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


A longing gaze
A laughing look
A holy mess
beyond the pale.
Should I chime in,
pile on,
add to gossips' gluttony?
No, I would stay silent,
lick my wounds,
taste my blood,
and wait for courage to arrive. 

Is it still betrayal
if the heart has never strayed?

They say speak plain,
but it's easier to sigh
and wonder, 
so I'll take these words
I dare not say
and put them on a plate
(tidy, unlike life)
then take out fork and knife,
slice them into bit-sized bits,
and ingest them one by one.

And if you ask me
who's to blame,
I will say I've seen the knife
and felt the cut.
These scars are mine alone.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

Auld Lang Syne

Should I wax nostalgic
as the old year passes?
Already you are part
of what was then.

Although I know it
in heart and mind,
your brilliance fades.
I sing your praises
and read again your words,
but the fever that they stoked
has cooled.

Unless there is some secret
you have found
(unknown to those who went before)
the fire cannot be relit.

And so I nestle here
in the old year's last embrace,
giving a thoughtful moment
to that sliver of our past.

Give me now your blessing
and bestow your gifts on me,
for as these sands do sift away,
I would close my eyes,
make a fervent wish
and let you go.

This was written for Three Word Wednesday and Sunday Scribblings 2.


Drunk on your words,
Entranced by your fire,
Made small and single-minded
by your game.

But if I stop,
refuse to play,
what remains?
A gray world of duty:
Washed-out and empty.
Endless days.

The only living
is in the lie;
the rest is just existence.
And so I grasp samsara
With both hands.

This was written for Three Word Wednesday.


I would make with you a compact:
sworn to silence
sworn to peace
keepers of each others’ sins
partners in crime.

For now and forever after
let there be honor
between us two thieves,
a sterling bond
that tarnishes with neglect
but still holds strong.

Think not I would be jubilant
should there be more between us
than our silence
and your smile,
for I’m not one to fracture time
and give a piece to all.
And though you’re dear to memory
each hour is dear to heart.

This was written for Three Word Wednesday.


Would you judge me harshly
if I told you plain
of the splendor of a summer's night
that turned my head,
bent my mind,
made me something other:
maybe unforgivable
and unable
to speak free.

I would not take that chance 
and risk your censure.

So now I reap the harvest
that I've sown,
and though your gaze does tempt me,
I will stay here on my riverbank
gathering roses while I may.

Oh, let the breeze caress my skin
and whisper stories in my ear!
I'll make of memory
a secular sacrifice
(burned and scattered on the winds)
or maybe stuffed into a chest
of ancient recollection.
Locked up safe 
from you
(and me)
until my dreams' death rattle warns
that amnesia now holds sway.

 This was written for The Sunday Whirl.


You’d think it would be easy
to give you up,
let you go,
consign you to the dustbin
of my memory.

Not so fast.

There’s no amour
in this love game:
vanity fair
of all that makes
good sense.

I would rather
taunt the lion,
prod the cobra,
clasp a viper to my breast
and take what comes.
Do anything but lose.

But though I make of this
a war,
an epic fight,
it really is quite simple:
turn around and walk away.
So easy that it’s hard.

No matter that I play to win
in our little hate game,
by craving victory
(your love)
I lose.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings 2.

New Flash Fiction

New ST fiction available. This one was for Sunday Scribblings 2: Except by Candles


It's just a little pain,
small reminder
(guilty conscience)
not quite sin,
not quite love,
not quite anything
told in books.

Try to look too closely
and it might disappear,
always to return
(nothing ever goes away)
almost true
stuck like glue,
stuck to you
and me.

Pluck it out:
an easy wish to make,
harder to do,
because this thorn that
pricks my memory,
stabs my veins,
and lives under my skin,
I also cherish
to my core.

These slivers of attachment
are not the enemy;
the nemesis lies within
my fickle heart.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings 2


They tried to build a jail for me,
but instead, I built my own
with walls of futile wishes,
crazy dreams,
and childhood fears:
hard as diamonds
tough as nails.

No need for stone and steel
when secrets will do. 

Here I'm safe from 
shadows and sunshine,
strangers and fairy tales.
Inside these walls I'm safe 
from me
and you.

But though I make my gaol
and imprison myself inside,
I am no martyr.
Prophets may forecast my fate
and seers speak my doom,
yet here there is no jailer
and in my pocket is a key.

So still your mocking laughter
and be not proud,
for I have seen the place you dwell.
You are locked up, too.

 This was written for The Sunday Whirl.


I tossed you out
but you got in again
through the cracks
and in between
the interstitial spaces
of my brain,
into my soul. 

An unwelcome guest
(discarded fantasy)
no more substance than
or smoke,
but you asphyxiate me
just as surely
as if
you were real.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings 2

New Flash Fiction

I have posted a new Steal Tomorrow story: Madame Midnight

Tabula Rasa

I would be a blank slate,
stripped of memory,
(stripped of you)
my thoughts wiped clean
with a little discernment.

Rid of recollection,
no need to fear
the sticks and stones
that break my bones
break my heart
break my mind;
remembrances that polarize
and become identity
all too soon
(not soon enough)

Perhaps I'll cast my lot with sinners
or selflessly side with angels.
More likely I'll put a posey in my pocket,
clench a clover in my fist,
and hope for the best.

So take me to the river of forgetting.
Build the bonfire high.
Tonight I'll cast remembrance 
to the flames,
and after mark my face
with the ashes that remain.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.


In my heart.
On my mind.
The you I wish you were.

How many years
can fantasies live?
They need special feeding, you know.

of something
good as gold,
but not as bright;
that isn't love.

We crossed a line
played the game
at any cost,
ignored the signs
and miners' birds.
They're here to sing, not die.

Our minds are now oceans apart.
(older, hopefully wiser)
The illusions of youth
weren't yours to give
or mine to keep,
and so I did my best
to give them up.

But even after 
the fuss and fury,
the vows broken,
and promises whispered
in empty rooms,
the you I wish you were 
still lives on my heart
and in my mind.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

New Flash Fiction

New Jazz Gang flash fiction: Make a Wish


Quirky, troublesome saint,
thrust into my life by circumstance.
Edge of madness.
Edge of life.
Existing on a knife blade
where we slip and fall.

All the kings horses and all the kings men.

Cut your wrists.
Cut and run.
Cut your teeth on structure.
Plant hope in shifting sands.
Put everything in its in place:
Order from confusion. 

All the best saints first know pain.

Answer the dreams
of the fortunate few
while searching the soul's pasture
for signals.
Every meandering trail
ends in a dismal spot.

All roads lead to now.

We didn't need a crystal ball
to know where this would end:
(tablets ropes bullets)
They broke your locks
for one last time,
and you rose on the fifth day.

Canonized: perfect at last.

The young get hagiographies.
You're an unreliable specialty saint
who will not answer prayers.
But you left some useful memos.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl and Sunday Scribblings 2.


Should I let things stay unspoken
and in silence turn away?
As you say.
As you wish.
Clasp cold fingers
across my lips
and dare me not to speak.

But I invoke your name,
pray to you
in troubled times.
I kneel before your altar
and read your tattered works.
I do as you would do,
but not as you have done.

You would have me
bury your memory,
and scour your footprints clean.
But instead I trace the etchings,
take my knife
and carve them deep.

Oh mad genius,
you are legend.

En memoria de VAM, falleció 4 marzo 2014.

New Flash Fiction

I have posted a new Steal Tomorrow story. This is part of the City News flash fiction offshoot: Collector.

New Flash Fiction

I have posted a new Vince story: In the News


There's a sign outside the window
of the room where I get my tea:
Coming Soon

I am wearing my poker face
when I hear the news:
I smile and nod,
but keep my feelings safe
from prying eyes.

It's all a charade, you know.
They don't just come,
but also go.
And so I don my mask,
paint my lips,
and style my hair.
Blend in.

There is Ginseng in my cup,
red ink on my hands.
Outside: blue screen of death.
This is my day, writ large.

And when the clock strikes
and it's all over
(tea and sly asides)
papers crumpled in bins
(do not shred)
I descend the staircase,
step by step.

Outside, my glasses fog
in summer's heat.

I am blind.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings 2.

New Steal Tomorrow Flash Fiction

I have posted a new story in the Jazz Gang series on the Steal Tomorrow site: Sunny.

New Flash Fiction

By Alice Audrey's request, here is a follow up to Sunday's flash fiction: Speedball in Love - Part Two.

New Fiction for Sunday Whirl

This one takes place in Vince's gang, although Vince himself doesn't make an appearance. I realize that may disappoint some of his fans...

À mon ami

I miss you
(without missing you);
lost chance
to explain,
though you will never
my words
my mind
my heart.

Was it opportunity
or crisis
that made you walk away?
Too near the chasm.
Stall for time.
Do anything
but open up your soul
and question what’s inside.

Change hurts.

Now days grow long,
reminding me
of other summers’ fires,
and so my gripe is this:
We could’ve tamed
our memory,
shared a laugh,
(thank god that’s over),
but you turned your back
refused to see complexity
in me,
while I recognized
(with fond and knowing smile)
the contradiction
in you.

Bonne chance, mon ami. 

NOTE: This is a Three Word Wednesday Post.

Morality Tale

I won’t make this a morality tale,
though I’ve seen the lies,
felt the deception,
all smoothed over
with smiles.

You’ve fed the evidence of disaster
to the fire,
burned it to ash
like your soul.
Better that you had given
your fairy tales
to the flames, instead.

You can bury the truth,
but it will sprout again in Spring.

Have no fear
that I will reveal your secrets.
(Secrets have their own ways.)
But though I do not raise the hue and cry,
accuse, pull off your mask,
I know what lies beneath.
And in the wickedest arcane corners of my heart,
Je suis d'accord.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Time Flows

I analyze the viscosity of time,
its rate of flow,
its tendency to stick in tricky places,
and sometimes stop
while I hold my breath
and wait.

Who can say how long it takes
to become adept
in time’s meanderings?
For though it appears to run
in patterns
(its own peculiar channels),
in truth it follows paths
of its own devising:

If hours were edible,
I’d choke them down.
If bankable,
I’d save them in a jar
(under my bed)
like private fireflies,
just for me.

Instead, time flows,
through my fingers and my hair,
out the back door,
across my yard,
vitreous and virulent,
hard to measure.

But still I attempt
(in spite of everything)
to rate the viscosity of time.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Insect

I was there when the strange winged creature landed. I wasn't sure what to think. A few curious people wandered over and we speculated. We weren't afraid of the monster, but maybe we should have been, since the odd being's presence led to an invasion of art-seekers, followed by that even more noxious species: tourists.

Note: This work of art was observed in Terlingua.

This is your last time to submit your 55-word story to Mr. Knowitall, so get on over there!


I saw you
with a hole inside
that could not be filled
with mercy
(though I tried).

With the cunning
of a judo master,
you took my food
milk of human kindness
and turned it into
something foul,
fuel for self-destruction,
an ugly, noxious thing,
a flame
that gives no warmth,
only ash.

And so I waited for the end,
wrote the obit,
held my breath,
picked out my widow’s weeds.

But you have emerged
from the fire,
a degenerate angel
transformed to man.
And now I see the truth:
that all our darkest moments
precede dawn.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


Each fever runs its course:
white heat,
No quick healing here,
just an endless grind:
ground down
and plenty of

Cast into the desert,
stung and sweating,
searching for something
(to hold onto)
searching for someone
(with an answer)
but in response,
the dismal quartet of words:
It's not my job.
It's not my job.

No one can help you here.

So I watch the time
tick away,
each additional second
a further weight to bear.
Longing for escape
is only natural,
for the fever burns,
and contains no answers.

Today i am made of little pieces,
tied together with twine.
Fuel for the fire.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Silverware

Too many spoons.
What should he do?
Though he pondered it often,
he hadn't a clue.
Then a friend said,
"Go make a zoo.
Take that old silver
and make it like new!"
So that's what he did,
using forks and knives, too.
If you're near Big Bend park,
you can now buy a few.

Does your work of art contain exactly 55 word? Tell the G-Man!


It’s just a little phobia,
that we can love
and yet despise;
hold each other close
while miles apart.

And though I search
for something true,
true to life
true to you
(and me)
authenticity eludes my grasp
and I am left
with empty hands.

Should I try again
and risk contempt?

Oh, hide away the ego
and enlist common sense
to guard it,
lest we do more damage
than before.

Tiptoe quietly past.
Let sleeping dogs lie.

This was written for Three Word Wednesday.


Green days and sunshine
turn to Indian Summer,
and the small but telling signs
that winter comes.

Nothing in a bottle will save you.

Season's turning
strips us bare,
and truth's towering form
casts its shadow.

Dust to dust.

Youth is squeezed out
of mottled hands,
flesh goes slack.
The body yearns
to plop into a wicker chair,
fuss and  fury ended.

But the mind still feels
spring's caress
and, seeing youth
pass along a city street,
recalls an earlier season.

Fires die but sparks remain,
and I will eat of the apple
all the days of my life.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Terlingua Afternoon

They brought me here in the old pickup. Now they're hammering and calling to each other. At the other end of the patio, a man without shoes strums a guitar. Tourists wander around with cameras and sometimes go inside to buy a t-shirt. I just lie here, soaking up the sun.

Another day in Terlingua.

Dog lounging outside the Starlight Theater (now a restaurant) in Terlingua ghost town.

Have you written a story in exactly 55 words? Don't keep it to yourself! Tell Mr. Knowitall.


We moderns stride about,
smug in certainty
and gizmos,
muttering paeans to our gods
via Bluetooth.

We live indulgent lives:
instant answers
instant love
beamed by satellites
and towers.

But still there remain
pockets of wildness.
Devoutly tapping
yields no magic here.
Only rocks will answer.

Note: Photo taken on recent visit to Big Bend National Park.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

55 - Jacal

He had only a shack
of ocotillo and mud
but he raised a large family
and was known as a stud.

With wives in two countries
and friends in three nations
old Señor Luna
had quite the relations.

And though he was poor,
never did something great,
this tough old Latino
lived to be 108!

Gilberto Luna had wives on both sides of the US-Mexico border and at least 11 children, possibly more. He raised many of them in this jacal in what is now Big Bend National Park. He died in 1947.

Have you written a story using exactly 55 words? Tell Mr. Knowitall and join the fun!

55 - Room Service

The card on the tray said "enjoy" but how could she? Each bite must be weighed, each calorie counted. She had been schooled in the art of self-denial and rich desserts were for guilt and shame, not pleasure.

Then she took a bite...

To hell with guilt. And shame? It could take a flying leap.

One Basket

I put my eggs
in a basket,
though I can't trust
it will hold.

Other tests and trials
have proved it unreliable;
each failure an assault,
a mugging,
a sneak attack,
or a lie
whispered in the dark.

But we make our choices
with high ideals,
choose our course
and try to stick to form,
bearing blown chances
and lost opportunities
with nary a peep.

So though I'm uncertain
what the day will bring,
still I'll take these eggs
and put them
in my basket,
not because
I know no better
but because this
is all I have.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Opossums and Voodoo

At first glance it seemed like a nice place - a quiet pavilion by the water, a place to rest on a hot summer day. It was ideal until she noticed the dead chicken and the furtive scurrying of gray furry creatures.

She wondered what it meant, but then noticed the sign, which explained everything.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. No opossums or voodoo were noted by the author at this location. 

Got a story you can tell in 55 words? Tell Mr. Knowitall!


You're a nice distraction
from my proximal problem,
proximate cause,
proxy for so many things
that I refuse to say.

I could spend
all my days
mired in the muck of imagining,
making up fairy tales,
(stories of you)
fables and tragedy,
(mysteries, too)
spinning story lines,
each a fine diversion
(nice excursion)
phony version
of the tale I dare not tell.

So let's walk away from it all,
tiptoe quietly, please 
lest these tales become truth
and shred my heart.

Tonight there is a sinkhole
spreading under my feet,
and something feral and insatiable
lurking under the bed.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Cruel to Be Kind

They say I must
be cruel
to be kind,
but I’m not sure.

If I cast you out,
who here is the monster?
Am I playing to
your sucker’s game,
or engaging
in some ghastly sport
of my own?

I have no answer,
though I quiet my mind
and seek interstitial space
in which to rest,
gain perspective,
gather my thoughts,
garner just a little
(and hope)
that when they lay my heart
upon the scale,
if it can’t be feather-light
it will at least be feather-bright.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


I've listed my faults,
gathered my failings
into one nice tidy box,
but they are just words:
plucked from air
(and a dictionary)
with gutsy optimism
that they are something
to grasp on to.

But labels are funny things,
defining choices,
narrowing the flow,
creating an invisible prison
devoid of chance,
bereft of choice;
the type of place fit only
for automatons
and guilt.

I would walk away from it all,
step outside the ring of lies,
the polluted stream
of fevered dreams
and cravings for certainty
in an unsure world.
There is nothing here
but quicksand
and illusion.

The body succumbs to temptation,
but the mind can choose
to be free.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.


It’s just a rogue thought,
passing fancy,
a little dream,
a fantasy,
accelerated by a story line
that just won’t quit.

Shut up.

Silence the chattering mind.
Don’t bite the hook,
lest you be dragged to shore,
(dark island of your own derangement)
where you’ll be served up
by the natives
as a snack.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Wait Too Long...

I've defied 
good common sense
which said:
cut my losses,
cut and run,
cut away this malignancy
that keeps me
out of balance,
out of luck,
out of love,
a witness to 
your lost potential;
dreaming of a former

I've tiptoed around the issue,
prayed for symmetry,
searched for synergy,
begged for sympathy,
but no others see my plight
or hear my plea,
and there are no greener pastures,
bucolic landscapes
for effecting
an alternate ending
to this sordid tale.

No, I have missed my chances,
and all that I am left with
is a tenuous balance 
on the edge,
and a free fall into an open pit,
whichever way I fall.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.


wander far,
and now back home.

What country did you visit?
What new customs sampled?
Were the natives affable,
or did they terrify you
with their strange ways? 

A nice place to visit,
but I wouldn’t want to live there.

You tasted new delights
and attended a masked ball.
What costume did you don,
and is it one
you’d wear again,
or will you fold it carefully away
with rose petals and a kiss
for memory’s sake?

Oh, find your way back
to where you were before!
For after all the dancing
and charade,
you’ll be galvanized
by journey’s end
to pick up all the pieces
and make your house
a home.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.


I would state my case,
state my plans,
write every little aspect
in a memo
(just for you)
and facilitate understanding,
so you embrace my contradictions
instead of turn away,
too certain of your certainties
to see.

But that's just a foolish dream.

In this country of illusion
you will confirm
your own beliefs,
instead of juggling
with the notion
that this time
you are wrong.

Since I have no love of argument
and shouting at the wind,
I will therefore leave my note
and let you tie
the ragged strands of truth
in whatever knot of lies you wish.

I hope if nothing else,
it makes an interesting picture.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Snow Day

A snow day was all he wanted.
He wished and prayed for it hard.
Just some precip and freezing temps,
and he would have snow in his yard.

So he sat in front of the TV
watching forecasts, hoping for snow,
and to his delight, during the night,
he got his wish, wouldn't you know!

This is an older pic, but there really is a chance we'll get a snow day tomorrow.

Have you written a story in exactly 55 words? Don't wait for a snow day to tell the G-Man!

Slow Dance

Calm, precise, stylized,
each step a minuet:
an exercise in control. 

skin deep

Probe the surface
and you’ll find
all the deadly sins,
plus a few extra.

Following the prescribed pattern
conceals our lustful and malevolent thoughts,
gossip and jealousy,
and the great trespass of boredom.
So hide your repulsive desires
behind a mask
and execute each figure
with a smile.

We are beautiful.
We are perfect.
We are liars.
And we are legion.

This is a Three Word Wednesday post.

Suit of Clothes

I would conjure
a suit of clothes
and stuff you inside,
like an eagle in a sparrow's nest,
making you bend and twist to fit;
here too loose
here too tight
tie the flapping bits with twine,
perhaps add a cap,
though it doesn't fit right.
Then I would love you
(or hate you)
for how well you wear
my creation.

Something tells me 
here lies madness,
though I suspect
you dress me, too,
in curls and trinkets
of your own devising,
that no more suit  me
than the feathers of a crow
or a peacock's plume.

But let us not break our spirits
over such matters.
I say here now,
I know my duty,
and though I breathe a little sigh,
I will carry my conjured costume for you
back to the chest of dreams
where it belongs.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

Storm Clouds

Headed into the storm again.
(All deeds carry a price.)
And though I try to stay remote,
sit still,
be mindful,
wait for wisdom
to illuminate my cluttered mind,
the impact of the past
makes unmistakable ripples
in the present's pool.

If there is one thing 
I need now,
it's a clear day,
by catastrophe.
by the weight
of fresh disasters.

Clinging to the lifeless past
only buries me deeper
in the muck
of wishing,
imagining what is gone
or cannot be.

These are the scenes that haunt me
as I wait for the clouds to part
and reveal the sun.

This was written for The Sunday Whirl.

55 - Un-wisdom Teeth

They read the instructions
in the DNA,
then decided
to toss them away.

"We're rebels, iconoclasts,
we do as we please.
Grow vertically?
Don't be a tease."

They grew horizontally
(thought they were clever)
but found themselves
in a different endeavor.
Painful extraction
is what fate bequeathed,
for that is what happens
to un-wisdom teeth.

I'm almost 100% after my foot injury, and now this. When it rains, it pours, right?

Have you got a story that can be told in exactly 55 words? Let the G-Man know!

55 - Acoma

He heard they built it high to keep it safe, but eventually everything falls to invaders and technology. Today he feels welcome in his t-shirt and goofy hat until he overhears a native quip, "If we don't like you, we'll toss you over."

Watch your back. Don't haggle over pottery. The past is not forgotten.

Can you tell a story in exactly 55 words?  No need to toss anyone off a cliff - post your tale on the G-Man's site!