Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bird Words

Today is a too-many-words kind of day. Too many words for such a small space. So I give to you this instead:

original link

Any stories pop into your head, either from this pic or from others at the link?


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lover's Quarrel

So here's another prompt and link. Let me know in the comments if you write a little something-something too, because I definitely want to come read it. And this is my response:

original link

Lover's Quarrel 

The couple next door is starting in on each other again. I can hear them through the wall. Just one of the perks of apartment living—you get to hear your neighbors making love and war. 

“Fuck you. It’s obvious you don’t want to be with me. Obvious to everyone.”

She’s drunk. I can hear the warble in her voice from here. 

“Obvious to who? Your friends, who really just want you to be as miserable as they are?”

He’s loud. He’s always loud, whether laughing or yelling. 

I’ve watched them from my balcony when they leave, enfolded in each others’ arms. They are a hot summer day even when scarves wrap them against the cold—the sight of them together makes my eyes hurt if I look at them too long. 

Stretching away from my book, I’m grateful for the distraction. This must’ve been the millionth time I’ve read through that same passage.  I lean my head back against the couch and listen.

“To everyone. If you loved me, you’d...” I miss what she says next, but I imagine her trailing off and looking at him with her big, doe eyes.

“No. Not this time.” There is a screech of chair against floor. Did he get up, or she? 

I think about my own lover’s quarrels as their shouting escalates. How powerful my tirades were, and how in those moments I felt truly alive because I truly just wanted to be free. Or to be sucked into the earth and feel the deep cool of nothing. 

And yet, all this brings to mind neon fireflies. 

Sitting on steps, gazing in awe at a red setting sun. 

Licking foam from a well-poured stout off my lip, mouth curling into a smile. 

That one busking guitar player in the dark tunnel, rocking from one foot to the other as he sang that one song. 

The Raven—the place, not the poem.

Painting a teal peacock on the boardwalk and people stopping to watch.

Running till the inside of my thighs were rubbed raw.

The screaming on the other side of the wall is silenced with the slam of a door. I hear heavy boots stomping past my apartment. For a moment, I wonder if this time he’ll keep walking. 

But no. I know he’ll be back. 

He and his doe are explosions of fire, yet they are also soft fireflies.

They are sharp teeth, but they are also the curling smile.

They are the poem, the peacock, the raw rubbing. 

It is impossible to leave such things. I know because I am a wraith haunting the halls of my old life. And though my body has passed into the grave, even now I cannot leave. I am too much in love with the world to free myself from all its horrors and graces, its holiness and lost cases. 

I have a lover’s quarrel with the world—I want to go, to be free, yet I cannot help but stay. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Little Loves

You know those times when a phrase pops into your mind and you chuckle a little at yourself, maybe wobble your shoulders some and phoo-phaw, hem-haw, but you let it go.

But it won't let you go.

So then you make up a story about it? Here's one of those times:

original link

Little Loves

The doorbell chimes and I shoot up, snagging a hoodie on my way to the front door. 

“There’s our pizza,” I muffle as I pull the extra shirt over my head. “You’re gonna love this.”

I scoop Beetje off my shoulder and settle her into my hood so she can sit in it like a sling. She scrambles up so she can see, and one of her small, pointy elbows pokes into my collar bone as she bats at my earring.

“Love is a strong word in your language, isn’t it?" She sounds unconvinced. "I’m ready to be impressed.” 

My smile disappears as soon as I swing open the door. 

“Roo,” my nemesis says, running a hand through his perfectly tousled hair and shuffling his feet. Flip-flops, ripped jeans, thin flannel shirt. Perfect for the warm evening. He pulls two tickets out of his back pocket and thumbs at the orange ’55 Chevy truck he’s been working on all summer. “Wanna go to the drive-in? They’re playing oldie-goldies tonight.”


“No, thanks.”

Beetje hums into my ear with new-found conviction. “This is pizza? Definitely ready to be impressed.”

“This is not pizza, this is Jackson.”

Jack frowns and looks around. “Uh.”

I don’t even bother to explain. He won’t know what bimkins are. 

He can’t see or hear Beetje, but that doesn’t keep her from climbing out of my hood and sprawling out on my shoulder. Vixen that she is, she says all throaty, “Come to me my sweet pizza. I want to eat you up and grow fat on you.”

“Not helping.”

Jack holds both palms out. “Look, Roo. I just wanted to apologize.”

“Roo? Why does he keep calling you this roo?”

“It’s Rosa.”

“Rosa.” He ducks his head. “Can we just…”

“No, thanks.”

“But everything’s been so awkward. I just want a new chance at having something normal with…”

“See that’s the thing, though,” I say, pushing my fists into my hoodie. Beetje sits up and it feels like she’s looking back and forth between Jack and me. “I’m not normal.”

“You’re not normal?” she asks, a hint of surprise in her tone.

“I know…” he starts.

“So stop trying to fit me into your little litter box,” I cut him off again. I really wish he would quit with the perfect-thing and just go away. All I wanted was some pizza.

 “Litter box. Isn’t that the container your feline pet expels in?”

“It’s another way of saying shit box.”

I feel Beetje shake her head. “I still don’t comprehend.”

Jack scowls. “Yeah, I got it.”

“He puts you into a box?” Beetje sounds confused. 

I understand where she’s coming from—I’m confused too, if for different reasons. I point to the bungalow next door. “Why don’t you ask Janey? She’s normal.”

“I would if I wanted to,” Jack says, his scowl turning to hurt, then to perfect calm. His shoulders slump. Nodding once, he tosses the tickets to my feet and turns. 

I shut the door against the sound of his sandals slapping soft on the stone walkway, and lean into the wall. His engine revs once, twice. I hug my arms across my chest. And then he’s gone.

“Too bad,” Beetje says, sounding dejected. “No pizza. I was looking forward to love.”

I kick away from the wall and head back toward the kitchen. “Yeah, I was too.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Elbow Grease

So I’m putting some elbow grease into the first chapter of Fivers for some upcoming critique opportunities at this and this. Pretty excited, but does anyone else have a hard time with beginnings? I’ve started and restarted this beast so many times. Here are just four examples of four different first lines: 
  • Meidun’s aggressive sprawl zigzagged downhill from the massive fortress above, the colorfully decked-out lanes bulging with festival goers.

  • Escape smelled like sour ale and skewered rat meat.

  • The steep stairway leading up to the large terrace above doubled as a directory for the Pearl District, with multiple shops and ads stenciled onto any open stone-face available.

  • Eliza ducked out of the hired carriage and paused, her totem senses humming.
original link

Why is it that first step out the door is always the hardest? (Gotta run back in, forgot my phone; it’s actually kind of cold out here so I should grab a jacket; my list isn’t in my pocket so where did I leave it? Keys, anyone?)


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