Front Page

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Soap Suds

In by Fannie on January 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Her hands were firmly pressed against the sink rim as her arms braced her body, sagging, between them.  She stared uncomprehendingly at the pile of precariously stacked dirty dishes inches away.

She’d had enough.  There had been too many “last straws” in the haze known as “recent.”  First it was the mail, the forgotten groceries, the unnoticed dirt and grime.  The endless dishes that he never touched.  The wailing baby.

“Will you please get her” she hoped with an exhausted sigh.

Newborn on hip and snot-covered two year old clinging to her jeans, she found a crusty sponge and began.

 

 

Advertisements

A Rougher Type Of Man

In by Chris on January 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm

In his last year in university, his father died, leaving him with money and nowhere to go. Unwilling to move to a city with his friends, broken up with his girlfriend of two years, he resolved to live like his heroes.

In a cabin near a lake he wrote copious manuscripts detailing the hard-pressed lives of a multitude. Outside, he tended potatoes. Sometimes old friends from college came to visit him, and they were amazed at his gruff manner. He no longer laughed fluidly; his visions – taken onto himself in refuge – had made him into a rougher type of man.

Perfect Strangers

In by Michael on January 30, 2011 at 9:12 pm

“Hey, how’s it going?”

There’s something magical about meeting someone.

You were born somewhere, and I was born somewhere else, and neither of those places was here. I’ve weaved my way around these years in a way that no one else ever has, and so have you. We’ve done some stuff no one could have predicted, and both seen our share of luck.

Yet here we are, standing next to each other. Both sides of the equation are equal.

I don’t need to know your whole story – and I’d be lying if I said I remember all of mine anyway.

 

The Bachelor

In by Michael on January 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Wake up and I’m wearing the same v-neck as last night. Feels like a million bucks.

Wipe my nose scratch my ass and think about the eggs I’m gonna make. Damn I’m good at eggs.

Where’s the music? I put on some gangster shit. Hello Sunday.

Who left her shoes here last night? Ooo YSL, nice, must be pricey. I wonder how she got home.

The coffee table’s got wine stains on it. That thing has stories to tell. I wouldn’t use coasters even if I had ‘em.

I pull on my beanie and make coffee. Today’s gonna be good.

 

The 600 kiwis

In by Fannie on January 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm

There were 600 furry kiwis outside my door this morning.  I stood there and tried to resist the urge to trample them into juicy pieces.  They squish squelched between my toes.  Soon the brown fuzz turned to gooey green entrails speckled with little black eyeballs that expanded to everywhere.  They spilled over the doorstep and I tracked them up the door.  Years later I would find dried kiwi scum stuck on the underside of the spare key hidden underneath the potted plant.  What do you do with 600 mysterious kiwis that just show up on your doorstep after unspoken years?

Hunger Pangs

In by Fannie on January 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

She hadn’t felt hungry in weeks.  She ate during each meal, for sure, but asides from the fact that sometimes the taste was good, it wasn’t anything great.  Eating became a routine, nothing more.  Maybe she shouldn’t eat? And then one day, it came: the hunger.  At first she thought her stomach was growling but then she realized that there was a slight tug on her insides, like some small paw was scratching her because it wanted something.  Food!  It wanted good food!  It seemed strange that she was excited about being hungry while thousands of others were regularly starving.

Sneeze Guard (II)

In by Chris on January 26, 2011 at 2:29 am

When Zubair had got the sneeze guard out, he took a close look at the curling crack running through the plastic. With his nose almost touching the sneeze guard’s surface, he saw tiny globs of phlegm and mucus in all shades of brown, tan, and yellow. Revolted, he suddenly saw all the damn Americans at their tables, heads full of sludgy snot. No more glamorous belts or dresses, just sagging faces dripping sneeze liquids.

Hefting the sneeze guard like a baseball bat, he hurled it at the hostess stand. Then he gathered handfuls of broccoli and threw them at everyone.

Sneeze Guard (I)

In by Chris on January 26, 2011 at 2:28 am

Zubair unscrewed the cracked sneeze guard at the Old Country Buffet salad bar, careful to support it in the middle so it wouldn’t crash into the containers of vegetables, what with so many diners filing by on the other side. This particular restaurant had the latest sneeze guard model, one Zubair had designed just in the last year.

Sneeze guards for salad bars? His old mother back in Bangladesh would have called him a liar. But sneeze guards had been his life for fifteen immigrant years now, and it still dumbfounded him how little esteem Americans had for their food.

Winter’s Concert

In by Fannie on January 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The lights began to dim.  Hushed murmurs whispered through the audience.  Overhead it grew darker and darker until the glow from the brightness was just a faint memory on the inside of eyelids.   The conductor stood with his baton poised.  The wind instruments perked up and then they began.  It started slowly and quietly – an echo and reminder.  Then they began to build and the wind started to buffet earnestly.  A minute later the drummer was going crazy with a crash of the symbols.  The rain let loose, pounding down on the keys until everything but its music was drowned.

Blown Head Gasket by Dick Hampton

In by New Author on January 25, 2011 at 1:51 am

“So I’m driving along full-tilt. I don’t know if I feel a loss of power or what, but suddenly my gauge is in the red, and I think SHIT! I limp along white-knuckling it, trying to get to help, knowing every second I’m doing permanent damage. So then I find out it’s a blown head gasket! Inside there’s black sludge that smells like a purse on fire, and they’re telling me it means a total rebuild.”

“Oh my God,” Dina says. “Car repairs are so expensive! How much is it going to cost?”

“Car? Who said anything about a car?”

Tired Miles

In by Fannie on January 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm

My world is nothing but this small patch of light I’ve illuminated in the vast expanse of dark.  Even though I can see barely this much of it, the road goes on for miles and miles and miles.  My forever.  Each time I get sleepy, I bop my head that much more vigorously to the music and I continue moving onwards.  I’m steering my videogame racecar for the blaring victory.  It’s hard, at times like this, for me to believe that if I do crash through the railing, I won’t get placed back on the track with one less life.

This 1 is called a piece of genuine monsters (speech-to-text fail)

In by Wyatt on January 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm

One day there is a little girl named alice and she loved to go walking in the woods to see a friends the squirrels and the chipmunks. She ran into a line buff talkin woman of a certain menace. The woman holder if you have no money I must take your last night. the goal of course is too young to have money and so agreed. With hateful certainty the tall dark woman took her prize and vanished into the ether. The girl, not entirely hole anymore, returned home to a distraught mother and an ever absent father. The end.

Observing Data

In by Wyatt on January 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Waiting and watching. I hear the sound of a door open and close and I wait and I watch the person who did it. I must not be seen for that is tactless. I wonder if there’s actually a good way to pass time in this fashion. The detective’s life is one of waiting not doing. Just like at the zoo you stand and you watch but unlike at the zoo it is you in the cage. Another subject rides past me. the sun feels nice on my face. A young man walks past me holding a brown cardboard box.

Motion by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Within each of us is a calling. What that calling is effects every direction we take. When we chose to use that calling; our inner self resonates. Should we ignore it; our compass will spin wildly and we are flung helplessly aside.

As we regroup, we find the strength to recall the need, stretch the source and install our action. All is not lost but all is not completely established. We struggle with jigsaw pieces, fighting to place them into the proper alignments.

We mystically prompt ourselves to covertly capture that segment before it manifests and mutates without explanation.

The first time in a long time

In by Fannie on January 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm

He was unsettled.  Why are you so scared? You’ve done this so many times before!  But it’s different this time… He paced a bit, brow furrowed.  It felt different this time, it sure did.  His body still had the muscle memory for what to do though and how to go about doing it.  He looked in the mirror.  Was that really him?  Guess so.  His bed was unmade.  He went to straighten the sheets.  It’s going to be fine.  You’ll just take it slowly.  But can I do that?  You have an awful lot to live up too… He sighed.

Naked

In by Fannie on January 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I walked home barefoot last night.  My feet begged.  They don’t often yell out.  Through the mist I plunged on the cold pavement.  There could be glass around and the walk home was yet far.  One slice and my day’s routines would be hard.  But those feet have carried me far before and their souls are laced with the DNA from countless nameless, faceless creatures.  My feet and I, we’ve had our disagreements but these days we’ve come to some sort of agreement.  In the mist I whisper sweet nothings to them and thank them for all their selfless work.

On The Pathway (I)

In by Chris on January 21, 2011 at 2:44 am

On their journey to the Peaceful City, Mercy and Felicity came into a small valley ensconced in a fog that made the landscape shift like a billowing flag before their eyes. They walked dazed, amazed at how their minds bent with the air.

A hidden voice came to them, more felt than heard. “What would you like to be?”

In astonishment, Mercy and Felicity held hands. A serene look came over Felicity. “I want to be perfect.”

“Perfect how? Be certain, specific.”

“Perfectly relaxed.”

“Then you will be dead.”

Mercy felt her friend’s hand go limp. “No!” she cried out.

Like Frodo by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

I am fascinated with electronic gadgets…and pretty little boxes…and shiny, sparkly, fluffy, tiny accents.

I have the tastes of an over-teched, frenzied child. I study the gadgets’ consumer reviews and their manuals like it is my job; my final selection is a decision based on fact but driven by pure lust.

Little boxes pop up in flea markets or arrive as gifts; I display and fill but never re-gift them.

All wee things that glitter or flutter appear on my scarves, frames, pillows, lampshades, and gift bags. I am seriously considering adding them to my checks. Will that be allowed?

Green Beans

In by Fannie on January 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Mallory waddled into the kitchen.  Clutching her cow, she yelled: “Maaaaamaaaaaaa, where my green beans.”  Obligingly, a small dish of green beans were placed in front of her.  One by one she picked up the beans with chubby fingers and fed them to Moo.  “Maaaaaaamaaaaaaa, I’m full.”  Mallory waited, humming quietly, and then turned around when Mama didn’t respond.  “Maaaaaamaaaaa-”  Moo fell to the ground next to the green beans.  Those chubby fingers slowly inched up her mother’s slouched form.  “Mama?” Pause.  “Mama?  Do you need some beans?”  When her mother awoke, green beans rested on the white hospital sheets.

Stars by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I am confused. Where do we get off dictating that a celebrity continues to be in the same character forever? Even when the dramatic vehicle has long ago stopped playing? Why do we assume any character we love is forever and a day beloved by the actor playing that character? Hollywood cranks out thousands of roles and only a handful truly become memorable. Somewhere in the mix, it appears we demand a character to remain in costume forever. It is neither fair nor realistic but with (non) reality shows being the entertainment of choice these days, why am I surprised?

Two Wheeler by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Bicyclists need a place to ride. And not in front of my car during heavy traffic hours. I am weary of observing their tiny little spandex covered butts and trembling, firm muscled calves wobbling at neck breaking pumps to keep up in either morning or afternoon traffic. I do admire their tenacity of tackling such a feat, however, my evil twin silently whispers to me, “Take him out”. Current headlines reflect those that act on those impulsive thoughts. I am horrified that I conjure such a thought but shout, “Take the Bus” as I pass, perhaps a tad too close.

Two weeks

In by Lucía on January 19, 2011 at 3:51 am

These kids tell me they’re tired when I ask what’s up, and it doesn’t make sense that just two weeks after three weeks of break, you’ve already worn yourself down — it’s a down that I don’t go to anymore, and as the day comes to a close and we walk and we walk and we walk, tracing the outlines of the places that fill our days, we walk in emptiness and move with the shadows until I return to the empty space that has been given me, to make an impossible decision about which pair are The Best sweats.

The Button Bank

In by Michael on January 19, 2011 at 2:04 am

How can YOU make sure you never are without buttons on your shirt?

Many shirts come with a button or two extra in case one falls off. Those extra buttons are so easy to lose, and that’s where we come in.

Send your extra buttons away to us folks at the Button Bank. Your extra buttons will be paid forward to someone who is in a moment of need. And if, god forbid, you are one day in need of a replacement button, you can call on us to supply you with the button. We are the Button Bank, after all.

Shoesday Tuesday

In by Fannie on January 18, 2011 at 11:47 pm

So I walk in and sit on this bench, right, and immediately I see this guy in front of me with like, more shoes than my mother’s sister – you know, the skanky one, yeah, her –more shoes than she owns.  All 3” heels, size 5.  High heels and boots, all of them.  Laces, sparkles, hot pink, satiny green, strappies, fur, rhinestones…even ones with zebra print and cloth buckles. I’m thinking, damn girl except it’s not a girl! It’s this short dude.  He got $884 and that was only a third of what the store was gonna sell them for.

Admonishment

In by Chris on January 18, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Don’t cry over spilt milk. That’s not applicable. Have a twinge over spilt beer. That’s a master’s concoction on the tabletop. That’s your relaxation. But don’t cry. Clean it. Open another. Frown at your clumsiness; move slower next time. Don’t let it show; frown inside. The bottle’s in the trash now. You’ll take it out in the morning. That’s it; it’s gone. No one was watching. You’re in the clear. Still, it won’t happen again. The stickiness left on the tabletop shouldn’t be there. You’re not a clumsy man. A beer bottle shouldn’t lie on its side pouring itself out.

Vigilante Justice

In by Allison on January 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Teachers weren’t supposed to play favorites. Especially not in Spelling Bees. But the last two standing were Morgan and Justin, and suddenly, Mrs. Carter had a thought. I could cheat. No one would ever know. After all, Morgan had already won, really. Morgan’s PTA mom was probably waiting outside in her Prius. Morgan had earrings from Tiffany’s. Justin’s t-shirt was dirty. Classmates who weren’t friends with kids like him watched coldly, vaguely disgusted that he’d beaten them all.

“Carburetor. C-A-R-B-E-R-E-T-O-R.” Morgan, fast and confident.

“That is incorrect. Justin?”

A breath. Quietly. “Carburetor. C-A-R-B-U-R-A-T-O-R.”

Mrs. Carter paused.

Fair. F-A-I-R.

“Justin, that is…correct.”

Something like contentment

In by Fannie on January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

She sat back and marveled.  The ocean was crashing just there; the fine white sand was squishing up between her toes and there were about as many dogs as people running around down there, below.  And there was sun.  Everything twinkled and it reflected off the waves in irrepressible smiles and countless tracks across the sand.  She smiled when she thought about the scene in front of her. Inside though, she felt still.  There was no giddiness or glee but instead a column of quiet, of strength maybe but really just being.  Life, with its many emotions, fused into something.

What’s it mean to live?

In by Fannie on January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I try to feel excited, invigorated and alive each moment of each day.  If I don’t, I try to change what I’m doing.  But sometimes, I wonder if it’s possible to be so full of life and motion in each second of each millisecond of each slice of a day, of two days, or a week, of three months, of the years all of which slowly pile up like sand particles in an hourglass.  So many of those feel unproductive and tired.  Maybe though, my definition is skewed towards a reality that’s always striving, working and moving towards more.  Perhaps.

Make My Day by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I’ve endured yet another grocery shopping experience. I recognize that money is tight and food prices are soaring but why is it necessary to act like an uneducated idiot while shopping? Shopping baskets block aisles; children are screaming and/or chasing each other all over the store while parents/caretakers are chatting on a cell phone, texting, making a ‘love connection’ or berating clerks. Come on People! Act like the adult; curtail the socializing and take time with your child; teach them how to act in public and/or how to shop. That would be a novel idea…to improve both adult and child!

When There Wasn’t Enough

In by Michael on January 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm

During the war years, the hours of each day were spent surviving til the next, for Lucas and his father.

Each day, the man and his boy had to make do with food enough for only one of them. They’d take a day’s ration, and each would eat a quarter of it. Then they would each a quarter of what was left. And they’d keep repeating, making careful slices, to slow down the meal and pretend there was enough for seconds, thirds, fourths. Eventually, the remaining piece would be too small to cut. Lucas’s father always gave it to Lucas.

Marooned

In by Chris on January 17, 2011 at 8:46 am

[Setting: A desert island.]

Clyde: I say we drink a bunch of beer, make a raft from the empty bottles, and float away to safety.

Lawrence: We have no beer.

Clyde: It was a joke.

[Susie leaves them to go for a swim.]

Lawrence: What’s her deal, anyway?

Clyde: What do you mean?

Lawrence: I mean, it’s her fault, right? Why we’re marooned?

Clyde: I didn’t even know she was on the boat ‘til she showed up here on the island with us.

Lawrence: I’d blame her for anything.

[Susie returns dripping, holding a starfish.]

Susie: Boy, wasn’t that refreshing!

Sunset at Santa Barbara

In by Chris on January 17, 2011 at 1:21 am

The sunset over the Pacific turns the western half of the sky orange, a brilliant demonstration that earth’s overarching beauty still engulfs horizons un-engulfable by the most technological jetliners. But perhaps the most beautiful part of this sunset, looking out from the sea cliffs here at Santa Barbara, are the electric clusters of yellow and blue lights out in the rippling expanse of the ocean, the oil drilling platforms that even at nightfall slurp dark liquid from the fractured rocks far below the blazing orange waves. They are a constellation in the sunset, an outline of portent, beautiful and distant.

Beam Me Up! by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on January 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Elevators are my entertainment each workday. I work on the 29th floor and typically have at least 6 or more riders ascending/descending with me. My fellow riders were always staring at the floor; mumbled a floor number when unable to punch in their floor number but seldom made eye contact with other passengers of accent or descent.

I found it boring and inhumane. So the ‘smile and make eye contact’ mission was born. It amazes me still after 10 years of playing this little game how shocked and responsive people are. Recognition of a real live person finally means something.

Coffee

In by Michael on January 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Everyone drinks it.

Grown in South America, made classy in Europe, and brought to the rest of the world by caffeinated Americans.

Truckers will down cups of joe at rest station diners to stay awake for the long haul, and snobs will obsess over the fineness of the grind in the cup they’ll pay $5 for, and kids will sip from dad’s cup at breakfast and say it tastes gross.

You add cream or whiskey or chocolate and you have a whole new drink for a whole new person.

You tell me you drink coffee and you’ve told me nothing.

The Painter

In by Michael on January 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm

The whale said to the artist: “You painted me wrong.”

“What do you mean? I paint what I see.”

“But my tail- you painted it crooked, and it’s uncomfortable that way. And my eyes should look less empty.”

“I feel the same way sometimes. My nose doesn’t look like it should, and I’m probably not as smart as I think I am. And I’m not as good of a wife as I could be, and I tell myself I’m blonde when I haven’t been since I was 14. So if I paint you wrong, it’s because I was painted wrong.”

 

Older Now

In by Allison on January 15, 2011 at 2:00 am

Michael was content. Not giddy-happy (like cold-pink cheeks, noses touching, on a bridge in Paris) but content. The air was mild in California. His bike ride to work was peaceful. He was content with his wife—pretty, but not too pretty. Two young daughters. A border collie even.

He’d been so restless! Buses, trains, backpacks, cities full of strangers- so much loneliness, just for those brief thrilling moments of tingly alive, holding her (whoever she was—didn’t matter really) against him and There I am! Hello again!

Sometimes he dreamed of Paris. But he was always content to wake up.

Regarding Your Spears

In by Brandon on January 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Doctor Stronghold awoke to find himself, once again, in the lair of Siegfried the Terrible. One hundred guards stood guard around Doctor Stronghold, and a steel girder had been twisted and welded into a collar around his neck. Doctor Stronghold flexed his neck muscles with such force that the steel girder burst asunder and each rivet holding it in place shot out and killed a guard. (Doctor Stronghold calculated the trajectories beforehand.) Some guards with spears confronted Doctor Stronghold. He deflected their spears by flexing his forearms. “YOUR SPEARS MEAN NOTHING TO ME!” He flexed his arms further, shattering the spears.

Untitled by Mary-Ann Ortiz-Luis

In by New Author on January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

The days have passed and still I carry this heavy sense of foreboding, all the time. You shatter my reality by appearing on my last day.  I hesitate to come near you.  You try to smile and reassure me things are just fine.  On the way to the airport, I ask, “So what’s your plan?”  You pause and  look at me, expressionless.  “I guess I have to stay and take care of things.”  And I reply, “I see.”  I step out and say good-bye.  And that’s when it became clear to me: I will not wear your ring anymore. Adieu.

All the conversations we’re not having by Poncie Rutsch

In by New Author on January 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

I filled the little box for the next line in our conversation. I delete each letter. I fill it again. Delete, delete, each squiggle vanishes again.

The line turns into a paragraph, then disappears back into the abyss. The paragraphs start evolve into a story, some are copied and saved into documents and drafts of emails, never to be sent.

If I leaf through the folders carefully enough, these half-life statements reappear from the void behind this glowing screen.

Never do they make it across cyberspace to your doorstep.

A Man Is Fired And Walks Into The Forest

In by Chris on January 14, 2011 at 12:58 am

When Lawrence came into the office to punch his timecard, his boss said, “Wash the grease off yer hands, I can’t keep you round any more.”

Lawrence was walking home confused, staring at the ground as if drunk, when he veered off the shoulder of the road and into the forest. His mechanic’s coveralls felt clumsy compared to the swishing of pine needles underfoot, and it dawned on him that his garb was now useless. Jobless, he was.

Under a lone oak tree, Lawrence found a pile of small bones. Chalky white in the dark loam, they made him shudder.

Flood Biodiversity by Poncie Rutsch

In by New Author on January 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

Today Australia is underwater. The university I called home about two weeks ago is closed, and cars float down rivers that used to be dry creek beds.

I looked at jellyfish under a microscope. I imagine Noah’s ark, and collecting two of each animal. Did Noah remember the cnidarians? Each species of mollusc? Did he appreciate the way a glow worm lights up a cave exactly the same way as stars in a sky?

I take each flatworm, each insect, each parasite, each stinging cell on the jellyfish, and place them in pairs alongside the elephants and giraffes and horses.

California

In by Michael on January 12, 2011 at 4:09 am

technology startups investment entrepreneurship business jobs education prestige wine farming land weather skiing surfing fun sun youth

style trends fashion shopping movies food service products energy industry power politics debt conservatives liberals poverty gangs

military gays flair entertainment celebrities actors directors writers artists hippies hipsters marijuana cocaine imports immigrants urban rural suburban

sports Giants Chargers Lakers Sharks beaches roads highways mountains hills deserts fields forests lakes cliffs coast sailing travel SFO SJC LAX cars motorcycles pollution

design art history conquest gold opportunity future health fitness bodybuilding biking yoga hiking granola yogurt blondes suntans bikinis beauty architecture earthquakes fires trees green.

Love Song by Poncie Rutsch

In by New Author on January 12, 2011 at 1:48 am

Cheap Trick had it all right. Others say the Beatles knew it best: I want to hold your hand. It’s true, sometimes you want nothing more than a hand to hold. Across species, animals choose the mates that are nice to them. Not the attractive, not the strong, not the rich.

I want you to want me.

This is the root of the love song: simply yearning for the care of another. It’s not a hand for you to hold; it’s a hand to hold you.

The Other Girl

In by Allison on January 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I put down the manuscript.

“Well?” he asked. He was doing a crossword puzzle with a ballpoint pen.

“She’s not me.”

“What?”

“The girl. She’s someone else. She’s not me.”

“She’s no one,” he said. “She’s made up. It’s fiction.”

Always a level voice. I loved him: steady, solid. But hated that he could build worlds with words that made me weep while never weeping himself. Do you feel these things you write? Or are you just a scribe? Tell me you feel something, dammit.

“Do you love her? This girl?”

“She’s made up. She’s not real,” he said quietly.

Homesick Color-Watching

In by Allison on January 11, 2011 at 3:57 am

Just when she thought she was getting used to the place, her eyes would taste a color that was too hard to swallow. At the fruit seller’s stand (mangos, tangerines, and bananas, brighter than any she’d seen in her life), or the flash of gilded magenta on a saari. She found herself staring at women often, the splendor of coffee-milk skin against fabric that glowed—the women here were more fascinating than the men.

The colors hurt sometimes. Garbage melting into the pavement, and she would freeze, drinking the color until it was gone. She wished she could look away.

Impersonal Poem by Poncie Rutsch

In by New Author on January 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm

shiny sand hair flips out at the edges
her nose stuffed up
cuts a clear trickle-water voice short
echoless in an empty room

the daisies relax when she opens the door
he places their stems in a jam jar
for a sip of water before their faces bob again
chiming in a chorus of hellos

he wants to make ammends
she doesn’t believe in impersonality.
the daisies nod their witness
to the simmered circumstance

at a certain point, she says
everything is personal

Michael II

In by Chris on January 10, 2011 at 12:57 am

Alone in the Hagia Sophia, Leo’s prayers were fervent. “Father, your will be done. Tomorrow I slay Michael and become your appointed emperor.” The flat Christmas light muted the gold-flaked murals.

An hour later, Leo fought desperately with a wooden cross in one hand and an incense burner in the other as Michael and his followers returned, disguised as priests and monks and intent on killing the upstart ruler.

When Leo lay dying of his injuries below the altar of the cathedral, Michael raised hands that still bore the shackles of prison, to reclaim his position as Emperor of Byzantium.

Moonrise on an island in the middle of the sea by Poncie Rutsch

In by New Author on January 10, 2011 at 12:49 am

Crushed coral prickles the backs of my crossed legs. I see nothing, no shine on the water, no horizon, nothing except the spackling of stars. I can hear where the land ends – small waves breaking softly just in front of where I stand – but I see only blackness.

A streak of whiteness appears across the sparkling crests of ocean. A small forehead peers at us over a glassy curtain. It grows to a full face, turns orange, and crosses through the hanging clouds to start a nightlong journey across the sky.

What I Saw At Jasper Ridge Today

In by Chris on January 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm

A newt with a lumpy brown back, an orange belly, and laser blue eyes.
A rabbit hiding under the boardwalk.
A heron flying home towards the sunset high above.
Clouds shaped like a waiter’s arm holding a plate.
A bird of prey sitting unconcerned in the top of a tree, while a flurry of sparrows made noise below.
Tracks of deer, bobcats, raccoons, and mountain bikes.
Chert and serpentine.
A glen of redwoods next to a creek.
Mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes.
Groundhog burrows everywhere.
A mallard riding down the creek.
A deer silhouetted on a hilltop.

Twelfth Day

In by Chris on January 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm

On the twelfth day we lost our morale. When Dr. Jenkins lagged silently behind, unnoticed beneath the great Brazil nut trees until it was too late, he took with him the lingering shreds of confidence that attended our expedition. Then we were afraid to drink the water, afraid to shout to each other, and afraid to hope we might return. Twelve days, and still we walked away from the last logging road we had seen. We pushed on, I think, because the way to our hidden goal seemed shorter than the way back through the dripping arches of the jungle.