GolemWe remember when you dug us from the riverbank, but we forgive you. The water was cold and the people had need of us.
We remember when you divided and shaped us, but we forgive you. We were without form and the people had need of us.
We remember when you put us in flames, but we forgive you. We were soft and the people had need of us.
We recall the day when you sent us against swords. This we forgive. The people had need of us: we would not desert them when foes were near.
We remember when you broke us with hammers. Even this we forgive. The battle was won, and the people had no more need of us.
But though shattered, we remained on the hillside, for no people came to sweep the shards away. This too we forgive, for our eyes remained littering the ground and it allowed us to see.
We saw you crowned and we rejoiced though our own heads were shattered. We saw rings on your fingers and we applauded though our own hands were lost. We saw robes on your shoulders and we were glad, though our o
Firebird The radio was the last thing Gwen packed.Firebird2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was an afterthought, an act of impulse. She’d been in the pantry, raiding every scrap of non-perishable food she could get her hands on. She shoved granola bars and bags of pretzels into the folds of the clothing that was already taking up the majority of the space in her beat-up purple backpack. She’d had the backpack since she started Kindergarten. Joel had never cared enough to buy her a new one.
When her bag was bursting at the seams, Gwen jerked the zipper closed, using her knee and the side of the washing machine as a makeshift clamp to hold the bag shut. Just as she tugged the zipper into place, though, a blush of pink caught her eye from behind the dryer. She set the bag down quietly on the stained linoleum and tried to get a better look at the object. It was small, pink, and probably plastic, but tha
AerosolIt has been a day and a half since the crash, and I have found a cabin. In some ways, this is a relief. I don’t know if I could face another night on the mountain without shelter. Outside, a fire does no good: the heat simply travels upwards. However, this place also raises some difficult questions. I estimate that I’ve put eight miles between myself and the crash site. I don’t know if this will be enough. It occurs to me that I don’t really know anything.Aerosol1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The survival manual recommends staying with the plane. It explains that this affords the best chance of rescue. It explains that the wreckage offers warmth and shade. It explains that seventy percent of pilots who stay are located within three days, while seventy percent of those who leave are never recovered. It does not explain what to do if the payload begins to leak.
Jenkins shouted after me as I ran, said it was our duty to defend the aircraft. I tried to warn him about the spur of wood protrudin
Moving: A YaduWe keep a homeMoving: A Yadu3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Of unknown hums
And lonely cats.
The sky cracks but
He lacks a raincoat.
Fueled by smoke and
Words he lands on
A branded street,
Knows the sweet rage
Of meeting too soon and late.
This town belongs
To a song man
And wrongful ghost.
He is most sure
The coast will fade their remnants.
open letter to my first holy communion teacherdear miss bond,open letter to my first holy communion teacher2 years ago in Letters More Like This
you may or may not remember me. you taught me religion at my local church, we called it First Holy Communion but i always secretly thought it was brainwashing. you were so passionate about it, you seemed to make it palatable. it is only in later years, seeing what religion is, that i have recanted my faith. but you - when i think of you, i still feel my fingers twitching to bless the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. i think of the lace squares that you would give us, your children; your flock, when we learnt a prayer. parrot this, child, and you shall be given pretty, clean edged doilies. white lace, it was rough on our fingertips. religion bought us and we shall have the steady thudding of Our Father in our minds from the rest of our lives. you made it a blessing to believe. the reality is; it is a curse. i hope you can never see that.
i have been thinking about the concept of sin. we are all born with original sin. i hear that purgatory is outdated, now? that's a sham
It Bit Me"And tomorrow we'll install the kitchen cabinets along this wall here," the man gestured into the adjacent room.It Bit Me2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
My mother nodded in agreement as the construction contractor spoke. All the while, I sat slouched in boredom against the unpainted drywall of my newly-constructed home, my eyes wandering around the unborn living room as I searched for something, anything, to pique my interest. I desperately prayed for any form of entertainment or distraction, but the room loomed in desolate quietness. The scruffy man with my mother turned and stretched his hand out towards the wall directly across from me, redressing the cryptically dull conversation into that of the addition of a new fireplace. I gave another sigh of boredom and rested my small chin on top of my crossed arms. But just then, salvation presented itself to me in the form of a slight glinting atop the nearby counter dividing the two rooms.
I returned my gaze to my mother, who still stood with her back to me, nodding on occasion
The TimesI was printed on the evening of November 27th, 2008, just as the weather was turning from chilly to cold. I was tomorrow's news. At the moment I came off the press, I told the future. I knew things before the rest of the world; it was wonderful. I knew what my purpose was: to inform as many people as possible about the world's happenings.The Times2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As I was put to bed, bound against my brothers and sisters, I dreamt of being passed around a construction site, making sure all the workers were aware of which sports team triumphed, and which celebrity was getting a divorce. I dreamt that corporate peons debated over politics, and the state of the economy and which policies would be most effective in fixing the existing problems. I slept contently, snuggled warm in the middle of a stack, ready to be shipped out the next day and sold to whoever wanted me.
The next morning was cold and blustery. I was so excited about being sold that I allowed the wind to ruffle my pages, since I couldn't move on my o
a ribcage drenched in dusti have your ribcage, you said.a ribcage drenched in dust3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
what should i put in it?
i told you i'd always wanted a fire,
the kind that would fill my eyes with starlight
and pump my blood full of passion, but
you're made of wildflowers, you said.
a fire would burn you to ash.
you wanted to fill my chest with
the sound of a train, whistling
far away in the night;
with the sound of rain smacking leaves;
with the sound the wind makes
when it seems like it's trying to speak
and you wanted to throw in the
smell of midnight in august
and the feeling of sand being
sucked out from under your feet
when the ocean inhales,
and the strange little moment of
bittersweet joy you get when
someone else puts your soul into words
and you realize you're not as alone as you thought.
i told you that if i had all that inside me,
i'd ache all the time
and you smiled a sad little smile,
because you already knew that ache.
because you were a writer, and you ached all the time.
i've got it, i said.
Lament of an AtheistI cut candles straight down their waxy centerLament of an Atheist3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
just by looking into the flame. Slick peels of
honeycomb melt into my palm and blister skin.
Then the world ricochets forward.
I plummet back into my body and there's
a thick distortion in audio. A constant pulse at
the back of my eyes, tuned to the rhythm of your
heartbeat. I look for traces of you, but,
God, you're lost.
Leaves fall as paper lanterns from wooden fingers.
Spiraling upwards on the breath of cosmos, back
to Heaven, lit like the sun on a marvelous azure
backdrop. I needed your wisdom, but all is gone.
Christ, you're dead.
Atheists are not meant to love. Realists are not
meant for passion. Idealists are the dreamers
of their own demise; only they can make it
A man once told me that the astute make terrible
lovers, but I'll fight that to the bitter end. Maybe
the irrational are so hopeful in their wafts of
hallucination they cannot come to mindful conclusions
of their forsaken love.
There's a poet under my skin, itching
WaitingWe are still waiting for the thunder from the distant stars,Waiting2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The echo of mortality,
the whispers of a storm, half-remembered,
in sepia-coloured hallways in buildings that smell like books.
Time gets slow in waiting,
ghosts are formed from the wanting,
taking shape in the spaces where sunlight,
or moonlight doesn't touch.
The stars shake from the vibration,
and the ghosts shimmer in anticipation,
but we can't hear your voice in the dead of the night.
Nonno's GardenIt’s strange to think that you’re not here anymore.Nonno's Garden2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I remember when we were younger and we’d arrive to see you. The first place we’d go was to the window, pressing our faces against the glass to try and catch a glimpse of you. We’d look out, and you’d be there. Like you always were. In the garden.
Each trip was different, an adventure. There were rows of neatly sown lettuce seeds, bean stalks twice as tall as we were, ripe strawberries just waiting to be found by our greedy little fingers. Tomatoes would be taken and made into sauce, lemons would be squeezed to create limoncello, grapes transformed into a sticky grape jelly which tasted of summer and childhood dreams.
I kneel down and gently touch the small weeds which are beginning to sprout. I can feel the soft, moist soil. I remember your weathered hands sifting through it, removing the weeds that now grow from the ground. It’s hard to believe that I’m now alone, in the place whe
A Night at Pinetop's TavernSomewhere in the back alleys of the city's older section there was a crumbling brick building that had been around since before ragtime music was popular. Hanging above a faded green door that led down to the building's cellar was a wooden sign, and despite the peeling paint, you could still make out the bar's name: Pinetop's Tavern. Nobody really knew when Pinetop's first opened; local folks would tell you it had been there since time began, and the world had grown up around it. It was one of those places where the lighting was always dim and the cigarette smoke never dissipated and the cloud you were breathing now had probably been around since W. C. Handy was still alive.A Night at Pinetop's Tavern2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Pinetop's Tavern was a blues joint, and it had been around almost as long as blues music itself. Blues music was a lot simpler than most kinds of musicsimpler chords, simpler lyrics, and most blues musicians couldn't read sheet music. The genre was born on some unknown plantation in the forgotten Deep
my howls are silentI, too, see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. We are decomposing too early, our souls dying before our bodies can catch up. We are silently ravenous, a quiet craze in our hearts, not quite the same as your generation, Ginsberg. We do not shriek "Holy! Holy! Holy!" as we burn. We drown soundlessly.my howls are silent2 years ago in Letters More Like This
The overeducated, proud products of postmodernism dissolve in a lukewarm soup of ennui, bored balloons filled with hubris rather than helium. Fragile dolls with flaking bones and hair and skin like flowers wilting, weighed down by indomitable wills and insecurities... these plastic girls starve to death and diabetes in the car beside me, fantasizing about food in the passenger seat. Former nymphets gouge symbols into themselves, the bleeding crags physical outlets for the demonic depression, for the memories of beloved older brothers molesting them in the living room, while her mother sits at a hospital bedside beside a fading father.
I see the most remarkable minds crippl
When Dragons Die"It's on the beach!"When Dragons Die2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It's on the beach.
Amy Dale fingered the pack of cigarettes in the baggy pocket of her jeans as she moved with the rush of the crowd towards the lake, her mind fuzzy with shock. Could it really have come to this? After all these years of hundreds of people searching, working, chasing, probing, trying to pin down the elusive Loch Ness 'monster' - after all her years of work, studying and scraping by and manuveuring with difficulty through her scanty network until she was part of the latest team sent searching for it - all of that ended like this?
It washed up on the shore?
She left most of the crowd behind at the first ring of policemen trying to keep unnecessary people away from the 'monster.' Flashing her ID, she slipped through them and went forward more slowly, the wet ground squelching under her rubber boots. The bulk of the dead creature was perfectly visible now, rising in a steady curve above the heads of the people surrounding it, pointing and talking
the trouble isi'd like life to bethe trouble is2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
quiet and lovely
like distant church-bells
chiming through snow,
muted by the smell of
an old book and the
feel of a fire warming
me into my chair, and
a mug of tea, steeping
the moment in hushed
gratitude, easily in reach.
RatsWhen I was a little girl, I went to church. Our church was an illegal one: the building was unregistered.Rats2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
We would sit on the benches made from stolen floorboards and listen to a man dressed in black as he read us tales of angels coming to save righteous men from evil, their swords clean and their trumpets blaring.
The man dressed in black was old. He was sick. His Bible was missing pages.
One day in March, my mother turned to me and said clearly, "Masha, I want you to remember something for when you grow up." Maybe she knew she was dying. "God loves murderers."
I just looked up at her, thumb in my mouth. My mother was still a beautiful woman. She was young when a man at an after-riot party had given her a child inside of her, a bruise on her face, and a few kopeks for her trouble before running away forever.
So I watched the dirty gray sunlight washing through her sickly blonde hair, watched it illuminate the dark hollows of her eyes, watched her face, and asked, "Why, mama?"
for onceColdfor once4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like the cavern where crimson vellum once resided
Drenched in reticence,
your empty blue eyes do nothing
but freeze the blood in these veins
surrounded by phantoms,
i lie in the dark next to your fading silhouette
between sheets that hold so many memories,
they are empty,
like the chestnut eyes that bore into yours
And as the rain falls harder
as it falls faster
washing down the streets
through deep alleys,
down endless roads,
i pray it takes me with
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mom starts with rice. Japanese rice, one, two, three Japanese cup-fulls of rice grains into the cooker, because Sis eats a lot of this stuff. It's one of her favorite dishes, taco rice, and Mom's always happy to make it for her because it's the only way Sis will eat her tomatoes. But back to the rice. "You want to rinse at least three or four times, until the water's kind of clear," Mom says as she cups her hand under the cooker pot, letting the cloudy water wash over her hand.
Rice cooking's easy though – just fill enough water to the point the rice's covered, punch in a time (or set it to "Quick Cook," which with our creaking rice cooker still takes about an hour) and let the cooker do its thing.
Ground meat goes into a well-greased and heated frying pan. Break up the block so that it crumbles into fine little pieces, and do this with wild abandon, because this is taco meat. Mom uses any taco seasoning that happens to be cheap; most seasonings rack up t
BrokenSomething in my brainBroken2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I am told
is broken, dysfunctional. It leaves me inept
when left to deal with language unspoken,
the intricacies of smiles,
the unclear line between malice and mirth.
It may have been the shot
given by the doctor
meant to protect but somehow doing harm,
the Hippocratic oath.
Or so say my parents, their organization,
so they may be exonerated.
They liken me to
Ted Bundy, H. H. Holmes,
and Einstein. Because a sometimes-flat
and it makes people uncomfortable.
Especially when it is not maintained.
At times I am too broken to understand
and sometimes I am not broken enough
because my puzzle piece fits
when you angle it
correctly, that is, upside down, with no
other pieces attached.
Something in my brain
I am told
is broken, dysfunctional, because
most people do not cringe when they are
tapped on the shoulder
their mother tries to hug them.
It may have been the air
polluted and toxic
meant to sustain life but somehow causing
The Soul Broker I am the buyer and seller of souls. I’ve bought them all and I sold you yours. For the world must run like the gears of a clock, and sometimes you tick or sometimes you tock, but everything given will be taken away and for every silence kept, a word must be said.The Soul Broker3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Naturally, you must assume there is cost. For everything gained, a penny is lost; of course this life can be no different--when the check arrives, you must pay the difference. But not all who ride on the sunday train pay the same price to get out of the rain: a king’s ransom might obtain far, far less than the pauper’s cheap pain.
Your father paid the price of sweat, a back bent under the yoke of the world; accrued worldly financial debt but was recompensed with the jokes of a girl. And he would say he walked away wealthy, with his empty bank account, for his daughter lives today quite healthy and loves him in equally large amounts.
This Common BloodI am young when I first hear the word 'adoption'. I am so very young, perhaps three, maybe four. I accept it easily when my mother sits me down and explains that I did not grow beneath her heart, but rather in it. I nod my head, smile big, and ask when I'm getting a little sister. My mother kisses me on the forehead and puts her hand on my head as she stands up. "If you wish on a star, Sarah, maybe she will be here very soon." I practice my wishing until night's companions wink merrily in the sky.This Common Blood3 years ago in Letters More Like This
I turned seventeen just recently. I thought of you when I woke up, and I wondered if you were thinking of me. I like to think that you were, that we think of each other at the same time. That you know I think of you, too. There is no limit to what I wonder, Anna, not when it comes to me and you and everyone else that shares this common blood. I wonder if you have my eyes, the green with murky brown mostly, but bright and vivid when I am angry. Do you have the nose, lips, smile? Do
Waking dead.If Death be sweet saviour and remorseWaking dead.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a psychopomp, midwife to the passing,
Thanatos, Ankou, Yama, Memitim, Hypnos,
save me to rest and to sleep
take me in deep
in soft, make this all in my head
to where my friends and my
family, my father
"sweet death, you are the only god
Who comes as a servant when he is called"
So here I am, a lullaby leaving my lips in
the form of a cry of a whistle
in hopes an answer of
sweet serenity will greet
WhitewashWhen you're five years old you set a promise in the dark, your sister's ice-queen eyes witness. Millie is sitting straight-backed against the headboard, face wide and earnest, and it seems as if the world has heaped itself on her shoulders, or maybe it's the strangeness of midnight.Whitewash4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"We can't make our wills or anything like that until we're eighteen," she says fiercely. "But I might forget this by then."
In later years you will find time to reflect that you're not as whimsical as Millie; young, you only think then that you could never forget something this important. But you can't argue with the three-years-older she holds above your head (the wisest bestest elder sister in the world.)
Your love for her borders on hero-worship, and looking back, you sometimes wonder if that's healthy.
The door bangs shut. "Jodie!"
How strange, the way it works: your hand is frozen to the table in the way it should have been on the phone, but that was minutes ago and maybe it was delayed-reaction, becau