July 3rd, 1978.
Eighty-two degrees outside.
Driving sixty eight mph down Millersville road
past miles of cornfields
And everything is silent.
Except the faint scream of wind escaping through the cracked driver side window
and the dull thud of tire treading on the newly paved road.
trying to understand,
while trying not to think,
while thinking too much,
while being silent.
And suddenly its
March of 1968
And Calley is calling
“kill them all dead”.
And he sees his daughter,
her Agent Orange colored curls
clinging to her face like napalm sticks to melting bodies;
her eyes burning brighter than Hanoi and Haiphong on December 18th, 1972.
He begins to cry
because its still
July 3rd, 1978,
Five pm, and
eighty-two degrees outside.
But in his mind it will always be March of 1968
or December of 1972,
because for him the war is still being fought;
monks and Morrison still burning;
Saigon is still screaming
like it was on April 30, 1975,
JoyceHaving kicked the man in the balls and relieved him of his belongings, Joyce wasn't quite sure what to do next. She could run, but he might come after her the next minute. If she tied him up here, in the middle of nowhere, he might be eaten by wolves; or starve to death. Besides, she didn't have any rope. She could kill him... perhaps. The thought left a bitter taste in her mouth.Joyce2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
'What am I to do with you?' she sighed.
'Well,' he groaned while giving her a look that sent shivers down her spine, 'You can run, but that won't help you, cause I will find you! So you just wait another few minutes until I get back up again - and I mean úp- and then, I'll do you like there's no tomorrow! Which, by the way, for you there won't be!'
Well, that sure narrows down my options, she figured as she bent over and closed her trembling fingers around a good, fist-sized rock...
It wasn't much later when the road took her out of the forest and into the farmland. When she spotted the little v
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."Conversation2 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.
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.
the running manWhen I see you, all I see is after. Gravel upturned by that beige Chevy. Pavement sun-baked and time-worn, like most Mississippi roads. You love the highways. You drive by, sunglasses and Miller Lite caps on a string, without noticing I'm headed in the opposite direction. I don't have time to regard the dust cloud because there's a cop idling nearby.the running man3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
You've always been headed in the opposite direction.
When I was fifteen I didn't understand. Couldn't have. You can't read another language until you learn the right words, wrap your brain around the meaning of those foreign sounds and inflections. I couldn't read you because I didn't want to. It was easier to be angry and ignorant. It's always easier.
Five years later - five years of investigation, of difficult questions and even more difficult answers - I know you better than I ever thought I could. It wasn't any effort on your part, of course. Not your style. For you, existence defines itself - you have no reason to justify your
DadI turned out like my spot-skinned fatherDad2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I would twist and turn the dry tall-grass threads
that I found on the prairie into braids of hair
like he taught me,
and I would feed the horses blocks of salt
before they took flight in the bleak twilight of the plains.
I lived in a world of dry winds and cul-de-sacs
and reached the thinking end of things
before I knew I had no-where to go,
and I first fell in love with a girl
who’s handle is lost to that wind
but her brown eyes are sketched to my soul for eternity.
When I left home he stood on the old porch
while the wind chimes sprung chords
across the flat land like a funeral bell
as my mother walked me to the car,
and as I drove across the cattle grid for that final time
he was already inside the house and gone to me
as a shape and as an image.
He died of a stroke 6 months later
and she told me in her soft sweet voice
how much he had loved me and his pride of me
but it was always in her voice
and I had to use my imagination
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.Helicase2 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
Your Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local PapersBut listen to me: I will tell youYour Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local Papers2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
how to love a bedspread;
a car seat; a sun dress
that you cleaned two months ago.
and should they find her
in the breast of a riverbank
or a cabinet,
I will tell you
facts about scavenger birds;
kettles, wakes and how to chair a committee
with a body on your desk,
as scavenger birds do.
A Reason to LiveIf only she had the guts to actually do it, to just leap among the cold waves and sink in death among the fish. She breathed in the smell and taste of saltwater, and water sprays hit her face, neck, and chest. She shivered slightly in the breeze from the waves, but she wasn’t really bothered by the chill. What weighed on her mind was something much deeper than the weather.A Reason to Live2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
A pang of apprehension penetrated her heart as she envisioned her body being plunged into the water and weighted down by the strong waves. She thought about what it would be like to gulp in mouthful after mouthful of water, choking and never feeling any relief, but she didn’t think the pain could be any worse than what she was already dealing with.
“Aimée!” The young woman moved her arms in circular motions as she tried to keep her balance. Her mother’s call startled her, and for a brief moment she thought God might be
I Call Him CompulsionThree. Four. Five. I like five; it feels complete. Okay, one more time. SixI Call Him Compulsion4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"How long does it take to get a glass of water?" my husband calls from the living room.
"Sorry, I'm coming." I resist the urge to rinse the glass a few more times. Cleanliness is not a factorit's the numbers. The completion. The habit. I take a sip of my water and force myself to stop asking if I should just run the water one more time.
I join Sam in the living room and sit in my usual spot: the center recliner. He always lies on the couch to watch TV. It works.
He hits the play button, and we watch ten minutes of reality before the demon sneaks into my mind again. This time I see fire. It sparks from the dryer, blisters the walls, and rushes tsunami-like towards my son's room. It licks at my daughter's curtains.
I see them lying in their beds, unaware of the destruction. I see walls of flame keeping me from them.
"I have to go to the bathroom," I say. Sam pauses the show. The beast in
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
Anything you can find:"They're wicked," whispers Deputy Mack, when he thinks we aren't listening. "Beautiful, but wicked."Anything you can find:2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It makes Noah smirk from the front desk, where Clara Wynn, the dispatcher, is sneaking him sips from her hip flask while she profiles him. DePrince, she writes, Noah Thomas. Age: 12. Hair: Black. She puzzles over the color of his eyes before penning gray on the line, a rarity that gives us an edge, which we use like a scalpel. Noah flickers eyes like new nickels whenever we want something. Today is the Friday after the funeral and we are sick for answers, so we ask Clara if she will take our mug shots.
"I'll find some film," she says, disappearing into the back room. The door taps shut behind her. Deputy Mack and Sheriff Spellis are still arguing about us in the office, their voices a low rumble of contention, so we slip off our chairs and spread out through the station.
"Obituaries, photos, police reports," says Noah, fanning a stack of files across the desk. "Hur
Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing oldi.Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing old3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Coupons and sales magazines
have become more than just junk mail
and the holes in my pants
seem more patchable
and I wonder just how much
my sparse jewelry would fetch
if I said I saw the face of Jesus
in the glimmer of my pearls.
I am beginning to miss the sea I grew up on
so much that I will read bad poetry
just for the mention of a salty ocean breeze.
I feel landlocked and sometimes I'm afraid
that I will never see the world
until I have retired from it.
Faith says her life is full of asking.
I wish mine were full of answers,
but I too have many questions
and only Time will answer them for me.
My mother just turned sixty
and her eyes when she looks at herself
in pictures from the '70s
makes me realize
that my time, however long,
ToddThere was a big fanfare when Todd came back. Even a couple of newspaper reporters showed up. It was only right I guess, what with him being dead for a year. At least I think it was a year. I mean, he was gone for eight and I'm pretty sure if a person is missing for seven years the government declares them dead or something. I know that his parents bought a tombstone from the place on First Street a while ago. They put it up in their family lot at the cemetery, next to his grandparents. I went to visit it after the funeral. It had his name and a little inscription. They left the dates off though. After that they took him off the missing persons list too. I know because I used to check it.Todd3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I'll bet that everyone was real pissed when they found out the truth. He got into town on Tuesday but nobody said a word until Friday. Then on Satur
SimbelmyneThere is silence here, uponSimbelmyne3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
stale skull tombs
these everminds are stilling...
(And yet their tragedies
shall endure in the pallor of the
flowers in your hands.)
DreamersShe reminds me that she's a dreamerDreamers2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Her right hand delicately grips a pencil
as she's working equations on a TI-89 with her left
She looks up at me and smiles,
and there are stars, meteors,
spanning across the cosmos of her expression
her countenance reminds me to look up at the chalkboard
that's attempting to teach me how
to make verses sing from pages in a plain 8 by 11 notebook
and I am only armed with
a .7 pencil and a purple pen,
stolen from my older sister's pencil pouch
My hands are inches away from hers
from the desks side by side
like cars parallel parked on a side road
her equations confuse me
until she flips the page
and shows me stories
filled with metaphors of the sky
reminding me that we are both here for the same thing:
I needed a reason to smile
She wanted a lesson in writing
She reminds me that I'm a dreamer
We exchange stories and poems like cigarettes
except the only price we pay is a small portion of our ego
when there are mistakes and flaws,
and we are gra
.your cough.The density wavered in jagged movements that drew out towards the borders of an organic, rectilinear shape. Our fingers, the chosen ones, met at their respective ends, where fingerprint would crosshatch fingerprint, confusing identity in between. We were children miming the motions of adults, quoting their language, their words, using their clothing as capes to fly into our own sense of adulthood, maturity. We ran across time as if it were borrowed, inaccessible to reality, parallel systems that interacted only in surreal moments of passion, disillusionment..your cough.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I stacked the plates in the kitchen. She made a soft, coughing sound from the bedroom. She was looking through her bag, maybe locating her cellphone or her pajamas. Each plate I stacked seemed to create its own unique sound, composing notes on the lines of sheet music that ran across the air conditioner vents, the crooked, venetian blinds. The
Gus Number FiveGus Number FiveGus Number Five2 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
Choose Your Name“John Brant,” I whispered, and a dashing British gentleman appeared in my mind, arrogant and suave as the slim-fitting Italian suit he wore. He sounded classy, not overly pompous. But there was just something about him. He could be the cool confident charmer I was looking for. But he could just as well be a stiff stocky soldier with his pride shoved far up his ass.Choose Your Name2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
“John Chase,” The name rolled smoothly off my tongue. Another man took form, both the same and different from the first. He was just as charming, perhaps a little lower in class with a bolder tongue. And was that a little mischief I saw in his eyes? Undoubtedly, he was smoother than the latter. He could work. A common name for a common man. Maybe a little too common. But he could work.
“John Davies,” I frowned, my eyes still closed as I wrinkled my brow. This man was full of question marks. Unlike the previous two, I couldn’t picture him quite as clearly. And I wasn’t su
Newspaper SuitI am a charlatanNewspaper Suit3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
peddling fraudulent wares
but nobody else can see
where adhesive didn't stick.
And you'd think the paper trail
from the newspaper suit
would give it away
but the pictures keep smiling
while underneath gangrene begins
and happy happy faces
mask the smell
Do you know the taste of the universe?One day, when you’re five years old and made out of fractured sunlight and mirror shards, you sit down on the bench of the MAX train. You’re dressed in your winter coat and boots that are too big and one of your parents has pulled your hat too close over your ears.Do you know the taste of the universe?2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
You’re sitting next to your mother, and on the other side is a man that smells like loneliness, something that you’ll later know as cigarettes and alcohol and homelessness. He’s crying quietly into the top of his jacket and you’re scared to look because you’ve never seen an adult cry.
The train ride goes on for five minutes, which is a long time to you, and eventually you sneak a look at the crying man who smells like Portland and loneliness, and he sees you. He leans down until you can see the red lines in his eyes and he whispers to you.
“Do you know the taste of the universe?”
And you look up at him with your little-girl eyes and shake your head because you can’t
AttentionMisha found America agreeable, for the most part there was the Boston traffic, but it wasn't as bad as Moscow's, and the food was overly rich and too abundant. But the people of the city were positively warm compared to the Spartan attitudes he knew, he hadn't had a single dollar stolen from him, and the university kids couldn't keep their eyes off of him. Not even the boys. He'd heard catcalls walking by a gathering of young men, the kind he'd learned to call "bros." It was his hair, maybe, or the way stubble refused to show on his face: in America, you could be anything other people wanted you to be, it seemed.Attention4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He told Sasha about it on the phone, who laughed at him. "You're getting a big head. The Americans are gawking at you because you don't look like them."
"I don't think that's it." Misha took a handful of almonds and threw them in his mouth. He knew Sasha would doubt him he always did, dwelling in what he called his "nativist cynicism." It didn't seem to involve m
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.
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,