Smiley ManThere are those stories in the papers where a person has died and their pets have eaten their faces off, and everyone's always so disgusted by the dear trusted pet eating their owner, (how can you blame the animal? It's efficient.) Sometimes the owner isn't actually dead, they've just passed out, so they wake up and have no lips, and they look like they're grinning. Like a skull.
My childhood Smiley Man was like that, but no eyelids either. He looked like a skull, in that way, except he had eyes and there was skin on his face, just not over his teeth. And all he ever did, really, was chase. So I'd run, and I'd think I'd have got away, but he
Yellow onceThat's the thing isn't it? Just the thing. Anytime, anywhere, any small biting coincidence. Or just some conclusion after a long series of mistakes, and words you shouldn't have said. And I get to think about that through the incessant buzz of everything in every corner of this goddamn place while Mary turns on taps and turns off taps and pitter-patters around the wet floor square we call a bathroom. And I bite down on my tongue so I don't snap at her.Yellow once in Free Verse More Like This
I love her, sure. But god, god, sometimes. Sometimes I hate her.
She doesn't answer, she's turning on taps. She's picking things up and putting them down and focusing very hard on
Was it easyI used to believe that the world was small, that it was mine, and everyone else was a character in a play, and when I died I'd be born, my life a foetus dream, that would just carry on. I used to believe and that was enough. That people were honest.Was it easy in Free Verse More Like This
I thought that things were easy.
Now I believe in science, and ghosts, and sometimes my gut, but I don't believe in much.
I was afraid of death, shouting, flapping wings, creaks and the shadows on my walls. I'm afraid it'll all get broken. I'm afraid of truth and lies. I'm afraid I understand too well and too little.
Of how little I can believe in.
The dusty light in the morning, stretching
Dirty LaundryLoading up the washing machine, and my mind is sprawling around in several destinations far from this cramped room. I spritz my clothes- no, actually I drench them with that spray- the kind that's supposed to work miracles on any stain before the affect fabric even goes in the washer. This was my favorite shirt. My favorite shirt. I'm just not thinking today, am I?Dirty Laundry in Short Stories More Like This
The cotton feels good on my fingers, even though I'm stuffing it roughly into the machine. And all the towels...I didn't learn it until I'd moved out, but Mom was right: washing towels and clothes in the same load led to an outright ungodly amount of lint stuck in everything. I pa
IncubusI thought incubi were mythIncubus in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And demons just absurd
I thought romance a dull notion
And love is just a word
But you froze me with a look
Silenced me with a kiss
And all the heartache I have known
Seems a sinful sort of bliss
Beware of the thieves who come at night
Beware of the arms that hold you tight
My incubus, my heroin
I close my eyes and you transform
I wish I'd known before we touched
It's Hell that keeps your arms so warm
But Hell is so inviting
With eyes as sweet as yours
And I love the fire within you
When it's shooting through my pores
Beware the dreams that you hold close
It's these dreams that hurt the most
ForgetfulWhen you bite me, leave bruises.Forgetful in Scraps More Like This
I want to be able to run my fingers over them later. I want to make the pain linger.
If I died tomorrow, and died without scars,
What proof would there be that I was ever in your arms?
I'm marked in soul, and marked in mind,
So mark my body too before you leave me behind.
ApologiesHow many times do I have to say I'm sorry?Apologies in Free Verse More Like This
How many times will it dribble from my mouth,
Slide down my lips and collect on the floor
Before you believe me?
Before I believe me?
"Don't apologize" is easier said when
You can't see the mistakes underneath
After a while, you give up saying it
Because it's not your mantra
Once Upon This WorldOnce upon this world, I was asleep. Asleep and content, blissful unawareness had overtaken me and I loved it. Once upon this world I saw what I wanted, however briefly, it was no less mine. Once upon this world, there was nothing that could make me happier than time cast into oblivion carelessly abandoned in the ether. Once upon this world, I woke up.Once Upon This World in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She Was a Stormcloudshe was a stormcloud, and you loved her,She Was a Stormcloud in Free Verse More Like This
and the two of you took walks and wore
nothing but promises,
broken chains and
strands of pinkish pearls.
and the two of you kissed under trees that attracted silver lightning
(metal branches scraped the sky, and you, always faithful,
tipped your coat over her head to keep her dry.)
but she never stayed that way.
in an instant, she had whirled into the rain
and danced without clothes,
and she left you
with the pain of frostbite on your naked skin
where you trusted her to kiss you warm,
and you thought you heard her laughter
when the sun came out again the
from the blazing pages...because you listenedfrom the blazing pages... in Free Verse More Like This
at the tip of the stair,
the phonograph coughed its secrets
grew up thinking
that pretty women needed saved,
that apples were poisoned and
knights rode into sunsets without getting burned.
but the first one you held
taught you that
magic mirrors never tell them they're beautiful,
and you saw the spindle-scratches on her arms
(because princes have roaming hearts, and they
stay a little while and then
and the one you married wouldn't touch you
"i'm a golden egg, not a tiny pea,"
and you said it didn't matter
but she broke the beanstalk and sent you
god, earthworms, and coca colamaybe when the paint peels from my little red wagongod, earthworms, and coca cola in Free Verse More Like This
i'll let you buy me a soda from the five and dime,
and we can catch fireflies by the lake and maybe
maybe i'll teach you how to fandango
(by the light of the moon that pulls the turning tide.)
and maybe, when the leaves turn gold and the morning frosts
i'll let you walk me home,
and you'll ask me
what my favorite sodapop is and if i believe in god.
(religion and politics, but then
we were never polite company,)
and i'll tell you that
i don't know,
that i never could decide between coke and dr. pepper,
and that god is kind of like soda when you shake up his followers
so i nev
Dreamersi.Dreamers in Free Verse More Like This
our backs pressed stories into the hillside.
mine was short and deep
and yours grew long and crooked .
the grass died beneath us when the sun sank below the hill.
"when the clouds change shape,
that's when i leave you,"
and i cried as they shifted with your breath.
"don't forget me."
"i'll be back in the springtime.
try not to miss me."
i missed you in places i never knew i had,
and the night fell down around me and it was all i could do to hold up an end of its black blanket to let the moon pass through.
and when the morning came,
i ached for you.
"babe, don't miss me."
"you say that
**** in Free Verse More Like This
is a poor champion
for this summer-born body,
Yet ,I know his chill kiss
sires the green of spring.
January is the cruelest month.
I have been a fool.
He loves me not.
I love him still.
© L. L. Kelly 2012
Flotsam and JetsamFlotsam and Jetsam in Free Verse More Like This
It is our fate from birth
that we may never escape our own thoughts.
Fractals of the mind flow with pretzel logic,
traveling inward and outward simultaneously.
Telepathy from the void
shrouded in audible silence.
A cacophony in a raindrop heavy as Stonehenge.
Bits of useless information
searching for random places to come to rest.
An altered state of
Contemplating the many layers of
our destiny written in sand.
Words pouring out in rivulets,
flowing in all directions
toward the blank page.
Waiting for a moment of clarity
while reggae rhythms prance
endlessly like a mantra.
On WritingOn Writing in Free Verse More Like This
I don't remember who said
"Every line is an act of courage."
Each carefully chosen word reveals us
to ourselves and we are naked.
Each carefully chosen word,
whether soft, harsh, or indifferent,
leads to the next until
we discover that the words are leading the way,
held up by the page.
Our hearts follow gladly.
Free at last.
© L. L. Kelly 2012
She Cries ContentI am countingShe Cries Content in Free Verse More Like This
wishing wells, practicing
my thesis for every shooting star
in my mirror.
I have to admit, I
don't know what I want,
so I paper-punch holes in your
sky to replace the supernovas I
stole. I needed them
We are unsure,
perforated lovers at perpendicular
angles. All our reasons are
agree that we probably
shouldn't observe them.
I find it funny
that Euler's formula was considered
a jewel when it fails
to count our
cruel edges and
double-faces. I can't use
numbers to solve our mystery,
a still painting of
blindness. You see me
as on a distinct, sep
gold and bonesSully was pretty sure he wasn't cool enough. He had a yellow american appearal hoodie, brown bangs that fell into his blue eyes, and his father's old pentax film camera, but it wasn't enough. He was cool, but not Anthony McCormick cool.gold and bones in Short Stories More Like This
Anthony was effortlessly cool, from the way he dressed to what he talked about. It was cool when Anthony breathed; not that Sully had spent a lot of time thinking about it or anything. On the day in question, an afternoon in May, Sully was walking through the old town district, looking for prospects. He was always looking, wherever he went, framing photographs with his eyes before he ever brought out his came
HereFour year old Keaton gripped a green crayon in his tiny fist, pressing it hard against the paper. His parents fought beneath the sound of the tv in the background. Scribbling in rhythmic circles, he furrowed his brow. His mother came into the room, a dishtowel in her hands.Here in Short Stories More Like This
"What are you drawing, Keaton?" Her voice had the tremble of someone forcing their words to sound happy.
"Money," he said, then glanced up.
She came closer, examining the pages scattered around him from behind. All contained a dollar, done again and again in various sizes.
"You've drawn a lot of it."
"Yeah," he sa
A cappellaMy mother, a famous classical violinist in her day, was on her deathbed and I didn't care. She was bedridden by the usual suspects, old age and a fall, and had been for many months when they called me. "Come see her," they said. "She'll pass on soon." They told me the nurses played Tchaikovsky, her favorite.A cappella in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"No," I said, and hung up the phone, slamming it against the wall, the cord jerking about in a wild dance. I glared at my CD player, as though it would suddenly come to life with violin concertos, then grabbed my coat, and left the house.
The critics never tired of sayin
with a whisperthis is how we rule the world,with a whisper in Free Verse More Like This
the forgotten, lobotom-ised,
of a long lost dystopast.
not with a SHOUT,
we do not argue.
we do not even unsheath
we whisper in your children's ears
the memories of what should have been.
the life we all crave.
the death we all crave.
WE do not discriminate
our opinions onto others
pressing the side of the blade
down onto the fles
Get upHear me read itGet up in Short Stories More Like This
She sat on the edge of her bed staring at the floor. Within her scope of vision there were many things she could look at. Many things to think about and process. There was a slate blouse that had wilted at the bottom of her bed, or her pale foot placed beside it. The foot looked unnatural there, with no pressure to grip it to the ground it looked unbelonging, like a cast aside prop. Yet she did not look, or think, or notice.
She just stared, blindly, for an hour, her thoughts were obnoxious and churned the paltry paste of self-disgust in her heart muscle, but they were relatively quiet as she repeated over and over in the fo
The DancerHear me read itThe Dancer in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The night I met Jessie she was beautiful. She swayed to the almost intolerably loud music as if her bones were made of it. She was something unknown. I remember the sharp cut of her hair had it run across her cheek parallel to her carved out cheekbone. It looked like a wig, I wanted to touch it. I wanted to touch her, and see if she felt like plastic. Who could ever believe that someone so perfect could be so real. I regret that. I regret doubting her reality.
Eventually she bought me a drink, she called it an Appleté but trapped in the pulsating fuchsia lights of the club it looked purple. It tasted like jealousy; sour and
OIt permeates everythingO in Free Verse More Like This
It is the cells. It is the cell
in which I am rotting.
The sheen over my eye,
the flesh I rip from the side of my nail,
the teeth I grind it with.
The tears, blood and sweat.
It is below carbon and hydrogen,
embedded in the air I breathe.
It is sleeping under my fingernails,
It is the undeniable, genetic, atomic truth.
Oh, my oxygen permeates everything.
It is the cell.
MutantHear me read itMutant in Free Verse More Like This
I am a mutant.
| My skin does not sallow in the sun
and I do not blush jaundice through my cheeks.
| I do not have extra fingers, or toes -
although my spine;
it boasts an ironic vertebrae,
it is a long tally of the hearts I have broken
and when I straighten my spine the bones Pop out of place.
LabyrinthJulian: "We shouldn't be here Kelse."Labyrinth in Sketches More Like This
Kelsey: "Please. How else are we suppos-"
Security Guard: "Who's out there?"
Julian: "I told you."
Kelsey: "Shut up."
Security Guard: "I said who's out there."
Julian: "It'll be a cake walk you said. Bullshit Kelse."
Kelsey: "Shut up and c'mere."
Security Guard: "Do you two know how much trouble you're in?"
Julian & Kelsey: "Sir?"
Security Guard: "Found in a restricted section of the labyrinth past curfew."
Kelsey: "I-We didn't kno-"
Security Guard: "Let me see your hands."
Security Guard: "Kelsey Montgomery and Julian Bailey, you
Tumbling Down He said he was smart enough to be a Mensa member. She asked what that was. David said it was a group of people who took a test and were admitted to Mensa only if they tested as geniuses. Susanne just looked him, not entirely surpised and not entirely convinced David was right about that. Without knowing, and in light of what David did or didn't do for a living, Susanne went back to reading a novel she picked up on her weekly trips to the library.Tumbling Down in Short Stories More Like This
Susanne and David had arguments now about those novels she read. She read everything from bestsellers to older classics, including childre