Miscellaneous Writings and Musings


A genie and her rock band

(Novel and Short Stories)

Steal Tomorrow

Steal Tomorrow
Murder, Mystery, First Love, and the End of the World

(Novel and Short Stories)

My Books and Stories

My Books and Stories
Where to Buy, Read, Download

55 - Twinkle

Twinkle twinkle, little star,
made of petroleum, you are.
Up above my bed, so high
like little night lights in the sky.
When the other lights are gone
and nothing I can gaze upon,
then I see your tiny light,
and constellations placed just right.
Twinkle twinkle little star.
Indoor skies are best by far!


About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

55 - Let It Snow!

The weather outside is frightful.
In the kitchen it's delightful.
I've got a pan full of cookie dough...
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

The aroma is quite enticing,
as I decorate each with icing,
then line them all up in a row...
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Word Verification

I don't know when Blogger quit making wordver a universal setting, but I never got the memo. I've received a lot of spam over the years, often on my most sensitive, heart-felt blog posts, which is why even though I hate wordver as much as anyone, I've had it turned on. Recent complaints made me wonder if maybe something was different at Blogger, and it is. Wordver is no longer a setting that applies to all of one's blogs, but can be set individually. I have therefore removed it from some of my blogs, while leaving it on others. If I start spending a lot of time doing spam cleanup, though, it's going back on all of them. Hopefully that won't have to happen. I'll probably also turn it on when I go on vacation or on a business trip, when my time to deal with spam is even more limited thanit already is. In the meantime, I'll hope to get lucky this time and stay under the radar.

Updated to note that I've already received my first spam. It took only an hour. Joy.

Second update: Three more in 1.5 hours since previous update. Wordver is going back ON. Sorry, folks, but I don't have time to deal with this.


Water drips.
Heart beats.
Breathe in...out.

A hum of passing traffic.

Thoughts flit:
 * what to eat?
 * what to wear?
 * should I cut my hair?

Airplane passes overhead;
busy people 
on their way to destinations,

Cat walks in on silent feet,
flicks her tail.
Outside, an acorn drops;
a squirrel spies a meal.

Heart beats.
Breathe out...in.
Cells rush through tiny veins,
delivering precious cargo.

Far away, the locomotive
makes its lonesome call.
Crossing lights blink madly.
Drivers curse.

Breathe in...out.

Water drips.
 * Can I fix it?
 * Call the plumber?
 * Does he work on Sunday?

Cat sits down beside me,
Is she also busy
on the inside?

Oh, quiet peaceful morning,
you are a multitude.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Flirt

Hello, lovely lady! I'm a pretty bird. Aren't my feathers fine? Let me get a little closer. I'm a pretty bird. I love you.

Oh, wait - who's heading this way? Fine lady, aren't I a pretty bird? Let me get down off this person, sit upon your shoulder. Aren't I pretty? I love you.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Rip Tide

Three times I reach my hand.
Three times you let me go.
With intent.

Rip tide has you.

If I dove into your current,
Lived your death,
Shared your fate,
Would that help?

Rip tide wants me, too.

So I stay here, grounded,
while you're carried out to sea,
rejecting every rescue.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Bunny-Head

She found a rabbit on her head.
Thoughts of doots filled her with dread.
She wondered what it should be fed,
perhaps a bit of whole wheat bread?

She must take action; that was clear,
one cannot go about in fear.
Get down bunny, be a dear,
you're not a hat; get out of here.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Cat and Mouse

Silent feet,
busy mind,
alert to tiny clues;
the steady drip of
wounded prey

Gather this bitter harvest.
We are here to catch a mouse
or perhaps a rat.

Scurryings in secret places,
whisper of a scent.
No more waiting by the door
for scraps,
perfunctory caresses,

We are engaged in epic battle.


Where will we go next?
There is no place to hide.
Who forgot to bell the cat?
You did. You did. You did.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Between Us

We feast on our illusions
at empty tables,
imagining pure sunshine
by the light of manufactured flame.

This thing we have between us
is fluffy confection of sugar and air.
This thing that comes between us
is the fracture we ignore.

Don't take away my fantasy.
Close your eyes,
make a wish,
but don't blow out the candles.
I ate a piece of my soul today,
drizzled with butter and honey.
It was delicious.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Fountain People

They called themselves the fountain people, although what this signified the young man didn't know. Perhaps they were a race of water-worshippers, beholden to a deity that caused rivers to flow forth from crusty rock. Whatever their origin, to the ambitious archeologist of 7012 they were a rare find. Their story would make his career.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!


It starts with just a trickle,
One more drop
won't make a difference
to empty pots,
parched fields,
thirsty hearts
needing sustenance
after a long drought.

Drip by innocent drip
you seduce me
with your promise.
Take me
past the shallows.
Make me
trust the current.

Without a chart to guide me,
I'll submerge
antediluvian fears.
I will be master
of these waters,
(plotting my course
across dark tides)
until the deluge
pulls me under
and I drown.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Thanksgiving Morning

Early morning, the calorie-fest not even begun. What to eat while bands and costumed characters strut their stuff on TV? With cereal too mundane and no desire to mar the perfection of a pie, there is only one recourse.

Flour, sugar, cranberries and nutmeg...hot from the oven, these scones will start the day off right!

Have you written a story containing exactly 55 words? Leave a link with Mr. Knowitall, who we thank for being our Friday 55 host!

Sworn to Silence

I dare not share your secrets.
Though you take from what we had
and try to break me
(whispering little lies)
I will keep silent,
and hope they understand
why I must now lie, too.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Water

More precious than gold, it winds its way through parched earth, turning all it touches to green. This thin ribbon of life slakes our thirst and nourishes our hopes, bringing magic where once there was only dust.Without it, we are nothing, but here in the high desert badlands, he who has water is rich.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Clear as Mud

So many things lie hidden.

Glib words,
easy little lies.
Only one path out,
but it's too hard,
too hard.

Baby steps.
It's real this time.
Crocodile tears,
but trust anyway.

Wave the magic wand
and it will all be better.

Can't you see,
you cynic?
Why can't you believe,
oh ye of little faith?

Turn around.
Don't scratch the surface.
Leave it looking pretty
while it festers

Can't you see it now?
The truth burns
oh so bright.

Yes, it's all quite plain.
Everything clear as mud.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post. 

55 - Shop Cat

Good morning! What can I do for you? As you see, I'm quite busy. Minding this shop takes all my time, scarcely a moment for my own simple pleasures; listening for mice, pouncing on bugs. I have other interests, you know. But the customer is always right, so what can I help you find today?

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!


Clever magician with your tricks,
creating illusions with candle flame
and silver.

Monsters and madmen
populate your show.
Everything's deception;
a fun-house full of lies.
And where am I?

You want answers?
You need truth?
There is none here.
We are all sick with expectations,
waiting to be healed.

I can lay my hands upon you,
but only you can save your soul.

So turn away,
don't ask me.

Conjurers must work their own magic.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Duck Pond

Late summer morning. As he ponders the cool water, does he realize the long sunny days are ending, and this might be his last warm-season swim? Or does he take the pond and sunshine for what they are; no worries of tomorrow? Winter's concerns can be dealt with another time. Today there is only this.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

55 - Abandoned

Half-hidden by wild growth, it sits abandoned. Paint peels, doors go unmended. Time wears upon this silent place until the people come, chatting of abandonment, thinking themselves alone as they gather windfall chestnuts. One of them spies a movement at a window, but no, it's just the reflection of a passing cloud...

...or is it?

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

55 - Pita

I watched them travel down the rack
So tempting…should I get a pack?
If I took them home to make a snack,
Surely someone would give me flack.
Bread is fattening – take them back!
No gluten permitted in this shack!
So I’ll buy some lettuce; stay on track
But someday soon I’ll buy a sack!

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

55 - Chaco

It was the home of the ancient ones, proud people who traveled and traded throughout the world as they knew it. 

While neighbors looked on in envy, they built cities and temples to showcase their achievements. 

Their civilization would last forever, or until the droughts came. 

Now only dry stones remain to tell the tale.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

New ST Story!

Today's Sunday Scribblings has inspired a new Steal Tomorrow post: Creative World. This one is a stand-alone, since it doesn't lend itself to being part of any existing short story series.

55 - A Better Life

It certainly looked like a better deal than the wilderness: air conditioner, hot and cold running water, and even a door to shut out the coyotes and mountain lions! It sounded idyllic, until she realized the price.

Oh deer! Where would she find a job in this economy?

Alas, luxury was not to be hers.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Easy Liar

You tell your tale with ease, my friend.
It's no wonder they believe.
You say what they want to hear,
captivating all.

Not me.

If you didn't need my faith,
we could take things as they are,
spinning fables together.
A conspiracy of two.

Not so.

You must add me to your list,
and though I love your dark reality
I despise the sugared confection
of your lie.

Not you.

Go and find your easy prey,
the gullible, the charmed.
Somewhere in that wider world
is your next adherent.

Not here.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Unleashed

Too beautiful a day to be confined. Whose silly rule said stay on the sidewalk, stay on the leash, conform? They looked at each other: tall dark-eyed human and golden, brown-eyed dog. "To hell with it," he said. He unclipped the offending item and left it on a nearby bench. Today they would run free.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Behind the Lie

Driven by need and ego,
you filled our heads with fables,
tall tales, hero-stories.

Do not look behind the curtain.
Don't ask what's behind the mask.

When we turned away,
you thought we caught you out
and were disgusted.

Hide behind your painted screen.
Project shadows on the wall.

In truth we saw you all along
and understood the danger.
Now settled away from sifting sands,
we can keep on
loving you.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

For Vince Fans...

It's been awhile since we've had a new story about Vince, so here's one for Sunday Scribblings: Revolutions Begin at Home

55 - A World Without Art

The artist searched high and low for meaning. He plumbed the depths of his soul, expressing his angst in curses no one heard and paintings no one wanted. Crying out to his creator, he asked if his life had no great purpose. Then he turned a corner and realized...

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Summer's End

And now it is September,
a serious season, school time.
No more time for banter.
I put away summer things,
though the heat burns more than ever.

Days wane and night comes soon.
I must leave sand castles behind.
No need to shore up shifting sands;
the waves will take what they need,
leaving no sign we were ever here.

There will be other seasons.

Leaves that once gave shade
wither and drop at my feet.
Bare branches offer no protection.
Winds that cooled now chill,
and I dutifully seek shelter.

Tonight I will huddle by the fire
while flames consume summer dreams.
My skin will sear,
soul turn to ash.
Autumn's purge will be complete.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Roadside Garden

He grew his garden by the road.
He ignored what he'd been told
of violations to health code.

He gave his plants loving care,
watered and weeded them with flair
and watched them grow in dirty air.

When harvest time did come around
he was saddened by what he found:
veggies flavored by polluted ground.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

L' inconnu

We wander into the unknown
where paths are fresh
with fanciful discoveries,
sparkling objects of desire,
and heavy,

Hurry past.

Hold your breath.
Don't look back.
Savor each moment
of possibility,
and danger.

Amazing things can happen here.
Are you paying attention?

There is no way back.
Don't bother looking.
Around each turn is a new trail,
another invitation
to explore new worlds
and find out
who we are.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Danger Train

They told him not to go.

He didn't know the destination
or when he would get there.

Nothing was known of the conductor
or his companions.

Anything could happen!
You're really going to do it?

Of course he was going.

What point was there to living
if one didn't take a chance
now and then?

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Blue Shell

Half-hidden in wet sand,
different from the rest.
Blue, the color of sincerity.
I dug it out and slipped it in my pocket.

Big rambling house among the dunes;
our playhouse on an April weekend.
We wore sweaters on the beach
and never saw the sun.

I strolled on chilly sand under leaden skies
and sipped Bailey's in an upstairs room,
scanning the horizon
through a broken telescope.

In the drizzly afternoon
I watched beach movies,
sipped wine,
and amused myself with cards.

At night we grilled by tiki torches
then huddled around the television,
rent-house blankets over our shoulders,
to fend off the April chill.

More solitaire,
More wine,
More beach movies.
As rain pattered on the roof.

Although we laughed often,
I said little.
Nothing exciting happened,
but everything did.

The wealth of one found shell
now serves as a blue reminder
of a cool and peaceful interlude
under protective skies.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


I've come to know my desert well:
the dry rocks of absence
and the finely filtered dust
of your distraction.

The water of your words
fell on impermeable disdain,
until hardened lands softened
and the persistence of your showers
fed my parched and withered land.

But you had no wish to nurture.

Now in my barren garden,
I remember when flowers bloomed
and I drank of your desire.

A word from you would quench my thirst,
but no relief from this long drought
will come today.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Tantalized

With patience and a flashlight, he could see through the cracks around the door, but couldn't make out what was inside.

Stored treasures from days gone by?

Molding evidence of some gruesome crime?

It was probably just dusty garden tools, but he had finally found the key and would now know once and for all!

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Poker Face

Would your heart beat faster
if I dropped my poker face?
I see no substance in your smile,
just pressure to conform.

Trust in fairy tales,
believe the hype.
What charming games we play
when neither knows the rules!

If I laid my cards upon the table,
perhaps you'd be surprised.
I don't believe your future,
and the past isn't what you think.

Here in August's dog days,
steaming under summer's sun,
let's admit this game is over:
We each hold a losing hand.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


The clutter of my memories
fills this room:
a shell, a stone, a button,
a tattered postcard.

None remind me of you.

As hours wind down
and time grows long,
I am troubled by this lack.

I long to hold some random thing,
pin a memento to my wall.
I need a reminder that makes me smile,
when the uncertainty of your affection
sends doubt into my heart.

But I walked away with empty pockets
and empty hands.

Without a magic object to sustain me,
I feel you drift away
and I pine for a lucky talisman
to keep me safe from harm.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Piñata

It seemed a fine occasion. Pepe and his friends were much admired.

But a few too many margaritas, and the ladies started hatching evil plans. They had big purses and those little burros were just so cute!

Before the night was over, the kidnappings had begun.

What fate would befall Pepe? Only time would tell...

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!


In the raw and bloody sunrise
they will find you
in the hushed and tidy stillness
of your room.

You said do not help.
Do not ask.
None of your damn business.

Despising your own weakness
you rejected every haven,
preferring the uneasy chill
of barren lands.

Turn away
behind drawn shades.
Endure alone your crumbled soul.

When they come to say
they found you broken,
I'll weigh cold words upon my lips
and say I knew, I knew.

They'll shake their heads
and shred my heart
with questions.

I'll have no excuse
on that bleak day,
except to say that I was here
and you refused to come.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


I sit here in a summer place
and ponder the games we play.
You, my earth-bound deity,
encourage faith in rainbows,
but my fears keep me grounded.
Experience has made me wise
in the ways of unbelief.

I never doubt each moment.
I trust your innocent sincerity,
and the lovely truth of words.
But where you see a path,
I see shimmering illusions
fed by tears and roots of lies
waiting to trip fools like me.

Sometimes in night imaginings
I paint castles in the air.
I dream of imaginary places
and wish that they were real.
But in morning's hard-edged dawn
the wisdom of experience whispers.
I must tether myself safely to this earth.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Cure for Bad Days

Best friend is leaving. Friend's husband is in ER. A key work contact has quit with no notice and my best employee is in tears.

How bad is my day? Even my bubble wrap won't pop!

Luckily there is a cure for bad days.

Flour, sugar, cocoa powder...

Oh, yes. Cookies can fix it all.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Train Wreck

We knew it had to happen.
You reap the fruits of what you sow.
Our only question was
how big would your crash be?

You made yourself a spectacle.

We saw the downhill path,
but only I felt sympathy.
I understand trajectories.
I have followed your track before.

Don't think I pity you.

Should I speak, or stay silent?
Touch your hand or pull away?
My kindness made you angry.
Words faltered on my lips.

These are my sins of omission.

Everything then made you angry.
Maybe it still does.
Why do you resent the world?
Has this crack-up eased your pain?

Who bandages your wounds?

Maybe you're still full of holes,
hot emotions that will not cool.
You cannot speak your needs
except in mad and futile gesture.

You push helping hands away.

And now the wreckage lies here
in one mad desperate heap.
The fires burn for all to see.
Is this enough to make you stop?

How far is far enough?

I wanted so much to warn you,
and tell you all I knew.
It would have made no difference.
You hated that I cared.

You didn't want the truth.

Please come back from the edge,
speak to those who do not judge.
Let patient persons love you.
Let someone give a damn.

Like me. Like you.

Instead of more destruction,
arise from these dark ruins.
And in tomorrow’s sunrise,
let us hear your Phoenix song.

This was written for Three Word Wednesday.

At a Distance

Words echo back in time
reminding me of fabulists
and fairy tales.
Lies and pretty stories;
I've heard it all before.

We are victims of each others' past.

And if I take your bait,
believe it all again
and start to dream,
will I be twice-fooled?
History repeats itself.

There are always ghosts in the room.

It's best keep a distance
Treat today as just a game,
no more real than Aesop.
Stay safe in unbelief,
in that place where lies can't sting.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Brain Depository

He pondered what to do. He couldn't run forever.

With a sigh, he slipped his brain through the after-hours slot.

Had he remained capable of thinking, he would have marveled at how civilized the zombies had become.

Had he retained a memory, he might have missed his brain.

Now he was just like everyone else.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Cherished Illusion

I keep you in my pocket,
my secret guilty pleasure.
You're a sweet romantic fantasy,
hidden treasure
I share with no one.

At suppertime I feast on dreams,
salted with illusions.
I drink the wine of wishes,
and sample the sweet pastry
of your promises.

I long to bite into your flesh,
taste what makes you real,
breathe your wishful thinking
until your oxygen rusts my skin,
and leaves me fragile in your arms.

Today our game is "let's pretend"
We'll fit our roles so well
that neither you nor I
will ever guess
it's just a fairy tale.

So tell me your story one more time.
Let me cherish every word.
Then kiss my forehead,
wish me sweet dreams,
and be my happily ever after.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Partial Least Squares

Everything was variable; nothing he observed was as predicted. He analyzed all the factors, trying not to project his expectations. Would he find a model that made sense of the whole? In despair, he realized linear thinking was to blame. He had regressed, needed a new relationship. Being square was the least of his troubles. 

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!


We play by the rules,

good boys and girls,

hoping for some grand prize:

gold star, A-plus.

Suit up. Show up.
Check the boxes.
Pay your mortgage.
Always say
please and thank you.

In our cozy cages,
our lives defined by policy,
we revel in the certainty
that we are the lucky ones.
This is liberty.

Climb the ladder.
Comb your hair.
Dress like us.
Don't argue.
Read the rules
and play along.

You believed them
when they said
you weren't smart enough,
not good enough or strong enough
on your own.

She's not for you.
You can't have two.
Pay attention!
Do as we do.

It must be this way
or you're damned.

You heard the key in the lock.
You thought it trapped you in.
Your script doesn't say
keys can open
as well as close.

We create our definitions.
Boundaries are where we set them.
The rest is just the ephemera
of our limited

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Zoltar

It seemed an innocent bit of fun;
offer a coin, hear what he'd won.
He read the directions, saw how it's done,
then waited for words from the wise one.

His ears were suddenly filled with the sound
of prophesy, fortune, tales to confound.
Hazards and escapades would soon abound.
Destiny was an adventure profound!

Yay to the The G-Man, who has been given a clean bill of health after being much in need of good fortune these past couple of months!

My Favorite Character

I put you in my novel.

Of course, it wasn't you,
just someone like you,
based on you,
a doppelganger.

Does this news leave you (check one):


Why? (explain)

Writers write:
what they know
who they know
with a few added twists
pinned together with thorns of memory
and shellacked with lies.

There is no other way.

The you I wrote isn't really you.
I added different details,
filled in the gaps of what I do not know
(things you refuse to tell).

Having created you, I can end you too.

Choose as many as apply:

__Love lost
__Love found
__Career change
__Plane crash

Are we having fun yet?

Why don't you sit and tell me, then,
who you really are?
End my speculation.
Be real,
unless you prefer to remain
just my fantasy.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

Exciting News!

Writer's block is an ugly thing. When you identify as a writer, live and breathe your characters as if they were your closest friends, the loss of that escape is more traumatic than the loss of a lover. Since finishing Maelstrom in 2008 I've struggled, unable to complete a work of long fiction. I wrote flash - some good, some just sort of meh, but it wasn't the same. And here lately I've written a lot of poetry, most of it tolerable only because of its brevity.

I've spent a large part of the last two years depressed, going through the motions while I wondered if I would ever have that feeling again of being on a wild ride with my most exciting imaginary friends, thousands of words a night flowing onto the page. I wondered at times if there was nothing left inside to give to my writing endeavors and if I should just give it up and go back to painting, dancing, long course triathlon, or whatever. I even wondered if life itself was worth living, since I had nowhere to escape to any more.

So when a story idea I'd had for awhile suddenly insisted I drop everything and write, it hit me from out of left field. I knew what that call meant, though. I knew I had no choice but to follow wherever it would lead.

As with any work of long fiction, I can't say how it will turn out or if it will be finished at all, but I've written 13,000 words in five days and my characters are still pestering me to tell their story. They whisper when I'm tired and nag me when I have to do the job that pays the bills. They're jealous of my time and for my part I wish I could give them all of me.

Even now, right this minute, they're wondering why I'm even talking about it when I could be writing their story...

Web Serial: Points of Departure

In case you haven't been following along, we're up to Chapter Ten of my newly serialized novel Points of Departure: http://points-of-departure.blogspot.com/

Vanity of Vanities

The mirror holds a warped reflection,
fun-house style,
of fading charm,
need and ego.

Pride is an ugly master.

The sun burns and wind obscures
but in the blue haze of your evening
the touch of your hand comforts me,
soothing insecurities for the night,
leaving bruises by morning.

Time is the cruelest of friends.

A thoughtful gesture,
a kind word,
and I'll keep all your secrets.
I hope you'll be gentle with mine.

Love is suspect.
Memory is counterfeit.
All is vanity.

Perfect Disguise

What costume should I wear
when I'm with you?
I size you up,
but I'm not sure.

What armor will keep me safe
in this great world?
Surely there's a way
to deflect
your bullet to my heart.

If I cloak myself in perfection,
assume the ideal disguise,
when you come with knife drawn,
you'll hurt my alter-ego,
but not me.

And if some day I'm naked,
reveal my secret identity,
will you speak or walk on by?
Will you recognize me?

Don't answer.

I'll take these trappings from a box,
be who I'm supposed to be.
Thieves and liars lurk nearby,
waiting for their chance.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

Many Worlds

Time runs on narrow tracks


Like two strangers in a room
not talking.

Where do the other rails lead?
I see them in the mist outside my window.
I can follow them for awhile,
led down a different path,
but my course always pulls me back.



I think I know where this track goes
but I’m probably wrong.

I wonder if  the other lines are illusions,
a mental game
made up
for fun.

If it’s not real, then nothing is
and maybe this isn’t my reality.

The cat is dead.

Schroedinger lied.


A fortress built on sand
offers a lovely ocean view.
And inside its thick walls
is a place to hide,
declare peace,
proclaim detente.

This refuge offers safety
from sea monsters and sirens,
from great green tempests,
and pirates hungry for treasure.

Hide everything.
Bury it deep.
Defend this rickety castle,
molding bricks
and all.

Let stone and mortar serve 
in place of a courageous heart.

Let the ocean cry your tears.

But remember:

A fortress built on sand
cannot last.
And walls might keep your heart safe
but they will not make it

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

To William (Wherever You Are)

I dreamed of you last night.

Why are you the only one
from Then
who visits me in dreams?

You were out of place
in our group of youthful cynics.
Maybe that's why you left.
You went seeking your own kind:
believers in passion,
those with faith in love 

I hope you found it.

Why do I suspect
still follows you
like a personal rain cloud,
always drizzling?

In my dreams for you
I see a lovely wife
who thinks you hung the moon.
Bright and beautiful children
who hang on your every word.
Is that what you found?

Or did you give up,
surrender to despair
at the end of a rope
or the wrong end of a gun?

I wonder if I'll ever know.

I kissed you last night,
held your hand,
wouldn't let you go.
My husband was un-jealous.
He knew
you and I
were too different
for anything real.

Some people leave without quitting the room;
you walked away completely.
Your too-common name
made you Houdini,

I still await your return.
But only in dreams and fantasies.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.


In the beginning every door was open.

So many choices!
Such broad vistas!

But each door taken closes others;
that's their dirty little secret.
It's what they don't tell you in their classrooms
and churches
and in those rooms of comfy couches and placid pictures
where people speak in soothing tones,
smiling their sympathetic smiles.

On the streets and in the cube farms,
under the buzzing lights,
they understand but have no pity:
Buck up, camper!
That's just the way it is!

There is no mercy for those who mourn the truth,
who see the narrowing of the pyramid we climb
and grieve the loss of empty space below.

You want choices?
You must turn back,
but that is
Not. Allowed.

Tell them to go to hell.
Time isn't a line, but a field.
If you want the joy of choice,
the whole buffet of tasty options,
you must abandon this trajectory
and return to how it was
in the beginning.

Author's Note: This is not where I am at present, although it's a place I'm familiar with. I wrote this for a couple of my regular readers. You know who you are.  This is also a Sunday Scribblings post.


Morning dos and evening don'ts,
each meeting fraught with meaning.
In a world saturated with expectations,
you ask for nothing.

So I give all.

Writing Memes

Writing memes on the web seem to come and go, and lately a lot have gone into hiatus or gone away entirely. If I were to host a weekly meme, what would it be?
  • We have the example of word-based memes, such as Three Word Wednesday.
  • We have picture-based memes, such as Magpie Tales.
  • We have theme-based memes, such as Sunday Scribblings.
  • We have format-based memes, such as the now-defunct Sunday 160 and in-hiatus Friday 55.
  • And we have The Serialists, which requires posts to be related to each other, preferably in a series. 

What's a meme host supposed to do?

With a retreat and two conferences coming up, I have about a month to figure it out and maybe come up with a snazzy logo, too.  If you, dear writer, have any ideas as to what kind of writing meme you'd like to see here, let me know!

Wild Season

It never entered my head
that you had lost your mind.
Reckless, but surely not mad,
your crazy notions inspired my own insanity.

Our disturbed imaginings multiplied
like wild March Hares.

We upset the cozy tea party.

Friends fled, guests scattered,
and finally it was just us,
alone at a dirty table with our empty cups.

I'm no longer blind to what should've been clear.
With no map to guide me back and no way to follow your trail,
I'm alone in a feral land.

I must tame my own wilderness.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

Day Without a Sunrise

When I was in second grade, there was a day without a dawn.

Youngsters were considered hardy creatures in those days, so in spite of the ink-black skies and sheeting rain, I went to school. The one concession my parents made to my young age was that they drove me. This was remarkable since the school was only one block from our house. On any other morning one could stand at the end of the driveway and see it plainly.

In the classroom our teacher tried to keep us away from windows and endured our nervous jokes about "night school." Trees fell as the storm raged, and we whispered our concerns that we might not get lunch, since the cafeteria was in another building and we were under orders to shelter in place.

We tried to concentrate on our lessons, casting anxious glances toward the bank of classroom windows where it seemed the sun would never come up.

Finally the sky lightened and the downpour became a steady shower, then a drizzle. Our teacher lined us up like good little goslings and we trooped wide-eyed past downed trees charred by lighting to the cafeteria where we were served a distressingly ordinary trayed lunch - eat it all, it's good for you.

Walking home that afternoon, we shared our stories - the tremors created by falling trees, the whimperings of a terrified first-grader, a second-grade boy's discovery that he could generate an electric shock by touching the aquarium.  A fourth-grade girl had felt her hair stand on end when she saw a bolt of lightning twist and crackle as it struck outside her classroom window.

What did we tell our parents about that day? I no longer recall. Most of us, though, made it out to be no big deal. To admit we had been scared might've prompted our parents to shelter us, curtailing the grownup-free adventures we were in the custom of enjoying.

We dealt with our fears in silence.

In my nightmares of that day, my home was always left standing but it was a dark and strange place; habitable but damaged. I've never doubted, though, my ability to weather a storm.

This true recollection was written for Sunday Scribblings .

An Embarrassment of Riches

We sit above the red roofs, unnoticed, you and I,
admiring constellations as the hours tick slowly by.

We're everything to no one. What masks do we wear here?
If I showed you all of me, would you still want to come near?

You'll promise not to pester and I'll promise not to tell.
We'll hide our wealth from strangers and from those with whom we dwell.

In secret, divide your riches. I'll divide my fortune, too.
For truly we are not safe until all the counting's through.

With our eggs in separate baskets, lest catastrophe befall,
our enemy will be time, which makes beggars of us all.

This poem was written for Sunday Scribblings and Magpie Tales.

55 - Hot Springs

They came from far away, navigating treacherous roads in search of health and vigor. Stone structures were built for those who would take the waters. A tiny community thrived. But the water's power was stronger than human ingenuity. Bit by bit the land eroded, toppling the buildings until only stones and warm muddy water remained.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!


I have posted one of my older novel, updated and edited, as a new serial, Points of Departure!

New chapters are scheduled to post each Wednesday.

Happy Reading!

55 - Boquillas Entrepreneurs

Clever hands fashion trinkets for sale: walking sticks, bracelets, scorpions and roadrunners of beads and wire. Daring men brave the river and rangers to place them for sale. An honor system. Donations also accepted.

Rich tourists, for whom a few dollars is nothing, admire the offerings, discuss, then reject. International law and obedience to authority trump all.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

55 - Aloft

I told him he wouldn't get very high
in that big wicker basket he just had to try.

As I watched him climb in, I refused to lie:
No way would he ever sail up to the sky.

He insisted on going. I stifled a sigh.
I gave him a kiss, then wished him good-bye.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Love Poem

You touched my hand in the rain
and told fine fairy tales.

(lies and ghosts of lies)

Each burning night
was followed
by cool torment
of showers in afternoon.

(you said you were the one)

From the brown murky shadows
of my most foretelling dream
you haunted, made me think forever.

(stories for credulous children)

In the end I was left with

Only me.

Today I will climb up on my rooftop
in the glory of a spring morning.
Free of who I thought you were,
I will bind my heart to nature's truth

And dance.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Don't Feed the Animals

She watched with anxious eyes as they made their way to a table. There were good things on their plates, she just knew it! But although they waved at her, snapped pictures and jabbered in their nonsensical way, they never offered to share their bounty.

"Please Don't Feed the Animals," read the sign.

Damn tourists.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!

Stolen Key

A few stolen moments,
ten stories high.
The gravel crunches underfoot
and air conditioners hum.

we're not supposed to be here

Drifting through the early sky,
pink and golden clouds
look succulent, delicious,
like the flesh of a pilfered peach.

hush and watch the sun rise

Skyscrapers glitter at this hour,
columns of reflected fire.
No worries yet of profit and loss,
only a faint troubling smell of coffee.

don't let the morning go

Drink the golden air.
Stop today's arrival.
Forget the life that waits below,
where headlights pierce the gloom.

don't say it's time to go

Before we can breathe again,
this moment will have passed.
Just another sunrise
stolen by the day.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Night Road

Delayed along their journey. Too many stops for food, photographs, the rare clean restroom. Now behind schedule, their reservation in doubt, they press on, their high beams the only light on the darkened road.

Certain of the rightness of their persistence, she counts the reflectors, sighs and takes his hand.

They'll be there before morning.

About Friday Flash 55: The challenge is to write a complete story in fifty-five words. If you've written a 55-flash, go let The G-Man know!