Writings

Writings
Miscellaneous Writings and Musings

Maelstrom

Maelstrom
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

Out of Synch



Locked into identity:
sacred
secret
softly

Who knew such a little thing
could be so integral,
and its absence
color things sour,
tint everything gray,
and tip the world
asunder?

(disjointed)
(seams showing)
nothing fits together

Thinking avails us nothing,
for there are no answers here,
only a strange unmapped world
and a self
no longer synchronized:
out of synch
out of kilter
out of mind

If I can't understand
the little blasted bits
around me,
I have no chance
of putting it back together
(All the king's horses and all the king's men.)
and my only hope
is time's tincture:
slow
drip
painful
drop
trickling into the abyss
of a cubist artwork life
and unmemory.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Christmas Pony


I wanted for a pony for Christmas;
thought it would make a fun pet.
It wasn't a sensible present,
but I asked to see what I'd get.

I asked for a pony for Christmas;
said they could send it by elf.
Indeed I received what I asked for,
but I had to make it myself!











Felt pony made from kit.

Was Santa good to you, or did you get coal in your stocking? If you can tell your tale in exactly 55 words, let the G-Man know!

55 - Holiday Attire


It's a time to be festive,
a time for good cheer!
Christmas only comes
once a year.

But when I looked in my closet,
I had nothing to wear.
What holiday outfit
would suit a hare?

I puzzled it over,
and I have to know:
For Christmas can't I wear
just a big red bow?













Have you written a festive tale of exactly 55 words? Tell the G-Man!

Little Games


Little games we play,
supposed to represent real life,
but measuring only our ability
to guess the answer.

Don’t be sluggish
or combative.
Play along
with enthusiasm.
Pretend you don’t see the trick:
Fake
Phony
Artificial

Wear your favorite smile!

And when we’re through,
(Congratulations.)
have a bitter laugh,
and sigh for the wasted time.

Tomorrow we return to reality

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

False Savior


They whisper little lies,
dressed up as a truth
that will set you free.
It's a simple plan,
an easy fix.
You're broken, don't you see?

You moon about, in thrall,
and my words fall on deaf ears.
They pair you with a guide
who would snatch your freedom,
put you in a box,
neatly labeled.

You're kept apart from those
who would expose
this grand deception,
and so you give away your power,
your mind,
your future,
that they should mold you in their image,
like clay.

A drowning man
cannot see the ocean,
but from the shore
I watch you buffeted on the waves of untruth,
your would-be savior
an unwitting angel of death.
And though I dare not cover my eyes
or look away,
I cannot help a man who will not swim.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Supplemented


I know the only cure is time,
nevertheless, I will try:

Calcium, magnesium,
boron, zinc...
Silica and manganese
will help, don't you think?

With mangosteen and horsetail,
there's no way I'll fail.
Compresses of comfrey leaf
will surely bring relief.

I'm doing all I can, you see.
Now excuse me while I make some tea...










I am now into my sixth week post-injury. I'm getting around better, but antsy for the next x-ray, which should give us an idea how quickly I'm healing.  

Have you written a story in exactly 55 words? Share it with the G-Man!

Arise and Walk


You sit and talk
about yourselves:
passive, passive,
never active agents in your lives.

Submit like children
to instruction,
as if you were twelve and stupid,
and not men.

Listen to them talk
about themselves:
boring, boring,
but this is the highlight
of your day,
otherwise you are:
damned
falling
failing
never strong
never safe
never saved
except on the dull shores of surrender.

Curse them all to hell.
No spoon-fed life is worth the living,
and no weakling worth the loving.

Arise and walk.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Prada Marfa


Alone on a dusty highway,
miles from any consumer,
let alone one in the market
for expensive shoes.

As a store, it would be useless,
forever in the red,
soon torn down to make
a parking lot.

But as a monument to consumer folly,
Prada Marfa compels,
and tourists beat a path to its door.











Read more about Prada Marfa here.

Have you written a story in exactly 55 words? Share it with the G-Man!

Tsunami


Your ocean knows only tsunamis:
first the calm,
then the destruction,
leaving chaos in its wake.

Though you insist this time it’s different,
I’ve seen this exposed bare mud before;
a brief interlude of calm,
followed by the wave that would drown me.

And so my heart seeks higher ground,
longing all the while
for a peaceful tide
that would lap at my toes
and gently give lie to the debris
of all those shipwrecks.

But your ocean knows only tsunamis.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Thanksgiving Indians


In a seasonal spirit, my husband and I
gave a local buffet a try.
Tandoori turkey, biryani and daal...
everything was delicious. We tried it all!

Later, as we considered the day,
we saw we'd behaved quite the wrong way.
We ate like Indians, this is true,
but the wrong continent, and wrong era, too!













We didn't feel like fighting the cat for the turkey this year, so we went to the Thanksgiving buffet at Kiran's.  Any day is a good day for Indian food!

Have you written a story in exactly 55 words? Give thanks for your talent by sharing it with the G-Man!

Thursday Thirteen - Things I'm Thankful For

I don't usually play Thursday Thirteen, but Alice Audrey inspired me, and today is, after all, a day for counting one's blessings. Here are thirteen of mine:

  1. I like my job and feel challenged in a good way.
  2. I'm able to give opportunities to colleagues who might not have had them otherwise. 
  3. I have enough money. More would be helpful, but it's enough.
  4. I have a cute home in a pleasant community where I know (and like) my neighbors, and have no work commute.
  5. I'm healthy and mobile, in spite of recent setbacks. If I play this right, I'll return to dancing and running as a fitter, stronger person.
  6. I have a broad variety of competencies. I'm beginning to think this is more useful than being a standout talent, even though it's not as sexy.
  7. I have family, spouse and friends who respect my need for down time.
  8. I have plenty of stuff. More than I need, actually. Anyone want some stuff?
  9. I've lived long enough to see the bigger picture.
  10. I've let things go that needed to be let go.
  11. I've reconnected where I should've long ago, and it wasn't scary.
  12. What I thought were setbacks turned out to be opportunities.
  13. Life consistently gives me more than I ask for, less than I want, and always exactly what I need.

This was written for Thursday Thirteen.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen

Black Box

I am curious to know
what happens on the inside.
Are we busy
making progress,
or are we lacking,
going backwards?
Is there something that we need?

Though I watch with wary eyes,
I see no clues.
Pictures avail me nothing,
and the card I draw is blank.
Healing is inevitable,
but I want it fixed today.

I dare not hold my breath
or count the minutes.
Scratches on a calendar
only whet my appetite:
today, tomorrow, next week...

So I sit here, still in ignorance,
(wishing, guessing, hoping),
curiosity left unsatisfied
about what goes on inside.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Fashionista

There's nothing like an injury to ruin one's look. It isn't stylish to hobble, and orthopedic boots match nothing in a well-dressed woman's closet. The medical profession is abysmally focused on practicality, with no thought for a style-conscious lady's vanity. If one must purchase new accessories, need they be ugly?

What's a fashionista to do?













NOTE: I ordered this cane from fashionablecanes.com. My first follow-up with the orthopedist is next week. Got my fingers crossed that my foot is healing on schedule. Some days are great, and other times it's hard to tell.


Got a story you can tell in 55 words? Share it with the G-Man!

Haiku: Broken Bones


I took a Sharpie
and drew an x where the bone broke.
I'm such a geek.

 Note: This isn't as illogical as it sounds. I've started doing e-stim and need to know where to place the electrodes. It looks funny, though, to have a big black X on my foot.

Disability

You get a new perspective
when you're not getting around so well.
Each outing is a dance
on a razor's edge of danger.
Stairs turn into mountains,
puddles become lakes,
each little patch of soft ground
is a marsh that can capture
a boot or the tip of a cane.

Things that were easy
now leave me befuddled:
doors,
curbs,
shopping baskets,
all require a new approach,
or at least a little thought.

Children now terrify me,
with their lanky, darting movements,
and murky understanding
of other people's needs.
Adults are little better
as they race through their errands,
too hurried to see,
too rushed to care,
whether drunk on whiskey
(or themselves)
I do not know.

So I'm glad enough
to isolate at home,
where I remove the painful
torture-boot
that is supposed to help
but only hurts.
Here I can surround myself
with silky softness,
take a deep breath,
wipe my hand across my mouth,
and shake my head in amazement
of how thoughtless the world is,
how thoughtless I was,
and I plot how to make
our society
a kinder
place.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl. I meant to write this as a prose essay, but caught myself getting pedantic. No matter how observant you think you are, being disabled, even temporarily, makes you see every space and every interaction in a whole new way. I am fortunate to have the type of job where I can take some immediate action and maybe help someone who is also struggling with doors, blind corners, and how they're supposed to get across a big college campus when they can barely get from their bed to the bathroom. I have gone from ballerina to crusader!

55 - Gratitude


It's the little victories that make my day:

  • fitting a shoe on my broken foot
  • the first deep rush of air into my lungs as I begin to exercise again.

Sometimes I wish I was a Hindu because singing the praises of just one god feels inadequate. I want to thank a pantheon.












NOTE: I'm still coping pretty well, for someone who went from 60 to zero in an instant. Coping better than I ever imagined I would, actually. Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out last week's 55.

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? If you share it with the G-Man, I bet he'll be grateful!

Ballerina Down


This was how I imagined myself:













we all have fantasies

I did my first double pirouette,
and I was the only one
to easily execute 
the new sequence:
pas de bourrée,
chassé (twice),
pas jeté en arrière.

But it was that side jeté
point your toes
that did me in.

One wrong landing
turns graceful ballerina
into hunched lady with a cane.

Note: Full recovery estimated at twelve weeks. I can do non-weight bearing activities anytime it doesn't hurt.

This was written for Magpie Tales.

To Fight Time


It is easy when you're young
to say that you'll accept
the passage of the years
with grace and dignity.
You'll take it in your stride, 
(of course)
the way you wear your youth
with nonchalant pride,
humming through your days
with no more care
than a butterfly.

Reality is something else again,
and though you faithfully navigate
Sephora's aisles
seeking an instant cure,
nothing in a bottle gains you
what you seek.
And though you drill a little deeper
through forums and estheticians' wiles,
at best you stop the clock
for a little while.
Nothing takes you back.

So do you buckle on your armor
and fight this losing war,
or surrender early,
to forever wonder
if you missed
that final chance?

Nourish your needy soul
while you still can,
lest late-night visions
of who you were
creep out in the dark
and devour you.


This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Boots


Whether high heels or low,
made for ankle or calf,
all people know
they're too stylish by half.

They protect dainty feet
in all kinds of weather.
They look a la mode
in rubber, vinyl or leather.

Yes, boots can be fashionable.
Boots can be fun!
And most boots are stylish,
but not...this one.












Note:  Avulsion fracture of the fifth metatarsal, also known as a "dancer's fracture."  Recovery time, 8-12 weeks, although transition out of the boot can begin at two weeks. That's 12 more days.

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? You don't have to break anything to play! Just write your tale and share it with the G-Man!

Self-Imposed


Edge of madness,
edge of life,
infinite need,
stronger than any guidance
from your heart.

first impressions are correct

From dire impulse
and bottomless desire
you have made
a fine creation
with cardboard,
paste,
and glitter,
precise in all calculations
except the one that measures
the distance
of your heart
from your soul.

you cannot seek on the outside
what emits from within

Each new hit of validation
leaves you hungrier than before,
but you cannot stop;
the rhythm of this dance must go on,
even though late at night
the whisperings of invisible angels
remind you of what you cannot be.

Turn away and laugh.
Affix your mask just so.
Too many omissions leave us blind,
so kneel and pray
for salvation
from yourself.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Creature of the Night


He didn't set out to scare anyone;
that wasn't his intent.
But he had to wear his brand new cape
after all the money he spent!

He slipped it on and admired himself,
all dressed up to make a scene.
He cut a fine figure, so he thought,
but didn't realize it was Halloween...

Boo!















Does your scary tale use exactly 55 words? Creep on over to the G-Man and let him know!

Buying Time


What fuzzy thinking got us here,
to where our expectation is
that magic does exist
and can be purchased
with a MasterCard?

But in spite of our best intentions,
(We shall make friends with Time!)
our incantations
have fallen flat;
depressed,
useless against the onslaught.

And so we go back:
another potion in a bottle,
the sharp end of a needle,
a powder in a box,
and a little jar of wishes, dreams
and peptides.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

One True Thing


I yearn for one safe place
that flames cannot consume,
nor life's betrayals erode,
for like all whose feet
are made of clay,
I am hunted
in my waking hours
(and in the inky hush of night)
by Time:
immeasurable
relentless
in a race that cannot be won,
and will end in a winding sheet.

But though my body bends
and mind breaks,
still I gather pebbles
and pile them on the shore.
Each one is a story,
a little myth,
a fable:

important

Because although I
pay my dues,
chase the shadows,
collect my prizes
and display them upon the shelf just so,
it is only the story that matters,
and tales are all I have.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl and Sunday Scribblings.

55 - Transparent


He said he wanted a good job and was willing to work hard. So we gave him a corner office with a window, a new computer and a nice big desk. But soon enough, he was chasing after what he really wanted.















He denied it, but everyone could see the truth.

Squirrels can be so...transparent.

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know! 

55 - Lost in Time


It seemed like just an ordinary day - sunny, pleasant, a good day to tie one's cravat, slip one's feet into buckled shoes, put on the tricorn hat and go for a little stroll. Yes, it was an ordinary day, but for the oddly-dressed people staring and giving him funny looks.

What was their problem?












Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

Too Soon


Friend of my youth,
mainstay of my best years,
soon to be my betrayer.
How daunting is the thought of your departure!

Commonsense says
turn away;
cut the knot,
lean on less ephemeral friends.

But who am I without you?

Decades of:
validation
adoration
fastidious cultivation of this relation,
which made me raise my chin with confidence
because you were by my side.

How could I leave you before it’s time?

Instead I cling to you
with the intensity of a drowning man
who thinks he cannot swim.

Oh, I could be too clever,
learn to find my own way
in the dark;
lean on truer truths
and teach myself to be strong.
But not yet. Not now.

I will whisper incantations
while I rouge my cheeks
and my pat my coiffure into place.
Then I will take your hand
and beg you let me eat of the apple
all the days of my life.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Feline Flight


She had enough of confinement, monotonous food and insipid entertainment. So one day while the bipeds were at work, she took their biggest suitcase (the purple one), filled it with her favorite bedding, toys, a sack of Iams and a bag of catnip, and prepared to hit the road. Adventure and excitement would be hers!













Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

By the River


I would take you
to the river,
green water,
stars above,
quiet,
peaceful,
ripe for secrets,
if only
you would share
for an hour,
for a night,
take a chance,
put your troubles
in a basket
in the water
and let it float away.

Sins of the flesh
need not be sins
of the heart,
but you saw danger,
blinked first,
and doubted.

Forget what you think
you know.
Dare to trust,
leave your nest.
Take my hand
and be my
co-conspirator,
my accomplice,
clever partner
in a crime
that is no crime,
soon forgotten
here by the river,
where by morning
all our memories
will be swept away.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Pioneer

Old man Guenther had a grist mill
and for years sold the finest flour,
but he wanted to go one better
and build a big stone tower.

It reached far above the tree line
and people talked of it far and near.
Guenther made his fortune by thinking big!
You could say he was a...pioneer.













Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

55 - On a Mission


Convert all the heathens.
Teach them to pray.
Then put them to work.
Have them build things all day.

Make them build walls.
Watch them plant seeds.
Make them do penance.
Have them do some good deeds.

So what if some died?
Insist on submission.
They didn't mean to be evil.
It was just...their mission.











Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know! 

Barter


You would pay me
in the same coin
as the others:
vacuous words,
meaningless,
mendacious,
manipulative,
as short on truth
as they are sumptuous
in praise
and empty flattery.

Whether I be
sassy and vivacious,
or solemn and mundane,
your language is the same,
as if I were:
automaton,
everygirl,
just another double-x
to swoon at generic promises
slathered on
without regard
to what is real.

Oh, master of shopworn formula,
I reject your payment.
And you, with singular charm,
deflect all efforts
at barter.

I doubt you'll reconsider,
but if
on some violet evening,
you have a change of heart,
please ask me who I am.
I'll look at the stars
spread like diamonds
across a vibrant sky,
then take your hand
and make a deal:
Trust me
with the currency
of your truth.
I will guard it closely
to my heart,
and give you mine.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings and The Sunday Whirl.

55 Courting


She was the worst girlfriend he had ever had: sneaky, abusive, and a thief to boot! Most of his friends said to dump her. A few recommended revenge. But one, more romantic than the rest, said to show her his true feelings instead. "Court her," he suggested.

And after due consideration, he did just that.










 
Note: My husband took this picture inside Philadelphia's Colonial Courthouse while on a trip last month.

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know! 


55 - Customary


He lived according to some odd habits, inspecting peoples' goods, whether they wanted him to or not, and demanding money according to an obscure set of rules that only he understood. Many declared his behavior unfair and unkind, but there was little they could do.

The man was an eccentric. His antics were just his...custom.


Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

55 - A Beautiful Life

It was a dangerous job for crappy pay. Lunchtime was leftovers or takeout chosen for convenience rather than taste. Some of his co-workers were great, but most were tedious at best, aggravating at worst. But each evening as he prepared to head home, he was reminded that in spite of it all, life was beautiful.


Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

55 - Bunny Bread


They told her to get the bunny bread.
They said it was the best in town.
"Look for the loaf with the bunny head;
you can't help but see it around."
She did as they instructed,
the yellow wrapper couldn't be missed!
The one thing she failed to do, however,
was check the ingredient list...











 
Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

55 - Goal-Setting


It's important to have a goal; that's what Mother said. You can't go through life without a purpose.

Taking her at her word, he set an objective and marked each day's progress.

Sometimes he wondered if it was all it was cracked up to be. Then again, Mom never said his goal must have meaning.



Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know! 

55 - Street Performance


All dressed up with no place to go. Just standing there, really, with the summer sun beating down, while tourists gawk and take pictures to post on Facebook. No fame or fortune will result from all this; just a few dollars tossed in a bucket. It’s a hell of a way to make a living.


Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

Taken In

Drawn into my skin,
into my brain,
like a drug,
a hit,
a glass of wine.
Intoxicating.
Infuriating.
Foreign, but a part of me,
not easy to let go.

Taken in.
Taken over.
How can I be rid of you,
when you're a part of me?

Chelating with a new love
only gets me hooked again,
and nothing else
can draw you out,
remove your sting,
make me pure again,
except a few kind words from you.
And time.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings.

55 - Gallery Cat


She watches all the people
on the streets of New Orleans.
She knows the things she witnesses
are never what they seem.

Her window is a front-row seat
to many hopes and schemes,
like when the tourists come inside,
pricing art beyond their means.

Wisely, she just watches.
New Orleans is a place to dream.











Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

55 - Indecision


The one on the right, or the one on the left?

Decisions, decisions!











He might be penalized for the wrong choice, but the rewards of guessing right could be great.

So much pressure! How was he to choose?

Eeny, meeny...no, that's not the way. 

 

If he doesn't choose at all, is it still a choice?

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? The G-Man wants to know!

Zarathustra


Whisper to me, Zarathustra.
Tell me what is truth
and what is lie.
For though my will is free,
my mind is bound,
and the good deeds
that return to me
feel empty.

Purify me, Zarathustra,
in sweet waters,
and in the searing heat of flame.
Medicate my sins
with absolution.
Anoint my soul with ashes,
and make me not apologize
for keeping your flame lit
inside my heart.

For I worship at your altar,
though it be crumbling and derelict.
I look for burning bushes,
and strain to hear your voice
in this vast desert.
But you have fallen silent,
the moon has darkened;
winter comes.

And when the midnight vultures
come to pick my bones,
and corrupt flesh
is finally made pure,
please whisper to me
(say my name)
just one final time,
dear Zarathustra.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Holes


It's just a hole, you know.
You can fill it with anything:
a job
a hobby
a tv show
or even a new love.
These are just patches.

We are enmeshed
in a driven world
where lust and longing
are the keys to happiness.
We have no time to ponder
(you think too much)
what we might become
if we jumped off the ferris wheel,
spurned the hawkers
and neon lights,
and sought a different way.

So add another bauble
to your collection.
Congratulate yourself
as you break another heart.
Just another mark on your slate.
Late-night tears
in your empty room
will fill the hollow space
(for a little while).

It's just a hole, you know;
easier to fill for a day
than to repair for a lifetime.

This is was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Coming Attractions


It was once the place to be. Here you could be transported to other worlds and other times, forget your troubles and let your imagination run wild. You can still let your imagination play here, but your thoughts are likely to take a darker turn. Palaces built for fantasy must inevitably decay into harsh reality.











Can your coming attraction be told in 55 words? Tell Mr. Know-It-All!

Magic Potion


We have tried the magic potions,
solutions in jars and bottles.
Snake oil
Alchemy
(Just like new!)
Lies and pretense,
all of it.

Time is the enemy.

It takes a leap of faith
(and fortune)
to take the next step,
traverse the secret divide
into forbidden land.
Here we must deny,
(pinkie-swear),
assign the little changes
to God’s love
and nature’s fortune.

But the hand of man 
weighs heavy here,
for when promises and elixirs fail,
the only way to borrow time
is to buy it.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Dry Bones


We bury the past.

Here in the desert
is a good place for it.

No creeping mold and rot
that would destroy;
just desiccation,
mummification,
confirmation
that a monster can lie buried here
a thousand years.

The sands will cover everything,
make invisible
what we would not see.
We can go through life 
with confidence,
reassured
it's all obscured.

Old pains are cured.

And if on some dark night,
curiosity compels us
to go searching for old bones,
we'll find them right here,
as we left them;
preserved,
conserved,
and unobserved.

Rendered safe by time.


This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Master Plan



I was not looking for trouble.
I was not even looking for fun.
But when i saw this model,
one sight did leave me stunned.

For on that street just over there,
near the corner, give or take a span,
is a tiny version of my own house.
I am part of the master plan!












Note: My neighborhood is included in this model of the university where I work. A little toy house sits right where mine is. It looks nothing like my house, of course, but it's pretty cool just the same. 

Got a story you can tell in exactly 55 words? Let the G-Man know!

Back to Reality

I take my risks with care.

I know you don't believe it.
You only know
that fragment,
the not-me
of liminal space,
(unreal time)
uprooted from daily context,
where we all exist
in an impossible world,
everything hidden
behind pleasant voices
and borrowed smiles.

In an evening free from:
pressures,
mandates,
orders,
we disguise our banal lives
with costumes,
smoke and mirrors,
pretending
(for a moment)
that we aren't bound by forces
that keep us
driving,
climbing,
always reaching
for that next bright shiny thing.

In that little recess
before the bell rings,
we might wear any disguise,
try on something new.
But my mask scares you too much
to wonder what's beneath.
Now back in our reality
(where life happens)
I long for just a moment
to speak my peace,
tell my truth,
clear things up between us,
so you know there is no agenda,
just a wish we could be allies,
for I am not quite
what you think
after all.

This poem was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Fear of Change


He feared it because it was different.
He feared it because it was new.
Sometimes, when there was too much of it,
he didn't know what to do!

He was desperate for solutions,
with no idea what he should try,
when one day, while buying a latte,
a sign on a jar caught his eye...











Note: Sign on tip jar at Empire Cafe in Houston.



 Got a story you can tell in exactly 55 words? Let the G-Man know!

55 - Swag


I go to a lot of conferences,
I am not saying this to brag.
There are times when all this travel
starts to really be a drag.
I have to leave my staff at home
where they listen to customers nag.
So while away, I work the tables
to bring them vendor goods and swag













 Got a story you can tell in exactly 55 words? Let the G-Man know!

Disculpa


If I thought you'd understand,
I think I'd say I'm sorry,
and I would beg apology
for letting who you are
bring out the worst in me.

Angels of our better nature
can be silenced by our fears,
betrayed by base desires,
and vanquished by a vanity
that turns us into liars.

If I thought that you would get it,
I'd say that I get you:
the imperative of safety,
the urge to hide your weaknesses
from monsters such as me.

But everyone's a bogeyman
when you fear the fiend in you.
Believe the garbage you’ve been sold
and encase yourself in plastic,
lest your true self be told.

Today no new ideas
will gain traction in your mind.
So draw a knife, deny,
let no one testify.
Keep your pretense.
(all defense)
I’ll wish you well
and walk on by.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Just a Game


I tried to find a path
through the forest of your lies,
but there were no tracks to guide me
past distortions,
truth-contortions,
tiny portions
of reality,
salted with fable dust.

My questions did not yield answers,
only fairy tales,
light as gas, like helium,
hydrogen,
oxygen,
making me giddy,
feeding the flames,
until the periodic table of untruth
fell apart
from lack of substance.

No bait from me could tempt you
to throw off your pale mask.
No words could reassure
that there is honor
among thieves.
And so I wandered
on the edge of sanity,
out-gambled,
out-classed,
a mere record for your files.

But in spite of the complex mess we made,
the pride and posturing,
the drawn knives,
in the dark,
carving each other up
with phony smiles,
still I wonder
late at night,
(and when the sun is high)
what little game it was we played,
and was it victory or tie?


This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Baby Squirrel


I think he fell
from the magnolia tree,
but when i looked up,
no nest did I see.
Too much danger
to leave him outside;
I put him in a box,
took him for a ride.
The vet treated him,
with fluids to make him better.
Now my squirrel resides
at the local wildlife center.













 Got a story you can tell in exactly 55 words? Let the G-Man know!

Let’s Pretend


It’s all surface play, you know,
the careful words and euphemisms.
Allusions
Illusions
Occlusions
Around and around the mulberry bush,
until we all fall down.

Flaccid arguments replace real words.
We speak of ghosts and phantoms.
Oblique
Misspeak
All tidy and sleek,
but no more real than shadows
on cave walls.

So don your favorite costume.
Paste a smile upon your face.
Practice your sidelong looks and innuendo,
for there are elephants in this room,
and they are hungry.



This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Time Heals


Where did it go?
The anger,
second-guessing,
crazy-making,
sense of false pride,
hubris,
need,
vanity,
that shatters all serenity,
splits the heart,
and cleaves the mind in two.

Some cuts take a long time to heal.

Deep inside the cave of doubt,
we learned to lie,
say anything,
while wearing foolish costumes
and giggling behind a mask.
But inside we were
scooped out,
hollow,
pressing on our bruises
to see if they still hurt
(they did)
and wondering
why healing wouldn't come.

But somewhere along the way,
we got lost
and found
new distractions from old pain.
Free of pokes and prodding,
gentle time's arnica
worked its magic.

The chattering demon
of lies and loaded questions
is spent now,
no more real
than a moonshine-addled dream.
(What was it about?)
And in its wake
there remains
only our shared memories
and love.

This is a Sunday Whirl post.

In Memoriam


According to Will Durant, "Education is the transmission of civilization." This is a fitting description of Doc Taylor's career, since he not only taught the specifics of our American civilization, but through his actions he taught us to be a little more civilized in our own right.

I used to wonder why a man with his education and experience taught high school. Surely there were more lucrative and prestigious jobs available for someone like him. But now, with the benefit of a few extra decades of living, I can see the appeal. Our teen years are the last time we can be easily reached. At that age we are wise enough to understand big concepts, but not yet set in our ways. In full adulthood, it often takes great trauma to soften us and make us reexamine our lives, but as teens, we can still be molded by a gentle hand.

Doc held his students to high standards, but always with a gentle touch.

They say one candle can light a thousand others without diminishing its own brilliance, but I believe Doc's candle burned all the brighter for having lit so many.





















Note: I took Doc Taylor's AP American History class my junior year of high school. The following year, he tutored me for the AP Western Civ exam, since my school did not offer a class at that time. More info about Doc Taylor in his obituary and in this news story.

55 - Rescued


She was alone on the trail on a hot and dusty day.











Lost in this great wilderness, it seemed she had nowhere to turn. 











All seemed hopeless, but then rescue came.













Blissful kindness of strangers! 











Refreshed and revived, she knew things would be okay.


 And later that night, she had quite a tale to tell!












If you have a tale to tell, and can do it in exactly 55 words, let the G-Man know!

Storm Clouds


false friend,
nuage d'orage,
scent of distant rain.
here the land lies
parched,
arid,
empty
of all but dust
and hope
while the horizon
tantalizes,
teasing,
mocking,
while wells and reservoirs
run dry.

just a few drops
would soothe my thirst,
wet another week
of wishing,
hoping,
longing
for things that cannot be,
but no salvation
from the sky,
deus ex nubi,
(caritas),
will be mine
today.

seco
sitis
siccitas
I approach the empty cistern
with a storm cloud in my heart.

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

55 - Cooped Up


It's a sunny day, and I am cooped up here, indoors, looking out the window at the blue sky and palm trees. The air conditioner blows cold against my skin and I huddle in my business suit, wondering why we bother holding conferences in such lovely, sunny places if we never get to go outside.











About Friday 55: Write a story in 55 words, then tell the G-Man!

Fragile


I put my ego in a box,
bubble-wrapped,
taped up well.

Safe.

With no legitimate way to feed it,
this seemed the best way.

But it got out again
(somehow)
and rampaged
through the streets,
leaving debris in its wake,
but damaging only itself.

I will have to collect it again,
wrap it in soft tissue,
and put it away,
nestled in foam peanuts,
surrounded by cardboard.

This time I will mark the box
so there will be no mistake.
I'll take my magic marker
(the purple one)
and in my most careful hand, write:

Fragile


This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


55 - Bagpiper


He plays outside the Palacio hotel, the only Mexican bagpiper for miles around. He spurns all offers of a steady gig. He has everything he needs, especially when a tired young mother stops to listen, tears in her eyes, then hands her boy a dollar. "Give this to the nice man."

Tonight he is rich.










About Friday 55: Write a story in 55 words, then tell the G-Man!

Mockingbird


I pause on the riverbank 
and listen to the mockingbird.
A dull plumage is no liability 
for an imposter
whose gift for mimicry is his badge 
and claim to fame.

In the darkening twilight he riffs on:
cardinal
grackle
sparrow
squirrel
and even the humble duck.

Oh little feathered jazz man,
how I love your repertoire!

Life is made of moments such as this.

This Three Word Wednesday post is in honor of a feathered entertainer on the San Antonio River.

55 - You Can't Go Home Again

It wasn't the strange car in the driveway; I had expected that. And it wasn't the yellow paint, although it came as a surprise. The trees were bigger, but much as I imagined them. No, what surprised me about my childhood home was just how small it was! Or have I simply grown since then?











About Friday 55: Write a story in 55 words, then tell the G-Man!

55 - Taco House

It wasn't much to look at: concrete floors, yellow walls, inexplicable disco music. But the corn tortillas were a miracle of softness and flavor. Now nothing else will do; no fancy restaurant with tablecloths and a specialty chef trained overseas, no over-hyped review can tempt them from the simple tasty charms of Eddie's Taco House.











Note: My husband and I love to go here when we are in San Antonio. When I first saw one of their corn tortillas, I thought for sure it was flour. OMG, so soft and tasty, unlike those cardboard ones you get at the store! Now I always order some to bring home with me.

About Friday 55: Write a story in 55 words, then tell the G-Man!