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
The TypewriterThe TypewriterThe Typewriter2 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
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
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 Ribbons4 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
Abril(English version down)Abril2 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
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
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
TattooHear me read itTattoo2 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.
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
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.”Suffocate2 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
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
coltyou can lead a horse to brackish watercolt2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
or lead him to the sea
but only he can choose to choke,
or stay away, and dig
his hooves into the firmer ground.
i know i am not much to hold onto anyhow.
but if he’s blood,
if he’s blood, i will call him brother,
though a friend by any other term
would still be as sweet
and red as rouge in baton
or as bluebrown as a river in lafayette
or so i've heard, since even if he’s a brother
we have never met,
Him the colt
and i the ocean breeze.
i'm a mess tonight. i'm a mess every single
night’s a wound to my heart
love like a cannibal
and i don’t know what to feel
with my chest the same in someone else’s body.
buck and i do not pull the bit
instead, i bleed like a tributary
and wonder like a longlost in silence
does that make me weaker,
or stronger than the beast
of burden, neck sinewy and stretching away
and if he’s blood, call him brother
call him brother by name
lead the hors
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
A Poet's RomanceShe was the quiet sort,A Poet's Romance2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
within her eyes,
to pottery skin;
she would mold herself
into moonlight butterflies
and glist'ning calla lilies,
pure and white and
and when night cast
itself upon her in
heated, hard'ning flames,
she’d smash herself
upon the rocks
and in morning start
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 Engagement4 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
how to move mountainsthe mountains came down to listenhow to move mountains2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
or was it
that I went up to tell them
of these winter snows
that hit early spring
as if they couldn't
those mountains, shake it off
themselves. ink on my quill is
a thought not yet written.
a simple stick in snow could
write the same questions
and the answer too, along with
the snow's fading presence.
A Note on DrowningI am writing this letter for myself. If you have found this letter, please give it to me. If you find that I lack the will to read, if my mind is gone, if my hands are bloodied, tell me at least, that the song is near its end. If I am dead [indistinguishable]A Note on Drowning3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Written in the margin: IF I AM DEAD THROW ME TO THE SEA]
In laying out the bones of my terrors, a solution may be found.
I’ll start before the beginning, when Mother took me for walks on the beach and told stories. Together we missed my father, who sailed the sea. These are my earliest memories, but I remember things had always been this way. We walked together, and I counted my many steps and Mother’s few. When I stretched my legs, I could make it so my path went over only her footprints.
The sand was soft where she had stepped. Elsewhere was gritty, and unclean.
I was young for all of Mother’s stories. Here I will write the relevant one as best I remember.
“A sailor was on a ship. This ship was far of
Murder in the First, Second, and ThirdThe first time it happened, she was drunk.Murder in the First, Second, and Third2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Kissing in his bed, hands locked on his face, how difficult would it be? Phone on the bedside, the password his year of birth and high school jersey number and all she’d have to say was that he was going to spend a few days at her place. His roommates would be disappointed but not surprised. Break your heart, break your heart, that girl’ll break your heart. But none of them would count on this, no one would notice until he didn’t call his father or the unfamiliar smell of human death crept into every reach of the apartment. Keys in his pocket, cutting into her thigh, she could take them and head for the coast. Head for the border, even, and slip away. If she got caught, she’d claim she had no idea what was happening when it happened. If she got caught, she’d smoke cigarettes in prison and cut her hair short. If she got away, she’d never think of him again.
She bit until she tasted blood, and then rolled out
Lilac II - tankaa star-glowLilac II - tanka4 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
connects their breaths -
a river path.
in lilac light
she forgets to sigh.
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.
I am not summer personifiedDo not compare me to a summers day,I am not summer personified2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I'm an autumn baby, with fallen leaves,
Printed in gold and amber across my skin,
With the deepest red sunset lips,
Offset by snowy skin.
I am the crisp breath of wind,
On oxygen starved lungs.
Forget the call of the heat,
And fall into my mist embrace.
Personal Demons“Do you even know what a demon is?”Personal Demons2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Archibald Feeney had never considered himself an overly religious man, but he attended church every now and then, and read the gospel if there wasn’t anything good on the telly, and even said his prayers if there was a lull in his bedtime preparations. It was, however, still a bit of a shock to him when he ran face to face with his religion.
He had popped into the local pub for a fish and chips, having been late from work and disinterested in cooking. There might even be a pint in it for him, though he tried not to succumb to those urges too regularly. No more so than the vicar anyway, who stopped in every Saturday, as regular as clockwork.
It was while Feeney was nursing his lager and waiting for his meal that something came in and sat beside him. It was tall and lithe, with reddish skin that was only beginning to show signs of peeling from a mild burn. It wore no clothes, but its bottom half was clearly quite goat-like. The brown
BryceHe always stands very close to people when he speaks to them, staring with those huge golden eyes and leaning in ever so slightly, as if he is craving their touch and the feel of their breath and their hands more than anything. This is the first thing you notice when you meet him, the closeness. You ache, for a reason you don't know, to bridge the gap. To touch him. Your fingers twitch towards him but you keep your hands beside you.Bryce2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And then you hear him speak, and everything else seems loud and bright and harsh compared to the gentleness of him. His lips are chapped and his big galaxy earrings glitter and his hair stands straight up and his freckles are like kisses, and you think he will sound like all the others and then he speaks; he speaks and something shifts inside you and a little storm begins to crackle and swell inside your chest and suddenly you love him more than anything.
And then he finishes asking you the time, and you tell him, and he walks on.
Autumn AutopsyAs lovers,Autumn Autopsy3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we were reckless;
in a field of mines.
We traded kisses
and carefree caresses
and blackened skin.
at the cost
of darker afternoons,
of the dying season;
We didn't ask,
we never questioned
of our expenditures.
I shed my skin
in the Autumn of youth,
the viscera and
bared the bone --
a scarecrow of worms
and raw meat,
amongst the stalks
of reddened corn.
to dusty artifacts,
laden with memories
of decaying potency;
rising from the cooling wick
will never be
as sweet as
when the flame
An Exercise in ExistingFrom a shore, you watch.An Exercise in Existing2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Eyes dripping, contributing to an ocean as wide as space
and as deep as time.
There must be another side, another edge of this vast bowl.
And there is.
Some days you think you can see it, a haze on the far horizon,
like heat on a sidewalk or the hood of a car. You tilt your head,
eyes slit, watching the wavering lines like dancing brush strokes.
Other days, hazy days, there’s nothing more than the clouds
seeping into the water. One long swoop of grey blue green.
And on those days, with salted air sweeping across your face,
hair tangling like serpents, you can breathe again. Lungs ticking
back to life like a furnace turning on. One long rumble.
You stand there, then, taking in cold air and pushing out all
toxicity. Just an exercise in existing.
From a shore, you watch.
Your feet sinking into sand and your fingers subtly moving, glancing
across seams like a gust of air.
There is a crunch of sand in your teeth, born from every swallowed
sound. You’re a