Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

The oldest believes in everything big, from Cosmos to Santa Claus, and family-sized hugs.

But it is the youngest spying Christmas trees in his father’s starry eyes.

And so do I.

[Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I am so grateful for the opportunity to know each and every one of you. (Photo of Christmas Tree Nebula courtesy of skyhound)]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canal to Spring

Waiting for the subway, the woman with the siren hat hums a little nothing tune. She stops to smile at the boy with the conch ears who looks like the son she always wanted (even the ears), but never had. She closes her eyes, and hums a little louder.

The boy silences his iPod. He doesn’t feel much like listening today. He doesn’t feel much like going to his girlfriend’s to hear how wrong everything (even the ears) is. But still he gambles, with the others, on the doors sliding open to receive him. There is something to numbers, to a number’s bully momentum. In this city, people are molecules, pushed to boil.

The boy grasps the car’s overhead bar, slipping behind the girl with a book for a face.

Madame Bovary.

The train snuffs, and the woman with the siren hat bumps into the boy, inciting the dominos. The girl breaks the boy’s fall. There is a flurry of apologies, but the girl with a book for a face does not turn to acknowledge him. She just raises a hand. It’s all right. Her coat is soft caramel. Her face, a softer mystery.

The train slices the city’s secret harbor, pulled by a stationless twilight, clacking and screaming. The boy focuses on the girl’s neck: the drowsy hairs darkening the neckline, the ballerina bun spooling free of its tether. She has a freckle at the nape, which vibrates slightly. Something loosens inside of him, and the boy collapses to the size of this freckle, blurry around his edges.

He conceals the dizzy smile with a stroke of his hand.

It’s the lover’s perspective he sneaks. The freckle is a pearl beneath her sea foam of hair. He has no right to the freckle. No ownership. Yet here it is. Available to him.

The boy’s ears ring, the hairs on his arms turning stiff, then wavy.

Like sea grass.

The vibrations from her freckle leap to his lips.

He hums this little nothing tune.

The girl’s neck tacks the current of his song, and grows silent, even as the world rocks and screams around her.

The boy smiles, humming louder, while the train crashes into its station.

Abandoning the book, with all its plum, juicy words, to her side, the girl turns toward the music.

She seems okay with the boy’s ears.

He thinks Flaubert is the color of her eyes.

The doors gape, and the other people, including the woman with the siren hat, whistle into vapor. The boy and the girl are alone, two molecules uncertain of whether to disengage, or remain a lovely, lazy liquid.

The girl smiles, tentative.

“Do you think it’s possible to drown in someone’s words?”

The boy breaks the seal of his throat.

“What was that? I have water in my ears.”

The girl’s smile grows, even as her gaze shrinks to his chest.

The people are all exchanged, and they pile closer, pouring the girl and boy together.

Mixing their molecules.

And inside the boy’s chest, where nobody (except Flaubert) can touch, a little nothing tune has gushed into this something song.

This wave, of gathering.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i carry your heart with me, by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

[Another cummings poem to compensate for my inadequacy. Art by Matisse.]

Sunday, December 16, 2007


He had pianist hands.

She had night hair,
a woman's ivory back.

Their nocturne spelled the nightingales.

And made the cardinal blush.

[Glenn Gould/Bach video courtesy of kanfoosj]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Of corsets and rhyme


I am missing you tonight.

You are here,
And I am near,
And things should always be so clear.

And yet—

I am missing you tonight.

I am wanting you this night.

Come, my one-only,
Let’s dive under pillows,
And brace all the doors,
Ignore the tumult,
Recover our moors.

Come, my forever,
Let’s surrender our skin,
And slide with the night,
Keep our eyes broken,
Spin the world light.

Come, my polaris,
Let’s undress disguises,
And bid our hands dance,
Tunnel through language,
Tap a new romance.

(And darling? Could you please,
and quick, unburden me of this
pretty whalebone poetry!
It chafes so . . .



My heartbeat is meter.
Your hands are haiku.

Let’s be messy.


[Picture courtesy of corsetsandcrinolines]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

i like my body when it is with your, by e.e. cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh....And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

[I just love this poem, and felt like sharing it.
Photo courtesy of Michael Colicos]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Rain Becoming

“There is rain on your breath,” he tells her, smiling.

“Those are tears,” the girl says, shivering. “We should get back in.”

But kisses spark brightest in spring’s first water. And so they root their heels to the earth, embracing like two waves who have not crashed up against each other for the length of a war. Three desert years.

There are twenty desert yards to the car.

And so they swim.

“I wore your necklace every day. Beneath the dog tags. The guys made fun of me at first. Such a girly thing. But then they saw your picture.”

She touches the tarnished metal in the notch of his neck. Places her mouth on the wet skin beside. The girl absorbs the flurried pulses into her lips, and down, down, into her embedded feet. Her toes curl with each vibration. Thunder crashes, and a whiff of ozone warns the air.

He removes the necklace to lace it around her neck. The storm swells. Silver flashes gold, alchemized by the heat lightning in the lovers’ eyes.

“I knew you’d bring it back! I knew you’d come back to me,” she laughs above the downpour.

“I made a promise.”

Their lips fuse. Electric water.

The soldier, stiff in his uniform, bends his girl back, so that her hair will blow wild, so that she will laugh again. He wants to watch the rain becoming, in that crackling current between a smoky bodice and its snowy skin.


He watches still.

[This is my entry for Bernita Harris's Weirdly flash fiction contest, which is open through midnight (EST), Dec. 14th. There is a 250 word limit, any genre. If Bernita's lovely photo inspires you, then have a go at it!]

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Somewhere Story

Somewhere, in Africa,
a girl scratches out her ABCs with an acacia stick.
Somewhere, in Africa,
a mother wants to share stories poured down to her by another mother.
Somewhere, in Africa,
it is too hard to summon rain with a tongue as parched as the acacia’s bark.

And so the mother choreographs the daughter’s hand in a silent ballet, believing that her daughter’s dust will one day write its own story.

A story to plow abundant soil.
A story to seed a mother’s hope.
A story to sprout a vine so long it swings a daughter’s flight.
A story all green.

A Somewhere Story.

And then,
the mother smiles to this bright-eyed daughter,
the words will flow like the village’s river,
before its tears had all been wept,
before its animals had bleached the stone,
before the sun's teeth had sawed the silt,
before the river was seen
by these Somewhere People
as nowhere
very much
at all.

[I was inspired to write this piece after reading Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, which is transcribed here. Have a look. You won't regret it. Photo courtesy of WFP/Brenda Barton.]

Friday, December 7, 2007

White Noise

She presses down the path, hoping the snow will silence the bees in her head.

The dog pulls, her arm trails, and she thinks that all her life she has been in want of a leash. To be led.

She closes her eyes, and wonders why this should be.

The dog lunges for a rabbit, and she tumbles, planting her face in the snow. She starts to rise, but tucks back down, folding herself over the leash to catch its momentum. The icy needles are emboldening, and she lies there, waiting for the hive in her cheek to grow sluggish, and numb. She waits a long time. The dog is anxious, his paws swarming with bees.

Flipping onto her back, she notes some simple things:

The light looks pulled, like tungsten.
Snowflakes have dusted her lashes.
Snow has a sound.
So do her lashes.
That tree is a pulpy nerve.
Her body is a pulsing nerve.

And the dog has ears like pup tents.

The woman's heart pools warm honey.

She picks up the leash, the dog dances, and a line interprets their joy.

Together, the woman and dog push deeper into the snowy, snowy woods.

Into the white noise.

While somewhere,
sweetening the tonic chord,
a flurry
of birdsong.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

You, too, can be Shameless

It is time to get a little crazy, my friends.

It's time to break out the fuschia font.


Okay, not quite a barbaric yawp, but close enough.

quill was so kind as to honor me (and Wayne Shannon, among others) with this lovely blogging award. Having my writing called "engaging" and "heartfelt" is even more thrilling than inviting a hot-pink lion into my shabby little den. I really appreciate the sentiment and good will behind Seamus Kearny's effort to build a community of writers, and kindred spirits. And I already have a whole heap of new blogs to explore as a result. Thank you, quill!

About the award:

Seamus Kearney of Shameless Words believes in powerful writing, and he believes that it can be, and is, found in many places on the internet. This award was developed by him to put forth that belief and to encourage writers to roar.

The rules are simple and can be found at the original site. Please follow the link and pick up your award. The Shameless Lions Writing Circle

My 3 Writing Requirements:

Confidence: I didn't start writing until four years ago. Simply didn't believe I had it in me. And while I have yet to transform into a pillar of strength, I am light years more secure about myself than I was before. We all need to believe that we are good, but more importantly, that we can be better.

Empathy: As character builders, we need to be able to flip our perspectives, and tunnel into new skins.

Lyricism: Character is not enough. As writers, we must love language. We must stretch its boundaries, and be willing to fight for the words that will elevate our writing above the commonplace. When we succeed, we elevate our readers, too.

And my 5 picks for the award (note: I tried to pick blogs that have not recently been honored, or don't have the big kitty already in their sidebar):

The Clarity of Night
Jason Evans' blog is less a web destination than a nighttime harbor. I can almost feel my pulse slow, and my muscles relax, when I see that twilight background and his beautiful photos. Through his poetry, fiction, and photography, Jason challenges us to explore the world from different perspectives, before taking our hands to guide us, gently, along the way.

Jaye's Blahg
She calls her kid Spawn. She introduced me to "crypt lit." She makes me kinda like Texas. Jaye Wells is super-smart, wickedly clever, and endlessly provocative. Oh, and she's also a powerful, sharp writer. In each of her posts, Jaye clears away the cobwebs, and finds some buried treasure. But watch out for that heel...

The Reluctant Writer
Abhinav is passion personified. Whenever I read his lovely writings, I sense his generosity of spirit, and a conviction that will never fail him. He's young, but (and I know this phrase has become trite) he truly is an old soul. He reminds me of the fact that we are all still students, sharing a common classroom.

Church Lady is our web guardian. She's everywhere, and we all love her. Her blog is reflective of her personality: open-hearted, and wildly curious about everything. Through her writing exercises, contests, and free-flowing trivia, Church Lady's blog is a party that never ends (it better never end!). And none of that love of fun detracts from the fact that she is a profoundly gifted writer.

Hotwire Reality
I have only recently stumbled across Hotwire's blog. His vignettes are wonderfully free of pretension and altogether unique. When reading his stories, I feel like I'm drifting down a river that bends and curves, until arriving at a destination so quietly joyful, or melancholy, that the heart sighs to recognize that intangible thing called truth.

So there you have it! The honorees may feel free to select five more blogs to broaden the circle, or they can just wrap their arms around the kitty, and squeeze.

Now I want to thank my husband, my children, my Apple laptop, my dog, the jackass neighbors with the crazy-loud pickups and the rotting pumpkins, and most importantly, God, for this truly humbling award. I feel God in this blog roll tonight. Now let's all raise our (*exit music playing*)

Hey! Wait a minute!

No fair! More names! I think Al Gore deserves a shout--

aw, crap.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dick and Silent Jack

Dear Neighbor Human,


We see you looking at us when walking by with the curious sack of dog waste in your hand. It's okay! Stare all you like! Really!

We know your kind.

You probably live just to scrape our tender flesh into great orgies of sugary pastry that slide sickeningly down your monstrous gullet. You might have enjoyed smashing our forefathers before us as a mischievous "prank" to give you the "shits and giggles." Oh, yes, my fairweather friend! I detect the sick glow of past pleasures in those non-triangular orbs.


Do you think we asked for this cruel fate? NO! Do you think our kind is born to suffer the ignominy of rot and decay (and putrescence, let's not forget putrescence), for YOUR entertainment? NO! Are we a PLAYTHING to you?! Well, HA HA HA! LOL! ROTFL! ;) :-)

Alas. It is difficult for Jack to laugh. As you might have noted, his face has quite caved in.

November was DICKENSIAN. :(

We are a proud fruit (NOT a vegetable...are you hearing me, friend? those guys are PUSSIES!). Our time is meant to be short, but illuminating. If I may quote from my favorite poet, Edna St. Vin...something or other:

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!


So this is what you're going to do. You're going to unpack all those years of seed-lust you've stowed away inside of you, and put us out of our misery. There is a hill out back. One heave is all it will take. The Great Pumpkin In The Sky demands it of you. C'mon already!!!

Good Neighbor Human, we've had the cruel trick.

Now throw us a treat.

Cordially Signed,

Silent Jack

p.s. The foolish Rottweiler that always barks at your canine transcribed. Pardon the pee.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Falling Star

Last night, I blew you a kiss
From the dark side of our moon.

It shot from my lips
Like a falling star,
Singing of lost radiance,
Before flaring out in the
Palm of its long, lonely bow.

The other stars just hummed,

There will be other moons.
There will be other kisses.

[Photo courtesy of Giulia Zanchi]