PilkunnussijaHere's what I think:
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
A Love Story in Four Actsi.A Love Story in Four Acts9 months 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.
pyrite girlNote: Pretty please listen to the audio version for the full effect.pyrite girl8 months 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.
ravingsthe salt in the cellar's gone sour, you seeravings7 months ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
but the skeletons don't give a damn
and the lighthouse is choked with the dust and the sea
for the wick keeper's gone on the lam
and the garden is thick with the souls and decay
and I doubt I'll be here very long
for the floodtides will rise at the close of the day
when the nightingale's snapped up his song.
mothsthey tell me I'll never make a catchmoths8 months ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
[a catch--whatever the hell
with the tongue I've got and its tendencies and
the tastes it's partial to
since when have they ever known a thing about me?
the drinking's just an excuse
it's always been
a way to let them down easy when they wonder about
the types of human moths my cigarette attracts
and I just don't have the heart to level with them
tell them that those human moths happen to be my preferred company
even with all their imperfections
and rough edges like knives gone too long without sharpening
not sterile scalpels sorted in wolfish order
for the display case.
and I've always had a sailor's lexicon
there are some kinds of beautiful that can only be expressed in expletives
because they go down like whiskey and light you up
from the inside out
and damned if you can keep a polite tongue in the middle of that kind of onslaught.
Moon Eye Fire Eye SitMoon Eye Fire Eye1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
he says to me, and I sit and feel very small.
Let me tell you,
he says to me,
how it happened.
The creek dried up that summer and
the crops gave their last shiver
and bent down to the earth. And at night
you could hear the leaves crawling down the creekbed
like goddamn spiders along the rocks.
His face is half winter
pale and sparked with a milky eye like a moon
and half raw summer, twisted
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.Smoke1 year 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
let's start a fire“Can I get you anything?”let's start a fire1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She shifts, splaying herself along his couch that is quietly becoming hers.
the empty glass on the back of his hand. “A drink?”
“Yes, please.” A luxuriant stretch. She watches his pupils drag all the way down the curve of her hip before continuing.
“I’d like a glass of Kafka—distilled, mixed with
dark rum and a splash of Dostoyevsky—poured
so sweetly down my throat and
chased with a lungful of smoky Fitzgerald.
“I wasn’t aware this was a book club.” He pours a soda before joining her, taking
a biting sip in the half light.
“There are too many book clubs,” she says, hooking her legs over his.
“Too many streetcorner ladies and their lace-veiled
threats over coffee and New York Times bestsellers.”
She harbors a
derision for New York Times bestsel
the song of a roamerAnd darling, I've been gone for a long, long time. Your eyesthe song of a roamer6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
are still that steely gunpowder blue, but your hair has grown long,
and there's a softer curve to your waist
and freckles on your shoulder I don't remember,
and I think,
What have I missed?
You tell me about the weddings
the divorces. You tell me
about the babies
and the losses, and how last year
your dog died--easy, in his sleep--
and there is a hollow lack in you,
a space reserved for things that won't come back.
Long ago, was there a space like that
When did it collapse--when did it
fold in on itself
under the weight of things that matter more?
I tell you about Cambodia. I paint
the jungles for you, breathe the crushing wet heat
of it into your lungs. I tell you
about the kids in Africa
and how the heat is different there--
belligerent and fierce.
I tell you how much you would have liked Barbados,
and how much you would have hated Rome.
And I remember all the things I
can't tell you--all the things I don't hav
transientthe gods fell, and the world with them,transient8 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
and to dust returned, all--
metallic warbles of radio static proclaiming
this is the end
this is the end
and long before it all ceased to exist
the slate had been wiped clean
and the end of it all
AppassionataPlay me a waltz, loud, and let it rumble across the miles. Breathe life back into corpses and let their spirits do the talking. Chopin can sweettalk me easy, we both know that, and Beethoven is that brooding whisper in my ear. Play me a waltz because sound travels through oceans of smog and human souls and arid sky. Make me dream of concert halls and the vineyard on the coast, and paperbacks lying amid scraps of masterpieces yet to be put together. Remind me how the sea tastes. Remind me of the thunderstorms we haven't seen, and pens we haven't drained. Tell my fortune in C sharp minor and let the low notes resonate inside my chest and set myAppassionata1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Indestructible"I am a fortress," he drawls nonchalantly. "Right now, I have two firearms, a hunting knife, a switchblade, a smoke bomb, a pair of brass knuckles, a flashlight, duct tape, and a lighter concealed on me." He smirks. "Indestructible."Indestructible1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Too close to the scaffolding above, the Indestructible Fortress is summarily decked by a falling hammer.
EavesdroppingYou're two Shakespeares intertwined in a single glorious metaphor, vomiting forth prosepoetry declarations of love. You are enlightened, existing on some higher plane, and my neck is stiff from trying to get a glimpse. I have only the briefest flashes of lucidity that leave me stunned. Is that how you feel all the time?Eavesdropping11 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Do you know you're fucking beautifulboth of you? You're locked in some eloquent ethereal dance I don't know the steps to. So I watch, a glutton for this strange vicarious romance, and I cling to the words that drip from your tongues.
noise(this place is packed.)noise1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
we were the kings of soulless
played to soothe their tattered nerves
untaped so many larynxes
we were snakecharmers
we broke their ribs to
pieces and stitched them tenderly
with kisses and apologies
whispered promises that everything
would heal and the scars
would never show
and did it again every night.
all left now
nomads to the core
ShayI open the door and the apartment is dark and musty cold--that antiseptic not-lived-in kind cold. "Shay." I fumble for the light switch, then hang my keys on the hook with practiced finality. Door locked, backpack dropped, and I'm in the living room. "Shay." Nothing.Shay8 months ago in Scraps More Like This
There's piles of assorted belongings everywhere: books resting on crumpled sweaters--a belt and a plush toy--empty picture frames on dusty shoeboxes--glass jars full of colored oil. It forms a trail, sharp-cornered and lazy, to the bedroom at the back, and that's where I find you sleeping belly-down on the floor.
I should wake you up and make you dinner because I'm sure you forgot to fix yourself anything, but for a minute I lean on the doorjamb and look at you. Your shirt hiked up a little bit around your narrow waist to small to hold up all but the skinniest of skinny jeans. You're always been thin, almost dangerously so, without seeming to try. Your hair curls in tendrils all over your shoulders, down your back, across
all that hasn't happenedPretty please listen to the audio.all that hasn't happened5 months 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.
Arsenic.i.Arsenic.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
It's just like talking
to anyone else
I cried when you wrote
that, just like when
I took your letters
down, and when you
told me you didn't
love me, anymore
and, I cannot
find a method
to pretend that
you were just
there are people
who make me laugh
like you never did,
I do not feel safe
with any of them;
and I thought
about falling into
your arms next
year, when you
to feel at home
in all senses
of the word,
you will not
oh, you over think things
and maybe I do,
but the things
LateSammy paced.Late1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
This had never happened before. And tonight, of all nights! He glanced at the clock, grimaced, and paced some more. Where was he?
Behind the curtain, he heard the chatter of the crowd, the beat of the music.
Marv the Magnificent, the "compere extraordinaire", strode up to Sammy and gave him a questioning look. Sammy answered with a shrug. Marv looked at his watch, wiped his brow, sipped from a tin hip-flask.
"It's now or never, Sam. Do or die. I believe you can do this on your own - but he'll be here yet."
Seeing the fear in his star attraction's eyes, Marv put a hand on Sammy's shoulder. "He'll be here yet", he repeated.
summergirlNow read aloud over here. Do give it a listen, won't you?summergirl5 months 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.
StringsNatalia was, blatantly, a pianist. It was impossible for her to have been anything else. She had this liquid grace about her that whispered sonatas and nocturnes and moody Beethoven. She'd sit at the piano in the college music room, rocking slowly back and forth and making a waltz rumble deep within its wooden body. Her fingers were long but her nails were always cut short so they wouldn't click against the keys, and her hair, long and smooth, was always pulled back into a big, soft braid.Strings2 years ago in Scraps More Like This
"Daddy wanted me to be a concert pianist since the day I was born," she'd say in that gentle Eastern European accent of hers. I believed her. She could pl
ProprioceptionThis is the place where I can load up, carrying rusted forks and plates and empty tin cans, burned books and plungers (but no buckets) because I am a gatherer with a broken sense of self-control. This is the place where I can kill with a baseball bat and brush shrapnel from my leather-armored shoulderI'm sure some is lodged in there, but I feel so strangely shock-absorbed. Hunger is just a state; compassion a fleeting emotion.Proprioception11 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But I am somehow a part of things, a busy little ant among the other busy little ants, baking under the desert heat and feeling the trembling loneliness of it all. And when I make a misstep and take a spray of bu
:Murder Summer: Prologue:Murder Summer: Prologue1 year ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The summer you came to me was the first time this little town was ever confronted with the gruesome workings of killing.
The winter you left was the last time this little town ever witnessed the gruesome workings of a corpse swinging gently from a noose.
Welcome to the murder summer.
ode to the summer i never hadit's june and with whiplash rapidity you rule the asphaltode to the summer i never had7 months ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
the cars make way for your sunwarmed ego
this town is yours and only the loudest of bars are fit retreats,
habitats for racing hearts and wildly pulsing souls
you wander through 3am streetlight glow
until you are lost and found again
and when the chill has finally seeped into overbaked concrete
you are spiked
alcoholized by cicadas and heathaze
on the fourth of july, lazy-eyed,
you watch as well-meant flames expand
singing meat and misplaced self-worth beyond repair
and when the fireworks begin you think
that's how I'll go.
you will not crash and burn
you will expand and supernova
your glowing embers scattering among the awed applause
because there is something beautiful in destruction
and you will inject yourself into their collective consciousness
and reappear whenever their eyes close
august finds you soaring
a supersonic stellar firefly
sailing up while time rushes down and when the countdown stops
Meditations of a Girl Adrift :1:One muggy Tuesday afternoon, the day I beat my personal record of six spine-shaking coughing fits in one day, people told Mum that I was wilting under city smog and that she should take me to the sea. Concerned family members and neighbors of the inquisitively kind sort provided the finances, so Mum packed up the house--it didn't take long--and me along with it, and we set off for the coast.Meditations of a Girl Adrift :1:10 months ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
We set up shop in a soft, quiet little cottage perched on the edge of the ocean, separated by a baby cliff still quietly dreaming of height. Rocks--big black ones, pitted and rough--tumbled themselves out into a small beach just below it, with a narrow strip curving around a bend and out of sight, stretching into unexplored territory.
The air was so clean. My lungs became sore almost immediately, as if, after being squeezed tightly for years, they'd been released. It was such a beautiful pain that the first day I didn't leave the rocky shore until the sun did. The next morning, I was decked by an o
Bones Love Meetings"Oh, one last tip. They, ah... they like to move around sometimes."Bones Love Meetings10 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I looked up from the stacks of museum-y paperwork I was to file and gaze solemnly at the squirrelly little paleo-something or grad student or dinosaur fanboy in front of me. "Move around? What, the bones?"
He adjusted his Coke-bottle glasses. "Yeah."
"You're just screwing with me, aren't you?" With a wry smile, I turned back to the stacks. Four of them, at least a foot high each, to be sorted and stapled and stashed. At least the pay was decent.
"No, really!" Coke Bottles was adamant. "They... they just like to get together."
I grabbed a small portion of papers and rifled through them. "Sure, sure. They drop off their shelves and roll into the boardroom and have little bone meetings, right? Catch up on ancient business from a couple thousand years ago?" This would take me hours... if not days. And I'd have to sit here is this dusty museum backroom full of assorted specimens to do it.
"And they bring their l