, synagogues, everything but the Christian churches, turning them into retail spaces and cheap housing, but the décor is a Disneyfied testament to the former purpose of the building. Somehow, that’s allowed. It doesn’t really surprise him. The new regime will allow history but not continuity. Probably for the cautionary tale, the warning it delivers. This is what we no longer do, it says. Remember it well.

    A woman comes in, breaking into his thoughts, causing his fingers to tighten around his mug as she places her order. For a moment he thinks she’s her mother, here to deal him the same crushing news she’d delivered all those years ago. In a synagogue just like this one. “Dorothea won’t be coming,” she’d said. A lengthy explanation followed, but he’d checked out after the first sentence. Turned his back and, avoiding eye contact with two hundred of their closest friends and family, walked away. Leaving the apologies to Thea’s mother.

    They’d long since made an uneasy peace, where she gave back his ring and the few items he’d left at her apartment, and with a watery smile danced around why she couldn’t marry him. No matter how she tried to make it about how she wasn’t ready, he only heard his own failings.

    He’s hearing them again now, as she approaches. From mutual friends he’d learned she’d moved somewhere in the Middle East. From the voice on his public radio station, he’d learned she’d become a foreign correspondent. Frankly, he doesn’t understand why she’d returned to America.

    She’s still beautiful, with a queenly bearing, the years sitting gracefully on her. Something in his brain kicks him, and he stands, and is undecided how to greet her, and she puts his wobbling thoughts to rest as she gives him a gentle half-hug and a kiss on the cheek. Sliding him into the category of the Torah in the wall. Remember it well.

    She slings her handbag over the back of the chair and sits, settling in. The resemblance to her mother is stultifying, down to her penchant for colorful silk scarves and large earrings. Joel has to mentally shake himself to get some words together. “You look great,” he manages to push out.

    “So do you,” she says, and he doesn’t believe her. His grandchildren tease him about the worry wrinkles in his forehead, playing that they can iron them out with their fingers. He no longer wears turtlenecks. What little hair that remains on his head has a mind of its own.

    “Slumming?” he finally says, cocking his head toward the Torah.

    A corner of her mouth tips up for a second. “It’s horrifying. But I had to see it for myself.”

  4. Part 2

    She says she’s back in the States on a brief assignment. He glances around as if expecting to see bodyguards. But no. Just a gaggle of young people enjoying caffeinated beverages and avocado toast and irony.

    He asks, “Is it as dangerous as I’ve been hearing?”

    She waves a hand. “Please. I’ve been detained at least a dozen times, gotten more death threats than I can count. Ironically, this is one of the safest places on earth for journalists.”

    He finds that hard to believe but maybe her sources are better than his. Just last month there were rumors that two reporters from the New York Times had disappeared somewhere in Montana. As if she could read his thoughts, she patted a coffee-warmed hand over his.

    “Really. I’ll be fine. There are risks, but I can’t imagine being happy doing anything else.”

    As she withdraws, the heat dissipating from his less-elastic-than-it-used-to-be skin, he knows that what she said is true. In a way that he couldn’t even have imagined when she’d stood him up at their wedding, when they’d met for that last, horrible exchange that left him with a knot in his stomach and a twitch in his left eye. She was meant to do this. To be the voice he hears on NPR reporting uncomfortable truths from ravaged countries. Not what the younger version of himself would have expected from a good Jewish wife. Never would she have been a good Jewish wife.

    She leans closer. “But I want to talk about you.”

    His eyes meet hers. Hers are sharp and fearless and a little frightening. He steels himself with a quick, deep breath, awaiting the inevitable question. It doesn’t come. Instead, she pulls a pad from her purse, scribbles something on it, and pushes it across the small table.

    The blood drains from his face. There are security cameras in here. He saw them the moment he came in. Palm over the pad, he slides it back to her. “Put this away,” he says, in a hoarse whisper. “Finish your coffee, then meet me around the corner, near the library, in twenty minutes.”

    She nods. His mouth tightens as he pulls on his coat and walks out. Of course the congregation still meets. The location might have been a lucky guess, might have come from other means. Either way, the knowledge is too dangerous. For her. For all of them.

    The cold wind has picked up in the short time he’s been inside. He ducks into an alcove to make the call. “You were right,” he says. “She knows.”

    His heart is heavy with what will happen next, but just as she was meant to follow her calling, he was meant to follow his. “May we all be forgiven,” he whispers into the wind, and wraps his scarf tighter around his sagging neck, and disappears into the night.

    1. Amazing, dark, and all too close to what might one day happen... may we all be forgiven.

  5. For all his complications, he was a simple man. He ate, drank, pissed, shat, and fucked with a fury that burned brighter than in any other man I’ve known.
    But that wasn’t what set him apart.

    It was something gentler. It was the way he showed, but never said, love. Stray kitten? Picked up and cuddled, and given warm food and a place to sleep, and the company of another twenty strays. Orphaned lamb? He carried it through a snowstorm, led only by a dog who lived with him by choice, not by coercion. Neighbor having cashflow problems? A mysterious envelope, anonymous always, with just the right amount of cash.

    I guess I was one of those strays, too. He found me in his barn, after my parents kicked me out. Shoulda never told them I was gay. But I did.

    He let me stay in his barn. Brought me dinner, blankets, and a pad of paper so I could write my heart out. Let me use his shower, too, when I got too ripe. And then he let me stay in the guest bedroom, as long as I agreed to help with chores.

    Made sure I finished school, too. Showed up at all the things my parents ought to have showed up at. Graduation night, he shook my hand and hugged me.

    I guess I fell a little in love with him. Not that he was gay. But if I ever settled down, I wanted it to be with a man like him.

    And then one day, I realized that I wanted to be like him. That I could be like him. I studied his every move, and copied it. I wore clothes like his. I used the words he used. Not to mock him, but to be him.
    He noticed, or at least I think he did. He looked at me differently now. Stood back. Spoke less, too.

    And when I’d convinced myself I’d succeeded, I knew there was only one thing more to do.

    One night, when the moon was new and dark, I crept into his room. So quietly. So certain. But I should have known he’d anticipate me, a mere carbon copy of the man he was.

    He wrestled the knife away from me, and he told me to get some sleep.

    In the morning, he was gone, and there was a note on the table: It’s all yours now. The ranch, the horses, everything. Make me proud.

    And damned if I haven’t done good. I just wonder if he’ll ever come back. I didn’t mean for it to end this way.

    1. I love the details, the kindness and love in this man, the transformation. And I didn't see that turn coming!

  6. Some nights, when the moon is round and silver, when the air is cold and dry, when you can see your breath turn to tiny ice crystals, you can hear the train. The tracks are five or six miles to the north, but the frigid air carries sound farther, and the whistle sounds of loneliness.

    If the ground is covered in snow, the train is the only thing you can hear; all else is muffled. You think you can feel the ground vibrate, too, from the mighty locomotive that pulls the carloads of coal to some factory or generating plant.

    On those nights, you watch the clouds moving in front of and then beyond the moon. You’ve seen the moon from three continents, over the course of sixty years, and yet, each time you see it, it is unique. Different. New.

    It feels uncomfortable, to stand below the moon alone. Your hand wants to reach for another hand, to hold tight. But your hand remains lonely, its partner of thirty years lies beneath the snow, in a cemetery far from here.

    Memories flash in front of your eyes. Holding hands atop the Eiffel Tower. At the top of the Empire State Building, as an anchor against the winds. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, hands clasped to ensure neither of you fell into the fog and water below.

    There is no height in this place, no altitude, and still you need that hand, for there are depths you fear, depths black as night.

    The train moves on, and the night is silent now. You wonder for a moment what to do with your hands, and you finally jam them into your pockets, but there is no warmth there. You stumble back to the car, you fumble with the keys, and when you get in, you close your eyes against the moon, against the memories, against the empty hands that hold the steering wheel.

    The sound of weeping carries far on cold night air, but there is no one to hear.

    1. My God, this is so beautiful and haunting. This line: "It feels uncomfortable, to stand below the moon alone." And the whole first paragraph. Oddly, the sound of train whistles in the night comforts me. I'm not sure why.

  7. While

    The things we ought to say
    In the morning and the after
    Noon, the open and close,
    The beyond and there forgotten.
    We tread slowly, we tread
    Swiftly, papering the cracks,
    Removing the tiny webs from
    Beneath it all. The house eyes
    Us steadily through cracked,
    Spoiled windows, the bitter
    East wind blowing, and winter
    Wracks its chill. Faint scent of
    Mulled wine, the red spilling
    Out, circling, and into it I dip
    A finger, relishing the taste
    On my lips, beyond this snow.

  8. A line

    It isn’t forgotten, here,
    The writing ought to say more,
    A message in lies is never
    Enough. It bursts. The wound
    Seeping, crusting over, forming
    A scar, a memory to it all.
    And he is love, as is she,
    Yet this rusty line says something
    Else. It’s a lie to trust. It shows
    Circumstances not as they seem
    Nor can they hope to last, or
    The scream will stay and never
    Stray. It will only endure, here,
    Outside of and struggling within.
    This fading line a constant reminder
    Of the fear she carries inside.

  9. He

    He’s a whore.
    He’s a slut.
    He’s a tart.
    What a skank.
    He’s a sex addict.
    What is he wearing?
    Are they shorts?
    That skirt is too short.
    He’s too old to wear that.
    He’s too ugly to wear that.

    Ha ha ha!

    His boobs are too big.
    He’s as flat as a pancake.
    His butt looks huge in that.
    He has no butt.
    What a skank.
    He’s celibate.
    He’s f-cking the world.
    He’s a sex addict.
    He’s desperate.

    Ha ha ha !

    He’s not interested in me
    So he must be gay.
    He needs taken down a peg or two.
    He’s a whore.
    He’s a skank.
    He has no confidence.
    He has too much confidence.
    He’s a bitch.
    He’s a cow.

    Ha ha ha !

    He’s slept with 10 women,
    20, 30, 40, 50, I’ve lost count.
    He’s a skank.
    He’s got a queue of exes.
    He’s so popular.
    He’s so unpopular.
    He’s got no balls.
    He’s got too many balls.
    He’s dirty.

    Ha ha ha !

    Look what he’s wearing.
    He asked for it,
    He looked at me.
    He’s wearing a thong,
    So it isn’t rape.
    He’s a sex addict.
    He’s a whore.
    He’s a skank.

    Ha ha ha !

    What’s so funny?
    It isn’t funny.

    But, of course, no one speaks
    About guys this way.


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