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.
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
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
lemonwe walk down the streetslemon2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of a city named after the last thousand years.
a breeze floats by
and for a moment your hair lifts off your shoulder.
the way it doesn't touch you,
i want to touch you.
there are traces of lemon in your light,
a vague sense of mint on your fingertips.
the way honey tastes
drifts inside your shirt.
entering the city
walking calmly while the light falls
is like listening to your voice,
like waiting at the bell by the river
for a clamoring to do justice
to the patterns on the water.
the way the bells never end
i want to brush my hand against yours.
the way you drop lemon into your water
i want to live.
the arrangement of astral cordsThis is how I'm built up, you see;the arrangement of astral cords2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
stars trapped in the linings of my
the regurgitation of meteors
the chambers of a heart--
deconstructs of kaleidoscope-stained
This is the reason why my throat
bubbles like witch's brew--
the insides of my body form monsoons that
scratch my lungs and
disintegrate my windpipe,
an off-pitched dissonance
like wind chimes
whenever I try to shout or speak or
(and they tell me that you could sing
the moon to sleep when you cast
your faithful nothings on a star)
[and, no, I'm not some kind of genie
trapped in an expanse of dust
rather than a lamp]
Darling, I was never caught between
a collision of star-crossed galaxies,
nor an accident between the big bang
and a black hole.
I was born a star-child.
and, no, they could never be beautiful.
Yet, I could never be as graceful.
I could never carve my face the way
gods do, and
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
It Bit Me"And tomorrow we'll install the kitchen cabinets along this wall here," the man gestured into the adjacent room.It Bit Me2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
My mother nodded in agreement as the construction contractor spoke. All the while, I sat slouched in boredom against the unpainted drywall of my newly-constructed home, my eyes wandering around the unborn living room as I searched for something, anything, to pique my interest. I desperately prayed for any form of entertainment or distraction, but the room loomed in desolate quietness. The scruffy man with my mother turned and stretched his hand out towards the wall directly across from me, redressing the cryptically dull conversation into that of the addition of a new fireplace. I gave another sigh of boredom and rested my small chin on top of my crossed arms. But just then, salvation presented itself to me in the form of a slight glinting atop the nearby counter dividing the two rooms.
I returned my gaze to my mother, who still stood with her back to me, nodding on occasion
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
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
Jukebox Cafe A string of bells jingled obnoxiously against glass as Hugh entered the Jukebox Café. The first thing he noticed was the pepless fan rotating just enough to move hot air and the smell of grease from one side of the restaurant to the other. No one came for the food, or at least that’s what he assumed upon sight of the sticky red tablecloths and French fries that speckled the checkered floor. That and the fact that he was the only soul in sight.Jukebox Cafe2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He walked up to the bar and squinted at a sign asking customers to “Please seat yourself or ring for service.” What kind of café required its customers to ring a bell for service? Not sure if there was an employee in the place, he rang it despite the sheen applied by dirty hands, and the shrill sound barely cut through an old tune produced by the jukebox in the corner.
He WavesHe waves. It's a friendly little gesture, almost a two finger salute to an old friend. He's watching you through your window.He Waves3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Boy has fine, burnt umber hair that shines like silk in the midmorning sun. It's almost a shame to see it in the unisex, unflattering buzz cut of the OldGens. He is obviously one of them; the OldGens. No self-respecting NewGen would be caught dead in this kind of state muddy face, torn knees, his empty collection sack over his shoulder. It is the NewGens who are expected to keep themselves neat and orderly. They are the only ones for whom it is worthwhile doing so.
As a NewGen child, you have been raised to behave exactly as your parents tell you. And your parents behave the way the GenWatch tells them. But in all your years, the one thing they have not been able to straighten out of you is your curiosity. So you stand up. You leave your desk exactly the way it's not meant to be covered with unfinished homework and you
The McKinnons' CatWhen the McKinnons moved out from next door, they left their cat behind. Nobody really blamed them. The thing was an enormous fat tabby female which stank and had fleas. It was, more importantly, a vicious killer. Usually it lived on a diet of songbirds, but it would catch and kill mice, rats, other people's pets and whatever rare little furry creatures it could find. Nobody really bothered to feed it after the McKinnons left, but it didn't grow noticeably thinner. I never knew its name, but my dad always called it "you BASTARD, get the HELL out of my garden."The McKinnons' Cat3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Not long after the McKinnons moved out, Miss Timmons moved into their old house. She was old, tiny, grey, timid and mouse-like. When she spoke, it was in a little excited squeak. When she went to the shops she moved in quick, darting movements and when she stopped to talk to me in the street she twitched constantly like she couldn't
terabyte ruinswe've clicked the help buttonterabyte ruins2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the tool bar.
we're the first to admit we're confused.
this morning the council met with a proposal
to replace god.
there have been complaints.
"dear eternity, i'm disillusioned
your god is a single snapshot of deep space
and a soundtrack of silence.
i tried pressing reset.
my old model featured google images,
a personal blog, and a comment section.
yesterday's god had to be recharged.
it was a rough way to be hardwired,
but there was a five-year money-back guarantee
and excuse me, but i'm dissatisfied.
i'm not so sure about redemption,
and i saw it on the news yesterday:
they recalled the golden rule.
it had a bug called desire."
give us a refund,
and we'll continue shopping.
our browsing has offered up
some promising candidates:
and technological giants.
we're not sure yet, god,
but we're pretty sure you're out.
it doesn't come highly recommended,
but we're considering a newer model:
idolatry. instant gratification.
a lie that tells the truthplease don’t write me as a ghost girl,a lie that tells the truth2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
all blurry lines and faded features
that caricature themselves into the minds
of those that think they see me--
i am not a canvas.
my life is not a blank sheet for you
to paint your vision across,
and i have no wires in my bones--
you cannot pose me so i’ll catch the light
like a kaleidoscope of clever quirks
and tragic backstories;
i am written in the words i discard
when i write bad poetry at 3am, and if you look,
you can find me echoed back to you
in my all time top five favorite movies.
i am the way my hands hurt
when i get nervous;
i am the urge to speak italian,
even though after a year of classes, i can barely
i am the calmness that hits
when i smell cigarettes, even though
i’ve never smoked,
and i am the grudges that have lingered
because i forget to let things go,
and i am the passive-aggressive comments
that i should be sorry for, but
never really am.
if you want, you can trace your pen along
The Normality.There is a cloud of fish swimming by my ankles, light flashing off their sides as they turn as one. Moss grows on the walls and occasionally an eyelid, soft, green, damp, will lift and a multifaceted eye will glint out. On my arms, there are flowers, large fire red lilies with orange throats that have sprouted where my large dark freckles are, each one just smaller than my palm.The Normality.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I look over my friend sitting just off to the side of me, there’s a blush of blue-purple scales on her cheeks, gills flutter on the sides of her neck and every time she breathes out, sweet smelling oil pours from them, trickling over her collarbones.
Something sings near me, the piping call of a rainforest bird, and I turn my head. There are hummingbirds in my hair, I realise, ruby throats shimmering as they sing; they are caught in the long waist length strands woven into a thin fish-weave cage. They do not seem distressed, flashing the rich green of their wings as they flutter from one woven bar to anot
Chocolate ChaosRandom pastry movement: brownie in motion.Chocolate Chaos4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
KING MEOver the course of time you have carefully adjusted the shape of the checker piece by scraping it on the concrete floor methodically, quietly, so as to not garner attention.KING ME2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The evening meal arrives in your cell, with a message written on the salt packet: KING ME.
A jolt of adrenaline (KING ME) but you must calm your breathing and eat your dinner as normal. KING ME. You empty the salt packet and chew the paper.
KING ME. It's past midnight (you assume; no clocks) when you jam the slightly modified checker disc into the lens of the video camera. It fits as if made for it.
The wait is agony, but eventually your handler comes to investigate the dead video feed. Between the time he peeps in through the slot to the time his key scrapes in the lock you bolt from your fake-sleeping position and poke the checker piece with a finger. It pops out of the camera into your hand. KING ME.
When the door swings open you are ready for him. Routine has caused everyone to become slack; he does not expect
A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias UndergrowthSo, ye need some groceries and things from the shops. But ye live in the undergrowth of Pias, so it ain’t a case of just popping to some omni-mall. What are ye going to do? Ye can’t farm cos’ the ground here ain’t gonna get enough sun, and there’s nae way in hell ye can just experiment with all the fruits of the jungle, cos’ ye value your life too much. Whatcha gonna do?A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias Undergrowth2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Well, good ol’ Cygno here can help ye wi’ this trusty guide! Available in all the shady places over the Kairos galaxy. This guide here’ll tell ye all about how to find the best markets in Pias and how tae not get scammed by some scoundrel.
First off, terribly sorry for ye bein’ here. I dunno if ye were forced tae run from the gangs or police in Canopy City or whatever other tragedy befell ye, but sorry. Pias ain’t a holiday site once yer under the leaves, I can tell ye that fer sure.
By the time yer readin’ this, y’l
PilgrimI'd been alone in the wastes for near ten days when they found me. The building I'd holed-up in might have been a bank, might have been a church; I wasn't going to call it. But its walls were stone-built, and most of them were still standing.Pilgrim2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Meals of tinned mystery-meat, and only-slightly irradiated water had kept me alive as I picked through the detritus. I found little more than empty, rusted tins, and kid's toys that had survived the fallout. That is, until I turned up the device; some relic that still had power. It came alive in my hands, splashing blue light across pitted grey stone and orange rust.
Of course, I was far from the only one interested in that trinket. My first warning was the quake; stones shifted beneath my feet and rusting I-beams groaned overhead. Still, that was more warning than most got, and I wasn't about to waste it. I grabbed my pack and ran.
I burst out of the shaking building, arriving at a cratered street. I didn't stop; the quake was hot on my heels. An
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
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
Solitary ManNo level of devotion could survive such betrayal. I had to stop thinking about her. I closed my eyes and savored the only thing that could warm me now—alcohol. With a deep breath, I filled my lungs with cigarette smoke. These were my only true companions in life. I reached across the table for a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels. The cap was already off. The next shot went done like all the rest.Solitary Man2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My ears were tired of all the sounds. I was fed up with the laughter that reverberated through the soles of my shoes each night. When I started all of this, I swore to myself I’d never get bored.
Somehow, after years of obsession with the joys and nuances of life, I’d grown weary of it all. Things had changed. My life wasn’t all I had thought it would be.
I remember when I was three years old, how my uncle would put on Elvis records and I’d grab up my tiny plastic banjo and strum it madly, like I knew what I was doing. I was a rambunctious little boy but
k.n., ii7 9 13 he took a bow overlooking interstate 680:k.n., ii2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
car-comets in full spin,
his dreams planetary, saturnian -
he almost sprouted wings that night and
i cannot say it would not be beautiful;
the palpations of downtown pumping
luminous cells, coursing
through highway veins
and he, standing in the heart of his world
mind ecstatic -
his feet began
to lift just a little.
9 20 13
a few phone calls
and a pair of
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
CarmenI met Carmen the day someone set the gym on fire. I’d known who she was before then—I’d heard the whispers of the tricks she pulled, and I’d seen her saunter up and down the clinic halls with a wicked glint in her eyes—but it wasn’t until I watched her drop an empty matchbox into a trashcan outside the smoldering gym that she let me into her incredible world.Carmen2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“Mon dieu! I thought you were the nurse ready to bust me again!” she exclaimed. Then she took a moment to look me over. “Wait, I know you. Your name is Emma and you take your meds daily like a model patient. I am Carmen, by the way. Don’t believe the things you hear about me.” She smiled as though we shared a secret.
Carmen was one of those people who had an almost electric energy to her, a mixture of audacity and charm that attracted people like moths to a light. She’d barely introduced herself and I found her fascinating.
“Let’s not waste
LatreuophobiaI wash off sick-sweet orange lipstick in front of a mirror as dusty as gothic romances. It tastes like oblivion, that is to say, like nothing my tongue can detect.Latreuophobia2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The door opens with a creak no private restroom could emulate. Some chick with blue bobbed hair and smeared eyeliner. I looked like that once. Ten years ago.
Getting the beer out of my hair is harder. Some men just can't take it when I'd rather they not kiss my feet or call me an angel or-
“Dayum girl, you look like a goddess.”
I gulp, taste of acid.