1.31.2012

fuck yeah

How in the hell did that even happen? I didn't understand, but I knew I couldn't be in the room with Michael, melting down about it, that's for damn sure. God, I never wanted him to see me cry. Lose control in front of him? No way was that gonna happen.

What a disappointment, though. What a damn shame, because I had wanted it, and rather badly. How did it happen, that somehow he was imposing himself on me? There was not enough sex in our marriage, so far as I was concerned. Was there enough for him? I couldn't believe that was true.
 

Dropping the duvet and pillow on the couch, I made my way to the kitchen. Shaking with frustration, I made for the water pitcher in the fridge and managed to knock a container of last night's tofu curry on the floor, where it promptly exploded its contents all over the tile.

"Fuck. Fucking goddamn it, of course that would happen."

The rice cleaned up and a glass of cold water later, I had poured myself a cup of red wine. Sipping it at the sink, looking out over the dimly lit driveway of the house next door, I wondered what the neighbors were doing right now, at midnight on a Tuesday. Damn.

I drained my wine and headed back to the bedroom.

"Hey?" Michael lay facing the closet, away from me. No covers, just his shorts. He must be freezing. "Hey, baby?"

He didn't move. I clamored over next to him, tugging the stolen duvet over us both. "Hey, baby, don't be mad now, don't be mad at me." I squirmed in close, spooning him, locking my knees with his, nuzzling the back of his neck, reaching my arm around him, my hand finding its way into his boxers. It was warm in there, at least.

"Huh?" He turned toward me just slightly, but I felt an acquiescence as his limbs softened.

"Baby," I kept my tone low and steady. "Baby, let's forget whatever it was we said before. I don't even know what I was saying, I was arguing just to argue. I'm sorry, baby. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."

"What do you mean, you didn't mean it?" His voice cracked. It wasn't hostile, it was questioning. Protecting himself, maybe.

"Oh, baby. We just bicker on this weird intellectual plane, like we fucking know what's in each other's heads or something. But, you know? We don't. I'm sorry I was pretending to know."

He curled toward me, eyes still closed. "It's okay." He reached for my free hand and squeezed it. "I'm sorry, too."

"How about let's not talk anymore." My hand found what it wanted, inside his shorts. "Not doing you no favors, baby. I just want to fuck."

"Fuck, yeah."

Yeah. We're gonna be okay.

This is the fourth chapter of a story belonging to my friend Michael Webb. He wrote Did You Mean It? and I, rather obnoxiously, responded with No Guilt, to which Michael generously replied in New York Minute. And now this. What's next?

1.28.2012

after dinner

You barely stomached
the meal I prepared,
but you scarfed it down.

Intimately,
conspiratorially united
before children's aversions,
my response to our collusion
expressed in a nod--
television's on.

Shut the bedroom door.

Trifecta Writing Challenge asked for love stories in exactly 33 words.

1.27.2012

alberta

We sat at tables in the gymnasium
on wooden folding chairs,
made at the chair factory
where some of our classmates worked.

People stared when you walked in
wearing a day-glo pink lace dress,
a girl on your arm.
You sat next to me and said,
"Been five years, what you been up to?"

I stammered, "Well, this is my boyfriend.
In the fall I'll be in graduate school."
Smile. "How about you?"

"This is my cousin Sherry. I'm a dancer."

You must have been able to read my mind:
you had been the toughest girl in school.
If anyone suggested you wear a dress
or called you by your given name,
they'd get a bruising.
I could see you, jumping on a trampoline
eating a raw potato
at your house on that dirt road by the crick.

You winked, "In bars, honey." I blinked back.

After Salisbury steak and cheesecake,
awards and presentations, plenty of applause
and a few guffaws, we stood to leave.
You elbowed me. "See you at the after-party?
Rick has a hot tub."

Blinking again. "Yeah, see you there."
I went home.

Mary asked the Real Toads to write a poem containing a conversation.

1.26.2012

goodbye, yellow brick road

Strategy for drowning out
Johnny Carson, upstairs,
who competed with HBO, downstairs:
my teenage boombox.
Bedtime? Click play.
Let the wind wash, let the bells chime,
it's Funeral for a Friend.
Love Lies Bleeding, Candle in the Wind.
If I lay awake long enough, I was treated to
B- B- B- B- B- B- Bennie! Bennie and the Jets.
But I had to time it just right.
If I got to Grey Seal and Jamaica Jerk-Off,
wide awake again.
If I had to get up to flip the tape,
it was all over. May as well stay up all night.

Lance has his hordes of fans writing in 100-word bursts inspired by his music selection over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. This week, it's Take Me to the Pilot by Elton John. New feature! 100-Word Song! Come and play with us!

1.25.2012

untitled 1.25.12

I've been trying to write
something that can't be written.

About how words I read
in black & white on a screen,
I heard slapping sounds
and I went to investigate
,
have lodged themselves firmly
and absolutely in my brain,
reverberating, shrieking,
unstoppable and unbearable.

About how a child's body
is not meant to accommodate
the thrusts of an adult man
that would cause such a sound.

About how a child must have died
that day in that shower,
thrown away like so much trash,
when he should have been running
out in the yard, playing games
like the child that he was.

About how a child must have been
literally torn apart, then discarded.

About how small and fragile
my children's bodies and hearts are.

About how I know that children
are raped every day,
a child is being raped right now
as I write this, and
a child will be raped as you read it,
no matter how many times you do.

About how adults with power,
men, and probably women, too--
and by the way all adults have power
over all children in our world--
about how adults could have stopped it,
saving a child from being ravaged
and more children after that.

About how they did not.

About the reasons why that might be.

About how the eulogies
for the man who could have stopped it
washed over me, and I had to hide.

About that sound. That fucking sound.

About how someone reading this
will find it arousing.

About how someone really needs to write about that.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Bewildered Bug challenged me with "Scam Artist" and I challenged Dili with "Seeing monarchs, robins, or hummingbirds?"

1.24.2012

refund

"All I wanted was a refund." The words fell from her mouth, inert, like a sidewalk bird under a plate glass window. "The show was cancelled in the snowstorm, remember?"

Remember? What are you asking him about, memories of prom night? Jesus.

"Well, I could help you with this problem if you'd just do as I say." His voice dripped with pretension, bordering on malice.

"Do as you say? And what's that?" Yeah, what? Fucker.

His gesture said it. On your knees.

"Are you kidding me?" She spat. Fuck you. "Gimme my refund."

Looks like the fun and friendly Drabble Rousers is going on hiatus, so I thought I'd bring my little 100-word epics home. This one is (loosely) based on a true story. 

1.23.2012

translation

Naming
the things I need
sounded inside your head
like a litany of complaints.
Sorry.

1.22.2012

nature girl

I'm no good at naming trees,
bikeriding for the sake of the ride,
or identifying tracks in the snow.

My view of nature is best
flat on my back, counting clouds,
or watching the whisper of stars,

my fingers entwined in yours.

1.21.2012

through the looking glass

Infuriated, I slam doors,
unable to think, freezing him out,
refusing to discuss it.

You take a leave of absence
to be with your dying love, holding
fast, refusing even to eat.

What can I learn from you?

You have 35 years, we have ten.
I want twenty-five more
and at least a hundred after that.

What if my love lay dying? I'd wail,
scream, die myself, without a doubt.
I am so sorry for your loss.

Going to be with him now.

I was introduced to a new (to me) form called the Sevenling. Here's the description from The American Poetry Journal:
Sevenlings
This was challenging for me to write, and I'm sure it will go through more revisions, but I figured I'd post it now as maybe some of you would like to write one. Please let me know if you do. Good luck!

1.19.2012

tanaga!

1.
The golden arches beckon.
Hungry travelers reckon,
"Just once." No condemnation,
I understand temptation.
 

 2.
Ride me like a ferris wheel.
Let's rock the carriage and steal
a kiss when we reach the top.
The top! Oh! Please! Never stop. 

 3.
Alone is the saddest word,
E minor is the bluest chord.
Your guitar laments the end,
solo, grieving for your friend.

Pirate Grace challenged the Real Toads to write a tanaga, a tight and rhyming traditional 4-line poem, heavy on metaphor, originating in the Phillipines. It's harder than it looks, but I know you're up for a challenge. Try it!

1.18.2012

ON STRIKE

RUNAWAY SENTENCE HAS BEEN BLOCKED FOR VIOLATING PROTECT-IP (S. 968) AND SOPA (HR. 3261).
Actually, runaway sentence is participating in a national online blackout on January 18, 2012, in opposition to both the Protect-IP and SOPA bills.

If these bills pass, the U.S. government will have the ability to block any website, including this blog and your blog, based on an ACCUSATION ALONE from a copyright holder.

Go to AmericanCensorship.org to learn more about these bills and how your internet freedoms are at risk.



No pretty words today. 

Please do not read and/or comment today. See you on Thursday. DO SOMETHING in the meantime.

1.16.2012

i'm with joe

Massachusetts, I came to you,
wide open, seeking adventure,
throwing myself at you, whorishly,
with heady expectations.

On my first night here,
Mary McCaslin played and sang
to ten patrons at the Black Sheep.
I considered myself welcomed.

It was easy to fall in love
with your ice-cold swimming holes,
your flannel and organic coffee,
tag sales, package stores,
vegetarian options,
your "thickly settled" cautions
and gay pride parades.

No matter how long I live
in your towns, I'm no townie,
and I like that about you, too,
Massachusetts.

I'm grateful for your politics,
but even more, your mountains.
Oh, your bards and crooners
.
I love your farms, your irises,
clapboard houses, and your libraries.

I even love the crappy bar
where last night I heard the song
that inspired this poem about you.
Don't listen to my bitching.

Finally, thank you for presenting me
with one of your beloved sons.
I promise to love him well.
I've given you a son of my own,
and my daughter, too, Massachusetts.

Inspired by a live performance of the song Massachusetts by the Scud Mountain Boys.

1.14.2012

mood #3

Gas light tripping
on the Coolidge Bridge,
she traverses a river of grief,
rushing to beat empty.

1.13.2012

released

you owe me none,
& if it's true now, why not then?
you owe me none
of anything that's left undone.
let's dance to the jig forgotten,
obligations be verboten.
you owe me none.

all the world is green

We are spending some time with Tom Waits today over at Real Toads, as part of my occasional music-related writing prompt series. Please come over and play!
All The World Is Green

1.11.2012

Желаю Вам удачи

We bought wedding bands
from a Russian antiques dealer
whose window display was cleared
against thieves each night.

The bands were simple gold,
plus one carved with flowers,
presented in pink paper boxes,
all tied with a gold ribbon.

We sold the platinum ones
from the marriage that failed,
tarnished, for cheap, enjoying
a fine lunch on the proceeds.

He wished us the best of luck.
Better luck next time, we agreed.

1.10.2012

dancing star

She entered La Cazuela, relishing the lightness of her skirt swinging against her bare legs, walking the tall walk of a girl out in town on her own. It was dark in there compared to the still bright sunshine of this late-May early evening, almost Memorial Day weekend, her birthday. She was meeting her best friend and confidante for a celebratory margarita.

She spotted Jason at the bar and pranced over, their embrace and kiss evidencing the bond between them. Jason waved to the bartender, hollering, "Two Annie's margs!" as he handed her his gift, simply wrapped and tied with a neat bow.

"Thank you, love," she squeezed his hand. The margaritas arrived and they toasted. "To a good year!"

"To the best year yet!" They drained their margaritas and ordered another round. "How you doing, babe? Okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. It's just weird, you know, Jason. It's like, I don't know, it's the right thing, I know it's right. But it's still hard to get used to."

"It will be for a while, I'm guessing. And you know it's right." The bartender served their drinks and they sipped. "Is Austin coming to meet you?"

"Oh, yeah, will you come with me in a bit to meet him over at Packard's? We can all have a burger, and then you can be on your way and I'll take him home." She winked.

"Yeah, that's good." Jason nudged her with his knee. "Open it."

She opened the card first. It was a simple Hallmark greeting, heavy on the sentiment but truthful, too, signed, "I love you, Jason." She unstuck the tape and slowly unwrapped her gift, carefully re-folding the paper like she always did. It was a journal, with a quote from Nietzsche on the front: "One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star."

"Chaos!" He joined her in a giggle. "Perfect, that's perfect for me. Thank you, Jason." She flipped the book open and found his inscription.

"Love, I thought this was the perfect gift. When you use it, remember that the next few months are not an ending, but a beginning of a new adventure and further chapters in a rich life. I cherish you and the moments we share and look forward to the years ahead. To many more birthdays. Love always, Jason."
"Aw." She felt the sting of tears and breathed them away. He had been there for her, they had been through so much together, culminating in this, the end of her marriage. No one had expected that. "It is a beginning, isn't it? It is."

"Yes, it is. I'm proud of you." Jason embraced her again, his arm around her shoulder, and she allowed herself to settle into his arm as they sipped their drinks.

"I'm just, it's just that, well, I never wanted it to end. I guess I was crazy to think I could have everything I wanted." She sat up again, invigorated. "I mean, wow."

"Yeah, I know. But I think it turned out the way it was supposed to turn out. And now you have to be careful not to make the same mistakes, right?"

"Right." They clinked highballs again and drained their tequila. "Ready?"

"Ready! Let's go."

Jason settled their tab and they headed out, turning right and heading up Main Street, stopping for a moment to window-shop at Broadside Books, then turning right again on Masonic and up the front steps of Packard's, "Everyone's Favorite Neighborhood Bar." As they entered, she could feel the ages of smoke and drink and billiards and patrons' neuroses.

They found a booth in the back and she felt her pulse race in anticipation of Austin's arrival. She didn't try to hide it, as she knew Jason understood. They were of one mind, the same species, she and Jason. She knew he knew the rush she was experiencing now, what the waiting felt like.

Soon enough, there he was. Austin strolled in and kissed her on the cheek, handing her a wrapped gift and sliding into the booth next to her.

"Happy birthday." He kissed her again and squeezed her thigh so hard she squealed.

Austin and Jason exchanged pleasantries while she reveled in her good fortune, the luck that brought her these two beautiful souls who loved her and would be here for her, come what may. They ordered sandwiches and beer, and Austin nudged her.

"Open it." He whispered directly into her half-drunk ear and she turned to kiss him. "C'mon, open it."

"Okay!" She looked at the package, and then raised it to get a closer view. It was obviously a CD, wrapped in the liner notes from Neil Young's latest CD, "Are You Passionate?" She giggled and he squeezed her thigh again. She and Austin both revered Neil Young, but Austin thought his latest CD was horrible. She carefully unstuck the tape and peeled back the paper, revealing a glittery purple jewel case.

"The Cars! Box set! Aw!" She squealed some more. It was exactly the right thing.

They ate, chatted, finished, paid their bill and rose to leave. She embraced Jason.

"Thanks, I love you."

He squeezed back. "Love you, too. Have fun tonight."

She stumbled on Austin's arm through town, giggling and chattering all the way to the parking garage and her Jeep. They buckled in and he broke the seal on her new CD. They drove, windows down, through and then out of town, meandering along the familiar route through Florence, Haydenville, Leeds, and Williamsburg.

She turned up the volume as they headed up the mountain on state route 143, windows down, cold spring air in their lungs, flying through the night.

she's driving away
with the dim lights on
she's making a play
she can't go wrong
she never waits too long 
They drove into the night, into the mountains, his hand on her thigh, wind in her hair and the music of her youth playing very loud. This was a new adventure, all right.

They stumbled into her cabin, hand in hand, anticipation like gooseflesh on their arms and everywhere. She flicked on the kitchen light, turned and grabbed him, pulling him close, kissing him with urgency, wanting him and showing him just how much. As she pulled him toward the hallway and her bedroom beyond, the red light of her answering machine beckoned in her peripheral vision.

"Oh, hey, wait just a sec, I have a message." She disengaged from Austin's embrace, a weight dropping in her belly. It had to be her ex, who else would have called her? It had to be something bad. There was no good thing her ex could be calling about. She strode across the living room and pressed the button.

After its whir and beeps, the machine came to life. "Hey. Uh, well, I need you to call me back right away. I have to talk with you, it's important." Tears were evident in the crackling voice. She bent over, her stomach sinking precariously.

"I'm, uh... I'm... I'm pregnant."

This week in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge, Lille challenged me to "write about an experience from your past, but change the outcome, twist it, turn the story around, make it funny or terrifying." I challenged Melissa Brodsky with "you can never find a band-aid when you actually need one."

1.08.2012

plumb bob

I love a boat that sinks.
Gonna need another drink
to abide these highjinks.

1.07.2012

finally, a cougar poem

If I am a cougar,
you are my delectable quarry,
waiting patiently
for the advent
of my coming,
skulking, clement,
licking my chops,
heaving you
by the scruff of your neck,
stealing you away.

This little ditty was inspired by Shay, who asked the Real Toads to channel our inner animal. Hee! Next, I'll have to write about my power animal, er, insect: the ladybug.

1.04.2012

restroom

in a cube of shiny white
there is a straight chair
with a brown leather seat
that no one ever perches on.
it's across from the toilet.
the mirror is relentless,
but sometimes i hide in here.

1.03.2012

echo

1.

It's hard to look.
Your fingernails split peeling back
the wallpaper of your youth,
layer by layer, revealing the stained,
the mold-infested, the vile.
You'd like to divorce yourself from this,
but as you cannot,
you vow to continue to cut until
it is all laid bare.
That guttural sound comes deep inside you,
a place of which you were previously unaware
and you wish you could renounce.
The bile comes up and you choke it back down,
acid on your tongue still.

What is it about her?
What is it that makes you red with rage,
stony with rancid desire?
You don't even bother trying to repress
the urge to beat her down,
teach her a thing or two about
how women are supposed to carry themselves.
It's unbelievable, the way she talks
as if all the words were hers.
Well, some are yours and you ain't sharing.


2.

She is so fucking beautiful.
Effulgent as light on rushing water
raging hard and cold against your back
until you dunk, seeking to rid yourself
of her glister. That never works,
she is too pure. She is everything.

You are nothing, now.
You used to be somebody, but then
you lost all perspective.
Maybe it was the ceaseless screaming,
the clamor, the never-ever-quietness.
You bite beyond the quick, ripping cuticles
and swallowing, anointing your lips
with blood, and that scar again, prickling,
pulling your hair out.
It was hard to think, considering.
You quoted lines from Harrison Bergeron,
wondered if there was a broader plot,
stored bottled water in the basement.
You kept all kinds of canned beans
that you had no idea how to prepare.
You strode the town, hands stuffed
in pockets weighed with gold pieces
chasing her shadow, long and willowy.
You wanted her,
but you were on your way to nothingness.


3.

And now, here she is.
She's something. The bounty of her words,
her features overwhelming.
You cannot slow your campaign
to bring her to mercy.
Sidle up with warm innocence,
gentle conversation about her work.
Catch her there. She will respond
to your diplomacy.
Then you can thresh and violate her.
So satisfying, your victory will be.
Tie her to your memory tree
to ensure she is available
when you're ready for another go.
She will learn, eventually.
When she does, you can move on,
leaving her wasted.

All is quiet now.
Brush and floss, file your nails,
moisturize with shea and cocoa butters.
Straighten your collar.
You have risen.

My prompt in this week's Indie Ink Writing Challenge was from Dafeenah: "All saints revile her, and all sober men... Sister of the mirage and echo." (From The White Goddess by Robert Graves.) I challenged Carrie with "baby coyote, space shuttle, black leather baseball cap." 

1.02.2012

good question

what if i told you
all there is to know of me:
would you run away?