Honesty on a flat-topped shingled roof (vignette)"Baby, if you were the stars, I'd lay and watch you all night." His words were roof-top spoken, and five stories above a Brooklyn street.
She didn't notice, though, because she was tuned into every noise beneath them: Radios, cars, buses, bikes, steam lines, subways, fans, air-conditioners, televisions, power transformers and a high-up plane were lapping up her consciousness and weaving a lovely blanket of humanity where she could stay warm.
Cold was his distance on the aging roof. She realized a long time ago that his love had fallen for an idea, and that she fit that idea in form only. The short, dark-haired girl with glasses motif was one she wore well. He lived on that ideal: every evening of their lives together he would heat up that film-covered, plastic tray with the neatly organized concepts of her in the microwave of his mind and enjoy it bit by compartmentalized bit.
But the variable of her heart was incalculable in his equation. Knowing that what she loved was no
Science Fiction of the Most Disappointing OrderOne day I sat at my listening post in SETI, drinking coca cola, eating chips, and making jokes about what aliens would say if they actually saw my fat lazy coworkers and I, when an extraterrestrial race contacted us in a series of beeps on our high-frequency radio.Science Fiction of the Most Disappointing Order2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Needless to say, I nearly crapped myself in recording the message, for it was clearly binary and our autistic junior member to the team, a great big fat man with a neck beard who insisted his first name was Xoo (I think the real name was Dawson), immediately understood it. He began rattling off a list of simple mathematical equations, getting more and more complicated as it went on until we were certain the message was a list of coordinates or directions. Of course, by that point our superiors had crowded into the room, as had their superiors and a couple of government officials.
I sat at my cramped little desk with Xoo breathing over my shoulder as he scribbled down what the binary code meant and I transcribed the ones and
The RunawayMy muse left a noteThe Runaway2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in the frost on my window,
"Call me when your ink runs out."
I imagined her vaulting from the sill
into the freshly falling snow
cocking her hat just so
as she stepped into the East
before it iced over.
She leaves no prints for me to follow,
no re-imagined trail for me to trod,
and I could spend years
tumbling after her shadow,
only to find her
United, We WriteHear me read itUnited, We Write2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
0hgravity, if by some divine fortune you should decide that today is the day you will fail me, then let me soar through the ChemicalSkyline. Grant me a-lovely-anxiety that raises a storm InTheStarryNightSky for me to riseandbe above all else. Let me soar.
How I long to be the frail rider-on-the-storm and not a victim of the RoamingShadow, Rogue-Of-The-Night, that BlackVelvetNightmare of my nights and days. I long
SorrowbirdI watched him flap helplessly between the teeth of a barbwire fence, screeching for help.Sorrowbird2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Papa, look Papa! A boy!"
My papa stood dazed for a moment, dust billowing at his legs, his eyes teetering along the field. It wasn't until later that evening he told me he hadn't understood what I had seen. What he had seen.
With grass tickling the backsides of my legs, I bounded toward the boy, "What are you doing? Are you okay?"
As I approached him, I felt his skittish eyes rake across my every movement. With his ten-year-old arms slung inside the gaping maw of a fence and darkened feathers pasted along the creases of his face; he looked squarely at me. I could hear his bird-bones quaking at my voice, he pushed harder against the fence. I winced for him.
"Hold still, we'll get you out," I turned back to my papa who stood alongside the road, "Papa," I pleaded, "Please! Help him!"
Reaching out, I touched his shoulder, "Don't be afraid. We're going to help you."
He didn't pull away from me. I thou
The Intelligent Are So SadA cascade of words parade around,The Intelligent Are So Sad2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with thoughts of atoms and connotation.
She is brilliant, they say,
but she knows she is lost.
Numbers are her companion,
she understands their mean, average.
Words can twist her brain,
she loves the wonder they bring.
She is intelligent, they say,
she doesn't feel clever enough.
Sometimes she feels clever too much.
Excusez-moi, in perfect French,
but nothing is gained by perfect word tense.
She is clever, they say.
But she is not clever the way they know.
She sees things as they are,
and she prefers her thoughts to the world.
She knows she loves them more than they in return,
and her friends will be there until they wont.
Friends reassure her, you'll be okay,
she puts a smile on her face.
She loves them as much as any,
even though there aren't many.
They bring out the best in her,
the happy girl,
not swamped by words.
The one who isn't drowning in formula.
Test scores and numbers don't mark you smart,
she knows this now,
engraved in her
1: an introduction of sortsThe thing was that my mother continued to insist that the ceilings in our house were low, thereby ignoring the obvious, which was that her son was a giraffe. It wasn't the fact that she was trying to kill me with kindness that bothered me, it was that she was pretending to not see what was right in front of her eyes. In fact, my entire family (which consisted of my parents and the stray cousin or aunt that sometimes dropped in unexpectedly from obscure places such as Majorca) had a way of glossing over the fact that I towered above them like an obscenely tall office building. They'd crane their necks back and squint up at me and say, "Why, Tate, you haven't grown a bit!" It drove me mad to the point of making me irritable, which is saying quite a lot. Usually when something upsets me, I'll hide in my room and quietly let it stew for a while before reemerging downstairs as if nothing had happened. But when a relation looked me in the eye and smiled as if they were mentally cutting me in1: an introduction of sorts2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
By Fifty,I'll publish or perish;By Fifty,2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
find someone to cherish;
move someplace phenomenal;
display an abdominal
physique to inspire,
which I shall acquire!
. . . Or perhaps, just retire.
Falling HardYou love me in the morningsFalling Hard2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and hate me in the evenings.
Some say the sauce
is like truth serum.
I suppose in a sense
like a catalyst
for a raging heart.
spiral out of control
and large problems
Needless to say,
I don't drink much these days.
Maybe it's because
I don't trust myself
I don't trust you.
In either case,
I feel I should keep a clear head.
Because our situation
tends to go south
in a hurry.
You see it's all about fair-weather these days.
It has to be
with so much is wrong,
but it's storming outside
are falling hard.
MemoriesI remember lying in bed with you, longing for a deeper connection. You would always sleep with your back to me, in an almost fetal position, as if you were physically guarding your heart. All I wanted was to touch those scars that ran down the center of your chest, but you told me you were not okay with someone else's heart beating within you so I let it be. The look in your eyes when you woke up in the morning; the sleepy surrealness of a dream playing at the corner of your lips, and the early morning light goldenly surrounding your messy hair like a halo was enough to quench any thirst I had for you. It was enough to resonate in me for a long while, and I saw through your eyes, at least I believe I did, for a split second.Memories2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I remember how much you loved to drink and make sweet tea. You always told me that the more you add to a recipe the more love it would reflect. You would always warn to only add equal amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg because it was vital that one not overpower the ot
Elegy to the Seathe autumn leaves fell—delicate, flickering in the wind—and then, the snow came just as fragile, only colder. and the whalesongs whispered from the sea, catching on the waves and capsizing in our ears. you wanted to fly away, and i—;Elegy to the Sea2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
oh, how i wanted to disappear inside your bones. i would seep into the marrow, infesting the lymph nodes: you could soar, but you could never leave me behind. the house creaks. it creaks. the wind may well tear my soul from its foundation.
but i wouldn’t mind. no.
i could start over—take myself apart and rebuild. the snowflakes fall, and the grass looks so like glass. if i touched it, perhaps it would shatter under the sheer weight of my fingertip, like the earth. our feet sink into the freezing sand, and the wind is bitter and i am, too. it’s cold. so, so
and i can’t take it.
i’m losing it, i think. and i, i, want to hold onto something—you accidently brush my a
Am I Worthy?Am I Worthy?Am I Worthy?2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Maybe I don't deserve all the views and the comments.
Maybe there are better writers out there that deserve acknowledgment.
Maybe I am not worthy of any recognition and attention.
Personally I don't think my work is even worth mentioning.
Maybe my words wont amount to anything substantial.
Maybe I wont make it in terms of a financial,
Atonement but can we just think for one moment
That maybe I write to express my thoughts on a page.
To release all the feelings held hostage in this mortal cage.
Maybe others can relate and reciprocate my words.
And to you this notion may seem insulting and absurd.
But all these favourites and feed back gives me an added purpose.
And for that split second when reading them, I feel like I actually deserve this.
That my whole hearted words are not dispensable and worthless.
That maybe I can actually make something of myself.
Give the people something real to purchase from life's obscure shelf.
Give my parents the life that they so justly
the way of two heartshe can't touch her distancethe way of two hearts2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
all the while
she ruminates on existence
and non-dairy creamers
he just resides
on the edge of potential
whole milk upbringing
she sees him, near-sighted
he acts in solid ways
rarely speaking, yet
and unaware lumbering grace
she just resides
on the peak support felt
in his rough hands
bringing her up, whole
they see. they are.
Willfully LostIn these whispering moments,Willfully Lost2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I take your heart in mine
and hold it fast.
You make me forget
things like flower names
and cloud shapes,
where I came from
or why I'm going,
as my thoughts are filled with..
Every crack in the sidewalk
carries your name,
and the grass rustles soft your wishes
to tangle your fingers in my hair.
My breathing drops
like the autumn wind,
would that I could,
I would throw myself into it,
will myself towards your southwestern
your dusty mesas abutting
my mountains green.
art in all its formsi'd like to own a typewriter and hire a mechanic to have himart in all its forms3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
remove all the dots above the i's and j's so that i could type
the way i write. then i would sit cross-legged on a sandy beach
and write all day while the seagulls sing and the wind tosses my
hair until i have to spend hours untangling it. i'd write late
into the evening by the light of the moon, and i'd go every day
to see its waxing and waning and never-changingness as it peers
down at us from the dark heavens, forever in our orbit (just like
i will spend the rest of my life orbiting you). and i would savor
the simplicity of this moment, of sitting on the beach with my
typewriter and the stars (i wish you were here).
i know a boy who can take photographs with his mind. when i
told him of my adventures of squawking seagulls under the
moonlight he told me he wished he could have taken a photo.
i ask what sort of pictures he takes and he says 'only the
kind that make you look twice. the ones that make you want
to sit and wri
Springfield, MO1991Springfield, MO2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
In my father's house there are many rooms
(Only one gun cabinet)
A cross hung over my grandmother's
bedroom door for thirty two years
Her phone rang late on a Saturday night
She was the last person he called
The sun rose early the next morning
The cross was taken down
Arapahos in the GardensArapahos in the Gardens2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Once all his points were made, we stopped for a while in a border town called Nuevo Laredo. It was an odd stop. We slid out of the car into heat, dazzled by colors--reds and yellows screamed, and the blues looked like something in an electric dream. We smiled at each other. Suddenly, we were tourists.
After a brief sit-down in shade to eat Mexican food, I just as suddenly found myself alone. Following a quiet, private conference between my father-in-law John and husband Midge, with a few reassurances and winks tossed my way, John and Midge disappeared for some minutes. I sat on a low, white-washed adobe wall and kept my eyes open. I nervously considered the situation. Did John and Midge have to make some final arrangements about the ranch we were going to? Did they go to a bar or one
Backseat BabeShe rides in the backseat of his car because the front passenger's seat gives her motion sickness. Not wearing her seatbelt, she leans forward and hands him a half-smoked cigarette. "To Vegas, baby," she says.Backseat Babe2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He scowls at her"Fuck you"but heads towards Vegas anyway.
He steals glances at her in the rear view mirror as she tests various shades of lipstick and puckers at her own reflection. When he rolls his eyes and shakes his head, she says "What?" and then tries another shade without even bothering to wipe the old one off.
She's only fifteen, he reminds himself. But that doesn't soothe the headache.
She likes to read the map and point out places she'd like to visit along the way. He just keeps driving straight and doesn't say a thing.
"Why haven't you fucked me yet?" she asks one day, sprawled across the entire backseat of the car, her shoulder against the door, her eyes studying her fingernails which she pretends to pick.
"You're too young," he replies, his
hanging from the rafters in the skyclocks in a motel room;hanging from the rafters in the sky2 years ago in Visual & Found Poetry More Like This
the years go by like one day
with these old photos in my hands.
how do cities understand?
that by skating on the edge of the world
we carve north stars in Styrofoam
on the edge of reality.
we are all waiting to be found
when stars die.
(i used to have a name)
now i'm dreaming of the simple things,
and i'm ready to fight my way.
somebody told me:
"i have loved the stars too fondly."
between gray and gold
there are flaking photographs and shattered memories;
the heartlines of drunken sinners chasing stars.
cold hearted, you bound our spines.
(and breathe out)
it is not enough to know the colors of my soul,
like a painting hung all wrong, or
and unwanted diary.
dreams catch in the lungs.
let go, little bird.
(but don't forget me)
without you, my fickle muse,
the city daydreams,
desperate to connect with
the world near your feet.
(lost wishes can be found
My Wife the Space MonsterI brutally murdered my wife on Main Street in broad daylight with a 12-gauge shotgun.My Wife the Space Monster2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
And frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about.
Of course, I very much doubt I'll be acquitted on that sort of introduction in my upcoming trial, which will most likely result in my execution given the state I live in. It seems unlikely that any defense I offer will be useful in preserving my existence, though with a little bit of luck I may be able to prolong my time on death row for a decade or more, like most wife-killers out there have before. But with what I'm about to tell the world, I hope that at least the people off the jury will understand and pardon me in their minds.
At the very least, a few of you readers will be entertained.
It all started last summer, on a particularly hot day at the tail end of July, when my wife Victoria, twin sons Humbert and Jeffrey, and little daughter Katy had all gone out for ice cream cones and were on our way home. Up until this point, our marri
High (First Draft)My Dear,High (First Draft)2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I must confess. I never told you, but I got high once. And once before that.
The first time was the day I met you. In that old bookstore we touched fingers among the fiction shelves reaching for a Joyce. An awkward moment made majestic when you laughed. I knew right then and there. This girl is outside my comfort zone. Then you took my hand. As you led me through the aisles, I ran my fingers across the books and prayed inwardly for osmosis to give me the right words to say.
And like some Forrest and Jenny escapade, we were off. We took turns riding the rolling ladder across the biography shelves. We encouraged an Asian boy in the self-help aisle. We asked the clerk, "Where in the dickens is Dickens!" He rolled his eyes. So we tipped him. We recited Hemingway for the war history buffs and Geisel for everyone else. We laughed at an old lady, blushing and shivering, leafing through the romance novels. And when she heard us, we blew her kisses. Peas and carrots. Hair an
Cure to Your Heart-Cure to Your Heart-Cure to Your Heart2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Four weeks until the final exam.
By now, the teachers had already prepared revision tests and guides for the students, but I didn't even bother to show up at class to take a sheet. Instead, I roamed around the empty hallways, not even caring about exams or graduation. I was hopeless, anyway.
"Ren, you'd better have a good reason to be lounging around in the hallway."
I froze and spun around in surprise to see the school principal, glaring at me with her arms crossed, waiting for an answer.
" The medical room, I have to go there," I replied, an obvious lie.
She stared at me sternly for a moment before nodding and heading back to her office. The principal was always suspicious of me, maybe because of my irresponsible antics and the fact that I didn't look like a 'model student', probably since I never bothered to do my tie properly and I had bleached hair and tattoos on my arms and wrists, which was forbidden in school. I also always had a few br
Dear HumanDear Human,Dear Human3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You continue to write in me. You take a pen and mark my pages with memories. Why do you do this? I cannot help you; I cannot accompany you through your life. You will write in me and then what you write will stay hidden beneath my cover. These words do not solve any of your troubles, or make any of your joys greater. Why do you continue to write? I do not care what happened to you on March 16th, be that March 16th in 2002 or March 16th in 2012. I do not care.
I do not care what happens from day to day, the world outside which I have not seen in years. I am shut in a drawer in a desk that never changes. I do not know the people whose names you scrawl, sometimes with hate, which fills me, sharp words, sharp tip of the pen, stabbing, carving deep symbols, these words that indent other pages, stretching deeper, impaling me with your passions. I hate these names, these people, these deeds, with such hate that I cannot think beyond the fresh ink. The next page is blank and sends