for a friendThe sky is captured in his eyes, clear and blue.
The weather etched smile is honest.
The slender face says sixty; it lies.
It is that and half again.
Knobby hands sun baked and brown
peek out from ragged gloves.
They seem part of the old split locust post
where they are resting;
one of the row of soldiers
that keep watch on their field and its occupants.
The smile broadens as I approach.
I help stretch the wire.
His archaic dialect fills the road
with cows and snow and the yankees
that his grandparents saw marching.
The hours pass pulled by the mule
he plowed with as a boy.
He mentions his wife
they'd been married almost 60 years.
She "took sick" and died (at her own hand)
some 15 years ago.
(it is sad what people must do to escape pain)
But he only remembers the little things
she did so often to help him
they are bittersweet candy.
I know he misses her.
I smile as we finish.
He offers to pay me,
but I refuse it.
The Death of VenusIf there lived in the world a manThe Death of Venus4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
as rugged and as strong as I,
who could forbear with me yet go against,
who took to the black woods and the silver hills
who savored salt and the lay of fur
with fingertips of dirt and weather,
whose lips rolled words like smoke, like fog-
I would creep into his arms in the prologue of the night,
air sweet with the scent of new-cut hay,
alive with the nightjar's call.
Words, Words, WordsIt was the end of the last normal day for Jonathan Fields. He had finished work at five and had come back to his modest apartment without a sense of accomplishment. Having fixed himself a hearty dinner of microwave soup and wrinkly carrot sticks, he sat down on his grey couch and turned on the TV. There wasn't anything on that really interested him, but he got some sparse enjoyment from complaining about the lack of content. He had almost reached that blessed hypnotic state the television could sometimes induce, when his cell phone bleeped and buzzed a tired tune that he had long since ceased to hear. He picked it up without looking at the name.Words, Words, Words4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Hi Jon! It's Angela. Are you ready to go? I'm super excited! I can't thank you enough for going with me. We're going to have so much fun!"
"I couldn't let you go alone. It's too dangerous. Anything can ha
LosingThe thing is, I lose everything.Losing3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I've misplaced all the
things I own at least twice.
No thing is safe
it all slips between the threads
rough stitched fabric
of my universe.
A few weeks ago,
a pair of rose colored
They must have scampered away
from my bedside table
as I slept.
and yesterday too my class ring,
with dragon insignia
carved into its metal side,
lost so many times
I've just stopped looking.
It always turns up again
like a hungry cat.
Long ago I bid farewell
to a book of poetry
by Billy Collins,
each page dressed
in a suit of marginalia,
kissed my favorite teacup goodbye,
the pond-green one,
topography of cracks down the side,
and one sock from almost every pair
has fluttered free like a pet parakeet
through the open window.
So I hope you understand, love,
why I hold you so close,
afraid that if
how lilies weepobstacleshow lilies weep3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
are a kind of faith,
as if through some
a bruised clock
veins and cloaked
timed to burst.
i am nothing
if i am not a dream
of yours, waking
from the geometric light
of my window
into a shimmering cup,
poured full of your words
my hips dripping
their tiny mechanisms,
swirling in incense,
growing new teeth,
to bleed through.
i drip and cough
and sleep and bleed
that i am strong enough
for someone like you.
i am taped
and covered up
but you can still see
the endless flaws.
i watch the trees break,
the elastic stretch between moments as
one thing lives and another dies,
as each day i create my chances,
i hold my deck of cards and slice two in half,
i eat one, i rip another,
and i still win the game.
you are the card i never play,
the one i hold on to,
the lucky coin
Convenience Ducky Short usually avoided using 'convenience' stores. The floors were always grimy, the lighting was too dim for his tired veiny eyes, and the cashiers never spoke more than five words of English. But the thing that irked him most was how every one of them put the Ho-Hos on the very bottom shelf, and every time he would have to find a way to maneuver his long body and old rusty joints into a crouch just so he could reach them.Convenience3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He had been struck with a Ho-Ho craving as he was walking by, and since the only store nearby was a tiny convience store, he had no choice but to go in and claim his cakes. There was no controlling this sort of thing. 'Happy Ho Ho emergencies', his mother used to call them, God rest her soul.
But Ducky hadn't expected a different kind of emergency.
The bell on the door barely had time to jingle before it was drowned out by a frantic holler.
"Freeze, everybody! I've got a gun, so no messing around!"
orthography and the right to remain silenti know just how i left you,orthography and the right to remain silent3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and i pray to god,
the same one you do each day,
that you're still as
as you were
when you fled
the pile of unread books
still sit on the righthand side
of the coffee table.
but i can't be sure.
maybe they're on the left;
or even worse,
maybe they're on the shelf
over your television.
i don't know how fast
you've been sitting here
or how long you've been moving,
but i have places to go
and people to be,
warming the ache
in my stomach.
it's times like these
i pray to the god,
the same one you do each day,
that i can forget you
and your unread literature
and unwritten poems
and scrapped promises,
for just long enough
that i can
The Courier Eirik surveyed the impressive façade of the Temple of Myralo with concern, brow furrowed, fingers worrying the loose leather strap that kept his dagger in its sheath. It was certainly a pretty building. Everywhere he looked there was beauty to behold – from the intricately detailed vine-and-leaf patterns carved into the cloud-white exterior, to the elaborate mosaic of Prismeryl, Twin Deity of Beauty dominating the archway above the temple’s entrance.The Courier3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hanging next to the ornately wrought gate into the temple’s courtyard was a “Help Wanted” sign. It, too, was beautiful, written in a light script by a steady hand, and assuring any applicants that the pay would be more than sufficient. Eirik didn’t doubt it. If there was one thing the Prismeryllian priests and priestesses were known for (and there were many things they were known for) it was being as free with their pocketbo
Lover on top of a mountainThey who scale mountainsLover on top of a mountain4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
content themselves with the feeling
of love, not confirmed
with action. They can fly the arrow- never mistake- truer
than any romantic. But
height is a lofty mistress, and the
keenness of the wind is
ever seductive, because it whistles
the story clearly that gets
Who -wants- to get mangled?
We are not beasts of burden, even if
we've worn this fur for thousands of years.
To dive from the clean, clean edge into
chaos is unthinkable.
To frolic among the tumbling bodies
and risk trampling and being trampled
is enough to curl back and reach
for the highminded pleasures
Oh, but such a dream
veiling a cliff's face
eventually reveals itself to
appear only to those who
fall from the sky. So the lover
spends all her time devising paths
to those below. She braids the ropes
and drops the chains, even taking a sledgehammer
to the rocks for a perilous winding road
but the danger she
undermines, and it is
few who exceed the intimacy of
SleepPerhaps it's the pressing consciousnessSleep3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that across the world
people are at work and school
and walking sad with worry
Did people sleep
before they had to think of that?
Or perhaps it's the dreams
the ones you hate or hate to wake from
that don't offer their portents
as long as you are staring at the screen
or the printed page
or the windshield.
Or maybe there's a part that thinks
if you can just push the night clock round
Dare yourself not to close your eyes
like the everyday sun-wakers
To walk yourself through morning and beyond
the world will have to change somehow.
And the next time you give in
you will wake to something different
a place that's slightly new
and rings with intensity
Perhaps just a little better
than the night's rejected dreams.
I Guess We'll Live To See ItYou should start lookingI Guess We'll Live To See It3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for a place we can make our last stand.
The dawn is breaking:
Every morning, a little less light,
and the end
is not as close as you think.
Love is not enough,
is not enough.
The desert is coming.
The sea is coming.
they find us holding our thirst
in both hands.
There is no
You should start looking for a place
we can make our last
Take my frenzy for resignation, put your boots
on. I have a lantern. I have a little
knife. We have so much still
to survive. Open
and let the thirst out.
Build. We will stand
until the dawn breaks- and you do not believe
in ecstasy, so we will know,
at the end.
anemic, broken, and growing up anywaywhen my sister was five, she dictated a letter to me in her strong little voiceanemic, broken, and growing up anyway3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
while dust drifted in the sunshine
of our creaky old room.
dear me [she said],
barney is the best. i will wear blue all the time even though i'm a girl. my heart beats without me telling it to and that's pretty cool. i think people always feel better if you tell them you love them. i will always smile because i have dimples when i smile.
"did you write it?" she asked, and i told her i did, every word
with the chunky yellow pencil i'd fished out of my school bag.
i handed her the letter, and she folded it up carefully
and she smiled.
when my sister was fifteen, she was a little bit broken
anemic and pale, with unsure hair and shaky hands.
when i came home to visit she whispered to me that
she didn't understand
and when i asked her what she didn't understand, she said
she wrote another letter that night.
dear me [it said],
this isn't a suicide note. this isn't another angsty poem. this
Expedition Letters to GraceDear Grace,Expedition Letters to Grace4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You told me, back when we were visiting Peru and I was feeling down, that I would eventually find my calling in life. I write to you now to tell you, quite happily, that I have.
I can't explain much about it at the moment, only that my sudden absence from the university is for a reason. As I write, I am currently en route to New York City, to visit their museums and get a taste of the culture. I told you before how I wanted to visit New York while I had the chance, and now I travel with purpose.
I will say now, that while what I am about to do may seem strange to you, even mad, I can promise you that I am of sound mind and am determined to see my ambition through. Never before have I felt so strongly about the rightness of my decision. I will explain more in time. All I can tell you now is that I am launching my own expedition, and that it will be unorthodox, to say the least. I write you because you are my oldest and dearest friend, and I feel I can trust you.
Give my best
The Broken WallMilo woke up one morning in a different bed than the one he had gone to sleep in. Even so, the bed he was in now was still his own. He looked up at the ceiling and saw patterns there that he had never seen before and yet he knew they would be there. Sunlight slanted through the window in a line different from what he had expected.The Broken Wall4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He spent the rest of the late morning wandering through the house. It was full of knick-knacks from places he was sure he had been. Every thing that he found there was his. Every thing that he found there was new to him.
In a daze, he sat down at the kitchen table. His mind was running, but it was buzzing, too. He couldn't keep his thoughts straight or even pick them out of the eternal hum. It was as if his mind was deliberately keeping him from thinking too much.
Outside he found a garden, full of plants he loved. Down a path he found a bench around a huge oak tree. He suddenly had a vague memory of having planted it, but that could not be possible. He sat d
You Slept Through The Alarm Again - Little AubadeIf, perhaps, you had turned at that momentYou Slept Through The Alarm Again - Little Aubade3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and your hair had caught in your fingers,
the straw being fed into the spindle, struck
by the high, thin light of first waking, the whorl
of a single line descendent from the sun, born
watery from the gap below one velveteen curtain,
all of it staining over gold and dusty and slow,
the edge of your mouth might have met the edge
of my mouth, narrow gaps both without attention
openingif, perhaps you had turned again,
your hand could have met the curve of my neck,
your canvas rough fingers tying knots of my hair
and I would have sighed, thick spreading in your ear
like the light itself learning to speak in tongues
you might understandif perhaps you had
opened your eyes, squinting, eyelashes caged
together, it all would have been edgeless and bright.
a memoryI remembered the afternoon I called you,a memory3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
curled on my bed with someone's good book
in my palm, nestled softly in the waning light
and under my gently roaming fingers
the baby moved not to my hand-touch,
but inside, an insistent flutter,
not like the swiftly beating heart
on the doctor's monitor, not like the slow
appearance of a plus-sign on a drugstore test.
I called you, my gently rolling daughter's
mother's mother. I called you like the woman
standing at my back while I held the kite string
on a pushy spring day, the diagonal shape so
far above us I could only feel the jerk of the
cord around my fingers, holding us to earth.
ApparitionsI was nervous when I arrived. Had my information been right? Was she used to trans patients? Would she be supportive and helpful or weirded out? Would this be a waste of time or the freeing experience I hoped it would be?Apparitions4 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I looked around the lobby. It was small and well furnished. A large coffee table occupied the center of the room, surrounded on two sides by a small sofa and an armchair, which for some reason made me think of my grandfather. On the opposite side of the room, there was a water cooler and several large unopened refill containers. On a table near the door was the item I was looking for.
"Matt 12:00, 6 pages," read a yellow sticky note affixed to some papers clipped onto a clipboard. Yellow seemed like a bad omen, sort of a boring choice of office supplies.
The name on the sticky didn't have the same pang of regret, didn't leave the bad taste in my mouth that it usually did. It felt more like a farewell to an old friend an
The Thin HoursI.The Thin Hours3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Those of us here in this skeleton time,
this time of the year when the nights are thin
and dark, and dark with anxiety, peeling
as layers of an oyster shell, brittle and effaced
and somehow iridescent.
When the bell tolls out the time the sound is thin
and reaches into fractured air and softly
seeks the spaces between the atoms and
misses the vital Os and CO2s in a lasting,
failed pinball. The bell sound dies in
some space between midnight and thereafter,
and each tock tock of slipping cogs is
a repeat and not a moving on.
The air is filled with each dull sound,
each tock a repeat and a repeat again. And the
slip between this old year and the new is the
slip of ice on ice, a thing that will melt and
lose its meaning before the sun can rise.
These dead hours can spin out with
no regard for time, and
no regard for the drub of a beating heart
and no regard
none at all.
The moth at the window is a silent ghost, but
the wind has
Of Half-Filled WordsShe is not a flutterbird.Of Half-Filled Words3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Her fingers are skittish,
her smile is not.
Do not fear that you will
drive it away.
Sadness is her fumbling limb.
It is unwanted, yet
When it is January
she will tell you,
"I am still struggling.
And I am becoming so many people
all at once.
A conglomeration of beauty that
I have managed to mangle.
Please, do not be sad for me."
Sometimes her sorrow is
meant for you. But mostly her.
Those specks and spots
of ocean storm lulls
reveal her truths:
ones she does not want
to extract from herself.
Her heart is not a rabbit.
When it beats
faster, faster, faster,
you need not
run harder to catch it.
It is not enough to writeIt is not enough to put the words on pageIt is not enough to write3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
or to align them like cocaine lines
in neat rows of cornstalk paragraphs
fertile enough to bear reviews.
No. One must bleed each period,
each dot-dot-dot like morse code mythology
the Gallic cry at the end of the telegraph age.
It must become an ocean in you, these voices
swelling to tidal highs, and quiet - never.
You the new folkteller, urban prophet
who can call to battle anyone with eyes.
Ooze it like sap spilling down the bark.
It is not enough to write.
One must expire with each keystroke,
endlessly. It must come from the bowels.
Purge it as infection leaking out of skin;
lance yourself. Choke back tears.
If there is no labor pain,
the words were never born.
This is a death business.
We bleed ourselves onto paper and
slice our brains into vellum sheet
and repeat, repeat, repeat.
Pure person petrichor
deep inside the ink.
saudadeLast week, you showed up with the thunder on my doorstep.saudade3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Your voice was so drenched with the rain that I almost didn't recognize the way you said my name. It hung in the air like an incomplete sentence, like something unfamiliar, like you were so lost from trying to find everything we left behind and piece it back together that you couldn't find me in your heart anymore. It was pouring and the power was out and I was so tired of watching the world fall apart from outside my windows that I let you back inside my arms and inside my senses, and your bones were shaking as you clung to me and told me how good it felt to come back home.
There was something forced in our actions, as if we were going through the motions of something we had practiced a hundred times before. Your lips were all orchestrated movements against mine and the arch of your back and shudder of your breath felt rehearsed, so that when you lay tangled and spent in my bedsheets I let my mouth wander the terrain of your sh
March the Secondmy sweet little cycloneMarch the Second3 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
ripping through the valley
what have you got for me today?
you've got fire in your fingers
it's whipping through my hair
i'm dancing in your tears
under a thundering stare
what have you got for me today?
and i'm sure destruction lays before
a wilted path, i'm headed for
i see the calm before your storm
tell Talula I can't wait no more
to Yellow Plumto Yellow Plum (in blueto Yellow Plum4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
afternoon's slit of sun slips
between thick curtains
& woos you to ripeness.
it chooses you
not for flecks of honey-russet
held low in your seam of shadows,
nor your symmetry & swell;
you slink in shade, sink
behind green pear & clementine
& cannot hide
from each spear of light
against these lips
a tea-stain stone
the trashbin floor.
a shut in placeMeg's world is a world of uneven earth and blue skies, surface rock cracked and blown about by howling wind. She runs through wasteland, stumbles with purpose towards a wooden desk in the distance. She runs and runs, dirt and stones scuffing Mary Janes, but the writing desk is a finish line she can't reach.a shut in place4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Why a writing desk?" her friend Alex says when she tells him about the dream. He emphasizes the question with a hand, waving the sandwich he's holding towards her before taking a bite.
She's left out details: how she is smaller, younger, a smooth-faced child with little hands dressed in her Sunday best instead of the twenty-one-year-old English major she knows herself to be. How the desk speaks of a familiarity she can't place and screams of a significance she can't understand. How she's been having the same dream for weeks and how it haunts her every waking moment with an urgency of impending consequence and menacing complexity that reminds her of Kafka.
Meg shrugs, the motion cau