Read the Label Before UseChewing on a concept, lurking like a night owl. Pain springs from my eyes and I touch but don't grasp. Faking a pillow, I hope that this quiet will last. The past couple nights these eyes haven't closed. Maybe it's something more but nobody knows. Consciousness and hurt are pervasive and bitterly cold. I was hoping eventually these feelings would become old. Like fresh wounds they sting and take long to heal. Raking my brain for a numbness that is so sweet. I turn to a darkness recluse in blank sleep. Downing the pills to make it possible, condemn myself to dreams probable to permeate my waking and make it like ice. A numbness that takes away thought and throws it to vice. In drugged stupor my dreams take a fervor that only rebels the psycho elite yet still in this sleep, I find peace. From the waking. From my madness in all it's making. My pillows are the only ones who are witness to my tears. And my blankets, the only ones to my deepest fears. In the light of day my face is solid, no
The Stellar Void"Can you kill me, please?"The Stellar Void5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I must have looked startled because her expectant gaze saddened a bit.
"I'm sorry. What?"
"Can you kill me?" Her face brightened as she repeated the morbid probe.
Confused, I couldn't help but notice her rather familiar clothes. Faded pink jeans, knock-off Converse shoes. Little black hoodie with a torn right sleeve.
"You just looked a bit angry and I figured you'd be the best person to ask."
I stood next to the bench. My backpack dug into my shoulder and I shrugged it off. It'd be awhile before the next bus came anyway.
She looked down the street. The dim lights barely revealed the closed shops and leaf strewn sidewalks. A short breeze caused the dead landscaping out front to rustle gently but now, it seemed slightly ominous.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked." Her voice was hollow and even though she was turned away, I could sense the hint of disappointment.
Sighing, I sat on the other side of the bench. Pausing for a minute, I glanced up at the mos
ChoosePAGE ONEChoose4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You look at a huge door. The princess is inside, waiting to be rescued. The glowing fairy fluttering around your head tells you 'The door is locked! You need the dragon key to open the door!'
You look around.
If you venture west, turn to page two.
If you explore east, turn to page ten.
You encounter a goblin.
You hit it for 6HP.
He hits you for 2HP.
You hit it for 6HP.
The goblin disappears in a puff of smoke.
The fairy shouts 'HEY! LISTEN!' in a shrill voice.
To listen, turn to page five.
To ignore her and continue your quest, turn to page three.
You encounter a bird.
You swing at it with your sword and miss.
It hits you for 4HP.
You miss again.
You dodge its attack as you begin to make sense of it's bizarre movement pattern.
You hit it for 5HP.
It disappears in a puff of smoke.
You levelled up!
The fairy shouts 'HEY! LISTEN!' in a shrill voice.
To listen, turn to page five.
To ignore her and continue your quest, turn to page four.
You find an ol
Sad Blue EyesWhen I was little, my mom used to carry me everywhere. She would cradle my pudgy pale body and rock me back and forth, watching me as I cuddled close to her warm body. My mom's eyes were big and blue, but were always terribly sad when they saw me. On the days when her eyes would become so glossy raindrops fell off her face, my mom would roll up my dress sleeve to reveal a delicate bangle resting around my wrist. "Your number suits you sweet like berries " she would coo in my ear, "Palmer and Rodney don't have numbers as sweet as yours." Her voice would weaken and shake whenever I asked what my number was.Sad Blue Eyes3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I didn't understand why it bothered her so much. It was really pretty bangle, with intricate detail work that was designed to look like silver stems. Those stems led to sixteen bronze daisies, where a moonstone was in the center of each one. No one I knew had a bracelet as lovely as mine. My brothers' bracelets were plain and boring-- iron bands with a lot of small gems rand
Metastasis98.00Metastasis3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Autumn is the season when everything dies.
The leaves shrivel up and your lungs go with them, tiny dejected organs drying out inside your sternum, crinkling under our footsteps. The doctors pronounce their diagnosis as the leaves fall, listing medical terms and percentages and something about medication options.
The disease is metastatic: it has bored its way out of your lungs and into your bones. Dissatisfied, it's going for your organs, your liver, your heart. The prognosis says Christmas is a pipe dream, likely as the sun ceasing to set.
You promise it anyway.
November comes and I am a fish, breathing through makeshift gills carved into my hips, lopsided and crude.
I make fresh ones twice a day, slice myself open once in the morning and once at night in hopes the air will come a little easier each time. I make three and count them off:
and hope my heart stops.
The leaves have been carted away, pummeled into dust, and blown away in the wind.
The Little SparrowHer name was Emma, and she wasn't afraid of falling. For as long as she could remember she had been jumping - always plummeting. She understood the laws of nature: no matter how high she climbed, gravity would always carry her back to the ground; gravity would always grant her momentum to fall and wind-resistance to float. She understood why birds had wings and humans didn't; it was because humans would just as soon leave, and they belonged on the ground.The Little Sparrow4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
They always called her a little sparrow, always trying to fly, but they never understood that she didn't want updrafts or wings, she only wanted to scale walls and scurry up trees, to test the limits.
She wanted to throw herself from rooftops and swan dive from balancing bars, challenging inertia and gravity and the laws of motion. She wanted to cannonball into puddles and see if the ocean caught her, or if she merely fell through the earth to the steaming, bubbling core. She wanted to lift up her arms in triumph, her hair
I'm coming out: I'm straightMom? Mum? Can I talk to you?I'm coming out: I'm straight7 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My voice quivered. Both of them looked up at me. Moms head was in Mums lap. Mum was slowly stroking her forehead, leaning down to kiss her forehead while still staring at me intently. A satanic bible was placed in Mums lap, the thin, withered pages torn in a few places from continued reading. You know you can talk to us about anything, Mom said, smiling, sitting up a bit straighter. She leaned over to kiss Mum, who kissed her back. I took a seat on the couch and pulled my knees up to my chin, staring down at my cuticles. Even for a guy, they were pretty nasty.
I took a deep breath. Guys? I dont really know how to say this but, I think Im heterosexual.
The room went silent. Mum looked up from our satanic bible and pursed her lips. For a second, I thought she was going to reach out and slap me. In a tight voice, she said, You know how we feel about heterosexuals. We raised you to be
A MeetingYou will notice first, the bone juttingA Meeting3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from my meat, it is called teeth,
These are my lips;
This, like so, is called a smile.
And then there are the fabrications that I wear
The layers of silk, of wool,
of iron air
(indeed there is an air that I am not quite there)
- And feathers I have wrapped into my hair
And Afghan pearls, and finally
My hands, hare-fleet, and meeting
MorningsMornings After the End of the WorldMornings6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I am woken in the middle of the dawn's light
By the sound of the butcher's knives going "swack"
In the apartment below
And the sounds of something tapping on the glass at my window.
It creaks at me, and whines and howls
But cannot break through uninvited.
Some rules still apply, even after the end of the world.
The tree rips up its roots and stalks away, unsatisfied.
There's a vampire on the phone
"Have you thought about life insurance?"
I tell her I'm not interested, one life's as good as another.
"Have you thought about eternal life, then?"
"Don't those two things cancel one another out?"
But does it really count if Earth corrodes like the weathermen say it will,
And the vampires are left in the trackless void of space
Wouldn't they explode from lack of air pressure, just like the rest of us?
There's nothing in my place but saltine crackers
Of course, the grocery stores will give you a line of credit for a skin sample
But then there
Change"I would like a Barbie for my birthday," said my young sister one day, in the words that would start a spiral of change. I looked up from my task of packing a small bag and stared at her. I took in the slight tremble of her chin, the watery gaze of her dark eyes, the way she tugged at a strand of her auburn hair. She matched me in more ways than just looks. She, like me, did not ask unnecessary questions. We didn't rely on others for stuff, but rather put suggestions out there and hoped that they would be taken.Change4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Why?" I asked after a moment of staring across the cave, where her face was illuminated oddly by the flickering, dying bulb in the lamp.
"Old Man told me about them. He says every girl had one once," she said.
Alarm. It was a common emotion. It was the sort that made my eyes widen and my voice grow sharp.
"How did Old Man tell you this?" I demanded.
Better Off DeadBetter Off DeadBetter Off Dead4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was a normal Tuesday that I woke up dead. I could just tell when I opened my eyes that it was a different day. The doctors always gave people the warning signs for when they would die, so that there would be no mistake. A lack of warmth in your body, skin became pale, senses weakened and a distinct lack of breathing.
Rubbing the sand out of my eyes felt surreal. Every joint popped and cracked on their journey, which was rare to me. Naturally, I just figured it was a rough night's sleep and nothing more, but as I pushed the covers off of myself, I saw how white my body turned overnight. Again, death wasn't the first thought to pop into my head, just that I needed to get out more, maybe take a day off work and go to the park.
As I slowly creeped over to my bathroom, my body was still fighting me, making my apartment sound like a thunder storm. By the time I got the por
The IntentionWho am I to draw up from this weary mindThe Intention4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and proclaim its labors to be clever or novel?
I am a stranger in a world of ash and dust.
Every song has been sung and faded;
Every poet's pen runs dry.
Every lover, every enemy, every heart begging repose
Has fulfilled its time in this space
And poured out its entirety for generations to come
(or at least this was the intention;
we are often lost in translation).
So, who am I to produce a creation borne of experiences worn and cliché?
Who are we--
each and every one, so anomalous to have this time to live--
Who are we to entwine our sorrows with sorrows long forgotten?
Who are we to dip our pen in the pain
poured from a late lover's heart,
Or fold ourselves intimately into the arms
of those who knew our lives
Before we came into this world?
How To Say GoodbyeDear Unborn Child, Whom I Let Go;How To Say Goodbye3 years ago in Letters More Like This
When I was thirteen and four months old, and you were thirteen years younger, I decided to let you go. You squirmed in opposition beneath my ribcage, up against my pelvis, and I licked my lips and tried to smile while I leaned my forehead on the cool glass of the car, hellbound.
I remember sea weed insertion, dilation, cramps and bleeding. Orange smoothies from Dairy Queen that I threw up, and I hoped you were mingling in the remains of my summer day treat, so I could put this behind me. Pretend I was 'moving on'. I laid in the bathtub of a hotel room for six hours, trying to melt you away in scalding water from a rusty tap, yet you clung on, holding tightly to the walls of my pelvic region. Wiggling upwards, towards my throat. Past my teeth. You're trying to get out, but my family has decided you won't breathe when you're released from your bloody shackles; you may as well settle down now, sweet son, settle down.
The rest of this, to me, is a blur. Th
Space CampHe found himself standing in their daughter's room, staring at the dusty mobile of the planets, unsure of how he's come to be there. He looked at her bed, her desk, the unfinished homework. He considered opening the window, but the thought slipped away before he could act on it.Space Camp5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He wandered into the living room, looked out the window. The grass needed cutting. Did it? He wasn't sure. His wife would know, but she'd already left for work. Seems she left earlier every morning and came home later each night. Another thought occurred to him, something about each in their own way, but he couldn't hold it. Perhaps she was having an affair. He wondered at how he might feel about it if she was, decided he wouldn't feel anything.
He went into the kitchen, looked at the table, littered with unopened mail. He took a bottle from the cabinet and sat down at the table. Was he starting later than yesterday or earlier? He wasn't sure it mattered. He opened the bottle, but found he'd forgotten to get a
a long awaited return.It was raining when we landed.a long awaited return.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to our sun-drenched systems,
stumbling with snatched-
Another bus, another train
whirring upon endless tracks.
We run, we flee through foreign streets
disdainful eyes stare on,
desperate for a taste
Starting Over, Growing UpI was sick of the pink,Starting Over, Growing Up3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It was on every wall,
And every accent color
Was more pink.
I wanted white
A clean slate
The color of a new life
A new beginning
I asked you to help
We wore old jeans
Ripped band shirts
Nothing we minded ruining.
Me, being cautious,
I let you go on the ladder
And rip down the lights
A pink chandelier
We stripped the walls
And brushed over them
Using a massive paint roller
We turned the walls white.
I threw out the pink bedspread,
Tore up the pink carpet,
Ripped down the pink blinds
And pink valences.
Three weeks later
We sat back to back
In my new room
This was a beginning
The start of a colorful life
One lived in the bleakness
Of the every-day world
of the ground-of the ground4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was Sunday night when Geo climbed into my room from the fire escape. I was painting my toenails and listening to the sounds of the city: police sirens, pulsating bass, the kids in my tenement running guitar riffs back and forth with the street musicians on the sidewalk. That was the year I turned sixteen and took a two-month vow of silence to honor the death of autumn. A premature snow had robbed the season of its delicate warmth and color, forcing the maples to weep their leaves into the gutters. All that rainwater, all that decay. How could anyone create when October was dying outside their windows? Pete and Jake practiced acoustic that entire month. The rest of us were too fragile to play in suicide weather, when the right chords might move us to open our veins.
Geo sat down next to me, examining my bottle of red lacquer. "'To Eros is Human,'" he read, and rolled his eyes. "I'll keep that in mind."
I offered him my shoebox of nail polish. He selected a purple the color of opium
She Wasn't Born This WayShe Wasn't Born This WayShe Wasn't Born This Way4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You never mention the word "disorder" in certain company.
That's a defense mechanism, rewriting song lyrics in my head as the uncomfortable silence drags on. Not that it's really silent, ever, in a hospital. Machines whir in the background like insect hives, nurses flit (or stomp, depending on inclination) from bed to bed, and some janitor or orderly inevitably rattles by the room with a bucket of vomit or cart of soiled bedding.
So not quiet, then, but certainly uncomfortable. She avoids my eyes, fingering the roses on her lap. Everything in hospitals is blue-and-white, a sick, sterile periwinkle that I suppose is supposed to be cheery. The sheets leach the red from the roses. I'm blue, anorex-da-ba-di.
Naked, she is a lesson in skeletal anatomy, shrunken skin pulled tight on bones ungirt by flesh. In this half-recline bed, I can see only her beautiful face floating above the covers, a corpse-
The Old ManThe old man's wife passed away a few days ago.The Old Man3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He wouldn't like me writing it that waya fan of George Carlin, the thought of 'soft words' tended to make him cringe; he would have preferred 'died' or 'shuffled off her mortal coil.' He said that second one plenty. Every few years now one of his friends shuffles off their mortal coil, and he always says it that way when he finds their name in the obituary. 'I guess Mavis shuffled off her mortal coil. A shame. She had the most wonderful rack as a young woman. Would've married her if I hadn't met Julia.'
The old man wasn't exactly politically correct. Come to think of it, he was a bit of a cantankerous old bastard with every imaginable bigotrythe 'self-hating Jew' routine was something he carried out very well. But with him you could always see the humor in his words. I once watched in awe as he told a joke that had the word 'nigger' in it at least three times to a table full of black men who could remember when they heard that
Alzheimer'sHis house is made of crumbling slatsAlzheimer's8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of rotted knotted oak
and weakened joints.
The wind blows unfettered
through unshuttered apertures
dragging fresh sunlight in
and memories away.
Even on the clearest days
he visits the front porch
less and less often.
He prefers to explore
those rooms further in
where tide and time have yet to reach. Sometimes
he might be gone for a week.
And one day, too soon
(not soon enough)
his ramshackle dw
Runner's DeathRunner's Death6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In other words, the time of the year my parents put their everything's-alright smiles on and Anabelle fills the toilet with puke so that she can pretend to be filling her stomach with food when all our relatives come over--the time of the year we all pretend to be normal.
It's also the anniversary of Runner's death. But, like they always do, my family has covered the events of December twenty-fifth, one year ago, the same way they did the cracks in our living room wall--in a layer of bright paint and wallflowers.
Like usual, my mom will make an excuse: when my beautiful Aunt May asks in that discreet way of hers why the space in the corner of the dining room beneath the three-pane window is empty, my mother will reply, "Oh, poor Runner contracted kidney disease. We decided to pu
Riding BikesGoing off medication is like riding a bike.Riding Bikes4 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
The doctor holds tight to my handlebars and lowers my dosage. The training wheels are off, and oh hey, look at me go! It's like flying but not, and I'm doing so well but then there's a horrible accident and I'm somehow upside down at the bottom of the sea with both wheels still spinning.
"Help," I say, and my doctor pats my head, puts a band-aid on my knee, and writes a note on my chart.
I've balanced by myself for months at a time, but I always end up hitting a fucking tree or falling off a cliff or something equally catastrophic because I am a catastrophic person. Except that is an exaggeration. I am an exaggeration.
I like to compare mental illnesses to mundane physical activities. Also you should know that I am sick but trying to get better.
Sometimes I relapse and then write poems about it.
It's not even the kind of sick where people bring you soup in bed and soothe your fevered brow. It's the kind of sick where I'm late to work because
Me, You and ShoesI saw your shoes the other day. It was just a glimpse of them as you went through the door, but it was enough. Funny, there must have been fifty people around. It's been years and my subconscious can still pick you out of a crowd.Me, You and Shoes3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I wasn't sure it was you, though. That's why I'm eating lunch on this bench. I was checking to make sure it wasn't just my mind playing tricks on me, digging up old stuff I thought I buried behind everything I tried to make new in my life. I used to follow guys in orange coats down the hallway, praying they'd turn around and be you. I always felt foolish when they weren't, but it took me months to break the habit. I wanted to make sure I wasn't suffering a relapse.
Of course, it was you. God loves to pretend he's one of those strangers who have a nasty habit of returning things you tried your hardest to lose.
You didn't see me. But then, y