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Norah

United States

A writer who wants to be an actor who wants to be a poet.
Witchcraft | Queer Musings | Moon Poetry

Message from Writer

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
---
Half of my poems are titled "The Human Condition"

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Norah (United States) started following DesireeWinns (Germany)

about 1 month ago

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Norah (United States) published:

Queer (On Reclaiming)

PROMPT: Poetry and Spoken Word Competition

I always liked the word queer.
Like a mushroom or a flower;
paraphernalia, unexplained and unexplainable.
Like a stone held in my hand,
it fit.

And maybe that was because my tongue always tripped over the syllables of ‘lesbian’
because my skin didn’t fit over my shape as well as it should have
my gender didn’t fit into my mouth,
dipped in the center and cleaved like a bamboo shoot,
queer.

I heard it in biology
outside on the lawn. ...

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 1 month ago

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Norah (United States) published:

Shower

PROMPT: Monostitch

I held the shape of worn down soap against two fingers, the shape of a guitar pick, or my heart.

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 2 months ago

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Norah (United States) published:

Pomegranate

PROMPT: Acrostic Verse

Persephone lives with her feet buried in the rich dirt and leaves
only when her
mother begs her, as if she too were a prisoner, longing and lonely, cold
enough to make a winter bitter
gold enough to save the summer for those who needed it
rain only comes when persephone is home, or alone in her mother’s basket seasons
another moment sleeping in the grasses wondering about everything, and
nothing
and longing to be
two feet in the
earth,...

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 2 months ago

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Norah (United States) published:

The Midnight Watchman

FREE WRITING

    They sold it at Walmart, at midnight, when the store was supposed to be closed but the surgical white light spilled through the windows and the sliding double doors.
    The rest of the world was asleep, just for a moment. When the minute mark crept to zero again and the hour blinked into twelve.
    The light spilling from the store and pharmaceutical (according to sign out in front) flickered, then returned, brighter, it seemed.
    A few cars passed by, but...

Seeking Peer Reviews

3 months ago

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Norah (United States) started following Angelina Nguyen (Australia)

3 months ago

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Norah (United States) published:

Welcome Weight

PROMPT: Love in 13 Words

Love is warm and purple
like truth in the summertime
but less heavy.

Seeking Peer Reviews

3 months ago

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Norah (United States) liked A Hallowed Day by Grace Mary Potts (Australia)

4 months ago

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Norah (United States) published:

In January

PROMPT: “In January”

“Burn up with the water
The floods are on the plains
The planets in a rose
Who knows what they contain?
And my brain is like an orchestra
Playing on, insane
Will you love me like you loved me in the January rain?”
            --Mary, Big Thief

All I know is we met in a parking lot in the dead of winter.
All I know is that revolutions happen in February for a reason,
because all of January...

Seeking Peer Reviews

4 months ago

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Norah (United States) published:

These Were the Clothes

FREE WRITING

    We were biking. We were biking and sweating our asses off. Grime and dirt and the smell of the road sticking to our skin like oil and heat. We wore shirts that breathed for us and reflective vests and black spandex with cushioning.
These were clothes that were meant to protect us. They stopped us from getting hit by cars, spared us pain and heat-exhaustion and sunburn. They were clothes made of purpose and grit and strength, because we had...

Seeking Peer Reviews

4 months ago

Published Work

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition

Queer (On Reclaiming)

I always liked the word queer.
Like a mushroom or a flower;
paraphernalia, unexplained and unexplainable.
Like a stone held in my hand,
it fit.

And maybe that was because my tongue always tripped over the syllables of ‘lesbian’
because my skin didn’t fit over my shape as well as it should have
my gender didn’t fit into my mouth,
dipped in the center and cleaved like a bamboo shoot,
queer.

I heard it in biology
outside on the lawn.
It was sunny that day,
and cold,
we were dissecting segments of grass and hardy weeds,
counting the bursts of yellow dandelion
on wind chilled fingers.

“I don’t like those people, they’re queer.”

Like the breath rushed out of me,
I couldn’t breath.
These were not the insults hurled through windows,
these were not the misconceptions and the malapropisms spewed from half-minded whispers.
It was me.

I wanted to take my sun-dipped hands and press them around his words,
strangle...

Monostitch

Shower

I held the shape of worn down soap against two fingers, the shape of a guitar pick, or my heart.

Acrostic Verse

Pomegranate

Persephone lives with her feet buried in the rich dirt and leaves
only when her
mother begs her, as if she too were a prisoner, longing and lonely, cold
enough to make a winter bitter
gold enough to save the summer for those who needed it
rain only comes when persephone is home, or alone in her mother’s basket seasons
another moment sleeping in the grasses wondering about everything, and
nothing
and longing to be
two feet in the
earth, again.

The Midnight Watchman

    They sold it at Walmart, at midnight, when the store was supposed to be closed but the surgical white light spilled through the windows and the sliding double doors.
    The rest of the world was asleep, just for a moment. When the minute mark crept to zero again and the hour blinked into twelve.
    The light spilling from the store and pharmaceutical (according to sign out in front) flickered, then returned, brighter, it seemed.
    A few cars passed by, but none seemed to notice. It was a quiet town, with quiet houses and quiet yards. The streets were well paved and the sky almost clear.
    Midnight lasts eternity in the parking lot of a Walmart in semi-suburbia. When the watch is the right kind of watch, and the night is just the right kind of night.
    Nights like those nights were the best for magic. The dirty kind that was midnight chalk circles and smoke. And the back of a...

Love in 13 Words

Welcome Weight

Love is warm and purple
like truth in the summertime
but less heavy.

“In January”

In January

“Burn up with the water
The floods are on the plains
The planets in a rose
Who knows what they contain?
And my brain is like an orchestra
Playing on, insane
Will you love me like you loved me in the January rain?”
            --Mary, Big Thief

All I know is we met in a parking lot in the dead of winter.
All I know is that revolutions happen in February for a reason,
because all of January is waiting
and wondering if blood looks better on snow than on the dust of summer.

All I know is it rained
over the evergreens
in the blankness of a January sky
over the glancing white strips of road markers,
over the black asphalt.

All I know is the beauty of two colors:
red on white
green on grey.

All I know is we spiraled from the planets on their whim
and if we dreamed any bigger
we might have...

These Were the Clothes

    We were biking. We were biking and sweating our asses off. Grime and dirt and the smell of the road sticking to our skin like oil and heat. We wore shirts that breathed for us and reflective vests and black spandex with cushioning.
These were clothes that were meant to protect us. They stopped us from getting hit by cars, spared us pain and heat-exhaustion and sunburn. They were clothes made of purpose and grit and strength, because we had sweat in them for ten days on the highway, over hills and across bridges. These were warrior clothes.
    Was it the clothes? The short shorts and the tight shirts? Was it the fact that we were a group of only women biking next to cars full of men? Men who felt that it was their right to honk their horns and shout expletives out their windows as they sped past?
    What was it about us: women with sweat...

Intentions and Invocations

For the New Year

This will be the year
we sit under a towel in the rain
on the night-baked roof of a friend’s house
in the summertime.
Watching the fireworks,
and the boom of the light in my feet,
dusty from rooftop dampness.

This will be the year
my misgivings turn into mountains
physical, unavoidable,
able to be climbed and conquered.

This will be the year
I stop hoping for the improbability
of springs like I’ve remembered
and instead embrace
the violets as they come,
early or late or never at all.

This will be the year
the spoon dips the egg out of its cup
and it will not stop beating
only adapt
and listen
and learn.

The Human Condition

I.
It's warm as the beginning of spring.
In the middle of winter, it feels somewhat off,
like ice melting on the pond and the geese chattering away
beneath the gray sky.
Everything is under a lens, it seems,
monochrome, sepia,
the color of moods and thoughts and the promise of violets.
Rain is dripping, like a spattering of oil,
and the city lights seem less bright,
the buildings more permanent
as though we were afraid of something so archaic as a storm.  
 
II.
I speculate about change,
good and bad.
 
How eons
are just gaps in the profound silence
the universe has made for itself.
Brief bits of cosmic static.
 
How leaves
wouldn’t make a sound
if not for the wind.
 
III.
My greatest fear is to be an emperor,
and die before things get better,
before the city is built,
or the war ends,
that my role would be to save people I...

Flash Autobiography

4:00 a.m.

    I wake up early to shake myself out of half-sleep and stumble across the grass to the bathroom. There’s a neon palm tree uphill from where we're camping, a gaudy fixture of someone’s mobile home. The sky is gray and the brightness of the electric lights seems somewhat off. It must be four o’clock or some other ungodly hour. The stars are still out. The red above the mountains across the lake reminds me of midnight for some reason. Of times not meant to be seen.
    On the way back from relieving myself, I find myself stopped, completely, by the startling brightness of a planet, shining above my eyes. It doesn’t flicker, not like the fading candle light of the stars. It’s steady, as if it’s staring at me. I don’t move. Not until the grass under my feet becomes too soggy to bare, and I crawl back into the chrysalis of my sleeping bag for a few...

Ten Words to You

By Design

Sunlight makes the late autumn leaves into stained glass ghosts.

The Art of Specificity

Ghost in the Wintertime

There were sirens, far off. Snow bordered the water. The sky was blue. In the afternoon light I thought of all the things that could happen. But they didn’t.

Police sirens wailed in the distance as I stood at the edge of the water, the waves lapping at fresh snow. The sky was a egg-shell blue with wisps of cloud like the snow at my feet. The sun fell watery and harsh on the ice and gravel and grass. And who was I, to stand alone, watching the waves? Who was I to think something would happen? To be suddenly, inexplicably terrified---like I was standing at the lip of a cliff and no one would see me fall.

Standing at the edge of the water, watching the waves lap slowly at the snow, I heard sirens. They were distant, like the mournful cries of a computer, like the beating of terrified breath. The snow was turning into ice and the...

Talking to “You”

Witched

    You never supposed this would happen. The lake was a secret well kept, and was best kept that way because it was in plain sight. It took you years to connect well worn paths through the underbrush to the water glimpsed through leaves and branches on the bike ride back from school. You’ve never seen anyone on these paths, although sometimes you think you see a beach through the trees, and several dark figures, standing by the water’s edge. Then as soon as you ride past, it slips your mind, a bit of memory caught like a cobweb in a fine comb. Until you see it again, tomorrow, or the next day. An endless cycle of remembering and forgetting.
    Somehow it doesn’t seem strange to you, somehow it takes you years to be even slightly curious. It’s a pond in the middle of a city, surrounded by trees and roads and buildings and people, yet secret. It looks rather grimy,...

Talking to “You”

Witched

    You never supposed this would happen. The lake was a secret well kept, and was best kept that way because it was in plain sight. It took you years to connect well worn paths through the underbrush to the water glimpsed through leaves and branches on the bike ride back from school. You’ve never seen anyone on these paths, although sometimes you think you see a beach through the trees, and several dark figures, standing by the water’s edge. Then as soon as you ride past, it slips your mind, a bit of memory caught like a cobweb in a fine comb. Until you see it again, tomorrow, or the next day. An endless cycle of remembering and forgetting.
    Somehow it doesn’t seem strange to you, somehow it takes you years to be even slightly curious. It’s a pond in the middle of a city, surrounded by trees and roads and buildings and people, yet secret. It looks rather grimy,...

Third Person Limited

Her Genie

     She watched from the couch as her sister rubbed a handmade concoction of wax and oil over her face.
    “Do you have to clean up now?” Helen asked her sister, who was checking her hair in a polished scrap of metal. “We’ll be late.” Emma didn’t respond and Helen closed her eyes like it hurt. She stayed still for a few seconds, then leaned over suddenly to wretch in a basin laid out by her feet, sweat beading on her pale forehead.
    Her sister was there instantly, pulling her hair back and tracing soothing patterns over her back.
    “It’s not even your genie,” Helen said, tears running down her face unbidden, “it’s my genie and it’s gone and I feel like something’s been ripped out of me.” Emma just held her and shushed.
    “I know, I’m sorry sweetie, I’m sorry, we’ll go.” She said it with an air of guilt, running her fingers through her...

Names for Nature

Cold Brook

I.
“I swear there was river here, before.”
“Maybe it will come back, one day, maybe it’s just not the right season”
“One day.”
“Yes. Life is cyclical. Nature bounces back. If not now, then maybe when our children’s children’s children still live here. Maybe they’ll witness it’s return.”
“I really just wanted you to see it."
"I know, honey, I know.”
“One day.”
“I know.”

II.
“Describe it to me.”
“Well, it was kind of small, but it broadened out, over there, by those flat rocks. And it was cold, so cold. We lost our breath when we jumped in. I remember I could feel every inch of my body just, on fire. And it made me feel alive, I guess.”
“What was it called?”
“I don’t think it had a name, we just called it the cold brook.”
“Then that’s it’s name.”
 

Your World in Three Senses

Roadside

    There had been an accident of sorts, the bike gears rattling to the time of gravel below us, then the crunch of things just out of place. On the side of the road in the heat, the smell of sun-burnt wild flowers and dust around us like a fog, the only thing that seemed to matter was time. We read the sub-par romance novel we had bought at the grocery store, searched for shade when it moved slightly away and away again. The sun inching carefully above our heads and the sound of leaves in the slight breeze. Of course there were wildflowers and of course there was the fading sound of  cicadas. And of course I miss it all too much now. When my hands aren’t printed with the shapes of gravel and the air doesn’t smell like the road.

Turned to Stone

Place of Disappearance

      There’s nothing sinister about a soundproof room, I thought to myself as we filed into the classroom. There were big chunky computers at each desk, each about as old as I was. It occurred to me that I had never been in this classroom. It wasn't unimaginable, my school was a large and ancient institution with unmoving rules and the habit of hiding secret rooms in plain site. There weren’t any windows and that didn't make any sense. According to the logic of the building every room either had access to the inner courtyard or windows to the outside. This room had neither. It was an old lab space with floor to ceiling cupboards and a jutting wall that obscured the only exit. In all ways it seemed to be cutting the air out of my lungs, and for a second I was terrified. What would a scream sound like from the outside? Like nothing. 

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

I Say to Her

I speculate about change:
good and bad.
I look to the next year
the next decade.
After I’m gone,
I tell her:
After I’m gone you can find me in spring.
I always hated the winter.
I always hated how weather wasn’t normal anymore.
It was man made,
hammered out in factories
and assembled with human intent:
by us.
There was fault there, blame.
We are why the violets die.

My greatest fear is to be an emperor,
and die before things get better,
before the city is built 
before the war ends,
that my role would be to save people I could never meet.
Therefore I am afraid to be human.
Therefore I am afraid to go outside and face the sun,
to tell her why every part of me is killing someone else.

I speculate about the generations to come
how the stories I will tell them
of my grandmother 
and her grandmother
will make them see the...

Beyond Reason

Why Must our Shadows Remain Strangers?

I.
Why must our shadows remain strangers?
And why does the sky insist on changing its shade?
Why does the sun drape itself over walls and chairs and cats?

II.
Without the wind, would trees make any noise at all?

III.
Why is faith such an integral part of our soul,
and if it had a shape, would it be solid, like a bone?

IV.
Why do we feel so strongly?
Is it because of the joy, or the sadness?

Becoming Human

Typewriter

You are human,
I say to my typewriter.
You too make mistakes. 
You too have scars
and the dust of ages
caked in your inner-workings.

Signing Off

Dear Mouse

Dear mouse,
    It's not that I don’t understand why you're here. It’s cold, I know. That doesn’t mean I'm going to forgive you for scurrying through the walls at midnight, and making the cat think that the house is haunted. And I'm not going to apologize for that time I banged on the ceiling like a madwoman every time you moved. 
    I’m sure you don’t care about my math grade, or who the president elect is, or my astonishing lack of cash. I’m sure you don’t care about global warming or my decline in practicing violin. I sure you will be dead soon, quiet and still in the scaffolding. I’m sure you have lived a fruitful life, for a mouse.  
    It’s very close to Christmas and I’m coming to terms with the fact that my children and my children’s children will lead a life that is drastically different from my own. It’s very...

1 Photo, 100 Words

"Come Outside"

     “Come outside,” said Trisha, shaking me awake, jittering with excitement. I groaned, turning over in my sleeping bag. 
     “What is it.”
     “Look,” it was the laughter and joy in her voice that roused me. I looked. 
     The door was open, a near miracle in itself. And beyond…
     I laughed and grabbed her hand and we padded across metal together, drawn in by the fobidden bath of blue light. 
     We sat with the others, and pressed our noses to the frosted glass and smiled until our faces hurt.
     And when the adults found us, we could not manage to feel guilty. 

Why I Write

Because it is Inevitable...

     I write because it is inevitable, because I fear part of me will die if I do not. I write because it is an escape, and because it feels like home. I write because I hope to be remembered. I write because sometimes it's the only thing that feels like anything at all, like my words are me, like my lists will one day come true. 
     I write because everything I have not written is a vast open space, cavernous, hollow. I write to feel my bones and the wind on my skin, to see the soft butterflies of poetry land on my arms. I write to embrace the world, so I can wrap my arms around the cosmos. I write.

My December Competition 2016

Walking Home

I.
There is night
and there is the frigid half-light
of a winter afternoon.

II.
A fire truck, ablaze
rushed passed me in color.
How is it that I am terrified.
How is it that the blue and red look oddly festive. 
One gloved hand shoved hurriedly over an ear,
squinting into the noise.

III.
Christmas is lights reflected on mirrors and in shop windows,
our movement evident in the picture, 
after all, Christmas is nothing without us. 

IV.
There will always be birds and stars.
I believe.
I hope.

The Peace of Wild Things

​Unafraid

Why is darkness surprising,
the ice and the brambles and the quiet,
wild way the wind whistles after dark.

The sky is not a monster under the bed,
only the gentle silk of morning,
and the charcoal of night.

Our fears are our own creation,
the river will roar and crash and kill,
but that is how it is,
and always has been,
blood is not spilt it is spent and
our hands can neither tame nor object
to nature. 

Only look, only touch, only know.

For, in recent memory,
the sun has risen every day 
and set every night.
The mountains will remain,
and the wildflowers will find a way,
despite staggering odds,
to grow.

Novel Writing Competition 2016

Second Choices

    At five o’clock sharp on a Saturday, the ferry would leave the harbor, a dozen or so anxious children leaving their anxious parents smiling tightly on the dock. The boat had extra room below deck for the sheep, and plenty of spray paint to go around. The chaperones took a headcount, handed out extra mittens and gave everyone hot chocolate. After all, the children were going to make their fortunes, a hot drink was in order.
    At around six o’clock, a withered old professor who had grown too old for the even older art of augury, would make his way to the school house. He would sit down in an abandoned classroom, open his briefcase and remove twelve tests, ten pencils and two erasers. The numbers kept dwindling because the department of oracles had lost faith in the small town of Arsek. He would dutifully place a test at each desk, break one pencil in half,...

10 Second Essays

Saturday Afternoons and Almost Memories

Think of the yellow flowers and the orange cat resting his head in the sun, peaceful.
-Think of the porcelain frog sitting at the base of a tree in a cluster of clovers.  
-Think of shadows that are a projection on a wall of something meticulous and beautiful.
-Think of the vague shadows a tree makes in the wind.
-Think of the sky, so blue it hurts to look at it. 
-Think of warm sun on a cool day.
-Think of the lemon tree in someone's backyard. 
-Think of that night the wind was wild and woke you up in to see the moon.
-Think of that night on the warm beach with the whole Milky Way spread out before you.
-Think of sunsets and rocking chairs and crickets. 
-Think of how certain songs make you feel.
-Think of the cat lying next to you, rumbling.
-Think of that day, 2012, on the 12th of December at 12 o’clock...

Rewilding

Why We Need to Go Outside

Flizzle: When it snows and the leaves are still on the trees, brown or red or yellow. The world is muted by the flurries and the ground grows damp and cold. 

Elitra: The sun peeks in and out between the trees, blinding and then a flicker of flame at edge of vision.

Soliff: Ground made entirely of fallen pine needles, spongy and dry, smelling of deep forests and sap.

1 Photo, 20 Words

Big Bang

There was a beginning, once.
An explosion?
A miracle?
Color, bursting from a sea of nothing?

We can only imagine. 

Enumeration

Sunrise, Sunset

1) The too-bright, often salmon-colored sunrise that pierces the blinds in the early morning with strips of enlightened clouds. 

2) The sun descends as slowly as a phoenix in flame, the moon a rusting penny on the other side of the sky.

3) Fine and clear, the morning refuses to blush as the sun seeps back over the horizon. 

4) The air is a kaleidoscope of clouds and colors.

5) The world is blank and grey, the air is damp, with no sign of the sun.

6) City sunset, reflecting off a skyscraper, a bright patch of sky somewhere on the periphery of metal and concrete. 

7 Cubed

I Do Not Wish To Be Saved

Don’t. 
I am breaking; eyes defective, skin fractured. 
Don’t. 
My mind is on fire and water scalds the back of my throat like the tears that never came. 
Don’t.
I am drowning; mouth full of sand, teeth filled with rocks, crowned with seaweed like a mermaid from your nightmares. 
Don't. 

One Sentence Story

The Novice

Of course, this was all before I relized that monsters and magic were practically the same thing and learned that no one should summon a demon after midnight. 

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

A Tribute to the Once Blue Sky

Death fell from the sky, as it so often did. 
      She was sitting at the window, reading. Back then, stories hadn't run out. Back then, clouds were water, not smoke. 
      Back then, trees were full of snow. The sun was cold and unforgiving, the air: too blue. Then the sky erupted.
      Light travels faster than sound, she remembered idly. I imagine there will be sound soon.
      Even before the noise rained down, she lay down her head and asked if death would take her away.
      It takes pity on children, don’t you know, a child should never know pain.

Dear Me

Is The Future As Bright As They Say It Is?

Dear me,
     I’ve done this before.
     Seventh Grade: They gave us paper and told us to mark down what we wanted to remember, for ourselves, for the future, however dark and foreboding it seemed. I wrote down names of people, so I wouldn’t forget. 
     It seems to be a sort of reminder. I was here, I did this. Future me, do you remember? Do you remember who you used to be? 
     I am fourteen. I am a poet. I have faith in the world, I have faith that when it comes crumbling down it will pull all of us with it. I have faith that we will eventually fall into the sun. I have faith that I will eventually fall in love. 
     I have some measure of romantic ideals, I have some measure of cynical ideas. I am still a child. I wish to lay in the sun and embrace...

Joy to the World

Aique


Aique 
[noun]
The joy of being outside, the sun just out of reach, and just for a moment feeling absolutely encompassed by the entire Earth. 

Mysteries Abound

The Dove

     We don’t know what peace is, not fully, not the way we know love or joy or sadness or anger or the feeling you get when you lose something that’s right in front of you.
     We don’t know that it’s not an easy fix. There is no pill we can swallow that will end wars, no quick paint job to cover the rust and the blood. 
     We don’t know how hungry the dove is, how thin and weak it’s bones are, how tired it is of seeing us rip the wings off of other people’s backs so that we ourselves can fly.
     And we certainly haven't agreed on a way to stop this suffering.

Monologue

Every Time

THE MAN WITH THE GUN: [whispering] She's so beautiful, you know, it kind of breaks your heart. She’s so beautiful every time I see her. And every time I see her, she’s more beautiful. That's how it works, isn't it? Except, I only get to see her for a second. It’s a second exactly, every time. [raises his voice] Every goddamn time! I’ve counted, don’t think I haven’t! I’ve never closed my eyes! I’ve never had the power to stop my finger on the trigger, don’t think I’ve never tried to stop it, I do! [his voice resolves into a sob] Every time. She doesn’t know me, I’m the man with no eyes, or the man with the black suit, or the man with the gun. She doesn’t know how many times, in so many different and parallel universes I’ve had to squeeze this trigger! Even in her dreams I haunt her like some demented ghost! I am the phantom...

Everyday Magic

(Un)natural Occurrences

It was a humid Tuesday afternoon. My shirt stuck to me like a second skin, the fan, which had put up a valiant effort, was only blowing more hot air into the class. Perspiration clung to the backs of my legs, making me shift uncomfortably every couple of seconds. The teacher was droning on about participles, barreling on in the mannerism of a teacher who knows her audience isn’t listening. There was a fly buzzing around the class, bumping into unlit light fixtures and sticky panes of glass. Our eyes followed it. The kid who sat behind me, I think his name was Dylan, was slumped over on his desk, his breathe uncomfortably hot on the back of my neck.
    My mind was grinding to a halt, a part of my wanted to shove Dylan away, but my heat-laden limbs protested. He was going to have to pay, maybe when it cooled off. Despite the baking room, lulled...

After... After... After

End of the World

After the rain that fell like bullets from the sky, after the hurricane winds, after the hail, after the flood that swept everyone and everything away, after we found a few pieces of our house we could cling to, after we had to leave the dead bodies of strangers and friends alike floating in the wreckage, after our mother covered our eyes, after she pushed us forward, struggling to keep afloat, after the wind and the rain refused to stop, even after our mother begged it to, soaked, scared for herself and her children, after a palm tree crashed down in front of us, after our mother, our strong unwavering mother dragged us to safety, only then did she burst into tears, holding us close, shaking like she had witnessed the end of the world.

Illumination

The Metaphor Man

He was steady as the antique clock, left to rust in an attic somewhere, steady but never on time. When he stretched his hands, back and back and back, and the dappled light soaked his face, he looked like a waterfall, his shirt riding up, his hair lose, and like a tree, simaltaniously.

Historical Fiction Competition 2016

The One Grand Piano

    Every day we were worked nearly to death. 
    There was a phrase written in bold black across the top of an archway at the entrance to the ghetto: “work makes you free.” Ironically we were prisoners. There was a courtyard filled with sand and large brick buildings. We were crowded into small white rooms with wooden bunks stacked three on top of eachother. They took our clothes and set us to work mining and manufacturing. 
    We would return to the barracks with leaden arms and beaten bodies. Our muscles were through with aching, they were stretched and mangled. Our bodies were done with exhaustion, it was as if we were already dead. Typhoid broke out in the cramped conditions. Disease lay in our bones, a terrible hopelessness settled deep in our chests. 
    We cherished two things: the piano and the master of the piano. 
    It was a scuffed and battered, with yellowed ivory keys, a grand instrument. Raphael had smuggled...

Color Swatch

After Rain

After Rain is the color of newly budded trees, emerald grass, damp mineral rich soil. After rain is the blank sky of early morning and the dark smell of rotting wood. 

Historical Fiction Competition 2016

The One Grand Piano

    Every day we were worked nearly to death. 
    We would return to the barracks with leaden arms and beaten bodies. Our muscles were through with aching, they were stretched and mangled. Our bodies were done with exhaustion, it was as if we were already dead. Disease lay in our bones, a terrible hopelessness settled deep in our chests. 
    We cherished two things. The piano and the master of the piano. 
    It was a scuffed and battered, with yellowed ivory keys, a great grand instrument. Raphael had smuggled it into the basement. It was our greatest hope, through the punctual gunshots that left another friend or fellow dead, through the sickness and the brutal abuse. It was in the basement that we lived, under the vaults of heaven, Raphael was as good as God, a conductor, a pianist, a teacher, a friend. His spirit refused to be crushed. He gathered us, he sat with us, sang with us. He would take...

Discoveries

Two flowers and a word
stared back in my reflection.

The white orchid, luminous,
like a ghost or an angel,
fit me like a dress.
Like watery silk,
a river sliding down my shoulders.
Slowly
the hungry ebb of time consumes my skin
and I am nothing but bone.

A violet,
blue as the sky
sitting on my tongue,
rebirth,
spring and earth and new beginnings.

The single word
written in syllables
I understand, yet cannot comprehend,
rippling lazily in the foggy glass above me
as if waiting to be read.
And I am certain if I could,
the orchard dress would become my wings
and the mirror, a window into another world.

Quartet

He, She and It

    She asked the promising ones whether or not they would like to see her dragons, nodded quietly when they laughed, never told anyone her age and took the screens out of her windows, just in case.

    He enjoys old things: books with rusted covers and finger-stained pages, a typewriter that smells of dust and archives. Sometimes, he listens to the star’s conversations, and he is not afraid of death, in fact, he is one of the few who remembers.

    It lived on the roof. We didn’t quite know what it was, other than a furry shadow thing that jumped at small noises. It would hiss at us in the early morning, outside our windows or perched on the chimney and when we were gone, it would steal yarn from my mother’s basket.

Quartet

He, She and It

She asked the promising ones, whether or not they would like to see her dragons, nodded quietly when they laughed, never told anyone her age and took the screens out of her windows, just in case.

He enjoys old things, books with rusted covers and finger-stained pages, a hollowed out typewriter that he keeps flowers in. Sometimes he listens in on the star’s conversations, and he is not afraid of death, in fact he is one of the few who remembers.

It lived on the roof, we didn’t quite know what it was, something in between a shadow and a cat. It would hiss at us in the early morning, outside our windows or perched on the chimney and when we were gone, it would steal yarn from my mother’s basket.

Flashlight

It's Late

It’s late,
almost sunrise, perhaps.
The gray hard city sits like an ocean
below them,
churning and turning under the smoke smog sky.
She perches on the concrete wall, knees drawn in like a little bird.
So far up that the glowing cars are blurry pixels of white, yellow and red.
And the buildings below are just painted pictures,
stone and lifeless and small, windows glinting with the return of the sun.
So far away that it’s easier for her to balance on the railing and let the wind ruffle her dress.
Easier to close her eyes and spread her arms like wings.
The haze of lost-sleep and cigarettes still hangs still and silent in the air.
Her wrists are scarred, they haven’t noticed
or just haven’t said anything.
They didn’t know that she needed help
until she jumped into the concrete sea, so far below,
eyes closed.
They didn’t know that she was screaming at them, with her scarred...

On the Last Day of the World

The Last Day

That heart wrenching despair. The gut-pulling, plunging feeling of loss. It hurt.
As the red appeared on the horizon, growing larger, larger.
Funny, how in all things, we went out with a slow, slow fire, not a bang,
not a sudden clean slate, nobody quite relizing what had happened.
Just the slow, agonizing knowing.
I hope I will be holding your hand.
I hope I will be crying,
as my heart beats and my mind,
with the utmost certainly,
knows how we will all die.
I hope I can cry, for all of us.
For you.
For me.
For this world built on it’s own ashes.
Maybe we might send the flowers out onto the lake,
and hope that somewhere, out in the vast beyond,
someone is leading the life that we will never have.
And we will weep for them too.  

Improbable Flavor

Night Sky

The night sky tastes clean and bright, like cold white snow.
Stars start with a bang and end with a sizzle, sweet and explosive.
The comets dance with their scarves trailing out behind,
in the bubbly dark liquid we call the sky.
It all boils down to champagne and glitz and glitter,
growing darker, ever darker, bitter almost, as the night goes on.
Until the rush is over, the snowfall is over.
The moon melts smooth and mellow into the buttery horizon. 

O’Clock

July 20, 1969


July 20, 1969
The first manned spacecraft landed on the moon

July 21, 1969
The first man set foot on the moon

They call it the last great adventure,
the unexplored vastness
unmapped
uncharted.
I wonder what it felt like to be first.
To be the first man to set foot on that big beloved rock we call our moon,
to be the only flesh and the only blood who had ever been there.
Lonley, I imagine,
small and big at the same time.
It must have been strange, forging a path through dust that hadn’t moved in centuries.
And when they looked out at our planet
what did they see?
A blue marble nestled in a shroud of black and stars.
Or home.
Space seems so unattainable,
so foreign.
We are the Old World explorers again, discovering a land not quite their own,
struggling to understand.
In the last great adventure that is the universe.

Novel Writing Competition 2015

Rain

It was still raining in the house. Eva couldn’t remember when it had started, before it had been mist, and before that, sultry summer heat. At first she had blamed it on bad insulation and leakage, then it had started raining. She couldn’t really explain that to an electrician or a plumber, she barely believed it herself. It was much easier to pretend she was hallucinating and cope with it as best she could. If only rain weren’t so wet.
    She stood in the entry way, key still jammed in the lock, door semi ajar, and watched the pounding rain through misted glasses. She adjusted her raincoat, dreading her inevitable soakage, and stepped inside. Eva closed the door, wondering for the thousandth time what her landlord was going to think. Water droplets cascaded down her jacket, and dripped from the hood into her eyes. She pulled tarps over her already soaked furniture, and took cover under the sink....

O’Clock

July 20, 1969


July 20, 1969
The first manned spacecraft landed on the moon

July 21, 1969
The first man set foot on the moon
They call it the last great adventure,
the unexplored vastness
unmapped
uncharted.
I wonder what it felt like to be first.
To be the first man to set foot on that big beloved rock we call our moon,
to be the only flesh and the only blood who had ever been there.
Lonley, I imagine,
small and big at the same time.
It must have been strange, forging a path through dust that hadn’t moved in centuries.
And when they looked out at our planet
what did they see?
A blue marble nestled in a shroud of black and stars.
Or home.
Space seems so unattainable,
so foreign.
We are the Old World explorers again, discovering a land not quite their own,
struggling to understand.
In the last great adventure that is the universe.

Dear Tree

Dear Tree

Dear tree,
Remember the backyard days of sticky sap feet and sun-kissed palms. Remember when the sun shone through your branches, and I squinted up at your majestic height. Do you remember the day I climbed your neighbor, so that I could touch your leaves? I remember how you were the biggest tree on the planet, a hundred year old titan. And I remember caressing your aging bark, as I left. Remember for me when I am gone, childhood friend.
Sincerely,
Norah 

That Sort of Person

That Sort of Person

She's the kind of person who would pack a suitcase with only her books, and she wouldn't look back, not once. 

Crash, Holler, Swish

Night sounds

The cricket drones
and an eternity passes.
As the night whispers on the ground below,
perched forever behind the star soaked curtain of sky.
And a rain drips from the old gutters
to my window sill
and onto the ground below.
Listen.
Wait.
You may hear the murmuring conversations
behind the windows of home.
A wisp of music
drifting on wind and mist,
caught in the dewy grass.
This world, half asleep,
falling into the arms of unconscious thought
and dreamless sleep
is a symphony. 

Six-Word Story

After

And the world will keep spinning...

Poetry

blind

my eyes deceive me 

if i were sightless
i would search out all the particles
in my being 

i would lie 
in darkness

until the agony of breathless
anticipation 

suspends me in a mist
of stars and space
aware of my tumbling heart 
and the blanket of skin on my bones  

The Limerick

Animal Limericks

There was a small bird with a limp

who wanted his feathers to crimp

so he sat in the fire

took a week in the shire

then came back to feather and primp

 

*

 

A spritely young donkey named Joe

wanted to paint all his toes

so he bathed in acrylic

that no one could mimic

and colored himself to his nose

 

*

 

Our parrot is a talkative fowl

not clever or wise like an owl

we know you can speak

so just shut your beak

or I'll cover your cage with a towel 

Invisible Cities

Lux

Lux-City of Lights

    It is the candle sparking to life, bursting forth into darkness. It is the pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel, glowing, flickering. It is woven from the blackness itself, fabricated from the particles of brightness in the haze of dark. It stands, suspended in shadow, tiny, yet not cowed by the infinity of pitch and black encircling it.

    The steeples and towering spires rise and waver like flame. Glass bridges drape from building to building, trembling in the slightest breeze. Mellow lamps light the shimmering streets. Concert halls blaze, music trickling from open windows, chandeliers refracting light into the air. Fountains gush water the color of rosette. Glowing ashes rain from the sky, embers that melt into shadows then return to the void surrounding the city. The city radiates brilliance, and the darkness pushes and pulses, trying to suppress it. Neither strive for balance, but in the end that's what they achieve....

Lunar Phrases

Luna

the shimmering night 

ripples

as the moon dips her toes into its surface

scattering the stars 

like fish

flickering under the undulating pulse of dark

 

she laughs

throws back her pearly head 

and wades fearlessly into the pitch and depth

of empty sky 

 

her glow not dissipating

even miles down in watery oblivion 

she shines

she beams

she sets blazing silvery fires in our hearts

 

before the rim of dawn

slowly shuts 

enclosing her dripping form

in the belly of an oyster 

 

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

    It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.


 

   Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her eyes, Mother watched it, smiling. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. Her head seemed in an entirely different world.



 

   In the cavern we sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.



 

   And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.



 

   "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."



 

   She suspended the newly lit match in the air. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The rasping sound of a match being lit burned the air, and Mother held up another flame...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

    It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.

 

   Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her obsidian eyes, Mother watched it, smiling. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. Her head seemed in an entirely different world.

 

   In the cavern we all sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.
 


   And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.

 

   "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."

 

   She suspended the newly lit match in the air. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The rasping sound of a match being lit burned the air, and Mother held up...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.


    Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her obsidian eyes. Mother watched the flame, a smile playing at her lips. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. These negative spaces that filled our empty hearts.


    In the cavern we all sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.


    And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.


    "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."


    She hung the newly lit match in the air, suspending it with her magic. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The gravelly sound of a match being lit...

Open Prompt

Rose Dreamed of Flying

Rose dreamed of flying, then woke again in a daze of fear and guilt. Her eyes mellow with secrets. For, in this land far from anything, flying was a sin.

 

The sun rose earlier that day than it had in many years, but no one seemed to notice. No one seemed to care, their busy lives pulled over their heads like a veil. It was this that woke her, the sudden appearance of light in the dark places of early morning. It almost seemed right, when Rose thought of it after, that it the sun should blaze bright and early that morning everything began. Then again, her adventures afterwards were nothing but bright.

 

Rose woke from her nightmare then, her arms flailing, her hair splayed on the pillow. Her now wild eyes darted across the shafts of sunlight. Her heart raced. Sinful, that's what she was, because she dreamt of flying every night, and it exhilarated her. She...

Inventory

The Inventory of a Prisoner

Name: The Reader (that is his name, as he has forgotten the one his mother gave him)

Age: (He has no age, he does not no how long he has been trapped on the Island)

Location: The Island, Sea of Dreams (fictional)

He will live for eternity on a rock. Somewhere far from here. He looks for grey hairs, and envies those who do not fall into his trap. Inside his weather-worn satchel is this:

1. A book with no jacket, scrawling script pooling around the edges of text

2. A small snippet of rosemary, kept in a green glass bottle with a label in the same script stating: "for remembering"

3. A botanical illustration of an oak tree, most likely torn out of a book

4. A bird's egg, carved out of wood and dyed a light blue

5. A hand drawn map of the Island, marking places to avoid and places to hide, scribbles and notes seem to...

WILD

Wild

wild anticipation

haunted these bones

shattered them like crystal when the time came

to get up and run

to feel the wind in my hair

those fragile things are gone

replaced by air and mist

and the rain has adorned this scalp for centuries

it seems

my crown

my gossamer triumph

come and clean the air so I can breathe with exultion

with the dew speckled grass  

turning the world beneath my bare feet

Norah's 41 Likes

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34 Likes from Others

Queer (On Reclaiming)

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Pomegranate

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blind

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