Across No Man's Land0900 hours, December 25
"Her name was Anna," the English soldier said, "our wedding would have been today, if I hadn't been drafted. She was always religious, said her childhood dream was to get married on Christmas."
"I had a wife," the German soldier replied in barely accented English. "Broke her heart when the conscription letter came."
It was an odd scene, this was, two people who had previously been trying to kill each other, talking now like old mates.
1200 hours, December 25
"I get letters from my mother every few weeks, she just can't seem to stop worrying."
"Me too, and my son as well. Always warning his daddy not to get hurt."
Odd indeed, but today it was a scene that was being replicated all along the Western Front, enemies brought together by the day of our Lord.
1500 hours, December 25
"Could I join you for lunch? Our next shipment of rations hasn't come in yet."
Men who had been fighting so brutally the day before, laying down their wea
The SketchHe loses his first kiss in autumn. He's twelve, she's just turned thirteen, and at the time he isn't sure what all the fuss is about but knows how special it is anyway.The Sketch1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
She's gorgeous, pale-skin, brown hair, dark eyes always filled with happiness and joy the way he wishes he could be. She doesn't want to be there any more than he does, and they grouse to each other about how they don't need a 'special school.' It's the first time he's worked up the courage to say it.
She carries a book too, just like his sketchbook, but she says it's a diary. It's hung with a little lock on the front and he jokes about it being the key to her heart, a little boy's poor attempt at flirting but she laughs anyway. He wants to hear that laugh again, and he does, when he shyly asks if he can draw her.
It's half-way through his sketch that she leans in and presses her soft lips to his. It's a little clumsy and awkward, given how she's standing up and he's cross-legged on the ground, and nowhere as romantic l
Rewritten RomanceI'd like to rewrite things the way they should have been. I'd like to believe that you were ripped away from me against your will. I'd like to start at the courtyard. That courtyard with the placid little pond and the moon gliding silently overhead. Let's say that it was jasmine clinging to the walls. And let's say that we were tranquil with wine.Rewritten Romance3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
We were speaking softly to each other. Plans about the future. Dreams I'd been conjuring from the time I was a girl. I was murmuring my hopes to the quiet night when, without warning, your fingers found my open palm and brushed against it with gentle ease. The sweet zing lit my arm on fire and the fire travelled to my breast. Suddenly I couldn't remember any dream I'd ever had. I could only stare at the eroded stone fountain and study the patches of green and beige moss clinging to it as I worked to free the breath caught in my chest.
I looked into your eyes then and saw them smiling at me. They were still and glittering with wonder. Let's sa
a thing with feathersMy semi-permanent lover,a thing with feathers3 years ago in Scraps More Like This
laying on a deflatable bed
like the cool, clean scent of you lingering on my skin,
only six days left to live,
explaining things your dog will never understand,
like where you're going,
and why you won't be home after work anymore,
and how he'll have to sleep on the cold hardwood floor
and not tangle his bony legs with ours during the night.
When you hold his graying brindle face in your palms
and tell him you may never see him again,
I, sitting out of sight behind you, fight tears.
But he only stares, trusting, doggish, back at you,
unable to conceive of a day when your suntanned, callous-roughened hands
are not there to give him a belly-rub,
or grab his muzzle and rough-house with him, the two of you like puppies
growling and wiggling across our bed.
Later, when I am curled up small beside you,
my head resting on the too-thin, too-mortal layers
encasing the beating, churning organs that allow your lips to kiss
and your arms to hold,
It's MagicOnce there was a girl who was born from a stone and she had a star for a heart. One day she met a boy and put her heart in his hands. And it was magic.It's Magic5 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Toby didn't get along with the other children at recess. Toby didn't get along with the other children at all. It wasn't that they didn't want to be his friend - children are so accepting at that age - but Toby had no interest in them. So he left them alone, and they him.
At the edge of the playground, just barely within school grounds, there was a little hillock, like the rounded belly of a pregnant woman. The hill bore a massive, gnarled oak. Its branches spread like a canopy, turning the grass, dandelion and clover-studded, into its own shady glade, a meadow elevated above the shouts and laughter of the children at play. Running beside the hill, and out of bounds to students at recess, was a little creek. It was a simple thing, and Toby delighted in it. He sat every day, from the beginning until the end of recess, against the
I. The Koi in the Pondthe lightI. The Koi in the Pond3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
came before the darkness
because there is no darkness
only the places
where we cannot see the light
A life. - Draft OneHear me read it!A life. - Draft One3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
We were thrust, unexpectedly, into a tumultuous and decaying world. I refused to open my eyes because all about me were tears and screaming. Her voice was clinical, cynical and cold. See no.. Hear no.. With a shy, initial grasp for breath I felt the tinge of sulphuric malignance infuse into my body. My body spasmed and my voice strangled out its first sound. What a sound. For my primitive mind it could have been enough to ward off my enemies. To purify the air and neutralise the suffocating hostility. It wasn't.
Sometimes they would laugh, which I understood to be hurtful.. but with a curious glance in their direction I realised I did not feel it. The venom would pulsate through my organs now, indefinable; the difference between it and I. I had been here too long already. They knew I was different, but to my dimming eyes they were equally so. So they laughed, and I only cried when they're laughter reminded me of the share
Close ReadingHow do you readClose Reading3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a spiritual poem?
Listen for the silences
that resonate within the lines,
between the poet's words,
that set up sympathetic
vibrations in the secret depths
of the mind.
That which you might discover
lies beyond the amplitude of speech.
Butterfly"Have you always been a bumblebee?"Butterfly3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Of course! Haven't you always been a butterfly?"
The butterfly snorted. "Of course not. How boring! Life is too short to stay the same all the time."
The bumblebee frowned, skeptical. "But that's ridiculous. How could you have ever been something else? What were you?"
"I used to be a caterpillar. You know, the world is much different when you're stuck that close to the ground." The butterfly's blue wings shimmered.
The bumblebee just stared, bug-eyed. "But how?" he demanded.
"Sorry, trade secret," the butterfly winked. "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."
The frown of the bumblebee deepened, and he lifted off of the sunflower they had been sharing.
"Fine," he said. "If you're just going to be making up stories, I might as well leave."
The butterfly followed him through the air. "What's wrong with making up stories?" She asked. "Not that I am, because I wasn't, but really, what's so bad about it? Stories are magic."
LoverHe couldn't care less about her adoration for philosophy;Lover3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the way the word 'existentialism' rolled off her tongue
and gave her nostalgia, how solipsism infuriated her,
the way she became fascinated with hail that broke glass.
In fact, he despised how she remembered every bone
in the human body and how she compared them
to other things: "The pelvic girdle is just misshapen wings
and the carpals are like tiny stones you find on beaches."
What he loved was the way her eyes stole his essence,
how his skin would be gnawed on by shivers and tingling,
how she'd masticate potassium and roll her tongue when
she ingested vitamin c.
Quite frankly, she gave him a hard-on.
LilacsStage four lung cancer, they said. Six months, at best. You held on for so long, chemotherapy jovially turning you from a white haired lady in to a wig topped moppet. Vitamin C treatments, pills, sleep. Doctors, hospitals, tears and upset stomachs. To make you feel better, we announced that I was pregnant with your eleventh grandchild, and we hoped to God in Heaven that you would meet her. And you did. You clutched her to you with the fierce passion of somebody who has created a life inside of them and spooned her cake on her first birthday...and a month later you faded away.Lilacs3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
When the call came, I was sitting on my living room floor. It was my birthday, quietly I turned another year older while you hummed along on machines in a hospital room, far from me. Far from anywhere I needed you to be, and the last place I wanted. It was just before midnight, everything was peaceful, I was content. Contemplative.
We had been in to see you earlier, I stopped by, chatted for just a while. You coul
Puzzle-PerfectBold. Beautiful. Shattering. Screaming. Open.Puzzle-Perfect3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
There's something tangibly, achingly desperate about you. Your words, your smile, your vivid dreaming that causes you to insist that I'm only another part of your imagination... that is, until the icy-sharp air bursts into your face and you remember your name, my name, the color of words. The truth. It's a little bit difficult to convince you that you're wrong nearly all of the time, that your reasoning is insanely driven by the misfiring neurons in your puzzle-broken brain that's malfuctioning half of the time and lost the other half of the day.
Nobody has ever come even halfway-close to figuring you out. [Nobody ever will].
Your imperfection is what makes everybody at once draw back and fall for you. Except. Except you don't really know that. You're much too distracted in your attempts to think in straight lines and make sense of the bewilderingly crazy world [you] we live in. You're much too absorbed i
Date A Girl Who WritesDate a girl who will argue with you over which brand of pen is better. Who needs more RAM on her computer because of Word files, not game files. Who has two bookcases one for filled notebooks and one for other author's works.Date A Girl Who Writes2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Find a girl who writes. You know it's her because she'll always have a pen and a notebook with her. Occasionally a tape recorder. She's the one who would have as much fun at home on a Saturday night with her computer as she would out at a party.
You see the weird girl sitting on a park bench looking engrossed in watching the people that walk? That's the writer. They watch people, how they act, they discover how people work. All for research. For their next big novel.
She's the girl hunched over a laptop at the coffee shop, or a notepad. Her fingers are moving so fast they're only a blur to you. Her previously fresh-cooked muffin is now cold. Her tea has simmered down to a lukewarm. Sit down. She won't notice you for a moment, she's lost in a different world
Wishbonei.Wishbone3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
You taught me that every river has a ribcage
filled with crayfish and cast-off pebbles
and a whisper where the heart should be.
If you look the currents in the eye
you will find a wishbone jutting from the gaps and
gasping for air, a stray limb or
misguided root that has forgotten
how to grow toward the sun. Grab both ends
until the fault line stretches all the way
to the ocean. You will hear it splinter,
the marrow dripping out like hot wax or
some frozen nectar
bled from unsuspecting sky.
This is where the evening
splits in two: one half scribbled hastily
on the back of a shedding rainstorm and the other
devoured by lightning-glut
and forged into the trunks of willow trees. The horizon
is not a boundary, but a reminder that the stars
are not immortal and even light must sleep.
Watch the night at quarter-phase. The moon
like a pendant from the sky's breast--
it is only the husk of another dead planet
whose corpse came too close to our gravity.
disorderly, not a disorder.All of my friends have pretty eyes, because I'm convinced that they might see a prettier world than me. Mine are little more than holes in my face, originally hazel but usually b l a c k.disorderly, not a disorder.3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
Our garden is filled with flora of all scents, flavours and appearances, but all I see are the misshaped petals, hunchbacked spines and corroded barb wires regardless of their individual p-pulchritude. I value the withering and the withered, those with no shell for their vertebrae and no petals for their stigmas. At least they are so glaringly flawed that there are no foibles left to unknowingly search for.
I fall in love with silhouettes because anything tangible h u r t s. Little jagged pills are the bane of my life and concealed, violent red paths narrate a story of everything in it. I spent so much time in hospitals that everything smells like grief and disinfectant.
I see imagination three-dimensionally. The dark shadows curling around my body aren't so false anymore. They ar
Laboriouslyi. Unfurl the la from your tongue, bright and with apple-tinted, soft clarity. There is no more undiluted syllable than this; think of Greece, or Paris; balloons, or blackbirds. It should be perfumed, falling onto your skin like sanctified water, like a bell-chime, like a benediction.Laboriously3 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
ii. Loop the bor round your teeth, a tight and firm blue wire made from dusky smoke that can't be held. Take it slow; revel in the depth and touch of the sound, swing it in a curve with no bottom. Roll it, deep, and feel the power rumble in your stomach.
iii. The rious is the sweetest part. Think of darling, ruthless predators with glinting little canines and incisors. Show them like a beautiful, caring, careless threat. Laugh into it. Ree-ous. Smile. Hear the meat-eating, minute giggle and the unbound glee you hide during this syllable, a trivial but essential part of a beautiful, heavy word. Enchant those before you with this one, quick and nimble
ApplesMya was dancing. She had on a beautiful, white dress that flowed when she twirled. Everyone was watching her, but without the usual expressions of contempt. They looked at her like she was pretty. They were awestruck at the grace and beauty of her dance. They looked at her like she was white.Apples2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Mya, wake up child!"
Mya opened her eyes and saw her grandmother looking over her. She'd just been dreaming. She was still lying on a bed of thin straw and dressed in dirty rags. Mya danced across the room, still in a good mood from the rush of dancing in front of all the white folks in her dream. Her deepest wish, besides freedom, was to learn how to dance formally. She'd seen the white men twirl their women. It looked better than almost anything in the world; especially, her nightmarish world.
She fixed breakfast for her grandmother and her little, twin sisters, then finally, for herself. She gave the better food to the others and only took a crus
May 2011 Quick Fictions5/2May 2011 Quick Fictions3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The sounds in my head were better. They resonated like something physical, using drums like timpanis so I could feel the tiny vibrations gain waveform and strength. The sounds had colors too; thunderclaps were a dark blue undercut with a black that ate into them, and steamed and molded; voices were different depending on who spoke them. My mother's was green, lightning-jagged shapes gilded in yellow: "Don't growl at me! What do you think you are?" So it was a bad day. I pushed my face against my blankets and turned away from her, hoping to give her a blanket-rounded pyramid of thin shoulder. A pharaonic monument to the immortality of teenage unconcern. Had I growled? I suppose I had. Maybe a small, gray, growl. It was warm under my blankets and it was early; some time around six o'clock in the morning. I could trust my internal clock. It didn't say six in the little round number but it said six in a sense of darkness outside the window. I heard birds, chittering, percussive little
traditionalismi am the unrequitedtraditionalism3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
optimism of a generation sunk
by love drunk parental units
who value friendship over authority
and teach their children
nothing. i am desperate dysphoria,
slicked along the spines of whale-men
and elephant-women who think
one more chip will stave off the craving.
i am gay humans in Uganda, low castes in India,
the disappearing middle class of America --
each shrieking in harmony to the swelling
wallets of the rich and moral-less.
i am the present, atrophied and apathetic
to the siren song of the future.
CartwheelsI stood on the front porch, heart racing. I clutched the railing with white knuckles, my fear fresh from the latest of many panic attacks. I struggled to breathe, slowly in, slowly out, just like my counselor had instructed. The therapy wasn't helping so far, and that scared me more than anything.Cartwheels3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Slowly I started to hear the voices of people walking by, and I relaxed slightly. The normalcy of their conversations calmed me more effectively than anything else I knew. I kept the radio on 24/7 for that very reason.
When I started to recognize faces, I knew the worst was over. Mrs. Krane knelt studiously over her flowerbeds across the street, and Mr. Henderson leaned against his white picket fence, chatting with his son about their weekend fishing trip. Everything was fine; I was fine.
Two voices floated above the others, and I looked down the street curiously. A boy and a girl, each no more than six years old, were making their way down the sidewalk. She was skipping, and he was walking b
Time Goes to the MarketTime Goes to the MarketTime Goes to the Market4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
He buys a clock, but never
sets it; he doesn't know
what time to set it to.
Time doesn't use numbers.
The clock becomes
his adopted son. He
names him Rojo and
drives him to the park
on Sunday afternoons.
Time doodles the infinity symbol
on a piece of paper and
cries, "I love you, mom!"
She's here--goes on forever--but
never stops to visit. He takes
his angst out on people:
always leaving when he's most needed.
how to eat a cupcakei spread the contents of my lunch out with a flourish, crumpling the brown paper bag in one handhow to eat a cupcake3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
carelessly, i glance down
because in the messy crime zone that is my lunch, there lies a cupcake
an innocent cupcake with white frosting that swirls to a point
topped with a little thunderstorm of sprinkes.
mostly blue ones.
and for the next moment
i cannot breathe
because we, he and i, used to split a cupcake every so often.
especially when we had one of those days where we would feel like skipping through the halls and singing our hearts out as we went.
he loved cupcakes with white frosting and mostly blue sprinkles.
i remember the way he would pick off every sprinkle except for the one in the center.
and the way he would sort each color into little neat piles.
we would playfully argue about who would eat the last, center, sprinkle, but he would always let me have it
until i would break it in half and hand half of my life to him with that sprinkle
after the sprinkles, we would