Friday, November 30, 2007

Sunny Side Up

edited 11/29

In a separate reality, you didn't leave me for her

and we wake up in the same bed

and i'll make eggs the way you like them

(sunny side up)

we'll laugh

over petty fights

(for we'll always make up)

over tired arguments

(when you tell me I'm always right)

over former lovers.

In the mornings, when i wake up

with the lingering sense of stillness

the apparent void of you

I think of this parallel universe

where we are so, so happy

like we always were.

And this is how

I stopped crying

over the constant reminder of your perfume,

and her sunny little smile.


in a separate reality, you didn't leave me for her

and we wake up in the same bed

and i'll make eggs the way you like them

(sunny side up)

we'll laugh

over unsung fights

over tired arguments

over former lovers.

In the mornings, when i wake up

with the lingering sense of stillness

the apparent void of you

i think of this parallel universe

and we are so, so happy

like we always were.

And this is how
I don't cry over us anymore.


1) i need a title.

2) I don't like the last two lines but that is the basic idea of this whole poem.

3) should i add more details?

4) what do u guys think?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

To my beloved son:

This story's very, very much unfinished. I'll update it as I make progress. Any comments welcome! I'm especially interested in if you think the first two paragraphs are necessary.
Too long has it been since I saw you last, my beloved son. Perhaps you no longer remember my name, though you must remember my face, and the feeling of my arms around you near the fire, and the sound of my voice. I write you now by the grace of the old gods, who watch over us still (though you know them not), and I write you for this cause: I would not die with the lies of the elders of our folk still in your ears. I am no traitor, no murderer. It is they who have betrayed our people, they who have driven us into the depths of black madness. If you trust nothing more of this letter, trust this at least: it was not I who killed your mother, though it was I who slit her throat.

But before I tell you of our folk, and of our gods, and of your mother's death, I must tell you of how it has come to pass that you are reading my words now for the first time in all these long years, how it has come to pass that I now have the courage that I had lacked for so long.

Click on "Post Page" below to see the rest!

I hurt myself yesterday, in the Weald. I drew blood in that place for the first time since a night long before your mother was taken, long before you were born. As I fled the now-red leaf that had cut me I prayed to the gods whom our people once worshiped, before they were fooled by the false men: to the hanging god, beloved of ravens, to the blind god, kinslayer, to the forgotten god, one-handed, who is closer to me now than to any other.

And the gods heard me as they have heard me all my life, I who am perhaps their last remaining servant. A mighty wind forced aside the grasping branches and cast the wood's veil of leaves into a swirling tempest (but none touched my flesh). The breath of the hanging god drove away the mist that clings ever to that accursed place, and between the waving crowns of the trees I saw that night had fallen and the moon had risen. A thunderbolt lanced the heavens and illuminated the only path remaining in all the Weald, and I followed it – it lead not out to the shore, but in towards the firedale. I ran with the wind at my back, and at last I came to the great oak that is the only one left of its kind on all the island, and I saw that from its bare branches hung things that had once been men. I climbed into its bole and there I took shelter with the bones of my father.

A hand on my head roused me from the world of sleep to the world of dreams. I bowed before our lord (for he is yours as well, no matter what the elders have told you), and kissed his feet until he bid me stand. His spear is the color of the moon, and his neck is scarred beneath his beard. His left eye blazes red, but his right is dark. On either of his shoulders is perched a raven - they whisper to him, for they know all that passes through the minds of men.

“Look about you, child,” he said, and I did. The great oak's boughs were bare no longer, rather they bore leaves and acorns in abundance, and the things that hung from them were men once more, their tongues blue and protruding, their eyes weeping blood onto the green earth. I saw my father among them, and I wept with pride. Through the branches of the oak I could see that it was still night and that the moon was high, but this did not give me cause for fear, for there were no other trees within view: the oak stood in the center of a great clearing, as it had during the childhood of my father's father.

“Meager grows my might, for men give themselves to me no more,” said the hanging god, and his voice was the rustling of the branches. “Nevermore shall I breathe air untainted by the father of the deep wood. Nevermore shall I drink water unspoilt by the mother of the deep earth. My tongue is stiff, I sing the songs of the skies no more. My eye grows dim - I am as blind as my son now, or soon shall I be.” I responded, but my words were meaningless, so I shall not write them here.

“Your folk withers and diminishes as does mine. As your wife was taken, so was mine. As I have forgotten my son's name, so has your son yours, and so have your people mine. They have cast you out for serving me, and for that their doom is to become as the false men are. But they were my children once, and for that I cannot forsake them. Write to your son, and tell him the truth. Perhaps he will believe you, and perhaps they will believe him. Trust the letter to my brother, who is still strong and hale - the false men do not navigate the seas.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sidewalk Hooker

*edit Nov 13*

Every night, she stands on the corner of fourth and nothing
Waiting for a car to stop.
When one does, she hikes her bag higher up one shoulder
Drops the sleeve off the other
And walks,
With false nonchalance of the soul.
She leans down, low enough to tempt
High enough to withhold.
Carnation-red stained lips mouth the same words,
Every night
Coffee-stained teeth smile the same smile.
She never really smiles.
Prices and services are bandied about,
But she gets her way in the end
Because desperation is a good incentive.
Money comes in every night because
Her service isn’t really that expensive -
Her dignity may be cheap
But her rent simply isn’t.

The next night she’s there again
In a red leather skirt
And torn stockings
Her taffy-pulled legs seem to stretch out forever,
Caramel candy polluted with bourbon.
Sharp collarbones glare in the neon-lights.
Her head is down and her hair, coloured and re-coloured so much that she doesn’t know whether it was blond to begin with, black to end with, corrupted to brown all along the way,
her hair cascades down one side of her face.

Later that night when she plays her soundtrack of shrieks and moans
Depending on the part she has to play
It’ll be too dark for the man to see what she tries to hide
When he pulls aside the curtain of hair he won’t see the swollen scars
All he’ll see is gleaming breasts and dark nipples and more
Female flesh that he can control because he paid for it.
He won’t see her face.
When he goes home, he’ll see his wife’s face
And he’ll smile when he sees her smile at the carnations he brought her because carnations are her favourite flowers.
And he’ll forget the sidewalk hooker with the beautiful body and the scarred face.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Group writing activity from November the eighth

Oh, the joys of the everyone writes one sentence and then passes it along group activity.

My grandfather was a smelly, foul-humored Irishman. When he died I inherited none of his wealth, but only a peculiar locked box. It was about five inches long, carved from what looked like a fossilized potato, and I could only imagine what was inside. I decided it was a box best opened a good distance between meals, so as not to ruin one completely. After a lunch of ham-and-garganzola sandwiches, I went to my room and set the box in my lap, my fingers poised on the tarnished latch. I opened the box, and the familiar Irish smell of o'erwhelming filth rose to my nostrils - I staggered under its influence, and also out of surprise. Inside, I found a little man covered entirely in red, downy hair. Inside the box was the rarest of all Lucky Charms: the beige trapezoid. Immediately, I was overcome with ecstasy and I headed down to the pub, images of celebratory bottles dancing in my head. I was half the way to the pub when I felt movement in my pocket. The beige trapezoid flew out of my pocket and into a nearby horse, transforming it into the bloody unicorn of my dreams, fell and terrible against the autumn sky.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fall's Pretenses

11/07 version:

The air is getting chilly now.
It was such a sudden shift
to winter this year.
But the sun insists on shining
as if Nature refuses to admit
that it's cold,
that soon the ground will be covered in white,
trapping us indoors
with electric heat and lights.

I'm looking forward
to spring, though.
It comes with rain, yes,
but the showers foreshadow
the warmth of summer.

I decided I didn't like most of the changes I made.
Older versions on post page

11/04 version:

The air is getting chilly now.
It was such a sudden shift
to winter this year.
But the sun insists on shining
as if Nature refuses to admit
that it's cold,
that soon the ground will be covered in white,
trapping us indoors
with electric heat and lights.
Venturing outside is a chore.
Layer upon layer of wool and cotton
stiffen my limbs and I cannot bend over to tie my shoe.

I'm looking forward
to spring, though.
It comes with rain, yes,
but the showers foreshadow
the freeness of summer,
when the frisbee zips overhead
and I leap to fetch it,
when the world's day is longer than mine
and the sun brightens the room,
warming the air inside and out.

11/2 version:

The air is getting chilly now.
It was such a sudden shift to winter this year.
But the sun insists on shining everyday
as if Nature refuses to admit that it's cold
and that soon the ground will be covered in white
and we'll be stuck indoors
with electric heat and lights.
I'm looking forward to spring, though.
It comes with rain, yes,
but the showers foreshadow
the warmth of summer.

Original version:

The air is getting chilly, now.
It was such a sudden shift to winter this year.
But the sun insists on shining everyday
Like Nature refuses to admit that it's cold
That soon the ground will be covered in white
And we'll be stuck indoors
With electric heat and lights.
I'm looking forward to spring, though.
It comes with rain, yes,
But the showers foreshadow
The warmth of summer.

Ahhh! Last minute blog post before the deadline! :-[ This is what happens when good poems fall out of your head the day before submissions are due... Let me know what I need to do to make it acceptable.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Hopefully things are clear now. Let me know if this works.

Clumps of Brown Hair

When he makes love to the young girl
what does the middle-aged long-married
man say to himself and the girl?
- that lovers live and desk clerks perish?

Al Purdy, “Married Man's Song”

When it's late
And I remember her face,
Excited, flashing under
The come-and-go streetlights
Flaring past
At one hundred miles per hour
As I try to rush her home on time,
What am I supposed to say to her now?
A cold handshake and wish her the best?

Those kind words
Would come out layered
Thick in honey and venom,
A spit in the face wrapped
With a crinkled red bow,
An offered hand, septic.

That would be a disservice
To the years that slipped down
The drain, staring in the mirror
And cutting my hair
At one in the morning,
Trying to get each trace of
Months-old smell gone
With the buzz of a razor.

That ride to her house
I lied to her and said
That desk clerks die.
Clumps of brown hair
On white tile floor
And the clerks still
Have their wooden desks.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Any last minute suggestions?


It’s so easy to slip
into your arms
delicate as silk,
wrapping soft
around my body

I swear I’ll molt
and turn
into a butterfly
if you let me
just a bit longer
and longer
and longer

I think it’s time for me to go.

Where are my wings?

I need my cocoon.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Un Conte de Fée Moderne

*edited version Nov 6th, 2007*

Rose pulled on her gloves and zipped up her parka. She turned the engine off and sat there, trying to soak up the last vestiges of warmth, bracing herself for the cold outside. The silence in the car was deafening; it pressed upon her from all sides. Steeling herself, she pushed the package on the passenger's side further under the seat and jumped out of the car, shutting the door with a bang that was suffocated by the crush of branches and pine needles. She locked the car, which emitted a beep that, in the oppressive quiet of the forest sounded like a pitiful wail. Rose turned around slowly, taking stock of her surroundings and walked in the direction she hoped she remembered the house being in.

Click on "Post Page" below to see the rest!

She hadn't been to the house in years. Rose assumed that it had simply fallen into ruin after her grandmother’s death, not that it had been particularly glamorous to begin with. Moss and fallen needles carpeted the forest floor, dampening the sound of her feet, the occasional pinecone making her stumble briefly. Rose's well-padded figure didn't make climbing the slope easy and her laboured breath was visible as white as the snow on the branches overhead. She could barely see the sky through the press of the trees, but when she did catch a glimpse of it, she shuddered at its brooding grey. In the distance, a wolf howled, making Rose walk a little bit faster.

Through the trees she could see the lake. Memories of summers spent swimming its length came flooding back and she stopped for a minute to look at it. The dirty greenish-grey of its depths reflected the swirling clouds in the moody sky and Rose shivered because something about the anger in the water frightened her. It frightened her because she understood it.

Suddenly, she came upon a gravel path that she couldn't remember having been there before. Even, parallel grooves ran its length, left by fresh raking. Her face set in a frown that boded ill. She marched up the path, her boots scattering the little pieces of grey stone, destroying the ordered lines. The path circled a little island of Christmas roses and crocuses. Rose strode up to the freshly polished door with its gleaming knocker, set into the house still smelling of paint. It was the same house; she knew from the octagonal shape of the east wing, and the wide porch and her initials left scratched into the drainpipe that no longer hung slanted.

Rose slammed the knocker repeatedly against the door, leaving dents in its smooth surface. There was no answer. Her anger bubbled stronger and the edges of her vision dimmed. Blood rushed to her head and she reached for the handle and...the door opened. Rose fell against the man on the other side. Strong arms caught hold of her and steadied her against a chest that smelled of Old Spice and pine needles and freshly ground coffee. Her heart pounded with anger and fright and excitement. A little more time than reactionarily necessary passed before she raised her hands and pushed away from him. Hazel eyes gazed questioningly at her and a curved mouth asked her in for coffee. Rose stayed.

It turned out that her grandmother had only leased the land from the man's father, and as the lease had expired a few months ago, he moved up here to redo the place and escape from city life. He and Rose talked for hours and Rose stayed the night.

Rose woke early the next morning, dressed stealthily and walked back to the car for her things. When she came back, John wasn't awake yet, which made her job easier. She gently put a towel behind his head and kissed him until he sleepily opened his eyes. Rose slit his throat when he closed his eyes again and kissed her back. She wrapped him up and dragged him out to the lake. It was beginning to rain. There was a little dinghy beached close by and she threw the body onto it. She pushed it into the water and shoved it once, hard. She stood there as the rain got heavier and heavier, filling up the boat. She watched the boat float towards the middle of the lake, sinking a little bit more with each passing minute, gradually disappearing. She didn't leave until every trace of it had vanished.

Rose moved into the little house at the end of the gravel path in the woods by the lake. She lived there happily ever after.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

under the wire

Love Poem

I know the line breaks are inconsistent, and mostly I just don't like this as it is now (mostly because I whipped it out last minute for the mag) but any feedback is appreciated. It'll look quite different later.


I printed your photo four,

Five times

Darkroom shadows yawning black

Redlight peeking over my shoulders

You drifted up to me in the fixer

Shining eyes.

I thought the composition was pretty good, but I heard them whisper:

“Her photos are only good because he loves her.”

Hey now. It’s not that simple

In fact, that night some ugly sounds fell from our mouths

Sank, and splat! The only way ugly sounds can.

Spitting, gagging, tongue checking the gaps in our teeth for a word,

Something else we might hurl.


I watched your neck, your shoulders

Tattoo shadows on the wall behind you.

But you’re too soft to leave marks. I knew this.


Looked at me

Made me feel shame, know wrong

That is the precise sensation of scooping those glops and swallowing them again as thick hot sticks the throat.

But this I couldn’t develop.

Maybe I’d do best pointing out his nose. It’s really big.

The sun freckles it in June, July, August. He comes home from summer,

Comes home to my sheets

The tip of his nose nuzzles, nudges the blush into my cheeks.

“You grew freckles.”

His face holds mine

His cheeks smooth my forehead, ears, push my eyebrows into a mess

Hold me, hold me

I close my


Five fingertips,

Soft pads trace lines in my soft neck nape

Palm cradling my head

You could play me, rhapsodize my skin, convince me of everything you aren’t

But you’re no symphony

You are laughter



“Are you jealous my lashes are longer than yours?”


When they flake off on your cheeks,

I corral them with the edge of my fingernail

Pinch the small, dark nymphs, and

Make wishes

Seven today.

One for world peace, because if you have seven wishes and don’t spend one on that, you’re a jerk.

Another for my grandpa, for his health.

I’d like to pull all A’s this semester

I hope tomorrow will be a beautiful day.

I want to go back to Japan sometime

It’d be cool to win a Hopwood.

I want you to look at me, that way, with your eyes, forever.

Friday, November 02, 2007


(If anyone has a good title idea, please let me know.)

My father is a very unique man. He considers himself (and rightly so) a European-style liberal intellectual who hates Republicans and conservative politics so fiercely that he must subconsciously rebel against the conservative fixtures around us at all possible times. He mentions marijuana when teaching students about civil suits in his government classes, antagonizes my mother’s born-again-Christian sister at all family gatherings, and, on the day before the 2004 presidential election, told the sole Republican girl in one of his classes that if George Bush won reelection, she had to bring us in an apple pie, because “He’s as American as apple pie, right?” At the same time, he has an indescribably powerful obsession with Richard Nixon, a man who was “just so horrible that you have to love spending time learning about him.”

Despite his excessive pride at being arrested during a political protest outside the White House in 1973, my father is still a law-abiding citizen, who believes that most laws, such as the drinking age, were put in place for a good reason. Ironically, once we venture outside the United States, he feels that we are culturally obligated to partake in the customs of the country we are visiting. In fact, on the big family trip to Italy my senior year of high school, he willingly gave my younger brother and I wine at every meal that it was offered to us.

For me, this was the perfect introduction to alcohol. I never relished the idea of going to a frat party my first weekend of college, having been persuaded to go out by my certainly alcoholic roommate, getting so trashed I passed out, and waking up with a boy I’d never met before in bed next to me. Drinking wine in Italy with my father was a much less stressful experience.

However, once we returned to the US, alcoholic consumption once again became taboo (unless, of course, we were having our friends from France over), and at every available opportunity, my father would tell me, “Don’t drink. It’s bad for you.” On occasion, he would even find it necessary to remind me that alcoholism runs on both sides of our family, and would go through a list of all my relatives who had been alcoholics, so as to suggest that once I started drinking, I may find that the sensations accompanying a rising blood alcohol level to be hereditarily pleasing, and I would be thus persuaded to spend all available time and capital filling myself with the devil’s nectar.

I wonder sometimes if he has forgotten that it was in fact he himself who gave me my first drink. Is his constant need to remind me of the horrific effects of alcohol in excess a way of quelling his inner guilt? Maybe he thought drinking in a country that condones such behaviors in minors negated the actual act of drinking, or that drinking in the company of people whose native land supported such consumption did the same.

Whatever the case, when I got my first lead role in a college operetta production, what did my father do? He popped open a bottle of dessert wine in celebration. And then on Sunday, taking me back to school for my first rehearsal, turned to me and said, “Don’t drink, honey. It’s bad for you.”

The Stones Have Minds

This is actually the original version of the story, but rather than try to edit two copies of the same file, I'll just link you to the most updated version.

Jack picked up a smooth, round stone on the river bank. “This will do!” he shouted to his friend, Lydia. She looked on in amazement as he flung the pebble across the water and watched it bounce on the little splashes it made, leaving a trail of ripples as it went.

“One, two, three, four, five, six...,” she counted to herself. It sunk in on the seventh. “Wow,” she said softly. “How did you do it?” she asked with excitement.

“It's easy!” he replied. “Watch.” He picked up another skipping stone, a little better than the first and managed to skip it eight times.

“Oh!” Lydia exclaimed. “Let me try!” She picked up the first stone she saw and threw it into the pond. It dropped in and sank straight to the bottom. Her eyes lowered in disappointment.

Jack chuckled, “No, no. You have to throw it out sideways. Kind of make it skim along the top.” He added, “You should also make sure you have a good rock. Smooth and round.” He searched the ground a bit. “ this one!” He picked up the perfect stone. As he drew his arm back, he stopped. Did he just feel it shake? No, he must have been imagining things. He tossed it out, watching it go...four, five, ...wait, what was it doing? It looked like it was making a circle! Seven, was! Lydia looked on in excitement, but Jack was horrified! Stones shouldn't come back! At the tenth skip, the stone was at his feet again. Jack's mouth dropped open in surprise, and when Lydia looked up at him, her jubilation faded, leaving open a door for worry. “What's wrong, Jack?” she asked with concern.

Click on Post Page below to see the rest!

“Stones shouldn't do that,” he whispered. Jack lifted up the stone again. Once again he felt it shake, only this time he was sure he wasn't imagining it. “Lydia I think this stone is alive or something. It's shaking! I can feel it!”

She let out a little yelp followed by, “Throw it away, Jack!”

He threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back. “I didn't even skip it that time!” he cried. And it was true; he had thrown it out expecting it to drop straight in, but the stone had bounced as if the water were a trampoline and skipped nine times back to him, once again landing at his feet on the tenth. Jack stepped back, saying “Stones shouldn't be alive like this.” Lydia stared silently and nodded. “Lydia, we should go.” Again she nodded. But as they turned, the stone jumped in front of them. They both let out a little scream and jumped back. It shook again. Then suddenly there was an ear-splitting crack and where the pebble had been now stood an unearthly creature with two muscular legs that ended in claws, a small, beady eye, and smooth, gray, leathery skin. It had no tail or arms, but its mouth was reminiscent of a velociraptor’s. It opened its mouth wide and let out a shrill squeal.

Jack and Lydia’s mouths fell open in shock. The monster stepped towards them and squealed again, louder this time, and then lunged toward Jack, mouth open. Jack quickly moved aside, just missing being chopped in half by its teeth. “RUN!” he yelled.

The two children ran around the monster back towards the town, hearing the squeals of their pursuer right behind them, louder with each step. They entered the forest by the river and fled down the trail, dodging branches and trees as they went. But then, Jack tripped. “Don’t stop, Lydia!” he called to her as he fell. The monster was too close for her to stop and help him. It held Jack down with its leg as it bent down and grabbed Jack’s head between its teeth and pulled. Jack let out a blood curdling scream, which was abruptly cut off as his head was rent from his body. Lydia collapsed soundlessly onto the leaves blanketing the trail at the sight of her friend’s blood spouting from his neck and lost consciousness as the alien being stooped again for his right arm.

The grotesque animal, if it could be called an animal, finished its meal, crunching on the bones, cartilage, and all, using his blood to wash down the body, leaving no trace that Jack had ever existed. It nudged the comatose Lydia, breathing on her slightly as it did, before eloping back to the riverbank. There it made a horrible squeaking noise, like that of a balloon being tied, as it folded in on itself and squeezed itself down to the size of a pebble. A pop echoed through the air as its stone casing closed over it.

A few moments after the pebble clattered back down onto the rocky riverbank, Lydia's eyes fluttered open. It took her a moment to realize she was in some sort of eerily quiet forest somewhere on a surprisingly comfortable bed of leaves. Her head was throbbing, and she had no idea what she was doing there, but the silence was deafening. There wasn't even a flutter of leaves. The last thing she could remember was a large, satisfying lunch that her mom had made for her. But that felt like so long ago. Lydia rose to her feet with her hand to her head and slowly started walking away from the matted down leaves a few feet down the trail from her, confused by the strange feeling that something was missing.

I can't believe this came out of my mind. I was thinking I could do something with this before (between lunch and getting to the river) and after. After would be something along the lines of Lydia going to a psychologist and being forced to remember everything but no one believing her and instead accusing her of killing Jack. But I'm not sure I want to make this any more horrifying than it already is. Also, I'm not sure I could do it well before the lit mag submission deadline, if I decide to submit this.

Actually I decided I don't want to submit this. I want to make a real, developed story, first. Maybe I'll submit it next year (can I do that?).

Thursday, November 01, 2007


11/01 Version:

A bee floats by on the tune of a bird
and lands on a nearby flower,
petals beckoning.
And I

I, an intruder, part of that race:
The one that created
the plane that roars overhead
the peace.

Until I realize that
we're nature, too.

they're all living,
not thinking about
parading beauty.

no vanity here
from the flowers,
and bees.

just being.
just like us.

i'm no outsider.

Disclaimer: Still working on the title. See old versions on the Post Page

10/29 version:

Bees are buzzing, crickets are chirping and flowers are blooming.
And I
am watching.

I, an intruder, am part
of that race:
The one that created
the plane that roars overhead.
the peace.

Until I realize that
We're Nature, too.

They're all living.
Not thinking about
radiating beauty.

No vanity here
from the flowers,
and bees.

Just like us.

I'm no outsider.