StormThe air is thick with the promise of rain, but she hardly notices. Hers is a brisk rush through the darkening world, hands full, sneakers kicking up bits of grass in her wake. A breeze runs its ethereal fingers through her hair. It tickles under the collar of her jacketthat's the first thing she really feels.
Clouds lower overhead like great gray wings on a downstroke. She's never noticed the scent of cloud before, but she can smell it now, carried by the breeze. The dense layer of shifting black and gray above says hush, and the whole world listens. Birds become still and small. Dogs blink up at the sky, scenting the rain, and even the pond fish glide very softly up to the surface of the water, waiting to feel the first cool drops on their backs.
A reverberating growl of thunder stops her in her tracks. It rolls and crashes into its own echoes, rumbling through her very core. Her face tilts up and the first drop of rain tumbles through the atmosphere at a dizzying speed, then hi
PilkunnussijaHere's what I think:Pilkunnussija1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There's a certain joy in not doing this face-to-face. For one, I don't have to leave my apartment and I have the quiet company of my goldfish and my goldfish alone. (I don't like people, which is why I love books. You can understand that.) For another, I don't have to see your presumably crestfallen and injured attitude when I tear apart the prose you cried and bled and sweated over for weary nights on end. But really the best parts are those uninterrupted hours alone with your manuscript and the shred of you that lies inside. It's a small shred, but an important one. It's the one that tells me who you are and what you think and how you feel and I never have to look at you and be disappointed when the real thing doesn't come up to scratch. As I sit there, un-tensing and re-tensing and tense-shifting and shift-entering (and damn it, wishing English were like German so I could get rid of those clunky space-wasting n-dashes--oh, damn there they are again) I feel li
lovesong for sailorboyRead aloud and explained (somewhat) here.lovesong for sailorboy10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i have always loved words as you love the sea
but i have grown to hate
because i have always had words
but never for you.
words for everything
but i have words for this, so
i'll take them
one by one.
the ocean was your first love and
i could always see it in your eyes.
most would call them blue--just
like a swell over a sandbar
blue like the spring sky over a poppy field.
but i don't think anyone
got as close as i did and they're not blue
not shorebound and
they're gray like the steelbellied sea itself
like the horizon at dawn as it
hems you into an impossibly vast canvas
like a demarcation line
or a promise.
one you always chased.
maybe i had a streak of ocea
SmokeYou smoked, and everyone hated that. The cigarette would hang loose between your knuckles, tendrils of smoke mimicking the tracery of veins and tendons that stood out along the back of your hand. You could do the most graceful French inhales, and sometimes you'd lean in close and grab me and kiss me, blowing warm smoke into my mouth. The scent would always cling to meI'd drag it back home with me and there would always be a fight over it.Smoke2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You were sparrowlike, all taut pale skin and prominent bones. Your hipbones jutted slightlysharp elbows, sharp knees, a sharp jaw softened by cornsilk hair. When I ran my fingers down your back I could always feel every vertebra in your spine, a steel column anchoring you down. More smoke. More fights at home. You never belonged here and never would.
Lay back. Relax. Anythinganything you want. I'd close my eyes and forget to breathe because I knew you weren't mine. If anything, I was yours, a toy that trembled and kissed back.
with thanks to frost Now with a reading.with thanks to frost7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
two roads diverged in a soulless dawn
and you pull over,
idling on the shoulder of route 50.
it's a polaroid morning and
the world is as grainy
as your eyes,
and one million miles
is not far enough.
it plays back, filmstrip,
blurred along the length of
and here you are:
facing a choice between
this loosejointed, hollowbodied
this is what
summergirlNow read aloud over here. Do give it a listen, won't you?summergirl1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are crowthroated and tumbling
through the aspen grove
hair on fire with sunrise, lungs
full of sky.
eyelashes like wildflowers
and every morning brings
a new spray of freckles
and a sharper curve to your collarbones.
the cornfields hold no shadows
for your lighthouse eyes
and there are no endings in that
ii. you have grown
autumn finds you with broken ankles
leaning on an oak branch
and watching the skies.
crow to sparrow--you are quiet.
summergirl, there is peace in silence,
fallen antlers in your hands.
you will come to mourn your deer.
keep them close.
iii. by winter you have paled,
and like the streams
your eyes have frosted over.
you feel the chill--
there is no need for sight.
with thanks to salingerAudio version.with thanks to salinger11 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
it's on those cold mornings
when you are nothing but indrawn breath
swirling and knitted up inside too-big
skin and weightless bones--
when the horizon arches up against
the half-thawed tendrils of sunrise
with golden teeth,
and smiling, begs--
it's on those cold mornings
when leaving is easiest.
the car will be cold, and you will
shiver, and the engine,
much too loud,
will smack of blasphemy
but you will find peace in the steady roll
of tarmac and the yellowing light
spilling across it,
with dust motes kicked up and carried
like fish in the undertow.
when you come to that first
crossroads, it will shock you:
the way the decision hangs there
trembling and desperate--
but there are no right answers and you will not
hesitate. and each successive choice
will be made of its own accord,
and you will roll the windows down,
and draw down the scent of ear
all that hasn't happenedPretty please listen to the audio.all that hasn't happened1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
i want to remember
the rumbling piano baritones
high notes like hailstones--your hands
running soundless scales.
i want the summer seas
the vineyard overlook, the olive
trees and sunwarmed coasts.
we filled the empty pages
with whole notes and halftones,
oceans and lovesongs.
we lived, we live
inkstained and drowning
through nights thick with words
and days shot with sound.
The WeekendI show up unannounced, like clockwork, and when you let me in, the act of opening the door flows smoothly into the act of pulling me against you. This is our weekend. We won't leave this room for another forty-eight hours.The Weekend2 years ago in Scraps More Like This
You pull me over to the couch and ask about my week, and we trade stories of minor frustrations and negligible disappointments. The sun sets in a glory of flame, and our weekend officially begins.
Usually these things are unplannedjust a shapeless succession of quiet momentsbut you've planned something this time. You have a horror movie. Popcorn for you. Crunchy fruit-shaped candy for me. "You know me too well."
"Of course I do." The DVD player humsthe soundtrack to the next two hours or so of the senseless darkness and gore that's become our guilty pleasure. We haven't seen this one before. I jump with every sudden image. You don't. You just sort of absorb it, and that seems fearless to other people, but I know better. It'll haunt your nightmares f
pyrite girlNote: Pretty please listen to the audio version for the full effect.pyrite girl1 year ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
you noticed things
little things that came sneaking slyly in
smiling crooked like good children
with bad deeds freshly done.
of course you loved her all the same,
your little lighthouse among the tendrils of east coast fog
she tasted like mineral water
and you lived in soft, sweet depression
gazing out at a broken world from a tenth-story window
and breathing in the cigarette smoke.
your little pyrite girl
bright eyed and dark mouthed
a tiny dirty moon, dragged through the gray city snowmelt
and left to dry in the glare of rooftop suns
"who would live here?"--
musings from the tenth floor
and you knew the answer.
broken cities feed on broken souls
and even they need angels.
stolen dog-eared mapsAudio version.stolen dog-eared maps1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
we will run
directionless but on
until the sky recedes before us.
we will outlast the horizons
sink teeth into every sunset
until we chase
what chases us--
until the oceans below hold no demons
the galaxies above
we will lose ourselves
until there is nothing left of us but
The FountainThere were sixteen tall windows. She'd counted them over and over when she was small, her chubby finger outstretched as she spun in tiny circles. Eight walls, sixteen windows, thirty-two black curtainsthe arithmetic of her childhood.The Fountain2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Eight window seats, Daddy. Eight buttons on eachsixty-four. I counted."
The fountain stood dry and dead-center in the middle of the black and white tiles. Eight sides, eight lion-mouth spouts. Sixteen limestone mermaids poised gracefully around the edge. Four thousand and ninety-six blue tiles. Five hundred and twelve white.
And two doors. Always the two doors, huge and solid and radiating a sense of looming disdain. The rough oak had bitten her hands and it bit them now, when she pressed her palms against it. The doors eased open like wings outstretching, coming to rest against stone doorstops.
Her boots clicked against the marble flooring as she advanced, each click reverberating through the silent room. A mute ghost of a man stood in
A Love Story in Four Actsi.A Love Story in Four Acts1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I loved a blacksmith once, back when the sand still clogged up my soul. It was only far after that I began to love the desert too.
Underneath the casual noise--glass on wood, heat-smothered conversation, worn cards slapped down in careful triumph--there was this low, thrumming quiet that wouldn't be broken. He spoke in sepia undertones. "We're getting out."
Hot iron smells like hot blood, like blood that's been poured out under the white Arizona sun. It's something you don't forget easy, like the taste of whiskey or the plasma patterns left on your eyelids after watching fire all night. It sticks.
My childhood was fed on medical books, and I've got this pain right behind my eyes and I wonder if this is what it feels like being lobotomized. Of course the brain has no nerve endings, but the hurt has to manifest itself somewhere.
the beauty's in the leavingRead aloud here.the beauty's in the leaving10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
sweetheart, let's head out. let's
drink up the desert asphalt and that last bottle
of johnny walker blue--
one last toast to the copper sunsets,
to the good earth. a pair of
tailgate stargazers, you and i:
roaming curves across the glove compartment map, until
every foldline is worn flannel-soft
and it'd rather stay open
let's forget route sixty-six. let's forget
and pick up terra cotta dust--
breathe in the mojave. let's pretend
that the world's already ended
and it's just us.
let's leave the door unlocked
in which my dreams decided to be Twilight.you come to from lack of oxygen, as wrong as that is. reflexively, you tilt your face to the side, away from the clinging cotton of the pillowcase. you hurt in too many places to catalogue. he is a warm weight, shifting ceaselessly, pressing kisses into the curve of your spine and murmuring soft russian between broken inhales. pleas, apologies. prayers.in which my dreams decided to be Twilight.5 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
opening your eyes takes more effort than it should, and you are greeted with blossoms and constellations of blood on the pillow, the sheets. your voice, when you manage it, sounds as ragged as you feel. 'dmitri.'
his fingers clench into the mattress on either side of you, and you feel him trembling against your back. he rasps your name in return, call and reponse. 'katrina.'
you heave up onto one elbow and turn to face him. it hurts--every half-healed bite splits open again, and the wash of scent hits him like a bullet. he clutches at you, burying his face in the bloody crook of your shoulder.
'shh, shh.' you stretch your hands up
hallelujah .:commish:.Storm--hallelujah .:commish:.4 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
and the desert inhales,
inebriated on an atmosphere thick
with electricity and promise.
Each tiny daylight is
a new rapture.
fluencythe writer, in bed,fluency8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
ponders the hushing fricatives
of denim on cotton,
the liquid linguistics
of hips and ribs and delicate
vertebra; and catalogues--files away
every shaking aspirant and every
quiet, arched-throat glottal stop,
and the way it all just
off the tongue.
ChloeChloe was born in the pouring rain and blinding dark, under a thunderstorm that cut power to five counties and lingered for days. Her first memories were damp and earthy and fresh--watercolor paintings of wildflower fields, thunderheads, and pale yellow dawns.Chloe1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She grew up with summers swimming in lurid heat and trembling cicada calls; in winters soft with snowfall and tree limbs upraised to the icy light. She was a tiny sun in herself, glowing effortlessly. Plants reached up to her, swayed with her voice. Given enough space and enough time, her hands could have delved into the earth and come back up trailing with trees and vines, with berries falling from her fingertips and thick pale roots curled around her wrists.
I met Chloe in the middle of one electric summer, when the heat was aggressively breathtaking and I had to continuously swipe sweat from my eyelashes. Chloe was a breath of undying spring--cool to the touch. She tasted like almonds and cinnamon and clean, wet dirt, and like
the cure for everything is saltwaterand my voice is choked with pebblesthe cure for everything is saltwater10 months ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and my veins are thick with ink
so i'll bleed out all my lovesongs
wash them down the kitchen sink
and i'll tell you that i'm leaving
and i'll flee this soulless town
for the silent sea is calling
and i'm not afraid to drown
and i'll search out quiet islands
let the blank horizons be
drench my soul in every ocean
sink my heart in every sea.
dreamsong :work in progress:i. from the seadreamsong :work in progress:4 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
The girl in the white dress is splayed against the salt-dark sand like a scrap of cloth. The sea, receding, whispers quiet self-assurances.
The boy who travels shadows hates this part of his patrol. He belongs beneath the trees and in the dense, wet heat--not here. Here, he is prey to endlessness.
The shadow boy skirts the fringes of the sand, taking what comfort he can from the stunted groundcover, blue and faintly glowing in the moonlight. The muscles in his shoulders twitch, and he grits his teeth against the overwhelming fear of exposure.
At least astronomy is in his favor--full moons make for good shadows. Quick escapes.
The heady rush and hiss of the ocean is making him nearly come undone when he sees her, the dress shining like a strand of whitecap detached and thrown back. He tenses.
He gulps a deep breath and steadies himself before throwing himself in the openness of beach. With no shadows to hold onto, h
rapid eye movementi am jealousrapid eye movement8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
of my birdwinged half-sister.
later, birdwinged reapers--black,
looming quiet in every doorway. they
followed me from my hemmed-in waking terror
to the free reign of my subconscious.
far better suited to their purposes.
thunderstorms like supernovae out at sea, and
empty little boats tossed on emptier shores.
it rains, and the sea advances,
cresting the saguaros. someone is lost.
i don't know who. i don't know why i
care so much.
cliffs and skyscrapers. tightropes. sometimes
i am afraid of heights, and sometimes
afraid for those who are not.
the skinny girl
with the long dark hair is
always worth dying for.
sex. i am in turn
bemused, and indifferent, and bored, and
frustrated, more often than anything.
i like that i still remember how it felt to hug my dog,
right down to the cool wirecoat
and the warm fluff beneath,
and his immense
sometimes i wake up with misty
recollections and the overwhelming thought:
i wish it could be like this.
jungles with ancient
north pacificAudio version thisaway.north pacific1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
icewater and tumblestone beaches, and i wonder, clifftop,
if the fog tastes like forest.
the ocean carves its histories
in the driftwood--creation stories and
lullabyes worn smooth,
bleached to a polish.
it might be sand shifting but maybe--
maybe i can feel the whalesong,
low and deep
thrumming in the hollow spaces of my bones.
i envy the seabirds
who have more room to feel.
ghosts of the border townsRead aloud here.ghosts of the border towns1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the desertgirls all wear their white dresses,
braids cinched with ribbons wilted
like the crops.
they walk barefoot, and they have learned
how to keep from kicking up
the sand--they have learned
how to be perfectly still.
the scorchwinds start up, and they
stand beneath the rattling ocotillos,
dresses curling and brushing against
calves dark with dust and
they stare such betrayal, such trust,
as though you are the devil
or salvation--as though
they haven't made up their minds.
say what you like.
they won't smile, only
until long after you are out of sight
and the horizon has
waking upand imagine my surprisewaking up6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
when my insides bloomed
into so many dandelions,
and in a single breath
sirensAudio version here.sirens11 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
sometimes the mermaids will watch the sailorboys, and green ocean eyes will take in the powerful shoulders and the instinctive sense of balance, and sometimes one will fall in love. and sometimes this love will fill up her chest so much it hurts, and sometimes it will make her reckless--make her swim silently up to the sides of the boats and reach up (carefully, with just the barest sound of water droplets tumbling back into the depths) and rest her arms on the wood that's long since been worn smooth from salt and sun. and sometimes the sailorboy will turn, but he'll see nothing--but when he hauls in his net it will be brimming, straining at the seams, and he will look out over the ocean for a moment, all the way to the blank horizon, and sometimes he will wonder.
and it's easy to love the girls that swim up from the bottom of the ocean with nets knotted up in their