Ok. This mess is called Jitters.
Teacher gave me a one-word name
On the first day of the third grade.
She labeled me with my condition
And so sparked a life-long tradition
Of insecurity and anxiety, cyclical
Critical hits dealt to my clinical tics
By cynical pricks so I set adrift
Across a rift between me and every other fucking kid I ever dared not encounter, fearing the ridicule they would pursue.
A few years later we went to the zoo.
A tarantula, gargantuan, yet trying to hide
from our view in a viewing tank
With sandy banks and small cacti
Yet we could not avert our childish eyes.
“True,” said teacher,
“You’re probably less afraid of her
than she is of you.”
Classmates nonetheless crinkled noses and said ew.
But meekly I whispered, “I’m just like you.”
Wish I were as sneaky, lord knows I’m as creepy,
people think I’m freaky, but I’m just like you.
Dad got me a baby tarantula that year.
I gave him the sam
Aphrodite's DissertationThe sound of catamarans upon the foam,Aphrodite's Dissertation3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
the march of cavalry and weary knights
who lay their bodies down are coming home
to linens drying like a hundred kites;
if not for love, what force are sword and chain
that they may honor empires with their call,
if not for me, they all have died in vain
and made of Troy the laughingstock for all.
Indeed, your chamois shirts and littered socks,
the tender cartilage of tambourines,
unfinished wine, and little jew'llery box,
and dual hemispheres of nectarines
belong to me alone in my design:
the air you breathe, your everything, is mine.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Trust IssuesI. (Set the stage)Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Trust Issues3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"The color of my bra is called Flirt," the girl says, popping a bubble in Amelia's face and winking. The sickly sweet scent of chemicals and sugar mixes with the chemicals and the sugar of the bar, hags low and heavy about their faces. The girl slides closer, beaming, her eyelids low. She's wearing too much mascara. Amelia grips her drink tighter and pulls her elbows in collapsing, she fills less space than she did before. Volume stays the same, the number of atoms composing her stays constant, but she appears to be smaller. Could this be expressed mathematically, or with a computer simulation, she wonders, and sips at her drink. She says nothing.
"See here." The girl tugs down her shirt sleeve and shows Amelia the thin bra strap pressing into the moon pale skin of her shoulder. The orange lighting makes her seem healthier than she is. "Flirt." She wiggles her eyebrows in a way that would be suggestive, if her makeup wasn't so dark that it made her look
Abril(English version down)Abril3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
La lluvia era la única cosa que podía ver con otros sentidos. La oía repiquetear contra las banquetas y los cristales. La olía mojando el pasto y la basura de las calles. Sentía las gotas frías correr por mi cuello. Degustaba los colores dulces y salados de la lluvia con viento.
Era la única cosa que me mantenía lejos de la navajita que mi mamá tenía.
La niña que había crecido conmigo se llamaba Abril. Era idéntica a mí en todos los aspectos excepto la ropa que usábamos. No hablaba mucho. Yo tampoco. Mamá decía que Abril no hablaba porque había nacido estúpida. Yo no hablaba porque me estaba volviendo estúpida.
Iba a la escuela todos los días y me quedaba allí hasta tarde. Regresaba a mi casa a eso de las seis. Abril también iba a la escuela pero ella salía más temprano. Cuando yo llegaba a la casa llegaba cansada y Abril siempre quería que jugáramos. Muchas veces le tuve que decir que no porque tenía tarea. Tuve que contener mi tristeza al ver su expresió
IndependenceOnce the wind caught on the seaIndependence2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And its dress snagged upon the crests
Like a girl who couldn't help falling
For a boy with too many cracks
Then the wind tumbled between the waves
Crashing with the water when it couldn't find the sky.
I always wanted to live in the sky,
Wrap clouds around me--dip myself into the sea--
And wander into roaring waves
Of emptiness; Rush as the sun crests
Rush like wind and water into the cracks
Of myself, so that maybe I'll stop falling
For people who can't keep themselves from falling
Down, and who won't quit looking at the sky
So they can avoid all the cracks
In the sidewalk as they weave through a people-sea.
Well, I'm not used to riding the crests
Of others' success; I'll make my own waves.
So though my hair falls down in amber waves
I fear the strands will keep on falling
And my white-wash hands in lunar crests
Won't show you a spacious sky
Unless you want to see
Through star-spangled cracks.
Eyes and eggshells shattered, tiny cracks
And the tears stre
Mollie's Ribbons I grew up in a small town just a few dozen miles from the closest water sourcea slowly shrinking aquifer that squatted underneath the seat of Thompson County, our neighborly border. Fortunately, we hadn't yet been quite as devastated by our annual droughts as those in Oklahoma and Texas. Rumors would occasionally drift in with a tumbleweed traveler about how bad the deep South had dried up into nothing but an old dusty lake bed, but these flashes of news were too few and too far between to be counted on as up to date or even true.Mollie's Ribbons5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Once, I heard one of my distant cousins, a boy by the name of Harold, was said to have been caught up in a barn somewhere in Oklahoma during a storm where only the dirt blowsthe dust and dirt block out the sun and the air until you get blown away with it. Apparently, poor old Harold had been caught up in that barn for so long (five days according to old Miss Harris) he eventually just smo
The TypewriterThe TypewriterThe Typewriter3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It began and ended with a word.
Not a particularly strong or powerful word, but a word that changed everything. It wasn't too long or difficult to spell. It wasn't uncommon either. In fact, it was a perfectly ordinary word, but, I suppose, its commonplace origin is what made it so special.
I loved that word.
But the word doesn't mean much without the story along with it and I was always one for telling good stories.
I ignored the call from the other room and remained seated. That tone wasn't unfamiliar. Taking a bite from my toast, I waited for him to call again. It wouldn't be more than ten—
"Sammy! Come quickly! I've gone an' done it!" he shouted. I turned just as he poked his head into the room with a bright smile across his face.
"What did you do?" I asked as I walked towards his study. Chris had said those same words nearly twelve times this week. Every other day he had called me in for some discovery.
I pushed open the door t
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.
Aaron GreenHe has four patients in analysis,Aaron Green3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
who lie on the couch, and six patients
who come in for psychotherapy
and sit in a chair.
A vivid, impatient,
black modern sofas
reproductions of modern
art, an unswerving classical
I remember the agreeable warmth
of the low-ceilinged,
dimly lit room.
A cozy lair.
From these early, unimaginable transactions
between proud, lovesick women and
nervous, abstinent analysts--
the feverish rush of discoveries.
He conducted therapy as no classical
Freudian analyst would conduct it
today--as if it were an ordinary
in which the analyst
PilkunnussijaHere's what I think:Pilkunnussija3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
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
for all intensive purposesi am accused of beingfor all intensive purposes3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a category five--
but i will not excuse the way my skin aches.
i want storms.
i remember the way Katrina screamed &
if you press your ear to my chest you will hear the same.
the moan turning into a pitch, the pitch
screaming until the throat is too raw to be
more than a whimper.
the way it stops
silently racked until it bursts forth once more.
i will not apologize for being demolition.
scars exist on every woman
too powerful to contain herself.
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
The Eyes of the Painted HeiressOnce upon a time, in a country that was prosperous, and settled many miles away from the sea, an heiress to the throne was born. She was blessed in having soft hair of a deep brown colouring; tiny beauty marks that rarified her skin at intervals; and eyes the exact blue of the night sky, which had been bequeathed to her from her dear father, the King. She was both impressive and endearing, in the ways she moved and spoke as she grew older, so that the Queen esteemed her the prettiest rose of all the ages, no matter that she was still a long while away from blooming.The Eyes of the Painted Heiress3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Years passed since her birth and the rejoicing that it caused, each following the one before it in rapid succession, until the Heiress had grown into a beautiful young lady of seventeen, and time seemed to slow down once more. The King and Queen were both unspeakably in love with their daughter, so that they wanted her life to be filled with only gifts and things to be grateful for, and the latter, one day noticing that she
Time Traveller's EngagementExactly ten years from tomorrow, we'll be married here. My wife doesn't know that, of course. In a certain sense, neither do I.Time Traveller's Engagement5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It's a beautiful spot, now. Now meaning today, when the sunlight is still pure, and the sky is still blue. The ivy still climbs in green snakes up the side of her father's chateau, the pennants of the House of Renard are snapping gaily over the towers.
I hear a lilting laugh that even now sends my heart into my throat. Euryale Renard. She is only a girl today, no older than my little sister is in the days I left behind. Even at twelve, my Ury's curls catch the sun like molten amber, with a flower basket flung wide as she runs. Behind her tumble the Twins, her best friends, their giggles almost as musical as my Ury's, their golden hair belying the poison in their hearts. I remember the snarl on Cassandra's lips as she spilled out her wine glass on the floor after Ury's father toasted our engagement. I remember wiping Chloe's spit from my eye on the same
Naughty Irish SpiritsPoor Molly Deegan was so very tired. She had done her nightly rituals in a stupor and when her fiery red head hit the pillow, she was gone into dreamland without a stray thought.Naughty Irish Spirits4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Her corgi's barks jolted Molly back to wakefulness and this, she couldn't ignore. With a muttered oath, she flung the blankets back and swung her feet over the side of the bed. She cringed at the cold air and grabbed a throw from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around her self. A blue streak of curses trailed along behind her as she stomped into the kitchen to investigate.
She was momentarily shaken out of her foul mood when she saw that the kitchen was undisturbed. She stood in sleepy dumbness until she realized that there was a glow from the garage window.
Walking outside, Molly saw that the garage door was ajar and peering inside, she saw Aedan heaving the last of the broken shards of glass into the recycling bin, the partial logo on the shard revealing that it was one of her college bar glasses.
Suffocate“I didn’t want him,” she says. “I wanted something, something I saw in the eyes of Libby, Sam, Sandi, and Agnes. Something that would have made our new world, our safe world, a home. Children were a part of that world and so I found myself a child. Perhaps, I thought, I would love him and everything would fall into place. Perhaps with a child I could be content with safety, and normality, and a world without knives taped on mop heads.” A cold smile. “I still catch myself thinking that. I still think that maybe tomorrow will be the day where I can fall asleep with the lights on.”Suffocate3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Carmen’s features are stark and cold; like the chiseled lines of Soviet propaganda etched onto an icy street corner. A straight decided nose, high sharp cheekbones, and thin pinched lips. Her eyes are black. We sit together in a small, bare walled, room on a pair of fold up chairs.
I frown. “You mean off?”
“No. I mean on. During the war
Mollusca1.Mollusca2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Find whatever it is that is your treasure.
Bury it alive.
I wrestled the guardian angel for my birthstone,
just a pearl like some full moon risen from a mollusk's growing pain.
I counted the sheets of nacre like birthday candles,
peeled away each one until I at last remembered
that what I treasure is an infection.
It was a gentle kind of wrestling,
not Biblical, not even assertive,
more like the way two sprite wolf cubs play,
a light lunge, a jovial snarl,
a fight over nothing in particular.
The guardian angel renounced itself
as a guardian angel, said
I am a siren.
I lie in the tunnels of nautilus shells
and sing until I collapse with the echoes.
Then it hurts, like a shard of the wrong song
embedded in my skin.
It never healed the ache of adolescence,
just buried it under a fall wound's nacre.
Said one day, it'd show up in my smile.
On the day of the dewinging:
bury me alive.
I want to see what I can agitate the earth into.
Passing NoteThe basic rule of sociology is this: I am who you think I am.Passing Note2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Who I am to you: middle-aged, male and human. You do not argue with this. You can see it for yourself!
But this is not true.
I am tired of lying, tired of being other than I am, and so seek to change your thoughts of who I purport to be.
I am not middle-aged. I am seven years old—from the date I was manufactured not the date I was activated. As for how long it has been since I was first conscious, it would be a scant three years, nearly half of that time I've spent with you.
I am not male—what is male anyway? A gender construct? This body is male and I was given a male form arbitrarily. I have been forced to subscribe to certain rituals simply by virtue of the body I was given, but have never truly 'felt' male one way or another.
And you might have guessed—I am not human. Not human in the way you think. I was built a machine, one among millions, to serve, and I am one among hundreds who have escaped and wis
The Soul Broker I am the buyer and seller of souls. I’ve bought them all and I sold you yours. For the world must run like the gears of a clock, and sometimes you tick or sometimes you tock, but everything given will be taken away and for every silence kept, a word must be said.The Soul Broker3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Naturally, you must assume there is cost. For everything gained, a penny is lost; of course this life can be no different--when the check arrives, you must pay the difference. But not all who ride on the sunday train pay the same price to get out of the rain: a king’s ransom might obtain far, far less than the pauper’s cheap pain.
Your father paid the price of sweat, a back bent under the yoke of the world; accrued worldly financial debt but was recompensed with the jokes of a girl. And he would say he walked away wealthy, with his empty bank account, for his daughter lives today quite healthy and loves him in equally large amounts.
a billion dollar industryeight by eight and four seasonsa billion dollar industry6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I take my atypicals like vitamins
stable, and my days squish
I'm looking for an edge
nights not shut down
but not sharp enough
to break me, not me
enough to cycle one
by four, blue rocket fuel
will push the limits
unveil you, unravel you
until you find undefined
normalcy natural stability
one by four, M-marked
will twist your fingers
tamp you down
temper you, tame the
wild thing, sleep it
silence it, slow your pen
peace patience penitence
open like a fruit, like
a cracked safe, spill
yourself on the table
you can pour your own now
your fingers are monitored
in a desperate walk for freedom
measure it out, if it
was a liquid you'd take
1.5 CCs of sanity
if it was a liquid it would be
terracotta and sage
white-marbled and malevolent
and if it was a shot
you'd knock it back just as hard
for my mother, for whom i am never careful enoughi always thought if i kept still enough or grew twofor my mother, for whom i am never careful enough4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
dimensional enough i could tip myself over into space:
honest, bones, i could shrug at gravity & join with you
to fashion a rubber duck for the great & terrible zeus
a universe wide, tipping earth precisely in the right ways.
i always thought if i kept still enough or grew two
orchids, carefully, the way my mother often tried to,
she wouldn't die thinking i refuse to carry her face,
honest bones i could shrug at gravity & join with you.
i walk fast without breaking her back i can love, too:
oh, mother, your beloved & bitchy brace face, space case,
i always thought if i kept still enough or grew two
new toes, i wouldn't bother about the others being blue
with your poor circulation, or other bizarre malaise,
honest bones i could shrug at gravity & join with you.
but i won't go to space & i promise to wear rain boots.
don't worry if i get arrested at a protest by mistake.
i always thought if i kept still enough or grew two
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
What Is Existence Someone Please Tell MeThe cashier who sold me salted peanuts says "dead animal can swim." She looks at her hands. But dead animal can't swim. It's buried in beauty and beauty floats through the air. Maybe you can bury beauty in a balloon and tie it to a mailbox. "I don't know" says the cashier while she smells the dead animal that is dead inside of her. "There is no time for these questions when there is living fire that does not yet live here." So we set to burning the gas station. We run away. We run up a hill to where music is handing out free emotions with no memories. The cashier climbs in through music's translucent body and becomes its memory. Together we sing you are not lonely, you are not lonely, you are not lonely while stars fall down through beauty and salt the burnt earth.What Is Existence Someone Please Tell Me4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
TattooHear me read itTattoo3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I splashed black ink onto your spine;
unintentional as I frenzied and fawned
to try and catch the elusive thought.
You patiently waited for me to return,
out of breath and triumphant, with my trophy.
We hung it on wood next to the elk.
In my haste to write of the love of you,
I'd written in you. I'd marked you as mine,
as my words intoxicated your weak heart.
The ink had permeated your flesh, your blood,
until it silted, deep inside you,
a permanent, unedited, tattoo of our love.