she’s-got-a-story

United States of America

ghost town

i tried to tell about the night... and i could not tell it; as i cannot tell it now.
-hemingway

i know i’m bound to lose / when i feel the need to use why i’m full
-wallows, i’m full

Message from Writer

elle

i’ve been around a while. the form and the quality of my writing has changed over the years, but the themes are eternal:
food and the hate of it, family and the love of it, and youth and the mystery of it.

Published Work

skeletons


last year i went with my sister to the museum of natural history.
as we looked up at the dinosaurs, i took her hand and wondered 
if any of them starved to death.

these nights (sister)


she’s half my size and age, that child;
somehow she never sleeps.
she comes to me at midnight, 
not wraithlike but just there.
she reminds me that there was a time 
when mother here would keep
night watch beside my crying 
eyes; now mother sleeps downstairs.

it calls her from her distant room 
with tears and distant eyes:
this bed too large for one, 
too small for two, too warm for waste.
sometimes she comes without a word
and sits and breathes, and sighs.
sometimes she asks when she will die
and starts, alert, the wait.

and then she leaves again, away 
to cold, unvacant rooms.
after brief, vague conversations 
she lies wise and terrified.
enlightenment of fear and night
make her something true:
a prophet, teacher, watching reapers 
in the dark outside.

Love After Love

newborn (or, units of measurement)


there is a threshold infants cross, very early
when their lives begin to number in weeks instead of days
then their ages become months

i'm still in the negative
i am cauled, enclosed within the cavity of belly.
with fetal eyes i watch from the inside—
the curve in, inhale, 
the swell out, exhale,
and watch, watch as it goes out, so far out—
i do not count in days and hours;
i count in pounds and ounces.

one day i will be born
on the other side
of average size.

i will be small, so small—
god, to be small, delicate—
i will be naked and unashamed of it,
bawling and red,
beneath bright fluorescent lights,
under scrutiny of doctors,
in the tight arms of my mother.

she will say,
for the second time
that i am the most beautiful girl in the world. 

shared bathroom


the week we four were roommates, we scattered hair, glitter, vomit, and blood
on tile fell our femininity and dignity at night 
the things we dropped were the things we carried 
that’s why we didn’t pick them up, I swear
they were too heavy
and our arms were shoved full of flowers so there wasn’t any room 

we weren’t ashamed of each other, 
but as the first hannah bent over the bowl and the second hannah pulled her curls out in chunks and the third hannah glued on shiny things and the fourth hannah bandaged her uterus,
all we had was periphery. The corners of our eyes.
because you can’t look at something that can’t look at itself 

the bathroom was small, but we all fit in it 
we danced around the messes and our mess became famous
our r.a. took a picture of it, because no tornado like ours had ever happened in the history of rooms
but it...

Lyrical Stratum

this month


boy

the light imposing friend, who lies to me, who
stands over me and feigns gentleness until i comply.
who found me when i was breaking, and
uses his comforts as fulcra to further those forceful 
wishes. 
he called the things wishes, like this was some formal treaty we were making. 
i run and sometimes he follows, and sometimes he ignores me,
lets me go 
so i will have to come back on my own.
and i do. 
and again.

bread

there's so much of it. it finds me and tells me i need it, and when i take it,
it says it doesn't need me. 
it leaves me so violently i just have to pray that no one's listening
outside my door, 
with steaming full bowls and warm laden plates.
if they are there,
if they hear,
they'll drop the dishes 
not even pick them up when they shatter, leave the mess because 
she won't eat it anyway.  ...

Word Collage

i thought that love was a kind of emptiness


Lying in bed, I would think of Heaven
I would miss my old friends and also wartime
When people lived on little more than one thousand calories a day

They said to me, nobody's got control
That's
when I started to starve myself 

Sometimes it was still pleasant and fond and warm and breakfast and lunch
Sometimes it was hollow days 

Lying in bed, I would think of Russian nesting dolls,
of Legion, for we are many
Look at how filled we could be 
We are many, but we are empty, and we fill this vast and noncontiguous place

Where nobody's got control
But no one's gone crazy

Novel Writing Competition 2019

Darlings

    Not twenty-four hours After Tea, somebody goes missing. It’s shocking for the first day, but later the people who become her friends laugh about it over illicit substances they buy from the law enforcement. 
    They throw cigarette stubs at the back of her head.
 “Aren’t you in high school?” They ask her as she shudders her way down the street. 
    “Yeah.”
    “You know you’re supposed to smoke.”
    She catches their emissions in her lungs and chokes on her breath and their words. “Isn’t that illegal?”
    Across the curbless street, Gracetown Sheriff’s Department stares them down, cinder blocks flaking. 
    “You’re already a criminal,” laughs one.
    “I am not a criminal.” 
    “But Maisy-”
    “I did not kidnap Maisy Gray.”
    “Yeah, and the day you moved in she just happened to disappear.”
    They are used to the coming response.
 “I had nothing to do with it,” she tells them, yet again. “I never even met her.”
In their...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

Darlings

    Not twenty-four hours After Tea, somebody goes missing. It’s shocking for the first day, but later the people who become her friends laugh about it over illicit substances they buy from the law enforcement. 
    They throw cigarette stubs at the back of her head.
 “Aren’t you in high school?” They ask her as she shudders her way down the street. 
    “Yeah.”
    “You know you’re supposed to smoke.”
    She catches their emissions in her lungs and chokes on her breath and their words. “Isn’t that illegal?”
    Across the curbless street, Gracetown Sheriff’s Department stares them down, cinder blocks flaking. 
    “You’re already a criminal,” laughs one.
    “I am not a criminal.” 
    “But Maisy-”
    “I did not kidnap Maisy Gray.”
    “Yeah, and the day you moved in she just happened to disappear.”
    They are used to the coming response.
 “I had nothing to do with it,” she tells them, yet again. “I never even met her.”
In their...

Why I Write

for my brother


I write because I can’t dance. 

free period


i swing my legs
you complain about your girlfriend 

i'm five foot nine; i don't usually get to swing my legs
you don't drink and she does

i'm sitting on the desk; that's how i'm doing it
she gets you into all these parties; she's doing everything for you, she says. she says you should repay her. 

you're seven inches taller than me. how often do you find chairs tall enough that your feet don't touch the ground?
you always seem to end up with girls that have major issues. you hate staying up late every other tuesday convincing them not to die.

what about bar stools? but i guess you don't drink.
just this once, you need a girl without the melodrama.

there's no such thing as a girl without issues. everyone has issues. 
you might break up with her. you can't stand her yelling at you every day when you drive her home.

i have issues, too.
but...

One-Liner

hungry


to be hurting is one hell of a scapegoat. 

Sijo

shared bathroom


while we four were roommates, we scattered hair, glitter, vomit, and blood
on tile fell our femininity and dignity at night
they never scrub out; i guess all the most womanly things are dirty 
 

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Gravité


Martin from French IV stands like a stalactite. Why are we on the ceiling of my old bedroom? The last time I saw him or that house was sophomore year, but we're together, upside-down. Just left of the ceiling fan. 
"Are you St. Peter?" 
"I'm afraid of heights."
This isn't height; it's descent into madness, I'm sure. Soon the room will start to melt upwards, and I will wake in sterility sans Martin. Unless those purple-curtained windows really are the Pearly Gates. 
"Martin, if I jump out, will I fall up or down?"
"Down, into the sky."

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Gravité


Martin from French IV stands like a stalactite. Why are we on the ceiling of my old bedroom? The last time I saw him or that house was sophomore year, but we're together, upside-down. Just left of the ceiling fan. 
"Are you St. Peter?" 
"I'm afraid of heights."
This isn't height; it's descent into madness, I'm sure. Soon the room will start to melt upwards, and I will wake in sterility sans Martin. Unless those purple-curtained windows really are the Gates. 
"Martin, if I jump out, will I fall up or down?"
"Down, into the sky."

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Gravité


Martin from French IV stands like a stalactite. Why are we on the ceiling of my old bedroom? The last time I saw him or that house was sophomore year, but we're here, right-side-down and together, just left of the ceiling fan. 
"Are you St. Peter?" 
"I'm afraid of heights."
This isn't height; it's descent. I'm sure, now. Soon the room will start to melt upwards, and I will wake in sterility sans Martin. Unless those purple-curtained windows really are the Gates. 
"Martin, If I jump out, will I fall up or down?"
"Down, into the sky."

Talking to “You”

Flick and Sam and the Girl on the Ground

not unusually, you've just fallen out of a tree. 

beneath you the grass is rough, and there's some gravel sticking to the back of your knee, but at least the old magnolia is blocking the sun. 

flick hits the ground, too, but he jumped, and he lands on his feet. he's half a year your junior and has an inch less on him for every month. he's darker than you, much darker, because you're not really related. 

not that you care. 

sam didn't have to come down, because he never went up. he doesn't laugh at you, but he doesn't help you up, either. you stare at him and he stares at you with eyebrows raised. 

"i'm hopeless." you say, and he finally extends a hand. the hand is dark, and you take it. 

flick grins at you from behind the magnolia, because the plan was foolproof after all. you're standing up now, and sam hasn't let go. 

you wait...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Socks (WIP)


((This is a work in progress. Ending, fix-up-ing, and illustrations to come. Probably.))

P1
Socks have very interesting lives, you know. When you are away or asleep, they go out. Your socks, though, have probably never faced such a daunting task as the socks in this household did. 

P2
The socks in this household had a general that directed them, General Left Blue Sock. Left Blue was a dutiful sock, and kept watch on top of the fridge during the day for anything that might threaten the socks. One day, after long hours of sitting sentry in the kitchen, Left Blue was tired and ready to go home when his right-hand man, Right Striped, screamed from the dining room. 

P3 
Left Blue rushed to the dining room, where Right Striped was looking at a huge number of summer magazines and catalogues spread across the table. "IT'S HORRIFYING!" He screamed. "What is it?" Asked Left Blue, hopping up, and then he...

Synchronized Sounds

Dogged

like crazed a canine chasing 
wisps of light que deign to run
we don't exist exhilarated 
deign we not to snap for sun

atticus shot a sister screamer
que dared to touch the sun
but scout survived the short ordeal
cause heck thought apt a run

tails trot when tired turning
after we rain or run 
but rays wrap rightly always
for never sleeps the sun




 

Invented Cartography

To Take a Walk Backwards

This is the world of the steps we retrace;
The world of his conversation

There are my high peaks of laughter and valleys of unease;
Hundreds of windows lit with the anticipation of nightfall

The sea whirls by; roaring against the rocks until they pull back;
The sea turns to glass

The mountains rise but recede;
For the sea erodes them into valleys

With every step he takes forward
I move back

Each step is a patch of dry earth in the valley;
Cleared of grass and clover

The town made up of crumbling buildings;
Lights go out one by one

To be taken back up by the moon;
Reflecting in the sea of glass

 

Existence

Her hair did not fall to her waist;
It threw itself down

Her foot never hit the ground;
The floor rose up to push it away

She did not grow;
Everything around her lost its way 

Streetlights took her opinion;
She made them change. 

Regretfully Informing You

Pit of the stomach;
Turning away with a sigh;
Waiting for next time.

What I Dream

Laughter, heads tossing back.

The mean lady, walking away with smug shoulders. 
Arms I didn't know around me.
Isolated tears.
Fractured breath.

Thank you.

Wide eyes, surprise and shock and excitement. 
A friend, perhaps?
Grinning.

Quartz stones marking
The still bodies of nuisances most people killed
But
She buried them when they died

Thank you.

Music I can't remember
A concrete bridge through the mountain
Horns honking
Distant lights

Riding an ATV
On a bumpy road
He wouldn't drive too fast...
But I was tense
For if ever I happened to touch him he flinched

Arrow slicing into the target
Extremely far from where it was supposed to hit

Thank you.

Girls laughing and flipping hair
They're beautiful
I'm taking notes
One day I'll be like them

Best friend
In the basement 
With me
Weeping because someone died in our film
Back when people only died in films

Thank you.

Clear waters of the pool
I keep shifting...

Remembremnants

Remembremnants
(n.) rɛm-ˈmɛm-brɛm-nənts (e.) From English remembrance and English remnants

Meaning: the remnants of a memory; a short-lived reverie; the wisp of something you can only grasp at

Example Given:

       1. The laugh of a blond boy; the rough hotel carpet; distant music
       2. The crunch of leaves; the squelch of mud; the scream of laughter; abandoned treehouse; rough wood; peering eyes
       3. Water rushing up and over; stinging dirt
       4. Darkness and hot air and drums

 

1 Photo, 100 Words

The Souls

We're standing, sitting, walking. We're looking at our hands, our feet, our friends; anywhere but up. Women usher children along, drawing their hoods up over their faces. I have a cap shielding my face. 
But Eric's in the square, arms spread out wide, face lifted to the sky. 
Sobbing upwards.
Calling to them. 
Don't leave me!
They're bobbing across the sky, aimless and confused. They shift from indecipherable to real beings with faces, and we see them as they wander away.
Don't leave me! Eric's screaming.
He's pulled backwards.
He can see me... He's weeping.
But then I'm drifting, too.

 

Becoming Human

The Candle

The candle,
Flickering bright to dull
Chasing shadows down away:
A playful redheaded man, beckoning.
The heart of a boy,
Melting as wax
Each new light took more;
His heart diminishing 
'Till the tears of one younger still
Cast doubt on flame,
Stalling heated words
And kept the heart from fading.
For fire kept the meek away,
But the meek kept inevitable death at bay.

A playful redheaded boy, beckoning. 

1 Photo, 100 Words

The Souls

We're standing, sitting, walking. We're looking at our hands, our feet, our friends; anywhere but up. Women usher children along, drawing their hoods up over their faces. I have a cap shielding my face. 
But Eric's in the square, arms spread out wide, face lifted to the sky. 
Sobbing upwards.
Calling to them. 
Don't leave me!
They're bobbing across the sky, aimless and confused. They shift from indecipherable to real beings with faces, and we see them as they wander away.
Don't leave me! Eric's screaming.
He's pulled backwards.
He can see me... He's calling.
But then I'm drifting, too.

 

Signing Off

One More Era Past

Dear January: 

I remember little of you, to be honest. 
I remember being snowed in on my birthday. 
I remember quitting school due to illness.
I remember my teacher emailing me to ask where I was, and I had to tell him I am no longer enrolled in your school.
I remember falling asleep on the floor... in the classroom... in my parents' room...
I remember doctors puzzling over me.

Dear February:

You were a continuation of the months before: melancholy and dry.
Heaving chest.
Freezing rain. 
You were the second reminder that there is life after diagnosis and love in recovery.
You brought paper hearts with you.

Dear March:

Things got better. 
I stood more often.
Thank you for bringing strong legs with you.
Thank you for bringing the day of the Irish with you, for that's when he dances...
Thank you for his dance.

Dear April:

You were a time of rain and  grey skies.
But with the...

1 Photo, 20 Words

Two Spectacles and Miracles

Him and her:
unsure pebbles in the stream
Farsighted, nearsighted.
He sees the sky
She can't.
Both wear corrective lenses.

Weird Wisdom Collection, #1-20

1. When you're walking on eggshells, remember the egg 
Remember who she was before you shot her down, dead 
When you're scared to speak, it's prob'ly a good thing 
The egg's been quiet all this time you've been screaming 

2. I will freeze my bridges (then heat them), nurture my hens (then eat them), and write my essays (then delete them). 

3. Don't forget how 
    The sky was your friend 
    You're falling now, darling, and 
    This is the end. 

4. Rain clouds? No, no. They're the black sheep of the flock who remembered how to fly.

5. I think a lot about flying, Momma. 
    Why's that, child? 
    I was just wondering... when did we forget how? 
    Hush, child. You know full well when it was. It was when the sky got too full for us. 
    But we were the only ones of our kind! 
    I know, child. But...

The Continued Adventures of Le Petit Prince

It was then the little prince came across another small planet, inhabited by a woman in a pantsuit, sitting at a tall mahogany desk. Behind her were rows and rows of cases, each inhabited by a weapon of some sort or another. She was pounding furiously away at a typewriter. 

"Hello," said the little prince politely, and the woman glanced up for a moment from her work. Just as quickly, she looked down again, mumbling to herself. 

"Hello!" said the little prince again, slightly louder this time, wondering if the woman might be hard of hearing. 

The woman replied briskly, "Go away, child. I have no time to talk to you."
"Why ever not?" said the little prince.
"I have very important things to do."
"Like what?" said the little prince. 
"Well, I have laws to write and pass." 
"What kind of laws?" said the little prince.
"Weapon-control laws." said the woman.
"What's a weapon?" said the little prince, who...

The Papaya that was My Home (Weird Wisdom, #5-9)

5. I think a lot about flying, Momma.
    Why's that, child?
    I was just wondering... when did we forget how?
    Hush, child. You know full well when it was. It was when the sky got too full for us.
    
But we were the only ones of our kind!
    I know, child. But nowadays, everyone is the only of their kind. 

6. I am a bubble. The world is full of sharp people.
    I flinch a lot. 

7. Where, where, O Honeybee
    Is thy sting?
    Where, where, O Nightingale 
    Is thy song?
    Where we were told they belonged. 

8. Margeuri, 
    Battanty,
    Tappouri,
    Flattery,
    Loyalty: 
    None mean anything. 

9. Socks are just gloves for feet.


    

    
    

7 Cubed

If

If the sky flew back to where it came from; up where the angels reside and God watches the world slowly descend into ridiculous chaos; and the birds all froze with strange realization that they could never fly again... If the trees bowed low to the wind and threw their faces upon the ground, and flattened their arms against the dirt, and their leaves all withered with terror...If the sun screamed good-bye and winked out to a tiny star, one that twinkled in a constellation somewhere, forlorn and mostly burned out... Our lungs would wither like worms stranded on the sidewalk, and our eyes would leak until all that was left of them was the water of forgotten dreams. Our arms would fall loose to our sides, and our loved ones would wonder where our careful hugs had gone. The comets crying across the vast emptiness would falter, and lend their light to us, as we found each other in the...

7 Cubed

If

If the sky flew back to where it came from; up where the angels reside and God watches the world slowly descend into ridiculous chaos; and the birds all froze with strange realization that they could never fly again, where would we be? If the trees bowed low to the wind and threw their faces upon the ground, and flattened their arms against the dirt, and their leaves all withered with terror, what would we do? If the sun screamed good-bye and winked out to a tiny star, one that twinkled in a constellation somewhere, forlorn and mostly burned out, who would we turn to? Our lungs would wither like worms stranded on the sidewalk, and our eyes would leak until all that was left of them was the water of forgotten dreams. Our arms would fall loose to our sides, and our loved ones would wonder where our careful hugs had gone. The comets crying across the vast emptiness would...

Another One

"Mason, I dreamt up another one."
"What? --Ow-- You did what?"
"I dreamt up another one."
"Are you kidding me?--Get off me, Grick-- I'm up to my ears in Unicats!"
"Not a Unicat."
"--GET AWAY, GRICK!-- Sorry, Grick's playful today. What was that?"
"It's not a Unicat."
"...what?"
"You heard me."
"It's not a...well then...what? You mean another one of...?"
"Yes."
"--GRICK! GO TO YOUR BOX AND STAY THERE. MITTS, GO WATCH GRICK!--"
"Mason! This is serious!"
"--Ow-- I know. I know. Uh, what can I do?"
"Come pick it up! Please. It's staring at me."
"Sure thing. Be right over. Let me just put--"
"Mason?"
"Mhmm?"
"Please don't hang up."

 

Written in the Fog On the Mirror

Words on the mirror
Disappear with the heat
Because the fog can listen, 
But never speak

She can trace angry letters
Or weep over losses
With her knee in the sink, 
And her hand on the faucet

Truths are futile
And lies are strong
For when streaked on the glass,
They're not here long

They're just ghosts of thought
Short-lived anger
The words may fade,
But you'll never tame her

She'll apologize
If she really means it
But her eyes are wide 
And her heart is gleaming

Her hands are cold
And the mirror is streaking
But her wings are flutt'ring
And her heart is leaking

Words on the mirror
Disappear with the heat
Because the fog can listen, 
But never speak






 

Two Writers and the Cautious Glance

We nod to each other in passing.
Wondering, but never speaking. 
I'm taller than her, and that might bother her...
But she says she's planning on growing to six feet.

We exchange looks sometimes, but not in the way siblings or friends do when they have a joke. 

We are not friends. 

We are studies to one another. 
I study her in my free time, and I have a sneaking suspicion she studies me, too. 

Nearly a year ago, she said she was writing a novel.
About half a year ago, I started mine. 

Mine is about her. 

We are studies.
Not friends. 

She is a character I created in my mind, and also a real girl I see on Wednesdays.
I wonder where the line is drawn. 

We are studies, 
Not friends. 

 

Origami Scars

all
my
origami scars
always wondering
always wondering
why they are
what they are

all
my 
origami scars
floating idly 
up above
from where they are

i have scars already
on my body
in my mind
but the origami scars 
are the most dangerous of kinds

all
my
origami scars
looking down 
on me now
from afar
from where they are

all
my 
origami scars
hanging loose
hanging pretty
where they are

i have scars already
on my body
in my mind
but the origami scars are the most beautiful of kinds

when i'm alone
they sing don't worry
when i'm afraid 
they rustle 
do
not 
fear

they say don't worry 'cause
we'll always be here




 

Things I Acknowledged at Six

1. You can't drive over the mountains at night.
2. Alcohol is a drink that makes men go crazy, but when Daddy takes one sip at new years, nothing will happen.
3. Anyone with pierced ears must prove that they are trustworthy.
4. Grown men should not wear ponytails. 
5. Whenever someone tries to put any kind of cream, oil, liquid, or bandage on a cut or abrasion, ask them if it will sting. If they say, "A little bit," or, "Only for a second," scream like heck until they give up trying.
6. You can eat the berries growing at Kaleigh's house, but not the ones at the park. 
7. If someone says, "I don't want to play with you anymore," the only appropriate reaction is to throw a tantrum, cry, and, if possible, launch any convenient projectiles at the said person. 
8. Smoking is bad for your health.
8b. If you see someone smoking, it is imperative that...

Invisible Cities

Pueruli

    Pueruli- City of the Aborted
    From the Latin puerulus, meaning "infant", "baby", etc.
    
   
 Never have you seen a city so full of life. 
    Here it is common for new acquaintances to ask each other, "Why are you here?"
    You'll get all types of answers. 
    "Teen pregnancy."
    "Kidnapping."
    "Health complications."
    They all answer lightheartedly, but inside, in the quiet, they wonder.
    Why are they really here?
   
    
 

Family

"Don't go anywhere alone with him."
It was said to her, at the age of five, about her cousin, who was two years older but not much bigger. 
"Don't go anywhere alone with him."
She had to wonder. What had he done?
No one would tell her.
One day when she was a teen, she was at his house and her mother was not; a rare occurrence by chance.
He said, "Come here and let me show you the piano."
And she forgot what her mother had told her. 
She went upstairs with him, alone, and saw the piano. It was beautiful, with sleek wood and shiny keys. He played a little ditty for her, and then they both went back downstairs and she left.
It was only later when she realized what she had done. 
She asked, yet again, "What did he do? Why is he dangerous?"
Nobody answered. 
"He's not to be trusted."

She contemplated it in the...

Sounds

Boys discussing whether pigtails are when girls wear two braids or two ponytails. They're not sure. 

Ambulance screaming down the cul-de-sac. Fireman saying, "Are you home alone?"

Crying in the dark.

Loud, angry music; Avril Lavigne's 2002 album.

Momma teaching kids to read. A, B, C.  

Indie rock in the background; some fiddle here and there. 

My Spanish teacher, retelling a story involving a young police officer, a ticket, and her dentures. 

The tip-tip-tap of distant dancers' feet. 





 

What the World Ignores

Roger was 
Minding his own business...
Reading Harry Potter
When the bully comes up and
Drives her fist into his
Face

and the whole world told him that he must have punched her first. 

Lila wore
A dress to school
Her grandmother had made it for her...
Embroidered flowers

A boy attacked her
In the hallway...
Blacked her eye
Scared her to death
Scarred her 

and the whole world told her that boys will be boys.


Rory got shot at recess
Along with seven other 
Nose-picking, sticky-fingered
First-graders.

Her momma cried
Her daddy cried
Her neighbors cried
Her teachers cried
The cashier at the local grocer's cried.
The homeless guy on the corner cried. 

and the whole world shouted for convicts' rights. 


James was a dancer
He couldn't sit still
His feet were a-tappin'
His fingers were drummin' the desk.
There was music in his heart,
Rhythm in his soul.

The teacher threw him in a box,
Called him ADHD,
Locked...

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

Aurelia Fell

I'm not afraid of heights, yet my toes curl around the diving board, unwilling to let me fly into the unknown. I realize, like Aurelia did, all too late, that I am afraid of falling. The smell of sunblock stings my nose, and my throat's drier than the Arizona sidewalk because Billy Morris is behind me on the ladder--and the last kid who didn't dive was a laughingstock for weeks. I can feel the angry oblivion beneath the board. I take a breath, close my eyes, and blindly embrace the air. Aurelia jumped, and Aurelia fell...but I'm flying. 

                                    

10 Second Essays

hunger, part mmxxi

1. Violists are the only smart ones in the orchestra.
2. The Psalms were written before year zero.
3. Calling the Bible "Jesus and Friends" is not necessarily something you want to do in a church.
4. A five-foot-eight teenage girl looks really tall when she flunks her audition and ends up in the same practice group as a bunch of eight-year-old midgets. 
5. There is a difference between accidentals and grace notes, but they sound like they should be the same. 
6. There is a reason why I do not play the bass. 

Blaring Insanity

Listening to my brother play the keyboard—halting, unsure. 
Then he switches the setting to tuba.  

Talking to Three Boys


      Let me set the scene for you: it's me, NICK, ESTEBAN, and JOSE at a table, pretending to do homework. We are just out of Spanish and getting ready for biology. Technically, we're not supposed to be talking in study hall, but that's okay.
    
    I am making sure all of my biology homework is in order. There is a lull in the conversation. 
   
     
ME (flipping my notebook around for the table to admire): Look at my beautiful cartoon! (on the page, surrounded by notes, a magnificently drawn, eternally anorexic stick-man is taking notes of his own)

    NICK: What the heck. That is not a cartoon. 
    ME: Okay, it's a stick-man. Whatever. It's beautiful. 
    ESTEBAN (peering at my notes): Why is your writing backwards?
    JOSE: Let me see that...
   
    (they pore over my da Vinci-esque print)
        

    JOSE:...

Life, Love, and Lemons | Pt. One

  Part One: Life

   Daniel wouldn’t have noticed anything different about his quiet little backroad street in Middle-of-Nowhere-Ville, Florida, if Rosie Winkerbaum hadn’t said she was miffed. “I’m miffed,” Rosie had uttered the phrase in question one muggy evening in June, just after the sun had slipped below the tree-line, but while the sky was still tinged with crimson and the fireflies had yet to make their nightly appearance. “Miffed” was one of Rosie’s new favorite words, along with “celestial” and “existential”. In Daniel’s opinion, Rosie read too much and played too little. She had a smart new red bike that was just sitting in the garage, waiting to be ridden. Daniel’s own bike’s tires were worn down from the rough gravel road on which he and Rosie both lived, and, perhaps because of this, he was just itching to watch Rosie’s sleek, shiny new black tires spin down the road.
            “Miffed, I tell you.” Rosie repeated, crossing...

Over in the Second Violins

"Play with power!" 
Our orchestra conductor said to the celli.
"You sound anemic."
And I almost cried. 

Countdown

Her

Her name was an elusive word the cat played with.

Her voice was the song you played too often.

Her eyes were angry, most of the time. 

Her wings were always hidden from you.

But still they remained-- ever there.

She kept her foes close.

She recounted her past.

Forever she's laughing.

Laughing, crying.

Flying. 

 

Why the Little Things Cry

I was a dream: the whim of a child.
I was reality: in delusion made true.
I was a nightmare: in loneliness conjured
I was a wisp of the life that they lose.

Deep in the Quiet

Somewhere, there's a little boy crying. 
Crying 'cause his momma won't listen                                            
Crying 'cause his daddy says it ain't safe here                                                      

Somewhere, there's a momma who’s lyin'
Tellin' daddy fake secrets to make him believe

Hush.

Somewhere, there's a daddy who's tryin'
Tryin' to make it in this world
Tryin' to keep his little boy safe

Somewhere, there's a little boy hushin',
Hushin' his sister ‘cause the other man’s comin’
Somewhere, there’s a little girl cryin’                                              
Be quiet now, quiet now

Quiet now, quiet now

Somewhere, there’s a little boy cryin’,                                                                                                              
Cryin’ ‘cause it wasn’t s’posed to be this hard.                                                                                 
Wishin’ Daddy’d come home.                                                                                                                     
Quiet now, quiet now.

Somewhere, in the middle of the night.                                        
Daddy’s sneakin’ calls, saying it’ll be all right.                                              
Quiet now, quiet now

Somewhere, there’s a little boy cryin’                                                    
Cryin’...

Life, Love, and Lemons | Pt. One

  Part One: Life

   Daniel wouldn’t have noticed anything different about his quiet little backroad street in Middle-of-Nowhere-Ville, Florida, if Rosie Winkerbaum hadn’t said she was miffed. “I’m miffed,” Rosie had uttered the phrase in question one muggy evening in June, just after the sun had slipped below the tree-line, but while the sky was still tinged with crimson and the fireflies had yet to make their nightly appearance. “Miffed” was one of Rosie’s new favorite words, along with “celestial” and “existential”. In Daniel’s opinion, Rosie read too much and played too little. She had a smart new red bike that was just sitting in the garage, waiting to be ridden. Daniel’s own bike’s tires were worn down from the rough gravel road on which he and Rosie both lived, and, perhaps because of this, he was just itching to watch Rosie’s sleek, shiny new black tires spin down the road.
            “Miffed, I tell you.” Rosie repeated, crossing...

Profile Feature Writing Competition 2016

My Grandfather

He smells of cigarette smoke and warm leather; of sawdust. 
He's tall, and paunchy; balding.
He wears glasses, that kind from the eighties with the odd little nose-piece. 
He has a beard, not bushy, but straight. Grandma had him dye it a while back; the grey coming in was unappealing to her. 
He uses his left hand when he writes, and his right when he throws. I inherited this from him.
He shares a name with my brother; a piece of it, rather. 
He walks with a limp; he has a bad knee but refuses to complain around me. It was building things for me that injured him so. 
He's a Vietnam Vet, of sorts. They called off the war while he was in the plane on the way to fight.
He wears flannel jackets.
 

Where I Went

Mama, I didn't mean it.
I know, I know.

Mama, I didn't mean it. 
I know.

Mama, she thought I meant it.
I know

Mama, now she's gone.
I know. 

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

Aurelia Fell

I am not afraid of heights, yet my toes curl around the diving board, unwilling to let me fly into the unknown. I realize, like Aurelia did, all too late, that I am afraid of falling. Chatter is all around, the smell of sunblock (SPF 70) stings my nose, and my throat is like a desert because Billy Morris is behind me on the ladder--and the last kid who didn't dive was a laughingstock for weeks. Down below is angry oblivion. I can feel the air beneath the board. I can't jump. Aurelia jumped, and Aurelia fell. 

One Sentence Story

Big Brother

My brother is a ghost; he's never told me why. 

Ask Me Why

Ask me why I eat paper
Go on, I dare you
See what happens if you try

 

Joy to the World

Three Words I Needed


Autlai
(n.) ɑt-laɪ
    
    The ability to take off one's glasses and view the other, more beautiful, side of the world.

Kitle
(n.) kɪt-lɪə
    
    The beautiful world that can only viewed through blurry eyes. 

Moschia
(n.) mo-šiə
    

    Any ordinary thing that becomes extraordinary when one's glasses are removed. i.e. Christmas lights, clouds, a crowd of people.