Picture Perfect

Practice your ballerina hands, the email said, without much clarification on how to do that.

I looked down at my hands. They were frying pan hands, and the Teflon was peeling.

Practice pointing your toes like a ballerina, the email said. But I’m no ballerina, and all my practice was futile.

Practice smiling genuinely, the email said. At last, something I could do! But when I looked in the mirror, all I could see was the ruby nightmare that framed my face and glittered beneath the bright white vanity lights.

So much for that idea, I thought.

I took a deep breath and tried again. This time, instead of imagining…

The Moon In Her Eyes – Remix

Tonight I’m reworking a prose poem I wrote a while back. Originally, it was a single paragraph, but I’m wondering if this form might work better. Please – share your thoughts below!

The night was dark and the moon was high
As the brave young man strode calmly by
And promised to pluck the moon from the sky
For the girl he loved to wear in her eyes.

He aimed with his arrow,
And shot true and high,
Encircling the moon with a great length of twine,
But it wasn’t enough to capture the prize.

For the moon it continued
To climb through the sky,
And as it did it pulled on the twine,
And ever so slowly did the brave young man rise

Till he found himself alone in the sky

With the moon and his arrow and a great length of twine,
And no way to get back
To the girl that he loved
With the moon in her eyes.

For ever and always
He’ll continue to try
To capture the moon
To hang in the eyes

Of the girl that he loved
On that cold, dark night,
And he’ll never forget
The way that she cried

When he disappeared into
The great black sky
To fetch her the moon
To wear in her eyes.

He’ll never forget
The way that she died
With the moon shining brightly
In her dark brown eyes.

And now it’s your turn – which version do you like better, the prose version or this one? Tell me in the comments!

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

World War IV

A piece of brick caught my eye as I hunkered down in the ruins of the ancient capital.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” -Albert Einstein

I snorted as I picked up my bow and nocked an arrow. I didn’t know who this Einstein guy was, but he hadn’t been far off.

I froze as an arrow whizzed by, narrowly missing my ear. The world was a lot smaller now, but that didn’t mean we wouldn’t fight to the death to save what was left.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Holes

When once long ago
The world spun around,
There were no sights
And there were no sounds,
But there were plenty of holes
Deep down in the ground.

And way down deep
In those holes in the ground,
Where there were no sights
And there were no sounds,
There were eight tiny groundhogs
Just sniffing around.

When there are no sights
And there are no sounds,
And your home is a very deep
Hole in the ground,
The only way to find anything
Is to sniff around and around.

So these groundhogs sniffed
Around and around,
And they followed a path
That led above ground,
Where the sun shone so bright
That naught could be found.

They scampered back quickly
To their holes in the ground,
Where there were no sights
And there were no sounds,
And vowed never again
To search above ground.

For when you are used to the dark
Of a hole in the ground,
Even a little bright light is
Too much to get round
Without fear of falling
Prey to a hound.

So if, like my friends,
You live below ground,
In a hole with no sights
And very few sounds,
Remember your shades
When you venture above ground.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Maybe

The bell clanged long and loud and low outside her window. Day was done, and with it, her toil. She sat back and stretched, shaking the cramps from her fingers before kneading the knots from her neck and shoulders. The bell’s echo receded into the distance, replaced by the sound of jingling keys, of rusty hinges screeching in protest.

He wasn’t supposed to come till tomorrow. She was supposed to have more time. Maybe if she didn’t turn around, if she refused to acknowledge him, maybe he would leave her. Maybe he would come back tomorrow, like he’d promised.

She wasn’t ready to die. No matter what she’d said.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

The Devil Dogs

It was a dry snow; I could tell by the way it swirled in the wind. I shivered.

Old Man Winter wasn’t about to go quietly into the night. Oh, no. He raged outside me window against the coming of the light, huffing and puffing with all of his might. We’d have another foot by morning, or I wasn’t Effie McCray.

At least it would move easily, being so dry. Thank goodness it weren’t packing snow.

Packing snow was heavy, wet stuff, perfect for felling timbers and building snowmen. But we didn’t have any old trees, or even any young ones, to worry about anymore, nor any young’uns itchin’ to build a snowman. The ice storms had already taken care of ’em.

They’d taken care of a lotta things.

I rolled over in bed so’s I faced away from the window. The fire was out in the hearth, and I was out of logs. Oh sure, there were plenty out in the woodshed, but I weren’t about to fetch more. Not after dark, no siree. My Peter had always kept…

One Foggy Night

The fog wove in and out of the trees, making the dark of night seem even darker. The light from my high beams disappeared into the void, swallowed whole by the night. I’d driven this road every night for as long as I could remember, yet tonight it felt new. Strange. Ominous.

I heard it as I rounded the curve, a kettle’s high, whining song, only much, much louder. Home was just within view, and just out of reach. And then, engulfed by a blinding fireball, it was gone.

I sat for a moment, watching the blaze. And then I backed up, turned around, drove into the night till the flames were no more than a memory. The fog wrapped itself around my car as I drove, and I let it envelop me like a warm blanket.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

The Earworm’s Tune

She could feel it burrowing inside her; the earworm was nothing if not persistent, and it had lodged itself firmly within her brain before cranking up the volume to eleven. Pretty soon, the bright and brassy sound of a new age jazz tune was the only thing she could hear; its rhythm pulsed through her, and she couldn’t stop her toes from tapping along in time. Though she tried – oh, how she tried – to stifle the urge, the day finally came when she could no longer keep from singing; she threw herself up onto the stage and belted out the earworm’s tune, and the thunderous applause made the months of torture worth every minute.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Bones

She crouched over his body on the floor. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be happily ever after. He’d sold her a fairy tale, a life she’d barely been able to imagine.

And now he was dead.

They had had only a month together, hardly enough time in which to give her the moon and the stars like he’d promised. He’d sold her a fairy tale, a dream he could not make true.

And now he was dead.

The wind carried her anguish to the hills, swirled her bitter tears out to sea. The trees bent beneath her wails, snapping and cracking like his bones, creaking and groaning like the bones of her house.

When the freak storm finally passed, her neighbors found her frozen in the rubble, still crouched over his body, and thought how sweet it was that they had perished together.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

The Moon In Her Eyes

The night was dark and the moon was high as the brave young man strode calmly by and promised to pluck the moon from the sky for the girl he loved to wear in her eyes. He aimed with his arrow, and shot true and high, encircling the moon with a great length of twine, but it wasn’t enough to capture the prize. For the moon it continued to climb through the sky, and as it did it pulled on the twine, and ever so slowly did the brave young man rise till he found himself alone in the sky with the moon and his arrow and a great length of twine, and no way to get back to the girl that he loved with the moon in her eyes. For ever and always he’ll continue to try to capture the moon to hang in the eyes of the girl that he loved on that cold, dark night, and he’ll never forget the way that she cried when he disappeared into the great black sky to fetch her the moon to wear in her eyes. He’ll never forget the way that she died with the moon shining brightly in her dark brown eyes.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.