the Chandler's Around the WayThe hose slipped out again. Chan cursed, and shoved it back into the incision he'd made, adjusted his mask, and bent over the pump. He yanked the cord, and the pump started to life with a cough of biodiesel. It bounced on the sand as it grumbled away. Chan kept one hand on it and held the hose in place with the other.the Chandler's Around the Way3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
If fucking Fathers would spend the bone on a new one, I wouldn't be all night at this, Chan grumbled. He ached for a smoke, but didn't have the hands to spare. Plenty of hands here, he thought as he glanced at the riverbank. Some of them even had a pulse.
"Hey," he said to whoever was closest.
It was a sunbather. A walker who drew enough bone to slot time on the beach without having to fight for it. She had each arm draped around a man, both of them tattooed in the same place with the same sigil. Chan was jealous. Someday he'd have his own numbers, but they'd be women. All of them. He was old-fashioned like that.
The walker answered without raising her sungl
The Green of my Heartbeats5: Red, rude, a bully.The Green of my Heartbeats3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
She was bored, propping her face up on her palms. Her teacher, high-voiced and chirping in fuzzy green flurries, was writing rows of sevens on the board. White chalk. The sevens were glimmering in turquoise, and she smiled.
Sevens were nice, friendly. Seven would never eat nine. Nine was just a baby, like her brother at home.
She was only five. Fives were bullies, nasty. Bright garish red, like B. B was red, but he was not as rude. He forgot things though. Like his keys. Impatient.
She sighed, her head slipping and resting on her wrist. She could feel her pulse on her cheek.
"Seven!" said her teacher, continuing to fill the board. "Say it with me. Seven!"
Later, they got to practice identifying numbers. She had learned before, at home. Kindergarten was not meeting her new knowledge expectations.
Sitting at the table, she strived to make conversation to ease the ache inside her brain. "I like sevens. Aren't they the prettiest color you've ever seen?"
They boy next
The IdolI once saw a man on the television who was so afraid of fruits that when presented with a bowl of them, he fled the stage, knocking over the host and several other guests. Though I openly pitied the man for his obvious malady of the mind, inside, the small bit of sadism buried within all humans laughed at his bizarre affliction. How can one not find cruel amusement in the cowering of a grown man who has been confronted by nothing more than a bowl of peaches? But now I understand fear like no other. I now no longer find amusement in the terror of others, no matter how illogical.The Idol4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Now, let me tell you the story of why the sound of wind whistling through the trees in Autumn strikes me with a fear so immense that I can do little more than shake uncontrollably.
A good friend of mine, a young and upcoming anthropologist by the name of Henry Byrne, contacted me eight weeks ago. Though he refused to go into details, he excitedly explained t
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mom starts with rice. Japanese rice, one, two, three Japanese cup-fulls of rice grains into the cooker, because Sis eats a lot of this stuff. It's one of her favorite dishes, taco rice, and Mom's always happy to make it for her because it's the only way Sis will eat her tomatoes. But back to the rice. "You want to rinse at least three or four times, until the water's kind of clear," Mom says as she cups her hand under the cooker pot, letting the cloudy water wash over her hand.
Rice cooking's easy though – just fill enough water to the point the rice's covered, punch in a time (or set it to "Quick Cook," which with our creaking rice cooker still takes about an hour) and let the cooker do its thing.
Ground meat goes into a well-greased and heated frying pan. Break up the block so that it crumbles into fine little pieces, and do this with wild abandon, because this is taco meat. Mom uses any taco seasoning that happens to be cheap; most seasonings rack up t
Fire and WaterIt was raining in Lancaster on September 3rd 1555, and Jane Ask loved the earthy smell that it coaxed out of the soil.Fire and Water3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She wiped away the sheen of rainwater from her forehead with the back of her hand and set her small basket of nettles down by the front door. Later she would dry out the leaves and reduce them to a powder; the substance worked wonders on small wounds which refused to stop bleeding.
Jane had always been something of an herbalist. Growing up with only a father, and two older brothers from his first marriage, she had spent the majority of her childhood outdoors. Now practically a spinster at the age of twenty-two, she knew the Lancashire countryside as though it were the dearest friend, and for years now its other residents had come to her for aid. She knew which plants could heal or, if nothing were to be done, could simply ward off the pain.
She sniffed, wiping a drop of cold rainwater off the end of her nose, and looked across her herb garden at Sally. Sally was her co
for unseeing eyesladen with skyfor unseeing eyes4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and painted mockingbirds
on loveless branches
folding in our slender limbs
and ducking under our own
voices, fidgety and frail
against the wall of night.
between the dipping blades
and drawn shoulders
we learned to craft our words
a drumming rain
that carved canyons
in open hearts and
drew the sunshine to
our supping lips.
keen-eyed, we watched
remembering the weight
of unseeing eyes
and scalding remarks
and we learned to slip
the noose-knots and slide
through the soul-cracks
build kingdoms under
with lyrical uncertainty
and tender determination
we built a pyre of peace
in the shadows
and watched it blaze
the truth across our
as new leaves still curled
and stretching hands
unfurled in suppliance
we lifted our heads
in broken laughter,
for this light is our burden,
and even a whisper
can shatter silence
and bring the blind
SuperimposeHe doesn't look like a gymnast. He's all button down shirts and frazzled grey hair framing wire spectacles, a picture perfect professorial archetype down to the very tips of his frayed shoelaces. But he was a gymnast once, or so he tells us, and I believe him because he smiles like he knows something while he's chatting before class.Superimpose3 years ago in Sketches More Like This
It's strange to see that image superimposed over the current one the distinguished professor in pressed khaki slacks and a jacket, worn brown loafers exuding a faintly courteous manner (you can always tell them by their shoes), and a ring on the fourth finger of his left hand versus the athletic kid who went to college for a semester and grew nine inches too tall to keep doing what he loved so he took up a tennis racquet instead. Gymnasts don't wear suit jackets; no steel mill worker has such manicured nails. But the images are all there, flickering just under the surface and bubbling up again when he's recounting stories about his days in Pi
Automatici.Automatic3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
"So where are you from?" The boy leans toward me, questions swimming in his eyes. I smile.
"Oh, I'm from Boston."
"No, I mean, where are you from?" My smile falters as I realize where this is going. It's an all-too familiar conversation, one I've been having since I was old enough to reply.
"Do you mean where was I born?"
"I was born in China."
"Do you speak Chinese?"
"Does your family speak Chinese?"
He looks befuddled. I sigh.
"Oh!" I see the light bulb over his head go off in a shower of sparks. "Do you know who your real parents are? Like, your real parents?" My temper flares. I stifle the urge to throw something.
"You mean my biological parents?"
"Oh." There's an awkward pause. I have learned to wait it out, to prepare my next automated response.
"When were you adopted?"
"When I was a year old."
"Did you live in an orphanage?"
"Like in Annie?"
Rolling my eyes seems appropriate.
"No, not l
PressureSomething broke.Pressure3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
A hard CRACK while sitting in
a soft chair. No pain registered.
The absence of it
is like watching explosions in space.
You follow the curve of your skull. You remember
how skulls are formed like tectonic plates.
Your head wants to be a planet,
volcanic, living, in change.
You continue to your left shoulder,
the one with all the problems.
But today, it has nothing to say.
Your rib cage moves
like oceanic waves, expecting a storm
that hasn't come.
You stand up,
you consider your legs,
nothing feels wrong,
But you can break
more than your body.
ISLNDSyou like the wayISLNDS3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the i slants,
in a sea
in cropped crests
made to full-
in lost chests.
now a motive
and proceed greedily,
the leap's froth;
breath is only
as sweet as the
speech that breeds thought.
A Pocket Full of SkyWhen I was young, my father would take me to the highest tower of Notre Dame precisely once a year. It would be cold. Freezing. But we'd stand there, and take deep breaths of air, and peer down, towards the tiny ants of people below. Down, towards the sprawling city beneath us. It was always winter, when we'd go. Always cold. Freezing, freezing. But however cold it was, and however dull and bleary the weather, my father would ask one thing, and one thing only: that we adhered to tradition.A Pocket Full of Sky5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Lucie," he would say, with the fond smile and kind eyes I always remember. "Lucie, my peach. Whatever you become, and wherever your heart and mind leads you, you must always do for me one small, beautiful thing take a handful of the sky, and place it in your pocket. Take a handful of the sky, and remember, always, that your feet need not always be imprisoned to the ground. Anything you could ever wish for, Lucie, can be yours but only if you study hard, and always feel the freedom of t
i want to tell youimagine a world without genderi want to tell you4 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
a world where we are not confined
to the arbitrary interpretations of
an inexact biology. imagine we could
rise above the places
below our waists, reside instead in
graceful hands, in angled cheekbones
in some deeper conception than this
skewed perception of you.
I strip myself bare of unforgiving flesh,
squinting behind dim caverns of girl parts--
what are girl parts? all we have are beating
I sit inside this trembling body, shoulder
to hunched shoulder,
stacks of bones too unsure
to be brave enough to tell you that
my gender will never fit on the plastic sign
above a bathroom door.
and I've never filled out a single
form where they didn't ask me for
me to choose one or the other,
sister or brother, father or
mother, i want to tell you but
I'm slipping between sidewalk cracks
walking down the street hearing wolf whistles and
I want to tell you please don't read between
the lines, erase the goddamn
lines, this has nothing to do with
and I w
WanderlustI've been sleeping with my jeans onWanderlust4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and seatbelt unbuckled,
So I can leave early
before my regret wakes.
In the check-in, on the road,
I distract myself
Walk, go, leave
go further, leave again
I like my life
I never meant to break your
(steady and warm)
But truer ways of joy I found
on the road,
in long railways and stranger tongues
And I'm sorry that we never
Quite catch up with each other.
I never loved goodbyes,
but I love leaving all behind
In the movement I found tranquility,
easing for this burn.
Don't think I'll be able
To ever forget you, no
You're like Venus in the nightly sky,
guiding with your sulphur burn -
you left a mark in me,
in the air I breathe
Though we never quite catch up,
we never quite meet.
And it breaks my heart either way;
I don't want to leave,
but I cannot stay.
i) Wanderlusti),i) Wanderlust3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The first time I met the girl who started a revolution the sky was throwing down so much rain it felt like we were underwater. It was hard to breathe; and maybe that was because of all the rain, but probably it was because I looked at her face, under this dark red hood, and inside I was a story with all these feelings I could never say. I guess those feelings could only ever become words on paper - words in ink - not the kind I could ever speak aloud to anybody, if only because I couldn't bear for a person to see the look on my face while I remembered. Despite how good it felt - so hopeful, so desperately happy for what it was and could become - at the same time it was drowning in this sea, like the sky that day, for the way that everything else wasn't. And I said, what's your name?
At first we called her August when I brought her back to Jack's flat, which his parents paid for mostly, and which we used for getting high, mostly. She curled up in the armchair and rarely left it from
if she were any more tomato she'd be blueberryxvii.if she were any more tomato she'd be blueberry4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i want to write about how this world of
absolute truth, knowledge, and solid food
that which we hold high between two fingers is always
full of watery applesauce and little white half-truths.
and about how utterly strange
it is that all the simple things that people
write about on pages are, in reality,
very few and far between.
and i want to write about how there is
peace and war and
poverty and treasure and
cruelty and sometimes,
i want to write a poem about why the hell i'm wasting
my time writing poems when i could maybe
actually be doing something productive
or contributing to society or
and i want to write about why there aren't
nearly enough apple trees that grow
in dark moldy closets or underwater
or on the sun or inside craters of the moon
or in the desert or in the deep winter.
because god knows those places
need them now mor
Forgiveness EconomicsGenesisForgiveness Economics3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
But for the small purple stain on its border, the banknote was non-descript.
It had a value but men value things in different ways and by different means. It had a value, but its value is not it's story.
It landed on the church plate face up, coming to rest softly on the flat silver base amongst the loose change like it was tossed to the cloth of a gambling table, soundless but with a small sense of resignation. A man paying for luck, a man asking his God for a favor.
It came from the wallet of a small sad man, who feared the Good Lord daily. The banknote was the weekly price of his penance, the bill of sale for those half-remembered crimes of a misspent youth and other things unmentionable.
The small sad man's hands were fat and white and callouses sat on his thumb and forefingers, the scars of a bank teller, a money counter, a man who knew about value. The hair on his head was grey and his eyes were blue below his wrinkled forehead and tonight would be the last time he
chromaWe were merely children when the stars came.chroma3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
They rained down from the sky in a burst of light, like shards of glass pouring down from the heavens. Supernovas blooming in the night sky, petals raining down onto the barren earth - angels, falling with their wings sheathed, glowing, as they glided down. We watched, starstruck, as the glow overtook us - we were mesmerized. We waited with bated breath as the meteors landed, the celestial light subsiding as dark forms started to pick themselves up from the dust.
They moved towards us with an otherworldly grace, their steps leaving no marks on the earth as they descended upon us. Frozen to our spots as they approached, our bodies simply unresponsive in their wake. We were paralyzed. They stretched out their wings, embracing us in a softness unimaginable - a polymerization of silky feathers made of pure light, like a soft touch of a rose petal - and suddenly, our eyes were opened. The world was the same, yet so new, as it was washed with a gl
Reverse Culture ShockFlying home was not flying home. Flying home meant grabbing the homing pigeon inside of me and twisting its imaginary magnet one hundred and eighty degrees to the north instead of southwards to Australia. The magnet still twitched stubbornly north even as the plane droned over Darwin, five hours before I finally reached home. Except it wasn't home. Sydney now looked as foreign as the glossy travel leaflets I grabbed from Singapore, its shine not quite matching the missing substance of my once childhood home.Reverse Culture Shock4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Thank you for choosing Singapore Airlines I hope you will enjoy your stay in Sydney, or a warm welcome home."
Winter air slapped me like a bucket of ice water as I emerged, searching for my parents and my sister. For eight years, their voices were tinny and masked by static on the occasional phone calls home. Today, they sounded as brittle as ever, Australian accents barely sheathing the chill emanating from them.
"Welcome home, sis," said my sister with an unusually bright v
grassy field with rustgrassy field with rustgrassy field with rust3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I'd heard about the old car, three miles out of town and all alone. I just had to see it. It was time. School was over for the summer, my friends were at camp, and I was bored. I set out Thursday morning for a hike, following directions that Uncle Will had given me. As the heat was still growing with the climb of the sun, I found the field and wandered around looking, and looking some more, trying not to be distracted by bees buzzing in the flowers, and butterflies and baby mice. Then it was there, just a bit upslope from the bottom of a natural swale, and just below the sky at the top of the bank. A 1959 Cadillac convertible, but not like the old music videos showed.
This one was part buried in grass gone to seed and turned almost white golden with the dry heat. The tires were collapsed cracked pieces and there wasn't a trace of pink paint anywhere. Rust owned it, and it held on so tight that holes were showing in what used