SynesthesiaI fell in love with a pianist's hands.
They danced across my skin in minuets, his fingers tripping cadenzas up and down my spine. He brushed sonatas through my hair and across my shoulders, pianissimo. I trembled beneath his trills. The primal, earnest rage of Bach swelled in hot crescendos along my throat, beneath my ribs, guided by his hands --- Mozart, coolly logical, raised goosebumps down my arms --- Chopin soothed the fire and finally calmed my hammering heart.
I fell in love with a pianist's hands, listening from the back of the coffee shop while my lungs fought for breath, making wishes until he was gone.
CassandraEven in death, Cassandra was lovely.Cassandra3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Her hair cascaded over her ivory shoulders in sable cataracts, pooling in the soft hollow between her breast and throat. She was wearing the white nightgown, the one she knew I loved, and the fall had thrown it up, weightless, in gossamer drifts across her legs. Her bare toes were painted salmon-pink, the same colour as the roses in the crystal vase by the door.
So elegant, my Cassandra. I might have expected that she would sprawl, as one imagines that people do when they have died suddenly, but her body refused to surrender its accustomed grace. One hand curled beside her face; the other lay, palm up, across her cocked hips, its open fingers tenderly beckoning. Her eyes were closed, peaceful, the fringe of dark lashes sooty and familiar upon her fading cheek. Her lips were parted in expectation. At any moment, she would wake, look up at me, smile. Cassandra.
My hand found the banister, gripped the aged wood and guided me down the stairs, through th
Cry outPoets find your presence in the fire and the storm.Cry out3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
They seek you in majesty.
They look at mountains and see the ridges of your thumbprint.
They cry your praise when you paint the autumn.
They throw open their hearts to the sun.
They marvel as the cold kernel stirs to life.
But you are in the bitter days as well,
the afternoons so dull I could weep.
You are the maker of anthills as well as mountains,
and the stately wake of the single crackled leaf.
You drew the colour from the sunset and breathed grey fog.
You kill some seeds, barren rocks that litter the ground and will never grow.
You are in despair as well as in triumph -- perhaps
even more, for despair is a magnet for your mercy.
If I look hard, I can see you in linoleum tiles,
in the ugly things squeezed out by human hands.
Even in flicker of acetylene,
you are there.
Break me of my addiction to glory.
Show me your face while my eyes are still open.
Erase the illusions.
Bring mundane peace.
The Siren - 2In the dream, Sandie was weightless. She had dreamed that sort of thing before, though, and understood that it would not last. When she dreamed that she was floating, it was only a matter of time before she dreamed that she fell.The Siren - 23 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
It was an odd sensation, floating there in the dream. She could hear the world cars and a dog and the rumble of a jet passing overhead but there was nothing to see. She tried to raise her hand in front of her face, but she had no hand, either.
I'm a Presence, she decided. A Presence floating in space. That was comforting, because a Presence could not fall. She listened to the sound of the highway.
It was not so much a voice as a thought, less of a word than an impulse, sort of like Sandie imagined binary code might feel to a computer. She tried to shake her head, figure out whether it was her ears or her brain that had received the message. But she had no ears, and it did not feel like she had a brain, either, and as
Chemical Attractions, Pt IIWe can learn a lot from hydrochloric acid.Chemical Attractions, Pt II3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Not the whole dangerously-corrosive part, of course, though I admit that a lot of people probably find us two a bit hard to stomach. A dynamic duo we are not.
What I mean is that dance they do - shy glances across a crowded room (beaker?) as Hydrogen and Chlorine each quietly regret their incompleteness, feeling that hole where another electron ought to be, but never willing to resort to online dating... They were probably lab partners in high school, and then a couple of years later found themselves across the table from one another in that sophomore Shakespeare class, then side-by-side in Differential Equations. But they did their work and answered questions and never made more eye-contact than was necessary.
And then there was that day in the early autumn when Chlorine absent-mindedly collected Hydrogen's laundry from the dryer and started to fold it simply because it was a neighbourly thing to do, and there was that spark of understanding
SacrificeYou are goneSacrifice3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
but I remain
alone and mourning
I would devour the earth
I would drink the seas dry
I would burn the sky
and boil all human tears to nothing
I would put out the stars
I would spit on the sun
and salt my wounded eyes
to touch your hand once more.
But I am a servant
a child of dust
with no power to touch the sky.
So I will touch my heart instead
and since you cannot come back to me,
I will go to you, my hope
touch my heart and still it,
and I will come to you.
Chemical Attractions, Part IWe can learn a lot from salt.Chemical Attractions, Part I3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The chlorine atom is fundamentally lacking, longing to fill that gaping hole in its valence shell, and those bright bits of energy dancing in amorphous clouds around a sodium atom are just too tempting for the poor chlorine to resist. Chlorine probably knows that it has no claim to those electrons. It might lie awake at night for days or weeks in a fit of conscience, seeking alternatives before sending out tentative feelers and inviting Sodium to join it for coffee... It's a romantic comedy in minature, and I think that we can skip over the montage of dates and dinners and late nights on the couch in front of a forgotten movie, set to some perky but meaningless tune of the early Nineties.
It's only much later, once caught in the throes and tedium of a borderline-abusive relationship, that Sodium begins to understand the true nature of an ionic bond, begins to search and grope in vain for those lost luminous stars that Chlorine stole back in the early days,
The Siren - 3It was only reluctantly that Sandie went to work on Friday morning, but she had to admit that her nails looked awesome. She had settled on neon blue, and Connie had loaned her an eye shadow to match. It gave her a tiny bit of extra confidence, just enough to face a steady stream of coffee-hungry commuters. She flitted between the espresso machine and the rows of syrup bottles, filling orders while she deflected curious sympathy from her co-workers.The Siren - 33 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Connie was the worst.
"So, he didn't take anything?" she verified for the twentieth time. She popped her gum and flipped her glossy black mohawk to the other side of her head.
"Nope. At least, I haven't noticed anything missing yet."
"Nothing?" Connie asked again. She leered and winked. "Nothing at all? I mean, you don't think he snuck in and ravished your unconscious body?"
"What the hell? Where do you get this stuff?"
"From Padre. Not that last part, I mean. He just told me you had a break-in. Bo-ring. Doesn't make a good story to say some
FreedomsYou have the rightFreedoms3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to tell me what I ought to think
how I should believe
what I should accept
and what I must despise.
You have the right
to tell me who I ought to be.
I have the right to ignore you.
let the pieces crumbleShe was every one's favorite girl.let the pieces crumble4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The way she smiles could shatter the coldest of hearts with it's way of eating through your hearts shell to the blackened core. Her smile was a twist of sorts with that half frown-half smile that couldn't seem to figure out what it wanted to be, happy or sad. No one seemed to notice the battle of emotions raging in her head, her smile the only proof of a bloody aftermath.
Her laugh could bring anyone to do her bidding and make their own heart beat again. Her laugh spread like a wildfire and just kept going, even when it's arsonist turned herself in to the police and pledged guilty. Her gray eyes would cloud over as if a churning storm swirled over an empty abyss. The way her eyes shine as if all she sees is the beauty in people and all the magic in the world. They could outshine the sun if she ever wanted them to.
She still smiles like nothing never happened, as if her heart didn't fall into a thousand pieces just because in her ever after, her
In other words, come backShut me upIn other words, come back3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like when you
used to kiss me,
soft and gentle
(I'm tired of throwing
up fire and burning your soul)
that when I wake up tomorrow
I'll see the bright sun
coming in through my window,
and that you will see it with me.
(I'm tired of the curtains being closed
and feeling the cold empty space next to me)
In other words,
for you to understand
what this twisted mind of mine...
is trying to say
SynesthesiaThe nauseous pink, the aching, weary teal,Synesthesia7 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
The burn of olive and the argent throb--
Familiar, all whelm madly and surreal
While two veined lilac glows suppress a sob.
Upon a velvet brown, electric blades
Of blue cut clean the curtain, sleeve to hem,
And trim with cords of fiery green, then shades
Of yellow, frightening; I do not know them.
How strange that, it would seem, into my head,
For unknown reasons and without my leave,
An oil slick was leaked, a rainbow bled,
Which begs this question of what I perceive:
Am I to know such pain that pain needs be
Made in some manner pleasanter for me?
Please...The young man was nearly dead. The rays of Aniela's lantern showed her a trail of glistening black that snaked away from the garden into the fields beyond, ending with the near-corpse at her feet. There could hardly have been a drop of blood left in his body. His face was torn, his fingers mangled from dragging himself across the ground, but the largest part of the problem seemed to be the small, round hole in his jacket, matched by another, slightly larger, on the other side, just beneath his ribcage. But even before she saw his injuries, she had known; the smell of corruption squatted heavy in the garden with its own malign presence.Please...3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Aniela set the lantern down and carefully cut the cloth away from the belly wound, finding shiny blue flesh underneath. The veins stood out black and angry beneath his skin, and she knew that whatever blood he had left was poisoned by the rot.
"Polak?" she asked quietly as she unbuckled his musket strap and set the gun aside, "czy Rosjanin?"
He groaned i
Lent 4- BloodI spend my days bathed in crimson,Lent 4- Blood3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and the scarlet covers my stains.
Blood can drown a multitude of sins.
The drops fall from my fingertips
and bloom as lilies in the parched dust.
I am the colour of the setting sun.
This is the blood of Man, the blood of God.
It washes away the slaughtered bull,
bears away holocausts in its torrential flood.
It is the blood of the living, yours and mine,
spilled from the veins of the unborn and the ancient,
all who have been and will be.
We are the children of blood,
richer than wine, sang real,
dyed ruby, the colour of life.
a kiss upon his cheek.he didn't have a smilea kiss upon his cheek.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
anywhere near his lips.
his expression was blank,
and his eyes were etched from glass;
'i don't care'
they said carefully,
like an unsure whisper.
i don't know why,
but this boy was like nicotine,
like a foggy dream.
he was my rescue,
with warning lights flashing
as he came to my escape.
he didn't have a smile on his lips,
but i wanted them anyway.
A poet's prayerPatron of poets, pray bless me with words,A poet's prayer3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
fill me with rhyming and meaning and song.
Hallow my tongue with a taste for fine verse.
Give me a pen never ceasing to write.
Patron of poets, the earth bore you up,
that all who listened could hear when you spoke.
Grant ears to hear me, though my lines are frail,
maybe a heart to be touched by my hymn.
The Siren - 4Mike brought a pizza for lunch, and the crew piled into the back of his minivan to enjoy it. He disconnected the battery to keep the interior lights from eating up the juice and opened all of the doors to invite a breeze. Even so, the sun turned his car into an oven. At least the pizza was hot.The Siren - 43 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The sign on the Baptist church down the street flashed: "Pray for Rain."
"You feeling okay?" Mike asked. He had on a red plaid shirt that almost managed to hide the pizza-sauce stains. His collar was curled up in the cup holder in the front seat.
"Better," Sandie said. She bit off a string of cheese and helped herself to an orange soda from the cooler. "I mean, it's hard to stay freaked out when you're working the morning rush and you've got twelve caffeine addicts yelling at you over the counter. Would have been easier if Connie would stop bugging me, though."
Connie offered an angelic smile from her place on the bumper. "Not my fault you're loca, mama."
"I guess you guys don't listen to
Drowning The Caged DoveYou used to be alive to me. Once upon a time your skin was warm and touchable. When I held you I used to be able to feel your heart beating in your chest. Now if I dare to touch your rigid body there is nothing but stony skin to brush against mine. I gave up on you.Drowning The Caged Dove3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Recollections of when we first met eat at the corners of my mind. You were as nervous as a caged dove, ashamed to fly, ashamed to sing to me, to kiss me. The last time I kissed your lips they were cold and nearly lifeless. No, not nearly, I know that now. They were lifeless. There was nothing of you left. I ran to you too late. I couldn't save you.
Your eyes are blank and staring. Not dreaming, not aspiring, not wanting, not giving. Just gone. Just nothing. Gazing forever at the black ground above you, the black ground weighing down on you. Six feet of lies and betrayal.
Even ThoughThere will be no caged fingers,Even Though3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
no tendons finely tuned to A from tension.
There will be no clenched teeth, gritting rosin,
to make the final singing note growl.
There will be unwinding bed-sheets,
hands slowly releasing the tuning pegs.
There will be slowly sliding scales
as the four limbs loosen past playing.
There will be a simple, quiet exit,
not to ovation, but to a hushed audience
who anticipate an encore,
even though it is uncertain.
Make My MusicYouMake My Music3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
At this thing in my chest
I call a Heart
But all the while
Your soft touch
Helped me make music
Know just how to
Pluck each vein
Like a violin
And help the chambers
Of my heart keep rhythm
Like a percussion instrument
There is beauty in the
In the way you
Keep me captive
In the way you slowly break me
Push me down
Until I am scattered points of light
To be swept into The Night Sky
The Siren - 5All Sandie learned from her very expensive blood tests was that there was no reason for her to have paid for very expensive blood tests. She did not have leprosy, or hepatitis, or any of a number of different anemias. The news was a comfort, but the check was not.The Siren - 53 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Sandie bought a book of stamps and sent a stack of poems away to the offices of Lead Soldiers, thinking that a small royalty would at least begin to fill the dent that a new door and a medical bill had left in her bank account.
"Maybe you could take up a special collection for me," she told Mike as she got him a glass of water root beer was an unnecessary expense.
"Meh," he said. "Charitable though the cause may be, it doesn't really work that way."
"Shame. I'm going to start getting really sick of ramen in a week or two."
"You can always come share with me. For some reason, people are always bringing me leftover barbecue. Which is nice, don't get me wrong. But they must think I eat like a football team or somet
the art ofit was too late;the art of4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
far too late,
by the time my gaze found his
across the dim and drunken
tangle of a scene.
his eyes were dark, the color
of burning wood and
dust in a foreign country, the
kind of eyes my mother taught
me to fear, and rightly so;
i could already feel his
handprints welling in a
malady of black and
five-o-clock blue just
beneath my skin, bruises
deeper than bone
as i pushed my way
The Siren - 7The thing sat still and silent on Sandie's couch, swathed in the oversized black shirt and faded jeans of some long-ago boyfriend. Its white hands rested, motionless, on Its denim-clad thighs while Its expressionless eyes stared through the wall into nothing. It had not moved in more than half an hour, not even to breathe which only made sense, Sandie thought, since It had been dead and rotting the last time she had seen It.The Siren - 73 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
On the other hand, it was hard to be sure that this visitor was the same one that had shattered her window. The faces were so different, and this one was not dripping, but the voice in her head was the same. It felt the same, what few flashes she had gotten from It.
But after a few minutes, It seemed to have given in to exhaustion and fell into quiet muttering that filled the back of Sandie's head.
She tried to help. She dug up old clothes and helped It to dress, a process not dissimilar to trying to clothe a rag doll. She asked what It needed, both aloud an
The SirenThere was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.The Siren3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
She wrung the coffee out of the front of her shirt, made damn sure that all of her doors and windows were locked, and called Mike.
"Yeah? Sandie? That you?"
"You don't know anything about this, do you?"
"Mike, there's a zombie on my back porch. It's leaving smears on the glass door. Is it yours?"
"I... Could you repeat that?"
"Zombie, Mike. It's a dead body in a puddle of nasty, and it's leaving more nasty on my door. God, I can even smell it. This is one thorough job, man."
She edged away from the door, keeping an eye on the intruder beyond the glass. It was bloated and purple with decay, green and black fungus speckling its face. There was fluid coming out of its mouth and dripping from its nose. It had no eyes, and all indication of sex or age had rotted away.
"Robotic, maybe? One of its legs is about to fall off. You didn't sic one of your Cyber Derby friends
The Siren - 6The rest of the night was quiet, and so was Sandie's morning. If the alarm went off, she never heard it, and she slept hard until nearly ten, when her phone rang.The Siren - 63 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"I think it's gone," she told Connie. "I mean, I don't want to jinx anything with optimism, but at least it's gone on vacation."
She drank her coffee black and supervised the installation of a new door. She picked up the phone to call Mike, but remembered belatedly that he had a noon Mass, and set it down again to wait until later.
Local news entertained her until the thump came from the new door.
A person's silhouette was visible through the frosted glass, standing still and dark beneath the shade of the back porch.
The thump came again not a knock, but a meaty thwack as though the visitor was trying to come straight through. Then there was the horrible squeak of skin sliding down the glass.
Sandie's lip curled. She added Windex to her mental grocery list and stood up, grabbing a heavy wooden candle stick from the end