Second Street El stands under muted chrome lights, legs splayed apart and left hip cocked out like the jagged end of a lipstick smear. The soft undercurrent of voices drifts from the club crowd up to the stage, quiet murmured conversations below the chink of glasses and clicks of the mike stand slotting into place. If she listens close enough she can almost hear the bare echoes of a young man's laugh, a woman's soft tinkling sigh, the swell of a family's conversation.
"All ready," the man before her grunts around the toothpick hanging out the corner of his sun-cracked mouth. El reaches a hand over to tug at the length of color-faded silk knotted around her left wrist, stepping forward to take the place he vacates. The same hand rises to wrap around the cold silver shaft, glossed lips parting as she ghosts them towards the microphone.
The crowd has dropped in volume, calm falling over the haphazardly arranged three-legged stools and half-rickety tables. It's a quiet she's felt
Gather the Roses, my Love, And Fly AwayGather the Roses, my Love, And Fly AwayGather the Roses, my Love, And Fly Away2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I hope to awaken in autumn one day
And find myself alone, like these withered leaves
Gather the roses, my love, and fly away
Fate came, and tore us - thus were we set astray
Too late were we, for this weight that would not leave
I hope to awaken in autumn one day
The waves of the sea, their tides striking the bay
An undefined weight, a hard burden they heave
Gather the roses, my love, and fly away
This soul is lost, its cries led by the wind's sway
A heart taken, its pieces lost from each cleave
I hope to awaken in autumn one day
Markings left show life, as you would always say
The sea which cared for me, a friend who would grieve
Gather the roses, my love, and fly away
I waited by the sea, here is my last stay
I make my last wish, by the end of the eve
I hope to awaken in autumn one day
Gather the roses, my love, and fly away
Strawberry (An ice-cream in December)Strawberry (An ice-cream in December)2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I disassemble –
heart after limp,
brain before muscle.
You hear the pieces fall.
Sometimes, all I can ask for is an itchy blanket over me, and a cup of steaming tea between my calloused fingers, bringing the smell of hot strawberry to my nostrils, until the smile of content overwhelmingly fills my chest. Sometimes, all I can ask for is death.
I don’t like mornings. I never liked mornings. The sun is mocking – glaring from his heaven to a place grey and heavy with nothing but vanity, and shoving his hard light to all the ugliness around. Night is not like that. Night is beautiful. Night smells of wet leaves and falling stars and wishes forgotten in the sigh of two lips touching. Night brings the twittering song of a hidden cricket, a lullaby lost in the fading dreams of two bodies nesting one in another. Night is not like mornings.
The breeze is cool tonight – comforting, dancing around the baby blue curtains of the kitchen. The TV plays in
The Curious and Peculiar Tale of the Simonov TwinsThe Curious and Peculiarly Tragic Tale of the Simonov TwinsThe Curious and Peculiar Tale of the Simonov Twins2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I have done most of my post-doctorate work alongside Dean Eroslide as he ran Harry Loaine School for Boys. It was a tiny little establishment, set up in a series of pathways and cottages that made up the dormitories and the 'holistic' and 'traditional', designed to accommodate Dean Eroslide's philosophy of natural living: 'clean and untouched life energy regulates all chakras and promotes a positive educational environment'. Needless to say, Harry Loaine School for Boys was a parent's last resort, when everything from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Interventions and to Involuntary Hospitalization was never enough. The Dean had no degree of any sort other than a few licenses for Chakra healing and Reiki, so the entirety of the upkeep of the facility remained on the shoulders of these desperate parents--and of course the government kickbacks the School received for keeping me as a full time Child Psychologist
k.n., ii7 9 13 he took a bow overlooking interstate 680:k.n., ii2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
car-comets in full spin,
his dreams planetary, saturnian -
he almost sprouted wings that night and
i cannot say it would not be beautiful;
the palpations of downtown pumping
luminous cells, coursing
through highway veins
and he, standing in the heart of his world
mind ecstatic -
his feet began
to lift just a little.
9 20 13
a few phone calls
and a pair of
Something Borrowedgirls in white dressesSomething Borrowed2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
don't always want weddings.
the priests would speak of leaps of faith
and my hands would clasp the wood in horror,
knuckles bleached like bone- and i found
something old: the knot tied in my throat.
my vocal cords did not let empty words escape.
and there was something blue: the heart
that hesitated. how can a seedling prophesy
its harvest? how can a caterpillar promise
the power of its wings?
so let others gather flowers.
we will skip the mass
but not the bed: and through
this something borrowed,
earn a little time-
and a place to rest our heads.
Geiger's CourierAs I walked, the blue of the desert sky began to fade. I pulled my hood over my head, even though my machine body needed neither protection from the sun nor shelter from the wind. Simply put, I didn't like the feeling of the unending void above me, looming, watching, infinite. I knew I shouldn't have such feelings, so I ignored the rationale and allowed my hands to move as they pleased.Geiger's Courier2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I adjusted the leather strap. The sky was pale. Gray. Stars blinking into view, I refused to meet their eternal gaze. As I walked I was dying. As I walked, I was not yet born.
But as I laid my feet in a careful pattern, one in front of the other, I didn't notice. Day, night, it didn't matter, for I'd been given the unenviable position in life of a courier, and I neither knew nor cared for anything else.
Not yet, at any rate.
My body was a vessel for my vague sense of self, for I was water gathered between shaking palms, a cup half-filled, a fleet lif
Anxieties of a Conflicted IntrovertI.Anxieties of a Conflicted Introvert2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
[i don’t want to
have to tell you i’m
lately it’s been tough.
And i’m stricken with this feeling that
maybe i’m not good enough.]
you see, somewhere out there
birds are looking for nests and birds
are finding them in the ribcages of souls but i
am tired of picking straw from my heart
and strings and hair that wrap around my fingers i’m—
[well sometimes i’m
but i never wanted to tell you that]
--tired of seeing the ball i wind from
those leftover nests grow and grow—
[and i want more, want more, but
sometimes there’s only so much my heart can hold]
my life is a tree c
House of the SnailCurled like a tadpole in the confines of the ball turret, he slips into his mind and enters the first nautilus ring of memory.House of the Snail3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He sees a potting shed littered with terra cotta fragments, soft loam, and quietly rotting tomato vines. It is fall now, and the place hasn't been used for nearly a month, not that his mother was ever much of a gardener - she prefers the career of a socialite, and complains constantly about this heathen life in the country. His father yells whenever she embarks on a new tirade, and his mother drinks something out of a square-cut glass bottle that looks as though it were pilfered from Oz, and then everything is still again. For a while.
He watches himself enter the shed, gawky and fair. Tears have made a paisley pattern of sorts in the skim of blood on his pale cheek, and the skin about his eye looks like an oval of wet blotter paper rife with plum-colored ink. He purloins a splinter of stake from the tomato ruins, and in his rage and helplessness, ass
Infini-Fridge 9000Barry loved his Infinity Fridge. Or at least, until he got married, anyway.Infini-Fridge 90003 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
At first, it was amazing. As a freshly-recruited maintenance engineer on the Luxury Star Cruiser The Astronut, Barry had found his new home and workplace full wonders. He walked through rooms so tall he couldn't see the sky; he swept up litter from artificial beaches which captured more beauty than the real thing; he watched the stars pass by like rain from the sweeping observation deck.
And, of course, he had his Infinity Fridge.
An Infini-Fridge 9000 was standard-issue hardware for a Luxury class cruiser, but Barry had never seen anything like it. In the slums of his native Bomalomalom, pretty much everything was finite (except perhaps for misery). Water was rationed. Food was served via nutritional pills only. Even electricity was limited to ten tera-watt-hours per day. That was barely enough to run a sens-o-vision sim and have enough left over to purify your evening drink.
So to step into a room with a frid
leap through eternityi will sink my teeth into a supernovaleap through eternity2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to let the stardust and
slide down my parched throat and
wash over my intestines,
like a pebble
drowning in the sound--
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.Fragile--FFM Day 72 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
DesperadoIn 1996, Deep Blue beat Kasparov, The Unabomber was arrested, and I was preparing to graduate high school and go on to Texas A&M when I received a phone call at three in the afternoon as my school was letting out. In the school office, my father told me what, at the time, was the worst news I had received in my young life: Jerry Carson had died.Desperado3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Jerry Carson was my oldest friend. To this day, I have no idea where he and my father met, only that they did and that one of my earliest memories was of Jerry Carson and myself watching some old Western movie on the couch on the fuzzy old TV in 1981. He'd drift in and out of my memories for the next decade, always reappearing eventually until that day in early May of 1996, when I found myself standing over his simple coffin at a funeral attended by all of sixteen people: me, my father, my girlfriend, two bartenders, the pastor, seven other positively ancient men, and a three-man detachment from the Red River Army Depot there for the salute.
Vanguard, Chapter 1: DuncanDuncan's Journal: Day 1288Vanguard, Chapter 1: Duncan2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I consider myself a good man. I respect women, elders, my equals, and the dead. I say a morning prayer, and an evening one. Hell, I even thank the gods for a meal, instead of immediately chowing down in the voracious manner as the other soldiers here do. By all logical means, I should be in paradise. No really, not just because I'm a good man, but also because I should be dead by now. So I ask myself: why, oh gods up there, have I ended up in hell?
1288 days. 1288 days of my life have been spent in this misery, and I'm beginning to lose faith in the glory I was promised. Some of the rookies still live in their ignorant bliss, but I've lived long enough to realize that there's not much glory to find here. “Sing the songs of glory and march into battle—-join The Crusade today!”. Such were the words of the posters The Crusade has spread all over The Mortal Realm. Gullible fools practically stand in line for these songs of glory that th
Peacetime Songs or EuthanasiasI wanted a war-time melody for the aching ears of all the people who silently protest the military efforts of our time; a song to soothe, a flood of words in which to drown our battered hopes, for their mercy. So I conjured in my rib-caged eye the images of war,Peacetime Songs or Euthanasias3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the open minds of fallen soldiers, spilling New York and Los Angeles, Moscow and Baghdad onto the streets of anywhere; their mouthing wounds elevating cries into the city stench of gunpowder blackened buildings; the look on their eyes when the true meaning of damage and collateral crashes into their fleshy souls, begging in curses, wailing arms at them for a redraw of the cards: You instead, not my little boy! But every soldier is a little boy,
and as I saw them huddled beside Humvees, warding cold deserts with divine stories of mundane happenings at hometown proms, repeating to themselves this weapon is lighter than a wrench; as I saw them mourning for the friends that wouldn't recognize them, returned, victorious shells, I re
nineariel stole your breath more than i ever did -nine2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when my heart was thudding between your lungs,
because that was the only safe place, or so i was told
i can't remember when my heart caught the fever
for you had guarded it with your own ribcage for so long
my memories melded between your synapses and
we became one
Paper-Thin Promisesthe first time I caught sight of yourPaper-Thin Promises2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
glistening, marble eyes,
I decided you disgust me.
I hate you the way I hate perfection:
merciless, like the snap of mantis jaws.
every fact of you is pretentious,
held high like you raise a middle finger.
You, the artist, always sculpting things,
tried to squeeze my malleable heart like white clay
and stash it in your pocket to rattle with stones.
paint me an unflinching self portrait, my dear:
this skyscraper of a boy shaking with anticipation
to build and destroy, build and destroy.
you sink in tooth and talon at first mention of beauty,
love-biting Aphrodite as though you were equals.
you're a statue, a prison,
a tasteless reproduction of a child's Heaven
but you are no museum.
you may hang yourself in gilded frames,
forcing masses to silence with obscurity,
but that does not make you a hallowed hall.
no, I fear you're no Metropolitan.
you look at me, daring to think you understand.
your words trickle from my lips like a waterfall
as you tell m
The Other's Orange FlowersMy brother’s asleep on the couch and I have a pen in my hand. At first I was going to draw on his face, but that would wake him up. So I turn the pen upside down and dangle the orange feather at the end just above his nose.The Other's Orange Flowers2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“What are you doing, Allie?” he asks without opening his eyes. I sweep the feather across his nose. He looks and his face wrinkles up. “Orange.”
“It’s just a colour,” I say. “I’m looking after you. Mum told me to.”
He pushes me off the couch with one hand and I slump onto the floor. “You’re too little to look after me, Allie.”
“But you’re sick, and you can’t look after me, so . . .” I have to look after him. It’s my job now.
“Sure, I can,” he says. “And I’m not sick, just tired.”
“You’ve been tired a lot. That might mean you’re sick.”
“Allie. There’s nothing – underline that –&
The McKinnons' CatWhen the McKinnons moved out from next door, they left their cat behind. Nobody really blamed them. The thing was an enormous fat tabby female which stank and had fleas. It was, more importantly, a vicious killer. Usually it lived on a diet of songbirds, but it would catch and kill mice, rats, other people's pets and whatever rare little furry creatures it could find. Nobody really bothered to feed it after the McKinnons left, but it didn't grow noticeably thinner. I never knew its name, but my dad always called it "you BASTARD, get the HELL out of my garden."The McKinnons' Cat3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Not long after the McKinnons moved out, Miss Timmons moved into their old house. She was old, tiny, grey, timid and mouse-like. When she spoke, it was in a little excited squeak. When she went to the shops she moved in quick, darting movements and when she stopped to talk to me in the street she twitched constantly like she couldn't
Stuck The car sputtered and shook as it came to an almost silent stop. The engine had gone silent as the horn beeped loudly through the dark night. The orange gas light blinked mockingly at the woman behind the wheel. It was making fun of her; she knew it was making fun of her. Grabbing the black cellular phone on the passenger seat, she looked at it with full intention of calling somebody to come help her.Stuck2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“Oh, what the hell?!”
The “no service” sign was mocking her at the same exact time. The horn beeped loudly as she slammed her head against it once again. The day was out to get her in general. She had arrived at all her classes late, and her son was sick with the flu. The babysitter was able to watch him as she went to her late night classes. Giving a heavy sigh, she lifted her head off the wheel to look out the window. Drops of water pooled on the windshield as rain started to fall in a pitter-patter pattern. She didn’t quite understand the message th
someone left their life on the busAnd you struggle with your conscience, but in the end you have to let it go.someone left their life on the bus2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Erase your face. Scratch it off. Dig your nails right up underneath your jaw, bury them, gouge it out. This familiarity; rip it off.
We grow here too fast, kids with fifty-year old eyes who talk like old women, who smoke and drink and work and wear sandpaper hands and swear like we know what fuck means before it makes sense. Here's skin and bone and lips and teeth, all the colours of mud. We're soil and dirt and layers of grime. We're filth. We grow stupid, stuck underneath a starless sky, staring up, pretending we remember what it was to be human. Everything stinks of shit and sea salt and we starve and swallow rotten fish and spit and maybe some of us snarl our discontent and maybe some of scream it, but Jesus, all I hear are empty words and hollow fucking promises, and I'm sick of looking backwards.
When I was a kid I found a dead mous
terabyte ruinswe've clicked the help buttonterabyte ruins2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the tool bar.
we're the first to admit we're confused.
this morning the council met with a proposal
to replace god.
there have been complaints.
"dear eternity, i'm disillusioned
your god is a single snapshot of deep space
and a soundtrack of silence.
i tried pressing reset.
my old model featured google images,
a personal blog, and a comment section.
yesterday's god had to be recharged.
it was a rough way to be hardwired,
but there was a five-year money-back guarantee
and excuse me, but i'm dissatisfied.
i'm not so sure about redemption,
and i saw it on the news yesterday:
they recalled the golden rule.
it had a bug called desire."
give us a refund,
and we'll continue shopping.
our browsing has offered up
some promising candidates:
and technological giants.
we're not sure yet, god,
but we're pretty sure you're out.
it doesn't come highly recommended,
but we're considering a newer model:
idolatry. instant gratification.
The Problem With Elia.she could have been a violin;The Problem With Elia.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
born a week too late, she had
melancholy in her bones: doctor lizbet
took time out of her schedule to pluck her
newborn strings - calloused sanitation against
mottled pink-and-yellow flesh & thrashing limbs.
in three more years, she will have
nothing in her bones at all: doctor estair
diagnosed her with iatrophobia to fuel her
instinctive chords - ripple-free shells of liquid
lobotomy & a capsule to callous her pink-and-yellow
flesh against the thought of just getting over it all.
ten years after that, her mother will
find her face down and thrashing: her dust
bunny bones will flex as she retches up her memories
for display - lawyers will spend the next few years pawing
through them with clawed hands and heaving breathing until
one day, they find lizbet and estair huddled amid the rubble of her bones.
A Dust of SnowSnow was the great purification. All of the dark places of the land dotted with coated trees were blanketed by mother snows cold hand. The earth was softer in winter, in white. It was sleeping soundly beneath the coverlets where only wolves, rabbits and deer went tuttering by leaving their trails and magic.A Dust of Snow3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The girl’s cheeks had long turned chill-burnt red, polished and bright as two crisp autumn apples. They burned in the pale of her skin in the moonlight. In some other time, her lips as red as hearts and her hair as dark as raven’s wings might have stirred a poem. But the eerie mingling of fear and desire glass coating her brown eyes made her seem a mad, mad straw creature than a beauty.
The snow was deep and it bit to the knee, sometimes keeping her stuck in place. Frostbite tingled, a small sting at first and now a sharp bite in her feet; fingers. Her mittens had been swiped by a lashing pine, a boot kept by unforgiving drift. Her dress cold and wet.