WishbonesIt was 5am, and the sun was only beginning to hit the windows as she said to me, I think I wrote a poem about you.
And I said, how does it go?
It goes like this, she said, and it was beautiful.
It was shooting stars, pulled wishbones and a thousand things unfulfilled, all blown birthday candles and dandelion clocks; the superstitions we embrace so that sometimes, for a few seconds, we're allowed to have any dream we want despite it all.
At the beginning it was the regret for things, said and unsaid, breaking into sharp pieces in our palms so we could never hold them; then it was a confession, and then a heartbreaking demand, only to know whether it could ever begin or be stopped; and the final line led me up into her eyes.
They were like the sea looks in all the magazines, the colour you buy expensive tickets to swim in for two weeks: clearwater oceans, the kind of world we know less about the bottom of than we do about the surface of our moon. She was too true and clear a sea, unrippl
Erstwhilei),Erstwhile2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Once upon a time our stories were simple.
Once upon a time our mothers turned the pages for us, held our hands, and promised to read out the words we still stumbled over, sometimes, if we were tired or alone.
Once upon a time we were taught to walk only so we could begin that ancient human race: the desperate sprint for success, power and fame. The one where your mother lets go of your hand and tells all her friends that you can do it without falling sometimes, if they pretend they aren't watching or they shake a rattle at you; the one where coach says the people sitting at the side-lines are only kids who can't run fast enough, who didn't try hard enough, who aren't enough; the one where you are named by your number.
Sometimes we are drowning in the texts.
Sometimes definitions escape us, and questions will plague us, and it feels as if our teachers taught us words only so we could understand what we should not say.
Sometimes we are reading so hard that we forget to stop and
i) Wanderlusti),i) Wanderlust3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The first time I met the girl who started a revolution the sky was throwing down so much rain it felt like we were underwater. It was hard to breathe; and maybe that was because of all the rain, but probably it was because I looked at her face, under this dark red hood, and inside I was a story with all these feelings I could never say. I guess those feelings could only ever become words on paper - words in ink - not the kind I could ever speak aloud to anybody, if only because I couldn't bear for a person to see the look on my face while I remembered. Despite how good it felt - so hopeful, so desperately happy for what it was and could become - at the same time it was drowning in this sea, like the sky that day, for the way that everything else wasn't. And I said, what's your name?
At first we called her August when I brought her back to Jack's flat, which his parents paid for mostly, and which we used for getting high, mostly. She curled up in the armchair and rarely left it from
The Rainfall KidThere are raindrops on his fingersa glistening cluster of perfectly silver droplets that read like some shining, ethereal roadway mapthe night that he comes for her with the thunder of a summer storm rolling forward on his footsteps. The low rumble of it jolts her from a book induced slumber, the cover rough beneath hands and the jumble of last-read letters blurring on the underside of blinking eyelids as rain begins to fall. Although it's almost been longer than memory will allow, she knows that there is no mistaking the sudden upheaval of the outside world for anything other than his arrivalafter all, it hasn't stormed in years.The Rainfall Kid3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Soon enough, her shoulders and the soles of her bare feet are collecting water along with the hardback that had slipped, forgotten, through outstretched fingersnow laying broken-spined with white pages exposed and its words all bleeding together in thin rivers of smudged ink. The leafless trees seem to shudder, emerging from
We don't know how to dream.i. There is glass in my bones, I say and she nods. She is listening but not really. She is mixing up words and thoughts and trying to decide what to say next to keep me from falling deeper. She is afraid, I can tell. There are different kinds of fear, you know, different flavors. Mine is a slow fear, a soft and creeping fear that strokes the back of your mind and makes you cry in libraries, on car rides, in the gloaming time after sex. It's a fear that makes you say things you don't mean to the people you love because you need someone to know that there's a stranger in your head and you don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. Her eyes are shifting, backforthbackforth, still composing. Her fear is a sudden fear, a sharp fear, a tidal wave of not knowing what to do, what to say. Her fear is a secret she keeps in her fists when I'm feeling most alone and she thinks she needs to be strong. I'm exploding, I say and she nods. I'm not looking for an answer.We don't know how to dream.4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
Living AnticipationWhat she craved was hunger. It took a semester for me to learn that.Living Anticipation3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She was an exchange student from Italy, a college sophomore, and I was a grad student assisting her ESL class. The class was mandatory her first semester in the States, but she didn't need it. She didn't need a tutor, either.
So, we were lovers.
Every Wednesday, in my far away apartment in Brooklyn, we met and made. Every Wednesday, she would arrive on the N train from Manhattan and let herself in. I left the door unlocked all day, because she would never give me a time. Answering her phone was her lowest priority. All the world could wait for her, it seemed to me.
When she arrived, it was always with a kiss. There were hardly any words at first, just her on her toes and me leaning down to meet her. She was 5 foot tall and all of nothing in weight, and never would I call her beautiful. She was pretty: olive skin and brown hair on youthful frame. Her ac
shoot me upshoot me up, take me back down, leave me here a while and i'm sure i will feel loved again; sometime in the next five hours i'll wake up and remember you and everything might be okay.shoot me up5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
until then hang out the washing and take care of my daughter, pretend like i'm sleeping because i'm tired and look in on me every five minutes just to make sure, because you can't be anymore. it's deathday my love, and i thought when i'd die it would be on an elegant bed with velvet covers and my family gathered all around me but that's not what it is, it's me lying on the sofa because i can't walk anymore and you can't carry me up two flights of stairs; it's me unconscious because it's too painful for me to be awake; it's me too scared to tell my family and in the end they'll find out after i'm gone already; it's me not ready, oh god i'm not ready to die i'm not.
memories pierce through my dreams but not where i can see them. my eyesight left me a while ago, i can't remember when exactly beca
the invisible wounds of warhome is so different when you'rethe invisible wounds of war2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
standing behind the wall;
i wonder of the people who
live/will live in that house now as i
stand yonder on the neighbor's
my face illuminated in a yellow
i wonder if they'd listen to my winding
stories; the nights i'd scream
back at my parents as they screamed
at each other -
the tornadoes and storms that ripped
through the back yard, leaving us untouched
but devastating others -
the christmas and easter mornings, good
times and bad, dreams and heartbreak
and so much cigarette smoke staining
the walls and my lungs.
(we were a good american family with
good american values and traditions,
i wonder if they'd listen to my twisting
roots, sitting calmly as i'd tell them
of the horrors of standing naked
in front of my mother to have her tell
me my body was wrong.
i've always been told that people
abuse in myriads of ways, but never
that the walls of my old home
would abuse along.
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 silent3 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
The extremely short storyI once heard the tale of a man who had the whole universe inside his throat.The extremely short story3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Was he a giant?" someone asked.
I thought for a second.
"No," I said. "He was a storyteller."
Birth of PoetryI tangled my fingers in the curls of the universe,Birth of Poetry4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
pulled. The earth fell out: round, warm, spinning.
Awkward and shy, she wondered how she got here; how
a rock that got wet and grew moss could be significant.
So I scooped her up in my fingers, breathed her scent:
(lilies and oceans and ozone and forests and fish and birds
and whales and rain and the empty elegance in wolf howls)
death and life. I found chaos
and knew beauty.
Five Seasons (Alternate) There was this moment, early last May, when I could have glanced up from the book I was reading at the breakfast table.Five Seasons (Alternate)2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I could look out my window and see you standing on my lawn, this waif in a windbreaker grinning at a daydream you're probably too old for. I could bring you an umbrella. I could invite you in for coffee, and we could lose the whole day debating questionable Scrabble plays. We could take to the streets after dark and try to find an all-night diner that will feed us both for less than fifteen dollars. I could fall in love with you.
But I don't.
You go home with nothing but a story about how springtime leaves you feeling lonely. Your roommate blows off a dinner date to take you out for drinks. You send a Chardonnay up to the stage between sets and the singer takes you home.
The new girl at work works up the nerve to ask me out.
I don't have a reason to say no.
UntitledANNA was the cashier at sullivan's, the small, family-owned grocery at the corner of edwards and eggleton. she worked most friday nights, some sundays, and always wednesday.Untitled2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
today was wednesday.
from her apartment window anna perched, peering around the moss-colored curtains, her eyes large like a hawk's, always drawn, open, and alert. she flicked her gaze along andres lane, a clouded and drizzly street away from edwards, watching the people about, scattered on the street and the sidewalk like morning dew on the lawn. they were lazy and slow moving, and she watched their progress as they ambled from one end of her window to the other, where they scuffled out of sight.
beside this window, in her living room, in the recliner, she sat, there in that chair. her feet were tucked underneath her, and in her left hand she held a cup of tea with her head turned over the armchair to peer out of the window. sara sat beside her folded legs, purring incessantly, reminding anna of the vents in the a
you still love himi.you still love him2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
the bare bulb flickers, and aurora's bones quiver, porous with constellations. she is named, she believes, for the mottled color of her skin: black, purple, green, yellow, and blue erupting on the pale night sky. when she tries to bend her arm, it hurts, and he says, "just rest. just rest. just rest."
they freeze over.
he meets daisy at the clinic. she is yellow in the cold but tans in the summer: blossoming daintily, shimmering with pollen, beautiful amongst the long wild grasses. she whispers and presses a flimsy little card onto his palm; "i can tell you're better than the others."
aurora accepts her methadone.
in the arctic, the sky splits; aurora rests beneath the flickering sun and the snow melts, blistering.
Our Discontent Made Gloriousin winter days, mother wakes heavy-liddedOur Discontent Made Glorious4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
as her skeleton recollects itself
in a half-thought arrangement of curious limbs,
trying to teach the ribcage
how to sew back together its columns of rough-hewn teeth
so her swelling light does not spill through open slits,
a heart anchored firmly in her chest and pushing fire
through tangled veins.
tender bones shake off lakes of snow
from where they drifted into the craters that hide
behind her knees
while the thickened night presses forests of gentle bruises into an aching spine
and counts all the ways dead trees could blossom. white-winged larks
are the first to flock to such harvests, alighting on her arms
to drink the marrow buried beneath unturned skin as they would
at cusp between
birdsong and dawn, mother
sheds away the faces of the moon.
each phase pools crescent-shaped
onto softly-trodden floorboards
and sighs into the curve of her ankles as her eyes
look to the west to sketch shadows against
HeartmindWe lost electricity on the night you left meHeartmind3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I spent the night curled up against the rain,
drinking in the slack of damp green winds
in our treasured driftwood home of mist.
I had to come to think of time
as a medium and my thoughts as
imperfect and cursive. It was a wrinkled medium,
a mediocrity of sunken breath: words condensing
into droplets that so contorted my teary lenses
that I couldn't tell that you were turning towards me
with a sound, the sound a book makes
when its leaves are rustled against the grain.
Tonight my body lingers on the edge of the ocean
like a gasp; New Jersey's throaty highways
bear my rosefelt thoughts and I can't miss them
like I miss the cradle of the river,
like I miss the firm grip of the circular,
like I miss the existential faith we had in nature
and her artistic lover to take us home.
Autumn in RetrospectI became a truant in fourth grade; that may seem young, but no one was keeping an eye on me, my 'teacher' was a rotating face, and I didn't think education was all that important, especially the one I was getting. Multiplication and division hadn't been taught, the recently rebound social studies books ended at President Reagan, and while I could read and even liked to read, I didn't learn anything at school I couldn't learn at the library. The librarians were nicer than the subs, anyway, and the real teacher was on an extended pregnancy leave that she wasn't keen to come off of. I'm not sure, but I think she quit the next year.Autumn in Retrospect2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Papi went to work before the sun was in the sky, and Mami was seeing her girlfriend when he was away. After giving us each a slice of bread, she would kiss me, my sister, and my brother and say she was going to visit a friend. We all knew, even Raymond who was only five, that she came home with a brighter smile than a nice lunch warranted. I was the oldest, so
human hibernation.i wish i could say it rained the day we gave you back to the earth, that even the heavens were crying for you. it didn't though. it was 28 degrees and our black coats of grief were heavy in so many ways. it felt unfair, and i wasn't ready to let you go just yet, if i could have put myself in the wretched box i would have in a heartbeat. the cliches were in full force that day, and i didn't care for a minute. all i knew is the earth, or god, or whoever took you from me better be grateful to have you back.human hibernation.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there was something in my stomach that day, a knot, a twist, something that felt wrong and out of place from the second i opened my eyes that morning. my boots were heavier than usual, and i just couldn't shake this shadow that seemed to be following me. my mind sorted through the usual excuses; is the oven off? did i lock the cat in accidentally? oh shit, the garbage that must be it.
i wish now it was just the cat inside the house, the worst thing i would have had to deal with then wa
apparitionit's the things that aren't really there that stick in your throat the most.apparition2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
he had a knack for leaving me for periods at a time, usually in the middle of the night around when morning wasn't to be seen for miles. i'd wake up with the bed empty and my voice gone and people asking me things like, "how long were you together?" as if they hadn't ever known he was there with me that whole time.
his name was taboo for years. i never even had the courage to manage the first consonant of him until three years ago; it was slippery as it fell out of my mouth, almost tugging the whole thing with it. i'd cut it short just after the "w" and left those who were listening in confusion. "what did you say there?" they'd ask.
i was never one to talk of things that i wasn't sure existed, like god or heaven or him. all of his things were gone the morning after he would leave, the house and myself gutted of his existence. who was i to say that he was really there at one point?
"oh, just a stutter," i'd te
glowthere are days i don't want the sun to set on us; where we should race it, rolling westward at an unstopping momentum, bringing erasure to the day's beginnings as we flood toward an unreachable end.glow3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it's a day like this when i realise we're impossible -- you, with your baked-clay shoulders, squeezed tight and compact, small but so present, you, with your brier of black bristle encompassing the two lips, softest rose, bringing nature back to intimacy.
it makes me catch fire, in our setting sun, to see a desert-bright radiance reflect in your room. it's when you change your clothes behind the wooden door of your dresser; when you return from a shower, a rainstorm bringing me beauty and the complex scent of a clean man; when you dim your light to match the moon's as you strip off the day and safely stow away a secret within me.
the sun sets too quickly for us to catch it. the longer you hold me in copper embrace, the sooner we reflect the short daylight we are given.
mayfly in the sinkthe bottle is blue, laced with drops of flies, as i stand, holding it, wishing i were alone. there is no one here i've ever cared to know. here is tripping over flowers like the arms of those around me form a crawspace. a crawspace like in the news gets riddled with congealed blood molding grains of flesh into a mash of deadness. and standing here, pressed against all of that decay, i stumble, kicking my bare feet at dirt and weed flowers.mayfly in the sink2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
this outdoor garden smells like pot. hell, i smell like vomit and maybe fear. i remember trying to tear myself away from a wall of flesh, being trapped within it, a fly thrashing against a bottle's sides. i am too stumbling, rotting, destroyed like quiet sounds are when deep, curved basses reverberate the spine. i can't hear.
when i am drunk i know that the world has tossed me out. i grew out of self-pity when i tried to pass, i tried to pass tests and be perfect but then, then there was nothing for me. just an expanse of time. just a lack of directi