The Rat and the DollSome time ago there lived a Rat of fine whiskers and a finer tail who stumbled across a small porcelain Doll in a farmer's rubbish heap. Entranced by the Doll's beauty, he carried her home with him and, to the amusement of his fellow rats, instated her as his wife. Finding that she was of little assistance in his daily rambles for food, the Rat placed her upon a slight ledge of the barn in which he lived and brought her an offering of sustenance each day, as well as flowers and other pretty objects with which to enhance her loveliness.
One day the Rat returned from his foraging to find the other rats throwing pebbles at his Doll. "Stop!" he cried. "Why do you abuse my wife? What has she ever done to you?"
"She does nothing at all," said the other rats, "and that is the problem. How has she proven herself worthy of the attention you grant her, or the offerings you provide?"
"Her beauty proves her worth," claimed the Rat.
But at that moment, a gust of wind swept the Doll off her perch an
FFM 3: The Great ProcessSilence spun out on the grassy hill, and the boy analyzed his grandfather for some sign of a reaction. Cholas granted the boy a bemused half-smile, chewing on the mouthpiece of his pipe.FFM 3: The Great Process5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"It's horrible, isn't it?" Tian finally blurted. "You're not gonna tell my mom are you?"
Cholas chuckled softly. "Calm down, boy. Calm down. It's only horrible if you act upon it." He glanced down to see if it helped. It didn't. "Look, what you're feeling is perfectly natural for boys your age. Grown men get the same impulses, but we're used to it, we don't let it torture us."
"No, no. Listen for a second, child. It's just a part of nature. Like honey spiders gathering pollen in their great nets, or hawkflies snatching them away to feed their maggots. It's all a part of the great process: life, death, reproduction."
"But my own sister?"
Again, that throaty chuc
you'll suffer unto meI was a four-year-old fatherless pageant baby when Mother found the listing for Challenger. For weeks she complained about the California public school system. Said I wasn't fit for it, wasn't right for it. "We live in a shithole. Public school systems rely on money and the income in this area sucks. They're all hoodlums here. You'll get raped, mugged, killed, murdered and then what? All the I'm sorries in the world won't bring you back. I'm not letting that happen to you. You're getting a better foundation than I did at your age."you'll suffer unto me5 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mother always wanted the best for me, didn't care about the cost. She scoured the Yellow Pages for private schools, called them up, visited them with me in tow, dressed in pink and bouncing brown curls. Harker was the better, more expensive school, the rival to Challenger. Uppity kids wearing blouses, sweaters and in-fashion light-up shoes roamed both places. We settled on Challenger in the end. Mother didn't like the whole "boarding school" atmosphere at Ha
Trinity RoseAs a teenager, he was the artist who painted sunsets just to see them bleed their light through acrylics, dandelions beheaded in the frost to prove that you don't need hands to come out of the world scathed. He created beautiful women with their hair over their eyes and their tummies sucked in and rose vine tattoos sneaking up their thighs only because he wanted to show how you become tainted.Trinity Rose5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
His theory: you look as helpless and fragile as possible and then you open all the windows and the doors and a violent man walks in, or a vengeful wind.
That came from a sixteen-year-old mind high on hormones and a lack of experience.
That came from a young boy who believed you had to feign tragedy to be a good artist.
The older he became, the blinder he let his paintings become, perhaps literally. The only places he'd ever looked were up to the sky and down to his canvas. No elderly couple, no schoolchildren ever stumbled out of the light he stroked excessively between shadows. Their eyes always
A River Measured in TimeAlberto Banks had been saving all his life. He wanted to buy a river.A River Measured in Time8 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
As a child, he had been given a ribbon by his father. A blue ribbon. His father was always this strange man who would scrutinize his past much more spontaneously than he would do with his future. When he had brought the ribbon for his child, he would have seldom thought what the boy would do with a ribbon. The consequences of his actions were never quite as important as the precedence of the consequence itself. When he handed over the ribbon to little Alberto and noticed his confused expression, he wondered why he had bought it on the first place. He wondered whether he had done it subconsciously. He wondered what particular knack or interest had he noticed in little Alberto which could have prompted him into an action so decisive for the child.
"This is a magic ribbon", he said at last "if you spread it, it'd become as long as the river."
His father's words were just as unmindful or irrelevant as was his buying of t
A Song for SorrowAway on the hilltop that surveys the shore,A Song for Sorrow6 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
The sunlight shines down on the dress that she tore.
For there stands my lady with tears in her eyes--
My ship soon is leaving for stormier skies.
The daylight is fading, with promise of night.
And I from below cannot fathom the height,
The distance from hilltop to shadowy shore,
The space of the years, of a lifetime or more.
She's lovely in sorrow, but pain and despair
Last only as long as the wind in her hair,
For memory fades with the coming of frost.
(There's no one as fair as the one who has lost.)
O Captain! My Captain! There's wind in the sail,
A flurry of hats torn away in the gale.
A tempest is coming, we must not delay!
Her face in my eyelids as we sail away.
The ocean is fickle, unending, and bleak;
She torments the mighty and swallows the weak.
So why do we love her, we rashest of men?
When all of our roads lead to her yet again.
The world is too small for our changeable hearts,
No time for the wisdom perdition imparts.
MoshtarakYou came in combat shortsMoshtarak5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Speaking poetry to me
in pidgin Pashto.
I'm sure you've blown skulls
wide open with half formed words
and you frightened me
with your fearless fire.
You chased away the trouble that had
settled heavy over my shoulders and down into
every hair and pore and breath like desert dust.
You were different.
Your eyes shone with the promise
of golden gates
and red bridges to white sheets
across blue gaps and hotels and museums and forests full of God
and everything seemed possible.
I did not think you would leave me.
And it returns from the mountains, the caves,
Wherever it comes from. Whatever you call it.
Trouble. Taliban. Heartbreak. In pidgin Pashto
or any language.
I wondered where you'd gone
but then I realised -
You think you're home,
But both our homes
are static lines floating
through space and we can't
make it home without finishing
what was started, I know
a part of your head is still here, sp
Essay: Accidental PredatorAccidental PredatorEssay: Accidental Predator5 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
"Real vampires don't sparkle," is the uniting battle-cry of the anti-Twilight series movement. Long-time fans of the vampire fantasy genre all tend to agree that vampires are blood-sucking, night-stalking, sun-fearing, semi-immortal fiends of incalculable strength and power. The drop-dead-sexy definition isn't a foreign idea either. Yet when these defining items come together in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, vampire lovers all over the world have risen up in protest. The mere mention of the series seems an affront to the vampire subject in question. After over a century's worth of exposure to Dracula-stylized vampires, the introduction of this new, different vampire has divided the literary culture. 1
In an attempt to pacify those masses that harbor distaste for Twilight and the subsequent series, here is presented a solution to the controversial issue at hand: the "vampires" in Meyer's Twilight are not vampire
Patchouli GirlOn her front porch she had one of those little wooden step stools covered in potted flowers and various ceramic animals a frog, a squirrel, a giant ladybug. It struck me as strange, something my dead grandmother would have had on her front porch. It was definitely not the porch I had pictured as belonging to my first one night stand.Patchouli Girl5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I was a step behind her as she fumbled with her keys. I had been drinking, too much. Probably. All evening I had chewed on my fingernails, hoping the Captain and coke would give me the courage to deliver the witty, flirty lines I had rehearsed in my mind all week. I'm fairly sure it didn't work.
The door was red, and I thought again of my dead grandmother the horrid crimson sweater she knitted for me one Christmas, the one I had felt obligated to wear every December until the funeral. I think everyone has a horrid crimson sweater from their grandmother.
It seemed forever to me that she fumbled with her bulky keys, laughing and shooting me fli
The Melting ManI sat by my window, looking out over Summer Street, from the apartment Id taken after Marys death. A potted ivy wilted on the sill - green in the center, brown around the edges. I hadn't had much luck with plants since Maryd gone. My pipe needed reaming too, but I couldnt muster the energy for even that small task.The Melting Man7 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The sky was darkening with the promise of rain as I watched the strange little man who lived down the hall come darting up the walk.
No one knew who he was. He lived in our building but his mailbox was simply emblazoned Occupied. He was a small man with merry little eyes, features indistinct beneath an incredible growth of facial hair. His nose pushed out of that forest like the stump of a tree, brown and weathered like the skin on the back of his hands. He must have spent all his time in the sun. I called him Mr. Occupied for lack of a better name.
Gravity did not seem to have the same effect on him as it did on ordinary people. He walked with
PallorI cried myself sane and thenPallor5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
moved on. How strange, that a man
can split open like a rotten peach and find,
at last, nothingness. How strange to realize:
only then can sunlight enter his veins.
Death dissolves us. Nothing has changed
but everything is different. I spend an hour
pressing my fingers against a wall, the skin
whitening as blood retreats.
There is no regret, no fear. Only a man
who whitens against his final four walls,
the empty chair, the selfish and wandering grief.
Only a man whose face slowly unravels and the way
I wash my face, make dinner, let myself forget.
One Way Eyes You hate that old woman. Not the least because she's your sister. You might be called "my old man" by your first son, but you're not as old as that old woman. She doesn't look particularly old and neither do you. Except for her eyes. Her eyes look way too old. Yours don't. You don't think they do.One Way Eyes5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Your eyes are bright because you focus on beautiful things. Your second wife is a beautiful young woman. She has what you call russet hair, cut in an expensive style. She has bright eyes too. They're like yours because you both adore your youngest son, the one she had with you. This son's so young his age is a single digit. His eyes are even brighter, and they look very beautiful to you.
Your sister's eyes hold only dim light at the end of a long dark tunnel. They're shot red with lines that say: "I know you. But you don't know me. It's all one way here." You wish she would close them for a lon
call timecall time8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
alone with night i want to call up a friend
and i remember you
Dear MeDear Little Rachel,Dear Me5 years ago in Letters More Like This
Yes, darling, you. You standing in the queue to get out of the airport, wrapped up as though it was minus 20 degrees Celsius outside when it was just 16 degrees. You there, aged eleven years old, your skin used to humidity and now cracking up like aging plaster in the blast of dry August air.
I know who you are. You brought me to life by your dreams, your bitter recollections of better days as you tried to defog the future, only to realise it was as misty as ever. I am who you are then, and you are who I am now. Call me a time traveller, talking to you and breaking a hundred physical laws but trust me, I'm just here to give you something.
Yeah, really, I hear you scoff. What have you learnt in the last five and a half years that you can tell me about? I mean, you're only about to turn seventeen. You're not even an adult. You're only an angst-ridden, bitchy, moody, internet-addicted teenager without one shred of philosophical decency. A teen advising
daughterI find her in my kitchen, one ordinary morning with the harsh winter sun tipping full through the window. I haven't seen her for six months, and yet here she is, bruised knees pulled up under her chin, the light pouring through her hair like dull bronze. Despite the cold she is only wearing shorts and an old gray t-shirt, two sizes too big. Upon hearing my footsteps she looks up from picking at her nails, covered in chipped black polish, multicolored threads and silver rings slipping down her wrists. Her hair is tangled and long; longer than I can ever remember, and she tucks it behind an ear studded with piercings that glint in the dark strands. Her face is still in the shadows but a smile breaks through the silence and for the smallest moment I am stunned by the sheer momentum of life; the scent of baby powder, fireflies in the live oaks at night, the first time I felt her weight in my arms in a hospital bed, her tiny heart beating like a butterfly against my palm.daughter5 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
I have to sift
II collect herbs on the Hansel and Gretel path to make a potion to drink and find the Baba Yaga within.I8 years ago in Other More Like This
I jeep a million miles a week to celebrate one secret from one child that hints at the power they carry blithely.
I paint abstract road signs with the three colors plus dawn and twilight to find the night spot to dance the kundalini cha-cha.
I sit on a throne of thorns and watch through the dispelling inner fog as my body torques into imitations of a rose blooming.
I pour a river of skin into the ocean of his morning and feel the tsunami swell through a worldwide heartbeat.
I suck the colors and light and darkness from my inner psychedelic mirror out through the lens of the seeing camera.
I listen from somewhere beyond pulses to the purring and screeching that spills from your full heart to my cavernous soul.
Ten painted momentsOne. The circumstances of her birthTen painted moments5 years ago in Write Memoirs More Like This
She was supposed to be a Christmas child. Her sister, older than her by 6 years, kept wishing for a live doll to play with. Much later, she found out that her mother cried when she first heard she was pregnant, all the way from the hospital to the house. Apparently, she had considered an abortion, but under the communist regime, it was illegal and also a very dangerous endeavour. In the end, her mother's mother, in her wisdom, convinced her to welcome the child that was to be born.
During the months of pregnancy, everyone expected her to be a boy. The shape of her belly, as well as other old wives tales, made the whole family believe that. A revolution passed by, and her mother spent the last month of pregnancy in bed. Eventually, she got sick of that, drove to the hospital in an old Skoda with her husband, and apparently said to the doctor she would give birth today, thank you very much.
She ended up being a quiet, round-faced and
Learning GodThese beloveds of mineLearning God5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
wend their way through minefields of learning,
dig through layers of deadliness for you.
blinded still by the glitter of my tripwire,
I dance along the edges of these cliffs
believing there is an invisible bridge, casting sand
out into the sky, ready to run along the glimmer of walkway
it reveals, assume
there is no bottom to this gorge, launch off
and grow my wings as the wind hits me in the face
and think I have help to give to my beloveds.
Maybe the difference is that
I have left the ground, and they are still pushing poles into
the next bit of dirt, mincing toward the next buried mine.
Train taint constraint conceitTrain taint constraint conceit11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a train journey
night, she sits serene
on the opposite seat,
and her gaze drifts to
skybirds on thermals soaring swooping emotionless joyful.
advancing, the Inspector of Tickets, the Taker of Fares
in his municipal in his green and strident waistcoat authoritarian
stride peaked cap tickets please tickets please tickets
she doesn't have a ticket. money
is alien-tainted hate-polluted isn't worth a damn
to her, let alone railway tickets.
she calls me to the open window – So
she jumps as the train starts to slow - So
she glides to the ground
and turns to me calling follow.
with her - i don't know, not
with her voice at any rate. hidden now
by a wooded glade still calling
MatthewThe silhouette in the back seat seems to say,Matthew5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
what's a few more miles per hour?
Jesus, there ain't any cops around at two AM.
The needle on that glowing green dial shivers, taunting.
After forty days of temptation in the desert,
I turned his breath bitter and blue from nicotine.
The illuminated cone of open road chokes the windshield
And he cranks the gas, feeling his back press against the seat.
A rush of lines and blue-grey pavement.
His fists were scarred, probably thought even Behemoth
was wary of his mirrored sunglasses.
And he thinks: bitch, you're gone,
You're all gone.
Bet you didn't say your prayers right.
He grips the cracked leather steering wheel
Cranks up the radio,
His feet brush crumpled cans
Of beer and Diet Coke
And he feels them holy.
I made him proud of that stain on the wall;
Made his fists bruised from scrubbing and scrubbing.
He stops when it gets light,
Wheels kicking up dust under the dead tree,
Bone-white, like fingers in the sun.
The dust scratches his lungs t
Europe, Twenty-SixAnd there, to the west,Europe, Twenty-Six6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
was a skeleton
that wasnt made of bones
and carried no flesh,
stretched taut across the skyline
and motionless, as if taken surprise
by the sudden black of night.
We gazed across the city,
electrified, two small eyes
peering out from the bright skull.
You lifted your arm,
fingers splayed like dark eyelashes
to catch the bright orbs
of streetlights on the horizon
and cupped them in your hand,
like small candles burning,
flickering luminescent in the midnight pupil.
The Hole in the FenceEveryone knew about the hole in the fence. You went to the back of the park, where the grass gave way to packed dirt, and followed the fence east until you found it. You didn't even have to crawl on the ground -- you could just walk right through the space where the chain links had been torn away from the post.The Hole in the Fence4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When Tina was little, too young to go to the park by herself, she asked her big brother what was on the other side.
"What do you mean? You can see through the fence already."
And he was right. On the other side lay more dirt, and then rocks that eventually led to the foothills. But there was still a mystery about it all. There were rumors of a cave, and of small blind animals that lived in the crevices of the rocks.
But Tina only went through the fence once. The very first time she was allowed to go to the park alone, she found the hole and went through it. She reached the large,
I'll meet her again...Its Samhain. The line between the spiritI'll meet her again...6 years ago in Sestina-ween More Like This
world and our own is a ray of moonlight.
Its the night when the reluctant soul sticks
to our plane, hovering - a withered rose
whose beauty is the figment of a dream;
a gleam gilding the surface of the lake.
For long hours of idyll would the Lake
poets revel in letting their spirit
soar free on the nightingales wings, and dream
of glimpsing their Muse clad in pure moonlight
but tonight magics afoot: clouds just rose
to blur the moon like fumes from incense sticks.
The Romantics habit of rambling sticks
to mind tonight, as I stroll to the lake
and sit down to recall the violent rows
wed have every night, before her spirit
gave itself over to the bland moonlight
and chose to rest and die, not live and dream.
But perhaps tis I thats strayed in a dream?
For in that small nest, fashioned out of sticks,
I see her visage, painted in moonlight.
I glimpse a lady traversing the
Eating HabitsGarlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme, spinach, tomatoes, a little tabasco. The meat came last.Eating Habits5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
With a scowl she scooped out the lard with her hand and slopped it onto the floor, before proceeding to grind the mixture. Baba Yaga sighed. She didn't have to watch her weight in the old days.
Humans these days. So unhealthy.