The Man in the Coffee ShopThe man who works at the coffee shop looks like you. I noticed this some time ago and have since frequented the place. He recognizes me now. He smiles at me when I come in. His smile even looks like yours. He doesn't say hey though- you always said hey.
I still work at the library even though you're not there.
Sometimes I look over to your desk and expect to see you typing at your computer, but someone else is there now. It's not you.
Sometimes someone will come in who looks like you. Maybe he will have the same hair, same stature, same profile, same laugh, same voice. It's never been you.
Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I pull at my hair and scream 'till my lungs burst. I scream for and at you. I ask how you could have left me here.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I will see you again. By chance we will run into each other in a Wal-Mart far away.
I go to the coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons. I order a small chai tea with milk.
Sometimes the man is working at th
Grandfather's BirdGrandfather had a pet bird. Just a small, yellow and white parakeet; he named it Georgie, after Grandmother. Every morning, he would wake up at 6 o'clock, make a pot of coffee, grab the newspaper, and feed the small bird a small pile of birdseed. And he would gently carry the birdcage, and place it on the table and talk to her as he drank his coffee and read the newspaper.Grandfather's Bird4 years ago in Scraps More Like This
"Gas prices are up again Georgie, geez, remember when we could pay 20¢ to fill up our car?"
And sometimes the bird almost chirped in response. Years and years went by, and Grandfather grew older, and he could no longer carry the bird off the shelf, but he would still feed and talk to her at 6 o'clock.
One morning, Grandfather found himself barely able to make it out of bed. He still made his way into the kitchen to feed his dear bird. His hand shook and some birdseed fell to the floor as he carefully moved into the tray into the cage. He slowly made his way to the table so that he could sit down.
Coffee-Stained LetterDear Stranger,Coffee-Stained Letter4 years ago in Letters More Like This
You don't know me. And I don't know you. Maybe it's better that way. But then again, maybe we would be happier if we did know each other.
Right now, I'm sitting at my desk, with the sunlight streaming in the window, writing this letter for you. Hopefully I'll finish it by tonight, so that tomorrow I can take it to the coffee shop on the corner and drop it on the floor, or in your lap, or maybe in the lap of the person next to you so they can give it to you...because they don't seem like the type to read it, so they'll obviously just pass it on.
I like music - except terrible rap. And I love the written word more than most, it baffles some of my friends sometimes. I wonder, do you like to read? I have the tiniest tattoo I've ever seen, it's a tiny fairy on my ankle, but you can't see her unless you're looking for her and know where to look...like a real fairy, they're good at hiding too you know. I saw a fairy once. She was hiding behind the strawberries in my garden. I t
The Architect's DaughterGrowing up, the drafting table was a strange contraption lording over the basement and over the crown of her then small head. As she slowly came to understand the table's function, it came to teach her that A) work and home are inseparable, and B) the world is flat. Skyscrapers collapse into thin piles of layered printer paper and torn, pen-marked transparency sheets. Mountains and forests reduce to stacked shapes. Fathers compile into cramped calendars.The Architect's Daughter4 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Now the early lessons are thoroughly embedded. Art and architecture are inseparable in her mind. The easel is her own table, similar to a draughtsman's and yet completely different in the ways that matter. She is not a draughtswoman or a designer. Instead, exactly like children imitate their parents naïvely, she plays at being an architect, mimicking the actions but doing them backwards. Architects use flat means to create real objec
The Neighbors Strange things began to happen when the Garcias moved into the ramshackle house next door. Or, at least people were implying that they were the cause of all the odd phenomena. I mainly did what I was told and stayed clear of the couple's territory.The Neighbors5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Rural life, as I experienced it, had its advantages and disadvantages. The good part was that we didn't have the luxuries of mobile phones or cable television and this made life more exciting. Children weren't cooped up at home watching DVDs or playing video games; we were always outside, running amok under the sun.
As for the bad parts, well, we would never even say them out loud. There were just things in the countryside that we simply couldn't understand, like how my best friend's father once burned half of an old acacia tree accidentally and woke up the next day with half of his body searing with blisters, or how wandering little boys suddenly vanis
One LoveI'm not enough.One Love4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I'm not super-human, not a hero either. I'm just me. Me. And what I am might not be what you need.
But I'll try.
I can promise you as much. I can try to be what you need and I can do it for the rest of my life. If I could just nearly be what you need, what he was, it'll be enough. It has to be enough because I'm not the perfect piece, I'm misshaped and confused and so madly in love with you.
Yet I'm not him.
I'll never be.
You loved him. And part of you, the one he took, always will. I can only hope the small part left can learn not to long after the one missing. I can only hope it'll learn to move on and someday - perhaps who knows? will notice me.
Sometimes I just I I just want to be everything to you.
People don't call me a fool for no reason, you know? Though I prefer to think of myself as an idealist and show them wrong. I know... I know they're wrong. I can be everything to somebody else; I can fulfil my lover's every need
I'm finePaint splattered like dying sobs across the wide emptiness,I'm fine4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Running away like ink from bloody fingertips.
It's close enough to midnight not to matter
And these words are written with hands
Shaking from forced apathy.
A voice lingered,
It sounded like yours,
Or else it was the pages falling closed,
A regretful sigh in the early hours of the end of the world.
The television's on repeat; it's crying for help
And I thought it might have been you,
But it was the angels instead.
They circle like carrion
And steal all of what I wanted to tell you
About the meaningless feelings I've been having,
Replacing instead with the poignant:
The lie is beautiful, undeniable, evident
And so firmly established that questioning it
Would be the action of someone who cares.
The light is thick and liquid
And seeping into my veins in order to cut off circulation
To something that's supposed to be important,
But I've forgotten somewhere.
Somewhere in a place where the snow falls black,
The birds are
instead, instead, insteadi can't remember the last time i saw you.instead, instead, instead4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
instead, i trace your name
along my arm:
goosebumps like braille, raw
the soft side of my wrist
you've never touched.
i know me better than i know you
and i don't know me at all.
i can't remember the last time i spoke to you.
instead, i erased your number
from my phone:
i'll miss your static, my poor
pretending to have nothing to say.
you never guessed that i was penning novels
beneath my tongue.
what i do remember is
the last time i was whole:
my hand and yours
now i'm left with splintered palms and
ghosts between my fingers.
StarsIt isStars4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when our eyes
I see you
reflected in your eyes
you don't feel
Mr. LizardI remember when I was finally able to convince my parents to buy me a pet lizard. I was so excited! It lived inside a wooden cage with a wire mesh in front. I named it Mr. Lizard. I wasn't very good at coming up with names.Mr. Lizard4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Everyday, when I came back home from school, I'd go to my room and would feed Mr. Lizard a cricket. I thought that was the neatest part about having a lizard. It was fun to watch as the cricket hopped around inside the cage as Mr. Lizard eyed it. I kept thinking, "Oh man, I wonder when he'll eat the cricket!" Then "Munch!" It was done. I was somewhat disgusted by it, but at the same time fascinated.
One night, I was watching a nature show on TV and the people in it were trying to rescue some animals that were captured illegally and being sold as pets. They managed to save a few and then released them back into the wild. Everyone was hap
Writer's BlockThe numbers on my desk calendar started to blend together as my eyes began to close and I dozed off. I regained consciousness with a start, and I involuntarily slammed my hand down to what should have been my desk.Writer's Block4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Wh-where am I?"
"Oh my dear! We certainly weren't expecting you today; we would have cleaned up a bit. Heh, you see, we're having a bit of a well technical difficulty." Said a round, rather pleasant woman wearing a polka-dot dress with a nametag simply saying "Dot."
I looked around; I was in a large, disorganized office with people and papers scrambling with bundles of copy paper. I grabbed a paper from the desk beside and read:
Boy with schizophrenia and his life with his imaginary
The ink faded out and I couldn't read the rest.
I picked up the paper and held it out to the woman demanding an answer.
"What is this? Who are you and what sort of place is this?"
"Well dear, that is an idea, yours actually, we've been having a problem with our machine, we see
when you wake up fromshe fascinates you. you know she shouldn't but she does. there's something about her wide baby-blue eyes invading her skeletal face, about her bony frame, those slender wrists, the way the illness has invaded her completely, inch by inch working its way through every molecule in her devastated body. it has taken her over, ironically enough it has devoured her, devastated her, yes, devastated, that's the perfect word.when you wake up from4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
perfection. it's what she's trying to reach because she doesn't realize that it's what she already has. she is too poetic to be real but too real to be merely a metaphor so she is fading away, dying slowly. her tragedy -- her actual, painfully visible tragedy -- is that she is too beautiful. she doesn't even realize it and that is why she starves, becomes thinner and thinner until someday a breath of wind will come and fly her away, in fact it has but somehow she is still here and she doesn't like it. it would have destroyed most people, her illness, would have ripped thei
GuiltyThe room was small and cold. Everything in the room was white. Sterile. There were two people in the room: a man and a woman. The man was tall, middle-aged, with short brown hair and rimless glasses. He wore a long white jacket and stood behind a tall white table. The woman was young, in her early twenties, with long mousy brown hair and a small nose. She looked frightened and small, standing next to the comparatively giant man.Guilty4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She turned to face the man. "Yes, sir?"
"You are not permitted to speak."
"You are hereby charged guilty of crimes against this woman," he said. He gestured to the frightened woman beside him.
"But I didn't-"
"Do not speak. You have caused unnecessary pain, suffering, humiliation, discomfort, inconvenience, hardship, and undesired responsibility to fall upon this woman. The penalty for such crimes is death."
"But what did I-"
small talkhe doesn't do small talk; never has done in the seven-or-so years i've known him. he's a cut-to-the-chase kind of guy i met in a down-town pub. i'd been drinking he hadn't and he lent me an arm for the three miles home.small talk4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"irresponsible… alone… could have been hurt…” - the only snatches of his tirade i remember now.
we met again, a week later, in that same down-town pub. i bought him a drink - a thank you (soft, of course) - and basked in his approval at my own orange and lemonade. i once swore i’d never change for any man.
we got talking, there in the bar. the hum of the underage youths larking around by the pool table and the sound of whatever song was favourite that day faded away. we talked on our island, our utopia, until my ten o'clock curfew brought it down around our feet.
he walked me home again, and on my doorstep i pulled away from
For My DaughterDear daughter-I-do-not-have-yet,For My Daughter3 years ago in Letters More Like This
You will be my perfect. You will be my proudest moments in one small person. You will be made in love, or maybe anger, or maybe even desperation. But that won't matter. What matters is what you will be made into.
You will have Daddy's hair and his nose, and my eyes and my smile, the smile that happens not because someone with a camera told you to, but because you're genuinely happy. But you will have your very own heart and will be full of all the things that give you your you-ness. Whether you sing in the bath or make Valentines for everyone in your class or give your last homemade chocolate chip cookie to the boy sitting alone at recess.
I will write you poems and stories about how you are my miracle. I will read them to you sometimes, just to remind you. As you grow, not a day will go by that I'm not thankful for everything you are. You will be dazzling and beautiful and brilliant and compassionate and playful and curious and all of the things
Something like fate, they saidI never did like the way you would swing your car around those curves by my house when you drove me home in the middle of the night. I was never one to be cautious, but with you I felt like the world was rushing away and we were just speeding to keep up.Something like fate, they said4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I don't like to say "we", you know, I don't like to say "us". But most times, I don't know what to say; that boy and I, that thief and I, that breaker of promises, that killer of dreams, that boy outside my window when I'm trying to stay sane.
(I hate you, I think, I really do.)
You were all stubble and long legs and hands like the moon, and my bruises fit your finger prints like a glove. I was too young for you then, I'm too young now, and you were too raw and worn and burned beyond recognition, a dragon I was never meant to see. But as your odometer pushed eighty and your fingers pushed through my spine, you said rules didn't apply to you, you were the dark clouds that watched the sun pass, you were what god wished he was. You put th
Recipe for Disaster196 NationsRecipe for Disaster4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
1 Nuclear Strike
1 Retaliation Maneuver
6 Billion Dead
Don't bother baking -
the radiation will take care of it.
This is How I Want YouI want you at 4am rubbing the sleep from your eyes,This is How I Want You4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sighing like the last breath
of a distant thunderstorm.
I want you in dark wash
jeans, white socks and black shoes,
pulling each article off
and leaving the exposed skin for me
to brush my fingertips against
and revel in the faint tremors.
I want you entangled
in my bedsheets
counting the pieces of my spine,
and the hours til dawn. I want
every synapse to crackle
with electric charge, with
I want you,
your heavy, solid warmth
pressing down and concentrating all its force just below my navel,
to leave me struggling for air.
I want you between
the rustle of hair and the curl of toes,
between the first gasp of shock and the last
groan of bliss
(and somewhere in the middle
find the time
Why I Am HappyThe boy sitting on the park bench had eyes like sandpaper melancholy.Why I Am Happy4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I think I noticed because I am a poet. I don't think anyone else but a poet could look at his eyes and think, "sandpaper melancholy." But they were that color. A fair brown. And grainy. I liked them in the way I like bitter baking chocolate -- because it has an interesting flavor, not because it is sweet. Unadulterated chocolate is almost unpalatable.
We like sugary chocolate because it has been changed. Adulterated. Oh.
Could tears clean out the roughness in his eyes?
That is why I am happy. I cry the Sorrow out, since poets are not afraid to do that sort of thing. The hunger of starving artists makes us sensitive.
He seemed like one of the people that can be Happy while Sorrow constantly nags on their heartstrings. Like, "Ha, ha, that film was funny!" but after the film is over there is nothing to distract you so tugtug! you remember being sad. They're always sad, but they can't always remember. He seemed ok
CalamityI keep expectationsCalamity4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in my back jean pocket
and i tuck disappointment
into the folds of my shirts
they stay with me always
while confidence makes friends
with the dust bunnies under my bed
I store empty promises
under the weight of my spine
crushed by back bone shoulder blades
turned from fragile bones to wings that will never fly
and there is always anger
hidden beneath my fingernails
flooding my lungs until I can no longer breathe
while pleasure and pride
become the lost love child
of closets and old shoe boxes
frustration sleeps in my veins
accumulating like blood clots
incompetence makes itself at home
in the spaces between bones
and happiness loses itself
in shoes that don't fit
and sweatshirts that no longer hold warmth
The Dream-Makers The clouds are beautiful today.The Dream-Makers8 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I watch them from behind someones eyelids as she sleeps beneath a tree with a book in her lap. For a while I imagine the way the trees must feel as the breeze sways them; I have not felt a true breeze in so long. And then I turn back to the depths of the girls mind and carry on with my work. After all, dreams do not create themselves.
I don my black shawl and turn to the little dream form of the girl. Falling into my character, I cluck my tongue and point at the forest that materializes in her subconscious. Beware the monsters that live within the woods, my dear.
But why? Her dream self looks puzzled and calm as only dream people canthey have no real danger to fear.
I shake my head, following whose directions I will never know, and merely say, Beware the monsters, my dear, especially the ones with pretty faces.
When I Think of TeaShe often invited me for tea. I remember muddy tennis shoes or bright pink jellies left at her front step as she opened the world to me behind her faded red door. Her house fascinated me with its intricate paintings and macabre souvenirs stuck in every available space.When I Think of Tea4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was amazing, too; of course. Mrs. Pratchett carried a rumor mill around her wherever she walked, leaving bits of herself behind in tantalizing flakes eager tongues lapped up and dished back out to anyone with ears. The town knew her as everything from a rich widow to a voodoo priestess, but I knew her as my neighbor.
She sent out her invitation to tea in autumn more than any other season. Most days I bounded down the bus steps to find her sitting on her porch with a book. A nod and a wink, and we rushed inside for tea. The kettle always whistled just as I set my backpack by the door and slid into my spot at her kitchen table.
There we drank tea and talked about life. Her tea tasted like the autumn days she loved: gol
How To Be Lonelyi.How To Be Lonely5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The first step to acceptance is to be like others. Like a flower, almost, in your pleated skirt and saddle shoes, starched white blouse radiant, you stand in the coat room of Mrs.Lund's first grade classroom and wish you had worn something, anything, different. Afraid to venture in to the snarling maw of children that would encompass you and swallow you whole, you stand shivering in the musky stench of rain boots and plaid coats until the teacher, fed up, steers you by the arm to the office and insists to speak with the principal. You know he'll phone your mother, but for some reason you don't care as you gaze in to the sticky circular patterns in the wallpaper and glance at the stack of manila envelopes on the secretaries desk that she meticulously sifts through while humming underneath her breath. She doesn't look at you. You're blending in.
You lose your virginity in a coat room, soggy from an afternoon shower, fumbling with his zipper though your hands are numb from the cold
i have you bookmarked -vii. Sometimes breakfast, lunch and dinner were like art; food was flung from each corner, creating a futile canvas on every wall. I played a scale of musical doors as they slammed one by one. I'm sure I broke a fewi have you bookmarked -4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
vocalchords too. He was always right beside me, yet so far.
But we mingled together. When his hand gripped mine with his feathery touch, it seemed okay to pretend. Maybe my mind still needed to develop, needed watering. Or maybe together we just made feelings obsolete.
iv. And we did.
We sat on park benches blowing smoke kisses and watched movies, that only seemed good because everything else on TV was crap.
Bubblegum. Pot. Gallons of ice-cream. We fed two pigeons and named them Ben and Jerry. We danced to Genesis, even though we both knew that they were possibly the most overplayed band in the world-universe-all-shopping-centers-in-London-ever.
At night we slipped between the park gates and sat by the lake. It felt like the moon was right ne
The Black Bag The problem was simple, really. I was a little too drunk. Me and my buddy Jake though, we found it simple to walk with a stagger and laugh a little too loud, a simple problem. The day was pretty good, pretty drunk.The Black Bag4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The hours passed easy until Max came out of his pawnshop. Max never leaves his pawnshop. He looked so worried and strange I had to squint to be sure it was him. He got us interested, walking toward my buddy and me with trouble written all over his face. Trouble is something a man can relate to from time to time, somehow.
Max walked right up to us and put his hand on my shoulder, thowing me off balance for his remark.
"I need your help, boys," he said.
Jake laughed. "Hey, Max needs our help!"
I nodded and tried to look serious to hide the surprise that made me want to laugh too. I thought it could b