I, BULBOUS: Page 1IT was a dark and stormy night.
Or rather: it is, at present, a dark and stormy night.
You open I, BULBOUS to page 1 and already, on page 1 of I, BULBOUS, you find yourself trapped in some sort of lair and, resisting your best readerly instincts to put the book down and do something better with your time, you keep reading, eyes scrolling across the page and down the paragraph, rolling like a twin pair of pinballs along the predetermined course of some great textual Rube Goldberg machine whose denouement, though as yet unimaginable to you, is - or so you imagine - crushingly unimpressive, and still you read, and the further you read, the lower your eyelids droop, and deeper and deeper you fall under the spell of The Author, and thus, less and less escapably - which is to say more and more inescapably - do you find yourself trapped in the aforementioned lair, which, little by little, is becoming more and more populated with detail.
The aforementioned lair, like th
Complex 57The slick of black, heady oil rolled across the floor, staining the raw surface of the clinic, and the young boy collapsed back into the examination table. He was pale, even for someone who had never seen sunlight, with milky eyes and black spittle hanging from cracked lips.Complex 572 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Of those we've seen, the virus has spread most quickly in this patient." Doctor Ripnar was a tall man who tended to sway when he walked, but had hands as deft and precise as any surgeon and he used them now to steady and restrain the boy. "His blood is turning into the same substance you see at your feet." he continued, "We might have been able to keep him alive long enough to find a cure, but we don't have the resources for everyone."
Adjudicator Lawrence nervously straightened his tie; his pink and sweaty face bulbous with stress. "Everyone?" he asked, "How many have been infected?"
"It's in the air supply, Adjudicator. We're all infected."
The Adjudicator lurched, virulent juices churning in his stomach. He hat
Conversation"I am driving in a Hummer. I am on a two lane highway. I was listening to Counting Crows before panic threatened to cut off my air supply. Air supply is a band. I have no idea what they sing. I'm pretty sure they were a clue on Jeopardy once. I…I…have to pull over so I can breathe."Conversation3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Omar put on his blinker and steered the over-compensation-mobile to the shoulder of the road. He fumbled with the lock on the door and his heart felt like it was going to burst through his chest when he tried to get out of the car and couldn't. Seatbelt. It was just the seatbelt. His hands were slick with cold sweat by the time the belt whizzed cheerfully back into its place and he managed to slide out onto the shoulder of the road.
He was glad it was so late and glad that the highway was so deserted. He was trembling so hard that the change in his pockets rattled and he never would have been able to speak if someone had pulled up and offered to help. He hated for people to witness his panic.
open letter to my first holy communion teacherdear miss bond,open letter to my first holy communion teacher3 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
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.
Mono.One morning a black pillar appeared in the center of town, within the boundaries of the park and right outside of the library. It stood at least thirteen feet tall and was as wide as a mature oak. They deduced it was made out of some kind of polished stone. Some guessed it was obsidian; others argued it was too strong to be such a fragile stone. It could have been granite, but when was the last time you saw black granite in that quantity, and in that shape?Mono.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"We should knock it down and drag it away!" someone shouted.
But they were too afraid to touch it.
"Why not just leave it here?" another suggested.
But they wondered what would happen if they didn't do anything at all.
Whoever put it there didn't do it alone. They'd need a truck to transport the thing, and they'd need some way to get it off the flatbed and stand it up straight. But why go to all of that trouble for a pillar of rock? Or was it part of someth
The Stick PeopleIn a town called Rushing Water, there lived a woodcarver with no face.The Stick People3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
When we were small, my brothers and I, Daddy would sometimes take us to visit her. We would sit there at her kitchen table, amazed, as this woman with no eyes – and indeed no nose or mouth – would pour out our tea without spilling a drop.
I was frightened of her because she looked so strange, so grotesque. All the other days of my life, I encountered people with faces – square faces, oval faces, faces round and smiling like the moon with slanted eyes or big dark ones or little beady bird eyes. Snub noses, Romans or long, thin, birdlike ones like mine. Yet here was a woman with none of that or any of the faculties that come with those organs.
As a little girl, I dreaded our visits to the faceless woodcarver. But now that I've grown up I miss most all the memories of my childhood, even the somewhat unpleasant ones, so I sometimes let them wander through my mind even when they aren't invited. So I remember the woodcarv
Gus Number FiveGus Number FiveGus Number Five3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Jenna and Cindy filled their mouths with watermelon seeds, spitting them fast and hard until the air swarmed with seeds like shiny black dive-bombing gnats. “My seeds are winning,” twelve year old Cin yelled, her thin body tense and urgent with victory.
Jenna just kept spitting seeds. Eight years old, she already knew the seeds that flew the farthest would be Cin's no matter what.
Jenna puckered her mouth preparing for another losing bombardment. Suddenly she paused, lips plump and pouting as the mouth of a painted candy box cupid. Spitting the seeds into her palm, she stared at them for a moment, chewing the end of her pigtail. Then anxious with inspiration, she trotted into the house and minutes later reappeared hugging a fishbowl.
Carefully placing the bowl on the steps, she solemnly stared at the rattled goldfish who darted and wiggled his copper penny of a body. But when Jenna scattered her handful of watermelon seeds into the water, the goldfish paused
Tumbler‘Twere’nt long ago, when I started tumbling. Hot dry winds rose around me and the base of my stalk went snap and I began to roll. Finally free of my roots, ready to roam the deserts and plains. Catch a glimpse of the tall orange buttes in the northern plains, as they had been described to me by other holy rollers.Tumbler2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Maybe even catch a view of people. Heard lotsa stories ‘bout them people, even though I saw one on a horse when I were but a sprout. People were always in’eresting, usin’ us for shootin’ practice, something to kick, something innocuous and ubiquitous to say, “Yeah. You’re alone out here. Just you, the sun, and the tumbleweed.”
Starting tumbling, started seein’ some strange things. There ain’t hardly no trees ‘round here, but there’s lots of wood, rectangular like, half formed into boxes. I heard that people had something to do with it, wanting the sparkles from the ground my detached roots once sun
United States Summer 2011America alienates me.United States Summer 20114 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
From touchdown in Atlanta it is obvious I am, so to speak, no longer in Kansas.
I am asked what I am doing here. Repeatedly, and not always in a nice way. I want to answer with the obvious, that I am queuing endlessly for the privilege of being cross examined by an unfriendly customs officer who wants to know all kind of private details my best friend doesn't even know, but I swallow it back and smile meekly, while trying to act like I am not nervous, frustrated and insulted.
Procedures, waiting lines, probing questions, stamps and signatures, and then, finally, the liberating "Enjoy the United States".
I never felt more alien.
passports, fingerprints, eye scans...
I just want my love.
America amuses me.
This first meeting scratches only at the surface. I encounter all the clichés and smile inwardly: the food portions, the convenience stores, the SUVs.
amphitrite IIif my lip will still be split when the austral summer starts,amphitrite II2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and, all wrapped in rising sun, we're coccooning,
if we're throwing all the good things into a bucket of riverness
(and lawn flowers),
will we want to wake up?
I know I'll want to pour
my slice of eternity into a bottle of coconut essence,
make my foreverafter sweet and tropical,
and if your hands are balsam I can
carve my song in stone,
and I will never die.
But don't you ask yourself
why paper boats always sink, in the end?
I don't think I care.
I think they just sail off to a land without horizon
deep in the underwater of the bathtub.
You'll know when, and
you'll hear me sing a sea shanty, maybe.
I want to take my ship until the end of the river.
I want to see the spring pouring down blossom offerings
into the ritual water, I want
our coast of muck and destruction to be aflame with
I'm a shellfish and my fingernails are painted green,
I'm silent-all-these-years and fallen,
I'm wondering where my watercolor
starspunobserving the romanticismstarspun3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of hooded cemetery kids,
smoking cigarettes pretending
they are not dead.
you were always so sure
about my uncertainty,
all my pick up lines
we built the heat
of the evening from the solidity
that two teens at the park
is the stuff of teen novels
(cliches dim on
our leaf-gold horizon)
your eyes darted
from the gray expanse
of the churchyard & wandered
i wanted to ask you
if i could follow. shove
the words aside &
remember that i came here alone.
i remember our innocence
in the static b e t w e e n
about how youth without you is th-
awing out the lines in my whittled-out eyes.
look to the hooded
wonder what we'd have been like
if we grew up as nothings,
like them. teenage
nothings with chiseled
marble in our
out of our parents' adulterated
lies and the excitement of alcohol.
i settle for a star.
it's almost as luminous
as the after
Helicase Helio and I were always sitting on the stairs, chatting about the lamina and occasionally making snide remarks about ribosomes. There wasn't much for us to do. Our job was to simply be, and let the RNA polymerase scribble down the letters on our foreheads when they came around every once in a while. Helio was a G, I was a C. It wasn't exactly fulfilling, I suppose. There wasn't much to be filled. So to pass the time, we talked.Helicase3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"You ever wonder?" Helio asked.
"About...well...what's out there." Helio and I were rooted to the stairs, quite happily, but it was awkward to move in. He kind of twisted in the general direction of the closest pore. "Out in the cytoplasm."
"I haven't," I admitted. "What's there to wonder about?"
"That's exactly the thing. I have no idea." Helio sighed, gazing into the distance. "Somehow it feels like we pl
Waiting I remember the first time I noticed Gertrude. She had been there for as long as I could remember, part of the scenery, a statue that barely registered. I was five and she was already old, though she never seemed to age. She was sitting on the curb surrounded by weathered pink luggage and I felt, for the first time, a quicksilver curiosity about her.Waiting4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Mommy, why does that lady have all those bags?" I tugged on my mother's hand and pointed at the woman not far from us. "Is she going someplace?"
"Quiet, Crystal!" Her voice was a low hiss and she pulled me closer to her side. I stared at the woman as we hurried past. She was still, like stone, her face was sunken and etched with deep lines. "Hello, Ms. Thompson."
She looked up at us, her eyes wide and gl
Ottumwa ShamanIn Iowa, weeping willows dream ofOttumwa Shaman4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Tigers, born in pagan fog, their
Coat of stripes singing shaman
Songs; shrill symphonies of grief.
Heaven tilts, crashes, and we race
The dirt to get away. We drink the
Earth with bullets of air and grow
Dizzy, light-headed from breathing
Some far off flame. Perhaps a poet
Who braved the fog of Ottumwa, and
Caught fire. Every cowboy has his
Six chances before high noon, before
The fog forms wispy jackals to take
Them home again. Every son inherits
An empty gun, six voids to fill with
Answers, skimmed and guessed from the
Covers of books their fathers used
To read. There is no other way.
In sleeping, I have been to Iowa,
And I learned where wiccans go
To make their bed. I do not know now
If I had dreamed the weeping willow,
Or if it had bent low to dream of me.
In Iowa, there is no such truth, only
Depth, and the shaman's song of grief.
NamelessA nameless creature jammed into a nameless space located in an unknowable location was all that stood between Experiment 726 and what he considered to be the Endless Stream of Creation itself. The creature was large and menacing, but seemingly beautiful to behold. Experiment 726 crinkled his eyelids at the creature that stood before him, frustratingly unable to comprehend all but the most simple adjectives about it. And yet… it was as clear as day and cold as night.Nameless2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Cold. That was something you could call it, 726 mused. It was one of a very limited number of describing words that he could muster about this impossible place, because no matter how much he looked or analysed anything, nothing seemed to make much sense.
“Why come here?” The nameless creature demanded. “And how? No creature such as yourself should even be capable of getting here.”
“I'm just lucky?” 726 tried. “I honestly don’t know.”
Little EggsOne green morning, our fat little facesLittle Eggs2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Look out the kitchen window and
Find a robin and her nest on our windowsill.
She carries baubles and trinkets—candy
Wrappers and foil—before her vivacious
Red breast and weaves them tenderly into her nest.
My mother, laughing, says
She’s dizzy with anticipation, painting ponies
And clouds on nursery walls.
Soon enough little blue eggs fill
The happy twigs and their gaudy trappings
And the robin settles—snug, waiting.
We, too, wait for spring miracles on the
Windowsill. Weeks pass—she sits faithful—but
Eggs remain eggs.
Mother gets an odd pallor and avoids the
Kitchen window. Sometimes I think she wants to
Chase the robin away, but understands she’s dear to us.
We want to give the robin our support—she’s
Like family, now—but wonder how long it
Takes for eggs to hatch. Surely not this long?
“Sometimes things go wrong,”
Mother answers to our curiosity.
ControlThe feeling came over Bill when he was out checking his trap line in the dying light of a winter evening. Eyes on the back of his head. He knew the wary scrutiny of the deer and the hungry yet restrained gaze of the wolf. This didn’t feel like either. It didn’t belong to this place any more than he did. He would have preferred the wolf.Control3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He turned around, shook his gun at the reddening sky, and cupped his other hand to his mouth. “I know you’re out there! This is private property! I don’t wanna use this, but you’ll leave me no choice if I catch you hanging around here!”
A soft rustle from somewhere deep enough that the trees obscured his vision. He waited until he felt he was alone again, then trudged through the snow to see what he could learn about the intruder. There were prints made by boots similar to his, though smaller. The thought that he outweighed whoever it was offered little comfort.
He cast one last disgusted look in the direction t
MemoryI rested with a light pink blooming cherry-tree branch on my chest. The wind flowed along the river banks, somewhere out of sight, beyond the buildings and the yard. My silk attire lay on the ground like the wings of a butterfly, and the brook flowed past me in the direction of the snow-topped mountains.Memory2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I wished you had picked me up like a flower from the garden, held my flourishing body for a while before I wilted away. You could have been handsome like a pine tree, your eyes always the same green. We could have lived entwined with each other like light and shade.
When I walked around these yards, the Moon followed me among the pillars and watched me through the windows. I put a little doll that looked like me into one of the miniature temples and placed a tiny garland on her hair. Every night, the doll sang to me of distant lands on the border between dreams and reality.
I saw you every day in the daylight, riding along the sides of the mountains and the linings of the clouds on a s
crystallophonethere is a punchcard sincrystallophone3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like a queen of spades smoldering in an alley.
you hear how the gears churn,
singing faster than we did before
back when black magic dropped like a
pair of socks from the sky with supplies
taped to a note that said
(oh, look at you now)
such a beautiful brain:
runs on gasoline?
have a gallon
or we can call it a balloon,
and a new pair of glasses
for your tapered eyes
(you peel the bark back on the logs,
but you're not sure what you see),
and life says,
either nail jello to a tree,
or keep your
icicles hanging from the eaves,
caterpillars frolicking in the ashes,
your 'Sam, I still don't have your number,'
and your totaled passion:
someone to hang inside out with,
string you up like a steak with.
what the hunger
is trying to tell me
my brain churns like butter,
my insides aflare, my chakras combusting,
tree, fiddler crabIt took days to hollow out the soft partstree, fiddler crab3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of the trunk, dig out the tree-flesh and sap,
polish the raw wood so that when he sat,
there would be no splinters. He carved his name
into the side, like a blessing, a declaration
of good fortune, and stowed his forest inside.